Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not Buying What You Sellin': The Curious Case of Chavis Carter

Back in the All We Care About is Chick-Fil-A days, I briefly mentioned an incident in which a 21 year old black man by the name of Chavis Carter turned up dead after a run in with the Jonesboro police in Arkansas. After a routine traffic stop and a search, Carter was handcuffed and placed in the back of the squad car. According to officers at the scene, they heard a thumping noise, turned around, and saw the young man dead in the back of the car, where they had placed him. Cause of death: bullet wound to the head.

Supposedly, Chavis had "pulled out a hidden gun and shot himself". With his hands cuffed behind his back. Yeah. Okay.

We're supposed to believe that the officer that searched Chavis missed an entire gun. And this alleged gun was so inconspicuous, that an experienced, trained officer wasn't able to detect it, however, it was accessible enough that a person with their hands cuffed behind their back could quickly retrieve it from it's hiding place and shoot themselves in the head, with no assistance.

Listen, I may have been born yesterday, but it was early in the day. Jonesboro PD needs to stop it with their lies, fallacies, and fairy tales.

Oh, but they won't. Now, they've created a video to demonstrate how an individual could magically produce a gun and absolutely manage to off themselves with their hands behind their back.

See how far wicked folks will go to persist in evil? They're out here making videos. Who even has time for that? They need to exit, stage left with that garbage.

Based on the re-telling of events, Chavis Carter is some sort of magical negro and apparently, this video is the proof. Because, clearly, a Black man mysteriously dying while in police custody doesn't happen, and if it does, sorcery is likely to blame. Chavis' mother is quoted as saying, "...My son wasn't suicidal." I'm sure she would also argue that her son is not a wizard.

Oh, and did I mention that Chavis was left handed? Why wasn't that reflected in the video? To me, the omission of that very important bit of information in this "demonstration" is further proof that these folks are not interested in telling the truth or enlightening the public. This is some bullshit propaganda, meant to satiate those who doubt their story and quell the community's cries for justice.

Nice try Jonesboro PD. We don't believe you. In the words of Jay-Z, "You need more people". However, even if you had them, I would quickly dismiss your supporters as murderous liars who use race to justify use of excessive force.

When You Wait for 45 Minutes to be Interviewed for a Job

Is it just me, or is it rude as hell for potential employers to schedule interviews with applicants for a certain time, and then be ridiculously late? I've been on 2 interviews lately where I showed up at the agreed upon time, only to experience a significant wait.

This one company was doing the most when they had me fill out all kinds of paper work, answer essay questions, beat the kids and mow the lawn, with these crazy wait times in between all of the activities and obstacle courses. I began to wonder if this was a Fortune 500 company, or if I had inadvertently walked in through the wrong door, into the county building. Honey, I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And then, they brought my ass back for a second interview (which was really the 3rd and 4th at this point)... and had me waiting again! And they had the nerve to not hire me. Rude asses.

Yesterday, I showed up to a Beverly Hills adjacent office for a 10 a.m interview, and ended up sitting in the lobby for 45 minutes. Come on, ya'll! The heifer that was supposed to be interviewing me came strutting in at about 10:40 a.m, in bermuda shorts, weave all windblown, sippin' on a Starbucks frappuccino. Ma'am. Meanwhile, I had a parking meter that wasn't going to stay fed forever and a child that needed to be picked up from an early dismissal school day across town. Had I gotten a parking ticket or been late to get my kid, I would've been livid. Fortunately, the interview was pretty fast, the vibe was good, and all ended well.

However, I'm leery of employers that are apparently so disorganized, or so disinterested in the fact that you may have a busy day as well, that they can't honor interview times that they have specified. I understand that sometimes a meeting will run late, or you get backed up with your interviews. I've actually been on the other end and know that it's difficult to manage a regular work day and add to the chaos with a parade of applicants. But, that's not really my problem. Similar to how it wouldn't be their problem if I couldn't get my affairs in order in a way that would allow me to show up to my interview on time. There's no doubt that had I come Naomi Campbell cat-walking into their office 45 minutes late, I would have been informed in a very stern manner that I had forfeited my opportunity to interview for the position.

I understand that I'm trying to get something [a job], and they're providing it [employment], therefore it places them in a position of "power"... But let's be fair. A 10 minute wait is respectable, 20 minutes would be acceptable, 30 minutes is questionable... But 45 minutes is unforgivable.

Whenever possible, I try to arrive early to interviews. It is out of respect for people's time, and also because I want to show that I am responsible and can be trusted to exceed expectations when it comes to reliability. I want an employer to take the same care. Try to impress me. I've turned down jobs before, so this isn't a one sided situation! I'm not only out her tryin' to get chose, but I'm choosing. 'Cause if you can't be on time for an interview, what else are you gonna be late for? I can't have anybody dragging their feet about my paycheck or my benefits. No, baby. In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is It Sexist That We Keep Bringing Up Kim Kardashian's Sex Tape?

I was perusing Refinery29, in the same manner that I usually do on a weekday afternoon, when I came across a little article about Kim Kardashian and the fashion industry. It was entitled, "Will the Fashion Industry Ever Accept Kim Kardashian?" which I thought was a valid question, considering that most of her business ventures have been fashion related. I giggled and answered with a hearty, "NO," before I had even given the article a chance to contribute it's 2 cents. In case you were wondering, I was right, and according to the article, the fashion kids on the couture playground will always, always, always pick Kim last for dodge ball games.

The article's author listed Kim K's many successful business endeavors and punctuated it with, " ...all from the seed of a sex tape." I yelped. Jesus wept.

And then, after I was done being tickled, I thought, "Is it sexist that we keep bringing up Kim's sex tape?"

Understand that I'm usually the first to bring it up, randomly, even when nobody's talking or thinking about Kim or the rest of the K-Klan. Every time I see their show or a QVC presentation of one of their atrocious K-Dash "fashion" attempts, or one of them is interviewed, I think, "They all have Kim and her sex tape escapades to thank for all of this stardom." In fact, there was a brief period of time when I felt like maybe I was the only one that remembered that Ray J and K coitus production ever happened. It seemed like everyone had forgotten and maybe it was lost on the public that this was in fact the way in which Kim had been thrust into the spotlight. And yes, I intentionally used the word "thrust".

But recently, I've noticed that people have been bringing it up in a very random fashion, that often has little or nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. Oprah asked her about it in a recent interview. When she did, I had to get up off my couch and stand in front of the TV like I was at Sunday service and the Bishop was doing his good preaching. I felt gratified that someone had finally addressed it. Then, there was this article. However, I can't help but wonder if it would be a different scenario if Kim were a guy. Like, for instance, if this were Ray J in an interview -- well, assuming someone would ever want to interview Ray J to begin with -- would they be asking him about a sex tape he made back during the paleolithic age? By anyone's standards, 2007 was a long time ago. Is the tape still relevant? Are we (myself included) "slut shaming" Kim?

My guess is that the only reason that there is a resurgence in conversation about the tape is based almost exclusively on the fact that Kim has a va-jay-jay and not peen. I doubt that at this point anyone would care enough to bring it up if Kim were male. No one asks Hugh Grant about Divine Brown, nor has that incident been brought up in mainstream media in years. Kobe Bryant caught a case for rape, and yet, no one feels compelled to ask him about it in post game interviews. It happened and it's over and that's the general consensus among the public and the media.

Maybe we should leave Kim alone about it. She says she was humiliated by it. She says it's her biggest regret. Some have speculated that she or even her manager mom is the reason that the tape was released in the first place, but I choose (at least, initially) to believe what people say about themselves and their own lives. According to her, that's not something that she would have intentionally shared with the world. Honestly, I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to have those images of myself out there for all of humanity to see, for all eternity. And I can't imagine how hurtful it would be to have people bring it up for the rest of my life. I'd be mortified.

It's fun to poke fun at people. And yes, I did use the word "poke" on purpose. But, I guess the more mature, compassionate, and feminist part of myself has to say that there's a point when pointing and laughing can cross the line and turn into something ugly, mean, and in this case, sexist. I can't promise that I won't almost always have flash backs to Kim and Ray J sexy time every time I see Kiki. But I'll try not to judge her for the questionable choices she made in her past.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Problem with Wedding Dresses

The problem with wedding dresses is that, in my opinion, they're ugly. Now, that wouldn't be much of an issue if I weren't getting married at the end of the year, and therefore looking for one to wear to this ceremony my fiance and I call ourselves planning. When I walk into a bridal shop, this is what the conversation sounds like:

ME: Hi, I'm looking for a simple, elegant wedding gown.

CONSULTANT: When is your wedding?

ME: December 2nd.


ME: Ummm... yeah.

CONSULTANT: OH! WELL IT'S TOO LATE TO ORDER ONE! We'll have to find something for you off the rack.

ME: That's fine.

CONSULTANT: What do you have in mind?

ME: Something simple and modern. Mermaid shaped, ivory, strapless. No beading, no appliques, no lace, to pick ups, no shiny material.

CONSULTANT: *blank stare*

And this results in me leaving the shop, with no dress. Apparently, you have to secure your wedding dress damn near a year in advance, since they have to give the silk worms plenty of time to get it together. Also, notice that all of the "style elements" I hate (beading, lace, foolishness) are exactly the things that a respectable wedding dress is made of. Factor in my budget, which dictates that I will not spend 2/10 of a down payment for a house on a dress that I will wear for a few hours. Anybody that does, I don't know what to say to you. In my world, rent and a car note must be paid regularly, I have no benefactors, and children in Africa are starving. Not to mention that fact that I want my future husband and I to be able to actually live after this little cute wedding situation. And we're not going into debt to impress anybody. So, there. Where the bargain wedding dresses at?!?!!

But not the ugly ones, though.

Actually, it seems that the less poofy and gaudy the dress is, the higher the price. Does that have something to do with minorities and lower class folks and their love affair with cheesy embellishments? I wonder. I want to look well put together on my wedding day. Not like a mountain of sparkly whipped cream. I'm 31, not 3.

I blame this all on these grown ass women who've only ever wanted to be a princess all their lives. Because of them, every dress I try on gotta have a flock of geese and a gospel choir attached to the back. That's not what my life is about. Wedding be damned, it is never under any circumstances my desire to appear as though I may be smuggling a family of midgets under my skirt. No, thank you.

My current struggle has caused me to reflect on my past experiences with weddings and I recently realized that I've never seen a wedding dress that made me want to slap my Mama. When I see women in wedding gowns, I always think, "Oh, pretty. She's getting married," and it has little to do with the dress itself. It's just that she has the garb on and no matter how well it fits, what the style is, or if it aligns with my personal taste, she's a bride and that's beautiful.

Which means that I could wrap myself in a few rolls of toilet paper and shuffle down the aisle with a handful of somebody's front yard perennials in my fist, and nobody would really think twice about it, which is good. That gives me hope that in this sea of ugly wedding dresses, if I can just manage to secure the one that is least ugly, I'm winning.

Never Good Enough

I watched as Gabby Douglas was ranked dead last in her final two Gymnastics events. Lately, in her interviews, she hasn't seem as bubbly as she had, leading up to and at the time of her victories at this year's Summer Olympics. I think it got to her. And by "it", I mean the media and nasty, ugly acting internet trolls and critics.

By anybody's standards, I think I was a pretty sturdy 16 year old. And yet, I was an emotional mess at times. Despite my confidence and irreverence, I, like everyone else wanted to be liked, congratulated, appreciated, and accepted. I was tough, but plenty of people hurt my feelings, even if I didn't show it. I can only imagine how some of the harsh, careless comments about Gabby have hurt her. I think what makes it worse is that so much of it has come from her own people, many of which are women much older than her, who should know better.

A girl's self esteem is nothin' to fuck with.

Not saying that anyone needs to be coddled and told that every single thing they do is amazing. But, being a complete asshole isn't necessary either.

And this is not to say that everyone in the public eye, regardless of race or gender, male isn't at some point on the receiving end of malicious, ignorant, and mean spirited remarks and critiques, but, I feel like Zora Neale Hurston was on to something. Black women do appear to be the mules of the world. It is because of the combined crushing force of racism and sexism that, often times, at least in the media, it doesn't matter what a Black woman does or how great she is. In the end, it will never be good enough.

Maybe it is because I speak from the unique perspective of a Black woman that I am sensitive to the way this chapter has played out for Gabby and plenty others. Maybe no one else sees it. Maybe I'm making it up and nothing is wrong. But I think that the public has done a little damage to her spirit. It is my hope and prayer that it is not a mortal wound, or even one that will leave a noticeable scar... But that it is easily repaired by all who love her.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Beauty of Gabby Douglas

I'll admit, when everybody started going in on Gabby Douglas' hair, I did take a second glance at her edges. However, I quickly dismissed all of the complaints and jokes, because, let's be real... The girl is a professional athlete, competing in an even reserved for individuals at the very top of their sport... How concerned should she be about how fly her bun is at this point? If you were getting busy on the uneven bars, flying through the air at the risk of breaking your neck with one wrong maneuver, would you really care about how closely you resemble a chick on a relaxer box?

Pretty much, no. That's my answer. And I am the head chair woman of the Keep It Cute Committee. I'm a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California. I don't play games about hair. I once told a friend that he needed to reassess his relationship with a woman who came out of the house with her hair lookin' crazy on a Valentine's Day date to a basketball game at the Staple's Center. No! No! No! Nobody do that where I grew at. I'm gonna plan to like this while giving birth:

Don't play with me. But, blog isn't about hair. This is about the beauty of Gabby Douglas, despite the fact that some of us are small minded and can't see past inconsequential nonsense. I love Gabby for the following reasons:

1. 'Cause her name is Gabby and I had a best friend in elementary school with the same name.
2. Because she's Black. And to me, if that's reason enough to vote somebody into office during the presidential campaign, then surely that is enough reason to think a young girl is awesome.
3. Because she has damn near the same face and smile as my middle niece.
4. Because her last name is Douglas so I can very easily convert that to "Thuglas" which you know will come in handy at some point on Twitter.
5. It seemed no one was checking for her, but she swooped in right under the radar and became an instant icon.
6. By all accounts, she's a sweet young lady and a fierce competitor. She's humble, gracious, and credits God with all of her success.

I haven't kept up with Gymnastics in years and didn't know who Gabby was before. Now, we all know her name and she deserves all of the accolades and medals she's earned. I want to thank her for representing young black women in such a beautiful way.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How Childish Liberals Helped Chick-Fil-A Have "The Best Day Ever"

I don't even know where to start with this Chick-Fil-A foolishness. I'm not sure if I find it more absurd that so many people that consider themselves reasonable and intelligent allowed themselves to get so upset by one person's opinion, or that they didn't see the inevitable outcome of a weeks worth of free advertisement, thanks to their non-stop griping. Thanks to the internet backlash concerning Chick-Fil-A COO, Dan Cathy's statement against same sex marriage [confirming what we should have known about a fast food chain that is so holy and devout that they shut their doors on Sunday to observe the Sabbath], the company, reports that yesterday was a "record making day". I said this would happen.

Listen. This is just as much a "Freedom of Speech" issue as it is a matter of Civil Rights. As a person who believes that same sex marriage should be legal in every state, I think it's ridiculous that we would expect someone to lie when asked about their own beliefs. Was he supposed to shrink back and not express his opinion? His Christian faith dictates that he should be bold. Clearly, he has accepted the popular teachings that interpret several parts of the Bible's scriptures regarding homosexuality to mean that it is a sinful practice. Cathy is only in support of "traditional marriage". It's his opinion. Just because someone thinks or believes something doesn't make it fact... But judging from the way so many people reacted, you would think that maybe they feared he might be right and God's judgement would rain down on them at the next Pride parade. If you ain't scared, then why do you care so much? Why validate the wacky imaginings of someone that doesn't know what they're talking about with a new, snarky status update and clever anti-Chick-Fil-A photos on Facebook every other hour?

People played themselves.

Oh, I know why. 'Cause he's a bigot and a homophobe and should be called out on it and ostracized and driven out of town with torches and pitchforks. Ummm, okay. I'm sure his mind is changed now, thanks to you vehemently disagreeing and refusing to buy a banana pudding milkshake from his restaurant. 'Cause you know how strong, negative reactions always work to change your mind.

I have news for you, darling: There will probably always be backward thinkers and bigots. You're going to need to calm down. Despite what should be a sufficient amount of years separating us from the civil rights and suffrage movements, sexism and racism still go hard. If I got worked up every time someone said something stupid about women or black people, I'd be on my 38th aneurysm by now.

I wish that as educated adults, we would have the maturity to be able to ignore fools instead of giving them a platform and a wider audience. Most folks hadn't even been to Chick-Fil-A before every smarty pants liberal yapped about it for a full week. Now, the place has a line around the corner.

I haven't been to Chick-Fil-A in a decade. Now ya'll got me wanting some waffle fries.

By all means, take your hard earned dollars to establishments that agree with you and your politics. If you can't stomach the stance of a company or individual for whatever reason, feel free to refrain from shopping there, eating there, utilizing their services, or purchasing their goods. It's your right. It makes sense.

But, what doesn't make sense is that most of the same people that rolled around on the floor about Chick-Fil-A will absolutely not stop giving their money to countless other companies and entities that are anti-LGBTQ. I get it. It's too inconvenient to change your entire life to match your beliefs.

Therefore, we will all still buy gasoline to keep our cars running (which comes from oil that comes from countries in which it is common practice to execute homosexuals), and we will all still buy goods that are made possible by the magic of child labor and sweat shop work, and so on and so forth. And we will concern ourselves with intermittent internet powered revolts and continue be good, virtual activists.

I decide not to buy from various companies all the time, for reasons that vary. It's rare that I talk about it, as there is no need for discussion. Do you, boo. We don't always need to know.

What we do need to know is why these sensational news stories and memes come around like clockwork and what it is that the media and government may be trying to distract us from. I wonder how much bullshit has gone under our radar since we've been fixated on one person's opinion. What great injustice went unnoticed as we were obsessing over 1 crazy person on a shooting rampage? In a world of 6,973,738,433, surely something else has transpired. I'd be willing to guess that somewhere, someone has been beaten to de
ath for being gay and perhaps a war rages that just this week, has left a fallen forest of bodies, plenty enough to fill a movie theater to the ceiling. It is not accidental that the media repeats the same news stories over and over again. Chances are, while we're all looking over there, something bigger is happening, right out of our line of sight.

I've heard and read more about Chick-Fil-A than I have about Anaheim PD's attacks on unarmed citizens in the past week. Let's address why it is that Jonesboro Police in Arkansas want us to believe that a young black man shot himself in the head while he was in their custody with his hands cuffed behind his back. Let's talk about why, perhaps in the amount of time it's taken you to read this, 4 people have been sexually assaulted somewhere in the U.S., only 2 will report it, and their attackers are likely to never spend a single day in jail. And while we're tending to larger issues, I for one would like to know how we plan on keeping the Earth inhabitable, since global warming pretty much threatens evict us from the planet in a couple of generations.

Someone suggested that, instead of keeping the name of a company that we hate in our mouths, we give the spotlight to local, struggling businesses that are important to us. I want local shops, restaurants, and community events to experience the "record day" Chick-Fil-A had. I want us to be real life activists and stay busy effecting change, regardless of how popular the cause is. As a writer, I want everyone to express their opinions and beliefs, even if I think they're wrong and don't agree with them.

Because negativity shouldn't be too much of a threat to positive, righteous folk.

You can look around and see that the movement toward marriage equality has gone too far to die out. It is only a short matter of time before same sex marriage is legal in every state, so the thoughts of an individual, or a group are somewhat irrelevant at this point. And they know it, too, which may explain their zeal. It's really desperation. You should relax inside and have a cold drink. It's too hot for all of this foolishness.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

30 in 30

I'm posting 30 blogs in 30 days. 'Cause you know I can't pass up a
writing challenge. So, just like with the 30/30 poem a day writing challenge that I do every year for National Poetry Month in April, I'm going to post a little something everyday. Except, this time, it won't be a poem, it'll be a blog. Exciting, right? And it comes just in time, considering the fact that I've spent most of the summer feeling defeated for lack of blogging. It's not that I have nothing to share... I'm just easily distracted. And lazy. And these daggone days rocket by so fast. And it's so pretty outside. So, yes. You will get a blog from me everyday in August. Enjoy it. I may disappear 'til next August after this month is done. I'm kidding! [insert I'm not all the way kidding face here]

Meet me back here, tomorrow for my first official post. It's gonna be hot like fiyah. Or maybe, tepid like faucet water.