Rejection

Posted: March 26, 2017 in Social Activities, Uncategorized

Over five decades ago, a great man stood before America and stated proudly, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Well today, I stand before you…in a state of Rejection. I have been in this state for over 4 decades. I can remember during the 70’s, pulling out a coloring book that contained the story of two friends, one black and one white. Subconsciously, I pulled out a black crayon and a white crayon. The colors on the paper failed to accurately portray myself and my friend. This was my first experience with the inaccuracy in which color is used to designate us. It was not accurate in 1970 and its even less accurate in 2016. I stand before you today in a state of Rejection.

Since 1442, Africans/African-Americans have been described by names given to them by others. These names have been used whether purposely or accidentally to stereotype them/us as a people. This has led to many misconceptions about them/us as a race of people both internally and externally. Even as a race, African-Americans cannot decide when is a good time or a bad time to use the word Nigger/Nigga. While we state we are African-Americans, we also cling to Black as an identifier of us as a people. This has led to a confusion amongst other races as to how we are to be identified. It has also led some to stereotype us based on such labels.

In 1982, having moved from Bronx, New York which was very multicultural to Camilla, Georgia which is located in the south, it was definitely a shock to come from a place where all kids played together regardless of race to a place where kids separated themselves based on their ethnicity, i.e. the color of their skin…a place where adults didn’t associate with one another based on those same set of differences. I remember being cautioned against dating a Caucasian girl or risk dying with a rope burn around my neck. I was 15 at the time.

In my adult life without provocation, I’ve been told by a Caucasians Sailor, “You fucking Nigger, I hate your fucking guts.” Why? Because his parents were involved in a hit and run with another African-American. This was in 1988. In 2003, a Caucasian employee who I supervised at Best Buy, told one of his friends, “Theo’s a lazy fucking Nigger.” Why? Because I preferred to have Sundays off so that I could spend time with my oldest daughter who only visited me on the weekends. Last but not least, I have been to “Go back to Africa you fucking Nigger” by just some random Caucasian driving by in a vehicle right here in Tallahassee, Florida. Sometimes I think fucking and Nigger go hand in hand. SMH, SMH, SMH. It is amazing how the word Nigger has been internalized by each and every race including ours to identify us. I stand before you today in a state of rejection.

In 1442, when the Portuguese first arrived in Southern Africa while trying to find a sea route to India, the term negro, which literally meant ‘black‘, was first used. The word was used by the Portuguese and the Spanish as a simple description to refer to the Bantu people they encountered on arrival. The late Nelson Mandela is a member of the Bantu tribe. From the 18th century to the late 1960s, negro was considered to be the proper English-language term for people of black African origin. While it is true that the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to himself and his fellow bruthas and sistuhs as Negros, I ask you this? Who told Dr. King that he was a Negro?

In 1735, Carolus Linnaeus (a Swedish European) published the first edition of Systema Naturae which subdivided the human species into four varieties based on their continent of their origin and their skin colour: “Europæus albus” (white European), “Americanus rubescens” (red American), “Asiaticus fuscus” (brown Asian) and “Africanus Niger” (black African). In the tenth edition of Systema Naturae, he would later change the description of Asians’ skin tone to “luridus” (yellow). Two hundred and eighty-one years later only two races seemingly cling to color as a representation of who they are, are Caucasian Americans and African-Americans. All other races have intellectually outgrown such naïve, immature and idiotic labels. If we look at any job application, there are only two races identified by color; Black and White. I say again, I stand before you today in a state of Rejection.

Expanding on the work of Mr. Linnaeus, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (a German Professor of Medicine) introduced race-based classifications in On the Natural Variety of Mankind. In the second edition Blumenbach changed his original geographically based four-race arrangement to a five-group arrangement, one that emphasized physical morphology (the study of the form of an organism). Those five categories were: Caucasian, the white race; Mongolian, the yellow race; Malayan, the brown race; Ethiopian, the black race; and American, the red race. Although he retained geographical names for his categories, the change marked a shift from geography to physical appearance. In essence, it went from being about where you’re from to how you look. I stand before you today in a state of Rejection.

The Martinique-born, French Frantz Fanon and African-American writers Langston Hughes (“That Word Black“), Maya Angelou, and Ralph Ellison, among others, wrote that negative symbolisms surrounding the word “black” outnumber positive ones. They argued that the good vs. bad dualism associated with white and black unconsciously frame prejudiced colloquialisms. When you say “White” and “Black” there is a good vs. evil mindset regardless whom you see to be evil/good or good/evil. How can it not? See, we have never named ourselves. It has always been someone who did not look like us, naming us and we just went along with it. Remember that word Negro that I spoke of earlier? In 1970s the term Black replaced Negro in the United States as the main identifying label for African-Americans; a term that continues to this very day. Oh, I stand before you today in a state of Rejection.

Even in this modern age of technology, we all know or can find out where our genealogy derives from. Yet some of our most famous celebrities still cling to such outdated labels. In 2003, on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam, Smokey Robinson stated and I quote:

“I’m proud to be Black, And I ain’t never lived in Africa, And because my great, great granddaddy on my daddy’s side did don’t mean I wanna go back, Now I have nothing against Africa, it’s where some of the most beautiful places in the world and people in the world are found, But I’ve been blessed to go a lot of places in this world and if you ask me where I choose to live; it’s America, hands down. Now by and by, we were called Negroes and after a while, that name was banished. Anyway, Negro is just how you say Black in Spanish. Then we were called Colored but shit everybody is one color or another and I think it’s a shame that we hold that against each other and it seemed like we reverted back to when being called Black was an insult even if it was another Black man who said it, a fight would result, cause we’ve been so brainwashed that Black was wrong that even the Yellow Niggers and Black Niggers couldn’t get along, But then came the 1960’s,when we struggled and died, To be called equal and Black, And we walked with pride, With our heads held high, And our shoulders pushed back, And Black was beautiful. But, I guess that wasn’t good enough, Cause now here they come, With some other stuff. Who comes up with this shit anyway? Was it one, or a group of niggas, Sitting around one day? Feeling a little insecure again, About being called Black, And decided that ‘African American’ Sounded a little more exotic. Well, I think they were being, A little more neurotic.”

With all due respect to Mr. Robinson, I stand before him and this class in a state of Rejection. My ancestors didn’t name themselves a color. They had such tribal names as Aka, Baka, Bantu, Chewa, Banda, Efe’, Gbaya, Kongo, Kanuri and Lingula just to name a few. The continent is Africa. These are a few of their tribes. Not one mention of a Black, a Negro nor a Nigger. Not one. And if $400 is all it takes to trace my Genealogy, I can always do that but I stand before you today, Rejecting the notion of a color as a representation of who I am. As an African-American…I’ve met, played sports with and fought alongside Asian Americans, Irish Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. But I’ve never and I mean never have I met a Yellow American, White American, Brown American nor a Red American. And when I look in the mirror, I sure as hell don’t see a Black American. I stand before you today proud to be me. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a descendant of the Continent known around the world as Africa. I am Proud to be an African American but I reject the notion of being Black. I reject the notion of a color as all races should. My question is…why don’t you?

Works Cited Page

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Linnaeus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systema_Naturae

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negro

http://nathanielturner.com/smokeyrobinsontheblackamerican.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bantu_peoples

http://www.understandingrace.org/history/science/early_class.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9zPRVKQvIM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_of_Africa

http://www.gateway-africa.com/tribe/

In an effort to go where we’ve never gone before, today we’re going to examine Superman and his hidden power. Leggo!!!!

For years now, we’ve watched him stand for truth, justice and the American way. In doing these this, he’s proven himself to be more powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We’ve looked heavenward and all simultaneously said, “Look up on in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…no it’s Superman. My question is, have we ever asked ourselves some more simple questions. Like, I understand with him being Kryptonian that his molecular DNA allows him to float and to fly but where does the propulsion come from? How is it that he’s able to catch structures and not have them crumble under their own weight? How is he able to catch Lois while she’s falling (thank you “Big Bang Theory”) and not cut her in half as she literally falls into his arms?
Well, if you’ve asked yourself these questions and many more comparable questions, I have the answer for you right here. Kal-El is a telekinetic. Sure it’s never been discussed and in the comic world it probably never will be. That’s okay, I’m more than willing to discuss it here. Ahhhh, there are those of you who doubt me? That’s fine. Let’s make it make sense, shall we? Cool; leggo.
Kal is as strong as…well heck, he’s the strongest man on the planet. That’s a given. Yet how does that explain the feets of strength he exhibits? On more than one occasion, we’ve seen him catch a huge structure such as a building that is falling, only to reestablish it positioning and use his heat vision to seal it back in place. While being able to physically halt the building from falling, theoretically…the building being able to support its own weight while he holds it together is highly improbable if not impossible altogether.
When flying at the speed of sound to catch Lois Lane who has fallen out of (oh heck she’s always falling, right), how is Kal able to fly at the speed of sound and then catch her, albeit after she’s built up her own momentum without breaking her in two? Once again, this is not possible but has happened on numerous occasions. The answer is simple. Unbeknownst to Kal, he’s also a telekinetic. His telekenisis though is not a conscious type of power. The power is purely instinctual at best. It activates when it needs to. Knowingly, Kal does not have access to this power. So when Lois is falling out of the sky and Kal is speeding through the air to catch her, telekinetically…he supports her bone structure as not to shatter it once he catches her.
It’s similar to when the globe of the Daily Planet starts to fall earthward, Kal catches it. In doing so, he unknowingly activates his telekinesis which supports the structure of the globe while he lowers it to earth. The same explanation is justified when he catches a bridge that’s about to collapse or a plane that’s about to fall out of the sky. This is especially prevalent when he floats about 6 feet above ground right before accelerating into the sky. Think not? Explain this then.
Superman’s skin is incredibly dense (bullet proof…remember) which indicates more than likely he also weighs more than the average person. There’s never been any speculation that he’s able to decrease his density ala the “Vision” from Marvel Comics and thus become lighter than air. Thus, to float, he would need to disrupt the gravitational field. Mind you, this is different than him just flexing his leg muscles and jumping into the air. I’m speaking of when he’s actually just hovering in the air. Now add to that, when he goes from regularly flying to flying at the speed of sound, where does the propulsion come from? It’s because unbeknownst to him, he has willed it, i.e. telekinetically he has sped himself up.
Since Superman has never spoken on this ability I’m pretty sure he’s unaware that it exists. This is even more fascinating considering that Kal El is far from stupid. To be quite honest, he’s pretty darn intelligent. He comes from an advanced civilization although rarely does he fall back on his intelligence to overcome an enemy who relies solely on physical abilities. That being said, I’m pretty sure there’s only one character in the DC Universe who has speculated on Kal El’s ability . That character being Batman. I’m out.

Yeah I said it and I ain’t taking it back. While I applaud LaVar’s ingenuity in creating hype around his son, my bad…I mean his sons, as well as independently launching his son’s signature shoe…as Keith Sweat once sang, “There’s a right and a wrong way.” LaVar Ball means well but in my humble opinion he is going about things the wrong way. What’s worse is he doesn’t care. I mean he’s even went so far to say that ain’t nobody shutting him up. He’s going to say what he wants to say. If you disagree, cool. This is my blog so feel free to do your research based on what I’m about to say. You might not like it but what I’m about to say are facts.

            Lonzo Ball is probably going to be a high first round draft pick in this year’s NBA draft as well he should. However, in his last game against Kentucky he was subpar. As a matter of fact, it could be said that the point guard for Kentucky outplayed him. So Lonzo and the rest of the UCLA Bruins lost. Who did his father blame? The “supposedly slow” white guys who also started on that team. Guess who owns and runs the big three shoe companies of Nike, Adidas and Under Armour? White guys. Guess what they told LaVar when he tried to negotiate a shoe deal? They basically told him to kick rocks. LaVar never apologized for his comment even after taking heat in the media and therein lies his problem which will also lead to his three sons having a problem as they (hopefully) achieve stardom in basketball. Dad is a first rate asshole which is only serving to alienate him through his sons from the very people he needs (no man is an island unto himself) to be successful.

            That’s just one example. His middle son LiAngelo plays basketball at Chino High School There are numerous reports of LaVar interfering with the coaching staff there as well as berating the recently fired head coach of the basketball team. The incidents are all recorded and easily found. LaVar thinks he knows everything and is not shy about telling anyone who will listen. He even stated back in the day he could beat Michal Jordan in a game of 1 on 1. Stephen A. Smith is quoted as telling him, “There is something wrong with you.” LaVar doesn’t stop there though. He goes on to state that children of famous fathers seldom reach the level of super star status of their parents. I guess his sons don’t have that problem. He mentions LeBron James’ sons as an example of this. Mind you, LeBron’s oldest son is looking like a beast in his own right at playing basketball.

            Not minding people speaking on him specifically, LeBron does a great job of shielding his family from public scrutiny. We’ve never heard of him cheating on his wife. They appear to be for the most part a loving family so it was totally understandable at least from my perspective that LeBron would have an issue with LaVar (someone he doesn’t know on any level) speaking out on his children. LeBron took LaVar to task and told him to basically keep his children’s names out of his mouth. That’s a reasonable request. What was LaVar’s response. “I’ll say what I wanna say. Do something.” LaVar; your son will see LeBron twice next season. If a man respectfully asks you to not speak on his family, you’re supposed to comply…understanding that if the request came from you, you would want him to do the same. You can expect LeBron to want to come at your son aggressively as a way of coming at you.

            And speaking of seeing NBA players; LaVar has also stated that his son will be better than Stephen Curry. See this is where I’m hoping this is all just hype but it’s not and we’ll get into why I think it’s not later on. Curry is just 3 inches shorter than Lonzo. Curry is faster. His jump shot is wetter. His handles are sicker and while watching Lonzo during this past college season, I’ve seen nothing that suggests that Lonzo is even remotely close to Curry playing level. If LaVar gets his wish and Lonzo is drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, the entire Golden State Warriors (that means Draymond Green – the enforcer of the team) will have an ax to grind when they see Lonzo on the court. If you don’t know what this could look like, please YouTube Tony Kukoc playing against Team USA with Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen taking turns defending/harassing him. This will put the veterans on the Lakers team in a position where they will have to protect someone they may or may not like while simultaneously trying to make the playoffs.

            Speaking of the Lakers…are we really to believe that Jeani Buss, Magic Johnson and Luke Walton are going to tolerate the on-hand shenanigans from LaVar? Hell no. Can you imagine LaVar getting escorted out of the Staples Center because he’s berating the Laker’s coaching staff? I can. How about this. Imagine Lonzo getting traded from the team that drafted him in the first round because they don’t want to deal with his overbearing father. While it has never been done, it’s not inconceivable for that to happen. Didn’t we just see all three shoe companies tell him no? Teams these days especially a young team like the Lakers will be focused on winning and unwarranted distractions are not a part of that plan. That being said, I get it. He wants what’s best for his son.

            LaVar once said and I’m paraphrasing here, that he is not going to let someone else get rich off of his son and that’s to be commended. Michael Bennett (of the Seattle Seahawks) supports LaVar and his way of branding his own shoe. He’s even stated via Twitter that he will be buying two pair. Keep this in mind. Branding his shoe was the fall back plan. It wasn’t the original plan or LaVar would’ve went that route initially instead of trying to negotiate a deal. Don’t be fooled. But remember earlier when I said that I was hoping that this was all just hype? It’s not. Listen I believe in supporting black businesses and black business owners probably more than the next guy but I’m not that loyal to where I can easily glaze past an insult from a business owner, regardless of his race. When receiving criticism for the price of the shoes (they retail at $495 – the slides at $295), LaVar Ball took to twitter last night to state and I quote, ‘If you can’t afford the ZO2’S, you’re NOT a BIG BALLER!”

            I’m sorry LaVar. I could be a millionaire a thousand times over and still not purchase your son’s shoes. Why? Because I’m a man of conviction and I really do believe that you do unto others as you would have them to unto you. You don’t seem to operate by that code. Your code appears to be more along the lines of, “To hell with everyone else. I’m doing me.” That code would be fine if you didn’t need others to give your son a team to play on thus the ability to earn an income in the sport he loves. That code would be fine if you didn’t need others to present you with a platform to go out and speak for your son, thus making you an overnight celebrity. That code would be fine if…you didn’t need others to come out of their pockets and purchase your son’s shoes so that you can have the fame and the wealth that you feel you and your family so richly deserve.

I have no idea why Fox Studios can’t tell a decent X-Men story but it’s no wonder Marvel doesn’t support the movie franchise. It’s like someone telling your life story and screwing up everything, from miscasting your family members to having your children introduced as your parents or even worse. By now we all know the story. Marvel was in financial distress several years ago, so they sold the rights to their two biggest comic book franchises to Fox Studios; The Fantastic Four and the X-Men. I grew up reading comics so to see what has done to both superhero teams on the big screen is down-right sickening to say the least. Where did they go wrong? Let’s take a look.

The first X-Men movie actually wasn’t bad. As a matter of fact, we have that movie to thank for the other superhero movies that followed whether they were better or not as good as the X-Men franchise of movies. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk (the second incarnation), Captain America, Thor and The Avengers. You can honestly tell that someone over at Marvel cared about the source material while writing their movie scripts. As of X-Men Age of Apocalypse, it is apparent that Fox Studios is more concerned about making money than about making a good movie. I mean seriously, how do you get Angel wrong in two movies?

Never the less as good as the first movie was, it was the success of Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine that doomed the franchise. When fans first saw Wolverine and his claws on screen we immediately became enamored with Hugh. That was the beginning of the end in my opinion. I’ve said it many times. Wolverine may be the most popular X-Man but Cyclops is the unquestioned leader of the X-Men and always has been. Fox Studios chose to make his character lame beyond belief. If you didn’t read the comics, you don’t understand the significance of Cyclops to the X-Men universe. Obviously no one at Fox Studios understands, much less cares.

Cyclops was the first X-Man. His leadership skills are on par with Captain America. He’s also a capable hand to hand combatant having held his own against the aforementioned Captain. As for his powers? Let’s just say even the super durable Wolverine has a healthy amount of respect for Cyclops’ optic blast. How so? Cyclops optic blast is pure force and can easily punch a hole through a mountain. In the first film he was outflanked by Toad in a subway station. Cyke (as he is affectionately known) is not the type of person to be easily caught off guard. He’s a master strategist. In the second film he is done in by Lady Death Stryke. Okay, that one is believable but then in the third X-Men film, he’s so distraught over Jean Grey’s death (from the second film), he’s reduced to a wimp and killed off screen even.

What Marvel Studios has done with their Avengers movies is make sure that every character plays a significant role. Even Hawkeye whom Josh Whedon had walk around as Loki’s hypnotized lackey for most of the first The Avengers movie corrected that mistake by having him play more of a pivotal role in the second one (I’m still upset about that whole meaningless death of Quick Silver but I digress). Why couldn’t Fox Studios reverse course with the portrayal of Cyclops? Speaking of the third X-Men movie, what happened to Angel?

I mean damn, Angel/Warren Worthington was cast in two X-Men movies, The Last Stand and Age of Apocalypse. All we get from him in X-Men Last Stand is a few minutes of him as a kid trying to cut off his wings. Then he’s a young adult about to use the mutant cure to get rid of his wings but then changes his mind. During the closing minutes of the movie, he flies in and saves his father who was just thrown off a roof. At the end of the movie, he becomes the newest student at Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters yet we don’t see him in X-Men Days of Future Past. His inclusion in the movie begs the question, “Why even have him in the movie at all?” He was totally wasted.

In Age of Apocalypse, he’s a mutant cage fighter. He’s pretty bad-ass considering (if I’m not mistaken, that’s the Blob that being carried out on a stretcher). He then gets turned into the Horseman of Death for Apocalypse complete with metal wings that he can hurl towards his enemies. Did I mention that Angel can fly? No? Apparently he can’t because inexplicably as the plane the X-Men were using hurtles towards the ground, he can’t fly out. As souped up as Apocalypse made him, he couldn’t escape although miles in the air, a non-flying Psylocke made it back to the ground just fine by using her Psi-Blade to catch hold of a building on her way down. Huh? Seriously. This wasn’t the first time that Fox Studios killed off a mutant for no reason but more on that later.

Remember what I said earlier about Hugh Jackman’s success as Wolverine and how it negatively impacted the X-Men franchise of movies. Here’s a complete synopsis of each movie. X-Men was nothing more than Wolverine finding more about himself by finding other mutants who were outcasts just like him. Based on her relationship with Logan, Rogue was actually X-23 before we saw X-23 in Logan. X-Men United was about Wolverine leading the X-Men against his arch nemesis William Stryker. X-Men The Last Stand was Wolverine finally accepting his role as leader of the X-Men after Cyclops (killed off screen in the first few minutes of the film) and Professor Xavier were killed by Jean Grey. Now that I think about it, even though the X-Men were clearly already established as a team prior to finding Logan, they needed him to save them in each of the first three installments.

After those first three films, we then had the “what the hell were they thinking,” X-Men Legends: Wolverine. The opening sequences of the movie with Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth were compelling but right after that, the movie goes off track. I mean that movie went way off track. James Hudson and his wife Heather are portrayed as an elderly couple and immediately killed off for no reason. I guess we can scratch off the possibility of making of Fox Studios making an Alpha Flight spin-off movie anytime soon. Remy Lebeau, a.k.a. Gambit plays a pivotal role in the movie but his character shouldn’t have met Logan that early in the X-Men timeline. Not to mention, we haven’t heard from Gambit since this movie. The Blob is also unceremoniously killed off and the portrayal of Dead Pool? I wanna know who read this script and said, “Oh yeah! This is gonna be a hit!” Whoever the person is/was, they should never be allowed to overlook the creative process of a comic book movie again.

     The Wolverine, however wasn’t a bad movie only in that it didn’t involve any of the other X-Men. By now we know that the X-Men franchises are trying to reset themselves with X-Men First Class. With a title like First Class, how can we go wrong? Easy, I guess. Here Fox Studios has a prime opportunity to correct all of the flawed character portrayals of the past movies and still could not get it right. When you say “First Class,” most comic book aficionados would  think Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel (nope, you’ve already used him) Beast (okay he’s in and since Kelsey Grammer portrays an older Beast in the other movies, that makes sense) and Ice Man (nope, you’ve already used him as well).

The problem with First Class is the time period it was initially set in. Fox placed the movie in the 60’s which basically made it impossible to include the three main characters established from the previous three movies such as Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey in that they would’ve been too young to be Xavier’s initial students. So who do we get instead? Well they do use an Angel…sort of. This Angel is actually a young woman by the name of Angel Salvadore. She doesn’t have feathered wings. She has dragonfly insect wings. Huh? Then we have Banshee. That could actually work because aside from Wolverine, Banshee was quite a few years older than his initial X-Men teammates in the comics.

What about everyone else though?  We get Darwin who is killed when Sebastian Shaw places an energy bomb down his throat. In the comics, Darwin’s ability of instant reactive evolution has allowed him to go toe to toe with the Hulk as well as Hela (the Goddess of Death – please see Thor). Long story short. He should still be alive. Fox Studios could’ve even brought him back at the end of the First Class movie by having his body re-assimilate itself. Fans don’t mind characters dying in movies but inexplicable deaths. Regular movie fans may not care but you risk alienating true comic book fans by portraying such nonsense which is exactly what they did in Last Stand.

Then we have Alex Summers, a.k.a. Havok. For those who don’t know, Havok is Cyclops younger brother. So how exactly is he a part of Xavier’s first class? See at this point it becomes obvious that Fox Studios doesn’t care about the source material. They know fans love the X-Men so let’s just throw an X-Men movie out there with a well-known mutant and the fans will come; source material be damned. Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique is next up as a member of the First Class. Here’s where history starts repeating itself though. Just as the first three X-Men movies were about Hugh Jackman as Logan. First Class, Days of Future Past and Age of Apocalypse are all about Jennifer and Michael Fastbender as Magneto. Even Hugh manages to show up and steal a few scenes in his reprise of Logan in two out of three of the newer X-Men films.

So after Days of Future Past, Fox Studios has the perfect opportunity to reintroduce X-Men characters that everyone knows and loves. They have a prime opportunity to get it right. Do they? Nope. Remember when I mentioned how Warren Worthington was cast as a cage fighter? Well at least he’s in the movie. So are Cyclops, Beast and Jean Grey. All we need do now is cast Ice Man to have the original five? Inexplicably, Ice Man is left out. Common fans may not know but Ice Man is one of the most powerful mutants in the X-Men universe. As an African-American, I’m proud to be represented by Storm but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t cast Bobby Drake a.k.a. Ice Man. They gave us Night Crawler whose inclusion may have just been a matter of the plot running smoothly but Bobby should’ve been in this movie.

Not only should Bobby have been in the movie but why did they kill off Havok? He was killed off in much the same fashion as Darwin and Angel. Okay; real quick. Cyclops and Havok’s body’s act as energy conductors. Their cells normally process solar energy which neither one has legitimate control over hence the “Energy Cell” on Havok’s uniform and Cyclop’s optic visors. In essence, that blast from the X-Man mansion should not have vaporized Havok. He should still be standing, albeit super charged with the ability to disperse the excess energies. So where does that leave us now? Fox Studios needs to hire someone who actually reads comics go over their plot summaries going forward.

 This is basically a written version of a friend of mine doing a comedy routine. He didn’t think it would go over to well because it derived from one of his writing classes but I convinced him to give it a shot. Anyway as he performed the skit, I decided to take notes and see which shots were home runs or not. Sit back and enjoy. 

How’s everybody doing tonight? Everybody ready to laugh? Cool. Sooooo, I’m channel surfing at home cause I’m bored. Anyway, I come across some shit on the British Broadcasting channel and I just sit back and said, “What the hell?” You know it’s like how you watch some shit as you get older that makes you question the shit you watched when you were younger. How many Trekkies here? Good, good. Well how many of you have ever watched a Star Trek movie or episode? Cool, Cool, Cool. Man, I tell ya, it is just some shit that as I look at Star Trek, specifically the Next Generation that makes no damn sense. First of all, I’m a brutha. Speaking politically correct, I’m an African American. I don’t go for that Black shit. That’s a crayon and this brutha here if defined by a color is a fine shade of pecan tan or a nice scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Yeah I said it.

(BRUH, DON’T NOBODY CARE ABOUT YOUR SKIN COMPLEXION, TELL THE DAMN JOKES)

Anyway, I’m looking at the show and I’m looking at the only two bruthas on the show. One looks like he’s got a pair of old school 80’s shades on and the other looks like he’s got a crab about to bust out of his forehead. I’m like what the hell. Am I supposed to believe that in 2364, we have not discovered a cure for blindness? Aren’t muthafuckas having corrective eye surgery in 2015? What the hell; does the brutha not have a solid health plan? Oh no, I work for Star Fleet, I can’t afford that health plan. Let me see if “Obama Care” is still an option. I mean that’s just some bullshit. What’s worse is that this brutha is driving the damn Starship and he’s blind. Oh no, this ain’t the Communication’s Officer.  This ain’t the Security Officer. This brutha is driving the Starship through space. That’s like having Stevie Wonder driving you across country in your brand new Bugatti.

(I WISH YOU WOULD’VE TOLD THE CROWD THAT IN THE WRATH OF KHAN THEY ACTUALLY HAD A CURE FOR BLINDNESS WHICH WAS BACK IN 1982 BUT THEY LAUGHED ANYWAY SO CONTINUE)

And I’m not even goin’ get started on the other brutha in show. This dude looks the love child of Terry Crews and a snow crab. I can see Terry Crews’ big ass doing the “Robot” while he’s getting busy with the crab, “Must bust a nut, must bust a nut.” No seriously, I’m not making this shit up. It actually happened. Then later, to add insult to injury, Whoopi Goldberg…the other black person of any relevance on the ship, shows up as the owner of the bar. I just see so much wrong here. There’s a bar on the Starship and the owner just happens to be a sistuh. So I’m either blind, a shellfish or a drunk. Thanks but no thanks Starfleet. I’m serious here. I can’t make this shit up.

But I don’t want people thinking I’m just another uptight African American. Actually I think we as African Americans need to lighten up a lil bit. Ya know, cause to a degree we’re kinda hypocritical about the shit we get mad about. For instance, you ever notice every Halloween, black people get mad about white people dressing up as black people or as we like to call it, “Black Face.” Question, how many times have you seen a black person dressed up like a white celebrity during Halloween? That’s right. Y’all have seen the fucking pictures…bruthas and sisthas dressed up as Batman, Superman, Ironman, Wonder Woman and Spiderman. Hell I dressed up as Spiderman…with webshooters and all. I was out webbing people’s houses and cars and shit. People wake up the next day with sticky shit all on their houses and cars. What about Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson? Don’t boo me. I know he’s dead but he was born black and died white. Oh don’t act like I’m the only one who thinks Michael Jackson was the only brutha to medically turn himself white, complete with benefits and all. What about vampires and shit? Like really, when was the last time you saw a black vampire. Lemme see, we had “Blackula, A Vampire in Brooklyn and Blade.” And Blade don’t even count, hell he’s like Obama. One side claims him and the other side doesn’t.

(MAN, DON’T NOBODY REMEMBER BLACKULA OR A VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN)

Hell, I went to a costume party one time and saw this brutha dressed up as a Pirate. I said, who the hell are you supposed to be, Captain Black? This mug looked at me and said harty, har, har and walked away. I’m like, get the fuck outta here I ain’t neva seen a black pirate. I mean you can’t be mad about white folks dressing up as black people when we running around dressing up as them every day. Shit, last Halloween I put on a suit and tie and went trick or treating. They asked who I was supposed. I said, the lead District Attorney from, “Law and Order, SVU.” One of the parents told me, “But he’s a white guy.” I told her, “Shiiiiiiitttttt, not tonight he ain’t. Tonight he’s being played by me now give me some candy before I object to your line of questioning.”

(THE LEAD DISTRICT ATTORNEY FROM LAW & ORDER; THAT WAS NICE)

Awww man, it’s hard out here. It’s hard. Shit just don’t make no sense anymore. I’m watching this Commercial by Carfinders.com and I mean hell, I’m always looking to upgrade my car. Who isn’t? Anyway, how many of you have seen this commercial? It’s like a 60 minute version of Fast and the Furious with Bo and Luke Duke being chased by police and jumping over stuff. Anyway, is it me or is the Confederate Flag missing from the top of the car? The more I looked at the commercial, the more it got me to thinking? How the fuck was I not pissed about this shit when the show first came on? I mean, I’m watched the show. I was a teenager. I made pretty good grades in school so I wasn’t exactly dumb. Hell I even stayed in Georgia; Camilla, Georgia which is located deep in Southwest Dixie Georgia. How the hell was I rooting for these cats every Friday night while they were driving around in a car with the Confederate flag painted on top of it?

(THE CONFEDERATE FLAG NEVER CAUGHT MY EYE BUT IT WAS THERE)

Hell, even the name of the car was, “The General Lee.” Did I really not know that they were drawing reference to General Robert E. Lee who was a famous Confederate Army General? Was I not taking a U.S. History class in high school? At the time, this was one of the highest rated shows on tv which meant everybody was watching it…that includes black folks too. That is ironic humor at its best. Now that I think about it, I got a “C” in that damn class and now I know why. Hell I couldn’t have been paying attention. My dumbass almost ran out the tunnel of a football game with a Confederate Flag hanging from my waist. Did a black person stop me from running out the tunnel? Noooooooo. We all loved “The Dukes of Hazzard” too much. It took Coach Tom Taylor, the coolest white guy I knew at the time to correct my dumbass. Thank you Coach Taylor. Once again, irony…I know.

Anyway, the whole reason I’m telling these jokes is because my teacher in Article and Essay Techniques told me I had to do a radical revision of my paper which dealt with some really serious issues but I look at serious issues as being one side of a double sided coin because what’s serious to one person could be funny as hell to another person. For instance, any “Game of Throne” fans in here? Man I don’t watch that shit. No seriously, I don’t. People say, “Theo, it’s a good show. Man you gotta watch it. The plot is good.” I’m like any bruthas or sistuhs in it? That’s when people start to give me that confused look like it shouldn’t matter. That’s when I poke my chest out and be like, nope, I’m not watching it. And every time shows like that come on whether they be in the movies or on tv, I’m like, “Where the fuck are all the black people?” I don’t’ get mad. I just ask questions. I mean seriously, did we all collectively get up and move back to Africa or something? No seriously, I’m just asking.

(OKAY, OKAY, OKAY, I’VE FOUND MYSELF WONDERING THE VERY SAME THING…GOOD SPIN)

I can see it now, Kanye West as the leader of the black people (yes I’m fucking joking) holds a National Press Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Oh you thought it was gonna be held in Washington, DC. You know damn good and well that Atlanta is the black capital of the world. Anyway, I can see Kanye now standing in front of the Martin Luther King Memorial in his $3000 pair of Air Force Yeezys saying, “Well as we are gathered here today, I just wanted to say to America, after decades and decades of trying…we have finally decided to move back to Africa.” The brutha would drop the microphone like he just said something big and walk away to Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” Native Africans would be mad as hell when we got there. Like where the hell all these muthafuckas going. African Americans would be like damn, it’s a lot of gnats over here. Damn where these flies come from. Damn, it’s hot as hell over here. Oh yeah, welcome to the new world.

(DAMN KANYE SPEAKING FOR BLACK PEOPLE? WE REALLY HAVE FALLEN ON BAD TIMES)

Oh it’s either that or we just got up and collectively moved to another planet and shit. Can you picture it? You would have Captain Tyrese Gibson of the U.S.S. Monte Carlo and shit playing smooth ass slow jams. You would have Captain Ice Cube of the U.S.S. Dodge Challenger playing nothing but gangsta rap. Wait, we gotta be equal opportunists around here. For the U.S.S. Dodge Durango you would have Captain Porsha Alize Diamond Jenkins (you know her mamma named her). She would have Lil Wayne, Lil Webbie, Lil John, Lil Kim and Lil Boosie amongst other Lil known rappers pumping through the intercom systems as Starships get ready to make their way to planets unknown. Black folks looking at me now, like Theo that’s fucked up. No it ain’t. Y’all know damn good and well we listen to that shit. Tell me you don’t hear Truffle Butta playing in the background right now.

Shiiiiiiiiiittttt, I’m not going even tell any jokes about the U.S.S. Bob Marley with Captain Snoop Dogg at the helm. The last ship to leave and the last ship to show up. They only jamming to reggae over there. Everybody wanna transfer to the “Marley” cause you know they got the loudest of the loud. I ain’t lying.      Last but not least you would have the U.S.S. Kirk Franklin, captained by Captain Donnie McClurkin. Nothing but Gospel music being played on that ship. No alcohol. No R&B. Nothing. Just good ole gospel, all the time. That ship would have no weapons. “Just leave it all in God’s hands” would be their motto. You wanna negotiate with aliens? Send in the U.S.S. Kirk Franklin or the U.S.S. Marley. We either goin let them talk to “He Who Sits Up High” or “Get them high.” Either way, we can’t go wrong. We definitely won’t be sending in the U.S.S. G Unit under the guidance of Captain Curtis Jackson a.k.a. 50 Cent. This muthafucka is known for startin’ ish with people for noooooooo reason. You definitely don’t need his ass negotiating nothing. Y’all know I’m telling the truth.

(OKAY, HOMERUNS ACROSS THE BOARD. DAMN YOU NAILED EACH ONE OF THESE GUYS)

That’s some funny shit now that I think about it. Black folks always complaining about shit. I get tired of it. Hell and I’m black. Always fucking complaining. I remember we used to complain about how we always died first in horror movies and then I thought about it. How many times in real life have we been put in that situation and we know African Americans do shit, that would not work in a successful horror movie. Like we’ve been sitting in a house and heard a noise or something. We all ask the question, “What was that” but we never ask the question, “Hey why don’t someone go check it out?” You know why we don’t ask that question? Cause we know none of our friends are moving. You might get your ass beat for even suggesting such a dumb thing. If anything, whatever’s making the noise has got to come find us, we not going to go look for it. See Hollywood couldn’t show that shit in a movie. How you goin’ have a horror movie and everyone is avoiding the horror?

People would be mad as hell. That’s a 5 minute movie. Ain’t nobody paying for no 5 minute horror movie. And you know black people are loud in the movie theater especially on opening night so you can’t have someone that plays us doing same shit we wouldn’t do in real life. We would be yelling at the screen like the character hears us, “Hey stupid…you’re black, you know damn good and well we don’t run to trouble, we run from trouble.” People would be mad as hell. One, you can’t hear the movie and two just when the movie gets good, it’s over. No need to fear, I came up with the perfect solution. Come up with a movie and call it the, “5 Minute Horror Movie.” You would have a movie called, “Friday the 13th, The U-Turn.” The main characters would be a smooth brutha, a sexy soul sistuh for his girlfriend, the nerdy black guy, the seductive sistuh he has a crush on and the lone white guy. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Anyway, it would go something like this, they all get together to go somewhere for College Spring break. The smooth brutha says, “Hey let’s go to Daytona and wild out.” The white guy says, “No dude, let’s go to Crystal Lake and have some fun, some adventure. There’s no adults there and we can do what we wanna do.” The brutha says, “Hell yeah, we can go to Daytona next year” and they all drive off in the Chevy Tahoe towards Crystal Lake. Then all of sudden, the nerdy black guy in the back looks up from his Samsung Galaxy Tab S and says, “Hey, isn’t Crystal Lake that place where that guy with the hockey mask has been killing people for over 20 years?” You’d see the brutha look over at the white guy and say, “Man what the fuck, you trying to get us killed and shit” and the Tahoe would flip a U-Turn in the middle of the road, tires screeching and shit. That’s when the credits start rolling. I mean seriously, who wants to watch some shit like that but you know…that’s exactly how it would go in real life.

Anyway, that’s my time and it’s been fun. You guys have been great. Thanks for coming out and enjoying this ride with me. God bless and good night.

(OKAY THEO, YOU GOT SOME GOOD STUFF GOING. YOU MAY WANNA WORK ON YOUR DELIVERY BUT ALL IN ALL, YOU GOT SOME GOOD MATERIAL. SINCERELY, GERALD)

Bitch, Nigga, Hoe

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

BITCH, NIGGA, HOE…DO YOU CARE WHERE YOUR ANCESTORS CAME FROM

I often think to myself, we don’t even know our native tongue

All the English words we speak have been taught and learned

Some of us are unaware or worse yet don’t even care

About the rich heritage we had we were forced to leave back there

But I bet all of you can tell me about the Bible

That sacred text that our ancestors clung to for survival

Yet if I ask you about our ancestor’s religion from back over there

Some of you become uncomfortable and start to twitch in your chair

We’ve become comfortable in not looking beyond Plymouth Rock

That educated brothers and sisters don’t question this is a shock

We proudly wear tattoos and markings from another culture

But have you ever heard of Adinkra symbols, sometimes I wonder

We’ve all been taught about Greek and Roman mythology

But we’re African Americans and we have our own mythology

Ignorance is not bliss and honestly, neither is stupidity

But I’m starting to think most of us don’t even care about our history

Being killed and maimed by the police is not a surprise to me

The fact that you are tells me you didn’t learn…our AMERICAN history

People have been justifiably killing us for a long, long time

About as long as they’ve been cracking whips on our naked behinds

Law Enforcement was used back in the day to return property

And if you know American history, slaves were nothing more than property

See back then, law enforcement beat us, shot us and killed us as slaves

They doing the same thing now, accusing of not knowing how to behave

But see if you knew your history, you’d get somewhere and sit your ass down

Because when the police come on the scene, that’s not the time to clown around

But you young, dumb and can’t nobody tell your ass shit

Right up until that time Officer Friendly hit yo ass with some hot shit

BITCH, NIGGA, HOE…DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR ANCESTORS FOUGHT FOR

To have the right to vote, to have the right to eat…to have the right

Not to kill, not to rob, not to sag, not to degrade…that wasn’t the fight

Non Black, New Black, Half Black, New Nigga, This Nigga, Half Nigga

I thought our ancestors fought and died for something bigger

All these challenges on social media coming about

I challenge you to find something new with some clout

Something like…ummm maybe King or maybe Queen

Names that don’t require that you act ignorant, slash stupid, slash mean

See I believe you are exactly what you say you are

When it comes to a title, your personality won’t stray too far

Because a BITCH is a female dog and a female dog is loud

And the female that proudly calls herself that usually is…loud

BITCH, NIGGA, HOE…WHICH ONE ARE YOU, DO YOU EVEN KNOW

Now about this word Nigga that we all seem to cling TO

Eager to fight, curse and disrespect…that’s what real NIGGAS DO

And what about the word HOE, male hoe…female hoe, this hoe, that hoe

Hoes love to fuck and it doesn’t matter with who, after all a hoe is a hoe

Ladies get that dick, make that money…make that Nigga learn real quick

That you’re the baddest bitch, the boss on this shit, a real boss bitch

Fellas make that hoe learn, let her feel what that long stroke is about

As you brag to your boys, man I made that bitch’s ass tap out

And in 2015 with much celebrated pride, these are all the titles we cling to

As if the King and Queen titles from our mother land just won’t do

But now, if those titles are just too formal for you

What about Lady and Gentleman, will those titles do

Let Smokey Robinson tell it, we’re black not African American

The audience took him seriously as I thought, come on man

He was that Spoken Word Profit to teach us all a valuable lesson

As he captivated the crowd, he could do no wrong, class was in session

He said since he wasn’t born in Africa, he was not African but Black

As he received a thunderous ovation, all I could do was sit back

Cause see, while I wasn’t born in Africa, neither was I born in box

And by box, I mean that yellow and green Crayola Crayon box

I remember the first time I saw the crayons, the black and the white

And I said to myself at the age of 6, “Man this can’t possibly be right.”

Also as Mr. Robinson eluded to, I wasn’t born in Nigeria

Thus I can’t bring myself to embrace the title of…Nigga.

I stand before you now, more ummm caramel COMPLEXTED

But I digress because that’s not what the focus of this text is

Some of us have tried real hard to flip the meaning of Nigga

But if I say “Fuck Nigga” or a white person says, “Hey Nigga”

You say, “What Nigga” or “Who you calling a Nigga”

But if the word has no power like so many of us say

Then why do I see such anger written all over your face

Is it because…deep down you understand the word’s true meaning

That regardless of the spin, this word and others like it are demeaning

So much so to the point that you can’t out run them nor defend them anymore

Huh????

BITCH, NIGGA HOE…DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR FOREFATHERS DIED FOR

Whatever Happened To Me

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Whatever Happened To Me

I remember when I first became cognizant of what I was watching on television and what I was reading. I think it was when I was reading the X-Men. They were my favorite superhero group at the time. Their team included members, the Beast, Angel, Marvel Girl, Iceman and Cyclops. So awestruck by them, I even created my own team of Superheroes called the Guardians. Aside from the powers, I was mimicking what I was reading in comics. So there I was, an African American male in the Fifth grade writing comics and designing characters and I only designed one character that was an African American.

There was nothing unusual about that, right? I mean the Fantastic Four were all Caucasians and so were the Justice League of America. At the time, the Avengers roster only included the Black Panther as the lone African American as did the Teen Titans with Cyborg. I was a Trekkie as well so I also didn’t see anything wrong with only Lieutenant Uhura as the only African American of any status on the original Star Trek episodes. Maybe this isn’t sinking in right now and maybe this doesn’t disturb you but I was so in to what I was watching that there were somethings I just started taking for granted. How so you ask?

Well this naïve mindset of mine continued all the way up into High School. My favorite show at the time was the “Dukes of Hazzard.” Some of you may be too young to remember the show but I loved it. Every Friday night, my friends and I would tune in at 9:00 to watch Bo and Luke Duke along with Uncle Jessie and the incomparable Daisy Dukes (she of whom short shorts are named after). Daisy played by actress Catherine Bach was one attractive woman or so I and my male classmates thought. Anyway, they had this car called the “General Lee.” It was a bright orange old school Dodge Charger with “01” painted on the doors and a Rebel Flag painted on the roof of the car.

My classmates and I never made the connection. I mean we never thought about it and no one ever told me the wiser until one fateful Friday night. See I also played on the varsity football team. Our team colors were red, white and blue and I was about to run out of the tunnel with a rebel flag draped from my waist until Coach Taylor stopped me in the tunnel. He pulled me to the side and asked me what was I about to do? I told him that I was getting ready to go warm up. I remember his words like he’d just spoken them yesterday, “Gerald…do you know what the rebel flag stands for?” I told him, “No Coach, why?” “Well Gerald, I think you need to research the rebel flag before you wear it, you may not want to wear it anymore.”

I trusted Coach Taylor so I didn’t wear the flag. I would love to tell you that I did my research as a twelfth grader should but that would be a lie. Oh did I forget to mention that Coach Taylor was a Caucasian? I didn’t? Oh well, that was just one of those things I never thought about. Anyway, back to the Dukes of Hazard. They were just one of the shows I watched on Friday night. Before the Dukes, it was “The Incredible Hulk” and after them it was “Dallas.” As I watched the shows, I wanted to be Hulk. I wanted to be the Duke boys. I wanted to be J.R. or Bobby Ewing but I couldn’t, could I? No I couldn’t be them. I could be JJ from “Good Times” or I could be Arnold from “Different Strokes” but be the hero, be the leading man that got the women, be wealthy…no I couldn’t be any of those.

As time went on, I learned that I could be a doctor or a lawyer as I watched the “Cosby Show.” It’s amazing how simple it is for a child to see themselves in others, whether it be on sports, politics or entertainment. “A Different World” taught me that I could go to college but as I graduated school back in 1986, I remember my guidance counselor telling me that my grades weren’t high enough to get into college. I joined the Marine Corps instead. You know it’s kinda funny. No one ever mentioned junior college as a viable option. You might wonder what I’m getting at here but just read along and sooner or later it will all start to come together. Some of you may think I’m just making something out of nothing but just think about what you see on an everyday basis. Think about what you take for granted as right…as acceptable and then ask yourself what it would be like if things were very different from the way they are now.

I remember watching “Friday Night Videos.” Once again you may be too young to remember this show. It’s okay. Wikipedia it or Google it. Anyway every Friday night at 12 midnight, music videos used to come on. Here you could watch your favorite musicians perform in videos inspired by the lyrics to their songs. Anyway between this show and MTV, you could watch all the music videos you wanted. There was only one thing. Most of the acts were Caucasian in nature with African Americans playing supportive instruments in the background. It really left me asking, “What happened to me?” I mean I knew I sang, right? We had, “Earth, Wind & Fire,” “Kool & the Gang,” “The Gap Band,” “Midnight Star,” “Atlantic Starr,” “Michael Jackson” and many, many other African American acts but I was hard pressed to see them until “BET” launched.

I’ve heard some people ask how I would feel if there were such a thing as White Entertainment Television. When they say this I ask myself, “Does this person watch television like I watch television? Does this person see what I see?” On BET I could see shows featuring me, educational programs by me for me. At last, someone had given me an image that I could relate to. Someone had given me a voice that sounded familiar. I no longer had to ask, “What happened to me?” Now I could simply turn to BET to answer this question. There was something lacking though. Although I was raised by my grandparents who were probably middle aged during the Civil Rights Movement, I was not raised to support segregation. I was raised to embrace being accepted and being accepting of others. Thus while BET was where I could go to be comfortable…no inspired, I yearned for more. As the years rolled by, yearning for more would not necessarily lead to more.

I watched as movies and television shows premiered and I found myself asking the question, “What about me?” Futuristic movies were released time and time again and the representation of the African American race was slim to none. It was enough to make me ask if we had moved to another planet or just became extinct altogether. It’s kinda funny but kinda sad as well. You ever watched the Star Wars movies or Star Trek movies? I did. I always asked”Well damn, “I can’t be a Jedi Knight?” I was so glad to see Samuel L. Jackson as not only a hero but a senior member of the Jedi Knights but…with all the Caucasian Jedi Knights running around, he was the one that died. I was like damn, “What do I do now?”

I know you’re probably thinking that I’m over thinking this but seriously…just consider what I’m saying. Being a hero let along a superhero was almost null and void. Even though Professor Charles Xavier, Magneto and the Mutant Population are based on Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the African American Population, you would think that the so called “mutant” gene avoided African Americans as much as Civil Rights avoided African Americans for centuries. Who could my children pretend to be on Halloween that looked like them? Oh wait, there was Blade but I don’t seem to remember a costume for kids based on his character being released.

How does this play on a child’s psyche? Can you imagine as an African American child…you’re looking for action figures and all the action figures you come across are Caucasian? What about as a lil girl you’re looking for an African American doll to play with? You’re beautiful but the world tells you…not really? Looking for African American dolls in the toy store is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack. Have your ever noticed this when you walked into a toy store or did you just see the representation as being, “normal?” Me looking for me doesn’t just lend itself to television and movies. It also lends itself to me reading books.

I love to read but how interested can I be about reading story after story about characters that don’t look like me, act like and or talk like me? At some point it just gets old. I love the Harry Potter series but it would see that only one or two African Americans can be wizards at one time. Is there some type of quota that can’t be exceeded? What about the Percy Jackson series? I was happy to see Brandon T. Jackson in the movie. You may not remember him but he played the role of the Centaur. Yeah, that’s not really what I aspire to be as a hero.  You may be saying, he’s really overthinking this.

I wonder though. Am I? As children our minds are so malleable. We see, we believe. From the moment our parents read to us and or sit us in front of a television, we start to absorb certain styles, certain rhythms and certain beliefs. We are taught what we can be and what we can achieve without our parents ever uttering a word to us. Even in sports the subliminal message is sent. How long was it before African American quarterbacks became common place? Sure, African Americans could run, block, catch and tackle but throw the football? Well I will let history tell that story. What message though were we sending young African American males? If they couldn’t quarterback the team which to some is the position that requires the most intelligence on the team, then being a football coach is totally out of the question.

Think about the number of head coaches in Division 1FBS football and ask yourself how many of them are head coaches? As of 2011, the number was 11 African American head coaches. There are 128 Division 1FBS Football programs. Does the African American child see himself as a head coach at some point? I can honestly say that as a kid, not so much. As an adult, I understand that I possess the knowledge to do so but that knowledge comes from within. Who else sees me outwardly as being able to be competent at such a position? That is a rhetorical question. The question truly is, “Do you see the African American on the side line with a clipboard as a head coach or the Caucasian guy standing next to him with a clipboard in his hand? If you said the Caucasian guy, don’t be upset, just ask yourself why that was your first response.

This is the dilemma that African Americans find themselves in. I once thought to myself how often we get upset when Caucasians dress up in “Black face” during Halloween but never really think the same way when our children dress up in “White face,” i.e. masquerading as Caucasian characters. Wasn’t I Spiderman once? Isn’t my favorite hero Batman? Weren’t the survivors of Hurricane Katrina referred to as the Katrina Refugees? I still wonder how you can be a refugee in your own country but I digress. I remember having a grey hoodie in high school to stay warm. This was back in 1986 in Camilla, Georgia which is a rural town in southwest Georgia. Now in 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida I’m concerned about wearing the very same hoodie. Why? I ask myself does a Caucasian male share my same concern. Once again I digress. This is about what do I see myself as.

I want to be the hero. I want to see myself in futuristic movies. I want to read about myself as the hero if not the main character in Sci Fi Fantasy books. For instance, I would like to be Harry Potter, the Prince of Narnia and or Percy Jackson. Should it just be taken as granted that young African American children aren’t affected by seeing themselves portrayed in such a role? When all you see of yourself is as a dancer, a rapper, a singer, an athlete, an actor, a thug, a criminal or just a grunt on the battlefield…what are your choices as for being an adult? When you achieve more than that, are you the exception to the rule? Should it be conceived as normal?

Just recently, a young African American girl played the part of “Annie” and some Americans almost lost their mind because the role had long since been portrayed as a Caucasian girl (mind you the story of Annie was written by Harold Gray in 1924)but shouldn’t Annie be representative of any young girl? Isn’t it possible that an African American girl can be adopted by an African American millionaire? We have a Bi-Racial President in office so isn’t it possible to see, write, portray an African American person in the role of the hero? Times have changed and although there are clearly some Neanderthals still out there who think in old and outdated terms, we are certainly more together as a country then we ever have been thus characters now are being portrayed in a manner that embraces all races instead of just shining light on one race?

Thus when I read a book and or go see Post-Apocalyptic movies, futuristic movies, sci-fi movies, television shows and or commercials it would be nice to know that I actually exist. When buying my children toys, I would like to know that there are toys based on them as casually as toys have been based on Caucasian children. For that matter, I would like to see all races and or minorities represented. This is my country and I love it to death…faults and all but when I come across various forms of media and can go on and on without seeing any similar faces, I’m 47 years old and I’m tired of asking, “What about me?”

Now that I have your attention, please know…I do not have a problem with Jameis Winston. For that matter I don’t have a problem with his accuser who still remains nameless. Who do I have a problem with? I have a problem with all surrounding parties. Today we go “HARD IN THE PAINT” on the handling of the Jameis Winston Sexual Assault Case. Leggo.
Some of you may be wondering why I waited until now to comment on the Jameis Winston case. Well for one, I wanted the entire situation to play itself…from the announcement that an investigation was under way, to the ruling of State District Attorney Willie Meggs to Jameis Winston eventually winning the Heisman Trophy. I’m a father. I have daughters so allow me to just say right off the rip that there is no way in hell this thing would have played itself out a year later had one of my daughters come home and said, “Daddy…I’ve been raped.”
Allegedly the rape took place during December of 2012 and was reported to the Tallahassee Police Department on December 7, 2012. Per USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/acc/2013/11/22/jameis-winston-sexual-battery-allegation-florida-states-seminoles/3672039/ here is a timeline of the events in question. In January of 2013, the complainant identified Jameis Winston as the rapist to the Tallahassee Police Department. In February of 2013, Jameis’ attorney Tim Jansen was contacted by TPD (Tallahassee Police Department) stating that the case was closed. PAUSE.
Anyone else besides myself see the movie, “A Time To Kill” featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Matthew McConaughey. If you haven’t I won’t reveal the plot but let’s just say I’m prone to erring more on the side of Mr. Jackson’s character as opposed to how these events played out in real life. How so? Well let’s continue. After TPD announced the case was closed…nothing happened. I mean nothing literally happened. The accuser’s attorney did nothing. The accuser’s family did nothing. Now maybe I have this whole thing confused but no one did nothing? Everybody just went on their merry way? Really? I don’t believe my conviction is that strong to sit back and let it go…ahhhh but wait…something did happen.
On Friday, November 8, 2013 a reporter from the Tampa Times by the name of Matt Baker makes a public records request of the December incident using the case number. At that time, Florida State is 8-0. Jameis Winston is being touted for the Heisman Trophy after his performance against Clemson. Florida is also in the National Championship race with really no one left to play on their schedule. After their demolition of Wake Forest on national television bringing their record to 9-0, TMZ makes a public records request seeking records involving Winston.
Hold on for a minute. Why all the sudden interest in Winston. Listen I live here in Tallahassee, Florida and I can tell you Jameis Winston wasn’t on my radar a year ago. I’m a Georgia Bulldog football fan and I knew of E. J. Manuel was the starter for FSU and that Aaron Murray was my guy at Georgia. That’s it. Per BlackSportsOnLine http://blacksportsonline.com/home/2013/11/jameis-winstons-accuser-lawyer-says-she-isnt-doing-this-for-money/ The accuser’s attorney, Patricia Carroll made this statement on November 22, 2013, “It is absolutely untrue. This is a victim of rape, which occurred on Dec. 7. She identified this guy sometime in January. This whole situation — think about it, think about it — if she wanted to ruin this guy, she would have done it a long time ago.”
“She’s not someone with any interest in ruining the football team,” Carroll said. “If this victim was interested in notoriety, why would she have not taken any action all this time? Anyone with a brain can see that. It’s ludicrous. It only came out when someone from the press got a hold of this. It’s really ruined her life. There’s no benefit in this to her whatsoever. She’s a good girl, and this is a nightmare. She was trying to move on with her life, and there was no benefit to her.”
Okay, I get it. Ms. Carroll is an attorney and much smarter than me when it comes to the judicial system but maybe she allow someone else to speak publicly for her. See the reporter from the Tampa Times, Mr. Matt Baker? He didn’t just arbitrarily contact TPD. That’s not how this works. Why? Because he had no reason to. Someone tipped him off. As a matter of fact, TMZ didn’t just decide to make a public records request to TPD. TMZ is a “celebrity gossip show” located out in Los Angeles and guess what? Jameis Winston did not become a celebrity until the fall of 2013. So now the question becomes…just how did a celebrity gossip show get wind of the Jameis Winston allegation before…ESPN? Once again…it was leaked and it was leaked to an entity whose job it is to make people look…bad.
I’m not saying Ms. Carroll’s client was not raped. I’m simply saying that the best time to come out against Jameis Winston was not in 2012. The beginning of the football season wasn’t even the best time to come out against Jameis Winston because he could’ve been a bust and so could the Seminoles. Noooo, the best time to come out against this young man was exactly the time the reports started leaking. As stated earlier, he was being touted for a Heisman. He’d even been given a nick name. Famous Jameis is what people started calling him. During this time frame I just shook my head saying to myself, “It couldn’t have been my daughter. Nope, old Mr. Butler would’ve handled this a long time ago.” Think I’m just putting on? Just ask my wife. She’s seen me up close and personal and knows how I feel about my daughters and that has always been her biggest concern…that somebody would hurt them and I would either wind up dying over it or going to jail.
I digress though because according the timeline, TPD reopened their investigation on November 12, 2013. It’s not like they really had a choice given the media scrutiny they were under. That being said…there were several statements released by the Ms. Carroll, the State District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Jansen and several other people. ESPN and ESPN2 via their news shows reported on alleged rape on a daily basis. Questions were asked, intentions were debated and ramifications were discussed. How was this going to affect the Seminoles? Could they stay focused? Would Jameis become distracted? Would it affect his Heisman Trophy campaign? Silently I just shook my head because what truly mattered was what truly mattered and nobody seemed to really care about what truly mattered…was what I thought to myself.
What truly mattered was this. Jameis Winston won the Heisman with 2,205 votes. The next closest person had 704 votes. Mind you that was after 115 voters left Jameis off of their ballot altogether. Know what that means? This young man is considered guilty in their eyes. I don’t know if any of those people will ever come forward but by leaving Winston off of their ballot, their belief was made known, regardless of whether it will ever be made public. Winston, a redshirt freshman only has to play one more season at FSU before turning pro. If he does decide to do so at that time…he will have to field questions from all 32 NFL teams and their representatives regarding the alleged rape. That’s a shame.
As for the young lady. She’s been manipulated by those who sought to use her to gain some form of fame. See the right thing to do was not sit back and wait. Her attorney made the mistake of not pressing the issue and then playing the public sentiment card. She lost. Public sentiment would have been with the young lady when this first happened. To hell with FSU. If she was actually raped, let’s scream it to the mountain tops and have her accuser go before trial…before he gets some fancy schmancy nick name. I feel for her because those that should’ve had her back…did not. Her attorney is her attorney and when TPD stopped the investigation, we should’ve heard from Ms. Carroll in February 2013 not TMZ in November, 2013. I hold Ms. Carroll and those around the young responsible for this debacle because they failed her. I hold the legal system responsible because it comes across as though they showed FSU and specifically Jameis Winston some form of favoritism and it’s way too obvious that someone within the judicial system did do exactly. These two young people will forever be scarred by this moment and it’s not their fault. It’s all of those involved who decided to put their own personal agendas ahead of these two young people. I’m out.