A LESSON BEFORE DYING POSTS: WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP MATTERS

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“The choices we tend to make in life.”


The above photo is of the historical fiction novel, A Lesson Before Dying. This book would later go on to be made into a motion picture played by Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, and Mekhi Phifer. A story about a young man sentenced to death for the killing of a store clerk and two of his associates. The film gave a really great depiction of the racial relationships of the South, as well as the harsh realities of growing up Black in the region. Now my topic today is how does ones’ choices influence their lives moving forward. Because in A Lesson Before Dying, all the main character had to do was pass on a ride with his friends.

We may all see it as nothing more than just a ride with some friends. Yet, in the film, there was something that made Mekhi Phifer, the young man sentenced to die, hesitate before getting in the car. Something in him knew he shouldn’t have been riding with those guys. It’s a feeling at times that we all have when being in the presence of someone we know we shouldn’t. It does not necessarily have to be a group of friends. You could be in the presence of family and a monogamous relationship. But the reasoning for Mekhi’s character getting into trouble is a story anyone can relate to; outside the racial premise of the film.

So many young men have been offered rides by their friends. Then get into the car and find out in the course of the ride, their friends have just committed a crime. How do you explain to the judge that you had no hand in the matter? The answer is, you don’t; and unless they state you had nothing to do with the matter, you’ll go to jail as well. Better yet, what happens when you ride somewhere and the people you are with commit the crime while you’re there with them? There is no way to plead your way out of that situation. In the case of A lesson Before Dying, the culprits died themselves, and Phifer was charged and executed for the crimes. In today’s society, you might be able to argue your way out, but not Jim Crow South.

Which brings me to my last reason point regarding the company you keep. You need to understand where you live and the laws as well. Southern laws are of the strictest laws in America. And what may be a slap on the wrist in one state is prison time in another. So in the end, you need to understand a few key words of advice. Watch the company you keep, be comfortable with decisions you make, and understand the place in which you reside.


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ETHNIC CONSCIOUSNESS: WHY HAS THERE BEEN A RISE IN RACIAL NATIONALISM IN AMERICA

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“When the machine breaks down, we all break down.”


The United States of America has always had to deal with an insurmountable level of racial tension. But now more than ever, the tension has risen. You have what is considered the far right, which are members of the Klu Klux Klan as well as The New Black Panther Party. These are groups that have always been around; the Panthers for decades and the Klan for over one hundred years. But with the political landscape in shambles from tension still at a height from this past presidential election of Donald Trump, these far right groups are poking their heads up yet again. But where is all this coming from? Are we starting to digress as a country into old ways?

Let’s take a look at some of the groups in America, starting with the KKK. The Klu Klux Klan has been an organization built on White Nationalism for over one hundred years. They preach that America was made for the Related imageadvancement of the White man. Everyone else should repatriate themselves to other regions of the world. Mainly to places where their origins are from: Black People to Africa, East Asians to their respective nations, Latinos/Hispanics to theirs, and Middle Eastern to theirs. They are also an organization built on pushing against what they define as White genocide, such as interracial marriage. An action that they see as a potential threat to their people.

As for the Black Nationalist views, these are people who seek to push the Black agenda. And that Black agenda has meant everything from repatriating to the continent of Africa, to establishing our own economic base outside of White men and women in America. The further views are Related imageheld that Black people should not mix the bloodline of those who have oppressed their group, nor should Black people conduct in trade with such a group. The other Nationalist views are that Black people should create our own schools, hospitals, protection for our communities, as well as a push to recreate a culture that has been lost due to historical precedence. And these are the views of the Black Nationalist.

Now my question is, why have these views emerged today in America. Because this conversation has always been an issue. But why so much now? My theory behind the reason why is economics. Anytime Black and White people are in a lesser held position, we tend to look to the other as to why Related imagewe struggle. White men and women say I struggle because of welfare, Affirmative Action, and crime effecting their ability to earn. Black people state that we can’t earn due to systemic oppression, White privilege, and stolen identification robbing us of self. But what is the real reason?

Well, recently, psychologist and Black Nationalist Umar Johnson and White Image result for black nationalismNationalist Richard Spencer have become faces we see in the struggle. Both men have a viewpoint which is similar, yet supports one ethnic group. Now, to understand the racial fight, understand the construct. First off, Black and White are not real ethnic groups. We as Black people had no choice but to Image result for white nationalismadopt Black because our identity was lost during slavery. And White is just a combination of European groups that came here generations ago. And here lies the interesting part. We are so color constructed in America, we don’t realize the old continents and how they fight.

 

You have European and African groups who dislike each other. And when I Related imagesay each other, I don’t mean France hating Ghana. I mean the fight between the Serbians and Croatians. The fight between the tribal groups in Africa. So anyone who does not align themselves with the Black/White struggle is seen as a traitor. But really, your skin color construct means nothing, and is oppressive in Image result for african cultureitself. But the fight is so long and so deep, the fore fathers of America created a problem that they didn’t foresee. They had no clue that it would run so deep. So deep that now, if you are Cuban and accept Cuba and not Black you are met with resistance from the Black community in America. And if you identity as non-White/European, you’re met with resistance on the opposite side.

See in the end, the fight racially is simply to designate what is seen as your enemies. If another group would have come in and took over America after slavery, the Black/White fight might have ended then. But the leadership has always been White males. But they don’t care about Black or White people, but themselves. Therefore, it becomes more personal than racial. But people need someone to blame. Just as much as Black people need a face, White people need a face. And it’s usually as a reaction to our quality of lives. With an increase in both groups of people struggling, will come an increase in racial tension.


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BLACK MEN REVEALED: WHAT WE REALLY FEEL IN LIFE

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“The fear of being me, that only another me understand.”


Growing up for me, I was always scared to walk outside. Whether it was the gang violence or police officers, it always left me shook. As a Black male, when you walk out the front door, you never know what you may be confronted with in society. So you begin to develop this outer Teflon skin that makes you desensitized to a lot. You learn that being a villain is easier than being loved, and you are able to live with that. Because you are prepared to be hated, you’re not prepared to be loved. So sometimes, you tend to sabotage your own life by engaging in activities that are not the best choices. Why, so you can operate in that space of hatred that you’re used to; that comfort zone.

But what is the real feeling when you walk the streets everyday. Fear; but I don’t mean fear in the context of I can’t leave the house. Fear in the sense of I am afraid of what you might possibly do to me. So I’m going to get the drop on you first before you get me. Because I know that whatever is done to me, will be justified. So it’s better I come prepared to go into battle, even Man's Hand in Shallow Focus and Grayscale Photographyif battle is not warranted. That is the definition of an unfit way to live. Yet for me, it’s perfectly normal because it’s the only life I and many other Black men know. Now, I am not going to go into the history because we all know. But the effects of that fear causes a strain in life in more areas than just walking up the street.

We fight against, and yet sometimes wish death upon any and every man and woman in a position of power. We’ll sometimes call out other Black men simply for not joining in on the disdain. And part of it comes from wanting someone, anyone to feel just as fucked up as what we are feeling in that moment and about life. Problem is, it is so long standing and so generational, it hurts our own community more than anything. Playing stoic to survive has made us detached at times from our own Black women. When in reality you just want to sit back and chill, not really having to care about much of what you could potentially experience that is negative in life.

Our views start young being shaped about people around us, real young. As a matter of fact in my own life going back to elementary school, I had low regard for non-Black people. Going to school where I felt the Black boys misbehaving were treated a lot differently than the White boys misbehaving the same way. So it actually caused me to Man in T Shirt and Shorts Standing on Grass Field Grayscale Photographyhold animosity toward the White males I went to school with because of it. When in reality, they had no control over the behavior of an adult and were just living in the environment they knew. It wasn’t until I hit middle school my viewpoint changed as I came into a more diverse environment. While many other Black boys went to other public schools where their experiences were continuing to be shaped in a negative way.

Our perception of the world as Black males especially is when we’re young is one that is conflicted. Wanting to be open and meet new people. Wanting to trust people and enjoy. And on the other side, waking up with a fuck the world mentality. Fueled by rage, yet tired out at the end of the day. Wanting
to harm others who are in no shape or form responsible for whatever social situation we go through. And then feeling bad the thought came across your mind. Admitting when we’re wrong is damn near impossible, especially in a world where everything you do is considered wrong. So you’re in attack mode the first person tells you, what you can’t do or have.

In the end, we bury our emotions. Part of it comes from the fact that very few people care. And part of it comes from the fact that you will be seen as weak. So we at times become dictators when we really don’t have to be. Stay paranoid and looking over our shoulders. When in reality no one is even looking at you. Everything I have said would drive the average person crazy. Yet the vast majority of us manage to live on Earth everyday just fine. Our african ethnicity, beard, blacklives are by far not normal, and experiences are even more abnormal. We are considered threatening, lazy, insecure, predatory, and flashy. Yet we really are humble, fun, hard-working, and laid-back. We have a narrative that is generational; funny thing is that only we can change that narrative. No one else cares and no one else will attempt to aid. But until then, we awake everyday, we survive, and we pray we make it home alive. And if we do, hopefully we’ll get another day.


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A LONG STANDING DIVIDE: HOW POLICE AND COMMUNITY BICKERING EFFECT THE UNITED STATES

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“The divide that can cause a collapse.”


In the recent years the topic of police brutality has come up in America. But on the other side police advocates are stating that they are just doing their jobs. Now my question is, is this really a problem, or because we have so much social media access, it’s bigger now? Because this has always been going on (the relationship between the community and police), but now it’s bigger because we can instantly see the problem. Now, previously I said community. The bad blood is not in just any community, it’s the predominantly Black community. This has been a long standing relationship in this country for decades. Longer than I have been alive, my parents, and grandparents.

But my topic today is not to discuss why it goes on or who is to blame. My topic today covers how it could ultimately effect the country. You might ask how so; how could the community and police relationship effect America? Image result for criminalityFor starters, it will give rise to the criminality in society. Once the police become pariahs, then the criminal element is able to take more control. With the relationship fragmented, they have more voice. Because the community’s way of punishing the cops is to make their job hard by not cooperating. And the police become fed up and allow the criminals to reign supreme over law abiding citizens.

And think about what it does to a younger generation when watching all this television coverage. A age group is growing up witnessing killings before their very eyes. Now, they will grow to have an even higher level of disdain for the police than previous generations. Just think about it, posted videos of the shootings on top of a 24 hour news cycle. We are engineering a Related imagegeneration where you are made to fear those sent to protect you. Imagine growing up a young Black male right now in elementary school. Nothing but live coverage of Black males shot by cops. The respect and trust in the law will diminish. And you’ll create a new era of rogue individuals in our society.

Lastly, what about keeping our borders safe in America. We live in a country where terrorist threats from outside are all around us. So when we have in-fighting, it can put us in a very vulnerable situation. Police officers are our first line of defense in case of a terrorist attack. So if the community and police are fighting that is an in for outsiders. For instance, while the people and police fight, the real threat could be operating within the community. We are so programmed in America to watch each other, we’re not watching outsiders. What’s more interesting is that outsiders see us as more of a collective than we see ourselves.

In the end, having fighting between the community and the police is more of a problem than issues within. We have to to now make sure that people from outside don’t use this against us. Because no matter what the fight, there can’t be fighting between the citizens, and the men and women hired to protect them. This nation becomes too susceptible to homegrown and outside potential threats. So what is the solution because this is not some fly by night problem. It has been a long-standing issue for generations. But whatever the case may be, continuing will create a divide that only hurts the people and law enforcement. Thus giving rise to real outside threats.


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OUTLAWZ: THE FASCINATION WITH THE CRIMINAL UNDERWORLD

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“They play hard, take what they want, and live it up.”


We watch movies about them, documentaries, and even read their life stories. They are the criminal underworld and for whatever reason we have this fascination with them. The most notable would have to be the Italian Mafia. They have been the interest and the inspiration for so many films in mainstream America. But what is it; what is it about these outlaws that intrigue society so much. The mafia is the biggest, there are also drug cartels and bank robbers as well. There is this mystique about them that attracts us to the life. None of us have the guts to live their lives, yet we are attracted to who they are and what they do.

Let’s look at the cast of people starting with the most popular; the American Mafia. No matter if it’s the Italians in New York and Chicago to the Irish in Boston, we are attracted like magnets to the mafia. From the way they dress to their cordial personalities. Even with the gentlemen like qualities, we still know what they are capable of doing under the right circumstance. But Image result for mafianonetheless we are allured by the racketeering, money laundering, loan sharking, gambling, and light weight drug trafficking. They take what they want and if the authorities put pressure on me, then hey, why not pay them off as well. Then once holidays come around, let’s hand out toys and turkeys to the community. It made them infamous with the law and revered with the public.

But what about the drug cartels? Guys like Frank Lucas to Pablo Escobar all the way to today with El Chapo. We hear about them running multi-billion dollar organizations and eluding authorities. Their lifestyles are so over the top with luxury vehicles, expensive jewelry, and palatial real estate. Their Related imagemuscle in how they deal with people leaves us terrified, yet they still have this aura about them that you stand on the sidelines and gawk. They have been immortalized in our pop culture, mainly through hip hop/rap lyrics. But why, what is the real reason we are so attracted to the criminal underworld?

In my opinion, they represent everything that we hate about our government, that the government makes us do. The don’t pay taxes, buy and sell whatever they want, and live over the top lifestyle most of us can only dream about. And when they die, we have these photos that almost serve as shrines making them martyrs. The communities they live in are more protected by them than our law enforcement. Everyone knows who runs the neighborhood and respects who runs the neighborhood. Unlike the judicial system which could allow people to walk free, you don’t break the laws and codes of their world. And that code is the biggest thing we respect. On paper, systematically, there is code in our society, but our politicians break that code and promise at every turn.

In the end, we will always be fascinated with the criminal underworld. Their lives seem to be so much more fascinating than our own lives. Plus, the very representatives that are hired to represent the people, these criminals flip them the finger to. We’re able to look on at how for once politicians are forced to do their jobs to catch these outlaws. The allure to the gangster lifestyle is eternal and will never end. Because as long as there is a law that could potentially be broken, someone will always try to find ways around it.


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HER WORD IS WORD: THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF RAPE IN OUR SOCIETY

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“No joking matter.”


Recently in the news, there was an incident on the reality television show Bachelor in Paradise. Two co-stars in the show Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson were hanging out together. Their casual hangout with drinks took a turn and eventually they were both in a hot tub together engaging in a lewd sex act. Camera crews were in sight of the whole entire ordeal. When the story was made public, the television show was yanked from the air. Why was the show yanked from television? Because in an unexpected twist, Olympios stated she was too inebriated to have consented to any sex act. Even though she said she wasn’t raped, she just was too drunk to consent to any sex acts. This left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

Everyday women throughout this country are raped and so many of the stories fall on deaf ears. So when Corinne eluded to being sexual assaulted, even with video footage, it made a lot of people angry. Though she kept saying it wasn’t rape, the way she said what happened was still sensitive. When you say I don’t remember consenting, you’re still in a way saying something was done to you without your consent. So saying rape or not, it opens the door to more investigation. And the television show was cancelled, understandably so. Because why would a multinational conglomerate like NBC want allegations of sexual misconduct on one of its television shows.

But let’s say for just one moment that there were no television cameras around. And she found out there was something sexual that took place. Would she still come out and say that nothing happened? That is what has people so outraged. DeMario would be in a lot more trouble had there not have been cameras present. Because now the ball is in her court regarding what happens next. And on top of it all, her parents and her boyfriend found out. So instead of her coming correct, it could be something much more that didn’t have to be. So what about men who don’t have cameras present? Or better yet, what about women who are actually being assaulted who never get the appropriate attention they need.

And that is why rape allegations, even slightly eluding to rape should be handled in a delicate manner. Because the fact that someone feels like not facing the reality that they screwed-up, they can now use rape as a get out of jail free card. It could have changed a young man’s life forever. There are men sitting in prisons across the country who have been exonerated for charges of rape. Men who spent greater portions of their lives behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Another slippery slope is if a woman thinks rape, that’s enough to charge a man with a crime. Meaning, she could have said I was too scared and thought it, but didn’t say anything. That is a strange position because he now says I thought it was consensual.

In the end, sexual assault is a very serious allegation. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, not even eluded to in conversation unless it’s true. And what’s tough is that even if it comes out that the guy is innocent, no one speaks on it. It’s kind of expected to just go away. As for the guy, he is stuck with this stigma for life.


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DRAINING THE REAL SWAMPS: HOW RADICALS COULD TAKE HOLD IN AMERICA

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“Potential for something sinister is brewing.”


Since President Donald J. Trump was elected in the White House back in November of 2016, there has been a sharp rise in radical views. The feeling has been that he has sparked something in these groups to make them behave a certain way. Could there be some validity to the argument because he (Trump) has expressed disdain with the same people that masses have been angry with as well. Or, could the anger be over something different than the racial viewpoints coming from the news. Could it be that the feelings are coming from a place where we should be focusing our attention, instead of on the president’s language? I have a theory into the rising tension in the United States.

Yesterday was the shooting of a Republican Congressman Steve Scalise. He is currently in critical condition in a hospital, along with a few others that were assisting him as well. The shooting was targeted at Scalise because of his political affiliation. But what would prompt someone to shoot a politician in this country simply because they are of another political Related imageaffiliation? I think one of the connections is because of the disdain for leaders in this country. People have constantly expressed their anger toward politicians for not performing their duties in the manner in which they promised. People who feel they are doing their part, yet every four years, you only see politicians actively working when they are running for re-election. But, is that the only reason as to why this country is growing in radicalization; no.

Another reason tensions have been flaring up is the lose of jobs in this country. With manufacturing work being sent overseas and people becoming more and more desperate, I’m surprised there aren’t more of architecture, building, emptythese incidents like Scalise. It’s the reason why our leaders not only should assure the country that everything is going to be fine, but work to make everything fine. Because that desperation from people could easily flip into something much more sinister. You might start seeing the election of leaders who embody men of hate from the past. Do I see a Nazi regime taking hold, no. But could we still see a climb in people who teeter on that level, we most definitely could. People have been known to make some pretty crass decisions when their back are up against the wall.

But there still leaves one more reason that the tension has been growing in this country. And that reason is one that has been long standing; racial. Throughout the United States history racial issues have extended itself to African Americans fighting the dominant power source, which has historically been White males, for freedom. But what we have now in Related imageAmerica is something far different. Now the large number of White men and women are felling shutout. What’s interesting is that the majority of African Americans still struggle in the United States. So if these White men
and women feel slighted, who are they losing to in the end. Because the business environment is still predominantly White, college universities, medical field, engineering, politics, and outside of basketball and football, the vast majority of sports.

In the end, if the confidence is not placed back into the lives of the American people we could start to see radicals taking hold in our country. The Middle East won’t be the only problem on the government’s hands. People are becoming desperate and that’s the real problem. So many get upset with Trump calling him racist and gender biased. But the real hateful person is lurking and watching from afar. Yes, Trump is flawed because he’s not used to taking orders, which is something you must be willing to do as president. So Related imagehe’s shooting from the hip, causing himself to lose support. But I can’t agree with the hate aspect of people’s view on him. Yet I will say, people voted for him out of desperation. And if they will vote for him out of desperation, how long before real threats present themselves into our society. Moving forward, he need to stop delving so much into petty behavior and the citizens have to work with our leader, otherwise draining the swamp will be draining to sewer, but in reference to radicals and not politicians. Because at this moment that sewer is becoming clogged with raw sewage looking to present themselves.


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