Category Archives: Rants and Raves: Social Issues.

Who Are You Again?

How often have you introduced yourself as your twitter/instagram handle? I personally need more than two hands to count the number of times I have done this. There are people who I consider real friends who only refer to me as my online nomenclatures. 
 
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In this day and age of everything being readily available, I feel we have lost touch on what personal relationships can be when we engage in a purely reality based  interactions. Where we learn each others likes and dislikes through talking instead of timelines. Where we get out of this romanticized view of the world and actually experience what it has to offer. The fear of missing out is becoming less and less of an observance and more of an diagnosis. 
 
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We tend to see pictures of people having a good time and in ours minds we believe that their fun is way more enjoyable than anything we are currently partaking in. When the reality is that, that picture is a moment and not an event. The person smiling with the solo cup is not an accurate model for the person before nor after the shutter has closed. A picture they say is worth a thousand words but who is to say that any of these words are true. The greatest hiding place for dispare is behind a smile.
 
I implore you to seek fulfillment outside of social networks. Think about how often your experiences are diminished to nothing more than a hashtag. Is that not saddening? I live by the adage that anyone who is truly having the time of their lives is too busy in the moment to document it. Our greatest moment will always be captured with our eyes and saved in our hearts of which there are no passwords. 
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Live your life off of the computer screen. Develop a personna that extends beyond and app. Do not fear the virtuous state of mystery. Is it okay for people to ask you how your trip was, did you get that job you were excited for, etc. I challenged all the viewers to downgrade their next big adventure. Make a physical photo album for when friends come over to visit, this creates conversation. There is nothing like face to face interactions, these will never go out of style. So log off and go out into the world, go off grid and embrace the sunshine and soft kisses the earth has provided in the form of wind.
 
As Always, I love You, God loves You, Love Yourself,
Man of Madu
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Am I My Brothers Keeper?

I was recently at an event at my University about use of the N-Word, when a question was raised: Why do we greet each other with ‘Whats up Nigga?”, when it used to be “Whats up BROTHER?”. The host responded saying that it was just a change in the times. I respectfully disagree. There is no way that time has changed the word Brother to Nigga. The times are the same it is our mentality that changed. Personally I still refer to many of my peers as Brother, so am i behind on the times? I think not.
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As a people we have somehow fallen into a mindset that we are no longer apart of a large family fighting the same battles. We now see each other as competition, incapable of compassion for this pseudo-enemy that we have fabricated in our minds. There was a time where everyone was referred to as your Sister or Brother, now if you say it, you are looked at as eccentric. As if just the thought of you being equal with another person of color is this obscure concept to be shut down. There is nothing wrong with climbing a ladder and reaching down to help someone that slipped.
Unknown-28“Nigga” displays a sense of inequality no matter how you spin in. When we get out of the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mindset as a people we will then be able to thrive. Someone somewhere instilled the thought that if you do not make it on your own then it does not count, however that is not now nor has it ever been the case. Most of us do not have trust fund or any huge bounty awaiting us to come of age, all we truly have is each other. If you look at the news they do not care, where you are from or what you have as far as they are concerned we are all the same. It is not just the hoodlums that are being murdered by those sworn to protect, it is the student, the teacher, the lawyer, whoever unfortunate enough to adorn the influx of melanin that was bestowed upon us in the womb.
If we do not see each other as equal then why the hell should those in power? Last time I check there was no identifier that makes you better than another, so if you are on a pedestal, I pray it is so you can kneel upon it to gain the leverage needed to pull up another. The shines of your success will never, dim that of another’s but if you cross the path of another who has yet to find their light, then by all means use your light to illuminate their path so that they too can become a lighthouse to the many lost ships out there. So in short, Yes, I am my Brother’s keeper. And my Sister’s as well.
Black-Mans-Face
 
As Always I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE Yourself,
Man of Madu

The Demise of the Mainstream.

It is very clear that the power of technology has been sweeping newspapers, television and radio out of the way with social networks and online publications. Along with this technological turn-around people are creating their own websites and online plug-ins to give voice to the unheard. With all of this in mind, mainstream media is the trend of yesterday and it might be detrimental to society and power structures. What can mainstream do to recover? At this point, nothing. There’s a new movement coming in and mainstream might get a run for their corporation money.

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To begin, I am using the term “mainstream” here to describe all the popular, “trendy” news outlets and traditional media that we always watch for our daily news. Not too long ago, we relied on these outlets to let us know what was happening in the world. But the spin turned viewers to wake up in the morning, check their Facebooks and Twitters and find out whats trending! Talk about news at your finger tips, its literally there. 

Daily updates on trendy crime and Obama’s social status is cool and all, but that isn’t the discussion we are planning to prove. Allowing non traditional representations of people to create profiles, gain followers, and share their experiences and opinions is probably the complete OPPOSITE of what mainstream intended to show. This institutional system that fed us information for so long and control the social norm is QUICKLY giving up the power to free media, and a place for Feminist, LBTQ citizens, the Black community, and any other marginalized group known to man, a voice to be heard. 

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Bad for this capitalistic society, but good for the masses. In this epic era of change and controversy, we are allowing the people to be our source of information and social media to be our outlets and learning the things that we have been turned from for so long. We are using this channel to find out the unknown and creating a learning community for ALL to discover. And because of this outlet of virtual learning, the traditional way of getting information is slowing coming to a close. 

Sorry traditional media, but we the people are coming together and creating news for OURSELVES. Miss us with the traditional news and bullshit information. We aren’t buying it anymore. 

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Who’s next??

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Martin, Malcolm, Medgar, Jessie, Rev. Al, Andrew, Huey, and Nelson. Who’s next in line? All of these great men made impact’s on society. Who can we say have stepped into their footsteps and made a new path? There are several reasons (will only name 3) why we do not have leaders like the ones I’ve named. 

1. Lack of Transition  

In order to build great leaders we must reach back and mentor individuals who we can see has potential to continue the fight. Many times individuals whom we keep around us because we see great things in them are only able to watch what the leader does and never received teaching on how it is done. Hence, leaving the next generation of leaders trying to figure out how things are done without the background knowledge. 

For example, in math class teachers would annoy us by wanting to see how we derived to our answers. Sometimes our methods were wrong even though we still received the same answers. Similar to becoming a great leader, at times people know how to look at a problem and solve it by creating a movement of change. Yet without knowing how to properly organize, ignite, and motivate the people the movement will only become a moment and die out quickly. 

When the Trayvon Martin case happened it sparked a momentum amongst black people to unite and stand for justice. However, hundreds of black males wrongfully die daily but we do not fight for every man. Just like in the 1950-1960s,  blacks were lynched daily. Sure Negros at the time could have become desensitized but they decided to address the issue head on and make strides to fight against lynching. Today, we must ban together and fight against wrongful killings amongst our black man via blacks against other races, blacks on blacks, and blacks being put into the system to kill off their dreams. 

 

2. Lack of Support 

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 Where is the U-N-I-T-Y? What happened to everyone under the African diaspora uniting for greater causes? If a Hitler type arose in American wanting to kill blacks he would not separate the African Americans from the Caribbean Americans from the Africans? Guess what…we would all die because of the pigment of our skin which unites us back to the same continent. 

Too many times blacks have developed this “Look out for yourself” mentality. When did that develop? When did the black community stop looking out for one another? The biggest problem with blacks uniting is lack of support from other blacks. There was a time when blacks knew if they stood up for a cause that they could at least depend on their brothers and sisters to support them. Now, blacks will throw one another under the bus and not think twice about it. 

How were movements, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the fight to get African American studies in schools, able to occur without the support of blacks fighting for a cause. We must learn how to unite behind the new leaders that blossom out of our society. Everyone did not trust Martin, Malcolm or Medgar at first. However, they respected their positions and respected the way they carried themselves. In addition, they held them up when they were weak and encouraged them when they felt the pressure of the world on their shoulders. We can’t tear them down the first time they make a mistake or not do things the way we would do them if we had the courage enough to stand in their place. 

 

3. Hegemony 

The media decides what we listen to, what news we are given, and who we notice in society. This is called hegemony (taking whatever society gives us and never questioning it). If you want knowledge-you must search for it yourself. For example, out of the many slave narratives televised each year in February, why is it that we had to wait until 2013 to hear a slave narrative from an educated black man who was kidnapped and wrote a book about his experience  in 1853. Makes us question, how many other books have been written by educated blacks which have not been televised? 

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I am certain there are individuals from the African diaspora who are doing positive things in the community. Yet the media does not televise them as they should. However, the news will have a 2 minute segment on Sharkeisha. Or better yet, they will manipulate a television show which educated blacks for 30 minutes Monday-Thursday to once a week for an hour. Where is that BET show now? None existent on television like our new leaders. 

I am not stating there are not individuals who are doing their best to make changes in society. However, how long will it take the media to recognize those individuals and crown them the new Martin, Malcolm or Medgar? We need to acknowledge that the leaders of the last century are getting older and tired. Now is the time for new blood, new energy, and new ideas with the right foundation. So I repeat my first  question again….Who’s Next???

Panamanian Invasion: Operation Just Because?

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            “America will never be forgiven for the killing of my innocent friends.”

Maria Chacon was walking home from school on December 20, 1989 when the first bomb hit the town of El Churillo. Her story seemed like the bombing just occurred yesterday, vividly remembering the sky getting really dark and mayhem breaking loose. She ran for cover in the nearest alleyway as soldiers sprayed the general public with shells of tech nines and AK-47’s. She saw mothers running after their children to make sure they were out the way of bullets while men were sacrificing their valuables and even lives to protect their family. Houses were on fire and helpless bodies covered the quiet street that she walked down a couple of minutes ago. When the bullets stopped and the soldiers disappeared, Jessica came out of hiding to find that her home country, Panama, was destroyed. She ran home as fast as she could until she spotted some familiar faces lying on the ground. Her friends from school still in their uniform lay dead on the street with two bullets each to their chest. She couldn’t help but cry but remembered that she had to find a safe place to go, in which her home was a couple blocks down. 

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This account is a typical memory of the many people that experienced and witnessed the horrid invasion of Panama by United States troops. In a plan to capture their president, Manuel Noriega, US troops were ordered to attack the country with bombs and powerful weapons on innocent people in order for Noriega to surrender and be held in US custody. After the US took Noriega into custody and realized that thousands of bodies were left in streets and open places, they rounded up the dead bodies and build a “mass burial ground” where they dumped the bodies in and set them on fire until it was ashes.  After the invasion, nothing was said to reconcile or apologize for the deaths or conflict in the country.

How can an operation to capture a political leader end up leaving thousands of innocent people dead and injured? Was this act of violence justifiable to the citizens of Panama? Does America have some explaining to do?

According to the proposal of this invasion, which was called “Operation: Just Cause”, The U.S. felt that by capturing this evil “dictator”, Panamanian people will be saved from brutality, end the dangerous threat to Americans, freeing a country from a potential conflict, and restoring democracy to the country. This was in fact, not true and in order to understand how the US uses their power in order to go into different countries and stripped them for their personal interest. 

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The Panama Canal is a huge business in order to import and export goods throughout the world. This canal is in between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, making it and easier shortcut to get through Central America instead of circling around South America. It would make sense for a big power structure to come and control an asset of a country so by doing that, the U.S decided to train a Panamanian civilian and let him take on the job by giving the U.S. a cut of money keeping money for himself.  When the U.S. finally took control over the canal and began using this to their advantage, they did not wan to have Noriega, who was now said to be dangerous and crazy, run the country. And just like any leader, giving up some of their reign and power was not going to happen to Noriega, so the U.S. decided to do it the hard way by bombings and killings.

 

What was America trying to prove by stampeding through Panama and killing thousands of people? It was quite obvious that Panama had no type of military force to try and stop a first world country with the top military technology and power. What was the point of killing thousands of people? Were the people showing any type of actions that can make these troops believe that they were dangerous and that needed to be killed? This was a prime example of America showing superiority to the helpless people of Panama and making sure they knew who was boss. 

The media did not make the invasion look like a troubled conflict between these two countries either. The invasion in the late 80’s was not even showed on television nor did people know what was going on in Central America at the time. This invasion solely took a couple of days but left the people and their land into shambles for the rest of their lives. An operation to invade a country to protect the lives of Americans should have been better publicized to the Americans to know that they were safe. Instead the U.S. did damage in a couple days without anyone really knowing. 

Many stories like Maria’s are commonly told to generations and generations of Panamanian children whom parents felt like this invasion was left with many unanswered questions and innocent loved ones dead and injured. Victims and family members of the invasion are entitled to truth and peace from this horrific attack. Just like every other conflict that occurred around the world, there was some sort of justice that was served for the perpetrators and victims. The United States owes Panama explanations to this tragic event that occurred, regardless of how small the country is. This well-thought out plan to kill thousands all for one dictator was just to show how powerful America can be in order to get the things they want, and in this case it left many broken homes, and general hatred to the US.

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The Shunned.

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Step in the shoes of men who are viewed as criminals….

Seen so generally but never as an individual…

Scrutinized without any word or action….

Lies dictate the fate of these men…

Premature accusations ridden with past fears that have no weight…

Yet they are supposed to fight a fight unseen by their own eyes…

Blind…

While already seen as an enemy, nowhere to flee…

A target embedded in them since birth…

Another gangsta born to caged or slaughtered in the streets…

Few weep as the sheep could careless…

In their eyes these men don’t deserve life…

While their mom’s only sees the innocence within…

Maybe a new king or shabazz within…

Take a walk in the shoes of men who don’t know what fair is…

Shunned because of skin they had no choice to bear….

Can you see it thru their eyes…?

Take a peak…

Read between the lies…

Time has passed but where is our change?? Centuries behind due to the chains…

Yet in our history we started as kings…

Now the only thing worth chasing is fame…

or playing a simple ballgame…

The only way I won’t be looked as the same.…

If only money could change everything….

Because in their eyes we’re all the same…

Just another colored man fiending for hoes and bling…

It’s Assimilate or gain nothing…

Maybe then the target will change…

Will these men ever be loved In this world?? Or Are we born to be slain?? Extermination of the past kings and queens…

A generational genocide yet no says a thing…

It started with our leaders now all we know is pain…

 

…….The Shunned……

Sincere

Little Black Boy

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I wrote a poem a little while ago and for some reason I decided to entitle it Little Black Boy,now at first i could not decide why I named it this because usually my poems do not have titles. Then I realized that I named it little black boys, because it seems that these days it is becoming harder and harder for little black boys to live long enough to become Men.
The preservation of life is becoming more and more important as we are constantly losing could-be future Doctors, Lawyers, Educators, Preachers, etc by the dozens. This statistic is expounding across every creed and culture, the amount of tears shed for this monumental loss of innocence could fill a multitude of seas. We have to start taking better care of ourselves and learning from the mistakes of our brothers and sisters. We must bring back the pack mentality, especially in at-risk neighborhoods, do not go strolling the streets by yourself. Always be aware of your surroundings!
I am not against any type of law enforcement but it is becoming more and more evident that We are not the demographic they had in mind when they were told to “Protect and Serve”, we are the danger! That can no longer be the case. If you are in the presence of an Officer please PLEASE, I implore you to do what they ask, but do not be afraid to ask questions! If it comes to a point where you feel that your, rights are being violated, ask questions and be as polite as you can. This is not being a bitch this is being intelligent. We as a people cannot afford to lose any more voices. It is our job, to shine brighter when one of the candles have been snuffed out. So shine bright. 

Now as for my poem, when I write, I do not for the page, I write so that one day it might be spoken so some things might not flow as nicely on page. Without further ado: Little Black Boy

I am the future and the past
And I hope that I last long enough to walk my future mini Me’s to class
Hear my joyous reverberation of a newborns first laugh
Am I pray my wife with have enough class to not adorn clothing that fits in such a way that her treasures are on display
Because it doesnt take a pirate to know that are scavengers out there plotting on your booty.

I want to get rich so when i dress poor its ironic
Instead of a peak inside my socio economical closet
Hella wealthy in mental money
Authors steady making deposits
Intellectual capitol one
Whats in your wallet?

Brain waves 360 like I wrapped it in a du rag
Old neighbors turned gang bangers dont know why they mad
Im like “why” i had the same opportunity that you had
You upset because you chose the gun and I chose the book bag

Youre the reason why when I pass old ladies on the streets they clutch their clutches
Because little Twon could never get a louis vuitton without snatchin and runnin

Many have no idea how hard it is to shoot for the stars
With a fully loaded fully stocked unlocked and cocked imagination
Especially when the weapons of those around you arent aimed as high and arent so metaphorical

Hard to keep track of time when on the look for the neighborhood watch
Hard to keep my train of thought when worried about over zealous transit cops
Who pick on me because they have a quota of repremandments
And if I act up he’ll break rule six of the ten commandments

Suits worn to home going services that were purchased  for interviews
There are no peaceful protest becauses everyones at the funerals

Dont let your potential go waste
Dont let your casket be your cubicle

I am the future, And I hope to honor my past before I pass.

As Always I Love You, God Loves You, LOVE YOURSELF,

Man of Madu