Archive for the News Category

Our Future Is In The (Race) Cards

Posted in News, Trending with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by geniusscribbleink

race-card

 

 

“I’m not like a poker player. I’m not into bluff. My way is to look someone in the eye and tell them the way I’m intending to go. My cards are always on the table.”- Tori Amos
 

Into an Irish bar walks four strangers; two black men, an Italian man and a German man. Strangely enough there is no punchline, they actually walked into an Irish bar and sat together. How do I know this you ask?  Well it’s simple, I was one of the four that actually walked into the Irish bar. And if we are going to be clairvoyant, I actually broke the stereotypical chronology as it relates to black people and our punctuality because I actually arrived first, followed by our second group member who happened to also be black, leaving both of us to await our Irish and Italian friends who in fact were very late. Of course this denounces any and all stigmas moving forward within our immediate circle, especially being that we all dined on classic America cuisines of burgers, french-fries, pizza and beer. So to recap, no one did an ode to Michael Diamond and yelled “stick em up” nor did any of us let two (guns shots) fly. In fact no one even grabbed the piano player and punched him senselessly in the face like he stole something. The only real criminal moment was a classic “Welcome to NYC!” given to our brethren from Philadelphia who quickly found out that it is probably cheaper to try to purchase the remains of Johnny Cochran than it is to purchase a glass of Johnny Walker Blue in the middle of Manhattan ($51.00 ouch). So I know the question of the hour is what does any of this have to do with poker and more importantly why did the Beastie Boys have a little horsey in the first damn place? Yes all of these are valid and poignant questions indeed, so maybe I should elaborate a tad bit further. The four men (including me) that I mentioned previously were actually strangers for the most part meeting each other for the first time after befriending one another on a basketball blog (Alan Hahn’s Knicks Fix) over mutual, shared (insane as well) passion for the New York Knicks. Well one could conclude that we are adjoined by a lack of sensibility as it pertains to the Knicks, but hey get your own blog this is a no judgment zone no matter how pathetic and troubled our fandom is as this Knicks life is not for the faint at heart. But in any or event, what started off as casual basketball rhetoric among a group of men, turned into a wonderful brotherhood that has since expanded well beyond our interest in just the Knickerbockers. We debate all types of topics from the likes of politics, music and sports. We also empathize with the struggles that we all face as human beings as well. But if there is one thing that is never debated it is our laughter and our genuine enjoyment of one another’s company.  Now this is not meant to be a mushy Hallmark moment so Tito does not have to run and get me some damn tissues. This is more of an emphatic statement that character far outweighs color. As I set my focus in on the future at hand, I revisit my blog posts of the past and to be honest I was beginning to tire in having to focus in on race as a subject matter way too often. In fact I started writing less about that subject, as well as current events, as our divisiveness had become so prevalent and nauseating to the point that I declared in my husky mimicking of a phraseology coined by Christopher Wallace that “you don’t hear me though”.  I stress often how powerful education is and how moving towards a healing process requires dialogue and truth. But unfortunately what we are getting is more dysfunctional, hyperbolic rhetoric that tends to feed the nature of disruption and discourse. You are either part of a solution or you are part of the problem they say, well I will go a step further in stating that you are the problem if you are not attempting to find a solution. I was troubled in watching how things unfolded in the Charles Oakley incident in Madison Square Garden. I will never claim to ever understand what transpired between both he and James Dolan and frankly it is none of my business. But in a world of video and live television, the aftermath to place right inside our living rooms whether we wanted it to or not. But for me the real aftermath or nuclear mushroom cloud that truly occurred was what took place after the incident was all over. To place this egregious incident under the guile of racism is one of the most irresponsible things I have ever seen, as it is the crying of wolves which in turn dilutes the true treachery that was endured by African-American ancestry in this country some 400 years plus. Charles Oakley was not Nat Turner, in fact he wasn’t even Nat King Cole. He is a man who had past indiscretions and this is one that was now added to his lengthy dossier. Same applies to James Dolan, who is not David Duke in disguise, he’s just an unattached billionaire who never had to learn any social skills because he could buy his social skills as well as his friends. Perfect storm of ignorance? Yes. Slave owner whooping Toby? Bull shit. This is what is wrong with America today and why we have a person in office who campaigned on utilizing the race card to his advantage and we are now seeing other groups pulling out that same card like it’s a Black Amex (not sure if that’s politically correct anymore) to push their agendas as well. Is race a relevant subject? Yes. But is everything always racially motivated? No. Hence why my blog started out about four men, all from different backgrounds, different religions, different regions and different age groups and we somehow managed to befriend each other and see character over color. And my question is why we were able to get along so well as strangers and never have race become an issue?  And why is it that people in this country allow others to deliver race as vehicle and then decide to become a passenger in that same car knowing damn well that it is heading towards an inevitable crash that will end with fatalities?  This is the irresponsible way we as Americans are now portraying our lives. Nowadays everyone is a victim of oppression and destitute when in fact a majority of our problems are ones that are self-inflicted. We all have a choice to either do something or do nothing, but we cannot ever choose to be victims of circumstances that we can indeed have full control over. It’s time to put your cards face down on the table and stop bluffing with the race card or what I describe as the actual trump card that is often utilized as a last second hoorah to salvage a losing hand. In this case, there are no winners at the round-table when racism becomes a bluff and you decide slide all of your chips to the middle of the table on a terrible gamble. This is one bet we all cannot afford to lose. #one lonely beastie I be #knicks o.g.

beastie-boys

No I(dolatry) in Kaepernick

Posted in News, Sports, Trending with tags on August 30, 2016 by geniusscribbleink

Colin-Kaepernick

 

“Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”-1 Corinthians 10:14

 

Actress Q’orianka Kilcher stated:  “I love the power of celebrity because you can give voice to the voiceless.”  I guess the real question at hand is, who exactly are these voiceless people? I mean I have a strong voice that can carom off a wall like a set of Bose speakers, so I guess that would make me not a voiceless person or does that make me merely a person who is just extremely loud at times? So does that eliminate me from being included in the so-called voiceless people of the world?  I mean we all have the ability to say what we want, to be what we want and to act as we want as it is our God-given right and by all accounts our said freedom and our way of life according to the mantra of the country we reside in. Freedom, justice and equality, you cannot beat the power that resonates in a statement so bold, so forward and so fair. Certainly this proclamation in itself is not voiceless as it speaks of a way of life we are afforded by claiming residency in these here United States of America. So my question remains vehement in soliciting answers as to who could be voiceless living under the pretenses of a country who eats apple pie while standing on the trifecta pillars of freedom, justice and equality. It almost would appear blasphemous that such an absurdity of being “voiceless” could exist in today’s society. We live in an era of the communicator, where at the mere click of a single button you can get a message across the world having to never leave the comfort of your favorite arm-chair. We are living in a technologically savvy world that allows one to view the entire planet in a microscopic fashion, so much that even if you live in an encapsulated environment/own little bubble, you can be just as informed and as aware of any atrocities or grandeur that is occurring in any place at any given moment. In saying this, one would think that there is no realistic reason to be the void of apathy. If you can see it or read it then you are indeed informed. In surmising the notion that we are in fact “informed” and we in a nutshell have an “eye in the sky” watching over the vast world we dwell upon, then I am still asking: “Why are there still voiceless people in this world”?  Maybe (just maybe) I am approaching this the wrong way.  Maybe my angle is too forward and less provocative, so I am going to approach this in and entirely different manner. If no one is voiceless and these same individuals live in a free, just and equal society, then the real question is “Why is there no one listening to them?” If we are indeed a society of values and standards and we are said to believe in being patriotic in our prideful display as Americans, then why are there voiceless people here. Our pledge states:  “One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. Then I ask my fellow Americans, when a section of Americans are not receiving these same liberties and justice stated in our national pledge, then what is this saying about who we are at our very core if this is not indeed righted? Racism tends to be the cheapest way to expense off the debt of the non-humanitarian. Lines are often drawn in the sand whenever a person of color is outspoken regarding the integrity of America, often having their entire history from their financials to their family lineage exploited in the media for dissection and ridicule. Yet when those same exact proclamations are pronounced by those who lack the melanin hue in their skin, often results in them being praised as being “patriotic” or “saying it like it is”. The newsflash is not a really a newsflash in these particular cases. Americans are just more enamored with race idolatry as opposed to being enamored with acting like a humanitarian who is trying to align themselves with the words of God. Samuel Johnson once stated that “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” The Enlightenment Thinkers often viewed patriotism as being similar to faith but in strong opposition of one another. Here we have a young man of mixed racial lineage with his biological father being African-American and his biological mother being Caucasian, who was in turn adopted by a Caucasian family with a German surname of Kaepernick. He is the quintessential melting pot that is America and is living the true “American Dream” as not only being raised by an ethnic village, but he also has obtained incredible wealth in the process. His crux you ask? He had an opinion and decided to voice that to America under the guile of being free in his seeking of justice and equality for those he believe are not getting what this country asks that we pledge our commitment to as citizens every day. Why is this considered criminal?  Why is Colin Kaepernick suddenly less patriotic and considered cantankerous because he is making the choice as a free person and as an American to speak out against what he is considered an injustice? Most importantly is how dare someone try to own the definition of patriotism while reprobating Colin Kaepernick in the process. These acts are indeed synonymous with that of the scoundrel. Idolatry is defined as the: “immoderate attachment or devotion to something”. Immoderate is described as being excessive or extreme. Colin Kapernick is obsessed with helping people, while his opposition is obsessed with campaigning against him for his supposed lack of respect for an anthem and a flag. Colin Kaepernick has spoken openly that his stance was also about military personnel that are not being taken care of by its own government as well. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his stance, it is their inalienable right to do so, but no one owns the term patriot and no one owns America. There’s no idolatry in Kapernick, but how much idolatry is in you?  #humanitarian

Addiction In Our Genes

Posted in News with tags on October 16, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

“In a flick of a flash the torch was lit….She put it to her mouth, and she took a hit….Smoke rushed from her lungs and up to her brain…This was the beginning of the end of Jane”-Shawn Moltke (a.k.a. MC Shan)

“Scottie, help me. I’m gonna die!” was the phrase exclaimed by the drug addicted character Pookie (played by Chris Rock) in the movie New Jack City. This scene all but summed up the fragility of the “recover” as his stint in rehabilitation was still not enough to help him avoid the tempting allure of being a kid in the proverbial candy store, which in this case happened to be a drug compound infamously known as The Carter. I’ve promoted the idea that addiction is far stronger than any man-made drug on the planet. It annihilates families. It is also responsible for poisoning the future lineage that is your legacy and your bloodline. I find myself often proclaiming that we are someone’s child walking around with our parent’s shortcomings and depending on how willing we are to face the truth of those demons, can be the deciding factor in whether we pass along a baton of detriment versus passing along a baton of prosperity to the generations to follow. For the most part, I always choose transparency when discussing my life. I feel that when we dwell in the shadows of those hidden spaces is when we give the agenda seeking demons a license to set up their shops and permission to begin selling us fashionable garments that aid in the accentuation of our insecurities. This is not an endorsement of becoming an extrovert or for one to begin publicizing their intimate, personal business on social media. Basically it’s a call for self-evaluation or what we refer to in my house as a “come to Jesus meeting”, where you at least tell yourself the truth about who you are and the challenges that you are currently facing. This of course is not an easy task as your begin to probe through the doldrums of detriment. In fact you will sometimes become quite disturbed with what you do discover. But my call for discovery is not a quest for comfort, in fact the sole purpose of this said discovery is so that you don’t seek a negative outlet (drugs, alcohol, gambling et al) for comfort amidst adverse times. Our roots are our future by and large, as we are all but one interlocking link on a connective genetic chain. We must be mindful of our weaknesses just as much as we are aware of our talents. I write this on the cusp of Lamar Odom’s recent downward spiral, along with my own personal experiences involving addiction. We are brought into this world sometimes with baggage we never asked to carry. Whether fair or unfair, the vicissitudes that is life often leaves us not in control of the dwelling we are born into, nor the family that we inherit. Our jobs as individuals is to try to break the cycles that ruin our childhood in order to create a healthier childhood for your own children or children that you may mentor. “This was the beginning of the end of Jane” was what the song stated, however there is time to start a new beginning so that you don’t end up like Jane or Pookie for that matter. #addiction

Cell Reform

Posted in News, Trending with tags , , on May 22, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

I harken back to Andy Dufresne crawling through 500 yards of fecal smelling foul that Red could not bear to stomach and realized that there are “Coyote Ugly” circumstances that will make anything seem plausible when trying to escape the doldrums of purgatory. There are desperate times for any measurement of life, a marking of forbidden territory that one would not dare contemplate to travel back towards again. I’ve even applied this same theory within the realm of fiction, as I could never figure out how one could end up with so many Jurassic Park movies as if the first killer dinosaur wasn’t a sign from God to stay the hell away. Is it blissful ignorance or something within our inner being that allows us to know the consequential results, yet we still embrace the dare-devil gene that won’t allow us to simply just walk away from an oncoming speeding train. I had this same Jurassic Park epiphany when thinking about those who are routinely incarcerated after reading about the alleged Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev facing possible life imprisonment inside the ADX Supermax prison in Florence Colorado. I was befuddled when reading a quote from ADX Warden Robert Hood who proclaimed and I quote “The Supermax is life after death. It’s long term. In my opinion, it’s far much worse than death.” The prisoners live in a 7-by-12 foot concrete cell and sleep on a concrete slab with only a thin mattress for comfort. They receive their meals through small holes in the doors and dwell inside their cells for 23 hours a day. “Wow” was the first expression to come to my mind upon reading about this, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is only 21 years old and while most people his age are just cutting their teeth in the world of adulthood, he will be on the cutting edge of solitary confinement. Of course if this is his fate, no one would argue for sympathy on his behalf due to the heinous and diabolical act that he allegedly committed. However, I am not writing this to put his guilt or innocence on trial, as I am more so trying to understand repetitive cycle of prison. Most noted is that there are some individuals who are just sociopaths and are beyond reform; however I am talking about those individuals who are trapped in the prison cycle as if it is a turnstile doorway at the Ritz Carlton. When listening to the description of Robert Hood regarding ADX and the living confinements of the prisoners, I wondered aloud as to who would want to go back there if they were somehow released? The subject not broached enough is the fact that in non-Supermax facilities, individuals who enter into those prisons usually go in there to become more versed in criminology than they do in reform. So one must ask whether or not the prison system is more of a training resort to become a criminal mastermind or is it an institution to reform the said prisoner so that he/she can become a productive citizen when reintroduced back into the realms of society? Then we have to address the real boogey man who haunts the term “reformed prisoner” which is the fact that prison facilities are a web of profitability for judges, politicians, correction officers et’ al. One would think that if reform was the goal in place to achieve, then why not make prison life unbearable like the Supermax facilities? Why must gang rape be the only deterrent from not wanting to enter prison? Why not make solitary confinement and sleeping conditions a deterrent as well? It’s feasible to believe that prisoners are no different from that of a lab rodent in an experiment conducted by pseudoscientists. Those same pseudoscientists are not seeking a cure for the disease, but they are instead producing a pill that they can market in an infomercial for profit in spite of the many side effects that are destined to follow. Prison in many ways is a placebo, as it seems like it can cure the ills of society, but instead it’s a revolving door that continues to release a stronger toxin back into society. We can watch the daily news feeds and we will always find a lead story that justifies the need for them. I am not saying prisons are not a necessity, but what I am saying is do they reform a prisoner or do they help them evolve into more of a societal menace? Robert Hood stated that prisoners who enter ADX has a discerning look in their eyes when knowing that this is the life they will face. I’m interested in knowing if the same applies to those who are part of a criminal cycle in the non-Supermax facilities. Perhaps they view it as an opportunity and not as a detrimental circumstance. The fact remains that something is broken and duct tape is not an acceptable means for repairing the broken gears of this concept. Reformation is defined as: the act or process of improving something or someone by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc. Sadly enough I know very few criminals I know who can emphatically claim this definition; however they can always seem to reclaim residency back inside the cages. Maybe my title is somewhat valid yet backwards. I stated “Cell Reform”, perhaps it is time to “Reform The Cell”. #change in order to change

The Black Eye On The Black Athlete

Posted in Dining, News, Sports with tags , , , on May 4, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

Long before Simon Cowell introduced the term “American Idol” to the forefront of pop culture, we were very well aware of the concept of idolizing an individual for his or her given talents in a perspective field. Some talents are considered “God Given”, however until those talents are harvested, honed and polished, they truly are dormant attributes dwelling inside the solitude of your internal DNA. So in retrospect I solute those who are committed to their craft, who sacrifice and pay a tremendous toll in ordered to reap the benefits of the fame, notoriety and financial rewards. I often reference Proverbs 18:16 as I aspire to be a writer, for it states that: “A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men”. I believe this to be the absolute truth, as a man/woman’s gift or talent, can bring them to places that others may only dream of. It can catapult you into a different realm; an unfathomable dreamscape to the said individual, due to the countless hardships one faces on the journey towards the pinnacle of success. Duly noted is the fact that even if you are a savant, there is still a responsibility when trying achieve greatness. A responsibility to both your predecessors and your peers, whose sacrifices beforehand, helped to provide you with very the platform in which you stand upon. Regardless of any achievements, we are all standing on the shoulders of someone else’s prominence. This is why I subscribe to the philosophy that with great power comes great responsibility. Everyone has someone to answer to and acknowledge; a proverbial pecking order one encounters during their epic climb towards the echelon of their zenith. It is during this process that we are admired, critiqued, adored and to some degree; idolized. As it relates to the black athlete, there is an added criteria of also being a role model. In spite of what asinine theory Charles Barkley states, the fact remains that the African-American community still lacks the accoutrements for sustainable and applicable success. So to believe that we don’t require more positive role models is about as ridiculous as believing that the brain can survive without oxygen. The black male is absent inside the household, whether by death or by incarceration. This has spawned an undeniable crippling and rippling effect that is no longer on the table for debate because it is indeed factual. It’s either a Hip Hop artist or an athlete that garners both the admiration and the attention of African-American youth, due to the absenteeism of the black male as an everyday role model. It the athlete/musician who many emulate, simulate and replicate more so than that of the professionally educated. For this blog, I am concentrating on the black athlete; I will save the musicians for another soliloquy at a later date. Now before I go further, let me acknowledge that not all athletes are bad role models. Athletes like Serena Williams, Lebron James, Tim Duncan, and Russell Wilson; all who have kept a clean images for the most part, give the black youth a template for decorum, professionalism and being image conscious. But I would be fallacious if I did not mention the flip side and the reason for this blog entry. There are those who I refer to as the poisonous athlete. The people like Greg Hardy, Ray Rice and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who in my opinion belong on a terrorist watch list for the black community far more than that of any white supremacist for a multitude of reasons. Bravado; I get. Ego; I get. Arrogance; I get. Being brash and a bit cantankerous; I get also. These are common attributes that most great people have in their DNA makeup that makes them elite and usually puts them at the top of their professional field. What I don’t get is the brutal beating of women. What I also do not get is the amount of fans that blindly follow them and idolize them like the prodigal son. I respect Ray Rice for at least coming forth to accept responsibility for his actions; but the fact that a person like Floyd Mayweather Jr. has never come forth and been contrite or apologetic (mind you he’s considered a lethal weapon due to his training) yet hordes of black men and sadly enough, black women follow behind him like he’s a God is disgusting and deplorable. What am I missing? Am I so caught up in my own moral compass to the point that my direction is not on a GPS tracking system? To me it speaks volumes on how we so need more positive role models to the point of possibly suggesting a black version of The Purge on the African-American community in order to rid ourselves of not only the tainted idols, but those minions of followers who still remain clueless to a fault. For far too long we have adhered to the pathway of failure by self-inflicted injury; a malpractice of a botched surgery that has crippled the very legs we stand upon. No one expects perfection, but it is too much to ask for apathy, especially when the lifestyle that you are afforded is due to the public consumption of your said brand. A person with a full stomach does not need to be fed, but perhaps it is time we begin to starve those who benefit from the people, but continue to show that they are not about our people. #it’s time to make a change

Baltimore Riots-The Language of The Violent

Posted in News with tags , , , on May 1, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

Riots; the supposed “language of the unheard”. Perhaps that phraseology has become overused satire that attempts to connect back to an era where humanity was nonexistent and people of color were considered inferior to a herd of cattle, let alone an accepted equal to that of their oppressors. Yes, it is naïve to believe that the modern-day trials and tribulations within that urban communities is not due in part to the attrition of being disenfranchised for some several hundred years, while being marred inside the saturated womb of inequity. In fact, if one has to be explained this historical significance, then we are truly a failed society awaiting the proverbial last chime from a fallen church steeple of the educational curriculum, as well as, the formal fruit that anyone can extract nourishment from, which is common sense. So in more simplistic terminology : fires start wildfires and winds formulate hurricanes; so what starts uncontrollable violence and riots? There is no genius in my summation, only simplistic rhetoric I pose inside of my mind. Rhetorical thoughts that make me ponder, why our society always seems to report the aftermath of and not the conditions leading to the ascension. The climatic often ends in abomination, forging a chain reaction from every poison pill media outlet, closet bigot and agenda seeking politician to suddenly offer resolution. It has become a standard template for the societal ills over the past decade or more, yet the people still fall for the wool over their eyelids like mindless flocks of animals. Society becomes outraged and appalled in the 25th hour, but remain docile and dormant during the entire 24 hours that precede. I concur with the character Marlo Stansfield from HBO’s The Wire when he stated: “You want it to be one way. But it’s the other way”. You cannot complain about a disease when you never sought the cure. The same applies to a place like Baltimore Maryland (6th most violent city in America). I referenced the HBO series The Wire, as well as, a documentary called 12 O’clock Boys in one of my personal Facebook page posts, as both detailed the corruption and hardships as it relates to the Baltimore Maryland region. I am fascinatingly bewildered by the fact that people are now talking about the violence in Baltimore, when David Simon (The Wire creator) spent six seasons outlining the intricacies of a fallen city on the brink of destruction. Or one could also reference film director Lotfy Nathan’s 12 O’clock Boys; a documentary that follows a young, urban youth named Pug, whose lifetime aspiration is to join an urban biker gang named the 12 O’clock Boys, who were notorious for wreaking havoc and terrorizing the streets of Baltimore with reckless abandonment and criminal behavior. There is a Freddy Gray story being made every minute and every hour of the day, so where are these motivated and solution oriented Caucasian and African-American communities prior to the fall? Where are the police officers who ask to be respected, yet will not speak out against their fraternal brothers and sisters who have undoubtedly failed to uphold their sworn duties? And to the closet bigot, why hide in wait, when freedom of speech allows you to not be cowardice if your belief is that strong? The idea that in today’s world that a riot is a language of the unheard I think is a bit misleading due to the fact that media outlets allow us all to exercise our freedom of speech, the right to protest and allows “us” to be heard to any would-be listener. The true analytical ponderous is whether or not violent riots are just the result stemming from prior acts of violence? No matter how we try to spin-doctor the scenario, whether poor versus the privileged or gangs versus authority; what continues to be a continuum is the results that are the Ferguson Mississippi and the Baltimore Maryland upheavals. The police, the communities, the closet bigots and the agenda seeking media; all have a hand in the tragic theatre that is Urban Poverty, USA. It is a systemic fracture orchestrated by the same entities, almost like a doctored up screenplay. Violence is violence and not a language of the unheard, it is the language of the inhumane; a language of rage, hostility, indifference and demonized degradation. Not all police officers are bad, nor is every member of a gang above civility, especially when you research the original concept behind the Bloods and the Crips. But the fact of the matter is that it only takes one small spark to ignite a powder keg. I resign to the premise that once you confess your role in the cause of adversity, then perhaps you are making progress towards resolution. But until all parties involved (cops, community, media et al) start to exorcise their demons, this is only the beginning of a war escalating on the brink of urban destruction; coming to a city nearest you. #wakeup

Ferguson Missouri: Justice or Just Us?

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 18, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

image

While incarcerated in a Birmingham Alabama jail cell, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. penned in a letter (Letter from a Birmingham Jail) of retort directed towards the “Fellow Clergymen” of the city who claimed that his presence in Alabama was both “unwise and untimely”, the following excerpt, stating: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Of course Dr. King’s written manifesto detailing his intent, came on the cusp of a sullied time in U.S. history when racial divisiveness was at a rampant continuum in Birmingham, Alabama. Young black youths seeking to execute their civil liberties in an effort to abolish the discriminatory practices being executed throughout the city, were met with adverse violence from white civic authorities who were opposed to integrated practices and equality. One of the many intense images captured during this era of unrest and injustice, are the pictures of protesters (children included) being sprayed with fire-hoses that were capable of ripping bark from a tree and removing bricks from their mortar, as well as, the now infamous images of Police Dogs (German Shepard) being utilized to attack non-violent participants, in an effort to thwart their peace marches thru the city of Birmingham. These inhumane practices, along with, a multitude of incarcerated protesters, prompted the empowered diatribe of Dr. King, that was directed towards the concerned families of the children that were marching in protest by stating: “Don’t worry about your children who are in jail. The eyes of the world are on Birmingham. We’re going on in spite of dogs and fire hoses. We’ve gone too far to turn back.” Such a profound declaration is that last phrase: “We’ve gone too far to turn back”. It is apropos that we somehow do find ourselves “turning back” the pages of history, as we now find the eyes of the world focused in our 2014 version of Birmingham, Alabama; Ferguson, Missouri. Although the hostility of segregation and the aborted practices aimed towards diverting civil rights are no longer the topic at the forefront of discussion, we do find ourselves however facing the still prevalent issues of questionable police tactics/practices as it relates to the black youth of the modern-day era. I am going to be careful in the schematic details of what transpired, as the facts are still unfolding, however, what has been substantiated is the fact that an unarmed, 18-year-old black male, was gunned down by an officer by the use of deadly force (six shots) while the young male held his hands up to proclaim he was unarmed. This injustice has sparked an outward protest (some violent/ some non violent) in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, whose demographic breakdown is 21,000 residents, in which 2/3 of that population is African-American. The police department of Ferguson has 53 officers, with only 3 of those officers being of African-American descent. Of course many have taken issue with the disparaging difference in the ratio of residence:officer as it pertains to racial imbalance, however, we have to ask ourselves that if “to protect and serve” is the police mantra and the sworn duty of the said “civil servant”, then should the racial makeup of the supposed constituents of justice really matter? The answer to that question is no of course, however I’m using that to springboard into a point focus in that the issue of law enforcement may be more of a systematic issue as opposed to a mathematical ratio of diversity. The questions I pose are “How thorough and continuous are the background checks to those who become police officers” and “How often are their psychological evaluations being administered”? We’ve seen instances in Florida where two members of a police force were active members of the Ku Klux Klan. We have seen the troubling footage of a California highway patrol officer brutally punching a defenseless, elderly, black woman in what appears to be an unrelenting fit of rage. In New York we have seen a detainee die by way of an apparent illegal choke hold initiated well after the suspect was cuffed and laying flat on the ground. All of these acts have been suffered by African-Americans due to what has been deemed as resisting arrest. Granted the argument stops and ends with the fact that the “resisting arrest” is already breaking the law, so one cannot argue who is at fault. I guess the greater questions is A) What is provoking the resistance? B) What is causing the officers to overreact with their measure to arrest or detain and C) Are both A and B in fact the driving elements behind unjustified homicides and an abuse of power? There is without question a race issue in America and it is safe to say there will always be one, however, we are talking about issues of two vital elements “authority” and “humanity”. I often hear police officers proclaim that their jobs are not easy and my response is why did you assume that it would be and was this not your profession of choice? To those who have been arrested and partake in unlawful activity who say that the police harass them, I ask them what kind of criminology activities are you participating in that requires police monitoring on a routine basis? Truly the blurred lines are that of what is “justice” and who is responsible for upholding it? If you are an officer of the court and this is your choice of occupation, then you should be very clear in what you are committing to. You represent the citizens of the area in which you patrol and you took a sworn oath to protect and serve those people and not an oath to protect and serve a fraternity of the shield and a blue wall. This type of mentality is no less than that of a Blood or Crip dangling his/her flag out of their back pockets putting symbolic ignorance before righteous dignity. We are having a problem identifying the police from the criminals, and herein lies a greater issue for society to deal with. And without further ado, let me address my African-American brethren/sisters by strongly stating “When are we going to utilize “education” over “excuses”? We have placed these young men and women in positions of detriment instead of prosperity. This young man’s memory is now being tainted by thoughtless images of him pointing a gun in a photo opportunity and video footage capturing him pushing a clerk in route of stealing cigars. This demoralizing reflection of “us” gives further fuel to ignorant justification to what should be a clear-cut case of homicide. When we find gun waving acceptable, stealing acceptable and resisting arrest acceptable, then “they” in turn find killing/unwarranted brutality as an acceptable means of retaliation. When these opposing forces collide, we are left with embedded scars of resentment, a fractured society and a triumphant odium that seeps into the unforgiving atmosphere of life. No one wins when a life is loss, as it ripples like a destructive tsunami throughout the streets and homes of everyone. No peace, no justice; no justice, no peace. So intertwined are both of those prolific statements. In a time marred by violence and a lack of humanity, perhaps faith is the only true tangible tool towards restitution. Let us pray for the people of Ferguson Missouri both officers and citizens alike. Their greatest obstacle is still as they seek the truth of what happened to young Mike Brown. Then perhaps we can finally conclude whether it’s “justice” or “just us”. #stop the violence