Let’s All Keep Charles Barkley’s (Latest) Tirade in Context

There they go again, the outside world making it all but impossible for me to stay in my lane, mind my own business, and live a quiet mixed-family life. This time, Charles Barkley — not known to keep his highly charged opinions to himself — has weighed in on some intra-racial conflicts between a couple of NFL players.

The backstory, according to a report in The Grio, is that one of the reasons wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets was his “increasing animosity” towards Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Part of the root of that animosity, Freeman writes, is that Harvin and several other players felt Wilson was “too close” to the front office and – yes, not “black enough.” That was enough to set off basketball legend Barkley, who expressed complete frustration with whom he called “unintelligent Blacks.” Appearing on a Philadelphia radio talk show, Barkley said:

It’s a dirty dark secret in the black community. One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole [is] because of other black people. For some reason, we are brainwashed to think that if you’re not a thug, or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades and speak intelligent[ly] and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person.

I can’t say I disagree with Barkley here. I can remember being harassed very early on in grade school by other classmates for “acting white.” Yes, that whole tendency of mine to use clean language, solid grammar, dress neatly, not participate in cheating in the classroom and making great grades. That sort of “white behavior.”

But the worst stings came from the people in church who felt the same way. There was no escape from peers who were skeptical about my conservative ways. There was no sanctuary in the sanctuary of our little cathedral in Paterson, or the Sunday School class sessions in the mezzanine loft, or the small grassy yard where we had “recess” between Sunday School and midday service. Every now and then, I would get peppered with silly questions:

‘Why do you always use those ‘big words?’

‘You act so white!’

One day at church, while the kids were waiting to be served supper in the Fellowship Hall, I pulled out a paperback and started to read. A few minutes in, a female voice over my head snarled “Give me a break!” Then a hand reached down and snatched the book out of my hand. It was the daughter of our bishop and prelate, a full-grown woman with kids younger than me, who just felt like the sight of me reading, yet again, was irritating at that moment.

Barkley makes a good point — even if it is easily overshadowed by an important counterargument, which I will get to later. Blacks can’t succeed corporately without a few good brains behind the operations. We need a deeper appreciation of the discipline, focus, and yes, good old-fashioned smarts that it takes to succeed in today’s world. We’ve all heard the stories of how President Barack Obama’s mother used to wake him up in the hellacious wee hours of the morning to review homework before school. How do the boneheads harassing Russell Wilson, and others in that ilk, think we got the likes of Ursula Burns, Eric Holder, or Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Do they think these good people goofed around half the day? Do they even know who those people are and how they shape our culture?

We will probably never put away the petty, low-brow nitpicking on people with first-rate brains. In what culture, nation, race or other large cohort do the smart ones ever have it easy? If you look into the childhood stories of some of humanity’s best minds, you’ll probably find sad stories from childhoods punctuated with taunting and torment from peers, no doubt. Being intelligent and accomplished often means being different, and kids punish the different ones. A lot of people just don’t think it’s a big deal at all to be uneducated and uninformed about life around them. A friend of mine openly admitted to me about 10 years ago — in casual conversation, now — that she had just realized the Earth revolved around the Sun. We were both grown women at the time — she had been working for a number of years and I was out of college. I remember once goofing the location of Peru once in the office, and I felt like disappearing. I would never want to admit openly to not knowing things like that. But some people — and I’m sure they exist in every culture — feel no shame about betraying their own ignorance in open, casual conversation.

I think it’s best if the undereducated and underperforming ones in our midst just quiet down and get used to the fact that the thinking, reading, rational, well-rounded achievers are not going anywhere. Better get used to the likes of Russell Wilson and the others I’ve mentioned above, since a lot of Black people actually revere erudition and achievement over feckless coonery.

And for the record, I don’t agree with some of the readers comments I’ve seen on this issue. In a frightening betrayal of ignorance about U.S. history, some are claiming that this petty internal strife is what’s really holding Black people back. But also, Charles Barkley himself puts another stunningly ignorant and patently false notion out there about what impedes our progress. He said:

“Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful not because of you white people but because of other black people,” Barkley said. “When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”

No ma’am! It is safe to say Jim Crow laws, three-fifths rules, the Willie Lynch papers, and other written, documented blueprints for racism and oppression written into the code of the United States have been the bigger enemy to Blacks than petty infighting between the brazenly ignorant and the smart kids. If you want to talk about what the impediment has been to our progress over the years, it’s been Jim Crow laws, redlining and social and economic disenfranchisement. In modern times, we continue to contend with voter suppression laws and police brutality, mainly. The nitwits who taunted Wilson for being “too white,” or the myopic ward heelers who harangued U.S. Senator Cory Cooker (D-N.J.) for not being Black enough, or even the ones from my childhood who tried to throw fists with me over the issue, are nothing compared to the legislators — sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, by the way — who are conspiring to weaken our fundamental rights to vote. Their taunts are a hiccup compared to oppression of the armed and uniformed brutes who are supposed to protect all citizens, but wield justice with deadly force when it comes to Black men. Barkley doesn’t know what he’s talking about here. He can placate and brainwash his white friends if he wants to, people who are informed know better.

Every so often I run into a young Black person who claims that college, “isn’t for me,” or that the experience of being in a lecture hall or classroom is “soul sucking,” because “my heart wasn’t in it.” I tell those young people to awaken their brains, and push themselves to get something after high school. When it comes to succeeding in today’s world, you’ll find that the ones who can sit down, focus and string together trains of thought in a smooth and logical way are the ones who will call the shots. So to bring it back to the NFL, Russell Wilson holds the position of quarterback, the thinker who has to keep strategies in mind and run the plays. If he’s doing a great job, of course they’re going to keep him over idiot playing petty games off the field. It’s the same way in the big, wide world. So get with it: Use your ever-loving mind, before you lose the race.

Keep Calm and Date Interracially

So apparently Robert Pattinson, the heart throb from the Twilight franchise has been broken up from Kristen Stewart, who played the human-turned-vampire girlfriend in the same movie series. You might say, “Lady, this is old news! Get with it!”

But wait! Plot twist!

Apparently, Robert Pattinson has left his vampire lover boy persona far behind, and has gone on to date another woman, the British singer Tahliah Barnett, known by her stage name FKA Twigs. This has severely upset some of the more ardent “fangirls” out there who cannot conceive of a universe, real or alternate, in which Edward and his human prey/girlfriend/bride do not exchange vows in a nighttime ceremony and make a rapidly growing baby on the honeymoon night. Apparently, I’m not the one who needs to get with it, because some of these women have been lobbing racist insults at FKA Twigs, the singer-dancer who is of Jamaican and Spanish descent. Some of the responses are clearly from people who are off their meds, like this one on TwitLonger. It got to the point where FKA Twigs took to Twitter to decry some of the more detestable remarks.

This isn’t an isolated incident, either. Apparently, when Nicole Beharie and Michael Fassbender were an item (how in the world did I miss that one??), some white women apparently took to the Internet to plead to their comrades in lust to “open their legs and save him” from his current state. So now Black women who date interracially are dealing with open hatred and harassment from two groups of people: Black men who defame us by calling us nothing more than bed wenches (led by like the delusional Rush Limbaugh wannabe on YouTube, who makes it his life’s work to smear Black women every chance he gets). And now, slightly incredibly, white women are in on the IR bashing.

Obviously, there is no way to quell feelings of competition, envy and resentment between women of different races when one of the alpha males from one of their groups goes up for grabs. I remember a similar, but much tamer incident that happened in biology class during freshman year at college. We were assembled in the lecture hall during the first few days of class when a hand-some guy, who happened to be tall, white and blonde, strolled in. Every young woman in the class watched him as he made his way through the room and found a seat. I couldn’t help but look around at some of the girls’ faces, full of longing and admiration. When I left off of doing that, I realized that “Seth” had taken a seat near me — close enough so that when the instructor distributed the handouts and there weren’t enough for everyone in the lecture hall, he moved seats to sit next to me. I have to admit, I thought it was cool. Who wouldn’t want to sit next to a good-looking, confident, laid-back guy? Believe me, I wasn’t confident enough to like, create any expectations. It was just a few minutes worth of a simple pleasure, like watching a pretty sunset. But oh, it meant something to a couple of girls sitting a few rows behind me! As “Seth” and I started following the handout, I realized that a couple of girls — who were not Black — were trying to get my attention. I turned around and — oh joy! — they had somehow scared up another copy of the handout. In a hurried and anxious flurry, they tried to pass it to me so that I wouldn’t have to do anything reprehensible like sit next to one of their hotties and have a conversation.

Some girls are just pathetic and idiotic. It’s not like I wanted to “land” the guy. He was a nice distraction for a few minutes. Why they had to stew about it, I’ll never know. I bet they ate their hearts out while “Seth” cracked jokes with me, and carried on in his friendly, neighborly way. And let me tell you, that’s not the first time I’ve met with girls’ hostile c–k blocking. It wasn’t always interracial, either. Girls in general just sometimes shed their integrity and pride when a cute boy unexpectedly pays heed to another girl. But guess what ladies in heat? Guys don’t like to be hunted, and if a girl makes it obvious that she has designs on him, he is likely to seek a moment’s respite with a girl who is not on the prowl. So you have a better chance of getting his attention — and respect — if you just chill.

The whole college biology class incident was way back in the 90s, before the term “thirsty” entered our urban lexicon. Those chicks were parched, hunny. And now that I look back at my early 20s, boys form other cultures routinely crossed the color line to talk to me. I didn’t think anyone cared about those moments back then, but nowadays? Well, whoa! I’m starting to think passions are likely to go off the charts.

But we can take a few gems away from this recent outbreak of venom against interracial love. If you’re experiencing blatant c–k blocking (as mentioned above) or nasty side glances while out on a dinner date (like I have), here are some tips on how to adjust your attitude and change the situation:

  • If it’s a flirtation, expect some competition. But keep your focus on him. Playing into their insecurities is a sign of weakness.
  • If the nitpicking continues, ask yourself if it bothers you enough to retaliate or flee the scene. If you retaliate, only respond to situations that present an immediate nuisance to you. I should have stuck my tongue out at the hostile onlookers from the other table when I was out to dinner with a guy I dated some time back.
  • If you’re out with your date and a white woman calls you something like “African queen,” and not in a complimentary way, tell her to speak up. “I didn’t hear you, what?” A lot of people back off when you shame them loudly.
  • If the situation becomes harassment, prod your Mister on what he thinks about the whole thing. He might not even have a clue as to what’s been going on. Men don’t always see and hear the details and nuances of situations. In the cases of these celebrities, a few wing-nut fangirls are not worth direct responses. But FKA Twigs did fire back at the women in general who were leaving nasty Tweets and remarks online about her. She seemed like a stranger to overt racism, which is probably to be expected in an age where that kind of hatred has been driven underground. Mr. Pattinson was oddly quiet, though. Like I said: Some men don’t get it as quickly as women do. Still, I know it was important for me that a man acknowledge the racial layer of my total identity. I’m many things: Christian, wife, mother, daughter, kinswoman, friend and writer. But being Black has weight in all of those experiences, and I’ll tell you that Hubby immediately understood that about me. He “got” why a visit to see his family in Georgia took an unsettling turn for me when I saw a white boy wave a huge Confederate flag right in front of me. He knows why I won’t venture out into some of these rural towns without him, his parents or one of my brothers-in-law. All white (or other) men who date Black women need to understand that the woman he likes or loves could come under special and withering scrutiny, harassment and even attacks because she had the nerve to be with him. And I’m old-fashioned: A guy should speak up for his lady. He should be her Boaz, sorry, and people should understand that she is under his protection, and that he is looking out for her best interests. I don’t judge the affection in the relationship of FKA Twigs and Pattinson, but the latter’s lack of a response tells me that he doesn’t know what he’s in for. Maybe it’s because they are both British, and over there Black women date out quite regularly. These crazy American fan-girls are only one representation of the real hatred and disgust that some harbor for his relationship.

The world is a less openly hostile place for interracial relationships, particularly any place outside of the U.S. As Americans, we mainly see the venom and vitriol here, where slavery really pit Blacks against whites. But Black women, and even very light-skinned biracial women like FKA Twigs, still need to know how to spot a hater and deflect the poison darts.

First-World Address, Third-World Problems

We were all shocked and grieved by recent news accounts of the death of Mary Spears, a 27-year-old Detroit mother of three who was shot, ultimately, because she turned down romantic advances from a stranger.

It’s a tragedy that tears at all our hearts, or should, not only because it was an unspeakable act of cruelty, but also because it’s an example of the kind of dangerous and backward existence so many Black women face in this country. Black women are routinely treated with moral depravity at the hands of Black men – the very ones who should defend them the most in our society. It is the kind of misogyny and casual violence that we associate with the rough and remote warlord territories of Afghanistan or the repressive regimes of the emirates.

Now here is my pandering and obligatory disclaimer, for the oversensitive types who will rush to pan this post as a Black male-bashing effort: I’m not bashing or vilifying Black men. Ms. Spears’ fiancé tried to intervene before the shooting happened, so clearly he is a shining example of: a Black man who deplores violence; a Black man who is responsible enough to marry his girlfriend and give three Black children a full-time, attentive and protective father; and a Black man who thinks Black women should be able to move through society without being harassed and threatened with bodily harm. 

Yet the late Ms. Spears’ fiancé is a figure whose job in Black society is hindered by the troublemakers, and we all know this. How many communities are in the grip of violence, which shaped the mentality of that shooting suspect? How many times have I complained on this blog about Black men who I encounter in public who become enraged when I don’t feel like making idle chit chat with them? Clearly the shooting suspect is unstable, but I’m not willing to brush it under the rug of mental instability, or slap a bandage of “hurt people hurt people” on the situation. He has no impulse control, no anger management abilities, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a psychiatric or clinical psychological assessment revealed a dangerous personality disorder. It’s unclear as to what really drove this man to a murderous rage: Does a mental imbalance perhaps stem from untreated trauma from his youth; are his impulses unchecked because a father was never there to help him control them; or did he have a good upbringing but simply made poor decisions and looks down on women as less than him?

This is the kind of violence that we read about in dispatches from Third World nations, mainly Asia and the Middle East, where many of the men feel that women don’t have rights or feelings that need to be respected. She must keep her place and not seek betterment through education, and she has to submit to the desires of his id on demand, regardless of what place, if any, he has in her life. Over there, we call it backwardness and misogyny. Here, or London, Kingston or anywhere else Blacks of the diaspora are assembled, we call it Blackistan.

We have known that for a long time American Blacks have been socially and economically disenfranchised. Over time, social scientists believe or fear that it has relegated us to second-class status. I disagree. We’ve fallen well below second-class to third world. If researchers with the CIA World Factbook, the CDC, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Pew Center were to assess the well being of Blacks as a separate society unto itself from Whites, the results would tell us that we are far behind the mainstream Whites in terms overall wellness. We can either become defensive about it, lapse into pro-Black denials, while ranting about the white supremacist systems that thwart all of our efforts to do better, and try to censor the message (I’m looking at you, Lisa McDonald), or we can take action. That does not always mean marrying out, and I’ll tell you why: I married a White man with Liberal (or Pluralistic, if you ask him) ideologies, and we jointly decided to live in an aging urban city in the Northeast. You can call it a “transitional neighborhood” or “pre-gentrified” all you want. The nearest high street has too many liquor stores, too many used condoms that litter the sidewalk, and so many idle riff-raff that when I used to send my little sister on errands to the local bodega, I strictly timed her and promised to come looking if she wasn’t back within the grace period. The next high street has too many drug-addled wraiths of people who used to be young with bright prospects, too many prostitutes and too many abandoned buildings. We didn’t escape the challenges of living in the inner cities, so I have to confront these issues as much as any other woman living in a distressed neighborhood.

There are too many, far too many, Black men who become violently, irrationally enraged when a woman tries to walk away from a relationship, or when she refuses to engage with him in public. We are not a Taliban-controlled society. We are Americans, and women are supposed to enjoy a world-class standard of living here. This kind of extreme violence, enabled by broken families, personal failings and yes, the irrational prevalence of military-grade guns, undercuts what we aim to be as a civil society. We need to deal with this problem and do so from all angles, and we need to be committed about it, not letting bruised egos suck us down into censorship tactics, or be stymied by squabbling among different factions in the Black community.

When it comes to my only child, a good-natured and polite girl who is growing up beautiful – I grow more fearful of what she will encounter in the days when she moves through our city unattended. As a matter of fact, Hubby and I had to deal with a situation at her school recently where she tried to ignore the inappropriate advances of a boy classmate. None of our suggested tactics or teacher intervention worked, until one day we were preparing dinner in the kitchen and she told us that the boy had touched her on her privates, and when she moved to correct him, she was detained by the teacher. We did eventually bring this up with the teacher and have since worked out an acceptable solution. We are still happy with the school, but I am concerned about that little boy. Which older sibling or older male relative taught him invalidate a woman’s ‘no,’ to pester her, and overstep boundaries to get what he wants anyway? Someone is failing him, and if steps are not taken to correct his behavior, I fear we’ll read about his arrest, trial and sentencing — or worse — one day in the newspaper.

Mary Spears’ experience is not unheard of in cities that have a Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard – and what a heartbreaking irony! It’s another failing on our part to get a grip on these issues and stop losing young people to such violence. Somewhere in America right now an attractive young Black woman is rejecting the advances of a paramour. May God watch over and protect her until we get it right.

The Militants, the Handmaidens and the Liberated Sisters

My YouTube subscriber list is a lot more than just a source five- to 10-minute videos to kill time while I wait for a train or wait in line to pay at Target. It’s an entertainment option of choice that seriously competes with television and magazines as a source of cutting edge cultural news and opinion.

So when I saw that I had a bunch of unwatched videos from Christelyn Karazin’s main channel, I clicked in and saw the headline “The End of Beyond Black and White.” (See below) I was alarmed: Had she shut down her blog?! The main Web site is a terrific societal hub of intelligent discussions about interracial dating and cute couples photos, of course. It turns out that the blog is still live and kicking – whew! In my view, as a writer, it’s a very good lifestyle e-zine that stands head and shoulders above similar Web content. It is updated regularly (unlike this one – mea culpa!) covers a range of smart topics, is attractively laid out, and is well written (a different blog with a similar mission was an early pioneer. Alas, the writing is impenetrable and the overall execution is poor). The Facebook page, sad to say, was shut down after it came under orchestrated attacks from readers who claimed that some of the content was offensive and derogatory against Black men. But those of us who have engaged in online discussions about anything from a cat video to Bobby Brown firing an imaginary gun at a reporter’s head while his superstar wife looked on – increasingly anguished and humiliated – can smell a troll a mile away.

I’ve had the chance to read the feed of “Beyond Black and White – The Rebirth,” and it doesn’t have to do much to strike a nerve with the militants and “handmaidens,” whom Christelyn mentioned in her vlog. I tried to read the feed objectively, and I couldn’t find anything objectionable about the group or what it posted. So apparently the people who forced Facebook to shut down the original page take extreme and irrational offense to any discussion boldly promoting the well being of Black women. And they are still waging their campaign of intimidation.

In what world do Black women deride Black men by accepting respectful treatment from guys outside our race?

In what Bizzaro world do Black women deride Black men simply by accepting respectful treatment from guys outside our race?

On the feed, I read comments going back a day or so, and from what I observed, “derogatory” appears to be any statement or material in which Black men are not the hero in a Black woman’s story or the centerpiece of her world. What really galls the critics is when any Black woman happens to be showered with affection and regard from a man who isn’t Black, and when the failings of Black men (and there are many, in reality) are frankly and unavoidably identified as part of a situation that she overcame. I know the type; these are callous tyrants who care very little about Black women. They have come to believe that our rightful place is by their side – as their donkey lugging all their crap up the rough side of the mountain. They either don’t notice or care that Black women routinely squander their childbearing years either having multiple kids for men who repeatedly let the family down, and they do not give a second thought to the reality that Black women drift from the bloom of youth into spinsterhood waiting for an IBM who never arrives. I’m certainly not begging for the approval of Black men, or their love or their sloppy seconds. But going a single day without their scorn heaped on my kinky curly head would be nice. So along comes a voice – and an intelligent, appealing one, too – that encourages Black women to get the best out of life, and all of a sudden the ones who treated us as an afterthought just can’t live with that?

I wasn’t a member of the old “BB&W” Facebook community, simply because I didn’t know it existed. And to be honest, I didn’t want to politicize an area that I feel should be treated with levity and humor. When you look at the raw numbers from studies that attempt to measure the well-being of Blacks or women or both, startling findings emerge: Black women have been heroically holding the line for a long time in our community, but after a generation and a half of denying ourselves the full social and economic rewards of our loyalty and hard work, it looks like Black women are actually in danger of being left holding the bag. As much as I sympathize with Black men for taking the brunt of police brutality and economic marginalization in American society, they haven’t given us the best of what is in their power to control. Black women are not building wealth like we should, not living the healthy lives that we should, and we lack the richness of family life that we deserve, and part of that has to do with sacrificing or neglecting our potential out of blind loyalty to Black men. People like Christelyn are trying to enlighten and strengthen Black women to change those realities – even if they firmly want to datewithin their race. It’s unfathomable to me that anyone would object to our self-improvement, unless of course they enjoyed wiping their feet on Black women’s backs, as if we’re doormats, and saddling us down like beasts of burden. They’ve got a good thing going with this oppressive regime, and they are not about to give up that power.

ANY statement encouraging Black women to improve the quality of men they date and marry WILL be taken as an insult to Black men. Any woman making such statements will be harassed b the hordes of militants and handmaidens. Got that?

ANY statement encouraging Black women to improve the quality of men they date and marry WILL be taken as an insult to Black men. Any woman making such statements will be harassed by the hordes of militants and handmaidens. Got that?

I wrote in a previous post that I was skeptical about the Swirlr Web dating show. Part of me still does side eye any deliberate effort to “date out,” because I think it should happen naturally, or under specific circumstances unforced. But I have always respected the core of Christelyn’s work, her basic thinking, and I’ve never been able to watch a good Black women get steamrolled by a tyrant. I can’t now. Black women are just beginning to learn to claim their blessings, and no deranged, insecure Web bullies are going to censor that again.

Share of the Week: The 25 Minute Co-Wash and Detangling Technique

Those of you naturalistas, particularly women with naturally curly and coily hair longer than a short afro are probably familiar with the travails of co-washing and detangling your tresses. Women who are unfamiliar with the natural hair game (like WaterLily76) might be wondering ‘What’s the big deal? It’s only hair.’ But we know the process can actually take hours to complete. Densely cropped and tightly curled Black hair has to be handled very delicately to avoid ripping, but all of that extra care can result in hours eaten up during the process. Hence, alerting all your friends that your are off limits on Wednesday or Thursday evening because it’s a “hair evening.”

It sounds horribly daunting, and I feel badly for those of you who are on hair growth challenges. I simply lack the patience or interest to make a decided effort to grow my hair longer than four inches. Luckily, brilliant natural hair vlogger Whitney White, who posts on YouTube under the handle “Naptural85,” shared a technique for co-washing and detangling natural hair in 25 minutes. It might sound incredible, but she pulls it off, and she posted a video (below) documenting the process.

The vlog is cropping up all over the Web, thanks to her various social media outlets. Other vloggers are making response videos to adapt her technique to their hair types and to profusely thank her for revolutionizing their hair care regimes.

This all sounds very revolutionary, but I will probably never get the full benefit of Naptual85’s development. Unlike a lot of other women who wear natural hair, I have no particular length goals, and I’m not in the least bit motivated to document my hair journey, such as it is. In any case, if I had the kind of hair that grew quickly and retained length easily, I would try all kinds of different hair cuts. Bob cuts, pixie cuts, bog ‘fros, page boys — well, maybe not the page boy. You get my point, though, right? I wouldn’t maintain the same side part twist out that I see every where. I would have to change it up.

Well, Naptural85 has certainly changed things up for naturalistas everywhere. She gets our thanks!

Share of the Week: “Black Lives Matter”

Newspaper journalists occasionally say the business of their profession is “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” The quote supposedly comes from the late social activist “Mother” Mary Jones. Protestors in Ferguson, Missouri peacefully took over a few minutes of a performance of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra to remind the comfortable classes that Black lives matter. Check out the flash mob’s beautiful message from his story from The Grio.

And here is a direct link to the video. One particularly heartless soul can be heard supposedly calling Michael Brown a criminal. We’re supposed to be an advanced, civil society. How ironic that for decades now that civility has been falling apart at the hands of our armed militia.

In my mind, the message is slightly different: Black male lives matter. That facts is getting lost in our society; the lives of Black men are being treated with casual disregard, and anyone who doubts it simply needs to observe the laxity involved in protecting the life of our Black male president.