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Archive for 2005

Did you know...

Since I've entered my end of the semester crunch time, I've been on the train at all hours of the night trying to get home from school. No matter how late I've been on the train, there's always some middle schoolers on it too. The fact that they're hanging out with their friends on a school night is a direct indication of what the school system is not doing. Did you know that in the last two to three years at least 300 D.C. public school teachers were laid off?? I don't know how to fix the school system's problems but I'm guessing that having a sufficient amount of teachers is a major part of it. order to keep teachers you have to pay them. Did you know that the D.C. Council rejected a proposition to take $75 million from the stadium project and give it to D.C. schools and libraries?? Did you know that 33 percent of D.C. residents are functionally illiterate?? This is a classic example of misplaced priorities.


Okay, I'm going to attempt a more personal entry once again (I hope I don't bore everybody to death this time around). Last spring, I was hanging out with a group of about 15 people in which I was one of two persons of color. As our time together was coming to an end, one of the group members began quoting Dave Chappelle. He got to a line that contained the word, n*** can imagine the tightness in my chest while I waited to hear if he would say it. I'm not going to go into the rest but let's just say the night ended and I was not a happy camper. My point in recounting this story is to remind everybody to simply think before they open their mouths. It's one of those principles we're taught early on by our parents; obviously some people need a refresher course. The world would be a much better place if people were more sensitive towards others. And to all of my many extremely talented friends who have the potential to be in the public eye, always think about the consequences of your actions. You never know who your audience will be so it's better to keep sensitive topics confined within a safe space. Going back to the Chappelle example, it is all fun and games until something like what happened to me happens.


In the spirit of those lost in the Paris Riots
I can't even take credit for this theory so I'm going to go ahead and say that this is taken from Mumia Abu-Jamal's book We Want Freedom. Stripped down to basics, he says that most riots are an attempt for a group of people to either gain or maintain social status. In history, most riots initiated by Caucasians were meant to insure their status as the dominant race. Most riots initiated by those of African descent were meant to fight oppressive standards of living (this is happening in Paris as I write this). Mumia Abu-Jamal argues that the media has given the word "riot" a negative connotation and connected it with people of color. He argues that the word "Resistance" should be used instead. I agree. I think a clear distinction should be made between riot and resistance. If people are involved in nonsensical violence or violence used to oppress a group of people, it should be referred to as a riot. If people subjected to subhuman standards of living decide to force an enactment of equality, this should be considered a resistance. Can you condemn people for demanding to be treated justly?? How is this something to be viewed in a negative light??


About three days ago in the Washington Post, I read that FEMA is cutting funds to Katrina victims. The agency wants evacuees to start looking for permanent housing. It claims that spending the holidays in homes instead of hotel rooms will be more in the spirit of the season. Oh yeah, it also mentioned as sort of an afterthought that FEMA is spending too much money trying to house the evacuees. We need that money to fund wars against Saddam Heisen, Bin Laden, or whoever we're looking for this week. Shouldn't we be trying to help our countrymates before we go and destroy foreign towns and then pay to rebuild them. And what is with all the foreign children dying?? I'm sure they're insurgants too, right??

Double Standard

I keep hearing that America is not ready for a female president and I can't help but wonder what makes this statement true. Since America is supposed to be so progressive, it seems like we should be trying to decide if we're ready for a homosexual president. Maybe I'm asking too much from a country that can't decide how it feels about a woman's right to choose. Anyway, so we're not ready for a female president. I beg to differ. As much as I hate the fact that Condi Rice is on the wrong team, I cannot deny that she is a powerful woman. She has visited more countries during her time in office than her male counterparts and she has been accepted in unexpected places (i.e. countries that don't believe women should hold any type of power). She's getting her job done and getting it done well. If a woman like Rice was president, I guess America wouldn't be ready for her because she'd actually accomplish something.


I am outraged. I just read an article in The Washington Post's Express about the planned baseball stadium in Southeast, D.C. Out of the 23 families that were asked to move, 16 stood their ground and refused to leave their homes. Now D.C.'s government filed court papers to seize the property from these 16 families. The other seven agreed to leave their homes and are now splitting an alleged $13 million. What's that, a little over $1.5 million per household. How many times will the average person receive an offer like that during a lifetime?? The sad part is, $13 million is peanuts compared to what this deal is worth. I commend those 16 families for standing their ground. This would never happen in an affluent area like, let's use Montgomery County for example. There is so much land up there (I gurantee 23 families wouldn't be displaced; maybe 5 at most) but all the huge sporting events *hintNascarhint* and stadiums are brought to poorer neighborhoods. And people keep saying if you stand up for your rights, things like this won't happen. You see what happened with these 16 families?? They're being forced out of their homes. The only thing that can save them is if a judge declares that the seizure is unconstitutional. How many people believe that will happen?? I guess that leaves me wondering what these families will receive as compensation. Maybe baseball tickets. How many families from Southeast do you think watch baseball?? Which brings me to another point. Why not put the stadium in the neighborhoods of the people who enjoy it?? But then again, I guess it makes more sense to transport baseball fans all the way across the city and congest four-car trains that are already crowded with residents from "the wrong side of town" who I suppose don't speak up and demand longer trains, more often and especially during times when non-residents are infiltrating their neighborhoods to watch a game they have no interest in. I can understand urban redevelopment but there's got to be a better way.

Just Mad

Today I bought breakfast in the congressional office buildings' cafeteria. I paid $2 and some change for a bagel, cream cheese, and medium coffee. Anywhere else in downtown D.C., I would have paid about $5 for the same meal. Does this seems backwards to anybody but me?? It is not okay for working class people to pay more than twice as much for a product while the people who can afford inflation are not being affected. These people aren't living in reality. They sit up on Capitol Hill and spew propoganda to make it look like they're working for the average person-who they can't even relate to. You have to have money to even get into positions of power. How is this representative of the average American?? But I guess it's okay because they voted to forgo their annual salary increase. They want the money to go to the victims of Katrina (who they kicked out of shelters and placed in hotels that cost anywhere from $11 million to $22 million/day, depending on who you ask) who need assistance until being placed in new homes in a couple of months. I don't know about you, but if me and everybody I know sacrificied our yearly raise, we wouldn't be able to rent hotels for the evacuees for one day. Is this fair representation??

A Chosen People

When given information, people will only address what they want to address. I was having a conversation about race with my mother this weekend. We were talking about how members of our family have such mixed racial features that just about every group of people with any hint of color in their skin has tried to claim us (from Middle Eastern to Puerto Rican) Members from any given race will find one of our features that resembles themselves and attempt to align us with them. They're only seeing what they want to see. This argument can be linked to religion as well. I've heard people say that people of African descent are the chosen people. As nice as that sounds (because so much of the world's population fits into this category) I seriously doubt the validity of that statement. How can people be condemned just because they were born without a trace of African blood?? That would mean that people of African descent can live however they please and still be blessed. This goes against the very basis of religion. Of course, Christianity originated with those of African descent but it was meant to be spread. Still, I can't help but wonder if the African gene is dominant (you can't mix these genes with genes from another race and come out with anything but a person with at least one African feature) for the purpose of giving the gift of being chosen to as many people as possible. What I do know is that if the world continues, everybody will someday look just like me.


I am getting a little worried. As an aspiring writer, I feel like the audience I intend to write for won't be reading my work. Let me back up a little. In undergrad, I majored in African-American Studies with a focus on literature. Currently I am in grad school studying print journalism. I want to effectively collect and share stories from my community. The problem: for the most part, African-Americans are only interested in books written for the sole purpose of entertaining the reader. Books that would be the equivalent of rap;I'm interested in writing hip-hop. The stories I plan to share probably won't be about some high roller's girl and the drama she encounters on the way to buy the latest Gucci purse. My stories will be real life situations. I know so many people with interesting stories they want to share out of a desire to help others. It hurts me to my heart that these stories won't be heard because people would rather indulge in propaganda. I've always held a philosophy of not entertaining anything or anyone who won't benefit me in some form. It seems selfish but if you think about it, it prevents wasted time. I'm not saying that everyone should adopt my philosophy, I'm just saying it's something to think about.

The Latest Lie

Yesterday I was reading the Washington Post's Express. It had an article, I think it was on the front page, with some comments W. made about gas. He said he is going to open the emergency oil supply in order to lower gas prices. He emphasized that it is an emergency supply so people should limit their use of gas as much as possible (i.e. car pooling, public transportation, etc.) I have about four problems with this. 1)did anybody else know we had an emergency oil supply? 2)Why wasn't this alleged supply released sometime in the past two months since gas has been like $5 a gallon 3) Since I've read the article about the supply being opened to reduce gas prices, I've only noticed an increase in the prices. 4) W. lives right here in D.C. and doesn't know what's going on in his own backyard. The subway is already packed. Nobody's driving anywhere. That's a lie, people are driving. They're driving to the subway so that they can go to work to pay for the gas it takes to drive to the subway. That's the end of my ranting for the day but I do want to share an e-mail my friend sent me. This is a statement Bill Maher made:

Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you anymore. There's no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can't start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.
Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit card's maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!
Now, I know what you're saying. You're saying that there's so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in…Please don't. I know, I know, there's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts.Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man.
Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.
On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two Trade Centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans…Maybe you're just not lucky! I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, "Take a hint."


I finally saw the highly acclaimed movie 'Crash,' yesterday. It deserved all the praise it got. I fully agree with the film's opening statement. It said all of us selfishly live our own lives without thinking about anybody else until our paths collide. This is a different spin on my thought about a people not taking pride in its culture until tragedy forces it to. This being said, I think everybody can relate to this movie. No matter how hard people resist it, we are all feeling humans whose lives are intertwined. 'Crash' really forces you to think about the source of a person's emotions and why they are interacting with you the way that they are. A lot of times, as in the case of Sandra Bullock's character, a person is displaying anger because of a deficiency in their own lives. Bullock's character also proved that oftentimes the person or thing that you place the least value on is what will bring you fulfillment. Most of the time it doesn't take much to make people happy; think back to childhood, you had the least amount of everything (i.e. material objects, worries, etc.) but this is probably the happiest time of people's lives. Also, it is important to note that people will respond to the way you treat them. Therefore, if you treat them poorly in response to a stereotype, they will often act in the way you expect them to act. Ludicris' and Tate's characters are the perfect example of this. Ludicris didn't tip a waitress because he got mad that she didn't properly serve him because she thought he wouldn't tip her. The manifistation of the this cycle is almost inevitable once the wheels are set into motion. Of course, I couldn't walk away from this movie without feeling the emotions that its shockvalue was supposed to create. Initially I was very angry at the stereotypical, imbecilic statements that were flowing so freely from every characters' mouth. Seeing people who hated being treated according to prevailing stereotypes pigeonhole members of other races was eye-opening; in reality, it's not often that you get to witness this. After my initial reaction, I got sad that people could be so mean to one another. 'Crash' would be a great movie to show in a sociology class because it did a very good job of relaying how all of our lives are intertwined and how we can easily stop the madness.

"the s**t you need to learn" -Nas

In 1961 District Judge Harold Cox was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. He was known as a racist but received the appointment because of his solemn promise to enforce U.S. laws and the Constitution. Does this sound like anyone we're hearing about during present times?? (hint:John G. Roberts) Further proof that history repeats itself. Cox's justification for not providing Blacks with equal rights was that they didn't possess the same intellectual integrity as Whites. Fact: In 1960, only 7.7 percent of the entire White population of Mississippi had attended college. I wonder what the percentage of White college graduates was. My point in saying this is that Cox's statement was based on the White population receiving, on average, 6 years more education than the Black population (most of them stopped attending school after the sixth grade.) Which isn't saying much because only 42 percent of the White population attended high school. Was he really a credible source?? Where did he fall in this list of percentages?? Also, he failed to mention that Blacks were unable to finish their education because of economic conditions created by people like him in positions of power. African Americans are only a little better off in the year of 2005 (as can be seen through the pending appointment of Roberts to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.) We can stop the influx of negative stereotypes about the race but we have to get in positions of power to do so. Opportunities exist for us we just have to search for them. We need to get on a level where we can't be denied equal rights because of "intellectual incompetence." We're in a better position to do all of this now than we've ever been.

Franchise(n):the right to vote

In the late 1870s, the period after Reconstruction, the government went through a period called Disfranchisement. During Reconstruction, a large number of African Americans were elected to Congress. Even though they were trying to represent their Black and White constituents equally, they were accused of running the government like a minstrel show. White racists attempted to disfranchise African Americans through such methods as the infamous literacy tests and also corrupt politics (i.e. keeping African Americans away from the poll by force or deceit, slipping their ballots into White candidates ballot box thereby forcing them to vote for an opponent, etc.) African Americans were accused of being inept in a governmental context but can this be true when their opposers had to defeat them through illegal means?? I really don't see much difference in what happened during the Disfranchisement Period and what's happening right now in our beloved America. I'm sure that having a 42 percent popularity vote does not entitle you to the office of president. Obviously some corrupt/disfranchisement methods were in play there. The worst part is, the sections of the Constitution that prevent racists from employing methods to keep African Americans away from the polls are not a permanent part of the law. The only thing really protecting our right to vote is an Act called the Voting Rights Act and many of its sections that are key in our protection are due to expire in about 2 years. Much of our current administration is doing nothing in the line of renewing these sections. Do your research people, I don't want you to be surprised if we end up back in slavery. This it was I was talking about in my last blog, we have not made it.

Remy & Hennessy

Polls have let me know that my last post was "weak" and that I need never make another post like it. In an attempt to return to my militant self, I'm going to share a convo that me and one of my best friends had last nyte. We actually were torn between who would post it on their blog but we decided we both would. Since he's using one of my ideas, I stole one of his for the title of my blog.
What's really going on with rap right now?? I have always made a clear distinction between rap and hip hop but the difference has never been greater than it currently is. Oppressive forces are using rap to keep the Black race subdued. I say this because I know who controls the airwaves and what's broadcasted on them (you see how quick they cut Kanye off). This does not free Black people from all responsibility. Black people are so brain washed that they don't want to hear anything positive. Real hip hop is just not selling like it should because Black people don't want to hear about being uplifted. They are so angry about being oppressed that they allow oppression to continue. They don't see that oppressive forces will allow them to gain material wealth as a means of continuing oppression. They think objects mean that they've made it. Oppressive forces love mainstream rap because it promotes the idea that you've made it if you have expensive things. This feebleminded thought process allows Black people to continue being oppressed. This is where I'm going to steal my friend's idea, Black people have had the Revolution Remied and Hennessied out of them. What we need to realize is that power does not come from material wealth, it comes from what's behind the wealth...what allows you to gain the wealth. I'ma go ahead and borrow from Dead Prez here, "The mind is like a jewel son Only a fool wouldn't grasp it Wisdom is a tool." I'm going to need for a stand to be taken, control what's going on in your own life, and again from Dead Prez "Turn off the radio, turn off that b***s***."

So Addictive

At first I wasn't sure that I would have anything to talk about in this blog but it has proven to be a great outlet. I was told that my last two entries were a tad bit militant so I'm going to tell a story to lighten the mood (hopefully). The picture to the right pretty much describes my last couple of days. laptop pretty much decided to die on me last week. I was still working with Windows 98 so I had to go through special measures to install all my new hardware (i.e. voice to print software, memory stick, etc.) Anyway, it finally gave up on me and wouldn't let me access the internet. I got a new laptop on Sunday. Of course, the internet is acting up on this one too. So last nyte I was trying to pull my assignment for school out of my e-mail and do some research before I went out reporting today. I couldn't find anything and I was getting frustrated by the getting kicked off the internet and signing back on process that I was going through like every 15 minutes. I finally gave up and went to sleep but not before I had gotten my metro trip itinerary off WMATA's website. This morning I set out on my trip exactly as WMATA said and ended up waiting at a bus stop for a non-existant bus. I went back into the station and the station manager sent me to another station closer to Capitol Hill which made more sense. Unfortunately, he didn't have exact directions so he told me to ask the station manager at the next station. I went to the next station and that station manager didn't know, he told me to ask the Capitol Hill police officers. There's no way I'm asking police officers on Capitol Hill anything. Have you guys seen the huge automatic guns these guys carry?? Luckily there was a map outside of the station so I found my way. Unfortunately, my way consisted of me walking like 6 city blocks. I finally got the meeting I had to report on only to discover that my new digital recorder refused to work for me. I scrambled to write direct quotes in my notes but I ended up with an article containing only two worthwhile quotes. I came home and of course my internet is not working. I hooked my old laptop up to my internet connection and guess what, it worked. This is too wild. The good news is that I finally got my new laptop to work on the internet and after that I tried my digital recorder again and guess what, it works now too. *whew* I hope this means it's uphill for a while LOL

"N****z ain't become American til 9/11" -Talib Kweli

This kind of goes hand and hand with yesterday's post. The title of this post is a direct quote from hip-hop artist Talib Kweli's song entitled "Around My Way.' I think this quote is applicable to most of the nation. I feel like it takes a tragedy for the nation to take pride in itself. It took an act of terroism for flags to be freely displayed by American born citizens. Immigrants take more pride in this country than we do. Maybe it's just a cultural difference that makes them proud of who they are and makes them want to let others know about this self love. Maybe it's because they realize how fortunate this country has been to not have widespread poverty and wars. Maybe we as Americans are ungrateful. I don't know, it is as the title of my blog suggests "just some thoughts." One more Kweli quote before I go. This one is from his song entitled 'Beautiful Struggle,' "You try to vote and participate in the government and the [mf] Democrats is actin' like Republicans" This is pretty self-explanatory and I agree 110% although I do commend Clinton and Bush on being able to work together in times of need.

Back in Effect

Okay, so it's been a long time but I've made it back to the web. This is my first real experience with blogging but I presume that I'm just supposed to be recording my feelings. Right now I'm a little upset about the Katrina disaster. I wholeheartedly agree with Kanye West's statement. I know you're not supposed to question God but there's nothing that says I can't come up with my own hypothesis about why this may have happened. The true colors of those running our country have been revealed through all of this. I read somewhere that what happens to a nation is a direct effect of its leadership. This disaster shows that America is not immune to the pain that the rest of the world deals with on the regular.

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