The Art of Balancing Your "Scary" Muslim Ties

Remember when Obama's campaign was working hard to dodge the negative Muslim/Arab tag during the elections? Such as how one time, two Muslim women were barred from a campaign event so that they wouldn't appear in pictures with him, and that other time when a disheveled old woman rambled on about how she was scared of him being an Arab at a McCain rally.

Well, it's funny now that this comes up:

Excerpt from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "In his first post-inaugural interview, Barack Obama says to an Arab network what he couldn't say on American television."

My favorite part: "Wha...wait? Why haven't we met them? Don't you think they would have enjoyed sharing in the campaign process? ...That would be like if the first thing John McCain did after winning the presidency was go on the AARP network and let them know that he too sometimes forgets where he is."



Update: BART Police Officer Pleads 'Not Guilty' To Murder Charges

The police officer who killed Oscar Grant has been charged with murder. From KTVU.com:
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff made the rare decision to file a murder charge against a police officer for an on-duty incident.

"At this point, what I feel the evidence indicates, is an unlawful killing done by an intentional act and from the evidence we have there's nothing that would mitigate that to something lower than a murder," Orloff said at a news conference. He said he would not speculate on whether the charge would end up being first-degree murder or second-degree murder.

The officer has plead "not guilty" to the charges, as reported by SF Gate:
The former BART police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man early New Year's Day pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge during a brief but tense court hearing, at which his attorney said he planned to seek a bail reduction that could allow his client to be released from jail before trial.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, entered his plea in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland as about two dozen supporters looked on, including his parents, Todd and Agatha Mehserle. The couple were escorted to court by police officers a day after their Napa neighborhood was evacuated when two suspicious boxes were left on the porch of their home. The boxes turned out to be harmless.

I've seen a few of the videos of the shooting on YouTube and they make it quite clear why the ex-officer is being charged with murder.

We'll see what happens...


Late Night Thoughts: Tracy Morgan's 'Post-Racial America'

Here are my two-cents on the recent remarks by not-so-talented Tracy Morgan:

1) Cate Blanchett is Australian. Are you drunk again, mister? Just kidding.

2) There is no such thing as a "post-racial America," nor could there be a face of such an America if it were post-racial.

If you're wondering what on Earth I'm talking about, this all has to do with the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday. The one where Tracy Morgan accepts the award for the people of 30 Rock (because Barack Obama won the presidency) and oh so humbly assumes the poster-boy role of a new era: post-racial America.

Here's what he said:
"Welcome to post-racial America! I am the face of post-racial America. Deal with it, Cate Blanchett! We'd like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press ... especially me, 'cause a black man can't get no love at the Emmys. I love you, Europe! That's what's up!"
So apparently Tracy Morgan now represents all the ethnicities and minorities that once divided America...does that even make any sense? Sounds like gibberish to me.

Look, you can try to argue your case for what a post-racial America means, but I cannot accept it. I mean come on, how can you be the face of something post-racial? What would that even look like?

...I know, oldest joke in the book.


Do I look like I sell drugs?

Originally published in InColor Magazine

“Do I look like I sell drugs?” I never thought to ask someone that question. I’ve never smoked or injected a narcotic. I don’t know how many different drugs exist. I can list maybe four. It took me a while to figure out what the hell NUMP, E-40 and The Federation meant when they were rappin’ “Who got purple? I got grapes.”...wait, what? I’ve never witnessed a drug deal or lived in a neighborhood infested with addicts. I doubt someone would assume that of me either. Maybe it’s because I don’t fit the “characteristics” of a dealer…that dark skinned, somewhat thuggish individual from the hood, sporting a fitted style with an abundant excess of gold, who wears baggy pants that sag from the buttock.

And even if someone were to experience all of the above, why should that make he or she any more suspect? You really never know who’s hustlin’ and who’s not. It’s time to get that imagery out your head. Anyone can be a dope boy.

For all the plenty of young colored folks that get dirty looks and don’t deserve it, DJ Al Azif does a smashing job of knocking a social construct while remixing Adam Tensta’s latest single “Dopeboy,” a Sweden-born Hip hop artist influenced by electro/house styles.

Al Alzif broke out his digitalcam and filmed a bunch of ordinary citizens rocking out to “Dopeboy” each holding a piece of paper that reads the song’s hook, "Do I look like I sell drugs?" The home video features various individuals—from artists, the homeless, to Paris Hilton blondes, nurses and small business owners—poking fun at that very question. And while the straight lyrics, beat, and rhyme intoxicate, it’s just damn entertaining. You’ll laugh at the sight of the bald, ripped white farmer on the tractor and smile at the little kid flinging the crinkled inquiry over his head.

Ridiculous isn’t it? And yet, it ironically caused me to think critically about the world around me—about the bias we have, the assumptions we make and the institutions that continue to perpetuate racial stereotypes and profiling.

All over the world, those that are the most disproportionately impacted by drug control are not the major drug traffickers or ‘kingpins.’ Instead, the victims are the peasant farmers, small time dealers, low-level drug offenders, and its users. According to the Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme, the majority are poor, ethnic minorities who come from marginalized communities.

The stereotype of drug dealers is that they are people of color. In the United States research by Human Rights Watch has shown that African-American men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13.4 times the rate of white men. Furthermore, 63 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons were African-American and only 35 percent of whites are locked up, according to the Physician Leadership on National Drug Policy. African American’s make-up 13 percent of our U.S. population compared to the 80 percent that is white (Whites are the majority of drug users/dealers).

Major props to Al Azif for shooting a creative home video that doesn’t discriminate. Whether you intended to or not, you moved me. So once again I must reiterate, this is for all people, especially colored people, who get dirty looks and don't deserve it. Bob and groove to this.

To find more info and music by Adam Tensta and the funky DJ skills of Al Azif hit up:



Oscar Grant, young father and peacemaker, executed by Bart police

Originally posted on Alas, a blog. Slightly modified.

This is absolutly apauling (if you want you can see the video for yourself, I don't want to though, but you can find it pretty easily). I will be at the protest today at the Fruitvale Bart station at 3 pm if any other Bay Area folks who read my blog want to come along.
By now everyone has seen the horrific videos of an Oakland BART police officer shooting an unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, while he lay face down on the ground and was fully cooperating. The man who was killed execution style was the father of a 4-year-old girl and was considered a peacemaker. In fact moments before he was shot he was pleading with his friends who were all cuffed up to calm down and be cooperative with police. Grant was seen begging the police officers, who had pulled tasers out and pointed them at the heads of his friends, not to shoot...(Read More)