White Lies

Here's a great cartoon entitled "White Lies" by the blogger at amptoons.com. It's kinda hard to read because the blogger image program keeps shrinking by image but click the link to see it in a larger format.


The Race Card

There is something I want to bring up due to a conversation I had with someone yesterday. Now when a person, let's say a Korean, brings up a fact in a conversation about race. Let's say, about white privilege. And that white person accuses the Korean person of "Bringing up the 'race card.'" Who, in reality, is actually bringing up the race card?

This is the kind of bullshit the pisses me off. Now if the Korean person brings up a fact about how the way a white person might view race is based on their white privilege (due to the fact that they grew up white) than that person is lifting up a veil and illuminating a situation in a more truthful manner. The white person who denies this and says the that person is using the "race card" is in actuality pulling the sheepskin over all of our eyes and is contributing to the further masking of the racial realities in America.

This white person has no idea what it is like to be a person of color and yet this white person accusses someone of using the "race card."

Now, in reality, who is actually using the race card?

I would argue that it is the white person who is using the race card by saying she or he is "using the race card." The white person is actively using race and putting the other person on the spot bu accusing them of something that they are not doing. What the Korean person was bringing up was racial realities in the United States of America. What the white person was doing was masking and/or ignoring those realities which in turn is using race for her or his benefit. Not bringing up race is actually, in effect, benefiting the white person.

Image From:


The Ghost of Tom Joad

I have a new blog out about my experiences as a Teamster shop steward and worker at UPS. Just started off my first post with lyrics from the song which gives my blog it's namesake, "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen:
Now Tom said "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."


Waste Management: Enemy of the Poor and Working Class

For those of you who check out this blog regularly (I hope there are at least a few of you) I haven't posted anything in over a week because I've been busy with my school, work, and union. Especially work. I've been embroiled in a few fights this week over safety violations being broken at my work (UPS) and shoddy company doctors lying to my fellow workers (I'm the union representative on the safety committee). But enough excuses, on with the blog.

I read a recent Chronicle article a few days ago which had the headline "Residents still mad at spotty trash collection New survey finds poor areas that have yet to see a truck."

And which poor areas were hardest hit...Hmmm...let's see...Which area could be hardest hit?...You know...An area of people that nobody really cares two shits about...

Well, the Chronicle quotes someone:
"Who is going to complain (in West Oakland)?" McKenzie said. "There are barely any city services there for the neighbors, except for the police that patrol the area, trying to protect people from getting shot or who come by afterward trying to pick up the pieces after someone does."

And the author stated:
Elsewhere in East Oakland, residents on the 9700 block of Cherry Street had reason to hope when a truck carted off furniture, rolled-up carpets and mattresses from a nearby street. They dragged bags of garbage to an apartment complex's trash bin, but no truck has arrived.

Well, let's see. West Oakland is a predominantly Black neighborhood were the Black Panthers were born and East Oakland is another predominantly Black neighborhood were many famous rappers come from as well as the hyphy movement.

For those of you who don't know Waste Management Inc. (for its past practices click here) locked out my fellow Teamster sisters and brothers just before their contract with the company was going to expire so as to intimidate them and to not let them go on strike (all thought they say that talk of strikes are off the table). The local unions affected are Teamster's Local 70 (I'm apart of Teamster's Local 270 for UPS and am a Shop Steward for Local 278), Machinist Local Lodge 1546, and ILWU Local 6.

This is another aspect and example of institutionalized and contemporary racism. Black neighborhoods are continually underrepresented in our society in way of politics, media portrayals (other than the negative that is), and are completely invisible to those who live outside of predominantly Black areas.

If one says that racism is no longer a factor in America than ask yourself this: Why is it that Black's are continually treated as subhuman in America and how come those hardest hit by natural, political, and other disasters are those of low income, and how come Black's make up a disproportionate number of those in low income neighborhoods and households?

This is just another example of how race plays out in America today. Black neighborhoods are not getting their trashed picked up by Waste Management scabs while the city of Oakland and Wast Management sit by and do nothing for these communities. Yet no one is expressly saying that they would never insist of picking up, "The trash of Negroes" as they would of forty years ago. Yet if this country is so much better off than how come no one is mentioning (aside from those actually affected by it) that race is an important factor in this whole mess? And if we are so much better than forty years ago how come if someone does bring up the race card when it comes to neighborhood development they are meet with cries of "Race card!" by their opponents?

Yet here we are, again. Another injustice is being heaped upon the Black community and no one in the mainstream media and in mainstream politics is bringing up the issue of race (as well as class, though class is easier for politicians to bring up than race) as an important factor in the development of these neighborhoods and in the company not prioritizing their trash pick up.

Image From:
San Francisco Chronicle


Saturday Beats: The Hood

One of the latest from The Beat Within.

Life in Da Hood
In just a young brown maze, misunderstood
Grew up in a ghetto-ass neighborhood
Wit’ crackheads on da block smokin’ rocks
USOs just posted outside wit’ their gun stocks
Got the baby’s mammas outside wit’ their kids
Bums in the alley way ‘cause they ain’t got nowhere to
Got the husbands hittin’ on their wives
Got the wives cheatin’ on their husbands
Got the husbands hittin’ on their kids
Got the kids being abused
Makes ’em feel like they ain’t got nothin’ to lose
So they run away and they start to join a gang doin’ da
same thang.
-By Tiny Samoa


Driving While Black

I had a great conversation late last week with a new co-worker of mine who is being trained to load packages into the Washington State trailers at my work (UPS, or Under Paid Slaves). He is the third person to be trained on our belt since I've starting working here in late February (but, I digress). His name is Casanova and he's a young Black man of 21 years and dresses in the style of Bay Area hyphy.

As we were loading into Washington him and his trainer, a young Latino man named Mike, we all started talking about Dave Chappell and on his commentary on race, especially the difference of how cops treat whites and Blacks when they pull them over. Casanova started talking about how whenever he sees a cop he gets a little nervous, and if a cop is on the other side of the ride driving in the opposite direction as him and sees the cop pull a U-turn Casanova automatically knows that the cop is going to pull him over and question him. No if ands or buts about it. If he sees a cop pull a "Uey" in his rearview mirror he knows he's in for a whole lot of shit. Even when he did nothing wrong.

I can just picture the cop taping on his window and asking. "Excuse me sir. Did you know you were DWB? [driving while Black]"

"Uh, yeah, kinda did know that officer."

Anyways. This got Mike talking about his old neighborhood in the Mission district in San Francisco and how the cops harass him too due to his dark complexion and his "affiliation" with gang members (there is a knew "anti-gang" injunction being imposed on people in the Mission). Talking about having cops pull up in his driveway and asking to search his car even though he's only working on the engine or how he gets harrassed by cops who want to use an anti-gang injunction order on him because he has family members in gangs (so he's not supposed to speak to his family huh? Guess that's the new "family values" that Bush wants) and how his mother works with an anti-violence and anti-gang org in the Mission and how he knows many gang members because of this, so he's essentially being harrassed for trying to get kids out of gangs.

But what got me really thinking was this. Do whites really know what it's like to live life as a person of color? I mean, sure we all see the movies and read about it, but do we actually experience it? No, we don't. Yet whites are the first to come out and accuse people of color as being "reactionary," "over sensitive," and (my favorite!) playing the "race card." Also, with America so segregated by class and race how could whites know about what goes on on the other side of th fence? Unless a white person actively seeks these things out and questions the statues quo a white person won't know this (this brings us to the point of the recent Supreme Court ruling on desegregating the schools, but I'll blog on that latter). I have the "advantage(??)" of working in a blue collar working class union job with many people of color (mostly men though) around me and I'm able to actually hear their experiences every single day I go to work.

Yet most whites (I'm assuming) don't here these things every single day they go to work. Most whites will question the experiences of racism that people of color face today and claim that racism was left behind many decades ago. Yet how to whites know this? And why do they assume this? Again, have they experienced racism? Of course not, their white! By definition whiteness is privilege, privilege to not experience racism and many other isms out there.

This is something whites should think (all though they won't) about the next time they accuse someone of being sensitive and playing the race card. And it's something they should think about long and hard.

Image From:
Over the Rhine


Saturday Beats: Learning and the First Time

Was a day late on this one, sorry. From the latest issue of The Beat Within.

What Is Writing?
When I was growing up,
I learned how to smoke and drink.
I learned how to smoke blunts and mix drinks.
I learned how to bag up weed and crack
I learned how to load, carry, aim, and shoot a gun.
I learned how to cook.
I learned how to cut hair.
I learned how to cut hair.
I learned how to survive on the streets.

I want to learn
how to select the right house in the right neighborhood
for my family and me.
I want to learn how to pay my bills.
I want to learn how to go grocery shopping monthly.
I want to learn to be a good husband and father
and a role model for my family.
-By Vernelle

My First Time
I came into juvi for the first time yesterday. Thrown into shower when it shut off before I got my clothes off.

Then a small courtroom. I shivered with cloths, hair and body on the cold hard square of cement I had to sit on. They take my things and take a piccture there. And TB test me.
Next thing I know my dad's on the phone with me and my moms too, they're telling me not to be sad and how I'll be out soon. That was over 24 hours ago.

How I remember being snatched away from home and my wonderful beautiful girlfriend. They cuffed me and sent me into the big black cop Durango without a good bye or anything. She probably thought I'd come right out after talking with the cops, well so did I.

I still haven't got my charges or any reason why I'm here and I feel so hopeless and helpless.
Its the first night in almost eight months when I couldn't tell my baby goodnight. When I couldn't cover up my brother as he's falling asleep before he hits the pillow couldn't hassle mom or dad couldn't do anything really, but cry. I did cry a lot. My eyes are red from crying. I'm sitting in this room seeing the other's pass by.
-By Michael.