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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

[Does not contain spoilers (but who doesn’t know this story?)]

So I went to check out Straight Outta Compton Friday night with a few friends, one of which used to live in Compton during the period the movie depicts – of course he was on 100! It was fascinating seeing him view the film having such a personal attachment to not only N.W.A. but the city of Compton, and all that meant as far as police brutality of young black males during the late 1980’s. I, however, wanted to approach the movie in an objective way, with an open mind, so that I could answer two primary questions:

1.) Is Straight Outta Compton a quality film based on the standards by which every other movie is judged? – direction, stand-out acting performances, casting, setting, script, dramatical effect, score, soundtrack, etc…

2.) What is the cultural impact and societal implications of this film in 2015 and does it inform us in any way as to how much or little America has progressed since 1988 – the year N.W.A. was introduced to the world.

Honestly, the film wasn’t corny, quite an achievement for a pop culture movie (see Notorious), so I was satisfied on that account. The casting decisions were pretty much solid, but there were a few exceptions. The two actors they chose to portray Snoop Doggy Dog and Tupac Shakur were suspect – “Snoop” didn’t look like Snoop and his acting was cringeworthy, and “2pac,” despite resembling the late rapper, didn’t embody him during his short time on screen – it came off forced.

On the other side of the spectrum, O’Shea Jackson Jr., was the perfect casting decision to play the role of his father Ice Cube. Jackson Jr’s performance deserves praise, his acting chops are legit, at least for a film like this (I’ll be interested to see if more roles come his way after this success.)Not only is he the spitting image of his father, (no surprise) but his voice and mannerisms were spot-on. In many ways his performance was the glue that held the movie together. The other actors played off of him well and that made it all believable.

F. Gary Gray did a more than serviceable job in the director’s chair. Gray was assigned the difficult task of taking a handful of inexperienced actors and convincing the audience that they cared about one another so that we could care about them. He had to give them depth. Gray largely achieved this by juxtaposing the main characters, as often as possible without risking redundancy, against the backdrop of police violence. This relieved the actors from having to build the drama themselves through their performances alone. The opening of the movie grabs the viewer by the throat a bit and allows us to exhale believing the ride we’re about to take for the next two hours or so won’t be underwhelming.

As far as the script, at the center of it is comedy. And if there’s one thing F. Gary Gray can direct is a comedy (Friday anyone?). There’s numerous laugh-out-loud moments in Straight Outta Compton. A nice touch for a movie billed as a drama, and notable also for the irony of a film depicting hip-hop music during the late 1980’s/early 90’s, when verbal jabs garnered mostly laughs rather than bullets and caskets.

The movie takes viewers down memory lane with the soundtrack of course. Songs by N.W.A., Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, 2pac, etc., offer the nostalgic quality a film like this certainly needs to provide, it doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

There won’t be any Oscars handed out for this film, but it is a highly-watchable piece of entertainment, which if one suspends their disbelief long enough about the very real threat of police – inflicted violence on people of color, it serves as an escape from reality for a couple hours.

But I’m not one who believes in suspending disbelief.

If entertainment news reports are accurate, as of this morning, Straight Outta Compton is set to rake in almost $60 million dollars from weekend sales. This film has obviously struck a cultural nerve, movie goers across the racial spectrum are supporting it in droves.

But why?

Is it simply that millennials are using this film to relive there childhoods? Maybe. But what can’t be dismissed nor lost in all the nostalgia is the inescapable reality that N.W.A. is largely responsible for ushering into hip-hop music and the larger culture both images of hyper-aggressive, hyper-sexualized, misogynistic, young black males and the commercialization of black gangsterism, gun violence, and dope selling. Of which hip-hop music and youth culture has never recovered.

The commercial success of N.W.A. was achieved on the heels of the hip-hop led “Stop the Violence” movement to combat black-on-black crime, police brutality, and containment of black citizens in inner cities across America – places like Compton for instance. Hip-hop artists such as Chuck D and Flava Flav of Public Enemy, KRS-1, MC Lyte, Kool Moe Dee, Just-Ice, Ms. Melodie, and others stood in solidarity to confront an issue that we’re still grappling with today.

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N.W.A.’s success undercut this movement and relegated its impact to a footnote rather than what could have potentially been a black youth-led revolution to transform not only crime-infested, poor communities, but the system of white supremacy which created them. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but it’s difficult not to at least entertain the idea that white corporate interests chose to co-opt hip-hop music at this crucial moment of its infancy in order to dispel any legitimate hopes for black empowerment, economic uplift, and most importantly, coalition building among young white teenagers, who gravitated toward the music, and the black children of the Civil Rights Movement. To ignore these key factors in the story of N.W.A.’s rise to fame is a mistake.

The glorification of gangsterism in hip-hop music since N.W.A.’s debut has at least in some way contributed to gun violence in poor communities during the 1990’s into the new millennium. This preoccupation with thuggery was directly responsible for the deaths of two of hip-hop’s greatest story tellers, and potentially the two greatest influencers of young black males for good, if they’d chosen a less destructive path: The late Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G.

So after viewing a movie like Straight Outta Compton I’m left with more questions than answers, left with laughter without joy. I’m left to wonder what might’ve been for my community if the seduction of large paychecks hadn’t trumped black lives that mattered.

Queen Aset

Queen Auset

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

What is this feeling?

This feeling I feel,

The need to have you in my world,

Could you be that girl?

That woman I need to be by me,

The one that causes my heart to play a symphony,

 

Even the faint hint of your scent on my pillow,

Got me feeling Willow,

When you whip your hair baby,

Walk that walk baby,

Talk that talk lady,

Like an intricately composed chorus,

Arranged just right,

From head to toe,

 

Oh, you know how I’m diggin’ you,

Yes, yes…

Can I taste your mango, magnetic, mysterious mahogany?

As you sip my scintillating, succulent sensation,

Conversation has me mesmerized,

Fantasy conceptualized,

My future wife,

Is that right?

The Queen to my King?

Auset to Ausar?

Mmmm…..let us make Heru,

 

I respect that,

And you’re so that…

One…

I didn’t look and there you appeared,

Just in time,

The mystery of life’s cycle,

Replenishing what is lifeless; dead,

With something far greater; instead,

You take over in pain’s stead,

Soothing the deepest parts of me,

Standing me back up-right,

Clearing my sight,

Like fresh air on the Nile river valley,

 

Everything new, everything righteous,

Everything blue, everything priceless,

Sweeter than the banks of the Catchetori River,

You are…

 

Let’s take a cruise down the block,

Let the sun regenerate our spirits,

Replenish our souls and imbue us with more love,

Deep, deep love,

It oozes from our pores every time our bodies connect,

You’re wet,

I set,

You there and stare,

At you – a Goddess,

Whenever you’re near.

I want to hold your hand and walk into eternity,

 

Time…

Timeless…

Reflection…

Tranquility…

Peace…

Peace to you, for us, we are…

One.

Sandra Bland (Facebook image)

Sandra Bland (Facebook image)

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Sandra Bland didn’t at all sound like a woman ready to die. Quite the contrary, she sounded like a woman willing to fight to ensure her, as well as others, human rights weren’t trampled upon, yet they were, in the most egregious way.

It appears Bland was lynched in a Texas jail cell for having the audacity to demand police treat her like a human being.

In what has become customary following these incidents I’m left with far more questions than answers.

Why is the media not obsessed with this black woman? Could it be because she was highly intelligent, honest, courageous and hated white supremacy?

Where are the high-profile activists marching in the streets and shouting in microphones? Why does it feel as if black women’s lives matter even less than black male lives?

To my brothers, why do we not see legions of black men in the streets demanding justice for Sandra Bland? Because I damn sure recall countless black women risking it all after Trayvon Martin, after Jordan Davis, after Mike Brown and Eric Garner, after Tamir Rice, after Freddie Gray, need I go on? After Sean Bell, Oscar Grant and Amadou Diallo. After Emmett Till!

Black men where are your voices? Where is your outrage for the death of your mothers? Yes, your mothers.

It’s very difficult not to superimpose the courageous image of Bree Newsome climbing a flag pole to snatch down the Confederate battle flag at South Carolina’s state capital, mere weeks ago, with this disturbing video of Bland being brutalized on the side of the road like a runaway slave – and her subsequent death while in police custody.

In America no deed done for racial equity goes unpunished.

In racist America, Sandra Bland died for Bree Newsome’s sins.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Black lives,

And white lies,

Why does the hate exist?

Could it be the mystery,

Is basic common sense?

Whites destroyed blacks’ history,

Replaced it with misery,

Now relegated to coonery,

To earn a couple pence,

Then wonder why the Mike Brown‘s,

Cause angry blacks to burn down,

CVS’s around town,

To publicize the unrest,

Don Lemon’s and Sean Hannity’s,

Reporting on the insanity,

Been waiting for eternity,

To receive proper redress,

But no preparations,

For reparations,

Just more and more,

Incarcerations,

Similar to Jewish concentrations,

Yet whites deny it exist,

Got cousins serving life sentences,

Open your eyes,

We all witnesses,

Who escapes the abyss?

Till we all free,

Ain’t no one free,

What the Constitution mean to me?

Small lies plus big lies,

Equaling freedom denied,

So where do we go from here?

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

A recent article in the Atlantic about a black father fighting to regain custody of his daughter highlights the profound gender bias by our court system. The story is devastating in a number of ways.

Christopher Emanuel wanted nothing more than to be a good father to his daughter, but because of racism by the mother and her family, as well as gender bias by the courts, the mother was allowed to enter into an adoption without Emanuel’s consent.

If it wasn’t for text messages and the putative father registry (of which most people know nothing about) Emanuel would’ve lost his child to the system.

Bashing fathers, especially fathers of color, gets much press these days, but we rarely hear of cases like this, despite the fact these types of cases aren’t rare at all.

Are there dead-beat dads? Of course there is, but gender bias by the courts causes many fathers to be wrongly characterized as dead beats when they earnestly desire to be a significant part of their child’s lives.

Imagine if Emanuel couldn’t afford attorneys to fight on his behalf?

Imagine if he happened to be unemployed?

Imagine for a moment if he didn’t have a strong support system of loving family by his side looking out for his best interest?

Now imagine what most outsiders looking on would think of him, not knowing the details?

He’d would’ve been dismissed as just another black man running away from his responsibility. And the mother would have a legion of sympathizers supporting her decision to place the child for adoption, and racist would use this story as a cautionary tale to white girls everywhere about the dangers of dating men of color.

Sad world we live in, very sad.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

I’m a firm believer that it’s especially important to ask the right questions of yourself and others when historic events are taking place. To that end, this list of questions for racial allies as black churches burn in the South.

1.) Why target black churches?

2.) What is the significance of using fire to destroy black churches?

3.) Is it a coincidence that these string of fires began in the immediate aftermath of national discussions, as well as state and federal actions, concerning gay marriage, domestic white terrorist, and the Confederate flag?

4.) If it is not a coincidence, what might be the message these arsonists are attempting to get across?

5.) Does witnessing black churches burn make you feel anything? If so, what? If what, why?

6.) Who might the perpetrators be?

7.) Why is the mainstream media not covering this story with the same veracity as they do high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men?

8.) Why does the mainstream media appear to enjoy picking apart the lives of dead black men and women who’ve been killed by police more than they do actually investigating the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, how’s and why’s of why the federal government hasn’t swiftly caught these arsonists burning black churches to the ground?

9.) Do you really believe these aren’t hate crimes?

(L-R) Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sit pensively after communicating with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy while they await protection from the gathered mob outside the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

(L-R) Rev. Ralph Abernathy and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sit pensively after communicating with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy while they await protection from the gathered mob outside the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

10.) If you do, what might this say about your position on the spectrum of privilege?

11.) Where are ALL the white allies?

12.) (To my white allies) How might white skin privilege work to expedite not only the capture of these criminals, but the way the world views these stories?

13.) Why haven’t we seen white ministers with money publicly denouncing these crimes AND offering resources to aid these churches?

14.) Why haven’t we seen black ministers with money publicly denouncing these crimes AND offering resources to aid these churches?

15.) Does this absence of leadership and empathy (faith-based or otherwise) by white and black ministers represent true brotherhood one to another?

16.) If true brotherhood is not the actual practice of religious institutions, why should they matter?

17.) Do people of color enjoy equal protections under the law?

18.) How might this story be different if the targets were government buildings or mega-churches?

19.) Does it say anything about President Obama and his administration that he refuses to articulate the present racial condition of the country and what he plans to do about it?

20.) If so, what does it say?

21.) And what does it mean for you?

WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 06:   Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of pastor Fred Phelps and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrates outside the Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguements in Snyder v. Phelps, which tests the limits of the First Amendment, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. Albert Snyder sued the Westboro Baptist Church after his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq in 2006 and members of the church held signs and demonstrated outside his funeral. The church and its members preach that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 06: Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of pastor Fred Phelps and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrates outside the Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguements in Snyder v. Phelps, which tests the limits of the First Amendment, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. Albert Snyder sued the Westboro Baptist Church after his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in Iraq in 2006 and members of the church held signs and demonstrated outside his funeral. The church and its members preach that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans’ immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

I grew up in St. Louis, MO reared by a single mother after my father’s murder when I was four years old.

Like many Black and Latino youths living in poverty, hip-hop music spoke directly to my soul and provided chapters in a living testament to my pain. Through the lens of hip-hop I was able to bring into focus many of the world’s ills. Rap lyrics provided answers to why my stomach growled from hunger countless nights or why violence and drugs pervaded my neighborhood.

These songs caused me to begin to view the world as a collection of systems that provided sanctions and rewards depending on skin color and political power.

Although my father was a Pentecostal preacher for 15 years before his death, and despite the fact I attended church into my teenage years –thanks mom– my dad was one of the few ministers I’d ever heard willing to tackle social issues with a mix of biblical authority and cultural sensitivity, instead of the bigotry, dogma, and fundamentalism so many Christians accept as prophetic insight today.

So it is no surprise hip-hop artists appealed to my inquisitive mind more than most preachers ever could.

I’ve probably listened to “So much trouble in the world…can’t nobody feel your pain,” the lyrics by Big Syke (“All Eyez On Me,” 1996), an Oakland, CA rap artist and friend of the late Tupac Shakur, thousands of times. And from the first to the thousands of replays through cd Walkmans, cheap boom boxes, car stereos with detachable faces –you know you had one too!– and now, Ipads and tablets, the heart wrenching response remains the same as it did when I was 13 years old.

The feelings of being alone – in trouble and in pain – knowing no one is coming to rescue you, is debilitating. When we add to it the reasons why: racism, bigotry, political corruption, religious hypocrisy, violence; it becomes suffocating. Such conditions nurture hopelessness and hopelessness deprives human beings of their ability to speak. Voices are lost, often forever.

Reading recent news headlines one would find it incredibly difficult not to believe our nation is going backwards. Of course there’s been victories along the way. Last week the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in every state, this is progress. However, judging by the tidal wave of commentary following the Supreme Court’s ruling, by those who claim belief in a God of love, it’s clear, a large swath of this nation still can’t feel the LGBT community’s pain. I’m convinced after almost 32 years of living in a “Christian” nation that those who believe in heaven are hell-bent on keeping it as racially, culturally, and politically segregated as possible.

But there is other pain as well.

This past month much time and energy has been exerted vilifying an obviously mentally-disturbed White woman in blackface, arguing with the misinformed and bigoted over the meaning of a piece of fabric, and telling lies about racism disguised as mental illness to protect a hate-filled White youth who premeditated and committed, in a house of worship, one of the most heinous acts of domestic terrorism in recent history. Are we better for having engaged these stories in this way?

Has significant progress been made by the talking heads and political and cultural pundits? Has talking around real issues ever moved the ball forward in any area of American life? No.

Pain has been on display, but it remains unaddressed. For example, how can we even pretend to unpack a story like Rachel Dolezal if the Black community isn’t willing to admit and investigate their own internalized colorism? If Black citizens aren’t honest and forthright about how we devalue one another based purely on racist premises: dark skin vs. light skin; good hair vs. bad hair; even Black power, Black is beautiful, and Black nationalism vs. multiculturalism and pluralism. Then how will we ever extricate ourselves collectively from the mental chains of bondage bequeathed to us at birth?

All this denial as Black churches burn like it’s the 1960’s on repeat.

When will White so-called allies understand that it is their responsibility to eradicate White supremacist patriarchy and the religious murder cults fashioned by their ancestors hands, and of which they still benefit from even to this day?

It is not the duty of people of color nor is it within the realm of possibility for us to deconstruct the system of institutionalized racism in this country. Those who built the monster must also destroy him. If Whites lack the will and courage to do so, they are not allies, but cowards merely dilly-dallying in White guilt; straining crocodile tears for Black victims; believing dewy eyes rather than blood will cover their multitude of sins.

The denial of pain is an American trait, even an American value. So much of our identity is dependent on this kind of running away; we’ve perfected escapism at our own peril. The way manhood is defined in America, from the founding of this country to now, is nothing more than a preoccupation with denying pain and pretending as if one is indestructible and without emotion.

Could this be why effeminate gay Black men and transsexual men of color are the most despised and victimized of all, owing largely to unaddressed pain intersecting to plunder Black bodies? Americans have been taught to habitually protect fantasies while destroying reality.

Could this allegiance to controverting pain account for why the majority of domestic violence victims are women who endure years of blacked eyes, busted lips, and broken bones at the hands of intimate partners before reporting abuse? And some women never do.

Has dismissing pain become so much a part of our identity that parents justify instructing their own children to remain silent about rampant molestation within families and religious communities rather than protecting innocence? Is this learned desire to escape reality, to suffocate emotions and plunder others, responsible for why White Americans still find comfort in wrapping themselves in the blanket of indifference rather than using their privilege to shape a better world?

Until we come to terms with this enormous deficit of decency, fairness, and love, pain will remain the leading story on every news outlet for years to come.

But in America, dreams matter more than those who envision them. In America, can’t nobody feel your pain.

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

I was recently asked my opinion on the phenomena of flirting, in particular, flirting while faithful. In other words, the act of flirting with another person while in a committed relationship. I chuckled when it was brought up. Perhaps because I’ve been guilty of flirting while faithful myself, on numerous occasions, and I suppose I never really gave it much thought. But is flirting while faithful a harmless act of fleeting indiscretion or a violation of trust? Does flirting chip away at the foundation of an otherwise loving relationship? In fairness, there’s certainly degrees to flirtation, from the benign to the inappropriate, and I think everyone would have to admit, even those who are staunchly against such trifles of affection, that what is considered flirting is subjective; we’ll explore that later. But maybe serial flirters really should take a moment to consider whether their frivolous ways cause unrepairable damage to those they love.

As a man who enjoys a good flirt myself from time to time I admit there’s a certain thrill to publically admiring the beauty of a stranger. I have always admired the loveliness of a woman, even as a young boy. There’s something about a woman’s essence that is unique and refreshing. Like a pious older woman once told me while attending Sunday morning church service in Detroit, “It’s nice to be nice.” Isn’t flirting just a form of paying it forward? You happen to feel good, so you try to brighten a person’s day with a compliment. Ok, maybe I was flirtatiously inclined long before the sweet old lady offered her affirmation, but what’s the harm in it? Most women on the receiving end of my “sweeties,” “darlings,” staid eyes, sultry smirks, wetted lips, and slick tongue (not that perv!) react positively and reciprocate the gesture. Typically people experience a healthy share of humdrum during their day-to-day grind of work, family, and other obligations, receiving unexpected words of admiration can serve to temporarily interrupt the monotony, as well as provide a boost to the ego, sometimes when it’s most needed too. On numerous occasions women have responded to my “You look beautiful today,” with an incredulous smile followed by “Really? I feel like crap, but thanks for that. It’s not every day I hear I’m beautiful.” It’s a sad state of affairs if these admissions are true.

Nowadays we occupy a world of political correctness run amok. Every word that is said must be parsed irreparably before spoken as to not offend anyone, even compliments. But what does such society-imposed restraints do for the common person besides erect walls of fear between us? Political correctness definitely aides in silencing the most egregious rhetoric, but it does so at the expense of the sweethearted. As a result, people are not only less likely to receive compliments, they’ve nearly forgotten how to accept them with grace. There has been more than one occasion when I was harshly rebuffed by women simply for opening doors for them or holding eye contact a split-second beyond their comfort level. The reason I don’t overreact in these situations, like some men choose to do, is because street harassment of women by men is rampant in most cities. Street harassment crosses the line from flirting to, well, harassment. Shouting a woman down on a corner, following a woman down the street, cat-calling and spewing obscenities about her anatomy could hardly be characterized as flirting by any reasonable person. Indeed it is not.

Perhaps flirting wouldn’t be so complicated if it were only reserved for single folk, but husbands and wives, those in committed relationships, are not immune to the power of the flirt. I’m sure every guy has been out with his lady before, at a bar, a club, maybe a restaurant, when you see another woman; finer than a runway model and thicker than Serena Williams (if that’s your thing); walk in the room, and it requires you to summon the amount of focus usually reserved for the optometrists office to keep from watching her walk by. If your girl loves you, she’s making sure you don’t look too. It’s like women have radar in situations like this, the subtlest glance in the wrong direction will be instantly detected, and yes, you will be hearing about it at some point. Some women would have men believe we occupy this unevolved and undisciplined state alone, but I think women are just much better at flirting on the low than men. The same goes for cheating, but that’s a different article. Does glancing at an attractive woman, while with your lady, constitute disrespect? As with most things I tend to believe instances like this fall within a gray area. If a man’s head whips around like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner than yes, that’s inappropriate conduct. But merely recognizing another person’s presence, not so much. In fairness to the ladies though, men have fragile egos, and most men would react adversely to his lady breaking her neck to get a better view at another man too.

What is it about these situations, whether it’s your man offering a toothy grin and soft handshake to the party host with the miniskirt, an overly anxious introduction from your lady to one of her “old friends” who happens to be built like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a reciprocation of affection to the waitress with the overflowing cleavage who’s obviously flirting with you, that causes our spouses blood to boil? It’s simple, people are territorial about the ones they care for, and lethal about who they love. Flirting is a threat to what two loving adults have already established. To witness your love interest flirt with someone else feels like robbery in a way because we know this stranger hasn’t earned any of the free affection they’re garnering by personal sacrifice, care, thoughtfulness and faithfulness, not to mention longsuffering through all those ballgames and romantic movies. For him or her to swoop in and gain your lovers attention all willy-nilly makes one question the relationships legitimacy. It’s a matter of trust. I’ve heard a many a lady say “When my guy flirts with another woman it makes me question what he does when I’m not around,” or men bemoan “A woman who can’t control her eyes is probably sleeping around.” Both of these statements aren’t always true, sometimes they are, but the sentiment is clear. Being faithful requires a lot more than avoiding sexual intercourse with someone besides your spouse, it’s an emotional commitment not to betray their confidence in what the two of you are nurturing together.

Relationships are fragile because human beings are fragile, and it doesn’t take much to break a heart that’s in your hand. Flirting on its face is indeed a mere trifle, but when feelings are involved, and relationships are serious, it doesn’t take much to transition from trifle to trifling. Just a thought.

What’s your opinion? Is casual flirting harmful to a relationship?

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Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

People ask me all the time, usually white women for some reason, why I talk as if I know the minds of all white people. They tell me not all whites are the same, most are not racist at all, and that there are many whites who want institutionalized racism destroyed the same as people of color do. I usually just offer a wry smile because to unpack the truth in these situations would be a futile effort. I do however find myself wondering: “Where is this moral white majority hiding?”

I won’t claim to know the minds and hearts of all white people, obviously, but I surely will attest to understanding what the majority find comfort in, believe to be true, hold dear, and are willing to fight and die for – and it surely isn’t liberty and justice for all. The brutalizations visited upon blacks in America since its founding speaks to the tilt of white America’s moral compass. Much can be learned from observing how whites have chosen to run this country the last 400-plus years – in a fashion that isolates and targets black people for exploitation, brutality and murder – creating and protecting institutions designed to excuse these actions. Whites who claim complete innocence in such heinous race-based discrimination and state-sanctioned murder have never taken time to engage in real introspection about why America operates in the way it does.

There has never been a civil rights movement in America birthed due to whites’ disdain for racism nor has there ever been sustained organizing around social and economic justice for people of color by white citizens that encompassed a wide cross-section of whites of all economic levels, in a effort to mount an assault against the oppressive American system of institutionalized racism. But one does not have to kill an unarmed black teen with a police-issued handgun to participate in government-sanctioned murder; one need not sit on a judicial bench or argue cases in district court to participate in the mass incarceration of black and brown men and women for non-violent crimes; one doesn’t even have to give one dime to a corrupt politician nor be the town’s police chief or sheriff to engage in police misconduct and cover-up – all that is needed, all that is required, white America, is for you to do nothing in the face of this evidence, this is how you assist in oiling the machine of injustice.

And this is the heart of white America, a heart that lacks empathy, which is incapable of demonstrating remorse, that believes sincerity rather than moral intelligence is a virtue, and a people who are deluded into propagating ideas like “American exceptionalism,” i.e. white superiority, while simultaneously claiming ignorance to the systems that destroy those without white skin. I don’t need to survey all white people to know their hearts because individual feelings mean little when black fathers can be choked to death by white policeman, in front of cameras, in the largest city in the United States, without as much as a meeting of the minds of white people, and the formulation of a real plan, by and for white people, to ensure these massacres don’t persist. There are those, including the first black president, who get great pleasure from preaching to blacks about personal responsibility for their station in life, but where are the responsibility mantras shouted in the direction of white institutions which routinely kill black Americans? Conspicuously void.

So again, I’m forced to ask where is this moral white majority that despises racism? Where are they hiding? What can the rest of us do to liberate them from whatever system is suppressing their desires to transform America into the bastion of freedom and justice the Constitution promised to all? I have a lurking suspicion this “moral white majority” is merely the wet dream of unawakened minds, and simply more white sincerity when moral intelligence is what’s needed most.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

Timothy Dwight Smith is the Editor-in-Chief at ContraCritic News, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues.

The no-indictment decision by the St. Louis County grand jury has sparked protest all over the country. Demonstrators in Oakland and Los Angeles, California marched on to highways backing up traffic for hours Monday night. Similar demonstrations were staged in St. Louis, New York City, Seattle, and Chicago. Numerous businesses in Ferguson, MO were looted and burned to the ground. The hopelessness inherent in the perspectives of those young people running into stores stealing merchandise and carrying it away was apparent, but so was the anger.

The oppressive conditions black citizens in Ferguson have been enduring for decades accounts for the tremendous frustration, and explains the destructive response which played out to a global audience two nights ago. But once all the smoke has cleared, and National Guard troops have left Ferguson, it’s hard not to believe the death of Michael Brown will recede into the back of most people’s minds in 6 months. Brown’s name will no longer appear in newspapers or be found in news blurbs running across the bottom of HD televisions. His death will not inspire such visceral reactions from the social media community as it has the past three months. In a word, Michael Brown Jr. will be: Forgotten; just like Trayvon Martin, just like Sean Bell, just like Eric Gardner, just like John Crawford, just like Renisha McBride, just like the next, and then the next, and then the next black man or woman, boy or girl killed by police in cold blood.

Black life is cheaper than Ramen noodles in America. Always has been, always will be.

A baseball cap and a portrait of Michael Brown is shown alongside his casket inside Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church before the start of funeral services in St. Louis, Missouri, August 25, 2014. Family, politicians and activists gathered for the funeral on Monday following weeks of unrest with at times violent protests spawning headlines around the world focusing attention on racial issues in the United States. REUTERS/Robert Cohen/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST)

A baseball cap and a portrait of Michael Brown is shown alongside his casket inside Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church before the start of funeral services in St. Louis, Missouri, August 25, 2014. Family, politicians and activists gathered for the funeral on Monday following weeks of unrest with at times violent protests spawning headlines around the world focusing attention on racial issues in the United States. REUTERS/Robert Cohen/Pool (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST)

Blacks were dragged to this country, kidnapped, and thrown into the bowels of boats for the economic benefit of whites. The heinous atrocities inflicted upon persons of African descent by whites with power reads like the sickest horror story anyone would ever dare read. Mutilations and rape, defecating in the mouths of teenage girls, setting black fathers on fire after castrating their penises and the lips of black mother’s vaginas – all while white toddlers played nearby with the scorched bones of those who’d been lynched in the same spot weeks prior.

You think we’ve moved on from all that? You think the residue of that level of hatred has been washed pristine by evoking the name of Barack Obama or pointing to Oprah Winfrey’s bank account? Open your eyes. America is a land that has always eaten its babies for dollars and cents. This nation will cease to exist before it allows blacks full human rights.

The endless stream of blood in the streets, either through police violence against black citizens or by the extinguishing of one black life by another, due to self-hatred and for dollars which cannot be claimed legally from a mainstream economy that has excluded people of color through systemic racism, prejudice, and discrimination – racial equality remains an illusion set against the anguish of these harsh realities.

Whose life matters in America? How do you tell black children to dream big in a world working to render them unseen?