Finding Peace in a World of Chaos

Young Timothy, without a care in the world.
Young Timothy, without a care in the world.

This morning while wrestling with my son it dawned on me how distracted we are as Americans. Distraction has come to be a defining characteristic of our nature as Americans. Many point to technology as the culprit, and I partly agree. The internet and social media is both the bane of our existence and the benefit we’d always hoped for in the past. The ability to access information in seconds is crucial to solving complex and perilous global problems. However, because of the availability of information our lives our less our own.

I thought for a long time this morning trying to recollect how many people I know who actually enjoy diverse lives. How many people do you know who complete at least 5 things each and every day which are of benefit only to themselves, only to their families and only to society as a whole? For a moment consider the discipline it requires to embrace each day with this level of mental and spiritual fortitude and endurance. Most spend the bulk of their lives doing one of these things well, and only one. Very few people I’ve met can master numerous areas, and subsequently, achieve a fulfilling life of balance.

Perhaps the myriad of distractions account for the lack of diversity in our lives. How many people do you know that actually exercise everyday?; educate their children about their unique identity culturally, ethnically, and spiritually everyday?; who also everyday give of their time, whether a little or a lot, to someone else when such action boomerangs no tangible reward back to the giver?

Of course most of us spend at least 8 hours each day working to benefit someone else’s bottom line, but who do you know who challenges themselves to persist with their own goals and dreams while working for others, until it becomes unnecessary to do so further? Much can be said on this count; in many ways America has exploited technology to the detriment of the worker. Instead of technology allowing for less time spent working than in the past, today we work more than ever before. It’s very difficult to achieve a balanced life when you’re working 50-plus hours a week so that your boss can purchase his son a yacht somewhere. This is the price many are willing to pay in order to live a comfortable domestic life. But at what cost?

By the time my son dozed off for his late morning nap I’d come to the realization that I have serious work to do in order to become more engaged in creating the life I desire rather than, kind of, meandering each day, stumbling from one distraction (whether important or trivial) to another; all of it too often serving to sedate the energy required to bring about my best life. It goes without saying that there’s potential benefit to, say, staying abreast with important news and enjoying entertainment, but it becomes counterproductive when these things are enjoyed at the expense of activities which inspire personal, familial, and societal growth.

The hardest part is that it is possible to be productive living in this perpetual state of imbalance. Many of my friends and family have refined this style of living and parlayed it into, at least by monetary standards, success. But deep down all of us know success in life cannot be measured by bank balances and stock options. It is this inherent understanding which has always haunted me, especially in a society like America, where the obsession for money pervades even charity. It’s difficult and dangerous to go against the tidal wave and find the type of balance which allows for one to experience emotional, mental, and spiritual wholeness.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have crossed paths with at least a few individuals who do enjoy diverse lives, and they are indeed some of the most compassionate, empathetic, generous, loyal and loving people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. They live lives of balance and the universe rewards them. Their example provides a center by which to home in a world of chaos.

In Fact, We’ve Been Here Always

The Mountaintop Project is a multi-year effort to restore Monticello as Jefferson knew it, and to tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation.
The Mountaintop Project is a multi-year effort to restore Monticello as Jefferson knew it, and to tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation.
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 if I told you over the past 20 years violent crime has dropped (except Chicago, more on that later)?

What if I told you that use of illegal narcotics (excluding marijuana) hasn’t increased in the lat 10 years?

What if I told you that there is less unemployed people today then there were 6 years ago?

What if I told you that in the last 20 years the biggest larcenies, unjustified killings of innocent people, and destruction of private property was committed not by ordinary citizens but by large multi-national banks and the United States government?

Wouldn’t you then be curious as to why American police officers are armed to the teeth, hyper-aggressive, bordering on psychopathic killing machines? Why are police being trained to behave this way against ordinary citizens? Call me naive, but most people are merely trying to live in peace and protect and love those who love them; and at their best love more. But innocence is being crucified for all eyes to see nightly on the mainstream news, the bodies are mostly black and brown. And for all the black-on-black crime connoisseurs, look, Tamir Rice was playing outside and that choice alone resulted in him being the victim of a Cleveland Police Department drive-by, lets not forget that.

(When I witness the carnage carried out by cops in America I wonder whether we sent the wrong group of our boys to Iraq and Afghanistan; perhaps if we’d sent these savages far more of the 6,000-plus slain soldiers would’ve made it back home from fighting wars which never should’ve been waged in the first place.)

The ongoing destruction taking place in American streets is amplified yet again with the recent killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the ever-growing list of black homicides in Chicago.

Where is the government response to either situation?

I’ve seen conversations at barbershops and nail salons among black people debating black-on-black crime vs. police brutality that were more proactive than our federal government’s response, which to this point has been anemic, and I believe the federal government has aggravated an intolerable circumstance even more by granting virtual immunity by refusing to prosecute dirty cops and corrupt district attorneys.

Hard working American citizens are paying tax dollars to train these racist robots disguised as oath-sworn officers of the law to murder people of color and anyone else who doesn’t conform to ultra-conservative manners, attitudes, lifestyles, and politics. We are all contributing one way or another to these deaths, it is all of our responsibility to solve it. In a nation full of so-called scholars and statesman is this the best America can produce to protect every day people? Aren’t we supposed to be the most civilized nation in the world?

America, however, possesses no shame in these matters. The first black president (whatever that’s worth to you) sits idle as the sons and daughters of his ancestors are mowed down in American streets like plantation sugarcane of times past. And Obama has the power to alleviate the suffering. I witnessed the National Guard on the streets of my hometown following the death of Michael Brown. Obama has the power to use federal reserve troops and federal resources to train and supplement officers in historically troubled police departments who have been plagued by racist practices and high-profile incidents of police brutality. Our military members swear an oath just as police officers do except their duty is to protect this country against threats both foreign and domestic, and I peradventure to say what we are presently living through; with black homicides skyrocketing in Chicago and levels of police bias untenable nationwide – is far more dire than a threat to peaceful domestic life.

Perhaps president Obama is no different than other presidents who punted on issues of racial violence against those of African descent. The James Madison’s and Thomas Jefferson’s of the world showed a similar inability to muster moral outrage beyond musings in personal diaries, which in that period might as well have been an 18th century Facebook post; of which our present president seems most keen in moments where more is required in the 21st century.

Where we are now we’ve been before. In fact, in America, we’ve been here always.

5 Justice Strategies (for Blacks) after Police Shootings

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.

Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of victim Philando Castile, sat in the driver’s seat as Castile was killed by a Minnesota police officer. Their daughter witnessed the killing too, she was in the backseat. Castile had a concealed-carry permit to possess a firearm on his person, and according to Reynolds, his legal gun may have contributed to his death. Details are still sketchy as of this writing, but we do have Ms. Reynolds account. However, watching the above video made me wonder why Black victims speak to the media at all following the deaths of their loved ones. Perhaps it’s very difficult to bottle such strong emotion; this is understandable, but considering how similar choices have panned out for other families who’ve been victimized by police and vigilantes, silence would seem to be golden in these situations, but yet one family after another can’t seem to remain silent even when doing so may contribute to a more just conclusion.

In light of this phenomena I’m compelled to lend a few points for consideration. With all due respect to victims and victims’ families, a short list of commonsense strategies to increase the probability of justice being served following the killing of loved ones by police officer:

1. Talking to the media in this manner is helping the other side protect the cop who killed your loved one.

Notice the stark contrast in behavior between the cop who killed someone and the victims family following the shooting? The cop is always silent. Even assisted to be silent by his colleagues. Most are placed on admin. leave until the investigation is concluded. This is to keep the cop out of the public eye and hopefully his mouth shut. The more you talk, the more you help the other side poke holes in your recollection of events.

2. Providing detailed accounts to the media of what took place is counterproductive; we should’ve learned this lesson after Michael Brown in Ferguson.

The more witnesses talked the less credibility they were perceived to have. Credible witnesses don’t talk to the media, this is the perception whether right or wrong, respect it. Try your best to shut up and only talk to those who love you. The people who love you and those concerned already know that America is racist, you’re preaching to the choir, and those who are assigned to possibly punish the cop who killed your loved one are rarely convinced to act morally by crying mothers, wives, baby mommas, and black ministers / attorneys seeking their 15 minutes of fame at your families expense.

3. The media does not count as a loved one.

The media is there to capture a compelling story. Where there’s no story, there’s no media. They aren’t your friends and they don’t love you. They are being paid to cover your tragedy with whatever slant their readers/ viewers most enjoy. How many media members are still patrolling Ferguson? Sanford, FL? The corner Eric Garner died on? None are there despite the fact that the conditions which accounted for these deaths remains unchanged.

4. Reaching out to black ministers and black attorneys (who aren’t trying your case in court; who are merely talking heads on cable news shows) will not help you.

Hell, Dr. King couldn’t help you if he were still alive. This is not a spiritual problem, therefore spiritual solutions are not affective. And mere moralizing to a crowd is futile at best and at worst counterproductive and destructive to resolving your case.

Remember Attorney Crump who represented Trayvon Martin’s and Michael Brown’s parents following their sons deaths? Remember all that media coverage and talk about each case? Remember how despite all the detailed talk by Crump and others, and even possible legal strategies being discussed on national television, nothing befitting justice materialized? Talking too damn much is at least partly responsible for subsequent injustice.

5. Stop begging white racists and systems based on white supremacy to give you justice.

Both exist to protect white interests alone. It doesn’t matter how grizzly the video, how emotional the reaction, how violent the protest, it doesn’t matter. If it ain’t about protecting white interests your tears are useless. Don’t we know that yet? Without a real strategy it’s only a matter of time for us all.

Rest in peace Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Freddie Grey, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown…

Police Dreams

bad boys

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.

When I was a child I had dreams of being a police officer. I used to watch tv shows like 21 Jump Street, Magnum P.I., Jake and the Fatman, and Hawaii 5-0 and imagine myself using wits and a gun to rescue people from danger. The profession of police officer seemed so cool to me, even honorable. Dangerous, yes, but respectable.

In my pre-teen years, everyone I knew generally liked police officers. Cops were the ones you called if you ever had the misfortune of finding yourself in serious shit, they were the ones who calmed your fears and told you everything was going to be alright. They wore crisp uniforms and shiny badges which appealed to my sartorial taste. When their friends died in the line of duty they shut down the streets, honored them with 21-gun salutes and American flags draped over their caskets. According to the tv shows I consumed, cops were intelligent, crafty, resourceful, and courageous – all characteristics I greatly admired. In my young mind there wasn’t much of a downside to choosing law enforcement officer as profession.

By the time the film Bad Boys arrived in theaters, spring 1995, I couldn’t wait to get through middle school and high school so that I could enlist in the St. Louis Police Academy. I’d be just like Will Smith’s character “Mike Lowery”: handsome, charismatic, funny, brave, and of course armed with plenty of sleek-looking pistols to keep criminals in check. It was a dream, but an attainable one. Certainly much more attainable than a college degree or being an entrepreneur, or so I thought then.

It wasn’t until I began attending high school in inner-city St. Louis that my perspective on police began transforming from the idealistic view I held as a kid. Prior to high school, I was educated at private, religious schools, although my socio-economic condition didn’t mirror that of my white peers. I lived just a stone’s throw from the heart of the ghetto. My mother was somewhat of a miracle worker the way she sheltered me from the dangers taking place on the other side of our front door. I didn’t have neighborhood friends, I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at kids’ houses who lived in my community. My mother was very religious, so there’s that too. In short, my worldview was very limited, but I was safe. The trade-off made by countless parents of color rearing children in dangerous environments. Therefore, my perspective of the world didn’t extend beyond tv, books, church, and school. Subjects like racism, American slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration were never discussed in those quaint classrooms led by privileged, middle-aged females – all of them white.

In school I was lied to often, especially regarding history and the conditions existing in the country which disenfranchised people of color. For example, Rodney King happened and I can’t remember one teacher or administrator speaking about it. When the O.J. Simpson verdict was announced, however, a television was pushed into the cafeteria for students and teachers alike, as if the first moon walk was about to take place – or a lynching. At that time, I didn’t realize the implications of the frowns and utter disgust I saw on white teacher’s faces and the stayed grins of black custodians when the jury found Simpson: NOT GUILTY.

In high school it was nearly an everyday occurrence to see resource officers slamming kids’ faces into desk or taking them roughly to the ground to slap handcuffs on their wrist. Very few of these situations warranted such force. I’d hear officers curse kids and brag to one another about how they’d “put that bitch in check.” One of the more violent scenes I witnessed was when an officer dragged a mentally-challenged boy down three flights of stairs by his collar because a teacher said he wouldn’t be quiet during an exam. This abuse of power didn’t square with what I’d always thought police officers stood for, “Serving the public and protecting the innocent.”

These incidents is what provoked me to begin serious research into the history of law enforcement in America, and what I discovered was nothing like Magnum P.I. nor 21 Jump Street. I learned that many of the first organized “police” forces in this country were actually slave catchers whose job was to return runaway slaves to plantation owners. The idea of serving and protecting began to take on a different meaning. I had to ask myself whether the police violence taking place in my high school mirrored the very worst techniques and policies of times past, and whether or not the police actually existed to serve white interests and protect white property rather than chase down bad guys and rescue helpless dames.

My dreams of wearing a badge dissolved the deeper I researched this bloody history. The older I got I began to hear stories from close friends about being regularly harassed for driving in certain neighborhoods after basketball practice. I even had a buddy who was accused of possessing crack cocaine after a cop unlawfully entered his grandmother’s home without a warrant. It took him years to disentangle himself from the criminal court system.

Of course my time would come too. I’ve been racially profiled more times than I care to remember, thankfully, these events never escalated beyond officers being verbally abusive or too rough when placing me in custody for crimes I didn’t commit.

Then Mike Brown happened (in my hometown!) and Jamal Crawford, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland, and that’s just a short list of the carnage inflicted on unarmed Americans by law enforcement in the past two years. I fail to fathom how any reasonable person can witness these unnatural deaths and still refuse to hold those with power responsible.

Are all police officers dirty, of course not, but it seems utterly ridiculous to even have to qualify these deaths with such a disclaimer. Because truth be told, if the good cops policed the bad cops innocent Americans would still be alive.

America is Going to Hell

Fire+and+Brimstone

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.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to wake up most days and not believe America is going to hell. Yes, hell. The fiery place the Christian bible speaks of. The eternal volcano which will burn the souls of those who die with wicked hearts and unforgivable transgressions. And I’m not even a religious man, I don’t attend church and I refuse to publicly profess my faith to anyone like some choose to do (it’s personal). I’m certainly not trying to convert others to believe as I do, but when I turn on my television or log on to social media, again and again, I’m greeted with yet another story of cops shooting unarmed kids or “quiet loners” walking into churches or schools blasting innocent people away from their loved ones forever – America is going to hell. Hell, whether real or imagined, seems the only place fit for those who perpetrate these acts of violence as well as those who protect their right to do so by refusing to do anything to prevent future mass shootings.

Now we can talk about racism and police brutality, I often do, we can spend valuable time discussing institutional bias and homophobia, poverty and sexism, all important issues to address, all play some role in why people die of unnatural causes, usually by guns, but what ever happened to human decency? The idea that I will not harm another person or seek to smash their potential simply because I dislike their opinions or faith or gender or skin color. What are we afraid of and why does it make us kill one another? James Baldwin gave us some insight in his seminal work “The Fire Next Time”:

“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”

When I watched the video of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke pumping 16 bullets into Laquan McDonald’s body I knew Dyke was not, as Baldwin said, “confronting with passion the conundrum of life.” I doubt he ever took a moment to consider the conditions which exist on the south side of Chicago which guided a 17-year-old black boy to take PCP and ignore police officer’s commands. It’s also unlikely Dyke cared anything about the policies which created Chicago ghettos to begin with; the ghettos he was assigned to patrol. Now he (finally)faces first-degree murder charges, but this is after evidence was released which shows the Chicago police department along with the district attorney’s office, possibly even the mayor, tried for over a year to cover up the shooting.

Just yesterday morning two individuals in San Bernardino, CA entered a government agency that provides programs and services for people with disabilities and began shooting. The end result, 14 dead and 21 wounded. These terrorists sacrificed all the beauty of their lives and the lives of those they took, and for what? The motive for the shootings is still sketchy as of this writing, but it’s predictable what the reason will be: Hate.

Hate takes many forms but the result is always death; hate destroys the beautiful and replaces it with fear. Could this be why gun sales are through the roof? Love does not need to be protected with a gun, but hate requires heavy artillery. Fear of death and the apparatuses we use to prevent it is nothing more than a crutch; a false sense of safety. Yet so many waste their lives trying to escape the inescapable when danger is and will always be omnipresent.

When will we forego our preoccupation with death and become responsible for life and love?

Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton – Laughter Without Joy

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.

[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.

image

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.

Ms. Picture Perfect

Queen Aset
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 Died for Bree Newsome’s Sins

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.

(A Poem) Where Do We Go From Here?

w_e_b_dubois

w_e_b_dubois

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?

Christopher Emanuel: The Myth of the Dead-Beat Dad

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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.