Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What does this teach us about America?

Finally, the election has ended. The outcome startled many political pundits while fueling a chorus of “I told you so” from Trump supporters. Claims regarding a media conspiracy can be heard echoing in homes where Trump is the hope among those sick of Obama.
Many are left pondering what happened. How did America do this? What are they thinking?

The obvious conclusion is America is more divided than those experts speculated. There’s enough rage among voters to circumvent the work of the Obama Administration. Trump supporters will tell you they voted for Trump, but the truth is many cast votes against Obama. This election is a radical nullification of the ambitions set forth by Obama when he took office in 2008.
This election is about returning to post-Obama America.

This is not post-racial America

“We are now in a 21st-century post-partisan, post-racial society,” said Low Dobbs during his radio show in 2009. In was a thought many Americas held after the election of a black President. It was a landmark moment that signaled the end of systemic racism.”

"Chattel slavery and the legacies it left behind continue to shape American society,” wrote Anna Holmes in her New York Times column ‘America’s Post-racial Fantasy’. “Sometimes it seems as if the desire for a ‘post-racial’ America is an attempt by white people to liberate themselves from the burden of having to deal with that legacy.”

This election sends a message about voters impatience related to conversations involving race. They’ve had enough with “Black Lives Matter” and protest during the National Anthem. They’re tired of conversations involving police brutality and the deaths of unarmed black people. Votes don’t want to talk about race. They want to move past discussions involving inequality.

Could it be that this election ends discussions about post-racial America? If so, will there ever be an opportunity to revisit the possibility?

The need for theological reconstruction

This election forced critique involving the meaning of evangelical. More than before, theological suppositions were placed in the national spotlight in a way that undermined the purpose of the Church.

As conservative Christian rallied behind Trump, progressive Christian redefined the meaning of evangelical to foster dialogue involving the social justice agenda of the Church. The divergent views of the Church appeared on the stages of both national conventions.

The aftermath of this election leaves a pile of residue regarding a variety of theological presuppositions. Moving forward, how will churches define their relationships with members of the LGBTQIA community? What statements will be made involving positions on female leadership? What about interfaith dialogue as it relates to mounting Islamophobia? What theological language will be given to address what it means to be a welcoming community within the context of deportation? What about theological reflection that addresses the debilitating impact of poverty stirred by unpaid medical bills? How will churches address ongoing schisms resulting from implicit bias? How about women’s reproductive rights and other public policy issues that have significant theological implications?

Misogyny and Rape Culture

The election of Trump leaves America with a perplexing dilemma – how will we contend with the allegations involving sexual assault? What is the message sent by voters related to misogyny and rape culture?

It can be assumed that voters dismissed the claims of the women who accused Trump of assault. If so, moving forward, what language can be used to protect women from assault while not dismissing the merit of the complaints they make? Are we to assume America is a nation that refuses to honor the voices of women who boldly demand justice?

How do we validate and protect women from the approaches of powerful men after electing Trump? Are we to assume the emergence of new approaches related to sexual assault? If so, look for the characters on television to resemble an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”.

The death of the watchdog

On numerous occasions, Trump condemned the press for what he viewed as intrusion. In doing so, Trump has articulated the desire to alter the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Trumps delicate relationship with the press could significantly undermine the Amendment that prohibits government from enacting laws that abridge the freedom of speech.

What are American voters telling us about their views related to the press? In elevating Trump to the presidency, are we experiencing a splintering of trust between citizens and the press that could significantly alter the role of the press as the watchdog of government?

What does it all mean?

For some, last night was about making America great again. For others, it is the return to the rhetoric of the pre-Obama presidency. This election was a brawl for the soul of America’s conscious. Put another way, this election was about defining what it means to be America. Will we continue the quest for inclusion reflected in an ongoing quest to tackle a broad agenda? Or, will America be defined by an agenda built on the concerns of white, heterosexual, Christian and mostly male Americans?

On last night, diversity and inclusion lost, and America began a quest to be defined by those who controlled public policy before the Obama years.

Welcome back to business as usual.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Will America ever be sane again?

Will America recover after the election? A better question is will America ever be sane again?

That question comes with numerous assumptions. Those who support “The Donald” are hoping to “Make America Great Again”. They crave for the days when black and white television reflected the type of separation that kept people on opposite ends of the tracks. Being great was summed up as keeping black people removed from the American Dream.

Where are black people in “Leave it to Beaver”?

Great meant limiting leadership to white men who assumed credibility based on their ability to define the dream. The attainment of the dream was quantified by the type of country club status that influenced who deserved a seat at the table.

Greatness was life before words like inclusion and diversity established the terms for an equal playing field. It was before policies influenced by affirmative action sought to undo centuries of systemic racism and male domination. Great was about not giving a damn about how people outside white/male command felt about laws used to enforce subjugation.

While some desire to “Make America Great Again,” far too many have been denied the full benefits of greatness. It’s why some refuse to stand during the singing of the National Anthem. It’s why some scream “Black Lives Matter”. It’s why masses of people wanted to “Occupy Wall Street.” It’s also why people in Flint, Michigan demand clean water and women continue to request the right to decide what happens to their bodies.

Greatness is a subjective term. It depends on the background and culture of the person in question. The same applies to sanity. Like greatness, sanity is in the eyes of the beholder.

Will America ever be sane again?

Well, America has never been same. We are a nation defined by a thread of insane actions. Albert Einstein said “insane is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results”. If nothing else, America is a nation defined best by an ability to overcome insane actions.

In America, stupid is what stupid does. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.

It’s what we consistently overcome.

This election exposes the vastness of America’s diversity. Diversity is more than a way to describe unlike races, religions, gender identities and cultures. Diversity is about political ideologies and agendas. It’s about moral positions and opinions.

This is Democracy at its best. Democracy is about people yelling at one another because of their passion. It’s about believing in something enough to show up at rallies to endorse a candidate.  It’s about yelling at the top of your voice regarding the lame ways of the people who oppose your views. It’s also about believing the world will come to an end if your candidate loses.  For me, it means checking for discount tickets to get out of the country if Trump defeats Clinton.

It’s the big dint in democracy that makes it hit and miss. When you win, it feels good. When you lose, head for the hills because the Apocalypse is coming soon.

Face it. We are an imperfect nation prone to do stupid things. Insanity is what we do – over and over again. We may never be great in the way some people think, but it is our grappling with imperfection, and plugging holes in the dam, that makes becoming great a possibility.

Will America ever be sane again?

Nope. We have never been sane.

It’s the insanity of our process that makes America great. How else can you explain a system of government that places its trust on a bunch of insane people?

It’s not greatness I seek.

I prefer a life of freedom.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nate Parker's "Birth of a Nation" reveals the frustration of being stuck in the middle of impending change

There are things I’ve learned to help me maneuver around the myriad of issues and concerns that keep people rift by division.

Top on that list is the awareness that I am a man. My world view is shaped by the massive privilege afforded me due to my gender. Some would argue my maleness is offset by my blackness. In other words, the fact that I face discrimination based on my race offers me points to get me out of the privilege camp.

Sorry, not true. There are certain things that I can’t fully understand. It’s best to shut up, suck it up and listen. Case dismissed.

This has been my position related to Nate Parker, the man behind “Birth of a Nation”.  Arguably the best movie of 2016, the buzz following the Sundance Film Festival was enough to land Parker a record breaking distribution deal. Based on the insurrection led by Nat Turner, the movie tells a story not taught in high school American history. Far too many Americans haven’t heard about Turner, Denmark Vasey and Gabriel Posser.

As a black liberation theologian, I was thrilled when I heard about the movie. I revisited many of the books I’ve read over the years about the radical edge of black religion. My working thesis is black Christianity is the appropriation of white evangelical Christianity. I argue that the normalization of white Christianity in black churches was constructed during the post-reconstruction years. In an effort to affirm and justify the role of blacks in white public space, the nuances of white Christianity became more influential at the end of reconstruction.

The faith of Nat Turner, and other insurrectionist, was influential in crafting a counter religious claim that inspired revolution. Gayrud Wilmore, author of “Black Religion, Black Radicalism”, distinguishes black Christianity inspired by white evangelical thought from black religion which is rooted in the traditions of African religion and a desire for liberation.

When I heard of Parker’s movie, I was excited due to how it can be used to shift conversations related to how we talk about black faith in contemporary context. I’m mindful of the disconnection between the scholarships involving black religion versus how it is appropriated today in most black churches. The break between the historical journey of black religion and the practice of Christianity is noted in Raphael Warnock’s book “The Divided Mind of the Black Church.”

Little has been done to bridge the gap between history and practice. Packed on top of this divide is the population of theologically untrained clergy. Far too many churches are led by Biblical literalists who lack the theological tools, understanding of history and ability to communicate a message of faith not rooted in Eurocentric analysis.

“Birth of a Nation” has the potential of pressing these conversations. As a filmmaker determined to tell the story regarding black, radicalized religion, I’m saddened by what happened to “Birth of a Nation”. I’m hurt that people aren’t watching the movie. I’m disgusted that an opportunity to spread the message has been lost due to accusations from Parker’s past.

As Dante James (“Eye on the Prize”, “Slavery and the Making of America” and “This Far by Faith”) and I press to obtain funding for “God of the Oppressed”, this tragedy stirs inward hostility regarding the difficulties of telling black folk’s truth from a place not compromised by who funds the project.

Keep in mind that “Birth of a Nation” is not history. It’s a heavily fictionalized account of Turner’s revolution. It’s not a perfect movie. Black women didn’t get enough credit for their role in the revolt. There are parts left out, and there are things that should have made the final cut. This is part of the burden of filmmaking.

But, it’s an important message. It’s one that resonates with my work. I’m concerned that “God of the Oppressed” will be hindered by the poor box office numbers. I’m troubled that investors will respond with “I told you so.” You know, after everything said about the Academy Awards selection process, why should white people support black films.

I’m also disgusted, as a filmmaker, that the black community lacks significant funding streams to advance projects like “God of the Oppressed”.

But, again I say but, that’s not the point. The point is I’m not a woman. The point is I can’t feel what women feel. The point is I have no right to challenge women to support a work that stirs emotions that I will never fully understand.

I can talk about the challenges of filmmaking. I can discuss the need to educate people on the history of black faith. I can relate my personal anxiety related to the white washing of the black church. I can do all of that with a level of authority and integrity - but I’m not a woman.

So, here I am betwixt and between conflicting agendas. I listen to women talk about Parker’s lack of sensitivity involving the woman who accused him of rape. I understand their need for an apology to reflect sensitivity after she committed suicide. I’m listening, and God knows I want to understand.

But, once again I say but, I’m a filmmaker and theologian interested in telling that story. I’m caught in the middle, knowing the significance of each, while not dismissing the claims women make. Yes, I’m utterly confused due to my desire to listen. I’m baffled because it’s a story that must be told.

It has to be told.

But - there we go again.

So, I’m stuck in the middle of the need for change.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Durham School of the Art's enforces a ball of confusion

“I can’t talk with you. You’re not the parent,” Michelle Hunt, assistant principal at the Durham School of the Arts said.

“I’m with the parent,” I responded.

“I’m here, I give him permission,” the mother chimed in with the type of disdain that needed a few bad words to accent her feelings.

“I need it in writing,” Hunt said while rushing to avoid the subject.

“I can write it now,” the parent said.

“Talk to our lawyers,” were Hunt’s last words before leaving us in the middle of the hallway to process what had just happened.

The confrontation with Hunt followed an attempt to understand the suspension of a student for sexual harassment. The suspension was the result of a combination of hearsay evidence, loads of implicit bias that assumed the merits of a white, female’s version to a story about youth playing in the back of a bus and kids talking about a black boy and a white girl doing what kids often do.

It was all consensual. It all ended after he reached first base.

The boy in question is an honor student. He has more A’s than B’s and is the type of young man who will soon be courted by schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke and Stanford. His short-term plan is to apply for the North Carolina School of Math and Science. His academic credentials make him a prime candidate for the illustrious school.

This is a kid with professional parents. He’s never been in trouble. He spends his spare time reading books about astronomy and history. The only thing standing in the way of his becoming one of the nation’s who’s who is the time it takes to get from point A to point B.

So, why was he suspended?

That’s one of the questions I wanted to ask Hunt and David Hawks, principal at the School of the Arts before I was given the proverbial speak to the hand. I also wanted detailed information related to the process used to determine the need for a three day suspension.  I was seeking evidence from the system policy manual that justified the decision because I couldn’t find any.

Beyond my need for answers, I had a point to make. It’s a critical point involving the psychological burdens that black boys endure after being suspended. I felt compelled to give a quick lesson on how the decision could potentially damage the student.

What was make clear, based on the actions of Hunt, is a total lack of appreciation for the role advocates and parents play in protecting students from the damage of implicit bias. Her lack of respect for me, as an advocate, combined with a lack of support in meeting the demands of a concerned parent, sent a message that left both of us troubled.

She needed to hear how parents feel when their sons get labeled and harassed by their peers. She needed to consider how a suspension can feel like the beginning of a life deconstructing the positive self-imagery of a black boy. She needed to consider the process used to determine guilt, and how the race of his accuser titled the way she handled the investigation.

I would say more about the investigation, but, due to my desire to protect both students from further bullying, simply trust me. Oh, yes, this is a case of bullying. This boy has been bullied by both students and members of the staff. What happened was a witch hunt that assumed guilt versus a real conversation about moving forward after students began making fun of her and labeling him.

This is also about her being bullied. After the word spread regarding what happened, both students were bombarded by other students who craved the details on what happened. Sadly, the administration lacks the insight needed to bring healthy closure to this situation.

My research on the Durham School of the Arts has uncovered a sad truth. There is a vast disparity in the suspension of whites versus blacks. It is also clear that David Hawks tends to rule too harsh in the suspension of black boys. Beyond the apparent discrepancy reflected in those numbers, is a lack of passionate customer service. Hunt’s lack of patience in this case exposes a clear case of implicit bias.

I recommend some serious cultural sensitivity training for both Hunt and Hawkins. If not granted, I present to you evidence that suggest the need for rapid changes in leadership at the Durham School of the Arts.

Stay tuned-in for updates.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Plea bargain raises questions regarding justice

The sobs in the room said more than any statement could make. There’s no way to restore faith in a system that offers a maximum sentence of 44 years for the deaths of four young men.

“How do you sleep at night,” Lennis Harris Sr asked Rodrick Vernard Duncan, 36, with deep pauses aimed at fighting back the tears. “I don’t understand how a man can shoot people that they know, that they grew up with, that you laughed and played with as children, how can you lay them down, look them in the eye and shoot them in the head.”

Duncan pleaded guilty to the execution-style shootings of Lennis Harris, Jr.,24, Lajuan Coleman, 27, Jonathan Skinner, 26, and Jamel Holloway, 27. The frustration in the room intensified when the details of the murders were read.

It’s not enough, members of the families moaned after the plea agreement was announced -36-44 years in prison. The deep breaths could be felt when the district attorney said second degree murder. Not first degree, but something that felt like a devaluing of worth.

Was this the justice the family needed to end the torment that began in 2005?
“I don’t know how to sleep at night,” Stacey Harris, Lennis’ sister and Jonathan Skinner’s cousin said. She talked about the challenges of dating with no brother to talk about men.  “It’s hard for me to trust because of what you did.”

It’s been difficult for the family to move on since that day. Lennis Harris Sr told Duncan he would have been the fifth victim if not for the traffic following a fireworks display at Southpoint Mall.
“You missed one,” Harris said. “I wish I had been there so I wouldn’t have to deal with this.”

Duncan nodded as he listened to the grief he caused. I strained my eyes in search of tears or a body trembling to denote remorse deep enough to help soothe the families pain.
Is it ever enough?

How much does it take to help ease the pain?

Marsha Harris talked about love and forgiveness. She asked Duncan to become an example in prison. She said God has given her the strength to love Duncan.

“I can’t do that,” Lennis Harris Sr said as his wife Donnamaria robbed his back and I handed him another tissue to wipe the tears. “Not now, I can’t do it now.”

Was this the justice the family prayed for when they marched around the police headquarters? Was this enough to balance the rage stirred by years of waiting? Why did it take so long to arrest the three men who interpreted a video game match to kill sons, nephews and cousins that day? What happened to the others involved?

The left side of the room was stacked with members of the family. A few reporters took notes and recorded imagines for the evening newscast. On the right side of the room, a handful of family friends and legal professionals took up a few seats.

“We are in mourning because our sons black lives did not matter enough for the community to protest, rally, demand justice and give up the killers,” Donnamaria Harris, Lennis Sr’s wife, wrote in a text message sent the next day. “We are mourning because the black community only demands justice when a white officer kills a person of color.”

Harris asked a series of important questions.

Where are the marches and protest when black men kill black men? Why does the community fall silent, deaf and blind when they know the identities of those who kill black men?

“Why can’t black lives matter enough for people to turn in the criminals who live among us,” Harris writes.

We departed the room with an emptiness roused by a plea bargain that cheapened the lives taken. How much is the life of a black man worth? Why did it take so long, and why this conclusion?
Is it ever enough?

How much does it take to make the tears go away – 50 years, 100 years, six life sentences? What does it take to make the nightmare go away?

The walk from the eighth floor courtroom to the parking deck was dreamlike movement that hoped for answers in between each step. Each of us wondered what would come next. The conclusion bonded those confused by the sentence.

The nightmare hasn’t ended. The pain we carried into court will follow us the rest of our lives. There will be no march begging for justice. There will be no speeches about the cruelty of a system that attached 44 years as punishment for the death of four men.

It’s never enough.

It’s never enough because black lives matter.

Lennis Harris Jr., Lajuan Coleman, Jonathan Skinner, Jamel Holloway – say their names.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In search of the North Star: Looking for a place to call home

It may be un-American to consider running in the direction of the North Star to a land on the other side of the border. But, why not? As long as a wall hasn’t been built keeping disgruntled Americans out of Canada, why not consider life on the other side of American white privilege?

Running away from death and an unequal standard of living isn’t new for black people living in America. For as far back as we can trace history away from Africa, black people have grappled to find a safe place to plant seeds for the future. We know the stories of trips along the “Underground Railroad” and the numerous “Slave Rebellions” led by men and women who were sick and tired of lashes on their backs.

Black people ran North before and after two world wars because of the common sight of lynching’s and burning crosses. It happened due to black people fighting for their fair share of that American Dream. Running away from death and subjugation is part of the American saga that adds to the divide between Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream and Malcolm X’s nightmare.

Black people have endured being caught in the middle of being nice and getting killed. For as long as most can remember, learning how to address white people with guns and a badge is added to the curriculum of elementary school education. The lessons of the post-slavery era prepared black people for survival among people fuming because Mr. Lincoln said let those people go.

Contending with the “what if” seemingly never vanishes. “What if” the police stop you in the middle of the night? “What if” you find yourself vulnerable because the person with the gun lacks the patience to hear the rest of your story.

I hear grandma singing “I feel like running my last mile home”.

The worst part of not running are the emotions that come with staying. Those who don’t get “it” assume all is well among those stuck in pondering the “what if”. People not forced to contemplate those questions envision a world filled with the type of “milk and honey” promised long ago to those lingering in the wilderness. Listening to them tell your story leads to the conclusion the Promised Land was entered between 1970 and last week.

That’s hard to accept when running remains a viable option for those tired of listening to commentary regarding how it’s all a figment of the imagination.

I feel like running whenever a person calls me racist for saying “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter”. I feel like running whenever a person questions my version of Christianity because I’m sick of black folks having to forgive while white people continue to poke fun at my interpretation of inclusion.  I feel like running whenever I watch a video of a black person taking a bullet. I want to hide and scream after a white person tells me there’s no justifiable reason to prosecute the police officer who pulled the trigger or pushed Freddie in the back of a van.

I feel like running when being black is justification for murder and the courts don’t care.

It’s mentally draining listening to others define your reality.

Where can you run when stupid shows up everywhere you look? Forest Gump told us “stupid is what stupid does,” and stupid shows up often in America.

Doing stupid isn’t new, but a good part of the recent stupid is targeted at black people. Maybe it’s because Obama is running the show. Maybe it’s because black people refuse to continue to bow to the stupid assumptions white people make. Or, maybe stupid has always been there to keep eyes pointed in the direction of the North Star.

Stupid shows up in a variety of ways and places. Shucks, some claim I’m the ambassador of stupidity due to my analysis of faith in public space. I’ll own that. Maybe it takes stupid to know stupid. If that’s true, most of us are caught in the web of doing stupid things.

We’re trapped with nowhere to go.

How far North can you run before it gets too cold to run anymore?

Canada seems like a logical place to run if Trump wins the election due to the stupid Republicans and Democrats intent on running the show. Between the Republicans who want to make “America Great Again” and the progressives who refuse to vote for Hilary, we’re just a few steps away from stupid controlling the whole show.

None of this is new to black folks. It is mind-blowing that it follows the election of the first black President. Like the release of the Kracken in the “Clash of the Titans”, electing Obama was the can of whip ass America needed to expose the deep-rooted stupidity they hid during the day.

Between the stupidity of “Bernie or Bust” and the cruelty of “Build the wall, build the wall!” black and brown people are left glaring like the emperor lost his clothes and thinks it’s a fashion statement. Well, stupidity is not fashionable, it’s simply stupid.

Bags packed and ready to go.

Darn it! There’s nowhere to go.

I’m still searching for a nation I can call home.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Stacy Dash lives in a place called "clueless"

Stacy Dash wasn’t among the many who became instant Jesse Williams fans after his speech at the BET Awards.

"That chip on the shoulders of people like you will weigh you down and keep you from flying free," Dash wrote in a blog post. "But true freedom is never free. You have to know how to fly. If anyone is making you feel this way it's you. Living in a psychological prison of your own making. If anyone is GHETTO-IZING anyone, it’s people like you letting the BETs and other media outlets portray us in stereotypes."

It is another example of Dash making comments that match the television show that made her a celebrity. Some say she’s clueless.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: BET is keeping racism and segregation alive and this past Sunday's awards show proves it," the 49 -year-old said of Williams’ speech. "Particularly the speech given by Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams, whose tirade after receiving the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award for his black activism was nothing short of an attack on white people."

Dash has a way of standing on the right side of the conservative right. It’s hard to believe Damon Dash’s cousin has resorted to promoting Donald Trump and attacking any black person who screams “Black Lives Matter”. OMG, what about the white people?

This coming from a woman who began her career as the superfine model in Carl Thomas’ and Kayne West’s music videos. Hate saying it, but we liked her better when she showed more and said less. Slap me for the sexist remark, but can someone remind Dash that she personified what objectification looks like?

"You’ve just seen the perfect example of a HOLLYWOOD plantation slave!" Dash continues. "Sorry, Mr. Williams. But the fact that you were standing on that stage at THOSE awards tells people you really don’t know what your [sic] talking about. Just spewing hate and anger."

Insert the image of white people offering a standing ovation. You go girl! Where do we send the check? There’s more. Dash claims Williams is the one getting paid.

"You my man are just like everyone else hustling to get money," Dash writes. "But your cognitive dissidents has you getting it from THAT BYSTANDER whom YOU DON'T NEED. Yes. BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION is WHITE OWNED."

Dash was responding to one of the more powerful lines in Williams’ speech.

"The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job, all right? Stop with all that," Williams said. "If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest -- if you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down."

That was the moment that shifted the stage into a pulpit and landed everyone in the crowd on their feet. It was that transcendent occurrence that black Americans have been waiting for since BET sold-out to imagines of women showing their goodies to lyrics about their being bitches and a ATM machine.

It was a come to Jesus moment that reminded black people that stuff is happening in places like Ferguson.  It happened after we saw stuff burning on the stage while rappers spitted lyrics that require a few double-takes to understand.

Bump that! Yo, it’s time to get past the cognitive dissonance regarding the deaths of black people. Williams was talking to those in the room. In doing so, he whipped their ass for failing to move beyond the conflicting messages reflected in some of their music. He challenged them to consider the madness caused by the disparity many of them represent.

Yo, what you gonna do with your success? What does it mean for you to show up, get your 40 acres and two mules while black folks are getting shot down like it’s target practice at the OK Chorale? Excuse the grammar lapse, because that ain’t OK.

Williams was making a statement about the music we make and the distance created by those who refuse to show up when the body count rises. He was reminding us of the radicalism that took place back in the day when people, with all shades of black, were denied what they deserved to be paid. He was reminding all of us that we have a right not to be killed.

There’s nothing to debate when it comes to what Williams said. Right?

Surprise, surprise. Leave it up to confused black people to find a reason to dispute a common sense moment. Let’s make a list.

Williams is not black enough. I mean, look at his mama. Oh, why does it take a light skinned, almost white negro to get folks to listen? You know, he has to be light-skinned to assert credibility. It’s the old argument regarding shades of credibility, or this black person means more than the other.

Bruh, this ain’t Sesame Street. When it comes to racism, all of these things belong with the other. Proving blackness based on the concentration of melanin a person carries fails to acknowledge a simple truth. Racist don’t apply the brown bag test. It only takes one drop of black blood to end up on the wrong side of privilege.

Maybe Dash failed to get the memo. You know, the one signed by all the people who said “Nigger” behind her back. That memo that list all the times doors were locked when she showed up in search of an opportunity.  Or, maybe her curves and good looks were enough, in the minds of some, to create space for her to walk in places denied the women who didn’t fit he G-string.

OMG, stop talking about white people! Really. I mean, really though!  

There must be a special place reserved for black people who condemn other blacks for doing the heavy lifting.

I call it clueless.