Why Do You Care? Isaiah Washington, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Political Twitter Beef

Today, the Jasmine Brand, posted an article detailing an e-argument between Isaiah Washington and Yvette Nicole Brown. This comes on the heels of Isaiah Washington, former Grey’s Anatomy actor, expressing his political beliefs on Twitter. If the term “e-argument” hasn’t helped you figure it out yet, Washington is a Conservative. He’s also Black (for those of you who have been living in an underground tunnel for all of the 2000s.

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Contender #1: The respondent

Anybody who has remotely lived through the woke revolution of the 2010s knows that being a Conservative is bad enough. Being a Black Conservative is akin to being the troll under the bridge in The Three Billy Goats Gruff fairytale (at least in some circles). That’s why it’s no surprise that after it was announced that Washington had procured his own show on Fox Nation, Yvette Nicole Brown piped in to express her opinions on the matter. I attached the link to the Jasmine Brand article and you can go there to see the screenshots of the exchange, but needless to say, they are a gumbo of unsolicited opinions, allegations of name-calling, actual name-calling, pot/kettle analyses (Brown worked for Disney and yes, Disney was a known racist), other intra-race based insults (ie. coon and mammy), and finally, shade thrown in reference to career trajectories.

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Contender #2: The instigator, tbqh

I sat back reading this exchange the way I always read nonsense e-beef; with a hot cup of coffee and listening to Spotify. Being a human being, I’m completely attracted to spectacle. I’m especially fascinated by the rich and famous arguing online because if I had their salary and connections, I’d be doing so much more than wasting time on what someone I didn’t ask says about me. Ironically, earlier this week, I asked my Black FB friends who dislike Black Conservatives why they don’t like Black Conservatives. The answers varied and I plan to do a blog on that topic soon. But, for now, I just wonder…

why do you care?

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I’m not new to this disagreement thing. I’ve been in enough catty FB groups to get the hang of e-beef. And I know with Donald Trump as POTUS, people have stepped it up a notch with the expression of their political stance. I get it. But, it’s always intriguing to me when nonsensical blowups like Washington v. Brown happen because when I first heard about Washington’s deal with Fox Nation several days ago, my reaction was…nothing. In fact, when Washington came out as a Trump supporter and Conservative, I had the same reaction I’d have reading a story about how Cheez-Its are made which is, “oh, okay.”

Am I saying that Yvette Brown was wrong to express her opinion about his signing to Fox Nation? No. People can say what they want. That’s supposed to be one of the great things about this nation. First Amendment and shit. But, as we all agree, that doesn’t make you free from people’s reactions. I don’t see the benefit of an e-fight that ends with me digitally abusing my keyboard by typing my hardest and fastest.

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Yvette admonishes him about selling his soul and that all money ain’t good money (African-American proverb). Short of pimping or selling crack to the parents of orphans, I don’t understand the uproar over what someone (I presume) you’re not even friends with chooses to align themselves politically with. The best part is when Yvette says she’s going to block him riiiiiiiiiiiiight after she says something nice about him. She calls him a good actor and then continues to engage.

Some of you may think that I’m taking Isaiah’s side by the tone of this post. Not really. However, it costs nothing to say nothing; and Yvette had to have known that retweeting his apparent good news and adding, “Remember children, all money ain’t good money & not all skin folks are kin folk” wasn’t going to go over well. It should be noted that Isaiah didn’t respond until two days later so one could argue that he could have just let that one go since the 36-hour attention span of this generation had passed.

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I’m sure that a little forethought from either party would have avoided that clusterfuck salad with a side of vinegar dressing. We are responsible for our own political ideologies, beliefs, opinions, and all that other good stuff. I think it’s useless to be worried about what someone we don’t even particularly know thinks or does as long as there is no direct harm (and yeah, I know some of you think being Conservative is inherently harmful to mankind). This need to be caped crusaders or swoop in to comment or school everybody takes away valuable time from what you do support. I don’t know either of these actors but if I asked, I’m sure at least one of them would say that if they could turn back time, that’s not the Twitter “conversation” they’d have given their time to.

 

 

                                                       Support my ass!

Cabbage Soup Diet & Politics: I Agree With Obama

 

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This week, several publications reported on statements that former President Barack Obama made at a private dinner geared towards Liberals who were rich enough to attend (ok, I added that last part). Here’s what he said to the donors at the Democracy Alliance gathering:

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” he said at the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Of course, liberals (particularly of the SJW type), jumped all over that comment and Obama in general. They viewed it as weak and proof (retroactive, of course) that Obama was and is every bit the “puppet” that they claim all politicians are. These people swear fo’ gawd that they indeed want to tear the system down, and some even assert that this is proof that Obama is really more of a less right-leaning Republican.

Well, this will probably get me #cancelled but I actually agree with Obama. Why? Let’s look at what he said. He said this is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. I see no lie. If America were interested in revolution, it’d have already happened by now.

The dictionary defines “revolution” as the forcible overthrow of the government. By that definition, Black folks alone would have burned this place to the ground long before any of us were born and if not, they’d (we’d) have done it by now.

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Even in the midst of the severe income inequality that everyone claims to be pissed about, the most physical demonstration of that anger was Occupy Wall St. where a bunch of mostly white kids agreed to sit on the sidewalk in NY’s financial district holding signs, chanting, playing lutes, and not showering. And if I had to guess, because of white privilege, most of those kids are just fine now and their participation is now something they can tell their children and grandchildren they did to seem cool.

Some revolution!

Obama went further to advise current candidates to watch the policies they are pushing. He verbalized immigration as one of these policy hot buttons. For example, Julian Castro, once an Obama official, has proposed decriminalizing illegal entry (which I find funny because as much as progressives tout the more liberal policies of other countries, they forget that most countries view illegal entry as a crime and will send you back…but anywho…).

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But here’s the best part of what Obama said:

“Voters, including Democrats, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain left-leaning Twitter feeds, or the activist wing of our party,” he said. “And that’s not a criticism to the activist wing. Their job is to poke and prod and text and inspire and motivate. But the candidate’s job, whoever that ends up being, is to get elected.

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I think that last line is the closer. My personal opinion is that to be successful in politics, you have to find the public sweet spot. Many of the people criticizing Obama forget that he won two presidential elections and in his other political positions, he only lost once. It’s obvious that his statements at this dinner, along with statements he made back in October about cancel culture, are really his advice against trying to run on unsustainable or sensational platforms. I’ve said before that a candidate who has never held a position can promise the moon and stars but when they get in the office and see what’s what, they may realize that what they promised is not feasible.

Voters like myself are not listening for buzzwords and looking for shiny objects and moving parts. We want to hear realistic and actionable platforms that make sense and don’t sound like something picked up from watching a Barney marathon while high on LSD.

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A lot of progressives want to see a cabbage soup diet platform but since the consensus seems to be just defeating Trump (or in his absence the GOP challenger), that strategy where you treat the constituents like 6 year-olds let loose in the Lego Store, is not going to work.

I do believe that people have high expectations for the 2020 campaign season and election, but the Dems (should have) learned in 2016 that the opposing candidate being an unqualified buffoon is not enough to win. So I think it’s worth paying attention to Obama’s advice.

 

Stop Whining: The Wayward Daughter’s Thoughts On Spoilers

Power, Grey’s Anatomy, HTGAWM, American Horror Story…

These are a few of the shows I luuuurve. Although I have access to cable, I hate commercials so I end up streaming them the day (or two or three) after they air. I’m good with that.

I’m also good with people sharing their thoughts on the episodes on social media even though I haven’t seen the episode.

Why?

Cause I’m not a big baby.

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Granted, I’m clearly a creative. It’s impossible to spoil a television show for me because I have to experience it myself for it to matter. So, you can tell me the ending of every television show that’s hot right now. I’m still going to watch it because the creative journey is everything for me.

 

But, you crybabies who get on social media and demand that everyone take a vow of television silence until YOU see an episode are annoying. It’s nobody’s fault that you had to work, or cook the Shabbat brisket, or go to choir practice when a lot of people’s favorite shows are broadcast.

“If YoU tAlK aBoUt PoWer, I wIlL bLoCk Yeeeeew.”

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Sitcho’ ass down somewhere! Who are you? Princess of TV? Queen of networks?

I picture your puerile asses standing on your couch with a blanket tied around your shoulders like Superman holding your remote control like a sceptre and crying while you tell everyone else whose credit card information was current on their Hulu account to not talk about an episode that’s two days old or to wait until you decide to watch it.

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You have a choice. You can unplug from social media within the 24-48 hours of the programming so you won’t know anything until you watch. But apparently, that’s too hard for many of you and I don’t understand why.

Either way, stop trying to boss the rest of the people around because you had shit to do the night your show came on and are running behind. You’re the same people who show up late to a dinner party and get mad because everybody else started eating without you.

Seek help!

 

Can We NOT? Rules For Election 2020

We’re about a year out from the 2020 presidential election. Having lived through the 2016 election and the myriad e-slap fights between the people who voted for Bernie Sanders or abstained and the Hillary supporters, I feel like it’s not too early to express my desires for next year’s campaign and election cycle. 

I was hoping to wait until the Democrats had decided on a sole candidate but something deep inside me feels that we need to address this now and probably have a couple of review sessions in 2020. With that said, I present to you the top 3 things that I DO NOT want to witness during the 2020 campaign season.

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  1. Using living or dead ancestors to berate people who have decided to abstain or vote for the candidate you don’t personally care for.

Listen. We ALL know that our foreparents fought wars, died, starved, bled, etc. for our right to vote. African-Americans especially know because some of those people who went through all of white people’s bullshit to gain basic rights are still alive and kicking and have told us the stories. There’s really no need to finger-wag adults and try to use the fact that our grandparents had to sit at the back of the bus to guilt someone into voting. 

Although we may not agree with someone’s decision to not vote, it is THEIR decision, just like it’s OUR decision to exercise our vote. We can bust out 9837573 reasons to vote, and they can likely bust out the same number of reasons to abstain. And even if they cannot, it remains their option. 

And just to be petty for a minute, we do a whole lot of shit that our ancestors would frown upon but we’re grown people who deserve to have our agency respected regardless. It’s okay to be not okay with people abstaining. It’s not okay to be not okay with people exercising their choice.

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  1. Arguing with people about what they SHOULD care about when selecting their choice of candidate.

Just because you think free universal pre-k and all-genitals welcome restrooms is important doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

Trust that people can prioritize their concerns just like you did. I’ll be open and say that I don’t plan on voting for anybody who is too far left or too far right. I think that because of the climate on social media, there are candidates who are publicly applauding shit they don’t actually support (which is a huge part of politics, I get it). 

Those candidates may not get my vote. 

On top of that, arguing with someone about what should be important to them seems like more of a waste of time than contacting PayPal customer service. You can argue with me until you’re blue in the face, I don’t give a fuck about you wanting to smoke weed legally. While I think it’s stupid that weed is considered a Schedule I drug and it’s wasteful that people are doing major time for it, I don’t require a promise of legalization of it from a candidate to support him/her. 

In short, you chose your hot buttons; let others choose theirs. 

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  1. (If your chosen candidate doesn’t win) Arguing why it’s everybody else’s fault for not voting for your candidate of choice.

We saw a lot of this after Hillary lost to Donald Trump for several months after he was inaugurated. 

Hillary supporters blamed Sanders supporters for either not voting for Hillary, voting for Trump as punishment, or abstaining altogether. 

It was one of the most entertaining displays of crying over spilled milk I’d ever seen. 

But it didn’t change the outcome and here we are, three years later. 

I have no issue if you want to be known for your advocacy of a certain candidate or like to engage in intellectual chow-chow with your friends (or foes) about political strategy. But, the hostile back-and-forth with the opposing teams after the race has been decided? Let’s not. 

I understand that politics is a hot topic but if the 2016 outcome taught me anything, it’s that some of you need a triple latte, a colonic, and a reality check – severely.

Let’s try to be and do better this time around regardless of what party with which you affiliate yourself. 

You’re Not Special; Just White

Yesterday on Facebook, I came across an article from The Wall Street Journal (I didn’t add the link cause it’s not free to read the whole article and I know how y’all are) about a woman who sat out of the workforce for two years and came back to end up CEO.

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Apparently, her story is supposed to inspire the rest of us. Similar to Sheryl Sandberg with her book, “Lean In” and all these other people who have pulled off career feats, these people allegedly show us the power of focus, tenacity, and intention.

Unfortunately for The Wall Street Journal, that lady they reported on (Deanna Mulligan off Guardian Life Insurance), Sheryl Sandberg and the rest of them, there is actually no magic here.

They aren’t special. They’re just white.

At one time, I had a friend who is an attorney. I remember her telling our friend group (confidentially, of course), that she was conducting a deposition at a hospital. One of the people she had to depose was the VP of the hospital. They opened with a line of questioning on this VP’s credentials.

Two years of college at a community college, no degree, no work history in the medical field nor hospital administration.

No, she didn’t start as the janitor at the hospital and work her way up. She came in as the VP making more than the fucking president.

She was also a white woman.

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*sits back and folds arms and re-reads that shit and gets mad all over again thinking about the highly qualified Black people that applied and interviewed for that job but they didn’t get it cause….*

Black women are the most educated demographic in the country, yet we can’t seem to pull off these dynamic feats in the workplace where we are allowed to take time off to raise kids, recover from divorce, go through an extended illness, etc. and come back and slide into 6-figure positions as if we never missed a day even though our education and previous experience suggests that we are a fit.

Nobody “takes a chance” on the high-achieving Black woman with potential. Instead, we get bombarded with questions about what we’ve been doing the last two years and statements that express doubt about whether or not we are capable of performing the job tasks adequately. If we’re offered a position, it’s usually some administrative support role with a shitty salary under the supervision of someone who shouldn’t be left alone with a goldfish.

Almost a year ago, I sat being interviewed by two non-Black women. In that interview, the following statements were made:

“You’re really confident.”

“I believe you could do well at this job.”

“That was a great idea!” (followed by her writing down my idea that I’m sure she used}

“You seem really competent.”

After an hour of that, one of the same interviewers said, “I’m sure you can do the job well, but I don’t know…”

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Mmmkay.

About four months later, I saw that the job was back up on the company’s website so apparently, the less qualified candidate they hired (I already know) didn’t meet their expectations.

For all the kvetching that white women do about how unfairly they are treated in the workplace, they still do better than non-white women and even when they “make it,” forget that 1) white privilege was likely a huge part of their rise and 2) there are women of color who should be where they are but aren’t and never will be because white men have convinced themselves that hiring a white woman in upper management is what Affirmative Action is all about.

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This is from an article the NY Times wrote about the fact that this partner class was so…white.

Deanna Mulligan noted that her time off taught her focus and made her realize that life is not a straight line. No shit, Sherlock! Black people could have told you that because no matter how hard we work, no matter how educated we are, we are faced with the prospect that people like yourself can and will shoot past us simply because of systemic racism.

Let me back up one minute. Click here and scroll down to where it says “Leadership” and see all the white faces that run the show over there.

Am I saying she’s not qualified for her position? Not necessarily. But what I know is that a Black person can’t be out of a job for 6 months without interviewers behaving as if all the knowledge they previously acquired has leaked from their ear and evaporated, thus disqualifying them from the position. What I know is that for all the articles I’ve seen on LinkedIn about not staying in a position for too long because you risk becoming stale and unattractive to future employers, every Black person I know who has tried this is believed to be a “job-hopper” by white interviewers and passed over.

So I guess these employment hacks, like “leaning in” and bouncing every 10 months only work for white people; the men first, and then the women.

I watched this video where Deanna Mulligan talks about her “unorthodox” rise. It’s only two minutes but you’ll hear the delusion I’m mentioning in this blog post. “Find your passion,” “be yourself” (since when has being yourself EVER worked for Black women outside of rap?), “hard work” (Black women are and have always been the hardest working people on the planet – we have no choice).

In that video, the claim is made that she mentors women. I wonder how many of her mentees are Black.

To the people who’ll say she probably had good connections, I’ll offer this: because Black people are often boxed out of the positions that qualify someone to be a “good connection,” we’re back at square one. The fact is that white people are in a position to close ranks at whim and if they want to hire the mediocre son of a golfing buddy over the brilliant Black MBA, that’s what they do (which is why I don’t listen to white people who claim Black people want a handout when they are the original makers and takers of handouts).

 

By the way, by the time I post this, I would have written an e-mail to corporate headquarters asking why every single person listed under the “Leadership” heading on Guardian Life Insurance’s website is white. Deanna Mulligan is the CEO and the other woman is head of Human Resources and well, we all know about white women being in charge of Human Resources.

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Donald Trump In Three Acts

As we all (should) know, Pelosi has announced that there will be a formal impeachment inquiry happening in reference to President Trump and his activities regarding Ukraine.

Of course, this has set off a storm of controversy from all sides. Many Republicans, even the ones that don’t like Trump, think this is the wrong move. Many Democrats are either happy or skeptical that anything will truly be accomplished in the way of impeachment. Then, you have the people like me who are somewhat ambivalent and believe that the Democrats will either drag this out so long that it will end up not mattering or that they’ll never get the 2/3 vote they need from the Senate to uproot Trump.

As of yesterday, the White House and those with close ties to President Trump have officially dug their heels in and decided they are not going to participate in the inquiry by refusing to submit documents or answer subpoenas.

I could take a more academic stance on these events but fall has finally hit Texas and for the first time in months, I don’t feel like I’m in Satan’s lair every time I step outside so without further ado, I’m presenting my creative take on the three ways I think this impeachment situation could play out.

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Donald J. Trump in Three Acts

I. Trump is formally impeached and removed:

He goes on every media outlet, even the ones he claims are “fake news,” and has two-hour-long interviews with the same journalists he claimed were unfair and incompetent during his presidency and the interview is rife with conspiracies that have absolutely no basis in fact.

Interviewer: Mr. Trump, did you truly believe that you’d never be found out about your Ukraine interactions?

Trump: Find out what? Nothing’s been found out. The president of Ukraine has been known to forget things. He got me mixed up with someone else. And I know for a fact…I’m not gonna’ reveal my sources…but I know for a fact that Nancy Pelosi used her government credit card to order a voice actor from Impossible Impersonators exactly 48 hours before I called…I mean before the president of Ukraine received the call.

Interviewer: So, you’re saying that wasn’t you who spoke with the president of Ukraine?

Trump: And let me tell you, that government credit card has a $1 million dollar limit. ONE MILLION DOLLARS! And the accountant is Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. He didn’t even get his CPA. Before he worked for the government, he worked at Target in the back office balancing returns.

Interviewer: You’re saying that-

Trump: He’s a goof. That’s why I’m against nepotism hires. All they do is push an agenda. The agenda has been from day one to sink me. Sink Trump. Cause they know I’m brilliant. So brilliant, people would want me for a 3rd and 4th term.

Interviewer: You’re against nepotism but you hired your daughter and son-in-law in some key positions.

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Trump: No, I didn’t. Listen, Troy (fake interviewer name I just made up), if you’re just going to repeat what your fake news organization told you, I’m not going to sit through this. I’m very busy. I have other places I could be. I didn’t come here to be accused by the liberal media. From day one, I’ve been targeted. Nancy Pelosi, Melania, and Ben Carson all wanted me out of the White House. They get paid. I haven’t taken a dollar! I became POTUS because I love America! And that Ivanka girl ain’t even my daughter!

Interviewer:  Are you saying your own wife conspired with Nancy Pelosi and Ben Carson, who you appointed to HUD, to put you out of office?

Trump: Listen. All I know is the impersonator had a little soul in his voice and the maid in the background sounded European. The president of Ukraine told me that when I called him about Biden.

Interviewer: So, you did, in fact, contact the president of Ukraine to talk about Biden?

Trump: More fake news. It never happened. I’ve never ever spoken to the president of Ukraine. I don’t even know him.

Interviewer: (silence in contemplation of whether or not it’s too late to go to medical school instead)

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II. Trump is convinced to resign a la Nixon:

In his resignation speech, he blames everybody. And I mean EVERYBODY.

“It is with much DISpleasure that I, Donald J. Trump, resign from the presidency of the United States of America. This is not something I want to do, but the constant harassment from the Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and those 4 new colored women who aren’t even citizens, has forced me to leave this office. I would stay, but because of Twitter posting everything I tweeted, the bias against me that began since day 1 of my presidency has gotten worse. If the creator of the internet had never been born, “they” would have never had the opportunity to misconstrue my tweets. The fake news stations, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, and public access station 431 in Mousetrapper, Mississippi have all worked to place a stain on my presidency like Monica Lewinsky’s dress and interrupt the good work I was doing for free to make this country great again. In addition, whoever invented recording technology conspired with key democratic leaders by allowing my phone calls to other leaders to be captured.

Sasha Obama attempted to get the Kremlin to do me harm when she was 12 due to her psychic ability and knowing that I would succeed her father. I merely became friends with Putin when he realized that Sasha’s claims and attempts were baseless and that I’m a good person. Yet, the media does not want to focus on that.

Though my intentions for this country were pure, bloggers like The Wayward Daughter refused to not have an opinion and prop me up anyway. She’s one of the African-Americans and though they are known for incredible innovation with chicken and pork, they don’t generally know what’s good for them. I have endured relentless taunting for my orange visage on account of my tanning salon keeping me in the tanning bed for too long, and Mc Donald’s has wrongly discounted the price of many of their burgers and chicken products making them hard to resist and causing me to be fat-shamed in the press even though I’m a svelte 175lbs. at 6’2. Further, the White House chef would constantly add extra potatoes to my fries even though I asked him to. His obedience to my orders has brought great embarrassment to myself and my children.

I reported this bullying to several HR Assistants but received no help whatsoever. I am upset bigly that I had absolutely no support as the leader of this country. I am by far the most disrespected president that this country has ever had, even though I undoubtedly have done more for everyone…the African-Americans, the Latinos, and the LGBs included. I even helped families grow by helping to relieve Planned Parenthood of their Title X funding. But nobody appreciated it.

In closing, I’d also like to express my disappointment in all the people who voted for me for not running for House and Senate positions immediately after to save me from this fate and in my wife for not telling me that running for president would be a total disaster.

Thank you. And may God Bless America…even though America betrayed me.”

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III. Trump is impeached and found not guilty:

He throws shade at the Democrats, repeats that he won by the largest margin in history, and talks on and on and on about his plan for the 2020 campaign, and makes idle threats.

Journalist: Mr. President, how do you feel about having successfully gone through the impeachment process?

Trump: I knew they had nothing! The Democrats have been after me for yeeeeears. Even before I officially started running for president, I was a threat to them. Listen, I beat Hillary by the biggest margin in history. The jealousy was clear. They just wanted to take Donald J. Trump down.

Journalist: Mr. President, what would you say to those who claim that you weren’t removed because the Senate didn’t have the 2/3 votes but otherwise you would have been removed because you are guilty?

Trump: If I were guilty, they’d have had the votes. This just proves that Nosy Nancy and the rest of the swamp have too much time on their hands and instead of trying to help the American people, they spent almost my entire term in office trying to dig up dirt and gossip about me like little school girls. I’m thinking about suing them all. I may even impeach THEM. I’m going to look into it.

Journalist: Mr. President, what are your plans going forward?

Trump: Obviously to win the 2020 election. This country looooves me. I’m the hardest working president in history. This economy is the best it’s ever been since Reagan. We’ve got to keep that going. The African-Americans are showing the best job numbers since before Lincoln. And this guy….(points to new Black guy he hired in the mailroom)…that’s Jerome. He knows the truth. I am not racist. I pay him very well to deliver my mail. The post office wouldn’t even hire him but I did.

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But anyway, we’re gonna’ get that wall finished! I just contracted with a LATINO-owned wall-building company…you hear that folks? LATINO-owned and they support my vision for THE WALL! They believe in it so much, that they are doing it at a discount. I know them from Mar-a-Lago. One of their cousins used to work in the kitchen washing dishes. They do good work…within budget. Anyway, the wall’s gonna’ be YUUUUUGE!

Journalist: Mr. President, do you plan to change anything in terms of staffing for your administration since so many people resigned?

Trump: I don’t know. I guess I have to hire new people. Ivanka and Jared are still here. Maybe I won’t hire new people. I’m smart enough to do it all. You know, those people were loooosers and I never should have given them a chance in the first place. I’m currently talking to Kanye about being my Homeland Security guy but I don’t know yet.

I’ll be at Mar-a-Lago for two weeks because I deserve to relax after being victimized for the last three years. I’ll make sure the Press Secretary briefs you all soon. God Bless America!

(Trump exits and stays in Mar-a-Lago 4 weeks and America is left dumbfounded)

Fin.

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Killer Cops: Don’t Blame The Training

***Note: There are informational links at the end of the post.

Yesterday, former Dallas police officer and murderer Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Botham Jean, a tenant in the same apartment building she lived in, in his own apartment while he was sitting and eating ice cream.

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What got a lot of attention was when Botham’s younger brother, during his impact statement said, amongst other things, that he didn’t want Guyger to go to jail, he forgives her, and wants her to find Christ. He was then allowed to hug Guyger.

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I’m not going to focus on that in this blog. I’m going to focus on Botham’s mother’s statement outside of the courtroom. You could feel both the grief of a mother who had lost her child through one of the stupidest incidents ever. You could also feel the fury of a person who is fed up; even more so now that the underlying racism and sociopathy of most cops had touched yet another family.

She talked about corruption in the Dallas Police Department. Having been born and raised in Dallas, I can attest to that. But then, she said something that people often say when things like this happen that I actually do not agree with. She intimated that if Guyger had been trained better (in this case, not to shoot in the chest), her son might still be alive.

That’s the part I want to talk about in this post; the notion that police officers are poorly trained and that’s why innocent people die.

Here’s a secret about The Wayward Daughter: I have a graduate degree in Forensic Psychology. I studied not only victims and defendants but police and policing as well. I studied how police are trained to trip people up in interrogation rooms. I studied how they get false confessions out of people. I studied their interrogation techniques. Not that I was ever under any other impression, but studying policing in the United States will quickly disabuse you of the Kindergarten belief that they are your friends that you can run to in times of peril for safety. 

Police officers have high rates of things like domestic violence and alcoholism. Jordan v. New London, a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, affirmed that police departments can reject candidates whose IQ is too high. Many officers are veterans, which means there is likely a high presence of PTSD. Self-destructive behavior and hypervigilance are amongst a set of symptoms of PTSD. There’s also the fact that policing, much like the military, works on its members following orders as opposed to a lot of independent thought or judgment. 

And then…these people are given a gun.

Someone who has issues with self-control, anger, substance abuse, is just bright enough to do what they’re told but not think through their actions in the moment, is skittish or quick to (over) react, or has been in a war zone, probably doesn’t need access to a weapon because they cannot be trusted to exercise their best judgment. 

What am I saying?

I believe that many, if not most, police officers are individually at least 25% sociopathic or have antisocial traits that are severe enough to disqualify them from police work. Some of them didn’t start out that way. Some of them got into the blue fraternity, finally felt their life had purpose when someone handed them a badge and a gun, and lost their fucking mind. But, I also believe many more are much more sociopathic than not. 

Add racism and implicit bias and that’s the perfect storm for cops losing their cool and people losing their life.

I don’t think all the training in the world would have saved Botham Jean. Guyger is a racist, who based on her social media, basked in having a job where she had the ability to take people’s lives and (based on what we know about police accountability), likely would never have to answer for her actions.

I’m glad the Jean family got a jury that wasn’t buying her bullshit about a mistaken apartment. 

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But, it’s time to let go of the narrative that if cops knew better, they’d do better. Eric Garner was killed by a cop who used an illegal chokehold. Daniel Pantaleo KNEW what he was doing was improper but did it anyway. No amount of training would have kept Pantaleo from doing what he did. The same goes for Amber Guyger. 

Blaming it on training allows bad cops to get away with their bad behavior for longer. It makes people think that perhaps the training process was inadequate or maybe that officer was out sick when they were trained on how not to kill for no reason. It makes it seem like these cops don’t know what’s CLEARLY obvious to the rest of us. 

(Another thing cops are trained to do is lie). 

If I order a burger and the worker is having a bad day and throws my burger at me, they get fired. Nobody needs to train the employee to know that it’s not okay to throw a burger at someone. That’s common sense. Yet, people act like police officers are babies that don’t know better and must be walked through every scenario AFTER they kill someone and shown step-by-step how they messed up. This is worse when you think about the fact that training academies run from 6 to 12 weeks. 

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The only thing that’s going to address situations like Guyger and other murderous cops is a judicial system that is truly unbiased from the clerks through the DAs through the judges and for bad cops to be continually held accountable for their bad behavior. Police officers need to be held to the same standard as the rest of us. All of us are tired after a day at work. All of us have to deal with difficult people at work, be it the general public or co-workers. But the rest of us don’t get to use lethal force just because we’re tired, or stressed, or scared, or generally having a bad day. Policing needs a do-over. 

https://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who-hit-their-wives-or-girlfriends/380329/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sure-recovery/201803/police-and-addiction

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2018/10/15/police-with-military-experience-more-likely-to-shoot

https://adaa.org/sites/default/files/Henderson_100.pdf

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/03/30/when-warriors-put-on-the-badge

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/30/when-veterans-become-cops-some-bring-war-home/99349228/

https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=181019

Plot Twist: The Internet Isn’t Just For Arguing

Mucous. Feces. Urine. Flatulence. Purulent.

All of these words are the technical names for words that we use in our everyday speech in a colloquial way.

Most of us know this. Most of us know that the colloquialisms we use in place of these words aren’t the actual or technical terms for these things. Most of know that if we were in a classroom or seminar where any of these things were broached (another word for brought up), they’d likely not be referred to by their colloquial names, but by their technical names.

So, you can imagine my befuddlement (that’s another word for confusion) when I came across the following graphic (that’s another word for picture) on my Facebook timeline.

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I clawed (another word for scratch) my tegument (another word for scalp) and wondered if we are really at the point now where academic language in an academic textbook used in an academic setting is “pretentious” and “inaccessible.”

Let’s start with pretentious. No. It’s an ACADEMIC textbook. Those of us who know about code-switching understand that you don’t present yourself the same way in all settings. When you go in for an interview, you shake the interviewer’s hand, you don’t hug them or fist bump them.

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In a book on language arts, you aren’t going to get, “Timmy was chillaxin’ on the block with his homies when his mama told him to bring his narrow behind inside.”

Sure, that may be how the writer of the textbook speaks when he or she is at home around their friends and family but since the purpose of a language arts textbook is to apprise (another word for inform) the reader of standard English grammar, the writer instead offers, “Timmy was relaxing with his friends outside of his house, when his mother angrily demanded that he come back inside.”

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Pretentious would be me talking to my friend and telling her that I was clawing my tegument.

Inaccessible? Well, I don’t think it’s an unfair assumption that if you end up in college-level physiology, you have an above-average reading and comprehension level. Further, we live in an era that has thesaurus.com and dictionary.com and both are accessible, literally at your fingertips.

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We are fortunate enough to live in an era where you can Google almost anything and before you can blink your eyes twice, 92387877499937489 results of varying degrees on the topic you Googled will populate before your eyes.

Does that makeup for systemic inequalities in education? No. But let’s not overplay this thing either. If you need information, you can find it for free these days.

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Now, here’s the part that I’m known for: shade.

I will never not laugh at this generation who will engage in days-long debates with strangers over -ist, -phobic, gender, agender, sex, asexual, demisexual, pre-sexual, post-sexual, he, she, ze, thee, thou, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, tall privilege, short privilege, etc…

but want to boo-hoo and tee-hee because an ACADEMIC textbook uses ACADEMIC words to explain ACADEMIC concepts (another word for thought or idea).

How sway? Just like you found a resource to convince you that men can have periods and babies, you can figure out what that word you’re not familiar with means.

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Matter of fact, in the time it took you to read and (somehow) agree with that pitiful tweet, you could have looked up what you didn’t understand in your textbook…or, you know, asked someone.

Priorities.

Here We Go Again: Justin Trudeau

Another day, another white person that most people liked being exposed for Blackface.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, was exposed for wearing Brown and Blackface on three separate occasions in the past. 

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As usual, he has issued the obligatory apology and talked about how he shoulda’ known better (cue Monica). 

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When I first heard about the story, I didn’t even bat an eye (or at least, I don’t think I did). I went on about my business. I mean, a white person doing some racist shit? At this point, it’s like your little cousin asking if you have games on your phone. That shit is gonna’ happen; probably more than once.

Trudeau, in a press conference on the matter said a lot but in part, he was reluctant when asked if what we’ve all seen were the only times he had donned brown or blackface. The Week reports that this was his answer: 

“”I am wary of being definitive about this because the recent pictures that came out I had not remembered,” Trudeau said, adding that because he comes “from a place of privilege,” he has had a “massive blindspot.” These revelations come a week after Trudeau launched his re-election campaign. –Brendan Morrow”

When I started out, I was going to write about how I’m tired of Black folks, in particular, being shocked and appalled at white people being racist or doing and saying racist things. I mean, it’s been 400 years and we didn’t get over here because our good friend Connor invited us to visit and we loved it so much we decided to stay. 

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But that piece of Trudeau’s statement is what struck me. I want to talk about this “blind spot” that whites always claim to have when they get caught in racism. 

I think it’s bullshit.

African-Americans especially are very expressive people who are strongly tied to tradition. A whole lot of what we do and know comes from learning from our foreparents. Even the things that we do and know intuitively come from this place that is inexplicably in us such that we just know what we know. 

Though I don’t believe that white people are as spiritual, you’ll never be able to convince me that they don’t know the same history we know. They’ve had no problem perpetuating that same 1619 racism generation after generation. There’s a reason that 18-year-old Rebecca knows Blackface is wrong when she gets caught on Snapchat. They know using “the N-word” to refer to Black people is wrong at a very young age and that’s why the solemn affirmation of “I’m not racist” and “it was a mistake” starts flowing almost by rote when they are exposed. There’s a reason they still skip us in line at the deli counter, or refuse to move out of our path when we have the right-of-way, or interrupt us as if we don’t exist in public spaces….exactly like their ancestors did. 

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Yes. She learned probably by the time she was 15 but here she is on her way to 50 acting like she learned yesterday. 

Just like Black people teach our kids about slavery and Jewish people teach their children about Hitler and the Holocaust, white people teach their progeny their legacy as well. Now, how they teach it is up for debate, but none of them can say that they have a “blind spot” or didn’t know better in reference to Blackface. To do so is intellectually dishonest.

I honestly believe that white people just don’t care. They’d rather ask for forgiveness because doing so is an easier game than confronting the grave underbelly of what Blackface signifies enough to punish oneself for even thinking that it might be okay to do. 

I wish for once that when a white person is busted, instead of the typical “I’m not racist/I didn’t know better” script, they’d say, “I did that shit. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway because I wanted to and thought it was funny. I have no excuse.”

If more white people were honest, I think that’d be a huge step forward for race relations. 

My Thoughts On Cancel Culture

This week (so far), there have been a couple of notable celebrity dustups that are once again forcing people to decide whether or not their fave (or would be) is #cancelled. 

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The first that comes to mind is Shane Gillis. He was hired…and then fired…by SNL when previous anti-Asian and homophobic remarks were discovered. It didn’t help that hired along with Gillis was Bowen Yang, SNL’s first East Asian cast member and an openly gay man. The comedy community has come out to defend him and express their disagreement with SNL’s decision. Gillis offered to apologize to anyone who may have been offended or hurt but also said that his comedy career requires him to take risks. 

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About two or three weeks ago, people (re)canceled Dave Chappelle because of jokes he told on his latest comedy special for Netflix. One of the jokes that stands out to me is when Chappelle said that transgender people are in a “hilarious predicament” and then mused about what would happen if he went around telling people he was Chinese in a nigga body (paraphrase) making the face similar to the one Mickey Rooney donned when he played a Chinese man in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and speaking in a stereotypically exaggerated Asian accent.

Of course, the think pieces flowed. Some loved it and thought that Chappelle offered the kind of comedy that makes us think. Others hated it, called him all kinds of -phobic, and said that “punching down” is not funny. Interestingly enough, he also addressed cancel culture in his routine. 

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Lastly, Lizzo narrowly escaped cancellation when she angered several fans after she accused a Postmates runner of stealing her order. She posted the name and pic of the person. Many people thought Lizzo was wrong for “snitching.” Some said that Lizzo was wrong because the runner works in the service industry (notoriously low-paying) and would likely be fired. Lizzo issued an apology yesterday saying that she would be more responsible with her tweeting as apparently, the young woman was doxxed by hardcore fans (unconfirmed). 

Personally, I feel like there are categories of cancellation. Someone like R. Kelly needs to not only be #cancelled but abducted, tortured, and buried alive so that he slowly feels the life leave his body due to preying on children for more than two decades. 

But I think there are a couple of things that people are forgetting. First, nobody is born “woke.” We all make mistakes and missteps. Even if what was said was written as a part of a comedy routine (Chappelle) or a line in an outrageous podcast episode (Gillis), most of us have said things that would get us #cancelled by today’s standards. 

Yes, there are entire e-annals at this point on what’s taboo these days. Believe it or not, though, there are a lot of people who do not spend 70% of their day on social media trying to learn what’s been added to the Do Not Say List every day. I’m guessing most of the people on the famous list make up a big chunk of those people. 

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Let me stop here to say that Shane Gillis used legit slurs. To me, that’s different than someone telling a joke about a certain demographic. I never knew who he was until this happened but I can definitely distinguish between him and Dave Chappelle. 

Two, and this may be a shocker, I’d actually much rather know what a person thinks or feels than for them to be tip-toeing around with a big politically correct smile on their face. If the person wishes all niggers would die, let me know; especially if they work in medicine, law enforcement, or the judiciary. Someone who tells jokes or stands on stage singing and doing the Reebok in a leotard for a living? I really couldn’t care less unless I’m such a fan that my hard (oh so hard)-earned money may have gone to them at some point. 

Three, there are other people you still like and have not yet #cancelled who say and believe the same things (if not worse) that you’ve #cancelled other people for. Soooo….is it that you don’t like people thinking and speaking that way or is it that you don’t want them expressing it in a public forum? 

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***Note: evaluation of your WQ (Woke Quotient) is dependent upon how you answered that question.

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The truth is, if you wanted to cancel everybody who says or believes -ist things, you’d likely quit your job, move out of your neighborhood, and settle in an area uninhabited by other humans somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Your 100% politically correct friend would be a dolphin…or a shark.                                                                                                                        

I still use the word “crazy” and I don’t bristle when I hear “the r-word.” I guess that makes me cancel-worthy or at least complicit. *shrug* I think we all could use a crash course in managing our expectations of our fellow humans.