Quick Thoughts On D. Wade, G. Union, and Internet Trolls

This has been going through my mind for a little while and the most recent incident caused me to decide to address it here.

As we know, DeWayne Wade has a son who is a part of the LGBT community. Both Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have been vocally supportive of their son on his identity journey.

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I think this is good. I repeat, I think this is good. I felt the need to repeat and embolden that part because what I’m about to talk about may sound like I feel the opposite and I know how some of y’all can be when you don’t read exactly what you wanted to read.

There has been more than one instance where after posting family pictures, adult meanies on social media have made untoward comments about Wade and his son. These comments usually come out of the mouths of homophobic people who feel Wade should bring his son into subjection in terms of his expression of his identity. In other words, they don’t like that his son is allowed to wear fake nails, or crop tops, or whatever else these internet commentators deem feminine wares.

Usually, Wade or Union will “clap back.” They will address the meanies and talk about how they love their child and support him and it’s their business and choice to do so. They get a lot of media attention for being good parents. People pine over the way they support their son.

The question I have is, when is the clapback only adding to the insult or injury of the initial mean comments?

Let me explain. When you “clap back,” you are dignifying the comment that you’re clapping back to. You may not realize it, but when you address anything, positive, negative, or in between, you are acknowledging that even if the comment wasn’t nice or educated, it was a valid expression.

In other words, instead of letting it die at the end of the sentence, you give it a life.

At some point, I wonder if Wade and Union’s clapbacks and the subsequent praise from the media about their clapbacks is merely causing their son to relive the bigoted comments directed towards him.

For example, if I have a child and my child comes home crying and tells me that Johnny called her ugly, and I comfort the child and reaffirm her beauty, that’s good. But, if when my (imaginary) husband comes home, I tell him while we’re all eating dinner, “Johnny called her ugly today,” and then, when her grandma calls later, I get on the phone and say, “A little boy called her ugly today…” while my child is sitting next to me watching television, am I allowing my child the opportunity to sit in and absorb the reaffirmation that I gave her when I keep replaying the insult to everybody who will listen?

Now, pretend I was a celebrity with millions of followers who not only is going to clap back, but have my clapback shared by millions of followers and mass media and even end up doing an interview or two about the situation. Despite the fact that I’ve reaffirmed my child, Johnny and his ugly comment is given a life as it plays non-stop on the social media news cycle and my reaffirmed child has to keep hearing and seeing it until social media gets bored and moves on to the next piece of nonsense.

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This is my peripheral concern with Wade’s son and his parents’ need to address the ugliness that comes out on the internet. Raising children can be tricky because on the one hand, you want to be tender with them as they deserve and give them a worry-free childhood. On the other hand, you have to prepare them. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people won’t like them for no reason at all. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people will think they’re too tall, or too short, or too fat, or too thin, etc. Unfortunately, if you’re a part of a marginalized group, that goes double.

You have to teach them that the people who just want to pull them down are ultimately the people they need to avoid. In the social media era, that also means that those  commenters are the people you don’t need to spend your time clapping back at every time you decide to post a picture and they decide to be hateful.

The truth is, your clapback won’t make them abandon their bigotry, (and sickeningly enough, may gain them more popularity). And it’s likely that some of these people, no matter how much you clap back, will only make sure they show up in the comments of your next picture with similarly foul sentiments.

Am I saying they should stop posting family pictures? Absolutely not. They have the right to celebrate their family like anybody else does. I do think it’s time to stop taking the bait of randos on Instagram and Twitter with enough time on their hands to express their displeasure about a crop top.

Personally, I hope the Thanksgiving picture controversy is the last time Wade or Union feel the need to engage bigoted trolls. I think it will set a good example, not just for their own children but for the rest of us as well.

The Lost Kardashian: The Wasteful Obsession With Trump’s Tweets

This week, social media was shaken (and I don’t know why) by Donald Trump’s comments saying that four Freshmen congresswomen of color should “go back” to their own countries. The comments came on the heels of Nancy Pelosi seemingly shade scolding the congresswomen for being Liberal contrarians in the Democratic party. When one of the congresswomen dared address Pelosi’s comments, Trump, the most voluminous, if not profound, tweeting president in history, stepped in to offer his $.02. To date, Trump is refusing to retract his comment and at a recent rally, when his supporters chanted that Ilhan Omar, one of the four congresswomen be sent back, Trump did not quiet them.

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I’m not going to talk about what Pelosi said. I’m not going to talk about AOC’s response to Pelosi. I’m not even going to directly address what Trump said. This blog is about how the media and the American public are getting played by people like Trump.

First of all, we all knew what Trump’s platform was when he was campaigning. Secondly, we’ve all heard reports about his behavior and social philosophies. Thirdly, we all know that Trump likes to run his mouth on Twitter, usually inappropriately. Fourth, we know that Trump has a hard time when he is called to be accountable for his words and actions. We even knew this back when former President Obama was in office.

So, I’m confused about the outrage. I’m even more confused by how nobody seems to “get it” yet. By “it” I mean the way that Trump and people like him, people who we claim to loathe, continue to be able to distract us with the same bullshit they’ve always done. It’s no secret that I believe that the media is part of why Trump won the presidential election. The attention that the media gave him was like taking a polar bear to a fish buffet. Had they treated him like the trite trick candidate that he clearly was (I mean, on election night, he and his family looked like they were low-key disappointed that he won), I really believe someone else would be president (not necessarily a Democrat but definitely not him).

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As much as the public claims to want him to go away already, the desire to continue to hype him up by way of giving inordinate amounts of attention to every little thing he does and says (that lies outside of the scope of the presidency) is a waste of time and is why Trump will probably be re-elected.

Newsflash: Trump wasn’t the only president in history with racist views. We’ve had 45 of them. Only one wasn’t white. The larger portion of them were in office during slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Our parents and grandparents remember the Civil Rights Movement and segregation and lynching, etc. You do the math.

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Ilhan Omar is probably a very nice lady. I’ve never met her. But it’s too bad she invoked the great ancestor, Mother Maya Angelou, to address a group of people who give not an iota of a damn about how ridiculous their chant and life philosophies are. It’s too bad other Democrats used more of the time they do not have to address the TOTUS (Tweeter Of The United States).

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As I said in my flea market pieces, if the Democrats want a shot in hell of winning the presidency of 2020 (and I’m not even sure that they want it but I’ll talk more about that later), they need to get their focus together. They need to be offering actionable and sane policy options instead of gawking and pointing at the dunce in the corner.

 

Why I Hate The Internet: The Game (rapper) and His Wayward Fingers

Technology has been a blessing. We can do things now that we couldn’t do 5, 10, and 15 years ago. One of those things is wide access to the internet and social media. For all its good, though, one of the worst things about these advances is that anybody can post anything no matter how wrong it is and they’ll have an audience that believes they’re right and agrees with them. Now, that may seem like a strange thing to say coming from a blogger, but it’s simply the truth. I mean, I get on here and talk shit all the time. Love it, hate it. It is what it is.

But what I cannot…will not let slide are statements like that in the following screenshot made by famous rapper The Game (government name, Jayceon Taylor):

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Of course, my first reaction was something along the lines of, “If he doesn’t shut the fuck up right now..!” My second reaction was something snarky like, “They don’t think past Friday, so why would they plan for next Thursday?!” My last reaction, the one that matters, was to point out the lack of fact of his statement.

Let’s back up though and analyze the post for what it is. It’s steeped in a type of misogynoir that overlooks the harm perpetrated against Black women and girls by Black men. It overlooks the violence perpetrated by Black women and girls by non-Black men. It’s the kind of misogynoir that has allowed the Chicago illiterate who shall not be named to continually violate Black women and girls and go unchecked for well over two decades. Similar to the racists who claim Black people have it “easy” because of food stamps, it seeks to give credence to a self-made plight by pretending that Black women have no plight whatsoever.

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to take some time to school Mr. Taylor. According to the Violence Policy Center citing numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as of 2016, Black women were nearly always murdered by someone that they know and usually with a gun.

The study goes on to say this: Compared to a black male, a black female is far more likely to be killed by her spouse, an intimate acquaintance, or a family member than by a stranger. Where the relationship could be determined, 91 percent of black females killed by males in single victim/single offender incidents knew their killers. Of the black victims who knew their offenders, 58 percent were wives, common-law wives, ex-wives, or girlfriends of the offenders. More than 10 times as many black females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers.”

Further, an 18-year perusal by the CDC of 18 states found that while the nationwide rate of female homicide was 2 per 100,000, for Black women, it was 4.4 per 100,000.

And we may as well talk about sexual violence, too. Black women are disproportionately prone to being victims of sexual violence.

What’s telling is that one of the risk factors for sexual violence against women is a sense of hostility towards women. The Game is in an industry known for every third word being a pejorative for women (Black women, in particular) like, “bitch” or “hoe.”

One of the community risk factors for violence against women is the tolerance of sexual violence. I just finished pointing out that “the community” allowed the Pied Piper of Pedophilia run roughshod over Black women and girls for over two decades (closer to 3, really).

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I hate to break it to The Game and all the other Black men who think Black women are walking around doing Irish clicks over puddles like Fred Astaire, totally secure, but we are probably more at danger than you are. I’ll tell you why very shortly.

But, while we’re here (insert sarcastic smirk), let’s talk about this violence that renders you all unable to make plans a week away. That violence? Yeah, that violence is perpetuated by you all as well. I’m certain I don’t need to say any more on that.

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So to recap: y’all kill us (and our children). Y’all kill each other. Do Black women a favor and stop trying to drag us into what is clearly your own maladaptive pathology. If you can’t make plans for next Thursday, look to your left and your right while you’re in the studio laying phat beats, (or, you know, a mirror), and you’ll see the reasons why.

 

Good Deeds Before Men: On Smartphone Generosity

I’m annoyed. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m annoyed because I’m in Texas and for the last 4 days, the temperature hasn’t been less than 105⁰ and my Seasonal Affective Disorder is getting to me. Perhaps it’s because instead of chomping on a ribeye steak, an unexpected tooth mishigas has me eating cheese cubes. Possibly, being 16 days into keto also has my nerves rattled. It’s probably because the “e” on my laptop is acting up and so I’m having to bang it like Beethoven every third word. On top of that, I have a bunch of personal bullshit that keeps reiterating the point that life ain’t fair and doesn’t give a fuck about it.

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In that vein, what annoyed me the most this week was logging into Facebook and seeing that one of my friends had posted a video of a guy giving a homeless man who was digging in the trash can for food some money. No, this isn’t new. The smartphones and Attention Whoring Age has brought us all sorts of visual fuckery in the past few years. From pancake asses twerking to filled lips puckering, we’ve seen it all. And while I’ll admit that people doing good deeds on film is the least fucknicious™of the fuckery, it’s fuckery all the same.

I digress. In the video, the Samaritan du jour sees a homeless man from at least 30 yards away rifling through the trash can and taking bites of food from food containers that others had discarded. Mr. Nice Guy starts recording before his subject even notices him. He has a commentary, similar to those on National Geographic as if he’s secretly watching the mating habits of a wild boar. He eventually comes up to the man, tells him to drop the food container, and gives him money. The man cries and apologizes (I guess for….IDK, trying to find food), and hugs Mr. Generoso while he (the selfless wonder) tells him that he’ll give him more if he sees him the next night.

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Of course, videos like this always elicit the tears of onlookers. The comments are filled with statements like, “this made me cry,” and “I know what it’s like,” and “praise God you were there.” I, however, never comment on these vids because I experience a type of secondhand offense on behalf of the targets…I mean, beneficiaries of the kindnesses.

There are two main reasons why I don’t care for these giving videos. First, I’ve known true givers. I believe true givers give because they have a mindset that says that if nobody ever finds out about their good deeds, it’s no big deal; in fact, it may be better. The givers I know don’t feel the need to make sure their camera is rolling before they give. They don’t need their largesse to be documented anywhere but in the receiver’s spirit. Some true givers will even forget they gave at certain times.

Basically, while I don’t believe the people who like to document and display their altruism are bad people, I certainly don’t believe they are natural givers who do so because of some inner awareness that most of us don’t have. I don’t believe they give without expectation of payback, be it financially or through the praises of strangers on the internet. I think they get a rise out of the fact that there are a whole bunch of people that they’ve convinced of their own goodness; and perhaps, maybe one day, they’ll be able to use this viral performance as leverage when they need or want something.

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The second reason I don’t like these videos is that I find them inconsiderate. Anyone who has ever been down to their last $200 with another week-and-a-half until payday knows that just being kinda’ broke is hard. I can’t imagine being in a situation where I’m forced to rummage through a public trash can at a bus stop to find food. I can only think that the experience is humiliating, traumatic, and does not make the person who has to do it feel the best about themselves.

So, I cannot understand why the people who make what’s akin to emotional pornography think it’s okay to basically put people who are likely at rock bottom on camera and on social media for all to see. Do we think that person wants a whole world of strangers gawking at their misfortune? Better yet, how would that person feel to know that after all the gawking, people are hi-fiving the “giver” because the receiver’s immediate gratitude just wasn’t enough?

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These videographers would like to pretend to that they are demonstrating a great act of empathy when in reality, they are displaying just how much empathy they lack. Would they want 9287498477959 people they don’t know to know that they may dig in a public trash can just to eat? Would they want these same people knowing they go weeks without access to a shower and sleep under freeway underpasses? Probably not. So then, why would they think that the person they’re “helping” wants to be “outed” in such a way? It makes me cringe to think that any of these individuals will one day be at a computer and see themselves acting as the charity case in someone’s braggadocio.

You can’t pretend to be humanistic while forgetting that the person you are taping is indeed a human being.

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What I’d like to see instead are videos of people who were once down on their luck talking about the person or the moment that changed their course. Let the receivers applaud the givers instead of the givers applauding themselves. I don’t know about you, but that’s far more inspirational in my estimation. Those would be stories of hope and maybe, instead of people sitting back and patting the benefactors on the back for their generosity, more of us would take the opportunity to give to others in the best way we can – earnest and discreetly.

 

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” – Matthew 6:2

 

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