Friday, November 28, 2008

Forgive me for I have sinned...

We all know yesterday was Thanksgiving. Plenty of food, drink, laughing, and merriment. So I'm just gonna skip to something someone said late last night. I was over at my sister's place and a cousin of one of her friends was over. He had already eaten one Thanksgiving meal and we were all joking about him eating so much. But one thing that he said rang through my head though.

I make sure to clean my plate because there are people that don't have this much food.
Good point.
Last night I ate only one meal but in that one meal I ate so much that I had indigestion all night and even though that meal was about 6pm last night I am just starting to get hungry again. I'm sure there are countless people who only had enough to satisfy their basic hunger and countless more that went hungry last night.
Ever since I can remember I've always said that I was thankful for my meals but I've never really thought about that on Thanksgiving (or at any other time of the year for that matter)before he said that but its so true. And it makes me feel horrible. The fact that I have access to enough food that I can actually get sick from eating while there are people who are sick because they do not have access to enough food to eat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Oh come on...

I just finished watching this week's Law and Order:SVU. If you don't want spoilers then stop reading this.

Long story short Judge Donnelly (played by Judith Light) actually steps in as the prosecutor in order to prosecute a woman who had been on the run from a murder charge for 34 years. It turns out when the woman was originally charged Donnelly was the ADA assigned to prosecute and the suspect managed to escape (by requesting a private meeting, asking to go to the bathroom then escaping).

As a result Donnelly was humiliated in the DA's office and spent years working her way back up. I can see how tough it would have been for a woman trying to make her way up in the judicial system in the 70s (she even commented that before being offered the case her boss actually asked her husband if she had permission to take the case).

Once the trial starts she comes after this woman with everything she had. Despite her assurances of the contrary it really looked like her interest was not justice but revenge for having her career setback and "setting back the image of women". But at the end of the trial (yes at the end, not by the end) she has a change of heart. The suspect is found not guilty of the murder but is found guilty for going on the run. Even more than that Donnelly then recommends probation. The suspect and Benson both wonder what prompted the change of heart. Her answer:

"Back then I...was trying to so hard to be one of the boys...I...forgot why I became a lawyer."

So it wasn't because she realized that she was motivated by revenge and not justice. It was because she was trying to be "one of the boys". While it is true that women are often pressured to do things they would normally not do (which I guess is why some people will try to associate negative things like anger, violence, and the desire for revenge with maleness) in order to get ahead I find it hard to believe that Donnelly's motive for pressing that woman so hard was because she wanted to fit in. I'll put my money on revenge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I take this hand...

Okay one thing I've noticed is how people are so quick to claim their ally status with another group of people. Now I can agree that to claim ally status is an attempt to reach out to said group and show them that you wish to assist them in their efforts in any way possible (from marching with them in rallies to linking to their blogs to get the word out).
There is nothing wrong with that but at the same time I've never felt right claiming ally status with any group (and if you've been reading my ramblings for any amount of time you will notice this). There is a reason for that.

I don't think its my place to claim ally status with another group.

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that I don't want to help other groups in their efforts. What I am saying is that in doing the things that I do to help other groups I just don't think ally status is something I can just claim and then act accordingly to maintain it.

Under normal circumstances when it comes to ally status its a two way street. The nations that formed the Allied Powers during WWII all agreed to form that alliance. It wasn't as if the United States just said one day that they were in an alliance with the other nations and the others just fell in line with it. Someone proposed the idea to the nations in question and it was up to them to accept or decline the offer. If one of the nations had declined I'm pretty sure the US couldn't or wouldn't just go around claiming to be allies of that nation. Now I am aware that the situation changes a bit when it comes to ally status between different groups.

Okay let's take the GLBT community for instance. Now if I wish to have ally status with that community I would have to actually do things to aid them and further their cause. Such tasks would be to change my own ways to ensure that I am not committing the same offenses that the community is speaking out against. Another would be to help spread their words (which other than asking questions is about as much as I could do since I am not a member of that community) to as many outlets as I can. In the midst of performing such deeds I just don't think it would be my place to claim that I am an ally of the GLBT community. That makes it sound like I'm encroaching on their territory. It seems to me that it would be up to the GLBT community to claim me as an ally.

I'm not trying to put any burden on them by saying this but I do think that it is up to the community (or at least members of it) that you are trying to assist to decide if you are an ally to their cause (which I think would most likely be based on whether or not what you are doing is aiding their cause). Again its not like I'm trying to pass the buck to them but in fact I'm trying to say that it is on me to earn their trust. It is up to me to help them in the best way I can. It is up to me to offer my hand. They just have to decide if they want to take it or not.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who got game? She got game.

You don't get too many Jackie Robinson moments in pro sports so find it interesting to have one happen during my life time. The gender barrier in Japan's profession baseball league has been broken by 16 year old Eri Yoshida.

According to the article she drew inspiration from Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and his (not as in he invented it but he is one of few major pitchers to use it effectively) knuckleball pitch, which is a difficult pitch to learn much less master or use on a regular basis.

The team manager says, "Her sidearm knuckleballs dip and sway, and could be an effective weapon for us,".

Not to say that she wants to but perhaps as she gets experience and fame in Japan we may one day see her on the list of talents being brought from Japan to America to play. I hope she has a great career.

(For the record I think watching baseball is the one thing in this world that can actually bore me to tears but everyone gets down their own way.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nation-Wide Protest Against Prop. 8

Petulant over at Shakesville is helping to spread the word on a nationwide protest of the recently passed Proposition 8.

For those of you that don't know what Prop 8 is it is a measure that was passed in the state of California last week that bans gay marriage.

I've already expressed my displeasure at this proposition. I wish I could make it to one of the locations (I'm going to be in Greenville, NC but I'm gonna be tied up the entire day) so I can get a chance to speak face to space with gay rights advocates.

Hopefully there will be a great turn out for this tomorrow and plenty of attention will generated from it and even more hopefully some positive change will take place as a result.

Sorry Renee

Okay in the last year or so my attention has been drawn to various human right issues. Now as person who doesn't know a lot as well not being a member of many of the groups one reads about you're gonna get my bumps and bruises (whether they are my own fault is another story). And along the way you will genuinely incur the wrath of other bloggers and other bloggers will just auto-hate because you agree with them. But I think to day I almost had the former happen because of the latter.

Over at Womanist Musings Renee put a post about how one group's rights (in this instance the rights of gays) should not take precedence over another. She gave her own interpretation of what the poster the person in the picture is carrying and I offered a different one.

Well since some people just can't stand to hear a different opinion they resort to childish tactics. Accuse them of derailing, insult you, and my personal favorite call them a troll. Just think of it like calling someone a witch or accusing someone of conspiring against the establishment. They can't confront you on what you say so they have to pick other avenues. That is pretty much what happened to me on that thread.

Well when it happens you can do one of two things. You can either try to defend yourself or you can just leave. Now defending yourself is a noble thing. Who wants to be attacked, especially when its uncalled for? The problem is when you do that you run the risk of taking the discussion off course which in turn proves the people right that you were trying to take the discussion off course.

And that is what I was about to do to Renee's discussion today. I went in tried to say something got attacked in my efforts to set the record straight I ended up taking things off course. And it really didn't help that in responding I said some pretty mean stuff too. My bad Renee. So now that I've decided to defend myself and almost ruin the topic what else is there left to do? Leave. And that is I'll do. Sure I'll lurk it but it would be better for me to stop commenting.

Sorry Renee.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just who in the hell does she think she is?

I really don't care that much about the lives of celebrities but this one is a real trip. Recently Guy Ritchie had a heart felt reunion with his two sons Rocco and David. For the time being he has custody of the two boys but it looks like Madonna has a set of demands that Guy should be abiding by while he has them with him.

1. Under no circumstances should they read newspapers magazines or be allowed to watch TV or DVD.

A parent has the responsibility of being mindful of what their children watch or read but this is crazy. Certain shows, certain DVDs, and certain reading material makes sense but none at all? This sounds like she is trying to control their exposure to the outside world.

2. They must adhere at all times to a macrobiotic, vegetarian, organic diet with no processed or refined food.

I can understand this. A parent wants to make sure their children are eating proper.

3. All water they drink, even when it is dilute organic juice, should be Kabbalah water (mountain spring water blessed by leaders of the Kabbalah religion she follows).

In addition to item 2 I can also see the religious significant of this.

4.They should wear the clothes Madonna has sent with them on the flight. If they need to be bought they should not contain man-made fibres.

Same as 3.

5. Their hands should be regularly cleaned with disinfectant spray if they are in public places.

I can understand the parental instinct but this almost borderline OCD.

6. They should not be bought toys which are spiritually or ethically sound.

Maybe this is my agnosticism speaking but I really don't see how religion should make a difference in what toys a child should be able to play with.

7. Guy should not discuss the separation with them

Yeah I agree the goal here should be to not upset the kids with such negative things but I wonder if she is mindful of this when she has custody of them...

8. Madonna should have phone contact with the boys as much as three or four times a day at time set by her.

I'm all for staying in contact but wonder if Guy would have this prerogative if situations were reversed.

9. The boys should not be introduced to Guy's new friends, especially any new female friends he has attracted since the separation.

This is just controlling. And I'm sure she realizes that to abide by this would mean that he would have to choose his children over his new friends, especially female ones.

10. Madonna has encouraged the access to give him time with the boys, rather than his parents spending large amounts of time with the boys.

So Guy's parents are not good enough for them?

11. The boys should not be photographed while with Guy. It is his responsibility to organize security so that does not happen.

So one of the queens of parading around with adopted children from foreign nations is suddenly worried about them being photographed with their dad?

12. At bedtime, Guy should read David the English Rose books Madonna.

She even wants to control what he should read them at bed time. He can't read them Jack and Beanstalk or some story of his own?

I can't believe the nerve of this woman. She is really trying to be the dominant parent from a few thousand miles away. There is no doubt what the reaction would be when if this were reversed and Guy was trying to be the dominant parent from thousands of miles away. Then it would be him trying to exert his control over her and the kids or something like that.

To paraphrase Simon the Digger: "Just who in the hell does she think she is!?!?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I blame American Pie...

When I was in high school (in the mid 90s) I realized I had a thing for older women. At that time when other high school guys are checking out teachers and students their own age I noticed that I was paying a bit more attention to the teachers. Even now I can recall my teachers (especially my history and Spanish teachers) more clearly than the girls in my class.

In college it was the same thing. I was looking at the grad students and professors than I did the women around my own age (and I even had a crush on a classmate that's 10 years older than I but that is a another story for another day). Well around that time a movie by the name of American Pie released.

Even with all the nonsense and comedy in that film (but I do like that fact that they centered around four different guys to show that not all high school guys think like that) it was pretty funny. But more importantly that movie introduced the term M.I.L.F. For the two of you that don't know what that means Mother I'd Like to Fuck. At first I embraced the term as a label for my attraction to older women. But now I almost wish no one had ever put that phrase together.

The term does not even scratch the surface of what I (and I'm sure other people) feel about older women. American Pie made it sound like an attraction to older women is just the desire to shag a "mature woman". And even porn sites have picked up on it (just take my word that you DO NOT want to search MILF in a search engine) There is more to it like there is more to being attracted to any person. You enjoy their looks. You enjoy being with them. You want to talk with them. You want to hear them talk. And while part of the attraction may be sexual its only just that...a part.

They don't all want to maintain their violent ways...

Borrowed from Llencelyn.

People like Dortel Williams are living proof that some prisoners, even those who have no chance of ever seeing the outside world again, do not want maintain their violent and criminal ways. Its a shame that such programs are not getting the support they need. With recidivism rates so high one would think that such programs would be springing up all over the place. But considering that people get so much pleasure out of "predicting" that most inmates become repeat offenders I can see why they would not be motivated to actually help criminals stay out of prison once they get out or at least try to improve the lives of the ones that are there for life.

Black Male Privilege Eh? Part 3

Okay I know its been a while but I've been a bit busy. Back in parts 1 and 2 I started my break down of Jewel Woods Black Male Privilege list. Here goes the third and final part of my critique of the his list.

66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.
67. I have the privilege of having the phrase "sewing my wild oats" apply to my sex as if it were natural.
68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.
69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.
70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.
71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.
72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women

66. I wonder why that is. Is it because black men are more willing to go outside the race than black women, women other races are more willing to date black men than men of other races are willing to date black women, or maybe something else?

67. Since that plays off of the stereotype that men (especially black men) are mindless beasts that only want sex this is not a privilege. Being assumed to have sex on the brain all the time is natural is not a privilege.

68. True...but is that because women moreso than men look to "marry up"?

69. How is that a privilege?

70. Not being expected to marry a black woman? Agreed.

71. Agreed.

72. Not sure about that one...

73. What is defined as "News" in Black America is defined by men.
74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.
75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.
76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.

73. Agreed.

74. Agreed but should I choose to be emotionally open and communicate in a relationship I run the risk of having my masculinity questioned.

75. Agreed.

76. I get the feeling this is the obligatory, "I have the privilege of being blind to my privilege." statement. Given the solid material in this list I really hope he is not trying to throw this in there as the usual, "Anyone that doesn't agree with me is just refusing to acknowledge their privilege." trump card.

77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.
78. My "strength" as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.
79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.
80. Chances are I will be defined as a "good man" by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don't beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a "good man". In comparison, women are rarely defined as "good women" based on what they do not do.
81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.
82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

77. Same as 66.

78. That I don't agree with. Its often thrown in the faces of black men that they are responsible for the failure of the black family. Being told they we knock up women then, run out on our children, out on the streets "hustlin" and "gangbangin". And while the target of such harassment may not be the black man's "strength" it is often his integrity, loyalty, and intelligence that come under fire.

79. Agreed and I also have the privilege of being more likely to get blamed for the divorce (I must have cheated on her, abused her, etc...)

80. Agreed.

81. Agreed and my spouse also has the privilege of not having to assume most of the outside of the home work.

82. Agreed.

Church & Religious Traditions
83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.
84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

83. True and this seems to be prevailant in all churches.

84. True and this seems to be prevailant in all churches.

Physical Safety
85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.
86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.
87. I can video tape women in public- often without their consent - with male complicity.
88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say "Hello" or "Hi" and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.
89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.
90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person
91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.
92. I can touch and physically grope women's bodies in public- often without their consent- with male complicity.
93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.
94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.

85. Agreed. I just have to worry about being called a coward, not being believed, or even being arrested myself instead.

86. Hold up. If this were a privilege this would in imply that women should have friends that they know are abusive. Its a problem indeed but a privilege?

87. Agreed.

88. Agreed.

89. As many cases that are popping up these days of women doing the same thing (and getting away with it) I'm not sure this can be considered male exclusive anymore.

90. This is often an unavoidable biological fact. Even in the utopia the many human rights activists dream this will still hold true. What would be removed is the desire to do so. But the fact that it is possible is not a privilege. And weapons can be pretty damn good equalizers...

91. Agreed.

92. Agreed.

93. Agreed.

94. Agreed.

Well there you have it. Am I silly enough to think that my breakdown of this list is some prophetic message that will open everyone's eyes? No. Am I silly enough to think that everyone will agree with the things I've said in this series? No. Am I silly enough to think that my opinions on this list are absolute and unwavering? No. But hopefully anyone that disagrees will be civil enough to talk it out.

Part 1
Part 2

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We now have a new president coming in. And I have to say that having Bush leave office in a few months and knowing that the next in line is not an older white guy is a nice birthday present indeed (which is coming up in a few hours).

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that all older white guys are bad presidents I'm saying that it is refreshing to see people get over the assumption that the leader of the free world has to be on.

And I'm not naive enough to think that Obama's successful run for the White House will remove all the problem plaguing this country, namely racism. I'll bet that even as you read this somewhere there is someone calling him a nigger, coon, uncle tom, etc....(and I'll bet they aren't all white). But what his run for the White House means is that things are getting better. Think about it. Do you think that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have had a snowball's chance in hell going for the White House in '64? I'm sure we can all agree he wouldn't have.

We (and by we I don't mean just black people but ALL of us) can't afford to rest on our laurels yet but a big stepping stone like this is just too big to overlook.

And the identity of the next butt in the chair of the Oval Office was not the only thing up in the air yesterday:

Proposition K:
This was a measure on the ballot in San Francisco, California. If passed it would have stopped police from "enforcing laws against sex workers and eliminate funding for anti-prostitution programs." Such a proposition would have been a great help to sex workers. It would have taken away some of the fear of going to police when they need help. Just like any other occupation sex workers face job hazards and should be protected. OSHA is there to make sure construction and industrial areas are safe. There is legal recourse for people who are treated unfairly by their employers. So adding some protection for sex workers makes sense right?

Then why was it voted down? I don't live in San Francisco and I don't live in California. I've never been a sex worker and I've never known a sex worker (mind you I may have known them and they chose not to tell me). But even I can tell that this measure was logical and sound idea. Don't believe me? Then check out the word of a woman that fits two of the four things I named (she is a sex worker and knows many sex workers).

Proposition 8:
This makes me sad. How in the world can anyone with a straight face vote for a measure that would ban marriage between two loving adults based on nothing more than the fact that the two loving adults are the same gender? That's it. They are adults. They are both consenting. But because they would both use the same bathroom at a public place they can't get married in California.

And in a very close race in for the governor seat here in NC Beverly Purdue became the first female governor in our states history.

Okay I was gonna add more but my left forearm is killing me. I think carpal tunnel may be kicking in...