A girl is gang-raped at a Homecoming and a crowd gathers to watch? Honestly, what is happening to our youth?
Will someone explain why dozens of teenagers watched a 15 year-old Richmond, California high schooler get gang-raped? After you explain that, then explain why there appears to be some new fascination with the cultural tradition of watching (and egging on) violent acts. Honestly, what's the answer to this lunacy? Less fast food? Internet access? Grand Theft Auto? The military as life choice? What? I'm serious, folks. Aggressive attacks against women (particularly intoxicated women) in the Good Book of Macho America are like a rites of passage. You know, if you don't find yourself a drunken girl and violate her in front of everyone you know (or tell every one you know) then manhood is out of your reach forever. I think what I really need is someone, someone smart, compassionate and resourceful, to provide an enormous amount of encouragement to my increasingly cynical soul: I'm beginning to believe the expendability of other humans is a template of mankind that will never change. I'm also beginning to believe our youth (25 and under) are going to be the end of us.
Atheist Ads go up in NYC subways today. First Amendment or not, folks won't like this.
New York City Coalition for Reason, an organization that works to increase awareness about the secular-minded, starts an atheist ad campaign in the NYC subways today. Uh oh. Hold on to your faith and your grandmomma's Good Book. The ad reads: A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God. Are You? That's certainly a catchy phrase and it will certainly agitate unwavering God-believers who believe life without God is worse than the Black Plague with the Devil On Top. Personally, I don't pay attention to most campaigns or commercials, pro-God or against Him. Shopping, in general, depletes me of electrolytes. Besides, if it's not available at the Farmer's Market I'm not buying.
Rabbi Brad Hirschfield who blogs over at Belief.net feels the atheist campaign is intended to provoke, and not educate. I'm not sure I agree. Doesn't one need a sliver of provocation to stimulate a hunger for new ideas? I don't know. Call me tragically open-minded. Hirschfield also appears a bit peeved that the name New York City Coalition for Reason, the organization that's backing the campaign, is suggesting atheists and seculars are reasonable and God-believers are not.
"It suggests, in precisely the way that pro-God groups with names like "union for decency" and "coalition for American values" suggest that atheists are amoral, un-American, or indecent, that atheists are reasonable and theists are not."
Sounds like fighting words to me. Oh, I should mention the atheist campaign launches a few days before the release of Harvard's Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein's new book Good Without God.
Whites prefer a progressive life in cities like Portland and Minneapolis. Without black folks.
Writer/blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates reminded me of an interesting cyber-discussion happening right now over at New Geography. And you know I love a good cyber-chat to fill up my think tank before the weekend. If you don't know already, writer Aaron M. Renn scribed a great piece called "The White City". It examines the rise in so-called progressive cities that, interestingly enough, are lacking in an African-American presence. You don't say! Somebody help me pick my jaw up from the floor. Renn confesses:
"There’s a generally standing answer to the question of what cities are the best, the most progressive and best role models for small and mid-sized cities. The standard list includes Portland, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, and Denver. In particular, Portland is held up as a paradigm, with its urban growth boundary, extensive transit system, excellent cycling culture, and a pro-density policy.
But look closely at these exemplars and a curious fact emerges. If you take away the dominant Tier One cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles you will find that the “progressive” cities aren’t red or blue, but another color entirely: white.
In fact, not one of these “progressive” cities even reaches the national average for African American percentage population in its core county. Perhaps not progressiveness but whiteness is the defining characteristic of the group."
Aaron M. Renn is my new BFF. He hit the nail on the white progressive head. As many of you know I live in the best place on the planet, Brooklyn, New York. My neighborhood is packed to the rafters with progressives—black, white and other significants. Folks who recycle, cycle, invest time in urban redevelopment, push for cleaner environments, insist on safer blocks for the kiddies, advocate for the under-advocated, and do their Saturday shopping at the Farmer's Market.
But outside of Brooklyn, progressive life seems to be exclusively white. I've traveled to San Francisco, Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Diego, Toronto, Denver, D.C., and Cincinnati where I urgently seek out the "progressive" scene and it never fails: whites rule. In fact, I expect it. For the most part, and I'm going to get elbowed for saying this, but so-called progressive ideas like recycling, organic marketing, GLBT advocacy, liberal politics, and religious tolerance tend to be associated with whites. Why? I'll let someone else answer that; I'm tired. But it does appear whites prefer a progressively-inspired life without the company of black folk. Truth be told, I know plenty of "progressive" black who sneak into these white enclaves hoping to avoid black folks, too. Man! Did I just say that? Check out Aaron M. Renn's piece and let me know what you think.
The Guardian's Peter Tatchell insist we accept Malcolm X as a bisexual icon. His alleged same-sex past proves it. Mmm, not so fast, buddy.
Let me just jump right into it: a Facebook friend posted an update that read Malcolm is Bisexual. Get Over It. After I blinked and then squinted, I clicked on the link and I was directed to the Guardian where Peter Tatchell wrote a piece about Malcolm and the "history of his same-sex relations". You know, in honor of the UK's Black History Month, of course. Let me provide a sample of Tatchell's thoughts on our beloved icon:
"Perhaps it is unintentional but Black History Month sometimes feels like Straight Black History Month. Famous black LGBT people are not acknowledged and celebrated. Either their contribution to black history and culture is ignored or their sexuality is airbrushed out of their biographies.
A good example of this neglect is the denialism surrounding the bisexuality of one of the greatest modern black liberation heroes: Malcolm X. The lack of recognition is perhaps not surprising, given that some of his family and many black activists have made strenuous efforts to deny his same-sex relationships and suppress recognition of the full spectrum of his sexuality."
I'm not sure what to think. I certainly believe and advocate for the truth of people. I believe that men and women all fall under the category of complicated and layered human beings looking for balance and explanation and primal satisfaction, or not. I guess I'm saying that Malcolm could have had a life layered with a bisexual past. But I'm not so sure we should acknowledge him as a bisexual icon. One, Malcolm chose to marry a woman and have a traditional Nation of Islam family. He chose that. Two, Malcolm never, to my knowledge, mentioned a bisexual past to the public: The Nation of Islam doesn't condone pansexuality. Three, I think a person should be alive on the planet to determine or defend how they'd like to be defined, sexually. It's about self-definition, not the imposition of communal definition. No? I know, I'm a big fat idealist.
Most of Tatchell's outcry is inspired by Bruce Perry's 1991 biography, Malcolm - The Life of A Man Who Changed Black America. Many feel Perry's biography trumps the Alex Haley-scribed autobiography which Malcolm allegedly controlled content. Perry allegedly interviewed 420 people who knew Malcolm at some point in his life and revealed his layered past. In fact, Malcolm allegedly worked as a male sex worker some time in his teens, according to Perry's book. Mmm, I didn't know teenage sex workers were considered inspiring sexual icons. Look, I'm certainly not condoning the un-truth of people. I'm also not denying the possibility of a bisexual past in the phenomenal life of Malcolm X, but bisexual icon? Not so much. Maybe Tatchell should honor the UK's Black History Month by writing a piece on the fear of male sexuality in the black community?
Rihanna refused to discuss Chris Brown and the abuse. Now she's wrapped in barbed wire. Somebody help this sister.
I'm sorry, but I have to say something about Rihanna and the barbed wire photo. Would somebody please sit this young sister down and talk some sense into her? Before I go any further let me set the record straight: I've only seen one Rihanna video in my life and I wasn't impressed. She's young and sexy and consumer-friendly, but I prefer Jill Scott, Lizz Wright and Dianne Reeves for my viewing/listening/buying pleasure. In a nutshell, I'm not a fan. I'm simply a concerned citizen of the thinking-redwine-drinking world.
First, Rihanna decides not to mention anything about Chris Brown and the domestic violence. Now she's striped down to her bare essentials and wrapped in barbed wire on the new Russian Roulette cover. It's not real barbed wire, of course, but it certainly suggests that either she, or her PR folks, decided her recent abuse makes her a prime candidate to sell sadism. In fact, if given more time to meditate on this, I could assume Rihanna might even be into a sadomasochist lifestyle. Maybe that's why she chose not to say blip about Chris Brown's attack on her face. I'm pushing the envelope here, I know, but that's why somebody should sit this young songstress down and talk some sense into her. Or, at least, tell her to come out of the closet and confess she's a proud member of the S&M club. Who's advising this sister?