Tag Archives: 2011

If We Whined About Other Groups The Same Way We Whine About Black Lives Matter

v2my2blSince the movement’s inception in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the Black Lives Matter campaign has taken its share of criticism. As the number of unarmed black men killed by the police has mounted over the past years, so have the responses from- and towards- the movement. So much so that they’ve become cliche at this point. Still not so cliche that we won’t try to respond to ’em, however.

Let’s imagine, if you will, a world where white folks are also the victims of police brutality. Where white folks have been arbitrarily discriminated against on the basis of their ethnic, national, and religious background. Where exploitation and oppression have left enormous swathes of white folks in abject poverty.

Imagining that world should be pretty easy, because it’s the one we live in now. But let’s say that a movement existed to argue that maybe- just maybe- random violence inflicted by the state on white citizens isn’t something that should just be suffered silently. I’m betting we would still have people who sound like this:

I’m white and I hate white lives matter.

And because I’m white I can say that and it somehow feels more justified. Like “well, he’s white– so you know he’s got more authority to speak on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior for other white people.” Like with clothes.

Clothes

We all know that sagging your pants is an offense that should allow cops and scared white folks who embarrass self-respecting gun-owners  vigilantes to kill you on sight, so what about these guys?

italian-stereotype

I mean, this guy’s wearing a wife beater, a gold chain, and he’s got slicked back hair. You know who else wears clothes like that? That’s right- the mafia.

I mean, I assume so.

Truth be told, I’m not a criminologist and I can’t really claim to know what all criminals wear, but I’m going to assume it looks like this because having to think for extended periods of time makes brain go hurt-hurt. But I see someone who fits the image that the media has created for me and I just go “well if TV says a thug looks like this, then this guy must be a gangster. When has TV ever lied?” Continue reading

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Devalue System

A week ago, Malik Richmond and Trent Mays, two high schoolers accused in a widely publicized rape case, were found guilty and sentenced…

to two years in juvenile detention.

Now there’s no rant I can write which is going to effectively communicate just how psychotic it is that Richmond and Mays received minimum sentencing, so I’m going to forgo any attempt and jump right into a list of crimes receiving harsher penalties.

Sale of Marijuana in Amounts Under 50 Kgs: 5 years.

Larceny in Excess of $3,500: Up to 10 years.

Mail Fraud: Up to 20 years.

Heck, Aaron Schwartz, an MIT student and internet activist who downloaded thousands of academic papers from JSTOR, was sentenced to 35 years in prison, in addition to a million dollar fine (Schwartz tragically killed himself in January of this year). Is what Schwatz did seventeen times more heinous than rape and dissemination of child pornography?

I don’t think so either.

And I don’t think people like Patricia Spottedcrow should be given twelve-year sentences for selling a dime bag of weed while someone who commits domestic violence may receive a maximum (in Nevada) penalty of 180 days in jail.

But I’m not hear to rail on our demented and irredeemably corrupt legal system.

I’m hear to talk about our values as a whole.

Back in 2011, during the teacher’s union strikes in Wisconsin, a complaint I heard a lot was “That teacher makes more than I do, has better benefits, and wants more money? That’s just greedy!” or “I saw that teacher driving around in a <insert fancy car here>!”

Now I honestly don’t know where these figures were pulled from; I have yet to see a wealthy teacher, let alone one who drives to and from work in a 1965 Chevy Impala, but that’s not really the point.

I do get being ticked off at people demanding more money when there aren’t enough hours in the day to spend all that they already have. Believe me, that resonates.

But if that’s the case, then where’s all the righteous indignation during the NBA lockout in 2011? No matter which way you slice it, those players were making millions, and pretty much shut down the NBA for half a year because they felt they weren’t making enough.

Now I’m not trying to pass judgment one way or the other, partly because I don’t know enough about the politics of the sport, and partly (mostly) because I think everyone involved makes and obscene amount to begin with.

So do actors, for that matter.

I frankly don’t see why actors should be paid millions to act as teachers in the ghetto while real teachers in the ghetto wouldn’t make that kind of money if they worked until their deaths. The same goes for doctors, civil rights lawyers, independent journalists, and so on. Pay an actor $5,000,000 to pretend to be a teacher, and everyone’s fine with it. Pay a real teacher $50,000 and the world is apparently coming to an end.

A professional footballer makes about $2,000,000 a year. Y’know how much a grocery store clerk makes? $28,000 (if we’re going ridiculously high). And you’d best believe my life is impacted more by any grocery clerk than anyone catching/kicking/hitting a ball for a living.

Now all this is to say we need to step back and take a hard look at our value system. What do we really consider to be a terrible crime? Is selling weed or beating your spouse senseless a more awful crime than rape? Is the work done by actors really so much more valuable than that done by teachers and nonprofit works *cough*? And even get me started on our military budget and the perks we give our politicians.

Again, I’m not here to pass judgment (not until tomorrow, anyways). I’m here to simply present the facts before you. Do you think we’ve got our priorities in order?