Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr

The [Meek] Shall Inherit the Earth or The Earth May Engulf the [Meek]?

How come we must pick sides? Remember the Martin Luther King Jr. quote “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The reason why I ask this question and reference this quote is that people have been taking sides regarding the Meek Mill situation.

Meek Mill has been sentenced to a prison term of two to four years for probation violation. There are people on all sides of this topic, many people believe he deserves it for violating the conditions of his probations. There are people upset because some celebrities have come to Meek’s defensive, these people believe their others in the prison system who need the help of these celebrities. There are those people who view this as a mistreatment by the justice system. I personally believe in the latter, this is an abusive system of justice. I offer this to the people who believe Meek is getting what he deserves and to those who are concerned about others in similar or worse situations. If they can do this to an individual who has some success, notoriety, means and minor wealth; what will stop them from doing this to all of us. Instead of complaining about him receiving this attention because he is a celebrity we need to use this moment to point out other situation that displays a miscarriage of justice. People past judgment on the Meek Mill situation without learning what really happened, people rely on the media and the media has proven over time that is not on our side. The media only reports the truth when they are forced to report the truth. The judge indicated he violated his terms of probation by leaving the state without permission, police contact from a fight in the airport, and police contact for riding an unauthorized vehicle in the streets of New York. The charge of leaving the state without permission charge, Meek Mill’s people notified the judge of his travel request and she signed off on the request. The judge later denied giving permission. The fight in the airport, after farther investigation it was determined that Meek was trying to prevent the fight and the charges were dismissed. Riding the unauthorized vehicle incident happened while he was shooting a video, the police were present the entire time, and he was not arrested for this infraction until the next day.

I understand people need to be punished for their mistakes, but the punishment must fit the crime. I ask our people to do one thing instead of looking at all the negative things people like Meek does look at the positive things they do. The media will always highlight the negative, but they will never report on all the charity work he may do, the people he may employ and the lives he may save. Look at the situation regarding Senatorial candidate Roy Moore people are coming to his defense and he is accused of, in my opinion, one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. As Black people, we have many problems, us fighting amongst ourselves should not be one of them. Any issue regarding a Black person should be dealt with among Black people, the media or no outside forces should influence our decision about another Black person. Remember the injustice you allow to happen to one person, you may one day become a victim of the same injustice.

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Social Media: Who Controls the Narrative?

Is social media changing the narrative? Through social media, we are able to witness everything from some of the greatest achievements in a person life, to what they are eating, to a horrible act of violence being committed. Like everything in life, there are good things that come and there are bad things that come. I will admit social media is used to display some of the most heinous crimes such as rape, torture, and murder. For these reasons, there is a fraction of the public calling for the end of live streaming through social media outlets. I fully understand why the victims and the family of the victims do not want these acts broadcast around the world. But social media gives us the news unfiltered and by providing information unfiltered this is changing the narrative.

For years the only way for us to receive news was through our local newspaper or news television network. These mediums controlled the narrative, they decided what news was worthy, how we would receive the news and when we would receive the news. Basically, we may not receive valuable information if someone else decided it was not valuable.

I understand all the arguments for limiting or controlling the information being disseminated. Safia Samee Ali of NBC News wrote an article about this topic, in the article the writer discusses who may be responsible for stopping live-streaming or is someone responsible. John C. Dvorak wrote an article for PC Magazine where he suggests that live-streaming should end immediately. I have an opposite position than John Dvorak I believe social media and live streaming has worked to black people’s advantage.

My opinion is that live-streaming and social media has benefited the black community in one specific way, it has allowed the world to see many of the things that are happening to our community. The world has been able to see the murders of Eric Garner, Philando Castiel, Walter Scott, and Terence Crutcher just to name a few. I know we have not received justice in the court of law for these murders but the country can no longer hide these tragedies from the rest of the world. Just imagine if these incidents were not caught on video, most people would not about these things, black people included. Viewing these tragedies have caused an awaking in the black community. People are starting to realize that Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Black Panther Party and others work has not been completed. The news media would not have reported these occurrences, they had no choice because the video was circulating around social media. I reside in New York without social media I probably would have never known about Philando Castiel’s murder. In witnessing these incidents I am now able to give my sons visuals of things that I have always warned them about, they understand now how to proceed with caution when interacting with the police. Social media has helped some people get their charges dismissed because their arrest was caught on video and released on social media. The police lies were exposed forcing the courts to remove charges. If the video is live-streamed the police cannot erase the video before the world has a chance to see it.

My fear is the government will find a way to get rid of the live-streaming and/or make these videos inadmissible. I have two reasons for this fear, one the videos are allowing people to win their case and even when the police are acquitted of these murders the families are still able to win lawsuits against the police department or municipal governing body. The second reason is the United States likes have the reputation of being the moral leader of the world. These videos are showing the rest of the world that the United States is allowing their citizens to be killed without

The Functionality of Racism in America

What is the functionality of racism in America? Who benefits from racism in America? Why isn’t everyone working to end racism? Many believe this country was built on racism, if not for slavery would America have been able to build wealth. Slavery ended in 1865 so why hasn’t racism dissipated over these past hundred plus years? In my point of view and some others, racism is as strong as ever in America. In fact, one could argue that racism has increased worldwide since the end of slavery in America. Now there are some who will say that Black Americans are better off today than in the past, but this may all be imaginary. Black America’s wealth percentage has not increased compared to other ethnic groups. Racism may not be as overt as in the past but racism still exist, which begs the question why does racism still exist?

In my opinion, racism has an important functionality in America and that is why racism still exists and may forever exist in America. In my opinion, racism is being used as a tool to mask classism. Past empires practiced classism and this philosophy contributed to the downfall of these empires because the number of lower class citizens outnumbered the number of upper-class citizens. In the classism system, the lower class citizens can easily overpower the upper class. Knowing that this issue has existed throughout history there must be a system in place that will keep the lower class citizens fighting amongst each other. If the lower class citizens are fighting against each other they will not be able to unite and overthrow the upper-class citizen, hence the system of racism.

This theory about the functionality of racism in America came to me several years ago while watching the election coverage on MSNBC. The MSNBC report was interviewing people from a rural town in Mississippi, one of the gentlemen the report spoke with was an older white man, I remember the report stating that the older man’s annual income was around $12,000. The report went through a number of political issues and tried to explain to the older gentleman that it would benefit him and his family financially to support a Democrat. The reported explained that many of the items on the Democrat agenda, if passed, would have a direct impact on him and they would benefit him. The older white stated he would never vote for a democrat because all the democrats want to do is help Black and Hispanic people. The older gentleman stated he was fine with his financial situation as long as the government did not provide anything to minorities. I took two things from this news piece, one the older gentlemen felt that even though he is considered poor, being white made him better than Blacks and Hispanics. The second thing was that he is willing to do without to ensure that Blacks and Hispanics do not benefit in any way. I thought to myself that white privilege is enough and if so racism will not go away.

There are small incidents throughout American history where we see racism mask classism. In 1920’s New York; Italian immigrants, Irish immigrants, and Black lived in many of the same neighborhoods. Gang violence was high during these times because poverty was prevalent, the gangs started to prey upon the upper class. The New York officials knew the city could not sustain with so many people at the poverty level, so the officials started putting the Irish immigrants into the police force and the Italian immigrants into the fire department. This left the Black New Yorkers without any outlets and the Irish to enforce the laws. This created a middle class which meant mostly Blacks were lower class and his protected the upper class because the number of lower class citizens had decreased and the now middle-class citizen were in charge of protecting the upper class.

Martin Luther King’s assassination, when speaking with my son about MLK’s assassination he assumed the MLK was in Memphis fighting for civil rights. I explained that MLK was there in support of the sanitation workers strike. The sanitation workers were striking for better working conditions and salary. One has to ask himself was MLK assassinated because of his work in the civil right movement or because MLK’s focus started leaning towards more economic fairness for all people.

For a moment let us imagine America without racism. Without racism would citizens be upset with the huge wealth gap in America? Would the older man I mentioned earlier be so excepting of his financial situation? America’s love to complain and blame others for the country’s problems, without racism who would they blame? Would the lower class and middle class rise up against the upper class?  If my theory is correct we may never get rid of racism because America is controlled by the upper class and the last thing the upper class will allow to happen is to lose control of the country. Racism may not just have a functionality in America, racism may be the engine which keeps America on the path that is on.