Archives for category: sexism

I’m pleading with you. Please do me this solid! Today is perhaps the most important day in the life of our nation. Just as today, we need women and blacks and latinx and millennials to stand up for democracy, we need you. We need you to come out in droves to vote your conscience. I know I have debated, and I have been snarky, and I have been crude…but today I am begging: Please do me this solid.

Please vote our values:

On Immigration…

I appeal to your conscience, please do me this solid. Please, please don’t accept the lie that caravans of terrorists and gangs are storming our borders. Please decry the notion that brown people are a threat to white people and want to take our jobs and rape our women. Please vote on the side of the poor and destitute. Please give those poor and exploited South and Central American men, women and children the opportunity to find a better life. Please fulfill the Matthew 28 mandate by going out to vote for those seeking asylum and refuge to be allowed the basic dignity of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Please go out today and vote against ripping children out of the arms of their parents. Jesus would never be for this, but has indeed damned anyone who would harm these little ones. Please do me this solid and vote not against immigration, but for comprehensive immigration reform…for asylum seekers, for refugees, for the thousands of undocumented Americans who have not other country to all home…that they might be grafted in to the blessings of our great nation.

On Racism…

I appeal to your conscience, please do me this solid. Please, please don’t align yourselves with this vile and racist rhetoric that is coming out of the most powerful seat of power in the world. The God of love resents and resists white supremacy. Christ died for the sins of racism and bigotry. Jesus was literally killed because of religious bigotry. The Christian gospel is what freed the slaves. The Christian gospel is what empowered the Civil Rights movement, that God in the person of Jesus sees no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, the Roman citizen and the Palestinian Jew, between the White American and the African-American. Please do me this solid and vote against nationalism, antisemitism, and white supremacy. Please do not allow your vote to be counted among the hateful, but on the side of love.

On Women…

I appeal to your conscience, please do me this solid. Please, please don’t align yourselves with this misogynistic impulse to silence the voice of victims of abuse. Those who find the courage to speak their truth in the face of power, skepticism, risking their own reputation, ought to be believed. We have witnessed a historic breakthrough in the willingness of women exploited in the workplace to speak their truth to power by holding those accountable, who misuse their power for the sake of sexual conquest accountable. Also, we have seen credible accounts of sexual abuse by our president go ignored. Please do me this solid by being on the side of the marginalized and oppressed by standing up for victims, as Jesus did when he refused to allow the woman accused of adultery to be shamed by her accomplices. Please vote against this shaming of woman and victim blaming.

On The Poor…

I appeal to your conscience, please do me this solid. Please, please vote for the poor. According to Jesus, taking care for the poor is a kingdom credential. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, and give a drink to the thirsty are what identifies us with the ministry of Jesus. In an era where the eight richest men in the world hold more wealth than 50% of the rest of the world’s population, the wealthy should not have been given a historic tax cut. In the United States, 47% of Americans are living below the poverty line. Poverty is not a sin and most who are poor are poor due to no fault of their own. Please do me this solid and vote in protest of this Trump tax cut. The poor are not asking for a handout, but to simply be allowed to meet their own needs in an economy that rewards wealth while punishing poverty. Please vote against economic injustice and vote for health care, nutrition, and housing.

On Freedom of Religion…

I appeal to your conscience, please do me this solid. Please, please vote against any legislation that privileges your faith over the faith of others. All people have the right to worship however they want. Please do not allow your faith to be exploited for political gain. Please don’t allow politicians to write legislation against women, LGBTQ+, Muslims, and Palestinians in the name of Jesus. Please resist the temptation to legislate morality in the name of religion. Please allow the preeminent ethic of grace to be the testimony of Jesus and not law. Please do me this solid and do not allow our Christian faith to be a tool of harm. The Word of God teaches, “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Please do not let hate define your faith.

I pleading with you, on behalf of the radical, poor, resurrected Jesus, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy,” (Proverbs 31:8-9) by voting against a government that would:

  • Deploy its military against poor men, women, and children who are risking their lives to escape exploitation, poverty, and gang violence….and rip children from the arms of parents seeking a better life for them.
  • Use racist dog whistles as red meat to get white supremacist to the polls and harken us back to a time when blacks, Jews, and women were a subservient class to the rest of America….a time when many of them risked their lives exercising their right to vote.
  • Mock and ignore the credible claims of women and minimize the erosive effects of sexual assault.
  • Oppress the poor by filling the pockets of the rich, leaving them to fend for themselves by working low wage jobs, unaffordable housing, and lacking healthcare.
  • Exploit the Christian faith by misusing our call to moral wholeness to hurt those who live and worship differently.

The very foundation of our beautiful democratic republic is at stake. The testimony of your Christian faith is at stake. Please, please do me this solid…and vote your decent values…of love, charity, justice and freedom.

Please vote to make American beautiful again!

Advertisements

img_9018 Truth Isn’t Truth, or Is It???

In all my years of following religious conservatism, never would I ever have imagined that truth would be accepted as not truth, also known as false.

On Sunday, on Meet the Press, Rudy Giuliani, while defending Donald J. Trump, blurted out “Truth isn’t truth” as a means of explaining how two seemingly credible sources could so convincingly argue two contradictory accounts of the same conversation.

Without delving too deeply into exactly which truth isn’t true, I’m tempted to argue that Rudy is right. The presupposition that truth isn’t truth has been the basis of American political discourse since its founding.

The truth that the New World was dispossessed prior to European settlement is a truth that isn’t true. The truth that indentured servitude was a sovereign right bestowed upon white landowning males is a truth that isn’t true. The truth that God ordained man to be head over woman whose exclusive duty was to serve him and bear his offspring was a truth that isn’t true. That men who lie with men as one would lie with a woman and that women who lie with women as one would lie with a man would each be doomed to eternal damnation is a truth that isn’t true.

Indeed, the landfill of American virtuosity it littered with truths that aren’t truth. From white picket fences to apple pie to baseball and rock-n-roll, are all truths that are only true for a select few.

Last week, a naked truth that we all wish was not true was revealed. Scores of Catholic priests conspired to rape and abuse countless little boys and little girls over the course of many generations, exposed the truth that sexual anorexia in the name of religion is detrimental to psychological and spiritual health, not to mention demonic and may very destroy all of Christendom.

The lie that truth isn’t truth is the spiritual truth peddled by religious conservatism since it’s inception with imperial rule. Such truths proclaim that first peoples aren’t first. That black people aren’t people. That God’s chosen people aren’t chosen. And that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

Thus Giuliani’s revelation that truth isn’t truth is not such a radical departure from the canon of heresy that is the bedrock of religious conservatism. It is quietly preached in the halls of congress as lies are abided so that religious falsehood can be exacted in the courts.

The truth that life is sacred is betrayed by the lie that sexual violence is inconsequential. The truth that God hates fags is betrayed by the lie that the richest one percent are entitled to more wealth than the ninety-nine. The truth that global warming is not man-made is betrayed by the lie that Mexicans are murders and rapists. The truth that gun ownership is a god-given right is betrayed by the lie that parents seeking asylum for their children is not. The truth that Barack Obama was not born in America is betrayed by the truth that he was.

The lie that truth isn’t true is perhaps the truest untruth Giuliani has ever uttered for it reveals more about Make America Great Again religious conservatism than we can ever imagine.

The lie the truth isn’t truth should shock and surprise all who seek truth, justice, and the American Dream. But since so much of the American Dream is just a Dream we have become accustomed to trusting in truths that are untrue. As such, Giuliani’s lie that truth isn’t truth will soon be accepted as mere rhetorical relativism used to justify supporting an administration that is remaining true to its promises to make America hate again in the name of God!

Arrested for Justice!

They explained what to do and what not to do. Everything seemed so “organized.” It all made sense. I thought I understood how it was supposed to go. But my heart still pounded and my throat had a lump. They warned us about prior convictions. My mind kept wondering if I had any convictions…or even had been arrested. I couldn’t remember whether or not I had. My deep-seated distrust in the criminal justice system as a black, gay, HIV-positive man was beginning to show. All the reassurances in the world could not soothe the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.

Prior to today my record was squeaky clean, besides the traffic tickets that keep being hailed as the example of “no big deal.” But reminded me of all the times I thought I might die from a traffic stop. And all the times I thought I might be criminalized because of my sexuality. And all the times my HIV status has been used to dehumanized my black body. Yet, I chose to be arrested.

I chose to be arrested alongside the Missouri state delegate. He is a white, straight, food service worker earning $9 per hour. He is forced to chose between child support payments and healthcare. Because 50% of his pay goes to child support. He is forced to live without healthcare. Our lives could not have been further apart, but we chose to be arrested together today.

It wasn’t that bad. We chanted. We sang. We were warned. We surrendered. What I had feared all my life and sworn to avoid, was not that bad. And maybe that’s the problem. Just maybe the fear of being arrested keeps us from doing the work of justice. Perhaps the system is set up to keep the people just complacent enough to do nothing.

As I sat there on the grassy Capital lawn, behind police tape and steel barricades with like-minded strangers for justice, I thought about those who have not organized, those who did not know what to do. As I looked down at my plastic handcuffs, relieved that they were not real, even though they were….it was difficult not to act out. The meekness of the police was provocative. Their soft spokenness, their generosity of spirit up juxtaposed to the violence of state sanctioned poverty made it difficult to comply. The violence suffered by the least of these, created a deep-seated rage, prompting me to cry out.

What do we want? Justice!

When do we want it? Now!

If we don’t get it? Shut it down!

If we don’t get it? Shut it down!

If we – don’t – get – it?

Shut it down!

maxresdefault 2

I could blog about Kathy Griffin…or the Paris climate agreement…or another attack in London…or not blog at all since I just blogged my first blog since February, earlier today. But then I heard on the news that HBO’s Bill Maher dropped the “N” bomb on Real Time. After rolling my eyes and opening my laptop, I was aghast. Amid a milieu of dog whistles, populism, white working class self-pity, religious white supremacy, and #alllivesmatter, a white liberal male celebrity “ally” jokingly uttered the phrase “House Nigger.”

So here we go. What to say? What to say? I could say nothing, but to do so would be to ignore the reality of whiteness in America. I’d rather say nothing, than to deal with the definite progressive revelation of liberal ignorance that will surely be revealed in the anticipated comments that will be posted by white “friends” on the Book of Faces once the blog is drops. So here goes nothing or EVERYTHING.

Most blacks understand the implications of existing in a civic reality in which white supremacy is pervasive. We know that whether our collar be white or blue, gold or platinum, we will always be black. In order do survive such a maddening fate, we have adopted coded terminologies that, when used amongst ourselves,  provide a sense of humor, healing, and hope in eager anticipation of that “great gittin up mornin,” that holy expectation of the “already, not yet.”

Co-opting the term “House Nigger,” which originated in the antibellum south, to use amongst ourselves was our way of expressing self-awareness and social consciousness. For whether I am Lebron or Tiger, Serena or Michael, Obama or OJ, white supremacy will always deem me a nigger, whether living in the White House, confined to the Big House, or subjugated to cleaning the Out House. Understanding this, for better or for worse, has always been the first step toward embracing black liberation.

But what about Bill Maher? Why can’t he say it? First of all, as a straight white alpha male liberal celebrity, he can say whatever he wants. He can rap, or nah. He can drop the “F” Bomb on his own show, or nah. He can shoot hoops, or nah. He can cackle with white supremacists, or nah. And he can say “house nigger,” or nah.

The problem with Bill Maher is not that he jokingly labeled himself a “House Nigger” vs. a “Field Nigger.” The problem is that in so doing, he revealed his own lack of self-consciousness and social awareness. And in so doing he revealed that his pseudo-woke liberal progressive socio-political caricature has not liberated him from his own deep-seated racism and white supremacy, which we with melanin already knew.

The for real, for real is that Bill Maher’s self-designation as “House Nigger” reveals that he is just that…a pseudo-woke liberal progressive socio-political caricature propped up by Massa to capitalize on the false notion that white supremacy only exists on Fox News. Any white liberal celebrity who presumes he/she/they are not is just that, a House Nigger.

 

IMG_4626It’s June. June! It’s only June. Everyday since November 8 the news has been nonstop. From #pussygate to characters streaming in and out of Gotham Tower to #fakenews about crowds to failed attempts to ban Muslims to Spicers press briefing antics to crazy nonstop tweets to #fakenews about #Obamagate to failed Obamacare appeals to #Russiagate and on and on and on. It just hasn’t quit. It’s June. June! It’s only June.

It hasn’t even been six months, but already there is plenty of proof that we have been Trump-ed by traitors. A traitor is a person who betrays a friend, country, or principle. Traitors have infiltrated our government under the guise of piety and American Pie in order to rob us of our dignity for the sake of personal gain.

But the traitor is not Trump. Trump is who we have always known him to be, a self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist who will do whatever it takes to advance his own agenda. The real traitors are all 54 senators and 247 house leaders who are betraying American values by defending Trump’s self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist antics. The traitors are the white evangelical church leaders who are betraying American values by worshipping a God who is ambivalent to exhorbitant wealth, women’s rights, immigrants, refugees, extreme poverty, and racism. The traitors are the rust belt middle class pretending to be pitiful and poor to mask their fear of blacks, immigrants, refugees, and industrial progress.

These deep and subtle betrayals are what makes all this Trumpian chaos so horrific and unimaginable. Prior to November 8, I assumed I had friends who held differing views and values. Prior to November 8, I assumed I lived in a country with a constitution that states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Prior to November 8, I assumed that my interests were being served by a democratic government that would protect me from the wiles of authoritarianism, nationalism, unrestricted capitalism.

But since the election of Donald J. Trump, I can no longer be led by such ill-advised assumptions.  Since November 8 it has become clear that those who have voted for this self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist president are self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racists themselves. While Donald J. Trump is indeed problematic, the real traitors are these treasonous wolves in sheep clothing who pretend to be pious and patriotic in order to carry out their own self-interested, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist agendas against the poor, the immigrant, the refugee, and the American who still believes in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all people everywhere. Such values no longer Trump all.

moonight-oceanBeing a black gay boy was my worst nightmare. I knew that one day I would need to stand before my family and my world and confess my unpardonable sin. This was the cross that was mine to bear. This was the thorn in my flesh. This was the crimson stain that would never be washed away. And I hated it. I hated it with the wrath of thousand suns. I hated who I saw in the mirror. I hated the sissy who was mocked on the playground. I hated the sound of my voice. I hated my girlish ways which brought on the wanton whispers. I was gay and I hated it. I wanted to be someone else. Anyone else. Just not me. I did not want to be a black gay man. I did not want to be a black gay man because I did not know what that looked like. I did not know what it looked like to be me. I only knew what it felt like. And it felt like hell. It was a living nightmare.

Tonight’s Moonlight Best Picture WIN…is typical of my living nightmare. It’s that feeling deep deep down that knows that you are the best you can be, even if no one else does. It’s that abiding uncertainty of knowing you are better than the mediocrity that continuously passes you by. It’s that never ending nightmare that tosses you into hell, while knowing one day you’ll wake up in heaven. Moonlight is the movie of that life. Moonlight reveals to the world the hell that black gay boys go through. It shows the shame that is so deep that it forces you to absorb everyone else’s pain in order to cover up your own. Moonlight is that silent cry in the middle of the night, when everyone else is asleep. Moonlight is that deep deep need to be wanted, but too afraid to believe you are.

Tonight, when Moonlight won, black queerness won. Little black gay boys won. Boys bullied. Boys called faggot. Boys touched by men and told not to tell. Boys whose lifeless bodies lie dead in the grave because they were too ashamed to live, too afraid to love. Tonight, Moonlight exhumed those dead lives, those dead hopes, those dead dreams. Tomorrow, black gay boys can go to school a little less confused, a little less afraid, a little more emboldened to live the life that is theirs to live. A moonlit life shining in the darkness, just waiting to be lived.

For nearly two years I’ve been yelling, “OMG, I love Empire!” By “empire,” I didn’t necessarily mean the American empire, but the hit TV show, Empire. For months my televisional week revolved around Empire. I was obsessed with its characters. I was infatuated with Jamal. I was captivated by Cookie. I loved the terror exacted by Lucious the patriarch.  I loved the bougie hip hop #veryblack shade that was constantly being thrown as a #veryreal constant of the upward spiral of blackness in an empire defined by the demise of blackness. And because I love (big “e”) Empire, I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time.

The delay is due to my reluctance to critique the very things I love…and I do love the American empire (little “e”)  so very very much. Perhaps too much. So much so that I am guilty of hating the abuses of America more so because of how they besmirch the American ideal, and less so because of the abuses themselves.

But at the end of the day, America is an empire in the purest form. And anyone committed to justice for all has to question their love for the American empire. The great James Baldwin said it best when he said, “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”  

But the problem is, empires are generally not open to criticism. To call into question the assertions of empire is to question the very premise of imperialism itself. The problem with empire is that the promises and guarantees, therein, require the execution of grave injustices and brutal atrocities. To question such executions is to threaten the empire that I am devoted to loving. Jamal and Cookie and Lucious are but figurative commodities depicting the imperial realities for which I aspire. A reality in which blackness and queerness and power personified is privileged are centered in imperial conquest.

But then, I am reminded that empire is not defined by diversity but dominance. A dominance that if spoken against is in itself an unspeakable betrayal. To speak against empire and live in opposition to empire is existential treason of the highest order. For this reason loving empire is dangerous. Loving empire endangers the marginalizations that are created by empire. Blackness, queerness, and liberty and justice for ALL do not coexist in empire. Freedom of speech that is prophetic and subversive is a threat to empire. To truly love empire is to love oppression, to love stratified power, to love armies, and homogeneity, and hegemony. To love empire is to love all the things that sustain empire. To love empire is to love all the things that denounce who I am. Loving the American empire is juxtaposed to black selflove, queer selflove, and the sacrificial love of the other.

As such, I love America more than any other country in this world, but because it is an empire I must persist on an internal self-critique of my complicity to the evil that sustains its imperial allegiance.