OK


Pardon me if I'm a little annoyed, but SHIT DAMN FUCK!

Walking around with your a*s and your underwear showing is not okay,” Lemon said. “In fact, it comes from prison. When they take away belts from prisoners so they can’t make a weapon. And then it evolved into which role each prisoner would have during male-on-male prison sex.”

Lemon also advised Black viewers to stop saying “the N-word,” to encourage young members of the community to finish their education and to “respect where you live.”

“I’ve lived in several predominantly white communities in my life,” Lemon said. “I rarely, if ever, witnessed people littering. I live in Harlem now. It’s a historically Black neighborhood. Every single day, I see adults and children dropping their trash on the ground when the garbage can is just feet away. Just being honest here.”

Face Palm Oh God Damnit.

Then it went to a panel discussion.

Ok, look I've been over this for 20 years. I've been in the room as Black people argued these issues with each other.  I think it's fair to argue that the sagging pants thing comes from prison culture, but then again - we should be asking why has jail and prison life become such a huge influence on the so many people? - and the answer is that's the only life they know and that's the only life they expect as they're repeatedly targeted for prosecution.

I'll be honest with you, I don't like the sagging pants thing either and that it's just the tip of the iceberg of things about black people - my people - That ANNOY THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF ME - but this is a question of choice and freedom. If we're talking a persons own casual regular attire, I'm not going to jump down somebodies Throat over wearing an ugly Hawaiian shirt, cargo pants, and house slippers with socks on anymore than I'm going to get on a black kid for letting his pants droop.  THAT'S ALL MISSING THE POINT.

FASHION IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR CHARACTER JUDGEMENT

It's free expression, and as such within your own private life, is fully protected as Free Speech.

There have been laws against "sagging pants" attemped in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Louisiana.

A 20 year-old-man was arrested and Straight-Jacketed for his Sagging Pants on a U.S. Airways Flight.

The then-20-year-old claims that he was arrested and straightjacketed — all because of his choice of attire. According to the complaint, a U.S. Airways employee who was collecting boarding passes "loudly and unpleasantly ordered him to pull up his pants."

Marman's attorney is careful to note that the young black man "was dressed in the style common of youth today, which is to say that he was not revealing any inappropriate parts of his anatomy; the top of his underwear were visible above his loose-fitting pants."  The complaint contends that other employees of the airline continued to harass Marman on his choice of attire, even after he was seated in the plane.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/...

Should people really have to face jail over this? Or be Straigt-jacketed?

If I were to say that Don Lemon hyper-fastidiousness is clearly signs that he's a GAY MAN  whose clearly gotten a little too much Queer Eye in his TIE, then well I would be roundly criticized for it, and deservedly so. [Yes, actually Don is gay and out and I don't begrudge him that - just saying that if what you're claiming sounds bigoted when you simply switch the people you're talking about, it probably is bigoted]

Despite the picture in my profile I now have dreads past my shoulders. Is my intellect really supposed to be suspect because of my hairstyle? FUCK THAT NOISE.  70 Years ago they used the Zoot Suit as an excuse for this shit.

Then the Duckbill, then long stringy hair, then the AFRO.  it's bullshit.
People have the freedom to make bad fashion choices, the rest of us don't have to fucking agree with - ok?

The N-Word argument is more substantive. There was a movement to take the word back and defang it.  To remove is power and ability to be used as a weapon.  20 Years ago I sat in a discussion with members of of band Living Colour as they argued about the use of the N-word in the Guns N Roses song "One in a Million", just before that band joined them onstage for the Rolling Stone "Steel Wheels" Tour.  Axl Rose argued that "Black guys say it to each other all the time", and that's true - but what Axl was missing was context.

I was the only one in the room who was a Guns N Roses fan who knew there was an apology for the song written on the album cover.

This song is extremely generic, my apologies to all who might be offended
I read that then I listened to the song - I didn't bother me because I understood his context.  I even covered that song with one of own groups although my version also mixed in Bodycount's "Cop Killer" as a juxtaposition.

The guys in Living Colour, specifically Vernon Reid who was there at the meeting, said that the word has historical context which you can't get away from and you can't escape.  Every time a black person uses it, regardless of intent - whether they mean to say "My Brother, or My Friend" with it (Yo, he's my Nigga!) - it still has the historical context.

I ultimately think that's true but that words don't give meaning on their own, intent does.  if we were to ban use of that word entirely, it wouldn't change anyone's intent and meaning and easily some other word or words could be used to say the exact same thing.

Words like "Welfare President".

I think focusing on the word either positively or negatively misses the point. Hate, even self-Hate, has many ways of being expressed.  Even if you could ban the word, there would easily be other words used to the same effect.

There's a scene from the 1986 movie Crossroads with Ralph Macchio, where he's being taken on this trip down by an old bluesman to learn Robert Johnson's secret song.  They end up in this old southern town and this one racist redneck comes up to them and calls the older black man a "Mud DucK".

It's one of most vicious hurtful racial cut downs I've seen on film.  It's devastating. And he didn't have to say the N-word at all which just goes to show that the word alone is not the Expelliarmus of revealing latent racism.  Racism is a matter of intent and action, not just a single word.

You want to talk about being attacked for being smart?  FUCK, I was harassed, harangued and ostracized my entire teenage life for being smart.  I was a jock, in gymnastics and band, but all the other basketball and football kids who rode the bus with me to school between South Central and the San Fernando Valley made my life hell.  I could Never get a seat. I had to sit on my trumpet case in the center aisle for years.

I tried to pretend it didn't matter.

But I've never gone to any of my high school reunions because if I ran into one of those fuckers - still to this day 30 years later - I might be tempted to hit one of them with a chair dead in the face.

I'm not even half kidding, I've dreamt about it.

But to me that's jock versus nerd.  I was a nerd, mostly, they just did what jocks do - act like ignorant dickholes.  I don't think it was entirely a black thing. Well, maybe a bit.

You want to say I curse too much?  Well FUCK YOU, cussing is what I used to get those assholes off me. It equalized things.  Showed I wasn't a wuss, and you don't want anyone to think you're a wuss in South Central.  That could cost you.

I think what Don Lemon is doing here is a bit worse than O'Reilly. The idea that "all black people's problems are of their own doing" - is many levels of bullshit.  The prison culture came about because they are being deliberately and systematically run though the prison system like chicken tenders through a broiler at Burger King.  You can't look at one issue without looking at the other which is it's cause.  The arrest and jail numbers are what they not entirely because Black youth are "more criminal" and violent, but also because they have 4 times the unemployment rate and get more police scrutiny and greater sentences for the same offense.

You can't isolate public policy decisions that have thrown 60-70% of young minorities out of school and then sit there and say - just "Stay In School Kids".  I'm sorry, but the Schools Don't Want Them there because they're trying to keep the scores on their standardized tests higher and keep their funding.  Rather than bringing them up to compete, they shove them out the door and under the rug.  You can't isolate the "broken black families" from decades of police and prosecutorial abuse that broke those families in the first place, or from employment discrimination that held black men back from a good bread-winning job and caused the situation where their spouse, or baby-momma, had to take on two jobs just to make ends meet.

Don is chasing the symptoms, not the causes.

If those are the people Don Lemon is trying to reach, they're not listening to him - particularly since his opening gambit is to insult them.  He's the wrong guy to make this argument because he comes off as an old stuffy prick.  You can't give somebody the "tough talk" speech if you haven' already built a rapport and a well of trust with them.  Chris Rock can say this shit [and he does] and the people who need to hear it might lesson, Don Lemon, not so much.

The problem with what Bill O'Reilly did and Lemon is now echoing was he tried to claim either that Racism Is so minor as to be irrelevant or else it's functionally Justified, because - geez - look at how all the Monkeys dress and talk?

Don Lemon is now feeding that fire and enabling the haters whether he wants to or not. He's giving the racists just the excuses they need.

It seems to me that Don is also doing a little bit of what I have fantasized about but refuse to let myself do.  He's Getting Even with the kids that probably harassed, ridiculed and threatened him for not speaking "Black English", just as they did me.

There's a reason I won't let myself go there: It's kind of despicable.

Most importantly: If the requirement for Black People to have Freedom and Fair Treatment is that they have to be Required to Give Up Their Freedoms, then they really haven't gained much of anything at all.

Lastly, I really don't think it'll work.  Despite all the hubbub about Trayvon Martin secret texting life, Zimmerman didn't know anything about it at the time.   He was still an A/B Student, attending a special engineering school with an eye on becoming pilot.  He may not have been perfect but wasn't a desperate inner city kid, and still he was profiled because he DRESSED LIKE JUSTIN BEIBER or a PUNK ROCKER, then hunted and killed. I really don't think his wearing a suit in the rain would have been less suspicious.  Just being there was enough.

If they want to get you, if they want to come after you - they're gonna. Pants up or pants down, it honestly doesn't make a difference since all of that is just a bullshit excuse - because as it happens, Trayvon's pants were up.  He was still a target.  He's still dead.

Vyan

While you're pondering that Join Color of Change Campaign to Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws and get your asses Registered to Vote [Share the QR below], because at certain point - as I said before - we have to start thinking what happens #AfterTrayvon

6:59 PM PT: Here's another perspective on it that's not as, heated, as my own, from Keith Boykin of BET. http://www.bet.com/...

You see, as a relatively privileged well-educated Black man of a certain age, I have to agree with Lemon that sagging pants and littering teens bothers me. Nor do I like to hear the N-word every time I walk to the corner store. That was not my life experience as a product of the suburbs. But I also know these community issues are not the main problem facing young Black kids today.

Sagging pants and littering neighbors aren't stopping young Black men from getting jobs. It's racial, social, and class inequality that's stopping them. It's the lack of educational and economic opportunities available to them. It's the disproportionate incarceration of young black men and the 700,000 stop-and-frisks on New York City streets. Unfortunately, what Lemon's analysis does is to confuse cause and effect. That's because it's a lot easier to focus on the effects – the street issues – than to deal with the cause – entrenched systemic and institutional barriers that restrict opportunities for African-Americans.

Yeah, brutha - preach it.

Vyan

Originally posted to Vyan on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 07:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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