It is Illegal to be black in this country

Now, after reading that title, please don’t tell me there are no laws in the USA, federal, state or local that ban African-Americans from existing. I know that’s the case. I know Barack Obama is black, and I know he was elected president. But when one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime and police are routinely killing unarmed black men at the same rate they’re killing armed black men, I have to come to the conclusion that yes, it’s illegal to be black in this country; and it’s a crime often punishable by death.

Before he was murdered by law enforcement, Tamir Rice displayed a toy weapon that police thought was real in an open-carry state. It is illegal to be black in this country.

Before he was murdered by law enforcement, (and left to rot in the August sun) Michael Brown surrendered to police. It is illegal to be black in the country.

Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray never made it out of police custody.  It is illegal to be black in this country.

The executions of Sean BellAmadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Oscar GrantWalter Scott and thousands of others (Over 100 in the first half of 2016 alone) make it clear that it is illegal to be black in this country.

And now we add Alton Sterling’s name to that list. Killed while being pinned to the ground by officers. It is illegal to be black in this country.

It goes without saying (I hope) that this situation is disgusting, deplorable, and needs to be remedied. But it hasn’t. After all those people and all that outrage it still hasn’t. It still keeps happening. We haven’t changed anything, we haven’t fixed anything.

I’m white, and I am cloaked by the warmth of my white privilege, of knowing well into adulthood that a cop is always your friend. But I have black friends. I don’t make this statement to give myself credence or validity, I say it because I am scared for them. I know they face a very different threat, a very different terror, than I do. I know there’s a chance I  may wake up tomorrow to read their names on the news, to see their side by side photos (happy and smiling along side bloody and broken) splashed on the front page of the papers, to hear strangers chant their names at protests, to add them to a list of victims in what feels like an un-winable, neverending war.

They, like those before them, could be killed by the very people we’ve asked to protect us, by the very people who protect me, because I am not black. Because I somehow deserve this protection that they don’t have access to because of the color of my skin. Because it is illegal to be black in this country.

 

 

Chick Flix

I think when it comes to the Bechdel Test I am more bothered by movies that fail on the final stage. IE there are two or more female characters with names and they talk to each other, but only about men. I think not every movie needs to be about women, men have issues and experiences that can entertain us, and while the culture certainly has been biased towards them I think there are still stories to be told. But what bothers me are movies that are ostensibly about women (rom-coms, chick flicks etc) but are really about men because that’s all these women talk about.

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A horrifying Bar Experience

New Yorkers! Do NOT under any circumstances go to the bar Niagara (corner of 7th and Avenue A) Ever.
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I used to like Niagara. I almost had my birthday party there this past year. Last night, though, everything changed. I went with some girlfriends around midnight. While they stood outside smoking and chatting I went inside to use the bathroom. At first I didn’t notice the line, oops, my bad. This apparently enraged the bouncer who pushed me down a small flight of stairs. When I stood up, he pushed me again. I stood again an he pushed me for a third time. Until, terrified and in shock I was able to leave the bar.
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