All Articles Tagged "violence"
The Angry White Man: What Does This Lincoln Nebraska Beatdown Say About The “Threatening Black Man” Stereotype?
Here is a story from the weekend, which kind of skirted under the radar of the black blogosphere.
From the Lincoln Journal Star:
“A StarTran bus driver caught beating a rider on video and then dragging him onto O Street was fired this week. Troy Fischer, 43, punches the 40-year-old man 18 times in the video while the bus was at 84th and O streets March 23. He then throws the passenger to the floor, before dragging him out of the bus as the man holds onto the door. Fischer leaves the man in the eastbound lane of O Street and takes off, making a left-hand turn into the Southeast Community College campus.”
This happened on a bus in Lincoln, Nebraska. The video of the incident is pretty hardcore. In it, we see an overly-emotional Fischer aggressively shove the unidentified black man so hard that he falls back onto a row of seats on the bus before jumping on him and beating him down. The victim seems as confused by why he was being attacked for asking a question as anybody watching the video probably is. Fisher then slammed the man’s head into a row of seats and then proceeded to physically drag him from the bus out into the middle of the road, where he leaves him there. According to the Journal article, the bus driver has been fired and police have cited Fischer for misdemeanor assault. The unidentified man in the video had his statement taken by the police the day of the assault, but as the Journal writes, investigators have lost contact with the alleged victim after the incident.
What the heck is going on with bus drivers today? And why was the bus driver only charged with a misdemeanor? And more importantly, where is this victim? I can certainly understand why he wouldn’t come forward. But I hope the man is safe and okay.
My first instinct is that this assault might have been racially motivated. However, the full video also shows that prior to the attack, there are three other young men on the bus, and at least one looks to be of non-white origin. So perhaps this is just an instance of an over-worked and hot-headed (or possibly mentally ill) bus driver having a William “D-FENS” Foster moment on a passenger, who was asking way too many questions. However, watching the raw video of the incident, which is about 30 minutes total, the guy, while slightly annoying with his repetition, might have asked a total of five questions over the course of 30 minutes. Likewise, when the bus driver approached him, the black guy, while putting his hands up, says very calmly, “I don’t want any trouble.” Nothing we see in the video appeared threatening on his part, or prohibited the driver from doing his job in any way. He stopped the bus, got up, and looked for a fight. Therefore, there really is no justification to beat a man down like that – unless you have some underlining issue we are not seeing.
My second instinct is to wonder why this unidentified man did not try to fight back? I get it. Some folks are just not fighters. And then there is also a difference between what we say we would do in similar situations and what might actually occur. Like the time in college when my girlfriends and I were standing outside of a night spot and a Jeep full of white boys rolled down the window and yelled “ni**er” at us. I always imagine that when faced with blatant racism, I would do or say something heroic, but the reality was that we just stood there shocked and confused. And by the time we regained our composure, they had peeled off down the street.
But when it was evident that trouble was definitely going to go down -with or without his consent – why didn’t he throw his hands up, and at the very least, try to defend himself? Even if he isn’t a fighter, close your eyes and hit him with the windmill. It used to work for me – sometimes. And I don’t want to make this seem like I’m blaming the victim; there was nothing he did that caused this incident to occur. But this video was very uncomfortable to watch, mainly because of how this unidentified black man went on to be non-violent in the face of an extremely aggressive man.
There has been research, which suggests that at least subconsciously, black men are judged as more threatening than their white counterparts. It’s a fact that most black men will tell you from personal experience is the case. And many brothers might tell you how daily they must work to offset these stereotypes of being threatening and/or dangerous, including dressing very conservatively and being mindful of how their bodies are interacting in certain contexts. Those contexts could include walking behind women; making sure there is no emotion in their speaking voices, and most importantly, not looking lackadaisical. That last part is important when it comes to interactions with the police and was a factor when George Zimmerman decided to follow the young lad he found “suspicious,” named Trayvon Martin.
If not for the presence of the video, I’m pretty sure most folks’ initial reaction would have been to assume that the black man had done something to cause his assault. Television news and crime statistics often offer comfort to those who feel justified in fearing black men. And I think that part of the reason why this bus driver felt the need to escalate the situation was so that he could get an upperhand at what he thought was about happen. Sadly, it just goes to show you how every black man is a perceived threat, even if they are the ones less likely to do harm.
Deeper Than Twerking: For Parents of Little Black Girls, Hold Off On The Whoopings And Try Open And Honest Communication First
I understand that frustration, disbelief and even rage aren’t foreign emotions for parents. I know because I have a mother who didn’t pull any punches. I can empathize with parents because though I wasn’t as bad as many of the kids I grew up with – I was NOT an easy child to deal with.
Where my concern increases is when it comes to black girls. We’re quick to beat them, ground them, and punish them for their behavior or acting out, sometimes (most horrifyingly) in suggestive ways, but my question is this: How often do we talk to them?
In the 2nd grade, I was dared to write a dirty love letter to a kid in my class. Being the Billy Jean Bad A** that I was, I did it with no qualms. Never dreamed that the kid I wrote it to would give the letter to my teacher who then called my mother. How embarrassing for my mother to get THAT call about her pig-tailed daughter. Best believe I got a whoopin’ when I got home that day.
The embarrassment and subsequent anger of being confronted with your 2nd grade daughter’s rather sophisticated and graphic version of a love letter has to be through the roof. But the fear in wondering where she could have possibly learned all of this has to be even greater. And so, although my mother did ask why I wrote it, I couldn’t give any kind of soul-bearing answer at that age so she truly believed a good slap (or 15) on the butt would set me straight. It did, sort of. I never wrote anything like that again. But all the things leading to that love letter wouldn’t be discussed and a healing process wouldn’t begin until I was 22 years old. That’s a long time to be walking around with insecurity, shadows of bad memories, and emotional trauma you can’t quite work out no matter how many church services you go to or journals you fill.
So, when I saw the story of the girls who were beat for creating a twerk video, I understood both sides. I understood that the video they created was only a symptom of much deeper insecurity they’re dealing with. I understood their father’s anger, because as many of my male friends have expressed to me, where daughter’s are concerned, the black father’s role, in their mind, is to keep their daughter(s) off the pole. So I understood, but I grieved as well. I grieved for the root that was planted in those young ladies’ minds that caused them to believe popping their butts on camera would bring them admiration, respect, or love. I grieved for a father who never wanted this for his daughters, but who acted out of rage and embarrassment more than out of love. I grieved for the society that praises black women for being voluptuous but not for being value-based. But more than anything, I grieved for the generational curse of non-communication we face as a race.
While my mother and I have built an amazing relationship over the past few years, she’s been honest with me in saying that there were always things she never wanted to discuss with my sister and me, for fear that she would put the wrong ideas in our heads. I asked if she had had a communicative childhood with her parents and she told me that she hadn’t, not really. While there was unconditional love, communication wasn’t as free-flowing. I now see the pattern that had plagued not only my family but today plagues millions of families nationwide. The Internet and the media are a big machine. Our children are small wonders getting caught in that soul-crushing grind before they even get a chance to know and love themselves.
While I do believe physical discipline (not abuse) within reason and administered out of LOVE can be useful in parenting, open and honest communication MUST always be our first line of defense. There is a WORLD of things beyond a child’s comprehension and emotional maturity that young people are dealing with nowadays. If they can’t know that they have a safe space to express themselves with their own parents, where will they go and to whom will they run for affirmation?
La Truly writes to encourage and catalyze thought, discussion and positive change among young women. She is a contributor to MadameNoire. Follow La on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and AboutMe www.about.me/latruly.
Last June, Tiffany Rent, a 31-year-old Chicago woman was shocked three times with a stun gun by police outside of a Walgreens store. The incident came during a dispute over a parking ticket, which Rent didn’t believe that she deserved, so she tore it up, refused to show the officer identification and got back into her car. Rent says Officer Reginald Pippen then threatened to arrest her and stuck his arm in her window, shocking her three times with his taser, reports News One. Did I mention that Rent was 8 months pregnant at the time and that her two children were in the backseat, completely hysterical over what they’d witnessed?
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Rent says the other two officers who were with Pippen, Ronald Forgue and Dennis Smith “laughed and mocked” her as she cried out in pain during the assault. Following the incident, Rent was taken to a nearby hospital and she later filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. Last week the City and Rent reached a decision in which the South Side mom will receive $55,000.
The City’s settlement attorneys say that the agreement “is not, in any way, an admission of wrongdoing by the City or any officers involved” and Pippen still maintains that he wasn’t aware of Rent’s pregnancy. The case is still being reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority.
Despite all of the craziness that occurred one month prior, Rent gave birth to a healthy baby boy last July.
What are your thoughts on this incident?
Dwyane Wade was suspended from Friday night’s Miami Heat game against the Detroit Pistons for an incident that occurred during Wednesday night’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Wade allegedly kneed guard Ramon Sessions in the groin. The Miami Heat issued a statement disagreeing with the judgement, according to the Associated Press.
“While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it,” read the statement. “In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami Heat family. Unfortunately, he is the type of player, along with other players on our roster, that defense take privileges with. We stand with Dwyane and support him in this situation and have made our feelings known to the league office.”
Fair enough. You can read the rest, including Wade’s reaction to the incident, on ESSENCE.
Over the last few weeks, Rick Ross has been the subject of hip-hop news after videos surfaced of members of the Gangster Disciple gang threatening Ross. Apparently, they’re still upset because Ross shouted out Larry Hoover, one of the founders of the, one his “BMF” track. Well more recently, a North Carolina chapter of the gang allegedly sent death threats and released their own video to Ross and the MMG camp and now, two of the North Carolina dates on the second leg of the tour have been canceled, immediately prompting people to believe it was done so as a direct results of the threats.
However, MMG reps have released a statement and none of it had to do, as expected, with any gangs:
“Rick Ross has been engaging in a tour which commenced November 2 and was initially scheduled to continue until December 2. However, the tour was extended until December 16. Unfortunately, the tour promoter abruptly cancelled the Greensboro and Charlotte, NC, dates. Rick Ross completed the first leg of the tour without incident and eagerly anticipated performing the balance of the dates, but due to apparent lack of organization and communication on the part of tour promoter, the remaining shows of the tour will be canceled.”
So perhaps the promoters were fearful of possible violence at the concerts and wanted to avoid it by canceling the shows. It appears the problem is that the promoters canceled everything so suddenly that it didn’t allow for MMG to pick up the pieces and immediately do “damage control” with fans and venues.
Ross also reached out to allhiphop.com and sent a message to fans: “I want to apologize to all of my fans who I missed performing for due to the cancellations and want to let them know that I will get back to their cities. I enjoyed my experience with my little bros Wale and Meek Mill and I’m ready to get back in the studio to make good music.”
This is certainly an unfortunate situation as sales for the remaining shows in MS, TN, TX, CA, MI and NY were doing fairly well.
I guess gang dudes don’t get over anything because that song is beyond old at this point. Let the man make his money while the fans enjoy a show.
Former L.A. Lakers star and current Philadelphia 76ers player Andrew Bynum is in an all-out war with his neighbors.
According to TMZ, Bynum filed a lawsuit against neighbors, Ramond and Cindy Beckett. According to the papers filed, Bynum has lived in his Westchester, CA home for more than 7 years and during this time, he’s been subjected to constant harassment and racism from the Becketts. In the lawsuit, he states they have objected to his “profession, his race, his friends, his cars and his taste in music.”
But what he probably didn’t expect was for the Becketts to immediately countersue Bynum, claiming they are the ones who always had problems with him. In their lawsuit, they accuse Bynum of brandishing guns in an attempt to intimidate them, blasting loud rap music, using drugs and letting weed smoke drift onto their property, blasting video games at “window shaking” volumes, letting his dogs run loose around the neighborhood and more. In fact, the Becketts state the only reason Bynum is suing them is because he knew they were planning a lawsuit of their own.
Oddly enough, Bynum says in his filed papers that the Becketts have moved out of their house so why are they even suing each other at this point? Lifestyle of the rich and bored, I suppose.
Loyalty is a very impressive trait to have, especially for people who are surrounded by celebrities. So many times it seems as though people who are too amped to get a taste of the limelight that they’ll sell a famous person down the river for fifteen minutes of infamy. But what’s even more interesting is when celebrities are so loyal that they’ll sometimes put aside their fans’ adoration, their happiness, and to some extreme incidences their own freedom to be loyal to someone or something close to them. Let’s examine these celebs:
This man just can’t keep his hands to himself.
Former NFL running back Larry Johnson was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday night, once again for domestic violence. At the time of the arrest, police would only say that he was accused of strangling someone and his bail had been set at $15,000. But as the night progressed, it was revealed that the victim (name still withheld) is actually Larry’s ex-girlfriend of four years, according to TMZ. When the police reached the Bellagio hotel where the incident occurred, the victim was allegedly crying and had bruises on her neck. According to police, the victim said she’d been strangled to the point of unconsciousness.
The sad thing is that this isn’t the first time Johnson has been arrested for assault. His entire football career, which has been non-existent for quite some time, has been marred by these arrests. He’s been arrested four times since 2008; all arrests have been on the heels of him assaulting a woman. In 2011, he was arrested for allegedly beating a man down on Miami Beach.
I’m sure his ex-girlfriend, television personality and Empire Girls star Julissa Bermudez is glad she no longer has to deal with that. He also used to be best friends – and oddly enough, roommates – with Jay-Z but as we all know, Jay tries to steer clear of anyone that can negatively affect his business.
Seriously though, his sick behavior is extremely disturbing. Women still tend to gravitate to him (I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve heard where women say they’d still date this guy knowing his history) because of his looks but when his pattern allegedly seems to be beating you up, there are enough good looks in the world that should want to make you go down that route.
Larry is being held in a Clark County jail until he is able to see a judge.
As I read through the latest outrage at the moment, aka, the hoopla over new rapper Chief Keef, I keep hearing Georgia Anne Muldrow and Erykah Badu lyrically asking, “what if there were no n****rs, only master teachers?”
For those who don’t know, Chief Keef is the Chicago teenager (above photo, to the left), who started out of as just another YouTube rapper and has now become one of hip-hop’s most buzzed about artists. Not only has he just inked a deal with Interscope Records, but he also has caught the attention of such hip hop mavericks as Kanye West, who hopped on a remix of his song, “I Don’t Like.” He is also being investigated for a possible connection in the shooting death of fellow Chicago rapper, Joesph ‘Lil JoJo’ Coleman (above, to the right), who may I add, was only 16.
Keef, who was born Keith Cozart, drew the attention of law enforcement after laughing off the murder of Lil JoJo by saying via Twitter, “Its Sad Cuz Dat N—– Jojo Wanted to Be Jus Like Us #LMAO.” He is also known for promoting and supporting gang culture including dancing around in his music videos with what appears to be automatic weapons and tweeting the hashtag “#300” — a known reference to the Black Disciples. And at 17 years old, Keef has already faced numerous criminal charges, including a weapons charge, which has already landed him on house arrest.
The response to the rise of Keef has been rather swift, most notably from fellow Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco, who publicly criticized Keef for perpetrating the hoodlum lifestyle, which runs parallel to the culture of violence already running amok in the streets of Chicago. Many folks I have encountered have agreed with Lupe, claiming that Keef, and others of his elk, are a burden to the community. “These n****rs are the reason why our community is the way it is,” has become a commonplace mantra in the minds of some black folks. But truth be told, I see plenty of Chief Keefs in my community all the time. And when it comes to what’s wrong with the community, there is enough of that blame to be shared all around.
Young people, particularly young black people, have longed played witness to serious and lethal violence within their own communities. When I graduated from high school, the murder rate in Philadelphia was around 4oo deaths per year. My nephews and niece, who only a month ago, learned of the shooting death of a teenager only steps away from their front door have already grasped the finality of death, even before they can mature enough to witness adulthood. Recently, I saw a bunch of little kids, between the ages of 9 to 11, roaming the street around 12:30 in the morning like a bunch of aimless orphans. Unfortunately, seeing hordes of parentless children at odd hours of the night has become so much of the norm that I didn’t even bother to flinch. The reality is that long after Chief Keef’s moment in the limelight has faded – whether it be from gang violence, the prison industrial complex or crossing over to the mainstream – the community will still have a violence problems. If we don’t get a handle on it, there will be someone else, someone younger, to take his place. Exhibit 1: 13-year old Lil Mouse.
But even as the threat of losing an entire generation (i.e. the children) grows uncomfortably near, many of us have become stagnated in prayer, hope, apathy and the wait for change to come. I noticed this much last week when all eyes were fixated on the Democratic National Convention. Collectively, African-Americans are more involved in the political process than most other minority groups, supporting a one-party system by as much as 90 percent. However, we have yet to see the fruits from all of our labor or loyalty. Nevertheless, when Rahm Emanuel asked us whose leadership we wanted in event of “an unforeseen crisis, challenge or conflict,” we don’t bother to question whose leadership is in charge as a teachers strike looms and blood runs red in the streets of Chicago. We smirked and laughed alongside former President Bill Clinton, who worked his arithmetic mojo while reaffirming President Obama’s commitment to the work requirement in welfare reform, a policy called by most a dismal failure. And as the RNC’s mantra/question – “Are you better now than four years ago?” – blared from our television sets, many of us couldn’t wait to nod our heads in the affirmative, even when the reality – at least for us – suggests otherwise.
Nicki Minaj’s endorsement of Mitt Romney instigated some of the splashiest headlines following the Labor Day weekend. Head scratching and eye rolls accompanied readers’ mouse clicks, racking up traffic numbers for news and gossip websites. “I’m a Republican voting for Mitt Romney,” she said on her mentor Lil Wayne’s mixtape. “You lazy b***** are f****** up the economy.”
Later in the week, panicked tweets began to surface. Chicago is losing its mind. A sixteen-year-old rapper named JoJo was killed after being shot twice on Tuesday. The incident occurred hours after a video emerged of JoJo taunting a rival named Lil Reese, an associate of popular rapper Chief Keef, making the violent lifestyle Chicago’s drill music glorifies that much more real. Keef’s notoriety stems from “I Don’t Like,” a local anthem made popular nationwide when Kanye West remixed the song with his G.O.O.D. labelmates.
With her closet full of wigs and the wardrobe of a teen in Tokyo, Nicki Minaj doesn’t present herself as someone to be taken seriously for her political views. Perhaps that’s why she felt she could get away with an easy punch line that puts down others to illustrate her supremacy. Most of her fans aren’t old enough to vote. What harm could it do?
What harm could a remix do either? West repeatedly partners with rappers who have grittier followings (including G.O.O.D. signees 2 Chainz and Pusha T) to appropriate buzz in the streets that his “luxury rap” distances him from. Not only that, he was able to bring attention to emerging music in his hometown. Everybody wins, right?
Everybody except for the impressionable young fans that take Minaj’s demonization of poor people as gospel. Except for kids like JoJo, certainly not the last to get swept up in a scene that produces music videos with kids as young as thirteen brandishing automatic weapons and throwing up gang signs. A scene that the music industry had already started to monetize.
As an immigrant raised in Queens, I doubt Minaj believes the poor are to blame for the nation’s ills and that the wealthy are better than the class she was born into. As a native of Chicago, I doubt West wants to promote music that fuels the killing of black youth. But their endorsements, ironic or otherwise, send a different message.
Whether Minaj took herself seriously or not, she used her influence to champion an elitist mindset without offering the slightest critique. Whether West intended to or not, he validated and publicized art that encourages violence, without the critical thinking artists like Lupe Fiasco have brought to the table. These messages are now tied to their brand, whether they like it or not.
Minaj and West’s missteps are unfortunate, and reflect a lesson we all should learn. An endorsement is not something to be taken lightly. Up-and-coming artists and politicians clamor for the stamp of approval of popular artists and publications for a reason. An endorsement transfers over a portion of the co-signers resources, influence, and reputation without signing a single contract. It doesn’t take an official partnership to endorse something; your words and actions speak just as loudly.
Before you align yourself with an outside person, brand, cause, or organization, do your research. It is important to have a solid understanding of what you are supporting and why you are supporting it. Your co-sign should do more than bolster your ego; it should promote your values.
The public wants the people and organizations they support to stand for something of value. Eighty-three percent of Americans say they wish brands would support causes, and 41 percent have bought a product because it was associated with a cause. With success comes an increase in power and responsibility. Ask yourself, what are you using your influence to promote?