Posted in Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, God, Hate, KKK, Politics, Racism, Religion

Gay Rights, Equality and Black People

Obama supports gay rights- specifically gay marriage- and lots of African Americans are not happy about it.

When people imagine those most staunchly against gay rights, they tend to think first of Catholics and Evangelical Christians; white people on the far right. Yet for years, black people have played a huge role in the suppression of gay rights, defending the belief that gay people do not deserve the same rights that blacks have fought to enjoy.

The justification used to support these views is the same as that used by the KKK and other racists throughout the history of this nation, and lies squarely in scripture. When it comes to hatred and the denial of rights, the Old Testament has always provided direction, in the name of the Almighty God, to go forth and hate, murder, torture and enslave. In any other conversation about Christianity, we will point to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ as our leader, we will claim to love all people, and we will state unequivocally that we don’t judge others, lest we be judged.

Oh, but when it comes to gay people, the gloves come off. We look to the same book that also encourages us to sell our daughters into slavery, that says the consumption of shell fish is an abomination, and tells us not to approach the alter of the Lord if our eyesight is not perfect- and we use that book of Leviticus as justification to advocate the denial of equal rights for others.

When radical Muslims bastardize the Koran, twisting its words into a commandment to conduct honor killings and suicide bombings, we call them extremists. When Hitler quoted the Bible in his effort to exterminate the jews, we said he was nuts. When the KKK twisted the same book to hang black people from trees and drag them behind trucks, we were sick with fear.

Those passages were used to justify our ancestors’ mass enslavement, rape, torture and murder. Yet just a few short generations later, we- the direct descendants of slaves- use the same words from the same book to deny rights to others- rights that were fought and died for on our behalf.

Just who do we think we are?

Do we monopolize and define struggle and strife in America?

Who decided that black people get to determine who does and does not qualify to live under the umbrella of equality? Certainly not those who came before us.

Some people point to that which our ancestors went through, believing that because homosexuals have not been murdered by the millions as we once were, they do not have the right to draw comparisons between our struggle and theirs.

There is no similarity.

Right?

Wrong.

The similarity lies in the motivations behind those that actively support the discrimination of others. The similarity has a name, and it is Bigotry.

Bigotry motivated the KKK.

Bigotry motivated Hitler.

Bigotry motivates the anti-gay movement.

As a supporter of gay marriage, I fully expect that those who disagree will continue to disagree; however, one’s personal opinion of another should not have the power to eliminate the rights of an entire group of people. As black Americans, we have the responsibility- put on us by the blood of our ancestors, given so that we may have a brighter future- to fight to ensure all citizens of this country enjoy equality.

The Constitution makes no distinction, it does not grant rights to those we agree with, and deny rights to those we don’t. As black people and as Americans, we have the responsibility to fight to ensure that no one else is ever again discriminated against, as we have been.

My views are not popular, but I know this:

I refuse to applaud one group’s struggles at the expense of another’s.

If there is a God who resembles the entity described by traditional Christianity, I will stand tall when the time comes for us to meet, knowing I loved all people equally.

Posted in Amber Wright, Charlie Kay Ely, Current Events, Hate, Murder, News, Relationships, Seath Jackson, True Crime

Seath Jackson, Facebook and the Farmhouse

So much can change in what seems like the blink of an eye.

In March of 2011, Seath Jackson was a happy guy. Just 15, he was in love, had lots of friends, and had dreams of becoming a UFC Champion.

Seath’s girlfriend, Amber Wright, was also 15 years old. The two were close that spring, as evidenced by Seath’s regular Facebook status updates. Many were just like this one, in March, that reads, “I love you Amber”.

Quickly- perhaps in the blink of an eye, even- the tenor changed.

Less than a month later, in the first week April, Seath is observed switching from love-speak, and suddenly begins referring to Amber as a slut, accusing her of cheating on him.

The drama, of course, teen love gone awry- one party moving on, losing interest, meeting someone else- is nothing new.

The terrifying twist in this story does not lie in the fact that Seath and Amber’s relationship, at 15 years old, did not last. It does not rest in the ugliness of the allegations Seath made against Amber; Nor does it have to do with Amber’s returned accusations, her allegations of suffering both verbal and physical abuse at Seath’s hands .

What was so horrifying, what put an extra-ugly edge to an already-ugly dance of angsty teenage-drama, was the public way in which it all played out. An added layer of humiliation was served cold by both Seath and Amber, and they dished all of it on Facebook. This is where they aired their dirty laundry, their relational dysfunction, their anger and heartache. Their large circle of friends began to take notice, and before long, they were chiming in too.

The more others began weighing in, the more bitter the battle of words became between Amber and Seath, until finally, they both declared themselves…

… DONE.

On April 8, 2011, after railing on Facebook (with the help of his friends) about Amber for almost 24 hours, Seath announced that he was ready to move on. He was finished with the “dumb shit”, and had decided it was time to let it go. Amber, for her part, seemed to have a difficult time believing Seth was really “done”, and told him so.

How are yuu done with it. When you continuously write shit about me. Talk shit about me. Hate on me. Fucking say shit to me? Huh tell me bc I really wanna fucking know! Exactly yuur not done with it if yuu keep bringing my name into shit! So learn the definition on DONE!

And with that public exchange, it seems there was finally…

… Silence.

The silence, however, was misleading.

Amber turned to her new boyfriend, 19 year old Michael Bargo, who already hated Seath, and began to share. Michael’s jealously raged, and with Amber’s help, began hatching a plan.

A chilling, deadly, horrible plan.

The kind of plan that causes everything to change, in the blink of an eye.

On Monday, April 18, 2011, police began looking for Seath. It didn’t take long for them to learn what had happened to the teenager, and by Tuesday afternoon, the truth began to unfold in gruesome, chilling detail.

Seath had last been seen Sunday afternoon, April 17, by friends. He had seemed fine, in an upbeat mood, until later in the day, when he began receiving phone calls and text messages.

The calls were coming from Amber and a friend of hers, Charlie Kay Ely.

Amber, it seemed, wanted Seath to come see her at Charlie’s house. Charlie, 18, had a home of her own, and it was isolated- a farmhouse, of sorts. Amber wanted Seath to meet her there so the two of them could patch things up.

She wanted to get back together, she said.

Seath, initially, declined. Amber, with the help of her friend, was able to change his mind, convincing him to meet the two at Charlie’s place.

When Seath arrived at the home, he realized- too late- that this was not to be a happy reunion. Immediately he was ambushed by Michael Bargo, who had help from Amber’s 16 year old step-brother Kyle Hooper, and 20 year old Justin Soto, a mutual friend of theirs.

The three men began beating Seath in the head with wooden objects. Later, Soto and Hooper held Seath down while Michael Bargo shot the teen several times with .22-caliber gun.

Next, the boys placed Seath in a bathtub, where they proceeded to break his knees in an attempt to fit him inside of a sleeping bag.

Bargo, realizing Seath was still alive, shot him again.

Jackson was placed inside the waiting sleeping bag, and his body was taken to the backyard of the home.

They lit a bonfire and burned him.

Seath’s remains were scooped into empty paint cans, and the step-father of Amber Wright and Kyle Hooper, 37 year old James Young Havens III, helped them clean up by bleaching the premises. Law Enforcement believes he knew about the plan in advance, and did nothing to stop it.

It was Kyle Hooper who, on that Tuesday afternoon, one day after they began looking for Seath Jackson, confessed to police the details of what had happened. Tracey Wright, Amanda and Kyle’s mother, had learned of the role her children had played in the death of their peer, and forced Hooper to tell the authorities.

Amber Wright had lured her one-time love to his death.

Michael Bargo, 19, has been charged with first degree-murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Justin Soto, 20, is also charged with first-degree murder, and faces the possibility of a death sentence as well.

Amanda Wright, 15, Kyle Hooper, 16, and Charlie Kay Ely, 18, were all charged with first-degree murder, though prosecutors have declined to seek the death penalty in each of the three cases.

James Young Havens III, 37, has been charged as an accessory after the fact.

Charlie Kay Ely is the only one of the five defendants who refused to waive her right to a speedy trial, and was convicted of first-degree murder. The jury voted to convict after deliberating for barely more than an hour. She will automatically receive a sentence of life in prison.

The others are still awaiting trial.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Cambridge, Current Events, Discrimination, Extremists, Harvard, Hate, Henry Louis Gates Jr., James Crowley, News, Police Officers, Policy, Politics, Race, Racial Profiling

The Emperor Really Is Wearing No Clothes

Before delving into the true topic of today’s post, I want to point out some things about me personally.

I am different.

I am not black or white, but both… as are my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions and experiences.

I am a smorgasbord of things…

… I am half white, a quarter black and a quarter Native American.

I am a walking contradiction.

I am a person of color, raised by a white family.

I married a black man, and had two daughters by him.

I have lived a life of priviledge.

I have lived a life of pain.

I have lived a life of prejudice.

I have lived a life of contempt.

I have been victimized.

I have victimized others.

All of these things make me who I am.

They, like my own skin tone, muddy my views, color the waters of what I see in the world around me.

I cry out when I see real injustice.

I get angry when people claim to be victims of said injustice, but are really perpetrators, finding reasons to make excuses for own their unreasonable behavior.

I have no sympathy for a black man who does not take responsibility for his destiny, instead finding himself wallowing in self-pity and poverty.

I have no love for a white man who believes that by virtue of his skin color, he has inherited the keys to the world, and is entitled to keep his black brothers from having them too.

My views clash with those of my white friends and black ones.

I do not always see injustice where they do.

Sometimes, a white police officer is doing the unforgivable when targeting a black man simply because of the color of the man’s skin.

Other times, black men are taking advantage of tumultuous times, exploiting growing racial discomfort, highlighting racial tensions and using it all as an excuse not to have to take personal responsibility for their own actions.

I am sick of it.

I hear stories like the fiasco that occured in Cambridge, MA, and I am filled with shame.

A white police officer responded to a call of a buglary in progress at a residence in his jurisdiction. Sargeant James Crowley had no way of knowing, upon arriving at the residence, whether the man inside the home was the legal occupant or the same burglar a neighbor woman had called 911 about, claiming to have witnessed two men attempting to break into the home.

The man, it turns out, is Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. He is a prominent African American, but none of that matters to me. What is important is not Professor Gates’ prominence, but rather, his behavior on the night in question.

There is no doubt that Gates is the lawful resident of the home, nor is there any doubt that Professor Gates came home that evening, after a period of time overseas, to a house with a jammed front door. With the assistance of his driver, the door had to be man-handled, but was finally opened. It was the image of Gates, at night, accompanied by his driver, ramming his body repeatedly into the door that caused a neighbor to become alarmed. She called the police and reported what she was witnessing- two black males attempting to break into a residence.

Initially, upon responding Officer Crowley’s arrival, the professor refused to open his door. He accused the officer of simply targeting him as a black man in America. The officer, not to be swayed, refused to leave the premises until Professor Gates could prove that he was, in fact, the occupant of the house.

Gates, at this point, opened the door, told the officer to stay where he was, and went into the kitchen to obtain the requested identification.

The officer, not listening to Gates request to stay put instead followed him into the home.

I wonder why there was so much public outrage at this single act.

The officer did not, at this point, know that Gates was the resident of the home. Gates had yet to produce ID, and was overly defensive over the officer’s very presence. How was Crowley to know that Gates was not an intruder? How was he to know that Gates would not go into another room and produce a weapon? How was he to know that Gates was not claiming to leave the room for his identification, while actually planning to flee the scene through a back door?

It seems Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and (dare I say it) even President Barack Obama have lost sight of the fact that this was the investigation of a burglary in progress.

The professor, it is now obvious, did not like the fact that Officer Crowley inserted himself into the residence, and immediately became beligerent. While he did ultimately produce his identification, he began threatening the officer. Not with physical violence, but with such things as, “You have no idea who you’re messing with” and “You haven’t heard the last of me!”. He demanded the officer’s name and badge number, and followed the officer outside, continuing to scream at him.

Ultimately, deciding that he’d had enough, Officer Crowley arrested Professor Gates, charging him with disorderly conduct, though the charges were dropped the next morning.

Obama has spoken publicly, during a prime-time news conference, claiming Officer Crowley acted “stupidly”.

The Civil Rights icons are coming out of the wood-work, crying foul… screaming that this is yet another example of white-cop-on-black-man abuse.

Professor Gates’ attorney is making the rounds in a full-fledged media blitz, defending his client’s honor the best he can.

The mayor of Cambridge, MA is meeting with the professor over lunch to apologize on behalf of the city.

The Cambridge Police Department has called the incident “unfortunate”, but stands behind its Sargeant’s actions.

Sargeant Crowley himself refuses to apologize.

Personally, I don’t believe Obama should have inserted himself into this issue to begin with. As he stated during the press conference, he was not capable of giving an unbiased response, as Gates is his friend, and even admitted to not having all the facts available to him.

In short, the President had no idea what had occured on the night in question, was not capable of reacting to the facts, once available, in an unbiased fashion… so what he did was simply stand up for a friend…

He vouched for Gates simply because they have a personal history, not because there is any evidence to support the professor’s blown-up allegations.

How irresponsible indeed.

Now we have police officers the entire country over claiming Obama is a disgrace to them.

Perhaps, had he waited for all the facts to come out, he would have learned of Gates’ completely ridiculous, childish, temper tantrum-like behavior. Or of Officer Crowley’s distinguished career within the police department. Perhaps he would have learned that Crowley himself has taught Cambridge’s well-respected racial profiling course for the past five years.

He would have understood that there is no evidence of any sort of racism on the part of Officer Crowley… not when analyzing his behavior during this incident, or in reviewing his record on any other issue.

I was raised (by my white family) that if one chooses to act like a complete idiot having a mental breakdown in the presence of (and most espeically while being investigated by) a police officer, the crazy-acting guy pretty much deserves whatever the heck it is he gets.

This was not a case of racism.

This was the unfortunate result of a pissing contest between two men of considerable stature.

Period.

I have lost friends over my views on the Cambridge matter.

I have been accused, as a “woman of color”, of denying my “true” heritage in siding with the police officer in this case.

It hurts… I have never claimed racism is dead in America. I have blogged- multiple times- on this very site about its existence.

I refuse to bow down and call an ugly situation that could have been altogether avoided racism simply because the black man involved wants me to believe that’s what occured.

The Emperor really, truly, is wearing no clothes.

I will not pretend otherwise.

Posted in Attorney General, C-Haze, Current Events, Eric Holder, Extremists, Hate, Hate Crimes, Holocaust, Politics, Race, Terror, Terrorism, War on Terror

Eric Holder, Hate Crimes and Terrorism

During my habitual morning perusal of national headlines, this one caught my eye:

AG Holder Urges New Hate Crimes Law

Curious, I started reading the article, and quickly found myself getting annoyed.

Attorney General Eric Holder wants new federal hate crimes laws created to put a stop to what he refers to as “violence masquerading as political activism”.

Specifically, he’s referring to a recent rash of extremist violence– the unsolved bombing of a New York City Starbucks coffee shop in May (rumored to be caused by an anti-globalization group), the shooting of two soldiers at an Army recruitment center in Arkansas by a loony anti-American, the shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers in April by a white supremacist, the arrests of four extremists- also in April- in connection with their plot to blow up synagogues and down airplanes, the assassination of an abortion doctor while attending church, and the shooting at the holocaust museum.

Whew.

That’s quite a list.

Now please don’t misunderstand- I am all about ending violence- in all its forms, most especially the kind of violence that stems from political extremism.

What annoys me is the fact that we already have a term for this type of violence… there are federal laws already on the books to combat it. It’s not that we need new hate crime legislation, rather the more logical path would be to utilize the laws that are already in place.

The type of violence Holder is referring to already has a name. We need to stop side-stepping around this issue and call it exactly what it is.

Terrorism.

According to Congress, the definition of terrorism is “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.”22 United States Code 2656f(d)(2).

Congress breaks this down further by identifying five criteria for an act to be considered terrorism:

  1. The act must be premeditated
  2. It must be politically motivated
  3. The act must be violent
  4. The act must be carried out against non-combatants
  5. It must be carried out by sub-national or clandestine agents (not at the bidding of the U.S. Government)

Let’s review.

Eric Holder wants to create federal legislation that would end “violence masquerading as political activism”… and yet… we already have federal laws on the books making just such a thing not only illegal, but physically defining it as terrorism.

The shooting at the Holocaust Museum, for example, neatly fits all five criteria… as does the Murder of Dr. George Tiller, the killing of the Pittsburgh police officers, and the the plot to blow up synogogues and shoot down airplanes would have, had the plans not been thwarted (thankfully).

What is mind-boggling to me is the fact that to-date, the only  two of these incidents to result in actual terrorism charges are the cases in which the two soldiers were shot (one fatally) at the Army recruitment facility in Arkansas, and the case in which the terrorists were attempting to blow up synagogues and shoot down airplanes.

It is interesting to note that these two cases are also the only two on the list that involve both black men and Muslims.

The soldier shooter has been charged with 16 counts of committing a terrorist act.

The charges against the men who tried to kill jews by blowing up synagogues and planes include conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not claiming, even for an instant, that the black terrorists deserve any more of our sympathy or compassion than the white terrorists do. I fully support the decision to charge them using federal terrorism laws.

Fully.

I simply don’t understand how it’s terrorism to target jews in a plot to blow up synagogues, but not terrorism to target jews by shooting up the Holocaust Museum.

Similarly, I don’t get how it’s terrorism for a Muslim extremist to kill an Army recruiter and wound another soldier, but not terrorism for a white supremist to shoot three Pittsburgh police officers.

The Department of Homeland Security, for example, when discussing the Holocaust Museum shooting, flat-out referred to that incident as an act of “domestic terrorism”.

Um…

… Then why are we not charging the gunman with terrorism?

There is no point in creating new laws- hate crime laws- that make an act illegal that is…

Uh…

… Already illegal.

How about we actually utilize the laws that are already on the books, and start recognizing these extreme, politically motivated, violent acts for what they really are?

Simply passing a law that contains the exact same verbage, albeit uses  a different name (this time it’s a “hate crime” as opposed to “terrorism”), is a redundant waste of taxpayer dollars.

Besides, we all know how well the original Federal Hate Crimes bill fared in Congress back in 2007. The president threatened to veto the legislation, and the only way Congress could manage to get it passed was to shove it into one of Bush’s much-needed war spending bills.

Sneaky, sneaky.

I don’t necessarily consider hate crime legislation a bad thing… I just think it’s a stupid waste of both time and money when the hatred one is attempting to combat is already quite illegal.

Especially when it appears the only reason the current law is not being used is because of some as-yet unexplained fear that our federal prosecutors apparently have when it comes to actually using that ever-so-dirty word- terrorism– as it pertains to citizens of our own country.

How absolutely ridiculous for Attorney General Eric Holder to act as if he needs a new bill to pass in Congress before he can effectively go after these whack jobs.

He already has everything he needs to get the job done…

… He’s simply unwilling to do it.

Posted in Abortion, Barack Obama, Bill O'Reilly, C-Haze, Comments, Conservative, Current Events, David Letterman, Democrats, Elections, Hate, Holocaust, John McCain, Liberal, News, Politics, President, Republicans, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Sex, Terrorism, War on Terror, Willow Palin

Abortion Docs, Jew Haters, Extremism and the GOP

Let’s just jump right in, cuz I really do have a lot to say.

Today I have right-wing extremism on my mind… something I’ve been mulling over lately… and something that truly makes my blood run cold.

It’s terrifying.

… And it’s escalating quickly.

Since Barack Obama descended on the scene with his eye turned to the presidency, we have seen this country’s lunatics come out in full force.

During the campaign we heard about assassination plots, accusations of Obama’s false ties to Muslim terror groups, chants and rants at Republican rallies calling for his death and accusations of treason.

Talk about foreshadowing… we all saw it unfolding. Most of us understood, upon witnessing the GOP presidential candidate and his running mate’s unwillingness to condemn the behavior (until it was much too late, that is), that the worst was yet to come.

We were right.

Now, within the past couple of weeks, we have learned of the brutal murders of Dr. George Tiller, an American abortion doctor and of another fellow American- a security guard named Steven T. Johns– at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

Both men were murdered by right-wing extremists- Tiller was killed by a well known pro-life advocate, Johns died at the hands of an 88 year old white supremacist and anti-semite.

The killers have been charged with murder, but inexplicably, neither men have been charged with any counts of terrorism. If these terrible acts of violence against Americans do not qualify as domestic terrorism, nothing does.

Perhaps as terrifying as the crazy people perpetrating this violence are the powerful “main stream” conservatives behind them, the people who in essence stir the pot… and then sit back, showing false horror, as it all comes to a boil. These are people you’ve all heard of… many of you even support their political and religious beliefs…

… Millions of you voted for at least two of them to become your next president and vice president, and you allow the others into your homes and cars by way of television and radio each and every day.

You know exactly who I am referring to.

John McCain, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and friends did not single-handedly cause the recent bloodshed on American soil by right-wing extremists.

They did, however, incite much of the ugliness we see today, and those that didn’t incite it, stood back and did nothing to cause the boiling pot to simmer, or cool off.

As a result, it has boiled over.

Now that these so-called leaders have stirred and heated up what I’ll call the “Crazy Pot”- essentially giving psychotic people a free pass- morally, at least- to terrorize and kill, they sit back, feigning shock and confusion… doing their very best to distract us from the facts- the fact that they are contributing to a violently divided nation.

It’s almost as if in realizing that their own party is falling apart, they have made the decision to fight- not to save the GOP or our very nation- but to take every last one of us down with them.

I do not understand the lack of outrage.

Where is the anger from my fellow Americans, both Conservative and Liberal alike?

I posted a piece on this site yesterday about David Letterman’s inappropriate comments regarding Willow Palin, Sarah Palin’s 14 year old daughter. I received hundreds of hits on that particular post alone, and the moral outrage seen in my comments section was mind-boggling.

Letterman’s joke was idiotic, and it wasn’t funny… but he didn’t kill anyone.

Why are people more enraged that he, a late night talk show host who makes his living by telling off-color jokes, made a stupid comment, than they are about the fact that two Americans were brutally murdered by politically motivated right-wing nutjobs, mere days apart?

It appears that certain conservatives in this country are so busy being pissed off at those who do not share their same beliefs, that they have missed the forest for the trees.

People are being murdered, and last time I checked, regardless of political or religious affiliation, Americans generally agree that murder is reprehensible. So many of these same people would willingly lynch David Letterman for telling his stupid jokes… while simultaneously looking the other way when members of their own party are killing others.

Prior to Dr. Tiller’s death, for example, Bill O’Reilly was igniting viewers’ anger by referring to him repeatedly as a “mass murderer”, “Tiller the Baby Killer”, and claiming that his abortion clinic was a “death mill”. After Tiller’s murder, O’Reilly mostly toned back his hateful rhetoric- even acknowledging that Dr. Tiller was breaking no laws, but did not address- not a single time- all the right wingers out there that dared celebrate the horrific death of a fellow American.

He showed no real outrage at this violent act of terrorism.

He simply did a lot of back-pedaling, hoping that in doing so, America would not see his (inadvertant) role in this tragedy.

O’Reilly did not shoot Dr. Tiller, but he helped incite the violence and hatred that ultimately led to his death.

This is a disturbingly common trend, and it is downright horrifying.

If half of the people who expressed such outrage at, say, Letterman’s dumb jokes, showed that sort of contempt over the events that led to these two dead Americans, our country would perhaps be in slightly less dire straits.

How disgustingly terrifying.