Sankofi

iamjamesmatthew:






"Internets, you know what time it is: Dream them dreams then man-up and live them dreams, because a life without dreams is black and white, and the universe flows in technicolor and surround-sound. Blaow!”





Words by Combat Jack (Reggie Ossé)Poster by Theotis Jones

iamjamesmatthew:

"Internets, you know what time it is:
Dream them dreams
then man-up and live them dreams,
because a life without dreams is black and white,
and the universe flows in technicolor and surround-sound. Blaow!”


Words by Combat Jack (Reggie Ossé)
Poster by Theotis Jones

Crying Out Loud

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9511167/landon-donovan-gold-cup/

Great read about Landon Donovan.  The subject just happens to be a soccer player, but substitute the subject for any “normal” person and it should resonate even more.

Every once in a while, this will happen: A major sport will generate some extremely skilled player who, for one reason or another, feels uneasy about the whole chaos-discipline complex of professional athletics and never fully embraces the role of superstar. Donovan’s far from the most extreme case of this — Andre Agassi hit lower lows and was more open about not liking (or not always liking) tennis; Ricky Williams fought tougher psychological demons. But was there ever an athlete who defined his sport more than Donovan has in America over the past 10 years while simultaneously being less at home playing it? Not since Kareem, if even then.

Arrogant psychopaths always play better on TV than thoughtful people, because once a person is objectified enough, self-consciousness becomes ridiculous. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a celebrity who thinks.

"We live in a world where we want everything to be happy to such an extent we are willing to ignore sadness and pretend all is good … Conventional wisdom would say, "No, you have a contract, you show up January 20th for training camp" — but I realized that was not right for me and I had to be in control of my life. If you forget that, you can get lost forever …. I feel blessed that I had the self-awareness to say, "Something is not working here." I was a little overwhelmed at the time, and I knew if I did not stop it would not be good for anybody."

"We have a sort of stigma that being in a difficult mental place is not acceptable. We should pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and fight through it, and all this, and it’s a little peculiar to me, that whole idea, that if someone’s physically hurt, we’re OK with letting them take the time they need to come back, but if someone’s in a difficult time mentally, we’re not OK with letting them take the time they need to come back … If you’re really at a place where you’re struggling mentally, we need to be more compassionate and understanding of people in all walks of life and understand that they might need time away, too."

Recent Events - Trayvon Martin Trial

I have spent the past two days reading a lot of the commentary, reaction, and feedback to the Trayvon Martin trial.  I understand the law, and I recognize that by all interpretations and definitions of FL law, GZ is “not guilty” based on “stand your ground”.  However, the sequence of events that led to the confrontation, and ultimately, the death of Trayvon were all set into motion by the actions of GZ.  It can be argued that GZ’s intentions were not to murder Trayvon.  But at what point do you have to dismiss intentions when all of ones actions lead to an outcome.  Dismissing intentions despite actions leading to an outcome is the argument of a child that can not comprehend cause and effect.  We are not children.  And GZ despite his obvious limitations is not a child.

Generally, the verdict of the trial validates the thought that the life of young black male is valued very minimally, if at all, in this country.  Dare I say that if this were a young male/female of another race murdered under the same circumstances that there would have been more desire to introduce the concept of cause and effect that led to eventual outcome to determine the guilt or innocence of the perpetrator.  The excuse of interpreting the law seems to me to be a very convenient excuse in this situation.  We know right from wrong, and if we intend to live up to certain ideals then we must recognize that neither laws or man are infallible.  When the laws and man fails, we must consider the facts and circumstances of the situation to determine the ultimate verdict.

Without sounding cliche, at one point in my life I was Trayvon - a 17 year old black male, dressed in a manner that others deem suspicious, and walking back from a store.  Perhaps even more analogous is that I was a 17 year old black male aware enough and socialized in American society to understand that my presence was a threat and that every encounter with anyone from a different background would be fraught with stereotype and misconception.  DO YOU REALIZE THE PRESSURE THAT THAT PLACES ON AN INDIVIDUAL?  As I’ve gotten older and developed more patience, I’ve not let this effect me much and have approached all interactions - consciously or sub consciously - as an opportunity to combat misconceptions and stereotypes and hopefully change the perceptions of others.  From my perspective, this is definitely better than the alternative of walking around with the pressure that comes from knowing and acknowledging that you are perceived as threat.  The reason being that the resulting reaction often reinforces the perception despite the fact that the reaction - by definition - does not happen with provocation.  Take that as an excuse, but also understand as mentioned above, the socialization of young black males in America.  

Furthermore, to characterize Trayvon as the personification of all of the stereotypes of a young black male, with only the evidence of his reaction to being targeted and pursued or even to introduce his past “transgressions” as evidence is severely underestimating Trayvon’s understanding of what it means to be 17 year old black male in America being targeted and pursued.  He knew that the outcome would not be a good one for him.  Unfortunately, the situation ended up with Trayvon being murdered.  Just as a thought exercise, think about all the other potential outcomes and assess whether or not the outcomes would have resulted in Trayvon not being negatively affected whether it was just another incident that further validated the notion of being perceived as a threat or something less terrible than this death.  His potential reactions in that situation were simply fight or flight.  He fought.  Does that warrant the characterization of Trayvon as a hoodlum - despite the actions of another individual that led to the inflection point - as a hoodlum.

I wish I was a better writer and had the ability to convey all my thoughts about this situation better.  Below are excerpts from columnists and writers that I often read and their - similar for the fact that they are black males - take on the verdict, examination of FL law, and how the perception of black men in America.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/trayvon-martin-and-the-irony-of-american-justice/277782/

This was the job given to the state of Florida. I have seen nothing within the actual case presented by the prosecution that would allow for a stable and unvacillating belief that George Zimmerman was guilty.

That conclusion should not offer you security or comfort. It should not leave you secure in the wisdom of our laws. On the contrary, it should greatly trouble you. But if you are simply focusing on what happened in the court-room, then you have been head-faked by history and bought into a idea of fairness which can not possibly exist.

The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury’s performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair. The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lionshare of its history, to erect a pariah class. The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.

Eugene Robinson

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-black-boys-denied-the-right-to-be-young/2013/07/15/d3f603d8-ed69-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_story.html?hpid=z2

Our society considers young black men to be dangerous, interchangeable, expendable, guilty until proven innocent. This is the conversation about race that we desperately need to have — but probably, as in the past, will try our best to avoid.

Those jurors also knew that Martin, at the time of his death, was just three weeks past his 17th birthday. But black boys in this country are not allowed to be children. They are assumed to be men, and to be full of menace.

If anyone wonders why African Americans feel so passionately about this case, it’s because we know that our 17-year-old sons are boys, not men. It’s because we know their adolescent bravura is just that — an imitation of manhood, not the real thing.

We know how frightened our sons would be, walking home alone on a rainy night and realizing they were being followed. We know how torn they would be between a child’s fear and a child’s immature idea of manly behavior. We know how they would struggle to decide the right course of action, flight or fight.

The conversation we need to have is about how black men, even black boys, are denied the right to be young, to be vulnerable, to make mistakes. We need to talk about why, for example, black men are no more likely than white men to smoke marijuana but nearly four times as likely to be arrested for it — and condemned to a dead-end cycle of incarceration and unemployment. I call this racism. What do you call it?

Jonathan Capehart

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/07/15/trayvon-martin-and-the-stolen-youth-of-black-children/?hpid=z2

One of the burdens of being a black male is carrying the heavy weight of other people’s suspicions.

What this means is that black adolescents cannot afford to be normal American teenagers. They cannot experiment with pot. They cannot fight in any way ever, even if it means protecting themselves from a stranger. They cannot take sophomoric pictures with middle fingers, bare chests or in silly gear. They can’t have improper conversations on social media. They can’t wear anything society views as menacing. And growing up, they can never ever make bad choices or mistakes — the types that teach life lessons, foster humility and build character.

As we’ve seen with the Zimmerman defense, any of those things can be used to put black children on trial for their own death. Never mind that they were profiled as “up to no good” or were pursued and confronted by an unidentified stranger. In the eyes of the defense, those children never have the emotions, reactions or fears of children. They are presumed guilty the moment they leave the safe confines of home.

 

Summer time = new DOM Kennedy

Yeezus

Man, so many quotables from this article.

- Yeah. I love the fact that I’m bad at [things], you know what I’m saying? I’m forever the 35-year-old 5-year-old. I’m forever the 5-year-old of something.

- No, I don’t think I feel like that anymore. I feel like I don’t want to be inside anymore. Like, I uninvited myself.


- I think just more actual self-realization and self-belief. The longer your ‘gevity is, the more confidence you build. The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous. But I’ve put myself in a lot of places where a vain person wouldn’t put themselves in. Like what’s vanity about wearing a kilt?

- Yeah, respect my trendsetting abilities. Once that happens, everyone wins. The world wins; fresh kids win; creatives win; the company wins.

I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.

I’ve been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past ten years. You have like, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, David Stern.

I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.


Bottom line, dude is confident, and even bordering on megalomania, but I’d say he’s earned the right to be very confident and claim credit for how he has influenced culture.  Main lesson I get from his interviews is that you shouldn’t let others or institutions tell you otherwise if you know you are good/great at something, in fact, you should let others know and constantly reinforce that fact.  But also recognize that you should continue to work very hard at getting better at both the things you are good and the things that you are not good at. 

Anabasis

"You know, I need hardly to remind you, it is not numbers or strength that gives victory in war; but, heaven helping them, to one or other of two combatants it is given to dash with stouter hearts to meet the foe, and such onset, in nine out of ten, those others refuse to meet.  This observation, also, I have laid to heart, that they, who in matters of war seek in all ways to save their lives, are just they who, as a rule, die dishonourably; whereas they who, recognising that death is the common lot and destiny of all men, strive hard to die nobly: these more frequently, as I observe, do after all attain to old age, or, at any rate, while life lasts, they spend their days more happily.  This lesson let all lay at heart this day, for we are just at such a crisis of our fate.  Now is the season to be brave ourselves, and to stimulate the rest by our example."

We came up hoping not to lose

I am not from the streets but this piece resonates.

Some people come up expecting to win. We came up hoping not to lose. Even in victory, the distance between expectation and results is dizzying for both. The old code remains a part of you, and with it comes a particular strain of impostor syndrome. You have learned another language, but your accent betrays you. And there are times when you wonder if the real you is not here among the professionals, but out there in the streets.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/opinion/sunday/coates-beyond-the-code-of-the-streets.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0