Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's A Blackout Tonight At The Cell

Sheeeyit, man.

I'm trying.


Really, really hard.

See you at US Cellular tonight.






Okay, I should explain.

Tonight, the Chicago White Sox play a one game playoff against the Minnesota Twins for the rights to the American League Central title and a playoff berth.





All fans are expected to wear the team's dominant color which is black if they plan (tickets were damn near impossible to get) to attend tonight's game.

Thanks to my wife, we'll be at that game.

Dressed in black, participating in the fan blackout.

Willing the Sox to victory.


We're in section 108 down the first base line, right on the camera well, so you might see us clowning like the asses we are tonight on TBS, so the TiVo blackmail isn't necessary. Tonight is the night to just let go and root our South Siders on like the fanatics we are.

I still plan on reporting to Ohio to work the last month for the Obama campaign, hungover or not.


Oh, and it's my wife's first baseball game.

Ever.

A great time for firsts, eh?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seriously?



Oh, and after my other half and I attended Camp Obama this past weekend, I got offered a job with Ohio Vote Corps. McCain's move should really help us get out the vote, huh?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Post Turtle?

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President . The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle."

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain. "You know she didn't get up there by herself, she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with.

Well, that's a perfect analogy if you ask me. The wife and I are off to Camp Obama this weekend. Have a productive weekend

-Hassan

Friday, September 19, 2008

White Privilege... From A White Guy's Perspective

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm


By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”


White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.


White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.


White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.


White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.


White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”


White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.


White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.


White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.


White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.


And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…


White privilege is, in short, the problem.


Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racism writers and activists in the U.S., having given lectures from 1995 to the present in 48 different states, and on over 500 college campuses. He has trained a multitude of teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for dismantling racism in their institutions

As of 2008, Wise has written three books.

His scholarly book, Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge: 2005) has received praise from academics and is also taught in dozens of educational institutions.

His memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race From a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press) is taught at hundreds of colleges and high schools across the nation.

His most recent book is 2008's Speaking Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male (Soft Skull Press).

Additionally, Wise's anti-racism essays are also widely published. An updated archive of the essays (from 1994 - 2008) can be found on his website: http://timwise.org




Sometimes, it's best to remain silent enough to listen to other folk speak on it.

What say you?

- Hassan

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blows To The Head... From The Inside

It's been a minute, I know.

I haven't been myself lately. I've received a few internal head shots lately.

Nah, it's not that I've trying to be someone else, it just took a minute for me to get my ish together, mentally. I've had fatigue of some sort, so I did what I normally do when I have mental farts and thangs, I ignore my blog.

I don't ignore my blog reading, though. I still stop by all of yall's spots and lurk for a quick minute. I feel a kinship with some and just need to know that others are doing alright just for alright's sake. I hope folks don't take offense to that.

I have been hanging out at home, hitting few sporting events, hosting get-togethers and even spending quality time with my other half. That shit right there... Harder than hard. The more we spend time together, the more we both realize that staying married will be hard as hell and if we really want to be happy, we'll have to put a whole lot of work in to make it happen. Being married is something that will not be figured out anytime soon.

Straight up.

Another shot to the head. But you bob and weave, right?

When two people from such diverse backgrounds as ours get together and make attempts to make it a permanent thing, sometimes it works, other times it just ain't a smooth transaction or transition. Being near 40, I was used to living alone and being somewhat of a free spirit and I didn't like folks doing things for me, whereas my wife just is the opposite. I have to stop her for doing things because sometimes she'll overdo ish just because. I do for others, but there is a limit. There are also expectations in thoughts and actions that we still stumble around. Notice that I mention thoughts:

The power of all things is in the intent to do them.

Rope A Dope if you have to.

We'll be married 9 months in a few days... Shit is supposed to be like this I think. I hope it gets easier in time. Until then, we still go out on dates, argue over money, cuddle ourselves to sleep only to wake up on the other side of the bed. Have bad phone conversations over shitty cell connections that turn out to be misunderstandings and 2 minute phone gems, debate over who will drive on errand day, and avoid washing the dishes (well, she does, I scrub them joints and put em in the dishwasher)... So, it's all where the Creator wants us to be right now.

Rumble young man, rumble!

One thing contributing to my brain farts is the fact that for the sake of compromise I have to put some of my ish on the back burner while wifey does her business thing. It's hard to know that there are probably things I'll never get to with the kind of creative flow that I have, but we both profit from her business ventures so I gotta hang back and support her joints.

Right?

Plus, it's been hard to hold my tongue in the past couple of weeks with the election and all. No matter what happens, I am still an educated black man that chose to get my blue collar on because corporate America marginalizes, undervalues and underestimates me, my brothers and my cousins. Sometimes I feel like a fool for even thinking that I was to go the educational route because all that money borrowed and time spent did nothing for me.

Yes, I know that education is the main element for our progress but I'm talking about me here. I have so many other talents and I feel like now that I have to hang back when all that time spent in attaining the suit and the time spent in it was a waste.

Shit.

I been having the feeling that while things are going well for me now that something tragic is about to happen. I'm healthy, working and have a life partner that loves and puts up with my stankin' ass. My family is annoyingly well and everything seems to be lined up and perfect. It doesn't even matter if John McCain wins the election in November, me and mine are going to be alright.

That's the problem. The waters are a little too calm and I had some sort of PTSD episode last week that would have scared the average Joe or Jill. I experienced something like it during this same time period last year dealing with folks that chose to deal with me in a disrespectful manner. See, I joined the Army on September 13, twenty years ago. From the moment I arrived on my training post I was gently insulted and treated in such a manner that it became easy for me to do what I was asked to do by my government and then go on living with the consequences of dealing death, coping with it in my immediate circle and then coming home years later with no outlet in adjusting to the regular shit y'all experience all up and thru the lower 48, as Sara Palin likes to say.

I never had an outlet in which to get that shit off my chest back in the day and sometimes it fucks with me. I've been holding in the burden of those I affected and those that have affected me and it took the actions of a woman I wasn't romantically involved with but held in close regard to trigger some strange shit that was buried deep in the recesses. Isn't it funny how when folks do you favors it can turn into a huge humanitarian effort in their eyes, when when before you had to swallow your pride and go to them for said help you probably would have been okay if you would have bit down and just took the bad shit and just muddled thru?

Well, after them sacrificing and helping me, I was pretty much dared to venture out on my own and do for self like I should have done in the first place. I wasn't helpless but let them tell it, I damn near was. What had happened was... Basically, when the realization that romance wasn't a part of my immediate plans while I was being helped (appreciation goes out because that was cool), emasculation and disrespect started to happen as a form of payback, culminating with being dared to leave and me... Leaving. I originally had every intent of getting back to Texas and continuing that line of kinship based on friendship but a chain of events happened causing me to lose employment here in Chicago based on what investigators gathered from certain folk in the Lone Star State.

I was livid because I thought that even though my position changed geographically that I was still appreciated and respected in some respect even though I thought I was being treated like a Herb (remember that from the 80s?) but I guess when the bus fumes faded after leaving Texas the treatment intensified...

I wanted to hurt something. Someone.

When I was there, there were times where I felt isolated and unwelcome. I sucked that shit up and pushed forward. It felt like I was back in uniform, going through 'the shit'. It's psychological shit that only folk (um, Terry, Frank) that have been through it knows exactly how it feels.

Did they deserve to feel my wrath?

I realized that while she scratched at the surface of some deep seeded anger... The weight of long dead folk I didn't even really know, rumbling inside of me waiting for a reason to come out and probably manifesting itself in the form of unnecessary violence, it's not her that should be the target, so I repressed that shit got back to familiar ground back home, knowing that my family and friends in Chicago would treat me like a person and not like a commodity.

That was until last week, when over the phone my wife chose a totally random set of words that eerily sounded like something ol' girl said to me last year... Causing those feelings of anger and resentment to resurface.

This time this is my wife speaking and I love her. There is protocol, respect and new rules in dealing with my other half meaning I could not snap at her or just walk away and repress like I did before. I could do nothing but get to the root of my anger and find an outlet to rid myself of whatever this is. And find out why such a disrespectful tone triggers an almost uncontrollable amount of anger.

It doesn't help that we're finding out that most Americans are war mongerers hell-bent on destroying Iraq for no apparent reason. It ain't helping that every time I turn on the TV either some actor has a gun in his hand or the news is showing some gangster wanna-be that took shit too far... It ain't helping me to know that gun violence, war and self hatred is a part of our culture. Finding an outlet will be harder than I thought.

So I called a bare knuckles gym a friend took me to years ago when I worked for the post office and told him that I wanted to unleash a little of the unholy hell that still burns a fire in my belly.

I'm still internalizing things, trying to figure out how I could let some things go and totally lose track or forget other things and why some of the visuals from way back then still flash with lucidity and vividly from decades past. I agree that violence cannot cancel violence, but until I feel good enough to address my angry reactions with words and kind thoughts, crashing my hands into another man's flesh will just have to do. I get my first shot after a training session later this week.

Maybe I can let these feelings go via a little controlled violence. Maybe if I get my ass whooped I can learn to avoid the ass-whoopings of life and figure out how to place the things that matter in my life. Maybe I'll learn patience and resistance after landing or receiving my first crushing blow. Maybe bare knuckles brawling and MMA style fighting just ain't my thing. Maybe it'll humble me and help me find inner peace and a way to rid myself of thoughts twenty years of life should have washed away by now. Maybe it'll give me balance so that nothing anyone can either say or do can set me off to the point where I have to isolate myself again.

I have no friggin' idea, but I'm willing to do something other than lash out at the whole damn world.

The redundancy in that leaves me at a loss...

If I can't create, I have to find my usefulness somewhere. I had to find out what is fueling this anger and find an outlet so I can get back to normality. I have a life to live and a family to create. Maybe in my waiting and compromise I can experience a little self discovery (a hobby) and be supportive in my endeavors and not harmful to them or myself.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Night Quarterback

Today's theme is football...

Somewhat.

This weekend, my wife and I attended the Chicago Football Classic. This year, West Virginia State University handled Central State University in a clash of two HBCUs.



We had a ball in the stands, met alumni of both the schools and my wife's alma matter Langston University. Even made a few business contacts and took some notes on about a few movrs and shakers...

The battle of the bands was OFF THE FRIGGIN' CHAIN!!!

All in all, we had a good weekend, capped off with me being left in front of the the set all day yesterday as I watched enough football to be a Fox post game analyst.

Oh, and a mechanic or detailer stole my GPS outta' my truck. Can you believe my wife offered me the one I gifted to her?

Awwwwww. She ain't getting it back when I buy a new one later this week.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Repubican Wrap Up


I am thoroughly impressed with the Republican ticket.

I am considering voting for John McCain. Not based on last night, but based on Phil Graham's program. Look that up.

I think the Palin choice for Republican VP last week was friggin' genius.

I am still an Obama supporter but I'm not stupid.


Unfortunately, I don't know anyone in my immediate circle (or even outside it), not even my wife gave five minutes to the Republican convention, but all I heard last week about speeches, history and such... My people, this thing is becoming such a one sided love affair that no one will vote.

But we got love for Obama. Whatever people. Folks died so we can speak at the ballot. A hero ain't nothing but a sammitch and t-shirt ain't gonna set you free.

What I saw was a lot of anger and truth the first so-called day of the convention. The second and third day of the convention I saw the anger swell and culminate with Palin's speech. The Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant. Small town America, Bubba and Six-Sack Joe and em' now have someone in the presidential race to identify with.

Identity Politics

Palin delivered the speech with perfect pitch. She nailed it and hit it out of the park, but between Guliani and Palin, there was a lot of bark. It is now up to Six-Pack and em' to provide the bite, and there isn't a problem with voter registration or voting down on the farm, Mayberry or Mount Pilot.

Conservatives have been watching Palin for years, but most liberals acted like they didn't know. I've heard a lot about the vetting process and how McCain selected her at the last minute, but dammit she was on his short list all the way from last year and the pubs and media I read kept her in the spotlight ever since the 27 million pork barrel project was delivered to her home city years ago.

Forbes, US News and World Report, Time, WSJ and The Standard for those that need research fodder.

McCain mentioned to the Republicans last night that they have failed and got complacent. For all of those liberal minded progressives that call themselves in the know, let me remind you that you're supposed to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The fact that most so-called progressives only complained about the cover of the New Yorker and never opened the pages, even admitting that the publication is 'something we don't even read' goes to show who is actually out of touch.

Conservatives and their spin doctors like Karl Rove have always been watching us. The selection of a young, talented, well-spoken conservative that they can give on the job training in the finer points of Cheney/Rove politics was damn near perfect to further the devaluation of the US dollar giving way to the Amero, strengthening the American Union and helping Republican side business like Haliburton profit from the Iraqi surplus that US soldiers died for. It also continues an unnecessary culture war (race and class divide) and continues to scare us using 9/11 so we will never find out who robbed the US Treasury under WTC buildings number 2 and 7. Bin Laden is the boogeyman that keeps us up at night and Ahmadinejad and/or Putin will be the reason for the 3am phone call that will cause the US to finally put an end to Islam (not radical Islam like they say) and European intellect like folks on the farm want us to do anyway because it will end global competition. and proliferate American dominance, giving way to the rest of the world once again becoming dependent on all things American.

Note that I said American and not the US, even though the Repubs were strong on nationalism this week.

Now cats like Putin and Ahmadinejad need to be dealt with in order to achieve world peace, but do you think McCain or Obama is the man for the job? Or if McCain wins and a person of Palin's caliber gets 4 years on the job training so she can run in the next general election or (God forbid) McCain dies in office and she takes over, she all of a sudden becomes the next best person to do that kind of dirty work?

Calculating.


Plus, I like McCain's Tax structure. Not enough to vote for him, but enough to consider and listen. I hope you're studying as well.

I love how teenage pregnancy is identified (just like welfare and crack use) with black folk. A journalist wrote a piece the week before last in a major paper about teen pregnancy and out of the thousands of responses, folks commented that young, black girls should stay out of the crackhouse, find their baby's daddy and get off welfare.

The journalist never mentioned race in his piece, but the commentors did.

Funny how the Alaskan governor's unwed teen daughter has a 'blessing' and not a problem like them young black girls...

Interesting...

You didn't even notice the misspelling in the blog title... Or the picture did ya?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Whatever Wenzdai

Nothing new to report from over in these parts...

I mean, me moving away from the blogosphere is getting easier because the waters are calm and warm in my part of the sea. I still read a lot of folks and I try my best not to comment, but...

Whatever.

I get no pleasure out of being redundant and repetitive so writing the same stuff over and over about my political and social beliefs becomes hard for the rest of the world to regurgitate. And since I got married... Well, you know. I think folks only lurked here to try to find out who I was screwing anydamnway and now that they know...


Anyway... On to my weekend:

My sister and her family drove up from Texas, so the whole weekend was just us hanging out. This was Sunday night at my cousin's football game. Yep, high school football on a Sunday, the cool factor was above 75 even though they lost.




I'm sure the folks down south can appreciate the manicured fields.


Other than being in the stands chilling, the remainder of the so-called holiday was spent around a bunch of cousins, my mom and both dads, 5 little ones a splashing, 2 dogs, one cat trapped in my mom's basement and no breaks from driving. My hands are burning something terrible and I think I have a bulging disc in my neck but other than that, laying around with my other half added a little relief.


And I picked up a cold from one of the shawties.

I hope you did something, like watch the Republicans.

I did.