About crystylclear

Writer, Liberal.

When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland

A brilliant piece regarding the spectacle that is Miley Cyrus and her ‘performance’ at this year’s VMA show.

tressiemc

This may meander.

Miley Cyrus made news this week with a carnival-like stage performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that included life-size teddy bears, flesh-colored underwear, and plenty of quivering brown buttocks. Almost immediately after the performance many black women challenged Cyrus’ appropriation of black dance (“twerking”). Many white feminists defended Cyrus’ right to be a sexual woman without being slut-shamed. Yet many others wondered why Cyrus’ sad attempt at twerking was news when the U.S. is planning military action in Syria.

I immediately thought of a summer I spent at UNC Chapel Hill. My partner at the time fancied himself a revolutionary born too late for all the good protests. At a Franklin Street pub one night we were the only black couple at a happy hour. It is one of those college places where concoctions of the bar’s finest bottom shelf liquor is served in huge fishbowls…

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The Real War Against Women

Cover of "War Against Women"

Cover of War Against Women

I was 16 years old. He was 17, going on 18. We were standing in an alley near the high school we both attended when an argument took a turn for the worse. We had experienced many arguments before but this time was different. As he stormed away, I chased after him, hoping for the opportunity to voice my thoughts and be heard. As I reached for him, he turned towards me with a look of pure disgust and rage and spat directly in my face.

I was stunned. For a moment, he appeared to be filled with remorse and utter confusion at what he had just done but it soon faded, replaced by a steely resolve. I burst into tears and wiped at my face, humiliated and outraged. I asked why, mumbling in protest against his actions. I moved closer. Incensed, he took a few steps back and turned away, but then faced me and asked, “Why are you still here after what just happened?” “What is WRONG with you?”

What is wrong with me…?

That event has haunted me for many years since. I wondered why I stayed with him 5 years after that, why I suffered physical and verbal abuse at his hands, over and over and over again. To me he was my everything and with little resistance, I allowed the violence to continue and escalate until the brink of no return. I thought I was the blame for his behavior. What was wrong with me, indeed.

As a former victim of domestic violence, I still suffer from persistent emotional trauma. I cringe when viewing films depicting acts of violence against other human beings. I distance myself from loved ones that are in current abusive relationships, ones they seem incapable of freeing themselves from. Some nights my ex-boyfriend and attacker visits my dreams with eyes and fists of uncontrollable rage. Loud noises easily startle me. I recoil from physical contact– touching makes me feel uncomfortable and upset. I am insecure and suffer from anxiety. I have unwittingly sabotaged healthy relationships due to low expectations.

Every day is a learning experience, a healing day. Each day is another day that separates me from my past. I have dated a few men since, two that were quite serious, and have avoided the type of man who would mistake my face for a punching bag, my spirit for a foot stool. In spite of my fears, my choices have been wiser and while I am a long way to producing and maintaining a strong and lasting relationship, I will never tolerate violence. Violence is never okay. Never.

Studies have shown that women and children who experience abuse often find themselves repeating those same mistakes, emerging from one bad relationship to advance into another similar situation. When it’s all you know, being the product of a broken home and witness to abusive relationships all around, it’s what tends to be the most familiar and even comfortable scenario, the only way to exist. We rationalize in peculiar fashion that the abuser’s wrath is merely a testament of his love– would he react so, if he did not care? We are moved by his anger, which may be falsely perceived as a form of strength, of manliness and could be enticed by it, all the way up until the exchange or reception of physical blows. These destructive relationships can continue on for years in this way as the victim feels helpless to her acceptance of such a grim reality.

But many women have broken the cycle of abuse. Women do learn from past decisions and make better ones. I did. It is sexist to assume that women cannot move away from or even forgive her attacker(s). It is also folly to chastise or cast blame toward repeat-victims of physical and sexual abuse.

See pundit Dana Perino on her Fox News show stating that women should make better decisions if they wish to avoid becoming victims:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzaTXfdL5p8

We read about domestic violence cases and the names of celebrities Chris Brown, Mel Gibson or more recently Jovan Belcher are thrown about without regard for all parties involved. In the age of the social media blitz, we gain access to sordid details of the private lives of many women who are abused by the men they love. As spectators, we gleefully lob insults towards these types of men, but it is most important that we listen, learn and assist. Millions of women around the world experience the most atrocious kinds of treatment and are invisible. We need to save our women. Violence against women is a human rights issue.

Here’s a quick look at some stats:

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

via: http://domesticviolencestatistics.org

My family and friends did not know about the sexual and physical abuse I underwent. Most of them remain unaware to this day. I used foundation to cover the bruises. I made up tons of excuses for missed appointments or outings. My studies took a brutal hit. I became pregnant at a very young age. I had nowhere to turn and never reported my abuser to authorities. While I continue to struggle with my past, I know that real love doesn’t hurt. I know that there is no shame in asking for help and that the fault always lie with the attacker. My experiences gave me a voice in this war against women and I stand strong as an advocate of women’s health and safety.

To report abuse or donate to the cause, go here.

Low-Wage Jobs Don’t Just Harm Workers — They Harm Their Children

The recent report by the Pew Research Center that births per every 1000 American women have dropped to historic lows kicked off a flurry of concern amongst conservatives that American culture is beginning to undervalue the future. However, that concern ignores the rather dismal job the country’s economy is doing to care for the children […]

via Low-Wage Jobs Don’t Just Harm Workers — They Harm Their Children.

An Experiment: Unemployed Black Woman Pretends to Be White

I no longer choose to self-identify on applications for fear of discrimination– haven’t for awhile, even though this helps little when I arrive for interviews. Black unemployment has spiraled out of control, sitting comfortably at roughly 14.3%.madamenoire.com A white male with a felony record is three times as likely to receive entry-level job offers than a black man with a college degree and no criminal record. Something’s wrong here.

Racism remains an unrelenting barrier to economic growth and equality for US citizens. Follow Yolanda Spivey as she releases information regarding her attempts to identify and study the problems associated with Black unemployment rates.

http://www.inspiration1390.com/pages/JohnHannahMorningShow.html?article=10586361.

How Will the GOP Move Forward?

With Barack Obama re-assuming his role as commander-in-chief for the next few years, the only option now is to look forward as he further cements his place in the annals of history as the most progressive leader the United States has known. We will have universal health care. Abortion will not be outlawed. To deal with our deficit, Obama will be standing firm as he pushes for a 1.6 trillion tax hike on the very wealthy– anyone making over 250,000 annually. The DREAM goes on for immigrants. More disadvantaged kids will be able to take advantage of the Pell Grant program, which Obama was able to expand during his first term by cutting out the banks. Medicare will live on. Social Security will live on. The troops are coming home from Afghanistan. The Senate is more culturally diverse than ever before. Gay marriage will become a reality. And as of December 1st, recreational marijuana use will be legal in two states.

I have been unable to properly transcribe my pride and elation over the victory achieved by the liberal base. For all the perceived confidence on the left, there were real concerns that fostered white-resentment would cause an upset at the polls. Major news outlets have mused or offered significant data as to how or why Obama won, twice, making him also the only President to be elected with an unemployment rate well over 5%. Is it a younger, more secular and tolerant following? My theory is based on just that– a growing body of educated atheists and skeptics that have easy access when it comes to acquiring information in this technological age. We’re no longer shooting blind when it comes to religious or scientific theory and faith alone doesn’t cut it anymore. Getting right down to it, we have a GOP that incorporates Christian values to defame any who oppose their policies and furthermore enforce and uphold their version or standard of living to cultivate or retain religious voters. It is no surprise to me then that religion, or Christianity in this case, is the weapon of choice as it has been used or abused to justify the mass degradation and oppression of indigenous groups or people of differing faiths and how it simply does not work in a more secular society. Christianity has murdered millions. Christianity has justified slavery, racism and a bundling of ordinances or laws that promote a ‘moral’ version of civility and order.

Here are a few religion-based quotes that helped shape or reinforce intolerant views and have endured to this day:

It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race. They have been and are a race of servants, but now in the dawn of the twentieth century, we are all coming to see this matter of service in its true light and to find that the only real joy in life is in serving others; not bossing them. There is no servant in the world as good as a good Colored servant, and the joy that he gets from rendering faithful service is one of the purest joys there is in the world. The Golden Age, July 24, 1929, p. 702 – From The Watchtower, a bible-based magazine published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Mormon leader Brigham Young stated: “Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” From the Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110. These teachings were formally renounced in 1978.

Scriptures used to support anti-gay legislation:

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:7 – Old Testament

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Leviticus 20:13 – Old Testament

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  1st Corinthians 6:9-10 – New Testament

White-resentment describes the views of working (often religious) middle to upper class whites that have been made to feel that minorities are at the crux of our financial woes and are a drain on the system. Republicans tout the idea, especially near election time, that white families face even heavier taxes to supplement those do-nothing blacks and Latinos. The added religious spiel is nothing more than an attack on the moral values of minority groups to garner more leverage with those same misinformed, angry whites who often have very racist views.

All throughout the campaign, this was the rhetoric as told by the right. Obama wants to give minorities and women free stuff. They attacked Obama for not being American or a good Christian. They say we are a nation of takers. Mitt Romney‘s 47% are a group of whiny and godless bums who refuse to take responsibility for their own lives and feel entitled to government handouts. Recently he credited his loss to just that, refusing to take responsibility for his own party’s shortcomings.

The GOP has a problem. People are not so eager to follow and are more open-minded than ever before. Christianity no longer has the power it once did, the power to divide and conquer. Whites receive more government assistance, per capita, than blacks and data is readily available to support this. Blacks and Latinos work as hard as anyone else and to suggest otherwise is mind-boggling and racist. It’s time for the GOP to unite with the people and to stop with the mind games and race-baiting. We don’t want free stuff, we want jobs, we want opportunity. We want equality for all. When will Republican party develop a political strategy that does not involve anti-gay, anti-women, anti-minority and ultra-Christian language? The world is changing and they’d better change with it.

Election Day!

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The big day is finally here. Fired up voters are out and about, filling up polling centers all across the country. It has been a very emotional year as both political candidates laid forth their arguments and spammed our TV screens with campaign ads. Now it’s over and the choice lies in our hands. With baited breath, we wait to see who will emerge victor. Of course, my bets are with the incumbent, President Barack Obama.

I am voting to see Obamacare through: to see tax hikes on the rich. I am voting to protect a woman’s right to choose when she should give birth. I am voting in support of equality and gay rights. I am voting because I do not wish to see a war in Iran or Syria and feel that all diplomatic measures should be exhausted. I am voting for education and funding for inner-city schools that are so terribly in need. There are so many minds that require cultivating– one can only imagine what we have lost by ignoring the needs and aspirations of the less fortunate. I am voting to retain a liberal and diverse Supreme Court. I am voting for a Democratic majority in the Senate. I am voting to maintain regulations designed to protect us against the predatory practices of Wall Street. I am voting because the poor to middle-class are the driving force behind our economy and mustn’t be ignored. Change is upon us and I’m not giving up.

Let us remember this day, win or lose, as a day of battle– a fight for liberty and justice. Let us send the GOP packing and let them know that enough is enough. They got us into this mess and as much as they would have you forget, we simply cannot.

Below is a snapshot of the President at his last ever campaign rally last night:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This one is worth a million.

 

Update: Barack Obama was re-elected, acquiring the 270 electoral votes required to win. The final electoral count rests at 332 for President Barack Obama, 206 for Mitt Romney. President Obama also won the popular vote with a total of 61,678,507.

Let’s Stop Talking About Rape

Rape has become a popular topic over the last two years as we near election day. On November 6th, we will be making a plethora of decisions, from women’s reproductive rights on down to whether or not we get to have a big oil pipeline drilling party. Democrats and Republicans continue to spar over various subjects even though conservatives tend to agree on many of them, taking issue with the messenger rather than the message. At least, they have agreed in the past when bipartisanship was evident and not seemingly unattainable today. One area where they delightfully differ pertains to abortion and a woman’s right to make that painful decision without government interference.

So why on Earth are we discussing rape and with such careless abandon? Well, Democrats are making its women’s rights case by over-emphasizing a worst-case scenario when it comes to anti-abortion legislation while Republicans stick a foot in their mouth time and time again in support of it. Democrats say that if you reverse Roe v Wade, you send women back to the shadows, where seedy men in dirty white coats, armed with hangers and plungers, wait to suck the life (literally) out of us. If abortion were made a crime, even in cases of rape or incest, a woman would be helplessly dependent on birth control or abstinence to avoid becoming a mother or having more children. Republicans, catering to their Christian base, argue that upon being conceived, a fetus is a life. Many conservatives support the Personhood Amendment, a proposal that counters Roe v Wade and is sponsored by Paul Ryan, which stipulates that a fertilized egg is a human being with rights under the law and thus its termination would be deemed murder. Yes, women could actually be interrogated or go to jail for having an abortion.

Rape is the scary word used to provoke women to action when faced with the thought of being forced to carry your rapist’s baby to term — and such a thought is truly troubling. Even more disturbing are the thoughts opined by the likings of Todd Akin, Steve King, Joe Walsh and our latest rape consultant, Richard Mourdock. Let’s not also forget Rep. Roger Rivard and his ‘some girls rape easy’ comment. Cemented in time are the following:

Todd Akin– “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

Richard Murdock– “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Perhaps it is a strategic, I use that word loosely, attempt by conservatives to quieten women’s concerns about the possible criminalization of abortion by inserting religious hyperbole and other medical theories that are not rooted in fact. After all, if God gives you a gift through a rapist, it’s not so bad. Right?

Ignoring the fact that rape is a real fear and the politicizing of it– nauseating to bear, both parties are skimming over the main issue. Women, even those who have been fortunate enough to avoid being raped, should have access to legal abortions if they so choose. No woman, single, married or un-raped should be forced to carry to term a baby they do not want. There are numerous reasons one may find themselves at the precipice of such a decision and it does not come easy. An unborn child may be diagnosed with severe mental and physical disorders. There are single and married mothers whose birth-control fails them and do not want more children. There are teens who are but children themselves, unable to give a baby the proper care it needs. Some women are simply careless or living unstable lives. Some are in situations where the father is disinterested, absent or abusive and do not want to bring a child into a potentially toxic environment. Here’s a novel concept: some women do not view themselves as a walking, talking womb and would be content to never give birth. Becoming a mother is an economic decision as well. Children cost money and women, as household heads, have to take this into consideration when choosing to start or expand their families. This is an intimate, deeply personal issue that is not best left to arbitration between government officials.

If the United States outlaws abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, women certainly have cause to worry. Our elected officials have no right to assert their moral authority upon others. Instead of fixating upon pre-marital sex, rape and ignorant, insensitive old men who know nothing about a woman’s body, we need to study the whole picture. Women may be biologically best-suited to have babies but not all women desire to become mothers. Abortion is currently prohibited when it is determined that the child can survive outside the mother’s womb. Leave it to a woman to decide within the allotted time-frame what is best for her.

It is so easy for a man to be pro-life.

Why Obama May Lose

President Obama has accomplished a great deal during his four years in office. He passed the Lily Ledbetter Act so that women can fight back against pay discrimination. He pushed for health care reform which he was able to sign into law. He called for an end to the war in Iraq and set a definitive timeline for when we can pull our troops from Afghanistan. He has pushed for the DREAM act to protect law-abiding immigrants, many who were brought here as children, from being sent away to a foreign country they do not know. He helped cut waste, culled and cut programs that were not needed. He lifted the ban on stem cell research. He pushed for investments in clean energy. His stimulus package pulled us back from the brink of some sort of hell we will now never know. I was rather curious about eco-mageddon but it was a good move. Many homeowners kept their homes and the market is improving as buyers look to make new purchases. He got Bin Laden. He has risked his political career in championing the cause of the LGBT crowd, much to the chagrin of his ultra-religious and intolerant constituents. A biracial man raised by a loving white family, he has given his all, an idealist in a grey world where change is as terrifying to some as a leap from 22 miles above ground, near space.

Things Obama has done. Click!

So why it is possible President Obama may lose his bid for re-election? It’s simple: racism. Socialist is the new ‘n’ word. Fear and disenchantment is rampant, unfounded and left unchecked as many conservatives struggle with the existence of a non-white commander-in-chief. If Obama were a white man from Montana with the winning smile, a boatload of charisma and the same record to run on, he would be dominating in the polls. He would be heralded as an American hero, fearless and stoic in the face of opposition. At the time of this writing, the President is in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney, a man whose questionable past leaves many Democrats aghast at the thought of him winning and at just how close he is to doing just that.

We have seen and heard many things these past four years. Pictures surfaced all over the internet of Michelle Obama’s features, contorted to resemble those of an orangutan. Bumper sticks that read ‘Don’t re-nig in 2012’. That’s a good one. Then there’s that pesky birther movement that has not lost its fervor even without a shred of proof disputing President Obama’s birthplace. The rise of the tea party brought forth some of the ugliest behavior many have had the displeasure of bearing witness to as they wobble forward belching demands, threatening to ‘shut America down’ if they don’t get their way. The level of vitriol and disrespect forwarded President Obama’s way is unprecedented– even Bill Clinton seemed in awe when speaking about it at this year’s DNC. Tagg Romney, exerting his executive white privilege, goes on a radio station to openly state his wish to take a swing at the president after last week’s debate. The Republican campaign trail is littered with sentences that contain keywords like ‘Kenyan’ ‘foreign’ ‘socialist’ or ‘Muslim’, by design issued to stoke unrest against a sitting President.

Don’t try to make sense of it all. It is, what it is. It is ugly, it is depressing but we have to face the truth. America was not ready. The fear of a black President is real– ignorance has misguided the minds and actions of the population for centuries. We fear what we do not understand and are easily duped when falsehoods are uttered as gospel while massaging inherent, bigoted viewpoints. President Obama has beaten the stereotypes that suffocate black Americans and that alone is a bitter pill to swallow for many conservatives. So they do their very absolute best to cast him in the worst possible light.

Liberals have somewhat failed to hold up our end of the bargain in this fight. We have whinged.. We have wavered at the slightest sign of trouble and allowed our frustration to take root. The obstacle course that is Congress has willfully impeded Obama along the way and our modest show of support pales next to the enthusiasm of ’08. We want the troops out of Afghanistan and peace in the middle-east. We want gay rights. Some of us don’t want gay marriage. We want mass reform. We want more regulations. We want manna from the skies. However loved he is, we simply want it all, we want it now and are unforgiving at times.

All across the globe, away from home, Obama’s approval rating soars and rightfully so. Public view of the US has risen favorably since he took the oath of office. I imagine foreigners may find his kind brown face comforting, a symbol of real change and equality in a world gripped by a white authority. Yet…he might lose. He may lose to the guy who had his databases wiped; documents shredded upon leaving Massachusetts. He may lose to the man who flip-flops like a goldfish out of water when it comes to his political ideology. He is the man that makes Rachel Maddow want to scream. He is the presidential-candidate that refuses to release more of his tax returns because as his lovely wife stated, they might be used as ammunition. And that would be unfair, correct? Why should Americans know exactly how our potential President earned his wealth and at whose expense? None of that matters for Romney’s base except for one thing: he’s not black.

Binders Full of Women: Debate II 2012

Last night’s debate was held using the town hall format, a place where President Obama tends to shine. And shine he did. There were a few mucky moments where the two candidates seemed to bicker but the President maintained a more civil tone and answered most questions with succinct flair, sticking to many of the talking points that surround his campaign. It may have come across as a bit redundant to political junkies that have followed each candidate as they make rounds around the country issuing stump speeches. There’s just no getting around their platform and the questions asked zeroed in on both the former governor and President’s goals.

Romney was his usual self, angry and on defense, prepped against possible statements regarding the many missteps that have hammered his campaign all year. His message was on jobs and tax cuts, even though he has yet to explain exactly how he would pay for his 5 trillion dollar tax cut without unloading the burden upon the poor to middle-class. I would like to know of each program he intends to cut and which tax loopholes would be closed. Mitt also re-emphasized how his plans will create 12 million jobs over the next four years but later in the debate chants, ‘government doesn’t create jobs, government doesn’t create jobs’.

If you can ignore Romney’s lies and anti-math tax plan, he almost held his own until the tedious topic of Libya came up. He fumbled like a quarterback with a slime-covered football, attacking the President on his handling of the incident.

He continues sputtering and stuttering on the point until the President expertly interjected in order to move things along. Priceless.

The highlight of the night came when Romney was asked the following question from an undecided voter, Katherine Fenton of NY, which President Obama was given the opportunity of answering first:

Question: In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

The President spoke of education and the Lily Ledbetter Act but it was Romney’s answer that shook the internet hemisphere:

They said, well, these are the people that have the qualifications. And I said, well, gosh, can’t we — can’t we find some — some women that are also qualified?

And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women’s groups and said, can you help us find folks? And I brought us whole binders full of — of women. I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my cabinet and my senior staff that the University of New York in Albany did a survey of all 50 states and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America.

Not only was he lying, as fact-checkers conclude, it was an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. And hilarious! Binders filled with women? Get him those binders! Where are these allegedly smart women?! Surely they exist! I wonder how long it took Mr. Romney to come up with that. It will surely go down as one of the best and funniest gaffes of all time.

Post-debate polls declared President Obama the winner and I agree. It was a good night and liberals ought to feel enthusiastic and hopeful as we head into the final stretch.

Playing the Field

I love football. Love it. It is the greatest sport in the world. I am sure the Greeks would disagree but to each their own! NFL football is spectacular and presents an awesome show of power on each play: the passing ability of daring quarterbacks with his offensive linemen, the strength and fortitude of the rushing running back, the determination of your defensive line and the ever speedy receivers bring it all together. Every player has an assigned role and duty: to disrupt the enemy and achieve victory! It’s like war where sweat, instead of blood, is spilled upon the green. Well, sometimes there’s blood. No matter rain, sleet or snow the game is on and neither side quits until the fat lady sings.

Not to be mistaken as the casual spectator, I get a bit emotional while viewing this particular sport. Every aspect of it appeals to me. The inspiring display of teamwork along with the coaches and the passionate support of their team. The peals of overjoyed fans seems to reach through the television screen and takes hold of me as does their sorrow when a team, defeated, begin a pitiful trek back to the locker room. Good old football, where every inch, every yard gained counts for something. Did you miss the incredible play executed by the 49ers last season when a very teary TE Vernon Davis exits the field to the welcoming arms of his teammates? I sobbed with him that day.

That is what it’s all about.

Unsurprisingly, I happen to be a Bears fan, a welcome affliction for many Chicagoans. A big name team with a small-town personality, they are explosive at times, defensively and offensively. They can be quite the opposite other times but that’s my team, win or lose. Every yard gained grants me a bit of solace, a slice of joy amidst all the pain and drudgery of the day-to-day. Perhaps it is why sports fans become so involved during football season. The first game I ever watched was in ’85, when the Bears won the Superbowl with McMahon at the helm. I was young and did not understand fully the magnitude of their victory or why my aunt Vanessa hopped around the living room with infectious glee, tears in her eyes. I was hooked on the sport from then on. I had to be clever and followed games when I could– my mother was anti-TV. If only the world were like the NFL clubs, where black, white and brown come together, play together and accomplish great things.

Beyond field activity, there lies a grim reality that is both endearing yet saddening to consider. Black athletes, many who are renown and beloved by millions, often come from poor and broken homes set within crime-ridden neighborhoods. Reared by God-fearing mothers, these young men didn’t have a father to play catch with. They hone their skills on the very streets that would end them yet they persevere. In fact, I would offer that there is some correlation between a distinct lack of incentive on part of state officials and their elite puppeteers to curb crime, as poverty, fear and a lack of options tend to steer at-risk youth towards sports to escape their circumstances. Upon entering high school these young men meet with motivated teachers and coaches that recognize their ability and potential for further growth. The football programs at these under-performing schools are poorly managed, due to inadequate funding. Also, black men are not properly introduced to training tailored to prepare one for the role of quarterback. In college, they are ferried into the more physical and dangerous positions unless they demonstrate exceptional leadership ability and are able to communicate effectively the coach’s play-calls to the offense. This is the most important position on a football team and it is hard not to notice the overabundance of white quarterbacks in the NFL. It is why it comes with great delight to some– and a bit of derision from people such as Rush Limbaugh– when a black quarterback beats the myth that he cannot comprehend an intricate playbook and lead his team. The rookie Redskins QB Robert Griffin III might have something to say about that.

High school players are recruited and exploited by universities that make millions off poor kids who can barely afford a meal. Yes, they are offered a partial or full athletic scholarship but most of them do not go pro and can lose them for some minor infractions.

More than a century of treating student athletes like indentured servants is finally catching up with the NCAA. How can anyone expect college players to be satisfied with just getting a scholarship and free room and board at a major university that rakes in tens of millions of dollars annually from conference television deals, bowl games, and the NCAA basketball tournament? It’s downright ludicrous.

via NCAA football is modern-day slavery – Page 1 – News – Miami – Miami New Times.

The situation does not improve upon reaching the NFL, faced with the greedy and bloated giant that is the National Football League. The players are like slabs of meat, put out to pasture and if they become bent or broken, cast aside. Their pay is paltry in comparison to what the league owners receive. The money aside, for many of these men, their team is their family, their coach– the only father they have ever known and football, the friend that kept him out of trouble all his life. Under the yoke of their masters, it becomes a double-edged sword. They certainly realize that money is the driving motivator behind the sport and to stay competitive and relevant, may chuck aside sentiments for their share of the pie, which ironically comes across as arrogant or greedy to those observing the spectacle. Adrian Peterson, not known for keeping his mouth closed, openly shared his frustrations with the NFL during the labor lockout with the statements:

. . . If they have nothing to hide, just give us the information. Why not? Obviously, there’s a lot to hide — these guys are professionals, and they’re maximizing what they do. But they know that if all this information comes out, the information the players want, it’ll be right out there for everyone to see. It’s a rip-off — not just for the players, but for the people who work at the concession stands and at the stadiums. It’s modern-day slavery, you know?”

Well, I know. I’m not sure ‘they’ know, however. Ever see a weigh-in? They’re almost…eerie. It does remind one of the meat block at a slave auction.

No matter their background, players are being exploited by the NFL and black players disproportionately so. No matter what walk of life, we’re all getting our clock cleaned by the powers that be. It suffices as an accurate analogy when you consider conservatives and liberals pitted against one another while rich elitists lie and manipulate laws to their advantage. We are all pawns to be had and sacrificed in the interests of shareholders and CEOs.

I love football. When they play, you can almost forget about the greed and rampant corruption. You can almost forget about the weigh-ins where prospectors observe tall muscular athletes, appraising them as if at the slave block. I know many of those players ignore it. They still want it. They have and continue to fight the good fight, seeking a place in history alongside a Superbowl win. I’ll keep watching and supporting their dreams even if those dreams have been compromised at the whim of greedy old men.