Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Of Grizzly Bears, Sandra Bland, Rape Culture, and the Absurd Politics of Respectability

Conventional wisdom dictates that when you run into a grizzly bear, your best bet is to remain calm and move ever so little. The same applies to most other large bears, and encounters with other potentially dangerous animals (snakes, large cats etc.) come with very similar advice: the reason being that these beasts, incapable of high level reasoning, act purely on the animal instinct that mandates the elimination of anything perceived threatening as a matter of survival. That's the basest natural element across the animal kingdom. The basest.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Chimamanda Moment

I recently opened up an African clothing and sewing store with some partners next door. A few days after the opening, a good friend and professor from the university came in to check in on me and how everything was going. In barged an awkward looking guy who came in to talk to the professor, ignoring my presence completely.

I noticed they spoke in one of the dialects from my country and got interested. There are extremely few people from my country that live in the same city as myself (I can count them on my fingers), so whenever I meet someone from my country, I get VERY happy. I kept my distance though, didn’t want to intrude on their conversation, even though they were talking about the Pan-African Struggle – something I’m severely passionate about. What amused me the most about the guy was his childlike enthusiasm talking to the professor. He kept stoking the professor’s ego with phrases like “Wow! You’re so smart and brilliant,” or “I really need to learn more from you. You’re blowing my mind,” or “Man, you’re really amazing.” Not to fault him, but after hearing similar phrases following every coupl

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“The Western District Way: Race, Class, Corruption, Incompetence and Police Brutality in Baltimore and the Warning of “The Wire”

By David Mathew Walton aka Kalonji 

A. Butholenkosi Dual Doctoral CandidateHistory/African American Studies

Michigan State University

Something that surprises me about too many people is the glaring obviousness of the shallow analysis and glaring disconnect that far too many of us have. We all loved “The Wire”, and watched it religiously. Critics applauded the HBO series “The Wire” for its grittiness, truths, realness, elucidation, and powerfulness in the representation of the political, economic and social conditions of Baltimore. Yet, despite it being repeated dozens of times that the show was written based upon a former police officer’s memoirs and the work of a Baltimore Sun reporter, meaning that it was a fictional depiction of actual events; we have not even made the connections yet.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Michael Brown, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, and Walter Scott's Chances of Outrunning Bullets


That was the chance that Michael Brown, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, and Walter Scott had of outrunning bullets from police officer's guns.

In the wake of another police killing of an unarmed Black man, we the people find ourselves in a similar position yet again. And you shouldn't have to be concerned with racial issues or police relations for this to strike a chord with you; this effects everyone. It appears we're not only repeating the cycle of police officers killing unarmed people of color, but we're also asking for the same outcomes (for it to stop). Should we wait patiently for change like good little boys & girls or take what we want? Should we encourage the people of our community to arm themselves by weaponry to fight back? If #BlackLivesMatter, one more death is one too many. And if you're questioning my methods, you're thinking inside the box. I want to abolish the box, because this is another method used to constrain creative/innovative ideas for change. The system is broken and if we're really about change, we need transformative visions. Law enforcement and municipal leaders that are looking for alternative measures in policing rarely accept outside analytical minds on their committees. And it's because of this, Walter Scott never had a chance.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Demystifying Shi'a Islam

By: Jill Ricotta

('Ali [علي], one of the main figures of Shia Islam, in a very typical and popular Shiite-style representation)
(Photo Credit:www.fanpop.com)

Shi’a Islam has been misunderstood since basically the beginning of its existence. Around the world, people don’t know what it is, or that Islam has multiple sects. Even in the Middle East/South East Asia region, other Muslims view Shiism as bizarre, hyper-emotional, or even antithetical to the message of the Prophet.