There’s Gonna Be some Changes Round Here!

Did you miss me? I ask that question to the 120 or so of you who were nice enough to follow my blog, and the other handful that read my posts. Well, this thing has been silent for more than a week. Did any of you notice?

I ask, not in a whiny, ego driven way, but out of the genuine desire to do better. I started this blog about six months ago, with the earnest desire to go viral and blow up all of your computer screens with my sheer fucking awesomeness. As I look at my watch, I realize that I am about five months late on my goals. By now, I had planned on sitting back and collecting royalties as thousands and thousands of people clicked, liked and shared me into financial freedom.

Okay. That’s a (slight) exaggeration. But I do take this blog seriously, and looking back, I realize that I have made some serious mistakes. My content has been all over the place. My posts, though regular, have followed no defined schedule. My distribution and networking have been laughable.

I’m proud of Chadvs… I’ve written some things that really shook me up. And when I shake myself up, I know I’m on to something. But, after six months of flying blind, It’s time to step back and reevaluate things.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see any posts from me for a little while. And don’t be surprised when I return, with a different name and greater focus. It’s time.

I’ll see you in a week.

12 Years a Slave wasn’t about Rebellion. Would you have liked it any more if it was?

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I have been championing 12 Years since before it hit the theaters. I’d seen the trailer and read the back story. To me it showed some things that we don’t often see; depictions of freed Blacks in the North, slaves interacting with the Native Americans, and the raw insanity that the system of slavery produced in both the master and slave…

I know… there are folks out there that feel as if we have had slavery movies shoved down our throats since the seventies. Those movies, 50 by one person’s estimation, were in fact, one mini-series. Roots. Roots is the alpha and omega of our education on how we endured the holocaust of slavery. It was… impressive. I’ve read the book and seen the series. It doesn’t show the entirety of the story. No one movie could.

12 Years a Slave did an incredible job but, like Roots, it’s just one movie. It isn’t an omnibus of every experience during those 246 years. If you want to see depictions of rebellion, (I do!) you may have to wait until Danny Glover lands the funding for his long shelved Toussaint Louverture project. Or you can check out Sankofa. It was the labor of love of Haile Gerima, who wrote, produce, directed and then distributed it in 1993.

The fictional piece followed a narcissistic fashion model as she was transported back through time at during a Goree Island photo shoot. Like 12 Years a Slave, it was an exhausting movie to watch. Unlike 12 Years, there was no white savior in Sankofa. Victory was won with the machete.

Of course, some folks feel as if we need to jump over those centuries all together. We were Kings and Queens in Africa (and scholars and priests and even lowly subjects). They want to see more of that in our theaters.

Let’s. I would like nothing more than to bring my kids to a movie about Nzinga, scourge of the Portuguese in pre colonial Angola. But that doesn’t mean that I feel that our experience here has been exhausted. The force of slavery continues to influence who we’ve become as a people. Until we navigate that mental minefield, it’s going to be damned hard for us to advance. We can’t slip the snare if we refuse to look at it.

Besides, our heroes; Harriet Tubman, Denmark Vesey, Gaspar Yanga and countless others, were every bit as powerful and Queen Nzinga. Someone must sing their praises, but to do that we have to learn their struggle.

Anna-Nzinga.-Angola

The Politics of Booping Schnozes

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Actual (not really) footage of my daughter post nose-boop.

My little girl landed in time-out the other day.

She had been going to the same day care center for about a year and a half, with nothing but gold stars and smiley faces. She was that child that the teachers wanted more of.
“Why can’t they all be like her?” they asked.

Why indeed.

Some time on Wednesday, another little girl came to class. Is she a new little girl? Has she always been there, lurking in the shadows and waiting to strike (or get struck)? I don’t know. My daughter has never mentioned her name among her litany of little friends.

Word on the street is, that new little girl was messing with the Uma. Poking her chest and chin out at her, as only children do. The two of them, sitting at that little table in their little chairs… tensions building steadily over graham crackers and fruit snacks. Just like The Wire, but with sippy cups instead of crack.

Then it happened. My daughter raised her little fist and… “*Boop!” Right on the schnoz. (The Boop sound was relayed to me from the teacher. I can only assume that it was absolutely accurate, and the other little girl’s nose sounded like the horn of a tiny clown car).

When the teacher approached my daughter she looked around the room in widest eyed innocence. But there were witnesses, including the little girl, now cupping her nose in shocked disbelief. It was open and shut.

Then they were both escorted to time out. My daughter’s first time out. Where the Uma, cried inconsolably until her three minute sentence was commuted to one minute on the grounds of, “Aint nobody trying to hear all that…”

Upon release, the other little girl grabbed her things and moved them to another table, as far away from my daughter as the little room would allow.

When I got there, the teacher relayed the incident to me, sternly… until she snickered a little bit. But mostly sternly. She told me that they have a firm policy on fighting. Nobody was above the law, not even the Uma. Then she told me how glad she was that Uma had stood up for herself.

I agreed. She has to stand up for herself. But then, she has to pay the consequences, even if it means time out.

The Dekalb public school system has a zero tolerence policy. That means that Uma’s nose *Boop might have landed her at the police station if she attended one of the area middle schools. At the very least, she would have been suspended.

At the school where my oldest goes, a *Boop will get you kicked out. Not right away; first they’ll suspend you, whether or not you were at fault. But at a certain point near the end of the year, they reevaluate all of the children’s admission status’s. And that *Boop on the nose will get a big red stamp on your transcript. Technically you weren’t expelled. You just weren’t asked to come back.

With all of the bullying and violence in our schools, I understand zero tolerence. It sends an iron clad message to the students. If you bully, abuse, put your hands on or *Boop someone’s schnozz, there will be reprecussions. I get it. I just don’t think it’s right. Because, to put it simply, sometimes honkers need *Booping. 

My oldest daughter relayed this true life scenario to me. One boy had tormented another boy all year long. He called him names and spat at him. For one reason or another, he had taken it as his mission to break that other boy’s spirit.

The other boy, for his part, kept a low profile. Right up til the last day of school, as the students were boarding the busses for summer vacation. Then he ran up on his bully as he was getting on the bus (he had launched one last taunt, for old times sake) and knocked him unconscious.

That’s what bullying is. Psychological warfare. It is a long game that steadily, quietly escalates. The bully targets a child that he doesn’t think will fight back, and succeeds only to the degree that he can infiltrate the interior of his victim.

It’s extremely hard to punish. Teachers aren’t always there, and even when they are present it is their job to maintain an orderly status quo, and not the individual morale of each child. So they enact zero tolerance so that once things explode, and they almost always do, they can levy the full force of their administrative authority upon the perpertrator. The only problem is, in the eyes of zero tolerence there is absolutely no difference between the bully and the child whose decided that they can’t take it anymore.

That’s not a big deal when the reprecussions are as simple as time-out, but when we make children choose between accepting torment or getting expelled from school, you put them in a position that is emotional poison. When, every so often, the solution is standing up for yourself, raising your fists and booping schnozes.

Slugger (that’s what they call my daughter now) probably won’t be booping any more little girls for a long time. She’s not cut out for that time-out life. The other little girl, on the other hand, might as well move her juice and crackers into the time out corner. Every time I pick up the Uma, she’s standing silently in that corner, tear tracks dried on her cheeks. I don’t know what goes on in her home, but they are cultivating a little bully. But there is one little girl that she is going to leave alone. Thanks to that *Boop.

The Illumaniti Free Playlist: The one where Meshell Ndegeocello covers “Friends”

Once again, Afropunk is on point. They’ve tapped into a vein of Black incredible-ness and dropped this on us. I remain amazed.
I don’t have anything to add. I’ve listened to the song three times back to back and right after I push the Publish button I’m going to play Plantation Lullabies.
I tend to forget how dope she is. I need reminders. Thanks Afropunk!

One Video Illustrates How Far we are from Racial Equality

Look closely. How many people passed the white guy during his 30 minute experiment with car theft? A lot. They saw him and thought immediately thought of all of those times when they locked their own keys in their cars. Awww shucks.

What about the Black guy? He wasn’t out there for nearly as long, before the cops pulled up and told him to put his hands where they could see them. But how many was it? And what did they think? They looked at him and thought, “Theif!” Because, it couldn’t possibly be his car, right? I mean, maybe he’s not, but… let’s call the cops, just in case.

Folks, if you think the problem with this country is Stand Your Ground, or racist guys with guns, I’m sorry to say, you’re probably being too easy on yourself. That thing in the brains of the passers-by, who dicided that the Black guy was a car thief, based entirely upon his Blackness, is the problem. It’s the synaptic spark that enabled Zimmerman to begin following Trayvon Martin. It’s the thing that made Dunn feel empowered to issue commands to Jordan Davis, and then mete out executions when those commands weren’t obeyed.

Insert annecdotal evidence about car theives here. I’ll help. Black people do steal cars. Okay? And so do white guys. But you better hope that it’s a Black guy trying to steal you car in broad daylight, because if the theif is white, your car is as good as gone, no metter how bad dude’s slim jim skills are.

Nobody is going to call the cops on him. They might even help him out.

Walking Dead got all Cerebral Last Night. They Need Tai Chi

Last night’s Walking Dead was introspective.

There were only four characters onscreen, and that includes Hershel’s undead head. With the exception of some clumsy, teenage style zombie kills from Carl, and one spectacular spree (32?) from Michonne, it was mostly people walking around the woods and backroads of Georgia, thinking deep thoughts and working through their emotional demons.

It was one of those, episodes that makes you think that maybe, it’s all going to be okay for the survivors. Those episodes are particularly important, because I’m pretty sure that they are going to be using the next few months to tear them apart again.

This time they moved into different territory. In the past, wellbeing has been synonymous with shelter and food. This time, it was all about getting your mind right. Which got me to thinking… Where is the tai chi?

Of course, they don’t talk much about martial arts in the Walking Dead. With the exception of Michonne, who was obviously versed in Japanese swordsmanship, most of the guys just use brute strength or true grit to get the job done. Which tends to work very well. After all, zombies aren’t skilled opponents.

It would be cool as hell to watch some dude take down a zombie hoarde like a Shoalin Boss, with a broadsword in each hand. But this isn’t that kind of show.
They play with certain themes; Rick, with his cross draw revolver is obviously a cowboy, while Michonne is the samurai. But having a dude marching around the back woods of Georgia with two chinese broadswords would steer the narrative deep into fantasy territory. I think it’s the same reason we haven’t seen someone with a European longsword and shining armor. Too many theme characters and the cast begins to look like The Village People.

That said, this show needs a tai chi guy. I mean, if we’re going to talk about getting into your headspace, nothing says naval gazing like showing someone going through the Yang long form while the sun rises over the zombie wasteland. He doesn’t have to dispatch the zombies with a tai chi saber or speak like Yoda. Showing him do the form would suffice.
Their moral compasses don’t tend to last very long. First Dale, then Hershel… deep thinkers are like Black guys in horror movies. You know they’re dead; it’s just a matter of how long. My tai chi guy could reverse that trend.

It’s been clear for a while, that staying out of the hands and mouths of the Walkers is only part of the battle. You also have to find peace. Which isn’t easy, even in our regular, non-zombie world. So, while you guys think about the ammo that you are going to stockpile, I’m putting tai chi on my to-learn list. Okay, it’s pretty far down, but it’s there.

In the meantime, this video shows an internal approach to archery. Why not, right? Before the internal arts got all granola on us, they were genuine fighting styles, with principles that were developed in war. Still, with the exception of kyudo, I didn’t know that there was an internal approach to archery. Think about that the next time you consider the bow as your weapon of choice. Archery can be deep too.

Fried Chicken, Watermelon and Cornbread: Ingredients to the Worst Black History Month Ever

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It’s hard to find pictures of fried chicken and watermelon without a racist caption. That should be a hint that it’s racist.

A Northern California High School planned to kick off the month long celebration of the contributions of Black people in this nation, with fried chicken, watermelon and cornbread.

I thought it was a fake story. It’s not.

The school is called Carondelet High School for Girls, in Concord California. According to their principal, Nancy Libby, the whole thing was some kind of mis-communication. The menu got out without being authorized. Apologies have been issued. Assemblies will be held, because, you know… diversity.

Who wrote the menu? Were they too stupid to realize how racist their menu selection is. Let’s face it, fried chicken and cornbread are both delicious when cooked correctly. I’m not ashamed to say, my wife cooked fried chicken last night. Lovely. The problem is, when you put them all on a menu to celebrate our history, it puts things into a different perspective.

For example, tacos might not be the best idea for their celebrations of Latino Americans. And women’s history month should not be celebrated with a “Go make me a sandwich, Bitch!” bar.

Perhaps it was an addle brained, I Love Lucy type who wanted to gather the most delicious soul food she could to honor our short time in the sun. If so, let me offer this piece of advice. If you are not sure whether or not something is racist, Google it, click images and look at the results. The results for “fried chicken and watermelon,” are fucking offensive.

But if they hadn’t planned on a diversity assembly, why have one now? Why not just bring the menu writer into a room and inform them that they are fired, because they are racist and they embarassed everyone in the school. That seems better, right?

Diversity isn’t an affliction. It’s discussion shouldn’t be a punishment. Save that for the folks who created the menu.