Do Not Tell My People to Calm Down, Minnesota

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From the serenity of my home office that doubles as my middle daughter’s bedroom, I write this at one of the most trying times this nation has ever faced. With COVID-19 testing the boundaries of our sanity as a whole, the racial tensions that have defined this country since its inception have come to a boiling point. The tragedy of George Floyd is no less common than it is tragic. The distinction now is, we have caught it on camera. To those watching Minneapolis burn to the ground, I say, do not tell my people to calm down.

For centuries, Black people have sworn by the non-violence mantra, even when violence was cast upon them like a toxic skin. While beating and raping us, hanging and murdering us, the system has urged us to be non-violent. The system has assured us justice is blind and that every man is equal. The system has repeatedly told us one thing and done another.

What happened when the Black people of Tulsa embraced white rage with Black love? Racist white men backed by every facet of law enforcement rode into Tulsa and burned it to the ground overnight. Those same men were the same men who contended Blacks were lazy and unfit to be Americans. When those Blacks became self-sufficient, white rage could not let them be.

We live in a society regulated by laws literally meant to keep Black men and Black people in a constant state of struggle. If this statement is hard to believe, explain the difference between white guys selling weed in dispensaries and a Black man selling it on the corner? The difference is the law. The law backs the white “entrepreneur” while crushing what it portrays as the “Black criminal.”

White people, intentionally or unintentionally, have destroyed the image of Black men. This is why a bearded white guy drinking beer on a motorcycle and toting a machine gun is not as unsettling an image as a Black man in a hoodie. White people have been so effective at destroying the Black image that white cops murder an unarmed Black man but the first thing released is the Black man’s past criminal history instead of details of the murder or the name of the officers involved. Yet white people defend the cops, and this is not their fault to a degree. Follow this example:

Charles is your next-door neighbor. You and he sometimes shoot pool. He’s a friendly guy who goes to church every Sunday. You’ve never seen him do anything wrong or heard anyone complain about him.

Alicia is the wife of Charles. He blacks her eye every month and takes her money. He has even threatened to kill her.

If I were to interview you about Charles and Alicia about Charles, you and he would have two totally distinctive stances. This is white people versus Black people concerning police and community relations. Cops are a part of the white community. They interact with them and protect them. They do not harass them. From my own experience and noting many others, in the Black community, cops harass Black men, they abuse Black men and the ones who don’t do those things don’t interact with the Black community in any positive manner. White people and Black people have two unique perspectives of cops. They are both legitimate.

Now, with the videos of victims like George Floyd blasting across the internet, it is harder for cops to deny their brutality. Some white deniers of police brutality have become believers. Others who are not believers are finding it harder to explain a cop pressing his knee so hard into the throat of an unarmed Black man that he kills him. They try to contend that civilians do not know what cops are thinking at a particular high-adrenaline moment. The videos show that many times, there is no threat to the cop. Most times, the cops are committing flat-out murder in these viral videos.

This is where we have come in this country. Minneapolis is facing riots with fire and chaos. Do not tell my people to calm down. Show my people that things will change.

 

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago with something to say. Sign up here to join his email list for more editorials and writing advice.

 

BREAKING: Another Mass Shooting, 3 Dead in Arizona

Photo by: Daily Mail

By Jermaine Reed

According to AZCentral, 20-year-old Armando Hernandez Jr. killed three people in a random shooting in Arizona’s Westgate Entertainment District. Hernandez allegedly filmed himself on Snapchat as drunk beer on the way and referred to himself as ”The West Gate Shooter.” In the parking lot, he surrendered after police confronted him while he was armed with a machine gun. Several others, including a 19-year-old man, were taken to the hospital with life-threatening wounds.

In the midst of a global pandemic, Hernandez, heavily armed, decided to pop up at a mall and commit first-degree murder. What does that say about America and its people? What does it say about the stay-at-home orders and their sudden reversal in some states? It says that America is not ok.

Before the pandemic, gun control was an issue, and this incident will catapult it back to the forefront of our national stage. But as always, the Right will blame unaddressed mental illness while claiming this shooting was an isolated incident. The Left will stomp and scream and threaten to blow down the country without new, more effective gun control laws. And nothing will be done. And another mass shooting will creep up on us.

What Hernandez did was atrocious, hateful and outright evil. After he attempts to pay society the debt he never can, he will answer to the Most High. Still, something has to be done to prevent the next mass shooting. The only way to prevent the next shooting is to vote out the current administration and eventually the Senate as well and replace them with trustworthy Democrats and Independents. Until then, we’re all just sitting ducks.

*Jermaine Reed is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, local news stories and national news stories. Please join his email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books.

A Child’s Murder Goes Unsolved: A Chicago Thing

In 2015, after 2-year-old Kyrian Knox’s dismembered body was found in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood, the city was stunned. The ensuing manhunt led to the arrest of Kamel Harris, a Chicago caretaker. With seemingly no evidence tying Harris to the crime, police and prosecutors forged ahead in charging Harris. Last year, Harris was fully aquitted by a jury of his peers.

Flashing back to the initial arrest, no one gave Harris a chance to defend himself. He was convicted by the public long before his trial started. Now, with his being found not guilty and the city potentially having to pay him millions, it is clear that our public officials are costing taxpayers dollars.

The question is, where do we go from here? Prosecutors have an unbelievable amount of power, and they can legally operate in secret. For instance, prosecutors do not have to explain why they gave Tyrone Black ten years for theft but gave John Smuckenhouser just a year of probation for the same crime. We don’t need only justice reform. Specifically, we need prosecutorial reform. How do we get this?

The first order of business must be eliminating the grand jury. By law, at any time, grand jury proceedings can be suspended. Getting rid of the grand jury evens the playing field for the defense. Grand jury proceedings are notably one-sided. The prosecution basically holds a mini trial in which they present their evidence to a secret group of jurors and those jurors almost always find probably cause to indict (charge) the defendant. Hence the popular idiom ”A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich.”

Prosecutors used to stand for justice. They operated and charged where they believed a crime had occurred, not where they simply needed to charge someone so they did. Nowadays, prosecutors pray on the poor and weak while pandering to the likes of the wealthy and politically powerful. Being a prosecutor, to the extent and prevalence of malicious prosecution, is no longer an honorable profession. It has been tainted by racism, greed and the human need to do what the influential orders.

For far too long, racism in this country has been reinforced by prosecutors who have never set a foot in the places many of their defendants come from. It is time for a prosecutorial overhaul. Prosecutorial decisions must become transparent. Racism or prejudice in prosecution must be called out.

The most troubling part of the Harris case is not the fact that taxpayers will likely have to pay him millions; it isn’t the prosecutorial misconduct that led to Harris’s being charged. It is the fact that Kyrian’s death remains unsolved. A child murderer is walking the streets. Maybe the police should actually do their job and figure out who committed the murder.

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Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty of Rape

Today, renowned movie producer and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape for performing oral sex on Miriam Haley in 2006. The charge carries 5-25 years. He was also convicted of assaulting an unnamed woman as well. He was found not guilty of predatory sexual assault which carries life in prison.

The #MeToo movement is a double-edged sword. Proponents argue it holds the most powerful of men accountable for abusing women. Opponents say the movement unfairly attacks men for minor infractions like flirting with women. Fact is, both sides may have valid points, but women have been sexual victims since the beginning of time.

The #MeToo movement may have flaws, but its potential impact on how women are treated by men in society outweighs any potential flaws it has. For years, women have been oppressed, and this movement offers them a voice.

#HarveyWeinstein #metoo #miriamhaley

Feel the Bern: Capitalism v. Socialism

Bernie Sanders is the answer that both establishment Republicans and Democrats fear. During this primary season, Bernie has been winning. Most recently, he took Nevada with nearly 50 percent of voters choosing him. Still, with his so-called “socialist” views, his critics accuse of him of wanting to rob the hard working rich and give their wealth to the lazy poor. Donald Trump believes he could crush Bernie, and this is why Trump has been congratulating Bernie on winning primaries.

Donald Trump is a frustrating conundrum. Somehow, he has managed to gain the support of the poor and uneducated — even though his policies like his Tax Act make them poorer — and the wealthy who remain in his corner. When Trump’s voters who happen to be poor or uneducated see Trump, they see a man who is defiant, rude, unapologetic and bold. To them, he is “real.” In their eyes, Trump can do no wrong.

Poor, uneducated people can be taken advantage of, and Trump is doing exactly that. Trump is betting poor people fear the world Bernie wants in which every person gets what he or she deserves. The reason is, poor, uneducated people tend to vote against their own interests. Without doing proper research and reading about candidates’ ideals, poor, uneducated people who take time to vote are like a godsend to someone like Trump, who operates by telling lie after lie, because he knows his voters will eat it up without questioning him.

Bernie Sanders is the answer. Though he is a politician, he is as far removed from Corporate America as any candidate could be. He is not perfect, but he knows unchecked capitalism will eventually collapse this country and those at the bottom will suffer the greatest. Capitalism does not work for everyone. Bernie knows this, and now, voters are beginning to know this as well.

#bernie #berniesanders #nevada #trump #feelthebern

Jermaine Reed is an author from Chicago currently pursuing his Creative Writing MFA. Click this link to explore his books. 

The Audacity of Gayle King

For too many years, women have been objectified by men, raped and beaten by men and used for whatever sick purposes those men wish to use them for. Rape has been a constant stain on both past and present, but that doesn’t mean all men must be attacked by this suddenly woke culture more concerned about offending someone than letting the truth settle where it may.

In a search for nothing more significant than ratings, Gayle King attacked Lisa Leslie with loaded questions about the rape allegations against Kobe. When Lisa refused to speak ill of Kobe, Gayle pressed harder and said Lisa wouldn’t be able to see Kobe in such a negative light cast by something as gruesome as rape because Kobe was Lisa’s friend. Gayle’s line of questioning bordering on accusatory was nothing short of judgemental. Gayle is the embodiment of a movement electrified by women who lack any sense of responsibility and who blame men for their own shortcomings.

Kobe was not convicted of rape. The case was closed nearly two decades ago. This country’s judicial branch says “innocent until proven guilty.” It seems that even when a loving, charismatic man like Kobe makes something of himself, things he has not been convicted of is all America can seem to remember. Why didn’t they bring this up the years he was alive after the alleged incident?

Jermaine Reed is an author from Chicago. Buy his books here.

Tyler Perry’s “A Fall from Grace” on Netflix is Quite Possibly the Worst Movie Ever

If you’re looking for a movie with poor acting, a horrible plot and an even worse storyline, look no further than Tyler Perry’s A Fall from Grace on Netflix.


The movie stars Jasmine (Bresha Webb), a public defender known for getting plea deals for her client. She takes on the case of Grace, a churchgoing woman in her fifties accused of killing her younger husband.


The worst of the acting takes place at the beginning of this movie when Jordan (Matthew Law) who is Jasmine’s police officer husband , tries to talk a suicidal woman down from jumping out the window. He screams “no” several times, but there is no conviction in his voice. He does not display the proper emotion or tone for someone witnessing what he is at the moment.


Moreover, the most problematic aspect of this movie is that in an attempt to build suspense, the viewer is shorted on information. To fill the viewer in on some details, Grace tells her story to Jasmine, and then flashbacks unfold. This tactic bores the viewer.


In the end, the viewer finds out what actually happened to Grace’s husband and who else is involved. The action in the movie comes in around this time, but it is too little, too late.


I would give this movie two stars out of five. It is a boring waste of time with lazy writing and even lazier acting.

Netflix’s American Son is an American Fail

Netflix’s American Son centers around an educated Black mother and her estranged white FBI agent husband and their son who is in trouble with the law. For the most part of the film, the audience does not much more about the son’s whereabouts other than he was pulled over by the cops with two other Black friends. Written by trial lawyer Christopher Demos-Brown who is a playwright, the film is less a movie than a too-generously funded play.

In trying to attack stereotypes head-on, the story of this film only furthers them. For instance, this film is based on the myth of the single-Black mother raising a troubled son whose father isn’t around for whatever reason. The myth of the single-Black is not busted in this film, only seasoned with a different form of bias and perpetuated.

From the beginning, Kendra, the mother, has a falling out with the sole cop helping to give her information on her son. While some of the dialogue feels real, most of it seems forced. Instead of coming off as a concerned mother aware of a biased policing system that does not value the lives of Black men, she comes off as a person looking for any opportunity to use the race card. Everyone knows the culture of law enforcement inherently denies Black men equal protection, but this film does not approach the issue in a manner consistent with that lack of equal protection.

Moreover, Kendra spends over half the movie arguing with her estranged husband. He comes off as a jerk who may be a little racist. She comes off as too racially aware to have ever dealt with a man such as him. Yet they stayed together for almost 18 years? How? There is a weak attempt made to explain their union when the two discuss the things they like such as hard work. But is the love of hard work enough to bring together an educated Black woman who is aware of racism and a white FBI agent who is racially indifferent, if not outright racist? That would be a stretch.

While arguing with her husband, Kendra goes off when he uses what she calls “white trash” language, bemoaning the fact that she did all she could to keep her son from using “slang.” She basically contends that she whitened their son up so the world could accept him. Their son is rebelling because he wants to be some sort of artist even though he’s basically a genius and his father wants him to be more practical. It is an age-old tale of parental oppression, and it fails here.

The writer is attempting to point out the prejudices in America that makes being Black a hazard. The writer attempts to raise a play to the level of motion picture. The intentions are there, but they lead to a hell of racial biases and failures.

Amber Guyger, Joshua Brown and the Thickening Plot

Days after testifying against murderous white former cop Amber Guyger in her trial for her slaying of innocent Black man Botham Jean in his own home, Joshua Brown was gunned down. So far, no one is in custody for the slaying of the witness who was also Botham Jean’s neighbor. This is how forgiveness ia repaid.

Botham Jean and his family have roots in St. Lucia, a tiny island. In a show of compassion like the people of that island are known for, Botham’s brother hugged Guyger after her conviction, and Botham’s father said days later that he would like to one day be her friend. Though this is part of the healing process for Botham’s family, make no mistake: Amber Guyger is a murderous demon.

White nationalist operatives, likely Dallas, TX, cops who served alongside Guyger, are murdering in her name. They are killing anyone who dares stand up against the oppressive white America.

Also, it’s important to note that another witness, a Black woman, has been fired in retaliation for recording the aftermath of the slaying of Botham.

Black America, you must open your eyes. White nationalists have begun a call to arms.

Amber Guyger Got Away With Murder

Much as I predicted, the Dallas, TX, white former cop Amber Guyger who murdered an innocent, unarmed Black man named Botham Jean in coldblood in his home allegedly thinking she was in her own home has been sentenced to just 10 years in prison. To put this in perspective, the girl who licked the ice cream in the video that eventually went viral is facing 20 years in prison. So, a woman who murdered a man in his home faces less time than an accused ice cream licker. Black lives matter less than ice cream, at least in Texas and maybe throughout the entire United States.

Black Americans have been subjected to every type of discrimination and racism than one could name. At one point, they were sold and valued as property no higher than a chair or ink pen. This is why Black people chant “Black lives matter.” It seems that the system has never valued Black lives but has never been afraid to put its boot on the neck of innocent Black people under the guise of justice.

Amber Guyger, with good time, will serve less than 5 years total. She’ll get out, have her record expunged and likely become a cop elsewhere. No one will hold it against her that she murdered a man in his own home for no reason.

Guyger’s trial was nothing more than a political show meant to calm Black people while protecting the white girl who murdered a Black man for no reason.

Black lives do matter, just not to America.