Love and Gunshots

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

 

Boom! Boom!

Blood and lifelessness–

Your brown eyes, weak as they stare into my wholeness.

I warned you!

He was not capable of loving

Always taking never giving.

Sacrificed your wholeness to him

I could only stare in jealousy;

First a broken rib–

then you came knocking at my door with a broken arm.

I waited so bad for you to give me everything you gave him–

if not everything, maybe just the attention.

Months later my dreams became a reality,

you smiled at me,

but, that fateful day

he walked in front of you, and you forgot my existence–

like the truth, you left me behind

then I knew I could never have you.

My ego got the best of me

and pulled you towards me

Boom! Boom!

Your body trembled next to mine

Gun staring deep into my eyes

it was talking to me

Boom!

I warned you!

He was not capable of loving

Always taking never giving

Sacrificed your wholeness to him

And now it’s just love and gunshots

 

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Reading Response To The Lady in Skirt.

by Tilisa Mlondani

The Lady in Skirt is a piece written to appeal to the intellect of the public about women while employing a visual representation of a woman. Largely in some parts of the world, women who wear short skirts are perceived as “easy to get,” called names, and most often than heard are sexually assaulted. It is appalling to know that in some places around the world today, women are not allowed to get any form of formal education, referring to them as the workforce of the society. They are expected to be housewives and treated like slaves. Women are restricted from even showing their faces, and on top called out to be “too aggressive,” when they work and match up talents and skills boot for boot in the work industries, just for working hard, sometimes harder than the average man. Here! To those “men” who call themselves men but mistreat and abuse women, it is a shame. It is a shame to be so ignorant and disrespectful. If you do not value what you came out of, you have no right to disrespect it.

 

 

Does “Life” Matter? Police Brutality and Hate Crime-who is at fault?

by Yesulagbe Dzidzornu

“Police brutality!” “Racism!” “Black Lives Matter!” These are the chants you almost always hear on the daily news. Police brutality has become so much of a canker that society is beginning to lose interest and hope in the resolution of the subject matter. After the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, there has been an uproar of concern about the effects of racism in law enforcement in the United States of America. The Trayvon Martin case led to the creation of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which has been keen on standing up for justice and speaking out against “police brutality,”  “police killings of blacks,” and the general racial inequality that exists in the United States’ criminal justice system. Their interests as an international activist movement are expressed through public demonstrations and protests against the unfair criminal justice system. The “police brutality” has led to a myriad of narratives about the police in the United States, especially, and their response to people of other races in the delivery of their duties, creating widespread stereotypes that all police, specifically ‘white cops,’ are racist.

Racism of many forms has nourished other existing stereotypes and has falsely tainted the brand of the police in their line of duty. In the Black Lives Matter movement’s protests, there have been issues raised regarding how corrupt police officials had become in cases where blacks were fatally shot, when the police  did all in their power to prove the non-existent guilt of these innocent African-Americans killed for apparently no reason and has further emphasized the corrupt nature of the entire police service in the United States. There have been other singular cases of corruption that, while not related to racism, have also cultivated the idea that the police in the United States is corrupt. For example, in November 2018, a Philadelphia police officer pleaded guilty to selling drugs with corrupt members of a Baltimore police task force. It is one of the worse U.S police scandals in recent decades, leading to the conviction of the police officers involved. Occurrences like these have marked the police with stereotypes of racism and corruption over the years, and it is tough for most Americans to believe the police are clean. However, as true these occurrences maybe, they should not be used to generalize about the nature of police officers across the country. These stereotypes of racism and corruption cannot be absolute and must not be held against the entire criminal justice system. Even though fingers point to law enforcement as the bad nut in the upsurge for justice, this coin needs to be viewed from both sides, one side as a result of institutional racism, the formation of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

“This ‘hate crimes’ perpetrated by some cops against African Americans in the United States historically originated from a segregation and discrimination point of view, which continues to shape the modern society” (Alexander 2010).  Contrarily, from a similar perspective, “racism is an ideology, or belief system, designed to justify and rationalize racial and ethnic inequality” (Marger 2012).  Some may argue that law enforcement officers (of the minority race) have not held enough positions of power to help protect themselves, let alone the communities. Mainstream America is only now getting more aware of the mistreats due to the prevalence of cellphone cameras, social media and other recording devices which have finally allowed them to see what has been told  of the misconducts for years now which “makes you wonder whether the police are representatives of community values and morals” (Sunshine and Tyler 2003a). The impunity with which police officers often carry out violence on African Americans has an element of racism, acts such as “the Cell phone video which captured an unidentified officer repeatedly hitting Dashawn McGrier Saturday by a Baltimore police officer who resigned after disturbing video surfaced of him beating a man on the street” (Phillips 2018) which is a result of structural inadequacies perpetuated by the long history of segregation, mass incarceration, and black unemployment. The African American community has been smeared with resentment for who they are by white locals and citizens, “…and as a result, measures are put in place to impede their natural flow of life… [of these minorities]” (Taylor 2016). “Research finds it that… [the community’s expectations of the] police…[is]…less about ‘fear’ and the threat of crime, and more about moral order and social stability” (Girling et al. 2000).

            Debunking the popular notion that all cops are brutal in the line of doing their jobs, we can draw a cue from Theodore Roosevelt, a former president of the United States and a former Police Commissioner in New York. He famously said, “it is not the critic that counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…” (Roosevelt). In other words, a police officer must go into the field, of course, there will be critics, but they know it’s for a commendable cause. The future of law enforcement is in good hands if positive measures such as public scrutiny of law enforcement are put in place to eradicate the dirty mindset people have about the police, as well as taking out the bad nuts from the police force.

Yes! There are racism and a criminal system that exists among some law enforcement officials, but it is simply a concept of “one nut spoiling the whole soup,” which means the whole police force has been tainted with the crime of the negative few, particularly among the black community (Popular African saying). We need to bear in mind that there are cruel blacks as well as whites capitalizing on the negative notion of a bad justice system to keep doing wrong. We are all at fault for our current social hurdles on the way or the other, and we are all responsible for its reformation as well. Before the outcry of  fair justice and law enforcement, people believed that being quiet and trying hard not to get in trouble with the cops is going to solve the problems we have been facing, but I think, as we have already begun doing, raise awareness of equality of the law, diversity in law enforcement and the need for coherent living amongst ourselves we will finally eradicate the notion that all cops, especially white cops are racist and brutal and in the long run stop the rise of injustice.

Work cited

Alexander, M. (2010). The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: The New.

Girling, E., Loader, I. and Sparks, R. (2000), Crime and Social Control in Middle England: Ques tions of order in an English Town. London: Routledge

Margcr, M. (2012). Race and ethnic relations: American and global perspectives (9th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth

“MIL-OSI Security: CC Sara Thornton Blog: The future of policing is in good hands.” ForeignAffairs.co.nz, 16 Feb. 2019. Gale OneFile: News, https://link-gale-com.libaccess.hccs.edu/apps/doc/A574189712/STND?u=txshracd2512&sid=STND&xid=4d36b5f6. Accessed 29 Oct. 2019.

Phillips, Kristine. “Baltimore Police Officer Resigns after Viral Video of Him Pummeling a Man Who Was Not Fighting Back.” The Washington Post, 2018. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgao&AN=edsgcl.550008377&site=eds-live.

Sunshine, J. and Tyler, T. (2003a), ‘Moral Solidarity, Identification with and the Importance of Procedural Justice: The Police as Prototypical Representatives Group’s Moral Values’, Social Psychology Quarterly, 66: 153-65.

Taylor, K. (2016), From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, Chicago: Haymarket Books

Who Shot Johnny?-A Reading Response

Author: Debra Dickerson

Who Shot Johnny is another interesting article on stereotypes on black lives by Debra Dickerson, which I think regarding the article, it is unfair to tag all young black men like Johnny as “thugs.” Even though the article elaborates on the typical life of a young black American and the struggles they go through to survive in the “hoods,” it also tells of the effort others are making to make the already deteriorating life a bearable one for its victims. It looks to me that she has resentment against those who tag all young black men as threats even though they look harmless, as in the case of Johnny.

Dickerson goes on to elaborate on the painful thoughts Johnny has after the tragic incidence and the pain his family and friends mask under their smiles to make him enlightened and stay positive about life. This essay did not exactly surprise nor intrigue me because of my countless exposure to such stories of unfortunate killings on the news and through word of mouth.

I have not encountered such cruelty but have read it in many articles, which have incited many arguments in the past, such as the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, which led to a myriad of debates and the consequences, an upsurge for justice and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Even though this is not a case of racism against any race (particularly the black race), it points out the kind of lifestyle that one is prone to if fallen prey to the “black stereotype.”

You should take out some time to read this article for yourself.

by: Yesulagbe Dzidzornu

The busy trap-A Reading Response

Author: Tim Kreider

      I did indeed find this article fascinating and mind-boggling; this brought me to the light of self-awareness and a moment of thoughtfulness about just how I’m living. My incessant complaints of not having enough time at my disposal, the use of the “too busy” phrase “to feel important, sought after, and put-upon” as Tim Kreider rightly puts it. The hurdles of being obliged to solve problems, complete tasks, and so on deprive the brain of rest and productivity.

      Reading this essay took me aback on some subconscious believes I carry myself through all along on how things are running my life instead of me running my life. Kreider points out that those who usually complain to be the busiest and have the least time for extracurricular activities like hanging out with friends or even taking the kids to their favorite events usually have all those obligations elf imposed to feel responsible, all from societal pressures.

There have been so many incidences in my life where I have declined offers to join in a group agenda just because I feel its not a priority, and I’m “busy” doing other things. I am not an outgoing kind of person, and I do not derive any jolt of energy from the idea of socializing with others if it not on my priority list. Also, as Tim Kreider puts it, I feel very important always to give the “busy excuse,” which sometimes someway or the other have me miss important opportunities.

Check the full article out.

by Yesulagbe Dzidzornu

If

By Tilisa Mlondani

If I had Bill Gates money

I’d buy myself a planet and name it bills

cuz the gates will be closed

and bills will be the only thing left

after I spend all the money on my new planet.

If Jay Z was my husband

I would permit him to cheat

Because I am a supportive wife

And like the good woman I am,

I will still love him

even after killing him.

If I was President Trump

I’d probably want to kill myself

my wife hates me,

citizens hate me,

and I can’t make America great again.

If I were a white woman

I could buy a planet without being suspected of robbery

Kill Jay Z and play the victim.

and help build the wall because I feel threatened

If I were R-Kelly

I’d be rich

And have more experience than

Elizabeth Taylor has ever had

with her eight husbands

If I was Medea

I would cut Jason’s limbs

one by one

make him beg me to stop

Because that’s what dogs do

if I was Barack Obama

I’d cheat on Michelle

I want to hear what

her next motivational speech

will be about

If I were America, I’d want to

be put back on the ship

I have different colors

and different personality

various tribes and traditions

and none seem to get along.

If I were Promo

There would be no promotions

I’d be unemployed

Because I have no profession

Lean on me

This write-up is not meant to stigmatize, perhaps point fingers at any group of persons or race but to bring to light a bit of the shadow we’ve been shunning. You have probably read messages and heard talks on this subject matter, but as said locally, “so many fish in a bowl of soup doesn’t make it wrong.” There are many things ongoing in the lives of the “so-called minority in society,” which are subconsciously mutating the young minds for the worst. Everyone seems to perceive that as the way to go — demeaning the other. We live in a society where we believe in peace and unity but always have discriminatory relations with the minority in society, physically challenged, the people of color and less privileged in the society. Well, the word “racist” has become a common word in the land today and is gradually becoming a way of demeaning one’s status(those who racially discriminate).

There is a fundamental concept in physics that doubles as an African proverb that says, “when you throw a ball to the wall, it surely bounces back to you,” this tries to make a point that the mitigation of the minority in the society and the black community shows how much discord we have amongst ourselves. We preach love, but all we do is to capitalize on that to feed us with hate and depravity. You will see blacks mocking blacks on the Internet for no apparent reason, depriving our fellow blacks of great opportunities just because we don’t trust the African minds enough. We kill ourselves and drive ourselves into rage and hate! Poor us! These acts subconsciously feed the mind of our upcoming generations with self-worthlessness, the pursuit to change their nature to fit the apparent standards of society, and so on. What we should be doing is to be constantly resounding the achievement of the “presumed less important” in the society as well as that of our great black heroes in the ears of the upcoming, at least this will decrease the margin of self-hate and inferiority on our community. Don t get it twisted, there are so many blacks who have broken the barriers by which we limit ourselves.

There is another Ghanaian adage that translates as “if you will be stung by an insect, it is definitely from the clothes you are wearing,” this helps me to make a point that, whether you are lagging or matching forward, it’s up to how much we carry on ourselves. Is it one that will make us keep looking back, or one who will spring us into altitudes? Learning from others to be like them is one of the best ways to improve on yourself, but don’t get it twisted. I think, trying to be like everyone who has made it will substantially veer us from our destination. What’s the gain when we all yield the same results or bear the same fruits. We should be diverse in thoughts, deed, and processes and even in our achievements to be valued for what we also have if the results appear to be the same. Let us stay true to who we are and be proud of who we are becoming.

Once again, this write-up is not meant to insight any group negatively. If we(black, white, brown, and any race) place genuine value on ourselves, that would bring enough respect, reduce over-dependence, and enforce communion amongst us.

…I just might have a problem you’ll understanding, we all need somebody to lean on…

All So Soon

Gone are the days Christians hasten to the gathering of the saints, heeding to the big old church bell, neatly and religiously dressed. This day of designated worship regardless of the day was once upon a time given so much reverence. We arrive early to put the place of the Lord in order before the set time to worship.

Gone are the days we write down each scripture and scriptural lessons as though they were secret passcodes. We have lost the physical and spiritual benefits of meditation and meditating on the word of God. We are even too shy to pray in private let alone hold the Bible in public. The technology making life easy and fun have made us so doom bound, so enticing and makes you feel so left out and even worthless when not followed and acquired.

Lord help us come to the realization of the path we are taking. The insanity of this world and the schemes of the evil one has almost totally blinded us. The spirit of the Lord is now referred to in order to appraise oneself. Men of God or “so-called” men of God tag themselves with so much eminence forgetting who they assume to be sent by; All for selfish gains. Sermons are now preached in a way to suit the audience’s ears. The songs we sing to praise and worship the Lord God has become a swift means to enrich oneself.

I’m a big fan of music. In fact, my life is music but I’m most times drawn so much to “punch -lines”, breathtaking rhymes and rhythms then neglecting the content or words of the song which the actual food to the soul. We got to remember that good lyrics that edify our spirits and praise the name of the Lord definitely does a great service to the soul and our salvation, which brings me to resound the warning on the kind of songs we listen to. Watch it!

One may ask, “ how do I know if a song is spirit-filled?” All I got to say to this is, deep calls onto deep. The spirit knows it’s kind. Having the spirit of God in you will constantly prompt you on what’s right and wrong. We need to buckle up and be on guard. We are too busy on life and almost sliding off the goal and path to eternal life.

Let’s rise up! Go back to our first love with Christ, tell of His wonders to the world and be in constant fellowship with Him.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and ALL these things shall be added unto you.-Matthew 6:33