Cam Newton – Shannon in Kansas City

 

I am not a Panthers fan and I have no ties to the Carolinas but I am cheering on the Carolina Panthers in the Playoffs this year now that the Chiefs have been eliminated.  I have liked Cam Newton for a few years now.  I think he is as cute as he can be and he has a bubbly and energetic personality.  He’s had an impressive 15-1 season.  That is absolutely thrilling.  Good for Cam Newton and the Panthers squad.

Cam Newton has taken a lot of criticism this season.  Football fans seem to think that he is arrogant, cocky and some even refer to him as thuggish.  I really don’t know how they came to these conclusions.  Cam was condemned by a fan earlier this season for an end zone dance that they found offensive.  Last weekend he was chided by the public for crumbling up a team flag and throwing it on the ground.  I took both of these gestures as playful not malicious or lascivious in any way.

I think the real problem here is that Cam is a Black quarterback having a great season and he has the opportunity to win a Super Bowl title with his team.  If his team wins Super Bowl L he will defeat one of the great quarterbacks of our era which will rub a lot of fans the wrong way.

Cam is confident, stylish and has an outgoing personality, a dry wit and a sarcastic sense of humor.  He is comfortable in front of cameras and he seems to be enjoying his fame.  I think that a confident, self assured Black man that speaks his mind rubs a lot of people in America the wrong way.  They want Black men to be as humble as monks no matter how great the accomplishment.  A Black man is always suppose to keep his head bowed and be grateful for whatever opportunity a White man has allowed him to have.

Black men are socialized to not be confident in American culture.  They are taught directly and indirectly that they are stupid, violent and stoic.  America does not accept that Blacks can have a wide range of emotions or personality traits.  America teaches it’s Black men that they are not as good and don’t deserve success, respect or honor.  It’s truly heartbreaking.  Black women are fed similar message but for whatever reason there are many more self assured Black women than men.

Sports is entertainment and I like sportsmen that can put on a show.  I want to see some personality and some pizazz and flash.  I fully support end zone dances regardless of who’s doing it.  That’s what Newton provides the football viewing public, entertainment.  I think he’s doing OK if the worst things someone can say about him is that he danced in an end zone or threw down the opposing teams flag.

My advice to Cam Newton would be to ignore the naysayers but he seems to be doing that anyway.  So my advice to Cam Newton is to keep doing what he’s doing and keep being who he is.  It’s working.  Be confident and be a role model to all the little Black boys and girls across America that are taught by this racist culture that they are mean, angry, stupid, ugly and doomed to a life of poverty and frustration.  I already admire you Cam.  Win Super Bowl L and become my hero #1.

 

What’s Wrong with Being Confident? Demi Lovato

 

#oscarssowhite – Shannon in Kansas City

Gold Trophy ca. 2000

#OscarssoWhite is a trending hash tag that is meant to bring attention to the lack of diversity in the work that the film academy recognizes as excellent.  All of the nominees for acting awards that are nominated are White.  To this I say so what.  Hollywood is not special.  I think that people perceive Hollywood to be liberal and progressive but if you pay attention to the work that they put out and recognize as excellent it is clearly seen that they have a very narrow scope of how they view people of African descent.

The film industry is a vehicle that White people use to affirm themselves.  Hollywood is there to tell White stories.  Even when they tell stories about a person or group of people that are not White they still manage to make a White person the protagonist of the film.  Good examples of this are “Dancing with Wolves” starring Kevin Costner and “The Impossible” starring Naomie Watts.

Most industries that create celebrities i.e. movies, films, music, fashion are White affirming.  They put White people on a pedestal and tell the masses how beautiful, talented and brilliant they are.  This happens even when they mimic Black culture.  Sometimes the object of the admiration and attention deserves it but other times their fame is a product of social media hype and gossip magazine stories.  The only exception is athletics and that’s because it is mostly objective.

I’m sure there are Black actors that deserved to be recognized for their work this year but did not get the proper accolades.  But that is what happens to Black people in the American work force at large.  It’s happened to me more than once.  The American work force affirms White people and I am not White.  Sorry, but I don’t have time to feel bad for Idris Elba or Ice Cube’s son.  They are certainly better off than I am.

Black Americans really need to grow up and stop being so surprised by racism.  This country has never seen us as equal and it may never.  Please stopping begging for acceptance.  I feel that the desire to be validated and accepted by mainstream culture is one of the biggest burdens that Black Americans face.

Art is a subjective thing and there is no way to argue what is worthy of recognition and what is not.  To complain about the Oscars lacking diversity is a petty, first world concern.  People of African descent live with a lower quality of life than their peers in almost every category.  That is true of Blacks that live in industrialized prosperous countries as well.  Let’s set our priorities straight and let pampered actors have their evening to themselves.  My life is not going to be changed in any way if Idris Elba wins an Oscar.

http://www.tmz.com/2016/01/18/jada-pinkett-smith-academy-oscars-video/

9 to 5

This lyrics to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” is some of the realist $#!% ever!  The movie debuted in 1980 but the lyrics are still relevant today. Just listen.

 

9 to 5

Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawnin’, stretchin’, try to come to life

Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin’
Out on the streets, the traffic starts jumpin’
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I would deserve a fair promotion
Want to move ahead but the boss won’t seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

They let your dream, just watch ’em shatter
You’re just a step on the boss man’s ladder
But you got dreams he’ll never take away

In the same boat with a lot of your friends
Waitin’ for the day your ship ‘ll come in
And the tide’s gonna turn an’ it’s all gonna roll you away

Workin’ 9 to 5 what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and you never get the credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you
There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you?
It’s a rich man’s game, no matter what they call it
And you spend your life putting money in his wallet

Workin’ 9 to 5, oh what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use you mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you
There’s a better life and you think about it, don’t you?
It’s a rich man’s game, no matter what they call it
And you spend your life putting money in his wallet

 

 

 

 

The Reason I’m a Sports Fan – Shannon in Kansas City

It’s time for the NFL Playoffs.  My favorite team, the Detroit Lions didn’t make the Playoffs and my second favorite team the Kansas City Chiefs lost in the second round which ended their season.  Watching sports on TV or in person has become one of my favorite past times.

Sporting events are one of only a few examples of wholesome programming on TV.  Almost everything on television these days is a vapid reality show, a show about murder or something that I consider to be demonic.  I enjoy a few of the Real Housewife shows but all of the subsequent casts have saturated the airwaves with manufactured images of selfish, mean and sometimes violent women.

There are dozens upon dozens of TV shows about murder.  “CSI”, “Forensic Files”, “Snapped”, “The First 48” are all compelling series but geez Louise don’t people get tired of stories about people killing other people.  I sure do.  And all of these shows use graphic and explicit images.  I get it.  He got his throat cut.  I don’t need the bloody visual thank you very much.

Almost everything else on TV is somehow demonic and dark sided in nature.  I don’t have much interest in zombies, vampires or people that communicate with the dead.  At least I’m not interested enough to watch a weekly series about these subjects.

So much of American television programming is devoted to the occult, violence and reality TV that glorifies people for behaving in a way that would never be accepted in day to day life.  It’s great to see a celebration of youth, strength, fitness and hard work.  That’s what sports competitions are to me.

In a largely sedentary country with an obesity problem it’s great to see physically fit people using their bodies to reach accomplishments and earn a living.  Seeing athletes on TV inspires me to get off the couch and move around.  And they all look great.  I have to say that some professional athletes are made of stardust.  Stardust is the active ingredient in all of our dreams.

I think that athletes are so glamorous.  They are young, rich and have the world by the tail.  I love it and I wish it was me.  I know that they are only human and they have personal struggles like we all do.  In fact, when you follow the careers of athletes you know that a pro career is full of struggle.  But I don’t know any of these guys personally and I only know what I see on TV and in the stadiums.  And it is absolutely lovely and inspiring.

Professional athletes are great role models for children and all the rest of us.  They are young, prosperous, athletic and in the prime of their lives.  Many of them came from disadvantaged backgrounds and now they appear before crowds of thousands and millions on TV.  The real stars are attractive, articulate and have a lot of personality.  I sure want to be like that.  I’m constantly working on it.

I’m glad for the NFL, NBA and MLB.  There would be very little worthwhile to watch on TV without it.  And they give us young stars to admire that will one day be legends that we remember with fondness and pride.  In a world filled with divisions the camaraderie amongst fans transcends race and economic background.  It is a thrill to watch a man fight for his pride and childhood dreams.  There is nothing else like it.  I love it!

#ChiefsKingdom #OnePride

 

Night Life Dress Code – Shannon in Kansas City

One of my new year resolutions was to practice and improve my Latin dance skills.  There is a dance club in a casino in my area that has a Latin themed night every few weeks.  I decided to go last night.  I was in a festive mood because the Kansas City Chiefs won their first round playoff game.

When I got dressed for the club I decided to show my Kansas City Chiefs spirit and wear my Chiefs jersey, skinny black pants and high heeled black leather boots.  It was feminine, cute and appropriate for that day in history.  You’ll just have to take my word for it there are no pictures.

I showed up to the dance club and the bouncer said that they don’t allow sports jerseys.  I turned and walked away without saying anything even though I was very offended and upset by this.  I have been to this club before.  It is not a high fashion crowd nor is Latin Night at the Voo Doo Lounge at Harrah’s Casino a black tie affair.

I later called the VooDoo Lounge and spoke with a supervisor about their policy.  I asked what they assumed about me because I was wearing a sports jersey.  He said he didn’t assume anything and that many people were turned away that night for wearing sports jerseys.  He apologized and I believe he was sincere.  I’m sure he’s not the person that makes these rules.  But that did not make me feel any better about what happened.

I am African American, youngish (people think I’m a lot younger than what I am.) and I had on a sports jersey.  I felt as if I had been profiled as a gang banger or some type of criminal.  I’ve managed to live a pretty straight laced and somewhat accomplished life so far so this was pretty insulting to me.

I don’t exactly have a problem with night clubs having dress codes.  I wouldn’t mind if they required men to wear suits and ties and women wear dresses or dress slacks and blouses.  The problem that I have with night club dress codes is that they tend to be racist.

Night club dress codes tend to read as follows:

  • No jerseys
  • No plain white tees
  • No scarves or bandanas
  • No gym shoes

I even read about a dance club once having a policy that read:

  • No dreadlocks

All of these things are what some call urban culture and urban is synonymous with Black.  They are pretty much saying that Blacks should stay away unless you conform to the mainstream norm.  In their mind they are saying Blacks can come in as long as you act more White.

I have never heard of a night club with a policy that reads:

  • No tattoos
  • No body piercings
  • No unnaturally colored hair
  • No Doc Martins
  • No motorcycle related wear

I’ve never heard of a policy such as that and I couldn’t even imagine one like it being made or enforced.  No business establishment wants to insult potential White patrons like that.  The same establishments don’t extend the same respect to it’s potential Black clientele.  Night club dress codes are just an indirect way to discriminate against Blacks.

 

Use Your Voice – Shannon in Kansas City

I was a child of the 1980s.  I feel blessed to have grown up in that era.  I am an only child so I may have spent more time in front of a TV than most.  A lot of my fond childhood memories  involve TV shows that were popular at the time.  One of my favorites is “The Cosby Show”.  It is very disappointing and sad to hear about the accusations against Bill Cosby.  It’s always sad when heroes fail.

I don’t know Bill Cosby or his accusers and I have no information on the rape accusations other than what I’ve seen in the media.  I don’t have any strong opinions on Bill Cosby’s guilt or innocence.  I know that if he had been faithful to his wife he wouldn’t be in all this trouble.  In that regard I don’t have much sympathy for him.

I’m also not convinced about the intentions of the women that are accusing him of rape.  If justice under the law was really their goal why didn’t they report their rapes to the police like the women in Oklahoma City who put away police officer Daniel Holtzclaw?  It’s very hard for me to understand why more that fifty women claim to be raped or assaulted by Bill Cosby but not one of them made a complaint that turned into a trial and conviction.  But several decades later they come forward with their stories all around the same time.  That seems like quite the coincidence to me.

They claim they couldn’t talk to the police and some claim they couldn’t confide in a family member or friend.  If they are really that shy, timid and ashamed it is really surprising to see them on TV programs, in magazines and giving press conferences.  To me all of this seems orchestrated by the media and the legal system.  I don’t believe that all of these women coincidentally decided to speak their mind without being prompted by someone.

The Cosby rape allegations have me thinking a lot about rape and sexual assault.  People that rape, molest or take advantage of people in other ways count on their victims to be silent.  They prey on those that are perceived as weak.  They rule through intimidation, manipulation and shame.

I have experienced rape and I know how difficult it is to speak up for yourself.  I know that there is a fear of judgment and there is shame.  But I was the person that was violated.  So I had to speak up for myself.  I knew that no one else could do it for me.

If you have been raped, molested, violated, taken advantage of or been the victim of violence please speak up for yourself.  Your voice is as good as anyone else’s.  If you tell your story of what your abuser has done some of their power will be taken from the abuser.  These people need silence and secrecy to operate.  Don’t give it to them.

I think the pity party that is being given to Bill Cosby’s accusers in the media and on social media is a little sexist.  They are treating these women as if they are children, elderly or have developmental disabilities.  Aside from fame which is only perceived power and money I don’t see how Bill Cosby could have controlled these women.

Adult women need to speak against any type of abuse or mistreatment.  Period.  Sometimes you need to be the person that saves yourself.  The first step is exposing the abuse.  If you don’t want to tell friends and family, make a police report or tell your story to an acquaintance that will listen.  Do not allow yourself to be intimidated, bought or manipulated.

People teach children not to speak to strangers.  If I had them I would teach them the opposite.  Speak to strangers if you need help or are in trouble.  Be assertive.  How else are they going to get assistance if they are lost or being lured away by a stranger?  I think that children need to learn sooner rather than later how to speak on their own behalf and be independent, empowered little people.

So if you need help, are being abused or have been violated please do not remain silent and allow this person to continue to have power over you.  Do not be afraid.  Do no negotiate with them.  Do not continue to interact with them.  You need to help yourself before anyone can help you.