Being a Problem

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“How does it feel to be a problem?”

This is a question asked in W.E.B. Dubois’ treatise The Souls of Black Folk. The question doesn’t ask how does it feel to have problems or have the kinds of problems that some people can’t or won’t understand. The question directly asks how does it feel like to actually be a problem. This question is also the title of a book by Moustafa Bayoumi who gives an indepth look as to what it’s like to live in a time where being a young Arab or Muslim American is often judged as being the enemy. A threat. A terrorist.

Being a member of the “other”, especially if you’re black, you are not granted the privilege of being individuals, especially if a crime occurs. When a black person is so much as suspected of any crime, the whole race is suspect. If a black person was the suspect and there are white victims, the whole race is looked upon with disdain and mistrust, seen as the potential enemy of white folks who will seek another innocent white person to get back at them for slavery. It seems like it’s always slavery that’s the underlying reason white people believe is the reason for any black-on-white crime. But I digress.

I remember a few years ago back in 2008. A UNC Student named Eve Carson who had a potentially bright future ahead of her was robbed and murdered by two young black males. It was a major news story. A white woman was killed by not one, but two black men. I also remembered two words in one article I read. Racial tension. I hear and see those words often whenever there’s a story about an interracial crime. Usually when it’s black-on-white, that’s when a feeling of dread hits me, because I fear of repercussions for that area against the black community. When a black person commits a crime against white people, black people, not just those responsible, must be held accountable.

Most people still can’t, or won’t, grasp the racism that reeks whenever black people are seen as a collective problem that must always pay whenever a few of their own fuck up. A lot of people avoid being called the r-word by excusing it with statistics, so-called “facts” that they’ve found most likely at a racist conservative website that exaggerates numbers to prove their point.

On the other hand, white people are granted the privilege of individuality no matter how often or how heinous a crime is. Whether it’s a school shooting, a bombing, serial rape or even mass shootings, white people are given the third degree and had their culture questioned, nor are they given stern lectures to “do better” by those who unofficially appoint themselves as guidance counselors for the whole race.

It has been a few days since the Biker shootout in Waco Texas that claimed nine lives, injured over a dozen more and led to the arrest of over a hundred bikers. The media treated the bloodbath with kid gloves, turning it into a singular incident where it was an isolated tragedy and not part of a string of white-on-white crime where more than a few lives are usually taken.

However, the same media treated the protests in Baltimore and Ferguson as if it was a warzone. Pretests themselves became riots. Protestors became looters. Animals. Thugs. The peaceful anger and uprising vanished within the news media’s sensationalism and racism and became an outbreak of black pathology unfolding before America’s eyes.

No matter what, black people are constantly seen as the problem in America. It’s safe to say that no matter what we do, our faults end up overshadowing our accomplishments as well as overall humanity and individuality though the eyes of the white racist mindframe that continuously sees itself as innocent and normal while it sees blackness as criminal, pathologic and something to be feared and taken care of mostly by imprisonment or brute force.

Thugs, Terrorists and White

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A McLennan County deputy stands guard near a group of bikers in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told KWTX-TV there were

White-on-white violence is out of control!

Several rival groups of bikers got into it last weekend that resulted in the loss of nine lives and about 200 arrests outside a Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, Texas. Most, if not all, of the bikers involved are white. Which means white privilege will be all over this tragic event.

Here’s what will and will not happen: This will be counted as an isolated incident. This will not spark up conversations about violence in the white community. This will not call upon a witch hunt searching for the most ridiculous causes to such violence, nor will it transform into a ‘pathology’ by the media and their pundits. This will not force local and state governments to declare a curfew in that area. And this will likely be forgotten by the majority of society until another horrific incident occurs.

When black-on-black crime, black-on-white crime or simply black crime occurs, there’s fault-finding by media commentaries that will blame everything from rap music to absent fathers. There will be a call for and from black leaders to step in and do something about the problem. The entire black community will be collectively judged as dysfunctional and crime ridden with a hidden, silent urge to hold them accountable for that one or a few incidents. Those responsible for the crimes will be considered ‘thugs’ or ‘animals’, and those are the nicer words. There will be curfews and more police patrolling the streets and before you know it, we will have another casualty in the form of an innocent black person.

Why don’t we treat this incident in Waco the same way society treats blacks and crime? Why don’t we call those involved ‘thugs, animals’ and ‘terrorists’. Why don’t we take white crime seriously, and not turn it into an inspiration for a movie to be viewed and entertained?

As long as white privilege still exists, the biker incident in Waco will be treated with kid gloves just as society treats other moments where white people ran wild. More and more white people will be harmed or killed at the hands of other white people. Something must be done to stop this epidemic.

White-on-white crime is out of control!

Response To Viewer

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Remember a commenter who goes by the screen name ‘viewer’? I banned him along with his cohorts ‘FourSquare’ and ‘Apollo’. Apparently, he either forgot about his permanent banishment from my den, or he’s the type that doesn’t care. Either way, he’s back to commenting and he left this gem for me to respond to:

Are you going to let me, or others, respond? If not, then you’re worse than what you’re accusing us of. Or are you just going to throw out your accusation without allowing me and others to defend ourselves? I know whom you’re accusing of being a racist troll and if you don’t allow a response, then your rant was nothing more than pointless bombast. And cowardly to boot.

The reason I ask is because as soon as someone disagrees with you, you ban them. I’ve followed your blog with some interest, precisely BECAUSE for some reason you seem to attract intelligent, usually polite (not SnowMan) disagreement. People that you then ban.

I await your response. If you allow a response, I’ll keep it calm, and polite and I’ll respond to what you said above. I suspect others will as well. If YOU listen to THEM, which is something you’re REALLY not good at, you’ll see that it is YOU who are not listening, but who are merely spouting off.

BW, you’re very good with written words. You’re really BAD at LISTENING, and at understanding OTHERS’ words. Bottom line: You CAN’T just write an “open letter” as you did above, and not let the targets respond. That’s a coward’s game.
Again, I await your response.

I know what you’re thinking. Don’t give him the time of day. Don’t give him a platform. But before I permanently ban him again, I’ll humor him and respond to his rant as best as I possibly can.

Viewer, the reason why I don’t let you respond is because you’re not here for a conversation and everyone, including myself, can see right through it. You, and your friends were here trying to tell me how wrong I am when it comes to something you know little about like race and racism and try to dismantle my blog. And you’re here to try to get me to side with your conservative way of thinking which I don’t agree with and I don’t have to agree with if I don’t want to. Yet, your kind seems to can’t deal with it. Why else are you constantly coming back here with the same mumbo jumbo?

My blog is about being against racism. It also touches on other subjects like sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and other subjects that’s troubling this nation, because, to put it bluntly, I’m against treating people wrong for stupid reasons. I see a lot of it from the right and left, most of the time the right. And I can’t see myself siding with them just like I can’t side completely with modern day liberalism.

I write mostly about racism, because I know it’s out there. I was a victim of racism. I’m sure a lot of my readers are victims of racism. I’m sure a lot of them are victims of other isms as well. I started this blog to express my thoughts and opinions on those ism and phobias. I opened my blog up to others who would like to express their thoughts and opinions on what’s going on in the world. But most of all, this blog is for people to get away to away from the mainstream that, for the most part, doesn’t care about the issues that are considered important.

Viewer, the subject of racism is not about the exchange of ideas when the idea is that it doesn’t exist or that it’s not a major problem in your eyes. It’s not about listening to the “other side” when that side has a problem with people like me and likely shows it one way or another that results in further harm in some form. That is why I banned you, because it seems your type of thinking runs along those lines. When it comes to racism, there is no debate as to whether it’s a serious problem or not. There is no argument. Doing so is a means of trolling and ultimately defending its existence. 

You see, I listen to you loud and clear. Your problem is that you don’t want to listen to me or any of the commenters here who simply don’t want to deal with your or anyone else’s arguments. In the end, you’re defending racism. Therefore, you like your friends are part of the problem.

I hope that’s an adequate response. If not, and something tells me that it will not satisfy you, I really don’t care. If I give in to you any further, I would only help in wasting more and more time with someone looking for a debate like someone looking for a fight. That in itself is pointless.

By the way, I can write an open letter anytime I want to.

R.I.P. B.B. King

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NEW YORK - APRIL 18:  Blues Legend B.B. King performs his 10,000th concert at B.B. KIng Blues Club & Grill in Times Square on April 18, 2006 in New York City. King is a nine time solo Grammy Award winning musician who started his career in 1947.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

From the New York Times:

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His death was reported on his website, which said he died in his sleep. Mr. King, who was in hospice care, had been performing until October 2014, when he canceled a tour, citing dehydration and exhaustion stemming from diabetes.

Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.

“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” Mr. King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.

Click here to read the rest of this article. 

Just Listen: A Message For Racist Trolls

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I know what your stances on racism are primarily about. There are some of you who continue not to believe that racism is a significant problem in today’s society. There are those of you who claim that any accusations or claims of racism is ‘leftist’ and therefore, untruthful and to be scorned. And then, there are those of you who believe that black racism is alive and it’s just as harmful as white racism. Yeah, I heard all of these and more, and I want to laugh, but I can’t, because it’s gotten quite dull and pathetic.

I wish there are things that I can say that will open your minds, but I’m not that brilliant in my choice of words. Instead, I’ve allowed your words to cause painful feelings of anger and frustration, your words in the guise of having an “open conversation” where you represent the “other side”. Your side usually defends racism in some way, shape or form masked as an intelligent disagreement or rebuttal to any and all claims and facts that racism is still around and is still hurting millions of people of color in this country alone.

By stating in your words, as many or as few as possible, that racism is not a major factor in today’s world is to allow racism to go unchecked. Whether you want to face it or not, that is part of the problem! It’s like having a disease and pretending that you’re still 100% fine. You’re helping a cancer destroy a country that many of you claim that you love. You don’t want to see this disease. You want to pretend that it’s not there or even have faith that it will go away on its own. But as you continue to convince yourselves and others that lie, that disease is tearing apart the nation that you wave flags for. So, how can you sit there and defend something that is killing many people, including children?

There are mounds upon mounds of proof that racism is structural and institutional. Why do you refuse to take them seriously and instead believe in the falsehood that it’s all hype? I can only guess that since you haven’t really experienced what it’s truly like, you think it’s never there in the first place. You never knew what it’s like to live as a person of color in this nation. And this is not an attempt to play on your sympathies, but this is merely stating a common sense fact that you can never truly know anyone unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Yet, some of you claim to know me and my people better than we know ourselves. Not only is that insulting but also arrogant and ignorant. It’s another attempt to avoid another person’s truth, a truth you refuse to consider as another dimension to a life that you know little about and refuse to know. I’ve seen it happen many times and it pisses me off.

Many of you will not wonder what’s going on with that person or why is he/she in the state of mind that he/she is in, because that’s not in your nature. Many of you don’t care to know what’s wrong with that person like a descent human being should. Hell, you wouldn’t dream of taking an effort to find out how to fix their problems. No. You, instead, would look down and put down that person in all your fury, because you’re too full of yourselves with egotism and rage to care. And a select group of you use that to persuade yourselves that your skin color somehow signifies near God-like superiority.

I know the conservative and liberal lot of you will come in full force to cast me down into the fires of hell for speaking my mind. Like I said, I’m not that brilliant of a writer. But try to convince me that you’re not soulless, mindless douchebags with one track minds, and maybe I’ll listen. Maybe.

Maybe you should start listening to what people of color are trying to tell you instead of crying about hurt feelings when you’re participating in the damage. Maybe you should not make assumptions and just hear the words of people whose experiences you are unfamiliar with. Maybe you should act more like a civilized person and just listen.

R.I.P. Ben E. King

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From BBC News

R&B and soul singer Ben E King, best known for the classic song Stand By Me, has died at the age of 76.

King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me.

After going solo, he hit the US top five with Stand By Me in 1961.

It returned to the charts in the 1980s, including a three-week spell at number one in the UK following its use in the film of the same name and a TV advert.

King’s other hits included Spanish Harlem, Amor, Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) and Supernatural Thing – Part I.

The singer died on Thursday, his publicist Phil Brown told BBC News.

Click here to read the rest of this article. 

Vern’s Venting: Dear Yaphet and Michelle

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By Lavern Merriweather:

In the past several weeks, two celebrities of color have expressed their disgust with changing the race of famous, beloved fictional characters such as James Bond and Green Lantern. Michelle Rodriguez, one of the stars of the long running “Fast and Furious” franchise, and a Latina, was not too pleased that there was talk of making either Green Lantern black or a rebooted Spider-Man. Michelle even went as far to say that POCs need to stop stealing superhero characters from white people. She furthered clarified her myopic point by saying that it was ‘lazy’ to rip-off already established characters.

Talk show host Larry Wilmore called her on it by reminding her that this is the SEVENTH time she and the rest of the cast have done a “Fast and Furious” movie, a series that myself and many others have said is just a rip-off of the Keanu Reeves surfing movie “Point Break”. So she really is not one to talk about lazy when Hollyweird has become full of nothing BUT lazy ass pathetic fools rehashing old plotlines that we could certainly do without. Cough* Ghostbusters* cough. If Michelle is so freaking concerned with fresh storylines, then she should stop doing that silly ass racing movie shit that has gotten beyond tiresome.

Adding fuel to this fire was the only black Bond villain ever Yaphet Kotto who starred in 1973’s “Live and Let Die” opposite Roger Moore. Mr. Kotto stated that because Ian Fleming was Irish and that Bond is supposed to be British, then a black man would be an inappropriate choice. His words come on the heels of several rumors that have been swirling that the producer of the last Bond film “Skyfall” is considering picking yummy chocolate thunder Idiris Elba to portray Bond once Daniel Craig calls it quits. I’m quite sure that a number of white people are cheering wildly that some washed up and very ignorant Negro is making their case for them. They love that shit.

kotto1bI however don’t agree at all with either Michelle or Yaphet. Not because I’m in that big of a hurry to see Peter Parker re-imagined as African-American, I’m actually not. My problem with their words is that Hollywhite has been running out of new ideas for a while. So Michelle’s words ring especially hollow.

But I feel there is something more amiss here. When you are a non-white person growing up in a predominantly white society, particularly one that continuously tells you how worthless you are, it’s very hard to see yourself as a hero or as a love interest, beautiful, smart, charming, capable, etc. Those attributes are solely the property of those that rule.

If that sounds like the mindset of a bully, then so be it. Lord knows black people are not immune to the racial bullying of America by a damn sight. That is why I am extremely disappointed that two people of color are rejecting the notion that they could be playing someone besides the sidekick/best friend/bad guy/token. Let’s cut the crap here, the white powers that be in Hollywhatever are not known for going out of their way to boost the ego of Negroes, other people of color, women, the disabled or anyone who is not a white, Protestant, able bodied straight male. So the idea that a man who happens to be black can actually take on the role of the lead a.k.a. hero, well that must have some folks shitting themselves.

It would most definitely explain the reluctance of some people that frankly should be on board with the hero being a person or man of color. Not that I say this because I find it all that important. Like I stated before, it doesn’t make a difference to me one way or the other. But damn, what the fuck harm could it honestly do? Is the world going to spin out of its axis because there is not a white male playing James Bond? I don’t think so. This is about fear, we have become so conned by the lies and falsehoods that we are starting to believe it ourselves.

It ain’t a coincidence that 99% of horror films since the groundbreaking “Night of the Living Dead” with the exceptional Duane Jones DO NOT have black men in the lead saving the day. Hell, we’d be lucky if they make it past the first 10 minutes.

There was that whole thing with the Bruce Willis smash that also has spawned countless sequels “Die Hard” that featured three different black males that were not in any way a stereotype. My man Reginald VelJohnson who later went on to success on TV as the dad of the Winslow clan on ABCs’ “Family Matters” even got to take down the final bad guy in a great ass kicking scene. However, he and the other black men in the film were still just side players. They weren’t the star. Something I feel is far too daunting a prospect even for us black folk, which is why I believe that Mr. Kotto is so against the idea of a black man beating the shit out of the evildoers while charming the ladies.

When ABCs’ hit show “NYPD Blue” was still on air, black actor James McDaniel who starred as the precinct captain was once asked by talk show host Arsenio Hall why he never did a nude scene. The show, after all, never shied away from showing a number of naked rear ends, including the very pasty and saggy one of Dennis Franz. Mr. Daniel said, and I’m using his words, that perhaps the producers were too afraid of “the dark side of the moon”. This right here is the whole enchilada reason point blank. It scares the hell out of everybody that black people might actually viewed as something besides a lowly criminal thug hoodlum or the help that is a caring shoulder for a white person (usually a woman) to cry on.

White people have zero qualms hiring Negroes when they need a drug dealer, gangbanger or prostitute. Yet when it comes to a positive role model that gets all the glory, they will be damned if one of us gets the chance. We sure as shit don’t see black heroes on the nightly news, internet or cable news outlets. The majority of stories about our current black president Barack Obama have been snide, petty and negative from both sides. Trust when I say that so-called liberal folks didn’t want a Negro stinking up the White House any more than their more bold colleagues on the opposite side. They can’t elevate us to a higher standard in their mentality and obviously, neither can we.

I vividly recall a conversation I overheard at the Laundromat between a patron and the manager. She stated that as the company supervisor she had white males, white females, black males and black females working under her and that NONE of them respect a black woman in charge. We also apparently refuse to see ourselves as anything other than a modern day Stephin Fetchit or Beulah. I don’t remember Yaphet or Michelle getting bent out of shape when Angelina Jolie bronzed her skin to play a real actual woman Marianne Pearl. Or when asshole Billy Crystal kept donning blackface to play Grace Jones, Prince, Sammi Davis Jr. and Tina Turner respectively.

But suggest that a black person can star as a supposedly ‘white’ person and all hell breaks loose. James Bond is fictional. That means anybody of any race can play him just like a WOMAN can play Peter Pan. Oh hell no, I didn’t forget that the wrong gender played Peter Pan on stage for decades without a peep from white folks or Negroes. But as we have seen many times in America previously, if it ain’t white then it damn sure ain’t right.

How To Cover Black Protests in the Mainstream Media in Ten Easy Steps

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The first thing you need to do is find out what the protests are about. If it’s about a black man murdered by a white cop, try to subtly thuggify the victim. Dig up civil and criminal records if available. Find and display pictures that will make the public less sympathetic such as pictures of him in street wear holding what most people will interpret as gang signs when they actually aren’t. Then, try to scare the public a little by implying that a riot is imminent.

Second, wait until any protests begin while hinting that a riot will come.

Third, cover the protests objectively at first, also while hinting that a riot will come.

Fourth, there will likely be some rioting going on, mostly by outsiders. If so, focus your coverage on the violence most of the time. The public will interpret it as a massive riot if more coverage is given. While doing so, refer to the rioters as looters and thugs and make them the focus of your news coverage. That way, the public will assume the color of those people and will conclude those people are black so that negative stereotypes will arise.

Fifth, have on-the-ground reporters cover most of the violence as opposed to the actual peaceful movements that greatly outweigh the violence. Have them interview certain people, mostly leaders of the protests, and ask them the wrong questions to make them seem a little insane depending on their responses.

Sixth, never report on the why’s. The origins are not important in sensationalizing a protest for ratings gold. Also, never report on why certain protesters have become violent, especially if the cause is racism.

Seven, and this is especially useful if you’re from a conservative media base, report any instances of black-on-white violence. If there are none, make them up. Use pictures if necessary. Cover those incidences, real or made-up, intensely as if it is a widespread epidemic. Have a ‘race war’ slant added to it.

Eight, report on any government actions such as sanctions and curfews to make it seem like the violence is out of control and that things will be in order even though more oppression will be implemented on the people.

Nine, never do the same if white people riot over a ballgame. Cast them in a more positive light. Never refer to them as ‘thugs’ or ‘animals’. And above all else, make sure the story gets very little coverage. Make it seem that it doesn’t happen quite often and that it’s not as dangerous as when black people riot.

Ten, never, ever report on any positive moments during the protests. If need be, make it is one giant clusterfuck of nonsense and chaos that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Try to make black people seem like the bad guys when coverage the protests, and you will have the perfect mainstream news coverage that will further destroy race relations in America!

A Right To Speak

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I’m not the best at debate. In fact, I’m not good at debating at all. I don’t use a lot of college-level words in my articles. I base my entries on events that are going on and use my own judgment based on a little research that doesn’t take a lot to do. To be honest, I don’t have the time to do extensive research like I want to, nor do I have a scholarly mind. And lets be real, there are more important places for such writings to be than on a simple blog such as mine.

So, where am I going with this? Well, this is in response to certain commenters who, in literally so many words, have taken the time to express how wrong I am whenever an issue dealing that reflects who I am as a black person takes center stage and I write about it. I express my thoughts and emotions, but there are those who will not approve and will find something wrong with that. And I strongly believe that it’s because I’m a person of color who dares to talk about racism.

I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, but it gets on my nerves when the reasons why are mundane and weightless. And when I explain myself, it’s like talking to a broken record that repeats the same responses over and over. It’s like being told that my thoughts are worthless compared to the other person’s and that is the core of these isms and phobias against certain people that we have to deal with all the time.

I’ve dealt with people, some claiming to be people of color, who told me that my focus is on a subject they felt was not important enough to mention. I was told that racism wasn’t a big deal in this country, at least today. I was told that black-on-black crime was the real issue. I was told that black people were “out of control”. I was told this and that from those who seemed to can’t stand the subject of racism enough to want to virtually troll around and even derail topics.

Being told how wrong you are when you are a person of color discussing racism helps to kill the topic for seemingly personal and immoral reasons. Racism is a realistic subject that is just as important today as it was 40 years ago. When you have unarmed black people getting killed left and right by (mostly) white police, for instance, racism becomes a possibility when it’s happening by the hundreds each year. I’ve yet to hear about unarmed white citizens murdered by black cops at the exact same frequency. Until that happens, it’s quite understandable, like it or not, that racism is a factor.

The subject of racism is so heavy and complex that it tires a soul out, a soul who’s aware that it exists. But it’s even more exhausting trying to convince naysayers that it’s still going on, and they don’t believe you no matter how hard to try to prove it. The truth is you can’t ‘prove’ racism to them, because they are stuck in denial. It’s as if they are willingly blind and ignorant to the obvious. Nothing can make them consider otherwise.

However, the other truth is that there is no argument when it’s open and plain for anyone to see. There is no “other side” to consider when certain groups of people are being demonized and dehumanized daily. But they exhaust themselves trying to convince me and others that the issue of racism is a minor topic compared to whatever they think is considered more important.

That is why I end up banning them from my den. In the end, they’re trying to tell me that my thoughts don’t matter, and that my feelings are insignificant. In other words, I’m not supposed to get upset or scared whenever another black person is killed by a crazed cop. I’m not supposed to get angry that more and more young black folks are streaming to prison in record numbers for the most minor offenses. I’m supposed to keep quiet when my people are constantly misrepresented in the media 24 hours a day. And I’m supposed to shut up when people bring up stupid reasons why people shouldn’t stand up against that and other forms of racism.

We can not agree on the same thing. But when people start seeing that racism is not only real but terrible, maybe, just maybe there will be some progress. Then again, not everyone is down with progress, and that is part of the problem.

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