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As a pessimist, I’m not looking forward to the new year for several reasons. I see racism, sexism, homophobia, and more attacks on the poor and disenfranchised. America will continue down its slow trek towards the point of no return. But there will be great and positive moments worthy of attention along the way. Until then, let’s reflect a little.
America was still trying to make sense out of the Sandy Hook school massacre that rocked the nation. Yet, conservatives still wanted to scapegoat something other than question what’s up with white men and murder-suicides. Ann Coulter made a point weeks after the tragic Sandy Hook school massacre blaming minorities for gun violence despite the killer was a white male. It was nothing more than a weak attempt to shift the blame of America’s violence using racism as its pedal the same way Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly agreed that blacks and Hispanics are the most violent. Hence, the murders of Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, Andy Lopez and even Hadiya Pendleton are no big deal, and Stop and Frisk are justified, despite the latter being deemed unconstitutional. I guess it’s one of the reasons why people like them support the likes of Israel and Paula Deen. Not to mention their insistence that St. Nick is a white dude.
In politics, Assata Shakur became among America’s ‘most wanted terrorist’ which is an example that time doesn’t heal all wounds, especially this nation’s. The Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights’ Act right through the heart, effectively slightly – yet significantly – turning the clock back on progress. The GOP in North Carolina extends their Voter ID law with new stipulations that will have some effect on certain folks. (*cough* black folks) Comprehensive immigrant reform is still in limbo. And on top of all that, we saw a government shutdown thanks to the efforts of the order of the dipstick famously known as the Tea Party.
Of course, we saw foolishness manifest in lamestream media, especially in music, television and all points between. Brad Paisley used music with rapper LL Cool J, who lost major cool points featuring in the song Accidental Racist, to verbally express his Southern Pride and why black folks are insulted by it. Rick Ross celebrated date rape with a certain Molly lyric and got blasted for it the same way Lil’ Wayne got checked when he misused the memory of Emmett Till. Miley Cyrus showed her ass off, or lack thereof, using culture appropriation and an uncontrollable tongue for a new adult image at MTV’s Video Music Awards grinding on Robin Thicke who boasted his sexism with his song Blurred Lines. And a band of white males called Day Above Ground sung horribly about their nauseatingly graphic fetish for Asian girls.
In other news concerning Asians, a news station mocked the tragic crash of an Asiana Airlines aircraft. And a trio of white dudes used it to tailor their idea for whack-ass Halloween costumes. And another Hollywood flop centers on a white guy joining an army of Samurais in 47 Ronin.
Speaking of costumes, remember the trio of young racists who thought that Trayvon Martin’s murder was a good idea, and then posted it in their Facebook account? Remember the cop that dressed up in black face picking cotton and took a picture of it? Remember the sorority in Penn State who dressed themselves as Mexican stereotypes as shown in a photograph? I do. People of color, or rather the stereotypes, are still fun enough for white folks to play dress-up and take pictures to share with their friends.
Going back to Trayvon Martin’s murder, George Zimmerman went to trial, and got off with a not guilty verdict, like none of us didn’t see that coming. We saw that Trayvon’s blackness was on trial along with his friend Rachel Jeantel‘s appearance and credibility. And we’ve heard how shear ignorance helped in Zimmerman’s favor. Yet, Zimmerman seems to keep getting in trouble, but he still manages to have luck on his side as he constantly escapes jail time. I guess if you can get away with murder, you can do whatever you want.
Man, black folks can never get justice, but rich white males like Ethan Couch can, because justice is expensive and racist. The latter is evident when you have judges like Edith Jones who would likely send a black female honor student like Kiera Wilmot to prison for a science experiment. Plus, you got the news emerging with Knockout Game shock reports no different than the superpredator scare of the 1990’s. It’s a wonder why people are shocked when someone like Orville Lloyd Douglas writes a letter of self-hatred.
2013 was a year where we saw people lose their minds, and as a result, people lost their lives. Former Los Angeles officer Christopher Dorner went on a rampage against those who fired him releasing a manifesto about the inner-workings of a troubled police force. Aaron Alexis shot up a Washington Navy Yard due to paranoia. At least he and the incident with Miriam Carey helped open a discussion on mental illness in the black community. And two brothas from Chechnya blew up the Boston Marathon. Luckily, one school shooting was prevented due to the efforts of Antoinette Tuff‘s courage.
In the wide world of sports, we witnessed a few shake-ups. Aaron Hernandez and Oscar Pistorius was arrested for being murder suspects in two separate crimes. And Lance Armstrong confesses to using performance enhancement drugs. Talk about career killing moments.
We saw an influx of popularity in reality TV, and with it came fucked up moments on and off camera. Real Housewives of Atlanta continues to embarrass the black community thanks to the likes of Porsha Stewart not knowing what the Underground Railroad was and the living, breathing, crazy, angry black woman stereotypes that are Mama Joyce and Kenya Moore. And shows like Love and Hip Hop are all about stereotype exploitation for entertainment value. Sadly, we will no doubt see more of this kind of crap fest in high gear in 2014, and there will be black folks watching.
Meanwhile, we see the reality of racism come out in full bloom in Big Brother and Duck Dynasty. The second series also exposed backwards religious intolerance on homosexuality. Luckily, for fans of the show, the show will go on.
As a side note, but still on the reality TV kick, the name Kardashian is still popular. Kim and Kanye celebrated the birth of their first child North. (Sorry Ray J.) Khloe and Lamar are now splitsville, along with Kris and Bruce. Hey, did you know Kris had a talk show for a little while? Yeah, me either. Sorry Kris.
Getting back to homophobia. We’ve lost Islan Nettles to violence against LGBT members. (The suspect’s charges were dropped.) We saw a huge negative backlash against Jason Collins, a football player who came out. We see Alec Baldwin not only get a pass for his anti-gay attitude, but also a spot on a major news network. DC Comics hires a homophobe for a new Superman story. Straight privilege was truly in full effect in 2013.
The internet has a knack for revealing the worst in people for the world to see. People like Pax Dickenson, Justine Sacco, Hugo Schwyzer and The Onion made it very clear. The racist, sexist and Islamophobic reactions regarding Nina Davuluri, an Indian American woman, winning Miss America flooded Twitter like a swarm of fire ants. Celebrities like Amanda Bynes, Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen and Kanye West lose their tempers…repeatedly. And average people fell into the trap of claiming they are not racist, but…
Let’s not leave out the persistence of rape culture. Zerlina Maxwell‘s suggestions which include getting men involved was met with an onslaught of troll responses. CNN showed sympathy to the Steubenville rapists, not the rape victim. And remember the thing with Rick Ross’s rape lyric? He defended it until he started losing dollars when he lost
Aside from all that drama, we can not ignore the deaths of notable people like one of the Angola 3 Herman Wallace, a former Black Panther who passed away days after he was freed. Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Celebrities like Lee Thompson Young, a promising young star, George Duke, a legendary Jazz Pianist, Bobby “Blue” Bland, a beloved blues singer, Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson activist of Malcolm X, Chris Kelly, one half of 90’s rap duo Kriss Kross, Roger Ebert, a famed movie critic, Chinua Achebe and Michael Hastings, two well-known and respected authors, Paul Walker, the actor from the Fast and Furious series and numerous others have made the news.
But it wasn’t all bad. 2013 also saw a lot of positives and inbetweens.
We witnessed an inferno of hashtags sparking conversations on racism and sexism such as #blackprivilege, #solidarityisforwhitewomen, #blackpowerisforblackmen, #whitehistoryclasses #blackgirlsrock and #notyourasiansidekick. We saw movements against the approrpriation of black cultures through music and Native American cultures through sports. We laughed out asses off when white supremacist Craig Cobb wanting to create a ‘whites only’ settlement was discovered to have negro blood within him. We saw bold comedians like Aamer Rahman nail what ‘reverse racism’ would really look like. We saw a hero emerge in Cleveland. We saw black fatherhood stereotypes shattered. We celebrated the anniversaries of the March on Washington and observed the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. We saw a fight against GOP sexism in Texas and the victory that ensued thanks to Senator Wendy Davis. We saw black women making moves in television. We saw an outpouring of support for domestic violence survivor and prisoner of injustice Marissa Alexander. We saw black men and black women making great and powerful strides for success and change.
We saw all that and more. And there will be much more to come in the new year.
What did you remember about 2013? Sound off below. Happy New Year.