Friday, May 25, 2018

The Hypocrisy of Sexual Assault

Since the advent of the Hollywood rape accusation there have been many actors,  directors, producers, even journalists accused of sexual assault and even rape. Years before Bill Cosby’s first accusation there were many Hollywood elite that were accused but simply made these accusations disappear. Men in power, such as actors, politicians, and athletes have always believed that they were entitled to many things with this new found power, including sex with the woman of their choosing, whether it was consensual or not.

The common factor in many of these cases  was that the women were guilted into believing that what happened was their fault and shamed into silence. It wasn't until Harvey Weinstein and the #metoo movement that women were emboldened to speak their truth. They collectively realised that what happened was not their fault and owe nothing to their attacker by the feeling that they needed to protect their public image.

Before I continue, I need to make it clear that rape is never the victim's fault. It has nothing to do with how the victim dressed, acts, or how drunk or high they are. No always means no. If you ever take advantage of anyone in that situation especially a child, you are a coward and deserve to rot in prison and later in hell. I don't give a fuck if you're the President of The United States, a big shot Hollywood director,  a respected actor or a championship athlete. Rape is rape. It's a crimes no matter who you are.

After Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby the accusations came tumbling in. Males and females taken advantage of by people in a position of power. What makes me angry is how people decided to pick and choose who they believe could commit these heinous crimes. For instance, Roy Moore was accused by more than one victim of sexual assault when they were minors, yet people disregarded the accusations as false in order to disrupt his campaign and voted for him anyway. Donald Trump has had numerous accusations over the years, and even was recorded saying he “would grab them by the pussy” and still his base disregarded the victim's and elected him president.

When the accusations towards Bill Cosby were too many to ignore, people were divided into two schools of thinking. There's no way he would do that, he’s Bill Cosby. They're just trying to ruin his legacy. The other half felt that there had to be some credence to the accusations and felt that any investigation would have to be conducted before condemning the accusers or the accused. Many of the other persons accused, especially in the news, promptly stepped down and attempted to make amends. Even since yesterday, Harvey Weinstein has turned himself over to the authorities based on numerous rape accusations. Then today we hear about Morgan Freeman. Almost immediately there is outrage over the news. Not because he may have committed a crime, but because some people feel that someone is trying to besmirch his reputation as a Hollywood icon. No one has considered that these are serious allegations. That the court of public opinion is not here to decide whether or not he is guilty. That’s what the legal system is for. We also cannot disregard the victim. Yes there have been false accusations in the past, but we can't pick and choose when we believe or not.

Hypocrisy - the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform

Sexual assault - is a term that refers to unwanted sexual act against or without a person's consent. This type of assault encompasses more than violent physical incidents-sexual assault refers to any sexual, physical, verbal or visual act that forces a person against their will to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention

National Sexual Assault Hotline

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Divisive States of America

I was born in 1979 in Managua, Nicaragua, Central America. Just weeks after the Sandinista revolution came into power. My father was affiliated to the previous government, so he traveled to Costa Rica to lay low. At the time many men affiliated to the Somoza dictatorship where jailed or worst. My dad suspected that he would be persecuted, so he left before things got out of hand. He left my mom very pregnant with me and my older brother and sisters. In her condition it was dangerous for my mother to travel plus the neighborhood would get suspicious if we all left at once. It didn't stop them from outing my father and my family. She had her run ins with soldiers looking for my dad but by the grace of God, things never escalated.

In 1982 my father had spent 2 years alone in the Washington DC area preparing for us to join him. He like us had passed the border illegally. We later all qualified for amnesty because of the war in Nicaragua. After crossing the Mexican American border with someone else's green cards we spent 2 weeks with a family in Texas until my father was able to buy us plane tickets to fly home. I was a month shy of 3 when I met my father again. I still remember him wearing his Ray Ban shades when he picked us up at National Airport. We lived in Northeast Washington DC when we  first arrived. We were some of the first Nicaraguan families in the area. We would eventually relocate to Langley Park, MD.

When we lived in DC, we were one of the only Hispanic families on the block. The first kids we played with were African American. They never treated me differently. After moving to Maryland, there were more Hispanic families in our vicinity. Back in the early 80’s Langley Park had experienced White flight. Many Central Americans and Caribbean families had moved in alongside a few African American families that stayed. Since those days the demographic has changed to mostly Mexican, Salvadoran, and African immigrants. I'm the mid eighties we moved to Beltsville which was also an integrated area but wealthier that our previous address.

Today, I am an American citizen. I've lived in the United States for 36 years. My parents were both citizens, they retired and moved back home. During my lifetime there were 3 separate Republican administrations and 2 Democrat. Yet I have never felt discriminated against or been made felt like unwanted by 27% of American voters. I am an immigrant and I stand by all those families torn apart by this administration's unfavorable disposition towards immigration. Not only was this great nation founded on the sacrifice of immigrants from all reaches of the earth but immigration in the 20 century had boosted the economy. Agriculture has thrived because of migrant workers. Not to mention the countless companies and small businesses owned and operated by immigrants the children of immigrants across America. Unfortunately all of this progress is regressing based on the anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric that has been injected into the American consciousness by our current administration. Suddenly being racist is considered a part of being a real American. Not respecting people's religious rights is also American. People think they can talk down to hardworking immigrants that choose to speak Spanish because there no official language in the United States of America. There is nothing in the Constitution that states that we have to speak English. English isn't even our native language. Cherokee is more American than English.

They accuse us of violating the Constitution by simply wanting a better life for our children. When in actuality the Constitution was written to open our doors to people who were persecuted and wanted the ability to think, live and work freely. They even created a bill of rights. That does not say that we were all equal unless we came from another country. The only right they are will to fight for is the second amendment, so they can have the right to kill us if they feel threatened by our presence. The problem is that they are always threatened by our presence. Not just immigrants either. They see anyone who is not white and male as a second class citizen. America is no long the great land of opportunity it once was.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Khakis and a button down

I'm a 38 year old married father. I work in the grocery business. Most days I work inside a refrigerated walk in cooler. When I work I wear a butcher's coat and a red apron over my street clothes.

In the course of about the fifteen years I've become a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy. If I dress up, it's for a wedding. Which means that every time there is a wedding I have to buy an outfit to wear, because the last suit, dress shirt, slacks and or blazer I bought doesn't fit anymore. I don't comb my hair most days because of my standard issue logo adorned baseball cap. So when I decide to "dress up" people don't know what to make of it, but I'll come back to that.

Once upon a time, I was a shirt and tie and pocket square kind of guy. First, when I sold cars and then when I ran a bus station. I owned a wide array of suits, dress shirts, ties, vests, slacks, dress shoes and belts. I even had a pocket watch. I took pride in dressing well.

The challenges then and now were to find affordable quality apparel in my unique dimensions. In other words, I realized quickly that most suits in my size were either black or blue. Everything else seemed to be overpriced. I remember belts in my size that could handle the daily wear and tear were 60 bucks and up. Don't get me started on "Big & Tall" shops and online stores. We're talking 50 dollar shirts, hundred dollar pants and 300 to 600 coats.

Recently my interest in dressing well saw a resurgence. I guess it started when I watched the new Queer Eye on Netflix. Many of the subjects were regular, hard working family men who got into a rut and forgot how good it felt to look good. They got used to easy and familiar, so didn't make any effort. After witnessing the transformations, I realized that it wasn't as complicated as it seems. Every guy got a cut and a shave. They bought them collard shirts that could go from casual to dinner date, based on the type of pant and footwear and a standard blazer. It occurred to me that I didn't need to hire a tailor to dress better. What inspired me most was the change in the way they saw them selves. They way they interacted with their loved ones and there willingness to embrace the change.

It's interesting that in society today,  wearing a collard shirt with some khakis is "dressing up" It fascinates me when I look at pictures of men in the first half of the 20th century. Men wore slacks and a shirt and tie. Not just business men, or rich men. Butchers, barbers, even shop keeps. In the early days of commercial flight it was considered a luxury, so when a man boarded a plane, he wore a suit. Athletes wore suits when traveling to games. Athletic clothing wasn't a thing until the 60's. Prior to athletic wear, there was sport attire.
Even young men's attire was dressier. It included a shirt, slacks, a vest and a news boy cap.

Fast forward to today. Monday's are my office day. I usually spend my day reconciling the previous week and planning for the current week. I sit at my desk for at least 6 hours, which might not seem like much to some. Yesterday, I decided to buy some khakis to wear today with a dress shirt or a polo. So I wore my new khakis, a striped blue button down long sleeved shirt. Tucked in of course and some gum bottom Pumas. Topped it off with a vintage Kangol wool cap and a canvas messenger bag. It really wasn't  that dressy. I saw it more as business casual. One of reasons I chose to dress was because I have "face to face" financial meetings with my bosses on Mondays. I felt that if I wanted to be taken seriously when talking business, it wouldn't hurt to look the part.

When I got to work. Most people didn't really notice. I did get compliments on my jacket, hat and total look.  The men had the most questions. I got the awkward, "what are you dressed up for?" or "what are you dressed like that for?" Like what?Then there was the, "are you going to court?" or "you got a date after work?"
Depending on who asked, I catered my response. I told one of my bosses, "so I feel like a man when I'm being denigrated in our meeting today" I told another guy, "I dressed up for you" My favorite was, "because I'm a man"

Overall it was a cool social experiment. In my meeting, I definitely felt that my bosses were more open to my ideas and complimentary. I spoke with confidence. They looked me in the eye when I spoke and I didn't leave that room feeling brow beaten as i have on other occasions. It convinced me to do it again next Monday and whenever I have another meeting. As I build my wardrobe, I may end up dressing the part everyday and maybe inspire other guys to do the same.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Year in review 2017

All week I've been thinking about what I wanted to write about this year. If you're not keeping track, I didn't write a year in review for the last couple of years.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

White Christian Male

It has become disturbing how the White Christian Male or WCM are being portrayed in the media. WCM are our neighbors. You may even know one. Ever since the horrific events in Las Vegas, I've begun to think how the WCM had become the poster boy for American Radicalism. Let's disregard the fact that 54% of mass shootings in the United States since 1982 have been perpetrated by a WCM. You have to remember and understand that the majority of right wing politicians and civil right violating law enforcement officers in this country are WCM. Some even secretly belong to the KKK. It is beyond me how a segment of the population can be seen with such hatred and disdain.

I never imagined living in a world where an entire group of men of a certain ethnic group and religion could be judged solely on the actions of a few. What's next? A WCM Ban? Thank the Lord Jesus Christ that an intelligent, level headed WCM has taking the reigns of this country to lead it back in time to when The White Man was The Right Man.

This is how I imagine the average WCM, GOP wing nut thinks. This ladies and gentlemen is called satire. Unfortunately this joke has become a reality. The war on decency and racial harmony has begun. Well, at least this generation's chapter of it.

It stated even before Mr Trump took office. During his campaign. He was giving the secret signal to America's closeted racists. Many who's parents and grand parents remember the good old days when racism was a way of life. When we didn't mix or mingle. Of course, with the advent of the 20th century, things began to change. People of color began to be treated equally. They began to vote, get educations and hold positions of power in industry, finance and politics. White America tried to fight back, but were silenced so their Racism became dormant, until the Great White Hope came to save them and say, It's OK to hate a people based on their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation, just as long as they are not Straight White Christian Males.

Black lives don't matter. All immigrants are dangerous. All young Black males are thugs. If you say it and hear it enough, you begin to believe. You begin to blame all your problems on them. You think that somehow you have been mistreated. The best part is you know that since you are WCM, you will never be deemed a terrorist, no matter how many people you kill. You will never be charged with a hate crime, no matter how many People of Color you denigrate, harass, maim and murder. Your a WCM and you can do no wrong.

Pish Posh you say? Let's take away the W and the M and leave the C for Christian. How can a God fearing Christian hate their fellow man. I guess the same way that you think that all Muslims are militant and want to blow us up. Based on what? The WCM uses religion as a shroud to justify their behavior and disdain for other human beings. Religion does not create saints. There have been wars waged based on religion. God would never condone violence and hatred for anyone. Religion was create by man to serve man. People of every creed have misrepresented their core beliefs in order to persuade others to think how they think and con them into believing that they are serving God by killing destroying their "enemy"

At the end of the day people will believe what they want. They will blame the world for their problems and unfortunately they will hand down their beliefs to future generations marring any chance they have of living a harmonious society everyone is truly respected and treated equally. In reality, equality is a myth. It's a shiny trinket that the White man invented to con the natives into believe that they were worthy. It's equality on their terms. Don't stir the pot or complain or you will be harshly reminded on who really pulls the strings. The treatment of Colin Kaepernick is the greatest demonstration of the existence of inequality in America. You can be black, you can throw the ball, you can be rich, but you can't call us out. You can't stance for the continued injustice in America.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Get Down Part II [A Review]

The second part of Netflix's The Get Down came out today. Last year I specifically got Netflix to watch the first part of the series. I was hooked. A show like this is made for a guy like me. Although I was born in 1979, I do remember listening to early Hip Hop and Disco records at home at an early age. I'm also a Hip Hop head, so seeing the graffiti, the breakdancing and Djing was also right up my alley.