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And now we come to…the end of an era

Today, oddly enough was supposed to be the pay off FINALLY for a number of posts about relationships that I thought might be better than all my previous ruthless on relationships post. And indeed I’ll get to that later.

 

Instead,

Today is a day I bring us to a place I knew could happen, but was happy every time it didn’t. Today we end the hour for the last time. What do I mean? Today is the beginning of a goodbye party. For this blog. Oh it will continue to exist, but a transition is afoot. And so with all transitions, some things remain the same, while other change or are left behind.

If you would have told me 3 years ago as I was studying for the bar that we would be here I would be shocked. But if you would have told me that we would get here after 450 thousand views I’d also be shocked so much attention happened. Words Don’t Do It Justice started as an idea, a bit of fun, and a lot of me. I have buried hatchets with enemies because of this blog, reconnected with old friends, and made new ones because of this blog, found meaning in the midst of my own personal depression because of this place. I have consumed it, and let it consume me. I love it. But loving this blog means knowing what to do. And taking a good long look I know the thing to do is let it go.

But I said this was transition not destruction.

And indeed it is. I’ll be taking Words Don’t Do It Justice away from our blogging past into a show based future. For me, the question was one of logistics. Was it better to end everything and walk away from these years of effort, or find a way to keep the place alive in the hearts of all of you who have supported us? I choose to believe that you will keep supporting us, and I chose to keep this place alive in a new way.

That means giving you what we planned. Give No Quarter, The Wrath of Ruthless, and Words Don’t Do It Justice are the three pillars of Ruthless Radio. 3 shows with different formats that bring you many of the topics you might see written about here, but in a new form and with some new and old faces/voices. Over the next few weeks as we ready to for the relaunch of Words Don’t Do It Justice as a podcast, you’ll get to read some farewells from various alums, and hear from the incoming folks for these shows. You’ll also see the Words Don’t Do It Justice site itself undergo various changes. With plenty of hard work, luck, and you listening in, I hope to earn your trust for these new shows, and continue to hold our interest.

SO! What about Weekend’s Don’t Do It Justice?

Well I’m happy to say our little casual interest site is growing well. And it is going to continue. We had a nice response to the sample chapter from Project 13, and now that game of thrones is done you’ll see a lot of other reviews, news, and related content there. Our gamers are doing their thing, and if Vantinel’s CEO appearance is any indication of commitment, we will only continue to grow over there.

As I end for now I just want to say thank you, and of course to keep watching what we do. But more than that, thank you for being a force for us. We continued to push because you were there with us. 100,000 visitors, 450,000 views, and 3 years of growth, While things must change, I am glad to have made it to this point. A point that let’s me look back and say that YOU made us more than I imagined. And though Words Don’t Do It Justice…Thank you.

 

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Founder of Words Don’t Do It Justice

Fear: A Great Motivator

Fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m afraid for the future. I’m afraid of the kinds of changes we’re going through. I’m afraid I’m never going to get Shadow obedience trained. I’m afraid that the Zombie Apocalypse is going to be a real thing and that too many stupid people will survive because all the smart people are going about their lives unwilling to consider the possibilities. I’m afraid I’ll never achieve this “together” level that I’m supposed to be getting life. I’m afraid that I’ll never be satisfied. I’m afraid of being afraid.

The bombings in Brussels yesterday changed the color of this piece. See, the thing about Media Loves Isisterrorists and terrorism is that it’s primary purpose is to strike fear into the hearts of men. So as afraid as I am of so many things, when these attacks happen, my defiant nature kicks in and instead of staying afraid, I want to prove to those people that their antics didn’t work on me. I want to take a train blindfolded with my headphones on and sit right next to a suspicious bag. I want to fly out to Afghanistan with all of my femininity and girldom wearing a tank top, form fitting jeans, and flip flops, rent a car and drive through residential areas blasting old Beatles, Michael Jackson, and whichever local revolutionary underground rapper they’d want to silence. I want to tell the TSA and the NSA and the alphabet soup of agencies to find new jobs because their services are no longer needed and we won’t be letting acts of terrorism direct how we live our lives and treat our people. Much like how my negative experiences with racists hasn’t made me hate white people, I refuse to let these extremists scare me out of living. The only fear I have now is of being fearful… and zombies… because F*ck zombies.

I feel like the suggestions of adding security checks before people even get to the airport plays right into their agenda… Whoever “they” really are. I remember the scenes in Swordfish with John Travolta’s character explaining how  perpetrating acts of Fear... and Spidersterrorism is important ad necessary to the world… or at least maintaining the American way of life. He justifies killing tens, hundreds and thousands of children in the name of maintaining the American status quo. The objective is to keep people afraid to keep us in line. Fear: a Great motivator. Have you ever heard someone say “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” but then they turn around and freak out over a spider? That’s what is being done to us. Drumpf is out there pointing at imaginary spiders. The terrorists are out there breeding wolf spiders, sending them to highly populated areas, and detonating their egg sacks and dispersing thousands of tiny spiders like miniature eight-legged fear bombs. They spread all kinds of fear for all kinds of reasons and we give in to it. They do it to keep us in line, they do it to keep us distracted, they do it to get us to let them do things to us that we’d otherwise revolt for. They’ve been doing it for centuries. The Romans did it with public executions. Slave owners did it to their “white” slaves. Bush did it with his infamous, imaginary “weapons of mass destruction”… and we the people fall for it every time. We the people ignore the voices of reason in our heads and give into the proverbial spiders. Every. Time.

Supposedly, the worst thing that could happen is death. Last time I checked, all of the religious sects Underdoghave happy places to go for the good people and unpleasant places to go for the bad ones. Well, if they’re right, and I’m considered good, what do we have to worry about? If I’m considered bad, with all there is to be afraid of here, going to any version of hell would be just like being here, so what are we afraid of? And if I’m right, and heaven and hell are created here on earth, then death might just be a welcomed release from all the damn stress, anxiety, and of course: fear. Further, to put the icing on the proverbial cake, death is the great equalizer; it will happen to all of us eventually… so get scared for wha?

I’m choosing to ignore my fear in favor of hope. Bravery is being afraid and choosing to act anyway. Let’s be brave. Let’s #feeltheBern. Let’s protect the future by doing what we need to do today to protect it. Let’s vote so the fear mongers of the world don’t get to lead us into another unnecessary war here or abroad. Let’s stand together again in favor of continuing to effect the change we believed in when we voted for Obama. Send me links and ideas to get Shadow to o back to being the obedient little pup-panion that’s I’ve come to depend on. Let’s pay attention to all of the possibilities… Let’s not allow ourselves to become like zombies; mindlessly dragging ourselves around giving in to our baser instincts and our penchant for instant gratification. I know that if we can do these things, we’ll all have a better chance at achieving that “together” thing that we have all claimed to be working towards and that even if I am never satisfied, I might at least be able to get close.

…oh, and let’s Do More & Require Better.

And now… at the end of the hour

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This week we debuted a brand new podcast with a livestream. We said goodbye to one of the founders. We tackled coons, and hoteps. As well as assault, and the HIV & AIDS treatment drug Truvada.

 

 

I skipped a couple lines to let that sink in.

When this started I literally just wanted to take my usual facebook ranting to a website. I figured it would be like the old days of my Xanga page. Now, now I deal with potential sponsors, have production meetings, worry about our average listening and reading time, and look for brand expansion.

I remind you, I was so bored in the last semester of law school I decided to make a blog to archive the things I would normally rant about on Facebook.

 

So you can understand that having gone from that place to now is rather…amazing if I’m honest. I had no idea. We’ve added and lost people over that time. But more than their contributions or mine, we’ve gotten to know a lot of you. As of this writing, 92,000 of you have come to get to know us over these 3 years of Words Don’t Do It Justice. And you must like it here, because you’ve dropped in 302,000 times.

300000

That is astounding. That is epic. And to think that it has all come before we put up a single ad, before we shilled a single product, without a marketing team, and mostly from the effort of our authors, and their friends and family who have additionally believed in us and shared us with other people.  I can’t tell you enough thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do. It really has made the difference.

What that means is even what I’ve done in the past year isn’t enough. I have to do more. And I am. While we lost a podcast co-host today, I’m proud to say we gained 2 new ones for our show Give No Quarter. While we have Reason on break for a while, I’m happy to say we will be launching Weekends Don’t Do It Justice as its own site (www.wkndlife.com www.weekendsdontdoitjustice.net www.weekendsdontdoitjustice.com). Look for a review of a hilariously bad movie coming over there soon from me.

Heck, go buy a shirt, phone case, hoodie or tank. https://www.teepublic.com/user/314publishing

Check out our current Shirt and cases designs. Buy one now while you wait for more. Click the photo to go straight to the store!

Check out our current Shirt and cases designs. Buy one now while you wait for more.
Click the photo to go straight to the store!

 

I’m also happy to say that I’m teaming with Mr. 9 to 5 gamer himself Bami O to open a new gaming site and channel called “Save State Society” (www.savestatesociety.com www.savestatesociety.net) here soon as well. And we’re open with some great games and reviews. But that is going to take a lot to talk about, and I’ve got work to do there.

You’re here reading because this is about Words Don’t Do it Justice. The granddaddy of them all. Okay, the origin of them all. Three years in, and even though health wise I’ve dealt with issues. Professional life wise, I’ve had great forward steps but also set backs. Heck life in general being strange. After all that I’m proud of where we are. Where you’ve brought us. And so for the third time we come to the end of the hour. Where I say thank you without any reservations. Where for the third time ever, I get to step out of my role as Head Blogger, Editor, Podcast host, Lucremo, THE Ruthless Wonder, and everything that comes with it, and instead just talk to you as Matt Williams. We have a few reflection pieces and some alumni coming back to give us a piece. And we are going to celebrate all the way to my personal birthday on March 14th. But right now I’m just going to end by saying thank you all for bringing me and us from where we were to where we are and pushing us forward to where we are going next. As always Words Don’t Do YOU Justice.

“THE Ruthless Wonder” Matthew Elisha Williams

Burn Baltimore Burn!

Special Report: Baltimore is burning…again?

Now that you have some starter music, let’s do this.

Baltimore

So outside of the people who only associate the city with The Wire, most folks act as though it is just another place on the east coast. But this city has a long history of being a powderkeg. So first up we had the 1968 riots. Now obviously this was one of many riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. Across the country these riots were not only responses to the assassination, they were also the boiling over of animous between the black community and the city which like now seems to be unable to care about the people who comprise the city. But let’s take the wayback machine even farther back. Because rioting in Baltimore isn’t just a black thing.

Your Media Coverage May Vary

Your Media Coverage May Vary

In 1812 America once again goes to war. During it Baltimore is a major flashpoint. Many members of the Democratic-Republican Party viewed opposition as treasonous or near-treasonous once war was declared. The Washington National Intelligencer wrote that, “WAR IS DECLARED, and every patriot heart must unite in its support… or die without due cause.” The Augusta Chronicle wrote that, “he who is not for us is against us.”[3]

This sentiment was especially strong in Baltimore, at the time a boomtown with a large population of recent French, Irish, and German immigrants who especially hated Britain. In early 1812, several riots took place, centering around the anti-war Federalist newspaper the Federal Republican. Its offices were destroyed by a mob. Local and city officials, all war hawks, expressed disapproval of the violence, but did little to stop it.[4] When the editors of Federal Republican tried to return, they were removed from protective custody in a jail by a mob, on the night of July 27, and tortured; one Revolutionary War veteran, James Lingan, died of his injuries. Opponents of the war then largely ceased to openly express their opposition in Baltimore.[5]

The Baltimore riots were the height of violent backlash during the war, whose popularity dropped through 1813 and 1814. However, after the war, when the Hartford Convention’s proceedings became public just after a peace treaty was signed with Britain, there was a longer-term backlash against the Federalist Party, which became associated with secession and treason. The party never regained national predominance, fielding its last Presidential candidate in 1816 and fading away entirely by the end of the 1820s.(source: Wikipedia)

Reality being what it is, Baltimore has more parts to play in history. That dangerous, disgusting, dark, they don’t like to see me bring it up history. Because in 1861 Baltimore is once again the setting for a riot, this time because the slavery loving, southern supporter, TRAITORS, who’s offspring would later take up there flag like the cowardly, yellow bellied, traitorious worthless piles of pig excrement they are, got mad about being drug into the war and rioted. It produced the first deaths by hostile action in the American Civil War. Check out the Baltimore Riot of 1861.

But we can move far ahead to just the last 3 years. Why? Because Baltimore, like Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Miami, NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver, Memphis, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and tons of small towns around the nation, is full of people having to sue the police department because they or a now dead relative was severely injuried or murdered at the hands of police officers. Baltimore itself came into 2014 with 5.7 million dollars in police brutality settlements and judgments to the very citizens that the police are supposed to serve and protect. You can read more HERE!

picb

Music Break:

So this piece has done the history bit, and some more music to help me transition to the next part of today’s special appearance. Let’s get into it. There is something to be said for the song above’s point. Same with the riots lately. Similar to when I previously spoke on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri this is beyond an issue of what, and about why? Why is this the only way to get society at large to pay attention to issues in various communities? Why is this the face most commonly shown? Why is the coverage of riots different depending on what they are for? Why is that difference so counter-intuitive? Why aren’t these so called pro black leaders out there giving actual solutions and helping make it less and less necessary for the violent outbursts that accompany these issues?

picvI know you caught that last bit. It was a shot on purpose. One thing I do on a semi-daily schedule is check out the people who claim to be super pro black, super pro working class, and of course defenders of all those considered minority and/or downtrodden. I also mean those sitting in ivory towers and penthouse suites. Because all of the social and political leadership is woefully deficient. You might notice your major hotep spouting pro black friends saying these are the best ways to get things done. I assure you as I always have, these people are stupid. They don’t see that perception is something to be countered at the same time as these more, insurrection like methods are used. For every time they shout to go ahead and burn it down, they just add one more person who might otherwise have reasonably agreed with the need for change to the camp of people calling folks animals and thugs on television.

You might also notice the more famous your friends, or all of the celebrities you talk to telling folks to calm down, and that these riots mean nothing positive. One of those people of course being Ray Lewis for some reason.

Am I the kind of person would doesn’t see the point Ray is trying to make? No. But I am the guy who sees the parts of his point that are wrong. What have I said over and over again? That you can’t just riot, you can’t just protest, that you have to do more than the people who came before you did. Why do I keep saying that? Because, and let’s get real for a moment I’m just talking about Black people, time has not been invested in taking the approach to things the other communities of color, and causes in America have.

The reason the Jewish community can send lawyers and community leaders at anti-semetic issues is because they put the equity in using those voices to speak for their community. The reason gays are able to get companies smeared by media outlets is because they put the equity into taking aim through courts and wallets speaking for them after they infiltrated all parts of corporate culture. The reason women have an easier time taking out sexists than black people do racists is the exact same thing. So now that we are in this place you have to be twice as smart about things. A line which I’m sure you heard from your parents and other older family and friends as a child. What do I mean? I mean we need celebrities who can talk like this.

Now most folks when they listen to this audio, attach to the end of the Tupac’s metaphorical discussion of Black America using a room with food in front of hungry people. What the deeper student should catch is that Tupac doesn’t say actually do the violence being said in the lyrics he comes up with contemporaneously. Why? Certainly the man who made yelling “Thuglife” popular had no problem being controversial. But he takes a moment and stop short of saying go break into everyone’s houses in order to say something profound. “What do you think someone is going to do? Ask?” puts a warning into the heart of the listener. What you should be fearing is not us coming to the door, but what ideas we’ve come up with for dealing with you. After all, you either are going to come out, or we are going to come in.

And you need that voice. You need a person striking fear intellectually into the those who are sitting in power. But one thing you never see footage of Tupac doing, is taking shots at the black leaders who are alive at the time. He is almost reverent about them and the sacrifices they have made. Why? Because he recognizes that you need those leaders who are still alive and available to be fighting the same war on a different front. One thing that often annoys me about those who have post-humously sainted Tupac is that they see him as who should have been leading all of Black America in the 90’s.

But what they miss is he realized he wasn’t built for it. So what did he do instead? He focused on the lane he could handle. Same here. Protestors, rioters, politicians, celebrities, and the average everyday person have their part to play. But it does no one, NO ONE, any good if all the voices out there don’t have a plan, and are focused on shouting down the other ones. Now I’ve gone very long today, but not odd at all I could gone on longer. This issue is just that complex. It is just…well…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE! Be safe out there in Baltimore and everywhere else.

– THE Ruthless Wonder

The Importance of being Intelligent

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It all starts with recognizing the world around you.

What you’ll immediately notice in the video above is a naturalized brit born US citizen is informing you about the state of American counter-intelligence and surveillance. That should of course give you some shame for not at least being as up to date as he is. But when you get later into the video the interviews with random Americans in New York City should make you cringe over and over again. By the time you see Edward Snowden reacting to seeing those same comments, well you know the deal…

 

…Or maybe you don’t. One of the things I was told very young that has stuck with me in almost a horrifying fashion is this. “You’re a smart kid Matthew. And you will be burdened with that intellect the rest of your life. Once you see behind the curtain, nothing will be the same.” I was told that after figuring out something that seems inconsequential. But because of who the adult was, it stuck in my brain. That was the moment being “smart” for me turned from reading books and gaining knowledge to using that knowledge to question and be skeptical of the responses and actions of the world around me. Why for example if we have an alleged democracy do we have laws that acts to preserve the rights of groups by forcing a single ideological similarity line?

What do I mean? In the creation of the US, many of the original laws as well as the judicial decisions that have since been defended over the course of America’s life begin as ways to deal with the ideological conflict between the federalists and anti-federalists. Nearing 300 years of age we still have a system structure meant to deal with the conflict instead of making it possible to hear different group’s spin on the nature of governance. What’s that? You think things are different because the Fed and Anti-Fed aren’t parties anymore? Well you are one adorable idiot. Go take a look at the actual platforms of the modern dems and modern repubicans. You’ll find what is old is new again.

Black New York Scholar gets accepted to all 8 Ivy League Schools.

Remember how I commented that #BlackBoysSTILLRock? Yes, they still do. And considering that we just had a BET awards show celebrating the accomplishments of black women, while the station continues to bombard viewers with consistent imagery of gangster, thugish, un-intelligent black men while giving the smallest lip service to those who are generally above the nonsense. I feel like I needed to drop this reminder. I’m all for women getting equal place in a modern society. But considering recent studies have found boys, and specifically black boys are consistently falling behind in a learning environment both not geared to address the external issues that affect them and unwilling to take the steps necessary to make education seem like a viable option to them. Yeah this needed to be celebrated. BLACK BOYS ROCK! And maybe if you told them that at least as often as I do here they wouldn’t be the fast growing statistic in suicide rates.

 

Back to the news. Well sort of.

 

See the thing is the news needs the same scrutiny. What you watch, read, or listen to should have your brain in a critical mode unless there is good reason otherwise. You may notice despite the fact that it is basically a filter free weekly version of The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight put a 33 minute long segment including an interview with Edward Snowden right on the internet. The internet that generally has the attention span of a 3 year old after their 3rd Three Muskateers bar waiting in line for naptime next to a roller coaster. And there is a ton of truth, hard truth, even HARSH truth all throughout the segment with some comedy. But how many people will fully understand what that says? How many will even watch all of it on their youtube channel? Heck how many of you are just counting on what I said about it, and aren’t watching it or listening to it yourselves? I think you get my point.

One of the reasons we started the Rage of Maxus back when you could only call videos for ipods podcasts was my inability to just let shit slide like this. The show fell apart due to my inability to keep things going once I moved around more often, but the sentiment we brought here to Words Don’t Do It Justice and of course to The Wrath of Ruthless (New season coming soon). I get it. I really do. Ignorance is Bliss. Not knowing about the world around you and just hoping to let your existence make it as long as you want to is something 85% of all humans who have ever existed want. No matter how angry you get one day on Facebook or twitter it is how you want to live. But that isn’t the world we live in.

We live in a world where there are massacres going on in Kenya being perpetrated by the children of government officials.

Son of government Offical found as part of group credited with Kenya attack.

Where Boko Haram is dressing up like preachers to do clandestine murder sprees in Nigeria.

But also is going into other countries for supplies.

Where ISIS is getting so government like there are TRAFFIC TICKETS!

To put it bluntly you idiots need to wake the fuck up and see what is going on around you. Because you don’t have to stay stupid. You don’t have to be mis or uninformed. That is a choice you are making. You learned about the constitution and general government structure in school. No taxation without representation. 1 person 1 vote. But you aren’t batting an eye when the supreme court says a corporation can spend unlimited money on influencing you how to vote, as well as on influencing candidates by giving money to their campaigns. And what’s worse is your parents didn’t pay attention either when the court started this idiocy back in the 70’s. So it doesn’t surprise that you aren’t supporting 99rise who has been protesting this by taking cameras into the Supreme Court Chamber and interrupting proceedings peacefully.

AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THESE PEOPLE EXISTED UNTIL I SAID SOMETHING!

Check them out here—->http://www.99rise.org/

Look I could go on and on and on about this. Showing you more and more examples of things you don’t pay any attention to in the world around you because of your love of staying in the bubble of your life. But there are enough people like myself who pay attention, who have seen behind the curtain, and want your help changing things. So do your part. Besides, not all the news is bad news.

Brave Kenyan Student emerges alive two days after university terror attack

Well that and of course…WORDS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE!

 

-THE Ruthless Wonder

Words Don’t Do It Justice: YOU are Forty Thousand Strong on our 2nd Anniversary

Just a reminder where we started.

Just a reminder where we started.

Words Don’t Do It Justice

“It was all a dream.

I used read word up magazine.”

I could keep going with that, but really I don’t feel like quoting too much of anyone else today. So let me address this with the style most comforting.

When this all began it was an idea.

The thought that we could give the world something in this blog that would be read by our friends, maybe a few co-workers and classmates. And every once in a while I’d get to deal with the issues I have to face on a daily basis by just ranting into a text window for 30 minutes to an hour and let the world read. Certainly if we accomplished that I would have called this a successful idea and when the view dwindled I’d close it up and say I had a good time.

But that isn’t what you did. And I say that isn’t what YOU did, because it is true. You are the reason this fun time didn’t turn into just another thing I used to do. YOU made it worth it to find Rufus, Ronin, Roddo, Rebellionista, Realistic Royalty, Princess Devy, Reign, The Revanchist, The Radical Ref, Carl McPhail, Xion, Driving Misty, Rhapsodic, Reason, Kudo, Rhythmic Journey, Revolution In A Jar, causeandeffect88, Bami O, Render Verdicts, Ruminated Thoughts, Keith Labell, Smooth Phuzion, Bree the V, TEH Bobbo, and all the people who wanted to commit but just didn’t have the time to write, be on the podcast, contribute music, or be interviewed.

That wasn’t just me plodding through on my own. That was you reading. That was you sharing. That was YOU telling the world our little corner of the internet was worth checking out. in the first year we did 3500 views. In 2 years we have done 40,000! Because of all of you. And now things are possible that weren’t not long ago. YOU made this happen. People asked me when I started what I expected. They asked me what I wanted. I just wanted people to listen to my thoughts sometimes. It was so simple back then. Now? Now I want the sky and everything beyond. lol just kidding.

Now I want to give you more of what you come here for. So covering Gaming, and other topics, We’re proud to announce that Nine To Five Gamer will be joining us run by Bami O. Look for the official page as well as forums soon. You’re going to read pieces from many of our alumni writers. And that long-awaited revamp/update to the site. I can’t promise you we’ll turn into a Super Villain run Huffington Post by tomorrow. Heck I can’t even promise that by next year. But I can promise we will keep hitting these hot topics with our cold analysis. I can promise we are committed to giving you what you came here for. And I can promise you I WILL NEVER FORGET what drives Words Don’t Do It Justice. Because what drives us is YOU!

My humanity wants to cry by my Super Villainy is smiling too hard and is too excited. Thank you all. THANK YOU. Every super fan. Every random reader Every casual person who checked us out a few times or just once. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THIS FROM ALL OF US! We couldn’t have done all this without you. Words Do Not Do YOU Justice!

– THE Ruthless Wonder

My complex relationship with Black History Month

Yes, today especially, will be one of those days.

So one of the things I’m often loathed to deal with is the current month we take part in here in the US. And there are a lot of reasons for my general state of annoyance. Some of which I’ll get to over the course of this particular piece for your viewing. Whatever this month means to you, I’m sure you will be offended. Remember all emails should be sent to yourruthlesswonder@gmail.com, but let’s get moving.

I hate the necessity of Black History Month

One of the glaringly obvious things to me about Black History Month is that we do in fact need one. The adage is often said that they teach black history 1 month out of the year, and 11 months out of the year it is white history. Now other ethnic groups with their own ceremonial months may disagree, but the very existence of their months honoring their heritage in fact exists because of black history month. So y’all can have several seats while I finish my point.

I hate that we need to have a dedicated month recognizing very specific and generally speaking, the same old accomplishments. It is one thing to talk about major firsts in a culture, it is another altogether to only talk about them, and never add in discussion of new, and or alternatively important milestones. But then I think about kids now who don’t know Missy Elliot has been rapping since the 90’s and I get it…a bit.

The deeper reason I hate the need for the month is the outright ignorance the rest of the year. Part of the problem is the thing that comes from the exceptional nature of America in the first place. What do I mean? Well because America is the first, and one of few current nations made based on commonly united political beliefs and not geographic similarities, we have a “not everyone is the same.” problem when it comes to heritage. Because things can never be complex enough, add in slavery, reconstruction, the great depression, the civil rights movement, Korean war, Vietnam war, The hippies, and the 70’s and by the time you get to the birth of the legend you now know as THE Ruthless Wonder in 1982, things are odd.

Thus what seems like a good idea really can get out of hand. I hate the idea that it isn’t common knowledge how important schools like Lincoln, Langston, Alcorn, and basically every HBCU not named Morehouse, Spellman, or Howard are to the collective history of America. And that’s right I said America not black America. Black America as an idea pisses me off, but I’ll save that for another day and a probably a full on Note from your favorite super villain.

That we still need a true out and out campaign for black history month, where even giant corporations have to make some half ass attempt to act like they care about black people by repeating lock stock and barrel the same classic accomplishments on company flyers is demeaning to me. I look no further than Black Enterprise. I’ve been a BE reader to some degree since my parents were getting it while I was a kid. But when we talk about achievements related to african americans in American society, it rarely comes up. The same magazine which has not been handed over to larger(white), media corporations. That has not had the financial instabilities. That has a respectable presence, and has since the 70’s. “No no, tell them about CJ Walker, and Harriet Tubman again.” Which brings me to the next problem I have.

I hate the fake pro-black focus of Black History Month.

When I was truly a child the point of Black History Month seemed to be hyper focus on accomplishments, and talk about things that could make you proud of your heritage. As I have gotten older things have taken a turn. I remember them in waves. Wearing only red black and green. Busting out African cloths. only wearing black designers clothes. blah blah blah. The reality is for Americans who are black each of these was a means of at least acting the part of reconnecting to your roots. Which might be a good idea if the rest of the year wasn’t the almost exact opposite of that.

Dashiki aside, 90% of those who appear black in the US have only ancestral connections to the continent, and 5% of the remaining 10% are more than 3 generations Americans. And I’ll save the Black but also Latino folks for another discussion as well. Given the numbers I can understand the idea of wanting to know who you were. But for an exercise ask your Italian friends the last time they dressed up in Roman robes and spoke random latin words or phrases. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now that they are done laughing you can see my point. It is good to research, learn about, and especially learn from the root of all people(Yes I said all. You denying humanity came from Africa is like me denying Gravity applies to feathers). But homogenizing African culture into a single outfit, and one particular language’s catch phrases is buffoonery. And it disrespects the very idea of what Black History Month seems to have been about. Woodson very rarely references the direct link of American Blacks to Africa when coming up with black history day. And even civil rights leaders focus on the accomplishments, trials, tribulations, and triumphs of Black Americans when they address the then week long and later month long celebration.

This wasn’t supposed to be back to Africa day. This wasn’t to be “Come out as a black Israelite” week. And most certainly it wasn’t call everyone not buying into your unintelligible and oblivious pro-black faux-afro-centrism month. This was supposed to be a day, week, and month to look at old, modern, and contemporary black accomplishments here in America by Black people and celebrate them. The way the month is now abused to get people to buy your stupid book, listen to your “Afro-consciousness” struggle rap mixtape, or pick up another copy of the hidden colors series is disgusting. Celebrating Black American Achievement is laudable. Trying to push your faux revolutionary agenda along with merchandise is race pimping.

I hate what it really says about America and Americans.

The hardest part of this piece today is that for all the complexity in my relationship with Black History Month, I love parts of it. Seeing parents post videos of their kids reading Langston Hughes like I did as a kid. Watching young women and young men talk about the influence researching Malcolm X now has on them. Students fighting to get to see Selma. These are great things. They are things we need to remember and cherish. These are things that we wouldn’t have the access to 15 years ago. That is beautiful. That is what I love about this month. No matter that it is the shortest of the year.

The reason I say I hate what it really says about America is that I know these things will only occur in months like this. Save the students who began their struggle at the end of January, these kinds of moments are part and parcel February only. Anything else will be an outlier. A seeming non-sequitur. Because unlike our schools, events, drinking fountains, transportation, and voting rights, history is still highly segregated. It should be normal to talk about the alleged role Benjamin Banneker had in crafting Washing D.C. alongside Pierre Charles L’Enfant after being part of the survey group. It should be simple for Literature teachers to reference the fact that Alexander Dumas was black French writer who also would use some of the lavish gifts he received to help support American Abolitionists.

It is disheartening for me, to see the various things I know because I read about them in history, or learn about them in the present day, never grace history books that get updated yearly. From College texts, right down to the entry level reading for pre-schoolers. It says Americans, don’t actually care about learning. It says Americans, don’t really want to know more about the cultures that have come together to make us great. And for all the granola munching, soybean slurping, rice milk drinking, vegan cheese making, dog rescuing, gentrifying liberal wastes of my time that give it lip service, they are no better than their dip spitting, klan member, confederate flag waving, Santorum supporting, racist assholes.

But bigger than my hatred of bigots, It says America is regressing. It says we don’t want to be exceptional anymore. The fact that we need black history month to remind white America that some things are just not okay is sad. That we need it to remind black people to try and achieve is sad. That we need a specific month to pull black children aside and tell them how important to the fabric of this great experiment they are, and the ones who came before them were is sad. When American History is taught to include all the cultures that have made us great, hopefully we will have advanced enough to no longer need this month. Until then I loathe the month, but I lovingly endure it. Because It just might make us all better. And also because it pisses off racists and bigots alike, and you know I love that. I could talk about the problem of Black vs. African American. Maybe next week. For now though…Words Don’t Do It Justice!

 

– THE Ruthless Wonder