Happy Martin Luther King Day

Image result for Martin luther kingIF IT WASN’T FOR HIS COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR PEACE, I think it’s fair to say that our society would have been less moral and spiritually sensitive than they were when he was still alive. If it wasn’t for his selflessness; his courage to tell us to look beyond our many indifferences, and, his fearlessness to do the right thing, the change that came in 2008 would probably never have happened. I am aware that it might be a stretch to assume the latter, but I ask; wouldn’t it be a stretch, in the other direction, to not assume so? When we look at the aspirations of Martin Luther King; moral integrity, justice, equality all across the board, and the belief that we should learn to “…accept finite disappointmnet, but never lose hope,” it would be hard to not think that our first black president, Barack Obama, did not benefit from, what I like to call, the trickle-down-homologies of Martin Luther King.

If it wasn’t for his commitments to equality, my family and many other families like mine, would probably not be living amongst white people right now. Although I am not romanticizing nor am I trying to glamorize proximity to white people as something akin to true progression, still, I think that Martin Luther King would agree that we have come a very long way. If it wasn’t for his resolve and staunch determinism for justice, the many times that I’ve spoken truth to power would have been null and void—or would have landed me in jail.

You know what, though, trying to imitate Martin Luther King by speaking truth to power actually did land me in jail. It wasn’t that long ago that I was arrested by two white police officers for simply riding my bicycle at night with no head lights. I was doing a midnight-bike-ride event with a bunch of my white friends, and the police did not harass us until I decided to leave the pack. When I refused to comply with their false arrest and atypical machoisms, they said they would arrest me and confiscate my bicycle. After going back and forth with them for a while, and with my white friends long gone, I finally agreed to their arrest. That night in that cold cell, with one itchy blanket and a brown-colored lightbulb that never went off, was one of the longest nights of my life. When I got out the following day, I felt humiliated, disrespected, and less of a man. I felt like my blackness was exposed only to be viciously trampled upon—and, I also felt like I could never be as equal as the two white men who arrested me that night. Looking back, I wonder; if my skin color had resembled the skin color of my friends that just got swallowed by the darkness of the night, and who were now safely pedaling home with half empty beer cans in the hands and contraband in their tight, jeans pockets, would all of that might have still happened to me?

What does it say about our society, long after Martin Luther King sacrificed himself for us, by preaching justice and encouraging the few of us that are dissatisfied with hate and intolerance, to speak truth to power—-but yet, when we do, we still get arrested for it? Perhaps I should rephrase; has change come, for those who need less of it, but for those like myself and for others who aren’t on top of the racial-foodchain? The emotional answer would be, yes! of course, it has! But, the intellectual response would not say, no nor would it say, yes, but would encourage us to not be satisfied with the battles against indifference that have been won so far—-especially when the war for absolute humility is still raging on.

Happy MLK Day

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” — MLK JR. —-

The Addiction to Celebrity Culture

Celebrity life addiction cover photo

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I am reading a news site and I pass by an article that discusses a celeb beef, a new celeb relationship, or announcing what a celeb wore or how hot their abs are. It drives me crazy, and definitely not in a good way. In fact, it makes me feel worried for the state of things once again. I believe it is mentally unhealthy to put so much stock in celebrities; let me tell you why.

The only reason people pay any attention to the celebrities and their lives is because they are famous for being on TV, for their music, or whatever else puts these people in the “public eye”. People become obsessed with celebrities, simply because other people have become obsessed with them. I mean, would Justin Bieber be as popular if he didn’t start off marketing to teenage girls just hitting puberty? Probably not, and Justin and his PR team knew that. That’s why they started marketing his own line of women’s perfume in the beginning of his career. What exactly does Justin Bieber know about women’s perfume? Does that sound remotely mentally sound? It isn’t, and nor should it.

Also, people get addicted to celebrity culture because they are thirsty. Yes that’s right, T-H-I-R-S-T-Y. So thirsty, they look like they are really worried about re-populating the planet after 3/4 of the population has died, as opposed to just having a sexual attraction to a person. This aspect of celeb addiction, I find uniquely sad. If a person can’t realize how easily manipulated people are becoming when they are shown a “pretty” (I use quotations to signify the reality that most celebs’ physical appearance is manufactured) face in order to buy something, see a movie, or to endorse a politician *hint hint*, then that person needs to wake up to the reality of what celeb culture is actually about. It is a tool of manipulation, no more, no less. Can you think of another point as to the existence of it?

Celeb culture sets up impossible standards as the reality of what humans should aspire to, even though the celebrities themselves can’t live up to it either. One example is this whole idea of being America’s darling, of being the apple of everyone’s eye and the kind of person that makes the world swoon every time they take a breath; their name is always on someone’s lips. First off, it is annoying when pop culture find a new person to obsess about and spam them to the world. Every other headline is about them and everything they are doing because people just need to know that this person exists *eye-roll*, even if they are a total ass, or even crazy.

Even though, I like Hunger Games and the X-Men franchise, I will use Jennifer Lawrence as an example. When she first gained popularity, people wouldn’t shut up about her. It was, “Jennifer Lawrence this, and JLaw that”, “she’s the new IT girl”. Whatever that means. In a nutshell, she was the bee’s knees in Hollywood for awhile. However, when she was telling off a reporter in a manner that rubbed EVERYONE the wrong way for asking her about the Oscars when he meant to say Golden Globes, and for taking photos at the same time. It just came off mean instead of her being funny like she tried to make it sound, and everyone laughed along with her. It wasn’t funny though. It was a-hole-like. That is another problem with celeb culture. Because they are celebrities, they get to act like how they want and treat people however they want, simply because they are famous and “universally loved”. 

When are people going to realize that celebrity culture is extremely damaging? When their young daughters start taking skip days to go get botox or cosmetic surgery to “appear more sexy” instead of sneaking off to go to a movie? A guy who spent over $100,000 to look like Justin Bieber died from cosmetic surgery. Or how about when people are starting twitter fights with other people over a celeb’s personal problems and they start saying some truly messed up things. That is an every day occurrence. I think it is going to be a big wake-up call for people when they start to understand that what happens in celebrities’ lives really shouldn’t matter to them. It is pointless, damaging to their psyche, and it is somewhat sad. It’s not to say that you can’t be a fan of a celebrity’s work. Just don’t sell your soul to them, just because some celebrities have sold their souls to the Hollywood machine.

 

Kill em With Kindness

orlando shooting

I know it’s easy, in times of tragedy and mass hysteria, to forget about our humanity, but we need to work hard to put our good-self forward—no matter what.

This is not the time to entertain reactionary solutions to a tragedy that calls for resolve and progressivism. From experience, I am almost certain, however, that someone will abandon their moral rectitude to want to answer violence with violence.

But, for a brief moment, I urge you to think about Selena Gomez—when she said we should “kill em with kindness

Moreover, to those who may still want to achieve the latter; of answering violence with violence, please remember that the gunman, Omar Mateen, was an anomaly and is not reflective of all Muslims.

If your close relative, friend or neighbor, did something wrong, do you constellate your relative, friends and neighbors as having the same pathology for doing something bad?

In the same breath, however, we must condemn anyone who chooses to target a group of people who, not only were minding their business, but had the right to life and liberty just like the rest of us.

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