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Monday, July 23, 2018

An Argument Aagainst Killmonger and the Wokemon Who Love Him




How homie on the right ‘got out’ to become a damn traitor?

After watching Black Panther, it is safe to say we of the black society found Eric Killmonger relatable. He was handsome, smart, physically appealing, dominant and fighting for a just cause. Within Black Panther Killmonger’s character served as a poignant statement about the American black man. One who has been used, abused, thrown out, and angered by the system.
Instead of being viewed as a villain, he is thought of as the Malcolm X to T’challa’s MLK. There is a feeling of empathy surrounding his defeat and a feeling, amongst some, that more real-life members of our society need to channel some Killmonger in order to get things done. The overarching theme that consistently ruins this philosophy for me, and doesn’t endear those who love him to my heart, is the treatment of the women around him. Killmongers callous use of his partner is symptomatic of the use and systemic erasure of black women in black American society and American society at large.
The movie made it abundantly obvious that a large part of T’challa’s success was due to the core of strong women around, that supported and strengthened him. A large part of his success was his black panther suit, one made for him by his sister Shuri. A black woman.
Whenever T’challa had a serious problem he turned to the women in his life, all black. When he nearly died he was healed by those same women. They acted to temper his decision making, kept him focused and acted as his support system. Not intangible support but, physical effects in the form of scientific advances and bodies on the battlefield in the final fight.
One of the turning points in the movie was T’challa’s journey to the ancestral plane to speak with T’chaka and gain the powers of the Black Panther. This journey was aided, abetted and moderated by Black women. They created the nectar from the heart shaped plant, administered it to T’challa, prepared his body and made sure it was safe while his spirit journeyed. Part of T’challa’s strength was the women in his life who strengthened him.


The man literally drips in sexy and competent black women at all times.

Then we have Killmonger, who became exactly the colonizer he was fighting against. A man who murdered his literal partner in crime for the sheer convenience of it within the first twenty minutes of the film. He didn’t fight for her at all, he didn’t negotiate for her life, he didn’t even hesitate. He looked her in the eye and said ‘Its gonna be okay” and he didn’t mean for her. Klaue was trying to use her as leverage against him and she became dead weight to be cut free. Pro-liberation black men, in the way of Killmonger, frequently also perform this surgery to achieve liberation gains when their partners outlive their usefulness. He destroyed his own support system and spent the remainder of the movie fighting alone; a metaphor seemingly lost on the population of Killshippers.


He also burned his chances at long-term success.

The comparison of the two men, one raised and socialized in Wakanda and the other in America, by virtue of its difference in scale, points to the black woman's absence in America. This is characterized by Killmongers entire character as he is America’s byproduct.
Killmongers girlfriend, a person who aided and facilitated his goals, was not a casualty in that battle. She was not taken out by his enemies, rather he killed her himself and used her death as a stepping stone to dispatch his white enemy, Klaue. Furthermore, her death went unrecognized in the movie. Killmonger never hesitated to press his advantage. He never seemed to regret his actions and, putting sentimentality aside, never even paused to respect or acknowledge how useful she had been. We never even learned her name. This is frequently the fate of black women who are viewed as expendable by Killmonger types. Once she died, it was as if Thanos snapped his fingers, because no trace of her was left.


#ThanosBae

These men and society at large frequently use the bodies of black women as stepping stones to advancement, then erase them from history. Societally this brings to mind the stories of Saartje Bartman, Henrietta Lacks, and countless other black women used and abused in smaller and no less damaging ways.
I truly worry for black men who see nothing wrong with Killmongers actions. It means they view black women as nameless expendable fodder within the struggle that characterizes the black experience.
We as proud black people need to realize that to uplift our women is to advance ourselves.
It is beneficial to nurture women because women are nurturing. There are women who don’t nurture and men who do, which is fine. In current society, through accidental or purposeful socialization, generally, function in a more nurturing capacity compared to men. The metaphor of black society failing to nurture its women is like that of a farmer leaving the fate of his seedlings up to cruel chance, after spending weeks planting his harvest. With just a little water and care his harvest could be so great, but for some reason, he feels like the plant should be doing all the work since it's in the ground. He can argue as much as he likes, but the guy watering his soil is going to have a better haul come harvest time.


Hint: People also dry up if you neglect them long enough.

Wakanda is an imaginary society in which the men and women work in tandem for the greater and faster advancement of its people. Why don’t we as a real society aim for this ideal? Killmonger was a relatable villain, but at his core is still a problematic character and we shouldn’t be using him as the example of how to be strong, black and male, just because he was popular in a movie. Killmonger wasn’t about the advancement of the race or he would have treated ladies better, he was about the advancement of himself, and so he fought alone and burned down everything valuable behind him so that others couldn’t benefit.


Is THIS your role model???

Seriously fuck this guy.




Alisha Smith

By Alisha Smith, 
Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans.

Check out more of her work here! 
@__alishamarie and also my medium page medium.com/@Asmith1014









Game developers of Color Expo: A Lady Blerd’s First Look At Heaven.



a.k.a paradise.

As I stepped through the doors of the Schomberg Center, a museum dedicated to blackness, I was greeted by a sea of beautiful natural hair in various styles and colors. I was also greeted by an array of consoles and controllers. My people. I was at The Game Developers of Color Expo, a collection of like minded-game crafting individuals. The aim of the expo was to highlight the game developers of color and how their lived experiences intersected with their style of game design.
As a black woman and gamer, the Game Developers of Color Expo was three floors of fresh air. It felt like a niche market, speaking directly to me and people I could easily identify with. Like comic con before everyone knew about it.
One panel, in particular, Activism and Politics in Game Design, immediately caught my attention. The panel was led by the creators of the game Objectif. Objectif is a game in which each of the three players is asked to identify the most attractive woman in the deck. As two players face off against one another with their respective “deck” of women, the third player, the judge, determines which lady is more attractive in each round, and must explain to the group why they chose their pick.
The objective is designed to draw attention to our arbitrary beauty and racial standards of attractiveness, something that becomes more apparent as you come across duplicates of women within the deck, differentiated only by their skin color or ancillary features.
The developers each spoke about the experiences that brought them to the intersection of politics and gaming. One story that particularly stuck out to me was As 


The Ultimate Clap Back


A game designed for three or more in which each person picks an opening insult from the draw pile, that they aim at a fellow player. This player then responds with a clap back from their hand and if the clap back is strong they’ve “won” the round. Playing ‘The Ultimate Clap back’ felt like a night with my favorite girls. The game was easy to jump into, didn’t have a long laundry list of rules, and I had a strong desire to continue playing after the demo was finished.



Here’s How it Happened

Another 3 + player card game but, with a murder mystery twist. Team Murder Squad’s addition to the expo starts off with a death. A player representing the judge holds on to ‘evidence’ cards associated with the case and the remaining two players then pick five narrative cards. The object of the game is to weave a plausible explanation for the initial death based on three of the five narrative cards picked. The most believable story wins the round. I found myself hooked on this one pretty quickly. It was simple, easy to learn, and fun. The narrative cards didn’t always create a cohesive story and this encouraged silliness within the storyline. This is the sort of analog fun that lends itself really easily to drinking games and would be a hit at parties.


SwimSanity!

From DecoyGames, Swimsanity is a multiplayer underwater shooter, playable by up to four people at once. This one was a blast in both the competitive and co-op mode, which I found surprising because PvP is not my favorite style of gameplay. The competitive mode had a quick regeneration cycle that made dying on the field feel less punishing and getting back into the action seamless. I also loved the special attack system. The controls were easy to pick up and played intuitively across systems (I played the demo on an Xbox, and am personally a PlayStation user. If you are switching consoles you still shouldn’t have a problem.)
The co-op mode is also fun, pitting you and your friends against waves of aquatic enemies, forcing you to change your attack strategy. The only drawback to the game is that the characters look pretty similar, and even though they are color-coded it is easy for the eye to lose your character on screen, especially with multiple players. This is another game that could be a huge hit with company.


Neon Kreiger Yamato

This LionPlex title was absolutely a blast to play and was coincidentally the first game I played upon entering the expo. This side-scrolling, 8-bit style throwback arcade game was very reminiscent of old-school Mega-man games and it was very intuitive to play.
There were eight unique characters to chose from, each with a different moveset and strength profile to suit different play styles. Although Neon Kreiger Yamato is a pretty basic side-scroller, the dynamics of the stage mechanics made for really interesting puzzles, all of which had a multiplicity of solvable options, limited only by the player's imagination. I remember myself and my partner running afoul of a flame-throwing robot mech at the end of the first stage and found, after getting our asses summarily handed to us, that the best way forward was to simply … skip him and head for the retractable platforms blocking the exit.
I also loved the fact that the levels were structured for single or multiplayer action from the outset, and that the game didn’t require the players to go into a special two-player area at any point in order to fully enjoy the scope of the two-player action. The two-player action was easy and seamless.
The only drawback was the developers haven’t gotten the button commands fully correct as of yet. When in-game prompts came up to explain things like blocking and special attacks, they were still optimized for the keyboard so, it was a little confusing trying to identify which buttons did what on the console controller. The prompts, however, were properly color-coded and the game is still in development. Its flaws can definitely be forgiven based on the awesome gameplay experience. I can’t wait for it to come out.
The Game Developers of Color Expo is definitely a haven for anyone who likes games and was especially welcoming for the underserved niche of women gamers of color. The expo had more than a few gems, I loved everything I got my hands on and completely lost track of time. All in all, it was a great way to spend an afternoon.


Alisha SmithBy Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans.

Check out more of her work here! 
@__alishamarie and also my medium page medium.com/@Asmith1014








Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hoping To Kill Us: The Purposeful Usage Of Police As Lynching Tools By White America


Hint: black people frequently cope with trauma through humor


When Donald Trump became president, it was a dark day for everyone who wasn’t white, cisgendered and male.

Our collective social conscious holds memory of times when emboldened by similar racist leadership, white America felt no need to pretend to like black people. As individuals this may not be true but, collectively speaking, it seems pretty obvious the white social consciousness must be constantly reminded that black people are in fact … people and that #blacklivesmatter.

As we get into the meat of the second year of this racist free for all we call a presidency, we begin to notice a trend of white (usually women) doing what they do best; weaponizing their privilege against black people


hint: it wasn’t. But it was still dangerous for the black people when the police showed up


Last year 22% of the 987 people fatally dispatched by the American police were African American. This year, which we are only four months into, sees a number 387 people, dead at police hands. As of a week ago the count of those killed by police is up by 31 as compared to last year.

This begs the question: “what are the odds of dying while black during a police encounter?” 60/40? 80/20? A coin flip?

Police brutality, especially due to the efforts of black America, has been publicized in the greater American social conscious. As such it has filtered into the realm of common knowledge that black and white people have different perceptions of the police. When faced with police, people of color are disproportionately murdered with no proper cause.

At the same time this information becomes more widely known, we begin to see an uptick in white calls to the police. Contrary to popular belief this is not because white people do not understand what happens to people of color when the police are called. It is because they understand what happens to people of color when the police are called that more police are being called on people of color. It is not an accident it is a direct response to black people trying to claim larger safe spaces in the greater American social consciousness. Traditionally, as black people try to create more black spaces for themselves, white people push-back with their favorite tool since the civil war days; a good old fashioned southern lynching.


Lynching is defined as a pre-meditated extrajudicial killing by a group, most often used to characterize informal public executions to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a set of people. -Wikipedia


To call the police on innocent black people, doing nothing wrong, is to hope for a modern day American lynching. Shaun King speaks about it here.

Let’s mine 2018 for examples of this weaponized privilege.

Lolade Siyonbola, a Yale graduate student, took a nap in her dorms common room. She woke up to a 15-minute interrogation from Sarah, a white classmate, and the law enforcement officers Sarah felt the need to call because Ms. Siyonbola “looked out of place” in the building. Apparently sleeping while black warrants you a coin flip with death. Thanks, Sarah.



Remember Becky with the good hair? Say hello to Sarah with the cell phone. Maybe they’re cousins.



In April Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson was arrested for trespassing in Starbucks. Really, they were just early for a business meeting they were having and had the gall to wait for their third partner before ordering coffee. It seems taking your fellow network contacts out for coffee while black warrants you a coin-flip with death. Thanks, Starbucks.

A golf club owner called the police on the group of black women patronizing his establishment because they wouldn’t leave quickly enough. So, paying to golf while black can net you at risk of death.

Ms. Prendergast recently called the police, who came bearing seven backup vehicles and a helicopter. Why the heavy artillery? Four black filmmakers dared to stay at an Airbnb and didn’t wave to her during their stay. So not talking to creepy strangers watching you out of house windows puts you at risk for death, or an encounter with SEAL team 6. Thanks, Ms. P.



… are the guns microphones??


These incidents have a common theme; white people viewing black people as having transgressed their physical or mental space and responding by calling the police. A more commonly known to result in the arrest or lethal takedown of people of color in punishment.

Remember our definition of lynching? When an individual is publicly extrajudicially killed to intimidate a set of people based on an alleged transgression? It’s not extrajudicial killing if you call in the justice system to do your dirty work for you, is it? This smokescreen transforms the attack into the dirty, racially powered grey area white people love to feign ignorance from. It is the reason we aren’t calling Ms. Prendergast’s 911 call what it is: an attempted lynching for daring to be black in a white space.

Like all lynchings, these 911 calls sink into the black consciousness, a poison designed to intimidate and weaken our development. They serve, as past lynchings did, to reinforce white control and keep black people in areas where whites think they belong. Much like in 2015 when Texas residents called police on black teenagers enjoying a swimming pool. They were reported as saying to the children “Go back to section 8! [housing]” The residents, after watching at least one child sustain an injury after being violently pinned to the ground, later posted signs around the pool thanking officers for ‘keeping them safe’.

Put together, these stories paint a very obvious picture of the continued systemic abuse of white power and the privileges therein. It’s not even new. Periodically, like a parasite defending itself from the separation of its host body, white society changes the sound of the conversation around racism. They do this while purposefully failing to identify themselves as its root cause.

So, within the white social consciousness, the killing of black people is fine but, as soon as we point out that the killers en-masse are white, obfuscation techniques are used to shift the conversation.

An example of one such conversation shifting smoke-screen is the #alllivesmatter movement that rose, not to champion the lives of everyone but, as a counter to the #blacklivesmatter movement. This oversaturated the American social conscious with an endless barrage of things that were currently mattering. #blacklivesmatter cannot matter if #animallivesmatter, #plantlivesmatter, #poorlivesmatter, #mylifematters. If all lives matter, your black life does not. The gentlest way to say that nothing is special is to say everything is special in its own way and we see that used here to dampen the effect of the original movement.


funny, but hurts the point.


The same can be seen of the phrase “white privilege” which is seen countered with thought pieces on “pretty privilege”, “skinny privilege”, “straight privilege” et cetera. These additional movements, while valid, serve to undermine the original point by inundating the conversation about white privilege with different types of privileges. This shifts the conversation around whiteness itself by pointing out other valuable problems, that when examined, add up to white privilege anyway.

At the height of pretty privilege is the pretty white ideal. At the height of straight privilege is the white nuclear family. At the height of skinny privilege, a sub-set of pretty privilege is the slender white ideal. Although other individual people in other ethnic groups can find themselves on the privileged side of some areas, the ideal is always whiteness.

The white ideal is white privilege.

White people systemically use this ideal as a reason to devalue black lives in America. It is so bad the black social consciousness felt the need to remind everyone that it is comprised of individual lives that matter, and shouldn’t be abused, profiled against or lynched.

The phrase “lynching” fell out of public favor for the same reason the phrase “white privilege” and #blacklivesmatter is being forced out of public opinion. They specifically point to white violence against black people.

We as a black society need to see through and obliterate these politically correct smokescreens. The Trumpian administration champions telling it like it is and black society needs to wake up and call a spade a spade. These 911 calls from white society on innocent black people are murder attempts and hopes for modern lynchings. They use the police department to murder black people because they have a sick desire to see these lynchings. They are using the same obfuscation techniques they have always used, to disguise this fact in plain sight. We should address that.




Sunday, May 13, 2018

Help! I want to wring my partner’s neck! PART 2 “The science of sticking it out”

Photo Credit: Nappy.co
“I feel like all of my relationships are doomed.”

“It’s all well and good until they do something to piss me off and then it’s all ‘you to wild for me ma.’ These dudes get their feelings hurt one good time and are ready to run for the hills.”


Is your relationship “smooth sailing” until you guys argue?
Did you recently have an argument with your partner and, at some point, in the argument, you realized that one of you done FREAKED up?


Welcome to the wonderful world of vaginas. A place where people with vaginas (namely me, so maybe just one person) talk inclusively about stuff that affects pretty much everyone. This edition? How to be in a relationship when HOPPING FREAKING MAD.


Read: Help! I Want to Wring My Partner’s Neck!-PART 1: Communicating With Your Loved One Through The Veil Of Ange



Okay, so let’s delve into my experiences for a quick second. I have anger management issues. I sometimes see red. I get enraged. Things happen to me that feel out of my control when I get mad, upset, or frustrated. I have literally hopped with anger. This is not a joke for me and I assume it isn’t for any of you either. So, how is it that I manage to have a partner that gets on my nerves all the time, without sending him running for the hills when I’m aggravated with him? There are some things I had to realize about myself first, some tips and tricks I use to prep myself for ‘an episode’ and some things I try to do DURING my anger to try and head it off. So, I’m going to dish out the tips to you lovelies in a two-part series Help I want to wring my partner’s neck!  


Welcome to part 2! From start to finish, this segment contains some serious steps toward getting yourself under control. No wonder your parents always had such trouble with you. Now you’re the adult in your life and must deal with your own tantrums.  Remember, when going into situations where you feel triggered, a good rule of thumb is to approach the matter with the mindset of trying to find a resolution that works for everyone.


STEP 1: Stop and think
Let's stop and think



Step 1a: BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE. When I first become incredibly enraged, there was a half second where I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Take that second and use it to take 5 more deep breaths. I’m serious, do not stop at three, take five or even ten. Do what you must but, do to NOT say that first thing that comes to your mind. It’s bad! Don’t say it!

Goose fraba!


Do whatever you have to do to not say that first thing! Calm down. Take a second. Fully walk away if you need to. All of this is part of the stop and think process.


Step 2: Identify why you are angry.

Tell yourself that your anger isn’t necessarily wrong. Don’t try to bury your anger. Go into it. Feel it. Identify it. Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book ‘Anger Wisdom for Cooling the Flames’ that feelings of anger do not actually anger at all. He likens anger to a crying baby. Usually, there is something that we, on the inside, don’t feel is fair. We feel saddened at this unfairness (when our inner angry baby begins to cry) and we grow frustrated about our perceived lack of ability to address or remedy this imbalance. This mixture of emotions creates what we commonly identify as anger. The solution here is the more inner reflection to handle our inner crying child.

NOT like that!

Dealing with anger is, according to Hanh the ability to delve deep with meditation or Self-reflection and play the mother to our crying inner child. We can do this by identifying where we feel mistreated, by giving that feeling credence and solving that issue instead of our surface feelings of rage, which are usually misleading. So, for our step 2, concentrate on identifying what is the source of your feeling of mistreatment and dissect it.


Step 3: Address the issue with an eye toward resolution
You have become angry. You have addressed why you are angry. You have found the real reason fueling your feeling of mistreatment and it’s not something arbitrary, like their tone. Now, you need to articulate your displeasure and hurt to your partner. How can you do this without them becoming hyper-defensive and not hearing what you have to say?


3a. Always talk about the actual issue and not supplementary bull DONK.
We are going to stop calling them arguments here and now because that is a very contentious word and you should be going into the discourse with an eye toward resolution. There is nothing more annoying than getting into a disagreement with someone and instead of having them address what is hurting you, they veer off into something that you did, that hurt them. This is a defense mechanism.
Understand, as soon as this common defensive response happens, there is no logical reason to defend yourself, unless you are feeling attacked. Just like the age-old phrase goes, “the best defense, is a good offense.” If your partner begins attacking you during your discourse, they themselves are feeling attacked. Defensiveness is a key indicator of how your partner is feeling, something you should always keep an eye on.


No shields necessary


If your partner is defending themselves, take a step back and let them know in plain English that you are not attacking them and that you understand the action they are speaking about hurt them. However, that you are not focused on that right now and if they would like, you can pick up that discussion after you are finished having this one. Get verbal affirmation that this is the plan. Mutually agree to it and then continue to step 4 which tells us HOW to speak to our partner.


Step 4: The golden rule.
When you are angry, if all respect or human decency for your partner flies out of the window, that tells us all something about you, and more self- reflection on your part is needed. Make sure when your true colors show, they are pretty colors and to that end, MIND YOUR MOUTH. Don’t take the low blow unless you want one in return and treat your partner how you want to be treated during the disagreement. You can do this by learning to speak constructively while angry.
I can hear your thoughts, I swear it. “So, what do you mean by constructively here?”



Constructive people. I’ll explain.


Speaking constructively during a disagreement is how you can de-escalate situations and put your partner into a problem-solving mood, as opposed to a defensive mood. Let’s check out this very fake example:


Example:
Person A: “Hey! You didn’t take out the trash. Again! Can you please actually take it out, instead of letting it sit or waiting for me to do it? You never do what I ask you to do.
Notice how Person A has chosen to phrase their displeasure. I promise, the nuances of Person A having asked Person B to take out the trash any number of times got lost behind the phrase “you” for Person B. “YOU” is the first and pretty much only thing your partner is going to hear in that sentence. The rest translates out into “I’M ANGRY AND IT’S YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR FAULT! FIX IT NOW, YOU DONK-HEAD!” It doesn’t matter that isn’t what Person A said to Person B. The statement above is how it was translated.
People often don’t respond to what you are saying, but how you are saying it, and certain trigger phrases or words. “Always” is one of these trigger words. When having a discussion, it is bad to generalize, because the person you are having the discussion with will consciously or subconsciously start looking for individual instances that deviate from the generalization you made. As we all know, doing this during a disagreement is not conducive to problem-solving.


Instead of angrily saying “you didn’t take out the trash again” and “you never do what I ask you to do” Person A could try this:
Person A: “Sometimes when I ask you things, I feel like you blow me off. I asked for the trash to be taken out a few hours ago and it’s still here. But, it’s not just about the trash. I don’t ask you for things arbitrarily, I genuinely need help and I feel like I’m not being listened to. Can you see how this could upset me?”
This takes a completely different tone than the previous example and it’s because Person A was forced to change their phrasing by taking out accusatory “You” statements. Now, instead of coming from a place of needing to defend oneself, Person B might just approach the crux of Person A’s issue. A feeling of being ignored and unimportant, and not the surface issue of the stinky garbage. The true face of any disagreement is the desire and will to hash it out and reach some sort of compromise that works for everyone.


Step 5 COMPROMISE:



This article is not designed to show you how to manipulate your partner into always getting your way. It is designed to educate you on how to resolve conflict in your relationships. To that end, compromise is always the ultimate goal. When going into a disagreement, you should know the end goal is NOT to get your way. It’s to come away from an untenable situation with a happy medium you can both live with. I started this series by saying that we should always keep an eye toward resolution when heading into difficult situations with our partners and it’s with an eye toward a resolution that you should approach compromising as well.


You have now made the self-reflective shift, towards the things that upset you and have mastered the art of speaking properly during times of distress; Now, if you are doing all of these steps and are still encountering problems or frequent disagreements with your partner. Either because you feel unheard or things aren’t making a shift into the land of the better, consider that the problem isn’t you, but your partner. before doing anything drastic make sure to go through these steps with them and try the science behind sticking it out.





By Alisha Smith, Alisha is 24-year-old recent graduate, writer, blogger, gamer, and corporate drone by day and rampant blabbermouth by night. She currently writes for Ms. Vixen and on Medium and spends her free time shamelessly pursuing her interests and avoiding other humans. 










 
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