Oh, P.S., On A Final Note…Since I have the floor…


I’ve been rather conscious in the past about not putting people on blast from my blog.  It’s rather easy given that many of my topics are about religion and it’s rather easy to call out church names and pastor names.  Aside from big timers like a T.D. Jakes or a Creflo Dollar or a Bishop Eddie Long who already have a public persona, and with regards to Jakes’ it’s most certainly crossed over into the non-church domain, I really shy away from talking about people’s individual ministries.

I really want to, but I don’t.

There’s more than enough people out there with blogs solely dedicated to that, and of course any yahoo with a webcam has hooked up to YouTube and dropped a video replete with religious foolishness about why certain pastors are fools for various random and sundry reasons.

But, before I get into my first and hopefully last blast, let me preface this with the topic at hand:

rihanna_chris_brown_barbadosI will say now and forever (at least until I hear the opposing side) that something about the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation does not sit right with me.  It never has from the beginning.  There’s something about this situation that as a community that we have not dealt with because the face value problem was staring us in the face too boldly.  Actually at first, I was waiting until it all played out and didn’t jump on Chris Brown because all of the facts had not been presented to us.  I caught some flak for that, but it was cool, nothing serious.  But I do believe in waiting to make a statement until charges are filed, which is when I dropped my first post on it. After the trial and what not, I really didn’t have much to say on it, much of the black blogosphere was doing enough talking to not warrant my two cents.

I gave my four lessons that I learned from the incident and two were directed at Chris Brown and men and two were directed at Rihanna and one toward women.  Apparently, we’re not supposed to call a woman into question in the case of domestic abuse–I wasn’t aware that we weren’t supposed to question whether or not she was faking (think Lynn Whitfield’s character in “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”), or take this time to talk about domestic abuse in general, not just men versus women, but also violent women committing crimes against their husbands.   No, not do a diatribe saying that women are the cause and reason why a man wound up hitting them–not saying that–but, hell, let’s just have an open honest and fair discussion.

But no one wants to talk about the truth, the real truth–because the real truth is often times an inconvenient truth.

It has long been my platform that we must always have a fair debate on an issue.  The Socratic method of deconstruction and posing opposing questions to an argument has more than stood the test of time of pushing one on their beliefs and convictions.  Plato never resulted to personal barbs when pushed or challenged for a rationale on a subject.  Only if a commenter here has started off with personal attacks and has made their comment based more on emotions than on rationale have I pushed back slightly.  Generally those people amount to mere trolls who saw a topic and just went off.  And especially on other blogs when I comment, I never make a personal attack, particularly since I know there’s no context in text.

So, imagine my chagrin when The Christian Progressive Liberal (CPL) over at Jack and Jill Politics which I’ve had on my blogroll almost from the beginning, came for me today.

I had made the following comment (verbatim):

Well, out of respect for Rihanna he initially didn’t want to tell in detail what happened. But honestly, something about this whole situation doesn’t set right with me. It never did from jump.

I never will condone domestic abuse in whatever manner it is, but I just can’t but be bothered by the commentary that has followed this. I’m having a distinct problem that everyone has so clearly endorsed the gender roles of man vs. woman and woman vs. man. I’m almost insulted because it seems that the male perspective doesn’t have a say-so at the discussion table with this whole Chris Brown and Rihanna incident.

He’s TWENTY years old.

And an immature twenty at that.

I mean, everyone’s responding to him like he’s a fully grown man and been on his own for a while. I mean this is not Lil’ Wayne we got here, but Chris Brown, who’s two steps removed from doing Sesame Street with Elmo. He’s 20 years old, I’m sure his “not remembering” was probably nothing more than him not wanting to go into the sordid details–that I’m sure most people didn’t want to hear in the first place.

Realistically, did we want to hear that any more than we would want to have heard about how OJ allegedly killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman?

And this was more or less in response to the question and the post of the same title: “How Do You Forget Beating Someone’s Ass?” which was a response to Chris Brown’s CNN Larry King interview last week.  The following is the exchange between me and CPL:

With all due respect, you become an adult at 18, so yeah, Chris Brown is a fully grown MAN.

Having said that, it still does not excuse him from what he did. PERIOD.

Additionally, since he’s 20 years old, that means he’s grown up during the time period where being sensitive to women was on the front burner. Men who grew up before the 1980s were still TAUGHT that you DO NOT HIT WOMEN, PERIOD.

Brown has no excuse, and if he respected Rihanna, HE WOULD HAVE NEVER, EVER, PUT HIS HANDS ON HER IN THE FIRST PLACE.

If Lil’ Wayne did the same shyt, we’d get on his ass the same way. Read the blog posts about the shyt he pulled at the “tribute” for Michael Jackson and how we railed at that.

You think Sesame Street is going to associate themselves with the likes of Chris Brown after this? They’re going to FORGET they EVEN KNEW HIM.

Please don’t be so “Uppity” that you can’t see what is the reality. [emphasis added]

My following response:

Um, you don’t have to do the personal attacks.

That’s half the reason I don’t comment on here as much as I would like.

Every time I make a dissenting comment I get blasted on a personal level and I’ve never made a personal charge at any other commenter on here before.

CPL’s response:

Again, with all due respect, you came here and posted comments which attempted to excuse Mr. Brown’s actions, as opposed to holding him accountable for them.

Wherein did I personally attack you? By asking you not to “be so uppity that you can’t see the reality?”

If you consider that comment a personal attack, you won’t last long on this blog or anywhere else.

My final response:
Well, whether it’s a personal attack or not, it just seems that dissenting opinions to the majority are not welcome on this blog. I’ve been a long time fan of what you all are doing here, but by being brash for sake of trying to drown out another opinion does nothing to facilitate unity amongst the black blogosphere.

So what if I came here and gave an opposing view–isn’t that the point of an open forum?

It’s a sad day if black people can’t even discuss something amongst themselves simply because it’s a different opinion. [emphasis added]

Well, the emphasis added on the last one was a result of a dredged up memory that I had actually emailed CPL, aka Leutisha Stills and actually gave her praise for JJP and specifically her making the WaPo again concerning Tavis Smiley.  So, just out of friendly interest I had emailed her privately rather than make it seem as though I was trying to blast her personally on the blog.  She responded harshly concerning Tavis which let me know she felt strongly about it, but said she would refrain from commenting further because she was dropping a post on it later.  (Click on the previous hyperlink to see the post CPL dropped and the subsequent comments.  I made a comment to which two separate commenters wrote “RAOTFLMAO” and some one asked essentially was I Tavis Smiley making a comment).  To which I commented stating how I felt we, as a community were wrongly crucifying Tavis.
Now this was back in April of this year and of course the anti-Tavis sentiment was quite high.  And I do recall that when I was commenting on the blog that I was doing a lot of defending of my point of view, but more so, I felt I was more defending my integrity than anything else.  (And now that I went back and read follow-up comments to my comment as “theuppitynegro” you’ll kind of get what I’m talking about.  For full context, I’d really encourage you see this JJP post I’m talking about by clicking here.) That’s a rough blogger community that’s probably just as tight as the one over at AverageBro–which I think, I’m a part of (lol) as are some of the other blogs such as The Desultory Life and Times of a Public Citizen and at one point in time Raving Black Lunatic.

But, since I have the floor…
mic check
I’ve put CPL, aka Ms. Leutisha Stills on blast for one reason and one reason only: to say let’s stop the petty bickering and let’s have a dialogue.  You, and yes I mean you, Ms. Stills, calling me out and making me not feel welcome on your blog is not helping our community go any further, I would NEVER do that to you if you made an opposing comment on my blog.  But, you need not worry ever again about me commenting on JJP.  I think it’s weird because I remember for a season that one of JJP’s collaborators Rikyrah was a frequent commenter on my blog and I appreciated that from her, but even when we disagreed on an issue, she was never demeaning to my character–I hope you learn that from her.  I consider myself an intelligent and coherent individual, and since this is the internet, I try to assume that of everyone until proven otherwise.
I am of the persuasion that one cannot have a healthy dialogue that moves anyone forward if groupthink has allowed to dominate; simply stated when only one opinion has a say, that community begins to think that all is well until someone else steps up and has a differing point of view that challenges the dominant force.  I mean, if that was the case, change in any form, would never take place.  I’m not saying that I’m making it my life’s mission to be devil’s advocate or anything, but damn, at least respect where I am, because I’m trying my best to respect where you are.
I don’t intend to remove JJP from my blogroll or cast CPL or any of the rest of them off as something “other” but rather as a call to arms to say–we’ve got to stop this.  This isn’t benefitting any of us.
I’m not sure what the response will be, but if there is, I just hope it’s a positive one that uplifts and constructs, which is what this “blast” was meant to do.
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL

14 thoughts on “Oh, P.S., On A Final Note…Since I have the floor…

  1. ‘Does it worth it?’ My grammatically incorrect question is about use of energy and respect in words that live essentially forever in the blogosphere.

    Chris Brown (youthful indiscretion counts now and down the road) and Tavis Smiley are grown and reap what they sow, as we all do. Most times attack and defense of grown people does not require naming folk who are entitled to their ‘IMO’ responses in open discussions.

    Sometimes responses reflect the cultural ‘be’ position of the writer as much as that of the subject of the discussion. And that’s okay after considering the cost of doing so.

    Be kind because the real need may be empathy for those of differing opinions. Fact is easier to synthesize and accept without personal offense of a strongly held position. Agree to disagree.

    It is important to realize that ‘devil’s advocate’ is not a welcome companion on most journeys. It does depend on the destination.

    Continue to treat people the way you want to be treated. Learn along the way.

    Be Uppity while keeping your eyes open and working faithfully toward your own goals.

  2. This is off-topic but have you ever written about racism in graduate schools?

    Macon D of stuffwhitepeopledo recently stated “whenever white people congregate these days, high concentrations of racial homogeneity are just pure coincidence.” …

    I am a graduate student at a major biological “research institution” in New York City. You wouldn’t know this is a graduate/research program if you stumbled on campus. This exclusive, highly maintained campus feels more like Sandals resort with all of the young upper-middle class white or white male/asian female couples roaming around hand-in-hand during the evenings. Groups of white or white-and-asian students roam with tennis rackets on their way to the on-campus court. Or they congregate in packs at the on-campus student lounge with a personal bartender. Or the white and asian students have parties in the hotel-like student lounge of the dorms.

    Most of the groups of people you see dotted around campus are all-white or white-and-asian. The campus is mostly white with a substantial number of asians but has a serious dearth of black or latino students–and I almost never see the other black students.

    You wouldn’t believe the amounts of implicit racism I’ve experienced here. Twice while coming on campus I’ve been stopped in a hostile and condescending manner by newly-hired guards who, having seen my ID, told me that I am ‘ok’ since I was a groundskeepers or a day worker for the animal facility whose staff is mostly black and latino.

    Coming to my dorm, almost every six months someone gives me a hostile look in the foyer as if I’m some intruder. When I attend lectures, I meet the same hostility until I ask a serious academic question of the lecturer.

    When someone new comes to my lab, they’ll automatically either intentionally ignore me or attempt to condescend to me. Scientific sales reps will intentionally ignore me and proceed to the white guys who are also just students. Believe it or not, this one white girl who rotated in the lab would speak to me in a passive-aggressive/patronizing manner. And almost everyone in the lab, despite my being there for years and attempting to form working relationships with them, never come to me casually or attempt to have conversations (work or otherwise) with me unless I initiate the conversation and never at the casual or intelligent level they have with each other.

    I noticed the other two black guys, who are accomodationists (and overrepresented with respect to the real dearth of black students on campus), also attempt to have conversations with the white people in the lab but they are always the ones to initiate the conversation.

    After five years of being here, the only thing I’ve learned is that white and asian people are the only people competent enough to be scientists.

    A maintenance staff guy wrote an article in the student rag praising the university’s president in light of the great hall of European philosophers like Kant and Hume and the great European scientific tradition. Additionally, the sense of ownership and privilege among other students is just incredible.

    I’m beginning to think that biomedical science is almost a white supremist enterprise by default. Science is supposed to be a collaborative endeavor with a free collegial exchange of information and support, but when people are constantly patronizing or condescending to you, such is a psychological assault informing you that you are inconsequential, “tolerated” or unwelcomed. I read a report somewhere that around half of black graduate science students drop out of their programs. If they meet the same kinds of hostility or implied white supremacy I meet, small wonder.

    I’ve especially felt a sort of patronizing attitude right off the bat from many of the white female students on campus. White women, with the help of affirmative action, have made great gains in both scientific student bodies and faculty, but you would still be wont to find black faculty and only a little more lucky in locating black students in scientific graduate programs across the country. That aside, most of my interactions with white females on campus has been unnecessarily hostile and patronizing.

    There are two other black male students who happen to be in my lab; they’re very sycophantic towards the white male students, which surprised me. They’re always kissing up, laughing nervously, you know that trying to court your attention laugh, around these other white males who are just graduate students like them. They prick up their minds and attempt to engage the se white guys with crisp, intelligent conversation. They’ll go to the white guys equally whenever they have a problem as if they are the fount of knowledge, (I’ve never seen them approach any of the white girls or the Indian guy when they have problems, but they will approach them for prick-up-your-mind ‘casual’ conversation, more than they give me [or each other]). When explicitly in the company of the white guys (which never seems to be together with each other), they intentionally ignore me or will attempt to condescend to me. It’s irritating to watch white guys no better than the average black guy get their egos stroked day after day by white girls and sycophantic blacks while they also slap themselves on the back. It’s not like they’re especially brilliant or that this science is just so difficult that only superiorly intelligent white supremists like James Watson can do it.

    I don’t even want to get into the student listserve conversation I had to observe in the wake of James Watson’s comments back in 2007. Some of them practically endorsed the man with statements like “science is about objective data, not political correctness” or “what does giving a writing prize for his autobiography have to do with him making statements that any old man would make”?

  3. I wont get into similar experiences Ive had in the blogosphere, I’ll just say that I really appreciate this post. Personally, I try not to encourage a lot of reader debate on my blog because 1) people are irritaing lol and 2)I’ll still feel obligated to argue my viewpoint and focus on THAT instead of writing fresh content. Not staying in the debate even if its not about you anymore takes a level of maturity and distance that not everyone has, and I think that often plays a role in situations like these.

    1. @ Thembi

      It’s not so much that I’m against debates. I just don’t do well with the personal attacks. When I comment on other blogs, I try and shy away from that, even if it’s a harsh comment, but yeah, the times when some random trolls will comment here on my blog, I will go toe for toe with them, usually because they started it. But I would NEVER do that going to another person’s blog.

  4. So, we broke up?

    I wondered what happened. I do think Ms. Stills has a point on Tavis. In fact, I’m pretty sure here ire for him grew after a post I did about the way he was pimping black folks for money with that SOTBU thing.

    1. @ Big Man

      LMAO–I just meant I hadn’t commented over on your post in a while, lol.

      But, I’m not at all trying to invalidate Ms. Stills point of view, but just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to resort to personal attacks. If you clicked on the link and saw the comments following up what I had said, they’re just awful and rude and totally uncalled for. I’m never commenting again on JJP!

  5. Hi,

    This is few words of encouragement for LaSmartOne and his experience in graduate school. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, I was a physics graduate student at a university that will remain nameless. I felt like a fish out of water as a woman (a white woman and hopefully that won’t make you stop reading this) in a field that at that point was 95% or more male. It was tough and I can’t say it turned out well. The research part of the experience was interesting and challenging, but dealing with the other people involved and all their issues was an entirely different matter. If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell her to ignore all the sh!t, keep her mind on the task, and finish ASAP. It’s a big world, and once you get beyond the confines of academics, you can find a place where you are happier. The trouble with graduate school is that you commit yourself to an institution and a program and then you basically have no power until you finish. Once you are finished, you can choose, and if you find yourself in a situation with intolerable people, there are other opportunities. The field you are in is expanding more than most scientific fields. Good luck and please don’t let ridiculous people dampen your spirits!

  6. I’m sure we will fight about this later on but you were totally wrong on this one. And keeping in mind that 1) the issue is way over and 2) I don’t comment because I know you, I had to say that.
    It doesn’t matter how immature someone is, an adult is an adult regardless. He wasn’t too childish to not want to speak on the matter (which is an indicator that he did something wrong) so he should be grown enough to take the heat for doing it.
    And honestly if you had come at me with the he’s a young 20 piece I would’ve come at you even harder.
    I was raped at 14 and in an abusive relationship at 18, and regardless of how old they were wrong will always be wrong, tearing at a person like that will never be right. And I dare you to tell me that I was in some way responsible or making it up.
    You have to learn to take criticism. Sometimes every one isn’t going to like the Uppity One’s opinion and that has to be okay because you will not like everything that comes at you.
    Sometimes issues run deep and while it may seem unnatural to take other people into consideration, maybe you should start.
    I haven’t read further comments posted on blog but what you presented doesn’t seem like a personal attack it just seems like she was firm in her conviction.

    (Can I have a 1 minute warning before you come with you fists up, so I can get my gloves on)

    That is all

    1. @ nsromma

      First of all, this is my space, regulated only by me. I have just as much right to speak my opinion as anyone else does–no matter how offensive it may be. The same holds true for other people and their blogs. However, in the spirit of unity, I welcome comments and dissenting opinions–what I don’t welcome is personal attacks. Nor do I like being personally attacked for my opinion; if you have aught with my opinion, attack the logic or the argument or the opinion itself, don’t attack me. When the attacks get personal is where I get off the boat and go into another gear on the entire situation. What I had a problem with was the personal attacks. Perhaps you should have read the comments before you yourself commented.

      I think it’s unfair to start off your comment by telling me that I’m wrong. What is wrong? What is right? Am I not entitled to my opinion? I never accused opposing opinions for being WRONG, I just simply said I disagreed with the prevailing thought on this one.

      Again, I’m not saying that in your case that you should feel responsible for what happened.

      What I am saying is that something about THIS case, and this case ALONE, doesn’t sit right with me. I think what you said is exactly what is at issue: “sometimes issues run deep and while it may seem unnatural to take other people into consideration, maybe you should start.” I think it was something deeper behind the Chris Brown-Rihanna relationship that we may never know about. I’m of the opinion that at least the first apology and perhaps even the Larry King interview was a result of damage control done by his handlers–this was more a machination for the sake of PR. Chris Brown is still a kid in my minds eye.

      Furthermore, that same idea of me taking criticism should be played fair out to everyone else. Contrary to popular opinion, I handle criticism well, I just don’t handle personal attacks well. This was the first, and hopefully last time I will ever personally attack someone else in the public sphere.

  7. When is criticism not personal attack? What is the difference between criticism and critique of one’s position?

    At what age should a young man or a young woman be accountable for criminal activity including assault?

    Should a 20 year man be held accountable for his actions?

    Why does this feel (sound?) like personal opinion being substituted for another’s personal fact?

    Is this about being uppity?

    1. @dowl

      The art of argument requires one to not be attached to those views or else every counter-argument is perceived as a personal attack on the being of the person. Critique the person, don’t critique me. I be who I be, that’s not going to change as easily as my argument.

      I’m not at all arguing that a 20 year old shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions–male or female. I’m just not convinced that we’re getting the whole story on this issue. Fact of the matter is that we haven’t heard from Rihanna–for whatever reason, and that’s her prerogative. I’m just saying that in these cases, it’s already stacked against the male in this situation. So, in addition to that fact, I just really had a gut feeling that something about this situation doesn’t and didn’t make sense to me.

      As I said this 20 year old named Chris Brown, the singer, doesn’t seem to be about himself in this situation. I just saw a big kid who was just doing what his handlers, his mother and his lawyer had advised him to do. He seemed totally immature to handle the situation.

      I’m not out and out saying he didn’t do it, neither am I saying he did: I just think there’s more to the story than what we’ve received.

  8. Do you think Chris Brown is taking the ‘fall’ for some else? What? Rhiana ‘faked’ the beat down and paid off someone to lie on her behalf? To cover whom? What?

    The 20 year old (immature or not) should not be castigated for his bad (no just bad boy behavior) and unacceptable, mean, cruel and violent acts on another human being, his girlfriend?

    Uppity logic required…

    1. @ dowl

      There’s always the possibility of both of those scenarios. Motives would be unknown for both of those scenarios.

      I raised the latter simply because a woman faking a beating just to get back at a former lover was highlighted in a very popular Martin Lawrence movie in the mid-90s “A Thin Line Between Love And Hate.” For me as a man, I felt absolutely powerless, because there would be nothing I could do in a situation like that–beyond the shadow of a doubt, the authorities take the word of the woman over the man, no questions asked.

      Seeing as how Chris Brown has waffled and fumbled the ball on just exactly what he did, it just gave me further proof that something about this didn’t seem right. If he had released a PR statement shortly after the alleged incident that gave a quick and swift apology for his physically abusive actions toward Rihanna, I probably would have still said everything else was a PR machination, but I wouldn’t be making the argument that my gut is telling me we’re missing a good chunk of this story.

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