My thoughts on things I’ve read this week
Stuart Lawrence gets stopped by the police a lot
It’s a given that if you’re black you will have more encounters with the police than if you are not. I have had two encounters with “random” vehicle stop and searches, which aren’t many considering I’ve been driving for almost 10 years. However, many of my non-black friends have had none. Hell, I don’t even think they would know what to do if it did happen. They’d think the police were escorting them somewhere like how they do with Prince Charles.
Having taken a keen interest in cases of police racism and general injustices at the hands of crooked pigs, I was happy to hear Stuart Lawrence go public about his experiences. It’s 2013 and we just can’t put up with this nonsense any more.
I was not happy to hear his defence that having a white fiancé and a stable job somehow made his experience even more ghastly.
Firstly, if you are a black 24 year old male with three kids in the back of your car from three different women and your best mate in the front seat, you don’t deserve to get stopped.
If you’re a black 18 year old female wearing a snapback with three baby fathers in the back seat but no babies because they’re at home whilst go to a rave, you don’t deserve to get stopped.
I’m not interested in people who think they have ‘elevated’ themselves above ‘blackness’ by doing things they think will perceived more kindly by the ‘white’ people they seek endorsement and justice from. I don’t ask for justice from white people because no people on earth are empowered to give justice to anyone. People are only empowered to not be assholes to other races. This isn’t the gift of justice, this is the custom of decency. I’m not more sensitive to Mr Lawrences experiences because he’s not like ‘those other black people who deserve it’ (not his words, just his implication) and I certainly don’t like him more.
I mean, your brother can be slaughtered by thugs who are then hidden by their community. They escape justice because all levels of law enforcement are rotten to the core. To this day people involved in this heartbreaking calamity are either living on beefy police pensions in Kent, still allowed to practice their own strange brand of law enforcement or even worse, walk free in the face of the law. And you still end up with a white woman? And you think that makes you better than the next man? Wow, black British brothers never fail to amaze me.
A white father of a black girl wants her to celebrate her natural hair
A friend introduced me to this story:
I love this song! It’s a beautiful thing and finally, a positive story that celebrates the potential of inter-racial adoption. I am sick of seeing celebrities pick up black babies like accessories whilst saying or doing nothing publically to acknowledge the issues that need to be addressed if you are going to raise a child that is not your own race.
In a nutshell, Sesame Street’s head writer and puppeteer Joey Mazzarino has a daughter adopted from Ethiopia. Anyone familiar with the diversity of black peoples will perhaps know that Ethiopians tend to have softer hair, common in East African peoples. Yet even with this softer variation of afro hair, Mazzarino’s daughter still questioned the attractiveness of hers.
Instead of taking her to an Aunty’s house to get a wet perm like my Indian mum did to me, he instead decided that a confident black woman is only grown from a confident young girl. Hence the song, “I Love My Hair”.
Apparently a few people didn’t like him meddling with our self-esteem issues. Why couldn’t he just shut up and let us get on with our weaves and relaxers, whilst acknowledging the white structures of power that trap us in our box of insecurity?
I couldn’t disagree more with this opinion.
Firstly, let me let you into a little secret. White people do not understand why we mess up our hair like we do. If they had afro hair, do you think they would destroy it? Hell no, they would get a canerow, twist, dreads, braids…anything. They think that shit looks cool. Because it DOES. So it doesn’t surprise me that these parents are keen to make sure their black daughter establishes the same positive relationship with her hair as they have.
There are some things that affect black peoples all around the world that we can’t do much about. The curiosity of others about our physical possessions, the glass ceiling, police suspicion, underrepresentation in all walks of life, out and out racial hatred….the list can be long. There is not much we can do about these apart from equip ourselves with the knowledge it exists and learn skills that help us negotiate these paths.
There are some things we can do loads about. The fact black female beauty is represented only by a proliferation of weave, wigs and relaxers has nothing to do with “the man”. It is to do with us. It is black mothers that sit their daughters in the hairdressers as 6 year olds, erasing one of the few things passed on to us from our ancestors. It black adult women who spend £££££s on other women’s hair. And it is black men who never promote the self-esteem of black women, by choosing to date only white women, by choosing not to raise their families, or by just choosing to be blind to it all.
I’m happy these white parents are choosing to celebrate the inherent ‘blackness’ in their daughter because they are providing an example to parents of black children, wherever they come from.
I think black people who have criticised this are really just ashamed that a white parent has to do this whilst the most famous black people on the planet (Beyonce, Kanye West etc) don’t really do anything positive for us at all.
People can be influenced by violence in films. Deal with it.
I’ll keep this one short. If music can make you angry, if a book can make you cry, if art can make you think, if comedy can make you laugh, then you are not immune to the affects of gratuitous violence in film.
I am in no way saying witnessing cinematic violence makes a person want to replicate the same gore in reality. I am saying that violence in films can contribute, over time, to the erosion of one’s sensitivity to certain things, for example, the sound of gun shots, the sight of blood, the possession of chilling thoughts. These things can contribute to the mental unravelling of a suggestible person.
This does not mean films should not be violent. Far from it. There can only be no violence in films if there is no violence in life. It does mean that filmmakers need to think more carefully about how it is used. Think about how sex is filmed in mainstream cinema; it’s not gratuitous, it’s filmed with certain restraining conventions and particular shots such as full frontal nudity are very carefully considered.
There seems to be no conventions that restrain the depiction of violence. And it’s about time a sensible debate was welcomed about what they might be.