Archive for Trayvon Martin

Free in DC For MOW 50 Part One: BABYLON

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2013 by Free Smith
Me outside of the MLK statue. It was like Mecca. LOL

Me outside of the MLK statue. It was like Mecca. Sorry for that crazy look in my eyes. No idea what expression that is. LOL

Alright. This’ll be a series of my personal coverage of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington/Civil Rights Movement. I went down to DC and participated in some of the festivities. Also interviewed some awesome folks from my area (Delaware County, PA) and want to share their stories.

First, let me get my personal views out of the way…

“… America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

These words were taught to my brother and I by our late mother, Robin Yvonne Butler Smith. Her reasoning to teach us this was to impart what she deemed as the actual “meat” of Dr. King’s celebrated, so-called, “I Have A Dream Speech.” While “dream” portion of Dr. King’s speech has been immortalized for it’s poetic appeal, I feel as though the part our mother imparted to us is just as poetic and actually defines the impetus behind the March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom.

I never got the official “point” of the day, but the inexplicably narrow walkways and asinine boundaries, made getting to the stage to hear the speeches next to impossible, forcing many (who couldn’t charge phones or get reception for some reason) to just mill around and lend an ear to the plethora of agendas being pumped, which my generation would call “cooking.”

Now (though tangential at points) the people “cooking” for the cessation of racial profiling (most using the image of Trayvon Martin), improvements in the labor realm and marriage equality, “cooked” appropriately, at least somewhat sticking to the tenants of the original march. On the other hand, anti-abortion folks to weed legalization folks to socialists and everyone in-between “cooked” and they “cooked” in separate-but-equal kitchens. Those issues had nothing to do with the March. These “chefs” along with the people selling wares, were just taking advantage of the moment, I believe.

Nevertheless, I rode back to Chester, PA happy that I had attended. It was a beautiful display of black love (not overlooking the diversity of the crowd). Cordiality abounded. It was an upgrade of the 2nd Million Man March that I participated in as student at Howard University.

As I drove home from Chester High, I stopped to get something to eat. I was smoking a cigarette and a fellow young, black man, around my age, approached me and asked for one. I gave him one. He then tried to sell me some obviously stolen colognes. I told him I’d spent all my cash in DC. He asked me why he was hearing so much about DC. I told him that I’d attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. He asked me, “What is that?” I was shocked. I gathered myself and could only muster, “I Have A Dream speech?” He said “Oh. OK,” made one last sales pitch and went on his way.

It flashed me back to tutoring in a writing center in West Philadelphia. I was helping a black girl in the 3rd grade with her assignment: an essay about Dr. King. I forget what I the prompt wanted, but I was flabbergasted when I had to explain to her, not only who Dr. King was, but I had to explain to her in laymen’s terms that “White people used to be mean to black people.” We never finished the essay, and the experience was so disheartening that I soon stopped tutoring there.

I say all this to say, that it’s great to have a reenactment of the March on Washington, but an agenda that we need is the eradication of black nihilism. Adults and children alike do not know, nor do they care about their history. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that even at Howard, the majority of my peers didn’t know that we had our own national anthem and flag and didn’t care much about it.

All in all, my March on Washington experience made me an advocate for the refurbishment of our pride as a people before we do anything else. I see the need for our history and culture  to be made a lot more prevalent to everyone in our communities. The words of Malcolm X ring true, “Just as a tree without roots is dead, a people without history or cultural roots also becomes a dead people.”

In the words of Dr. King, the learned and affluent in the black community owe a check to the ones out here lost and it can’t bounce once we do.  Not only do the funds have to be in place and available to recipients the day they come to cash it, we have to actually entice them into cashing it. It’s time to get back to basics.

See what I mean? I have no idea. If you could explain, please do...

See what I mean? I have no idea. If you could explain, please do…

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One of the many socialists "chefs" out there...

One of the many socialists “chefs” out there…

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A man reciting the "I Have A Dream Speech" by the King Memorial...

A man reciting the “I Have A Dream Speech” by the King Memorial…

The Metro had to make a few million. It was a madhouse. Happy to see the little ones out, though.

The Metro had to make a few million. It was a madhouse. Happy to see the little ones out, though.

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It really was like Mecca...

It really was like Mecca…

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Lethal Gear For Black Males

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by Free Smith

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Later on today, I plan on banding together with many others in the Hoodie March in Philly from 30th Street to Love Park (7:17 PM). We all have heard by now about Trayvon Martin and how he was  MURDERED by George Zimmerman, the delusional vigilante who, against the will of police even, pursued young Trayvon and ended up shooting him for what I guess he would call ‘trespassing’ in his Sanford, FL community. He still has not had to answer for his actions. What ground my gears this morning was FOX News’ Geraldo Rivera’s tweets about how Trayvon’s hoodie was to blame for his MURDER. So, yes. It’s apparent that us in hoodies, due to rap videos and movies I suppose, is a threatening site for non-Blacks.

The point of this post is that, since fashion is such an issue in this, it won’t stop at hoodies. I’ve compiled a list of other clothing items that will make us look suspicious. Although these items are available to us anywhere you go, and you by all means should be able to dress however the hell you feel, maybe avoiding these could save your life:

WOOL CAPS

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Although the weather has broken, and it’s not as cold out, try to avoid the wool cap. It is a staple in goon fashion.

 

BANDANAS

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This one goes without saying. Don’t wear a bandana. It’s especially threatening if you wear one on your head, but don’t tie it around your arms or legs and don’t let it flap out of your pocket. No matter the color, the bandana will make you a gang banger, you know, dangerous.

DU RAGS

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Yeah. I know, you gotta get those waves spinning. You may wanna confine and wave building activities to the privacy of your own home. Look at how much more thugged out Kip here looks. Someone might think he’s ready to mug or kidnap them.

SKI MASKS

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Once again, the weather has broken and there’s no reason to rock one really, but avoid ski masks. You see it in the 7-11 window. Don’t wear ski masks. You’ll instantly become a jack boy/robber. Someone’ll think you’re hiding your identity in order to carry out a crime.

FITTED CAPS

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The NY Times in 2010  fitted caps (namely Yankee caps) are an alarming trend in criminal-wear (although we’d been wearing fitteds for about 10 years before the article was written). So there’s that.

TATTOOS

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Although, most of these are sarcastic to me, I am flabbergasted by guys getting tats all over themselves. I think it’s dumb, just because you shouldn’t want to be in public like this and it’s forever, but it truly is threatening. It clearly shows that you throw all caution to the wind and will do whatever.

CORN ROWS/DREADS

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This isn’t gear, but braids in your hair are frowned upon too and may make someone look at you as a thug. My cousin recently was denied entry into a club because he had his hair corn rowed. 

SAGGED PANTS

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An oldie, but still a goodie. I do it because it’s comfortable (a point justified by my late Grandpop), but try not to sag. You’re clearly a rebel and might be dangerous.

BLING

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I love blingin’ as much as the next man, but now, you gotta be careful. You’ll fill a stereotype and folks’ll think you’re a dangerous rapper or drug dealer or something. Bling with caution

WHITE TEES

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I know. These are simple. Need something to wear? Hit the corner store and for $4-5, you can get a crisp, immaculate white tee to throw on. I remember in school, after a while, we weren’t allowed to wear white tees anymore because it was ‘gang apparel’ (apparently, there was some ‘white tee shirt’ gang running around I never heard of). I’m guessing it’s the same now. Also, please don’t have anything “inflammatory” on your tee shirt either.

 

So there you have it. My suggestions on how to dress and not be bothered, accosted or even MURDERED like our young brother Trayvon. I would say wear a suit everywhere, but the recent NYPD mosque surveillance controversy shows that even a Black man in a suit (Muslim or not) may be threatening. Be safe out there.