Archive for February, 2014

Why Am I So Scary???

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Why Am I So Scary???

RIP Jordan Russell Davis

Here is a piece that I wrote for “The Good Men Project” about why society fears Black Men in regards to the murder of Jordan Davis.

When I received the news of the Jordan Davis verdict, I was on the San Francisco Bart on my way back from a good friends wedding. All the joy and happiness of that day was clouded with the news of the trial. While Dunn was found guilty of three out of four charges, the most serious one, first degree murder resulted in a mistrial. When I told my girlfriend of this, she shook her head in disbelief. I told her, “Jordan Davis was killed because society has been made to fear the Black man.”

Being a Black man in America, you are one of the most envied and despised people alive. People want to be like you. They want to emulate your style, the way you walk, talk, sing, dance, cook, etc, word to Norman Mailer. But, people also want to see you punished, imprisoned, or worse, killed. In Studs Terkel’s masterful work, “Race,” a Black man said, “Being Black is like wearing a shoe with a pebble in it. You get used to it, but never forget that it is there.” Couple that with the media stoking the fire of the uncontrollable Black man and years and years of the “brutal Negro narrative,” there is this sense of when you see people that look like me coming your way, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Am I scary?” I look in the mirror and do not see any fangs or claws. I don’t howl at the moon or have a hunger for human flesh and I don’t spit fire, so I don’t understand why I am feared. Besides the large head and fondness to wear colorful scarves, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I am so feared. I think that every Black man has asked himself that question a time or two, because the way we are portrayed in everyday life, I would think we the equivalent of King Kong or some monster walking around with people thinking, “Is he gonna rob/rape/attack/kill me? “Get away from me scary Black man!”

I remember when I started realizing this. I was 22 years old and was walking to the bus stop, getting ready to go home. I was tired, so when I got to the bus stop and plopped down on the bench, this older White lady saw me and clutched her purse and clung to it as if she was holding on for dear life. I looked at her and said to myself, “Wow.” Later I would experience similar circumstances, ie being alone in an elevator, a dark parking lot, and of course, walking on a sidewalk next to them. I would internalize this until one day while in downtown SD, I was on my way to a job interview. Wearing a suit with briefcase on my shoulder, I had started walking up a street when a White woman, who was a couple steps in front of me, saw me and clutched her purse. Seeing this, I darn near flipped my lid. I asked the lady, “Why did you clutch your purse?” Before she was able to formulate an answer, I quickly said, “I don’t want to rob you. I am a college graduate!!” I then walked off, pissed. Couldn’t she see that I had a suit on? Damn! I am not threatening!! I then realized that no matter what I had on, I was still the scary Black man. Sighs.

When cases like Jordan Davis or Trayvon Martin are mishandled and justice is not served, as a Black man you are reminded that you are still feared and can be killed because you are feared. It is not just about “racism being alive and well” but that you are looked at as a monster, a creature that must be put in it’s place. If you are deemed as arrogant or a troublemaker (Muhammad Ali, Richard Sherman), you are slandered and if you are a threat (Malcolm X, MLK) you will be neutralized.

I was talking to a friend and she had asked me, ‘Is it always about race?” Immediately without pause I said, “Yes.” Now I am not saying that because I did not get a certain job or someone did not like me, or even why you may not like this article is because I am Black, that would be silly. But, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about race or if it is not in the equation. This is America. I know who I am and how I am perceived. And no matter how many suits, degrees, money, accomplishments, etc, etc, I am a Black man, and that elicits a certain response, a certain feeling. From marijuana, guns, and interracial relationships, laws have been created due to fear of us. It is just something that we have to deal with. It is our life.

Just writing

Just writing

Hey all, check out my piece on sex from a man’s point of view in literature on “Blood Red Pencil,” a cool writing blog by my colleague Dani.

Also, if you have not already, check out “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture” available at Amazon.com!!!!!!!!

@MainlineLeRon

Why I don’t pay for sex…….

Posted: February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized
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As a man, there are certain questions that you will be asked. Who is your favorite sports team? What historical person would you like to have a steak with? And have you ever paid for it? Now, the first time I was asked that question, I was hanging with the guys over some cheap beer talking about girls. When the question was posed, everyone had different answers, but when it was my turn, I simply said no. It was a no brainer.

 When I think about sex, I like to look at it being a voluntary act. Two people getting together because they dig each other, like each other, or love each other. But for me, it has never been about me paying her. One of the reasons I have not been with a prostitute is because I never thought the women enjoyed it. I mean think about it: No woman wakes up and says, “Yeah! I can’t wait to turn some tricks and give some blow jobs to pay these bills!” I want the woman to be with me because she wants to, not because of how much I am paying her. Plus, who wants to be the fifth person she has been with that day? I have always thought of prostitutes and sex workers being emotionally damaged people that need help, and me being a patron, I would only be hurting them even more.  And of course, the risks of contracting diseases goes without saying. But with all that being said, some men still don’t see it that way.

 In every man’s life, the game gets slow. There is a lull in dates. You can’t get a girl’s number. Your charm falls flat. Your presence does not light up the room. Women don’t check for you like you used to. In other words, you are invisible. So you start to doubt yourself, wonder what went wrong. You need something to get you back on, a slump buster. Now some guys will troll the clubs like a catfish, scraping at the bottom, trying to get anything that they can possibly take home, or they hire a working girl. Not too long ago, I was having this discussion with a friend, trying to talk him out of paying for sex. I would say, “Dude, we are way too fly for that to be buying it.” But he would try and counter with “Dude, your gonna end up paying for it anyway with dinner, drinks, and presents, so why not just cut to the chase and pay her?” But it is different. I feel that when a guy get into the habit of paying for sex, it can do something to you. A voice in the back of your mind says you can’t get any better than a prostitute. You can only have sex if you are paying someone for it. It starts to fuck with your mind. Your self esteem lowers. You can end up being a trick.

 Years back, I moved to San Diego for school. And like anyone under 21 looking to party and drink, I made a trip to Tijuana. Being in TJ was unlike anything I had seen at that time. Culture, excitement, energy was abound and I found myself walking around taking everything in. Well, in my ignorance of TJ, I walked to “The Stroll” or where all the prostitutes were. It must have been a block and a half long of women just standing around waiting for a customer. Now that didn’t phase me, because when I lived in Kansas City, I knew where the sex workers hung out. What I seen next, nothing could prepare me. While walking “The Stroll,” an old station wagon filled with a family pulled up for less than a minute. A young girl dressed in a Catholic school uniform who had to be no more than 14, got out and started walking toward the sex workers and my mouth just dropped. I couldn’t believe it and still don’t believe it. A girl barely old enough to be in high-school was working the streets. There are some things in life you will never forget, and for me that was one of them.

 When I think about why I don’t pay for sex, I can list all of these reasons and many more. But for me, every time I see a prostitute walk the streets, set up in a whore-house, or see an ad online, I think about that little girl. How every woman at one point in their life was that little girl. And if I did, I couldn’t live with myself.

 

Favorite sports team is The San Francisco 49ers and favorite historical person is Malcolm X.