Come fly with me!

Looking forward to writing and reporting about the subjects that matter most for The Memphis Flyer. My first column will be in Wednesday’s print edition and online the following day. I hope y’all will keep up with your girl as I move and shakeup some ish that needs to be shaken.

For now, I’ll be writing every other week, but that could change. Because things change. Shout out to Bruce VanWyngarden for the opportunity. Everyone needs an editor and word on the street is he’s a good one.

What did race have to do with Kroger attack? Nothing.

I wonder if this will quiet the online bigots insistent that the black teens who attacked a shopper (and two employees, one black and one white) in the Kroger parking lot Sept. 6 were motivated by race.

The story from Linda A. Moore at  The Commercial Appeal:

Mark Sauser, whose 17-year-old son, a high school senior, is seen unconscious and under assault on the video, told commissioners he has forgiven his son’s attackers. Though there was speculation that the African-American teenagers involved in the assault targeted the worker because he was white, Sauser said he believes his son was not attacked because of his race, but because he was there.

Sauser goes on to say:

“These are our families. These are our children. And I think we cannot overcome this type of evil by finger pointing or saying we should have done this, we should have done that,” Sauser said. “I think we need to look forward to what we can do together as a community. We also need to find common ground for what we can do to help our families and children.”

Wise man. I explained why the attack wasn’t a hate crime here.

To some who watched a grainy cellphone video of Saturday’s brutal mob attack outside an East Memphis grocery store, the math is simple: Black assailants plus white victim equals hate crime.

As further proof, these critics point to the inelegant remark made by a black woman who watched and videotaped the crowd of black teens pouring across a Kroger parking lot.

As several teens kicked a white Kroger worker who curled into a fetal position to protect himself, the woman can be heard on the video laughing and saying, “They got a white dude.”

But the insistence that the federal government investigate the attack as a hate crime — as actor James Woods demanded on Twitter this week — illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what a hate crime is, say legal observers.


Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, said Woods’ logic was often employed by white nationalists who “call for crimes like this to be charged as hate crimes when there is no evidence to support this.”

“Many people feel that any kind of interracial violent crime is a hate crime and that’s not true,” Potok said.

Here’s the state law on civil rights intimidation, which is Tennessee’s version of federal hate crime legislation.

What if we survived in spite of spankings, not because of them?

I saw the photos of Adrian Peterson’s four-year-old son. Those welts on his legs, the spots of blood – that wasn’t a spanking. That was abuse.

From an NBC Sports story about the Minnesota Viking’s latest woes – including an indictment on child abuse charges:

Peterson also allegedly texted the child’s mother that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I [sic] thigh. . . . Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”

Adrian PetersonOf course, Peterson is innocent until proven guilty, etc, etc. But there’s this weird mix of regret-braggadacio here, an acknowledgment that he was wrong, but also… Pride? Nerve? Manliness? Because it takes a man to break the skin on his child’s legs in the name of discipline? To beat his son’s genitals?

I was talking about this with friends today and we all had a whupping story. We laughed while telling them –  I recalled the sound of my dad’s belt buckle clinking as he took it off the rack in his closet, how my siblings would practically sit shiva if another was getting spanked, how I was one of those kids who refused to cry, no matter how long the spanking lasted. (Yeah. I was a bad a** from WAY back.) Continue reading

How a highway patrolman becomes a gang banger

Via Twitter via The Washington Post

Via Twitter via The Washington Post

The stupid. It burns. From The Washington Post:

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson is not a gang member. He’s just a Kappa. – The Washington Post.

That some white people would see a law enforcement officer with his fingers in a position they don’t recognize and immediately go to the bigoted place: He must be a gang member – WHAT?

Are people really that unfamiliar with black fraternities? Never caught  Stomp the Yard on repeat one Saturday on TBS? Didn’t pass by a step show at college? Unconscious when Spike Lee’s School Daze was in theaters? How do you go through life completely oblivious to historically black fraternities and sororities and our rituals and traditions? Are your circles so homogeneous that you really have no idea? You couldn’t ask somebody?

People of color don’t get that luxury of being ignorant and unaware of the dominant culture. In fact, often our very survival depends on being literate in two worlds.

I’m reminded of what anti-racism educator Tim Wise said: When you’re white, what’s important to black isn’t on the test. When you’re black, what’s important to whites IS the test.

Or (not sure who said this first): The slave always knows more about the master than the master knows about the slave.

Butler University graduation, 1993, repping that 08 Pink and Green set out of Howard U.

Butler University graduation, 1993, repping that 08 Pink and Green set out of Howard U.

This is a serious matter (some of y’all will get that), but for fun, here’s a picture of me, throwing up a sign from the gang sorority I pledged – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Chapter.