16 Most Memorable Black Twitter Moments of 2015

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Published by Atlanta Blackstar, December 22, 2015

For the last three years, at least, Black Twitter has been drawing attention to the issues of critical importance to the African-American community, and having a bit of fun while poking at the irony of racism in our society.

No longer viewed as a group of social media watchdogs, Black Twitter’s backlashes offer valid criticisms and have had the power to galvanize support for change and apology.  In 2015, Black Twitter solidified its presence as a group that has major influence that can wield significant power over the the public’s perception of race-related issues and force mainstream media to pay attention to those who are often marginalized or left out of the the discussion altogether.

Using hashtags, Black Twitter offers commentary that would seldom be seen in traditional media spaces, and acts as the social media version of a 24-hour Black news cycle. This year was a banner year for Black Twitter, with some of the most memorable hashtags that some say “broke the internet.”

 

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Showing Pictures of Daniel Holtzclaw Crying is Unfair to His Victims

meet-white-police-officer-daniel-holtzclaw-who-sexually-assaulted-13-black-womenPublished by For Harriet on Monday, December 14, 2015.

Rarely do we read about cases where African-American women are serial raped and said rapist is captured, tried and convicted, but that is exactly what happened in Oklahoma, of all places, in the trial of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw.

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Petty Is As Petty Does

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I belong to several groups on social media that are dedicated to the improvement of social conditions for people of color through education and healthcare; there are also a few where people come together of all races to discuss race relations and offer solutions  It is a networking opportunity where we share ideas and information about research and life and all things that are pertinent to our lives. I generally enjoy these.

However, in each of these groups I, and a number of other Black women, face a few Black men whose only mission is to disrespect us and how we represent womanhood and femininity.  It’s not blatant name calling, they denigrate us in a way that poses white women as THE standard for womanhood and if we so much as criticize, they enter into a protective mode that is so fierce it is ridiculous.  Then when we give up on them, we are told “y’all ain’t loyal.”

This is petty.  It is even more petty when the attack is disguised as something else.  If you are butt hurt because you have feelings for someone and are experiencing feelings of conflict, that’s fine and is your preference and your issue.  Not mine. However, if that person belongs to a group that has collectively disenfranchised women of color and I am calling out the action by the group, specifically the system—not the individual—why are you attacking me? Let’s work together to attack the system.

I am tired of this particular type of man.  You do not need to inflict unnecessary harm on someone in order to boost the esteem of another.  You especially do not have the right to do that and then expect me to cape for you when the police pull you over.  Because I am no longer doing that. And I am no longer tolerating or participating in spaces that allow this to happen to Black women continuously.  My time and my mind are valuable and I will not waste them in spaces where I am disrespected!

Stomp Out Racism, One ‘Sally Bigot’ At a Time

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A solemn reminder to those who are working to change how your racist brethren treat PoC —never take a break because we never get one:

About 10 minutes ago I boarded a train headed to NYC, very crowded. I sit adjacent to a white woman on a laptop who keeps looking at me in disdain. Every 10 seconds, her eyes sear at me in disgust as though she wants to ask me to move but is afraid. She uneasily looks across at the white man waiting for him to say something. He reads his paper, she continues typing but keeps staring in my direction hoping this will make me move. I am on my way to work just like she is. Sadly, it is also my last day due to a lay off so I have other things of greater concern on my mind and dealing with petty racism is the last thing I want on my plate. But I don’t have that option of just not being black, colorless or “colorblind” for the day because the Sally Bigots of the world greet me at my front door—-this morning it was the train—-with their racism. And so I must deal.

And so must you.

Sally Bigot isn’t my problem, she’s yours, allies. My speaking out doesn’t stop her, but your silence gives her permission to continue to use the covert microaggressions to intimidate PoC and feel she has the right to do so; to feel that in 2015, she can “Rosa Parks” me. This has to stop and you have to work to do because in 2020 more than half the country will consist of people who look like me/other PoC and the Sally Bigots won’t get any better; they will only get worse. They’re killing us now…who do you think they will come for next!?

I typed this whole post on my phone as Sally Bigot leered at me.  It only occurred to me afterward that she probably never once thought I could be documenting injustice or racial discomfort, but that I was merely texting something frivolous. There is nothing frivolous about fighting hatred. Remember that!

Being Selective About Terrorism, The New American Hypocrisy

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Yesterday, President Obama called the attacks in San Bernardino an act of “terrorism.”  Some have called this declaration  bold on the President’s account.  Those who disagree are using it as fuel for their political platforms. I, like some others don’t believe it goes far enough.  I think it ignores the very real problem of calling out the everyday domestic terrorism here in America, and I don’t mean the Muslim variety, although most Americans want to believe that is the boogeyman terrorist.  It isn’t.  I am talking about the terrorist I am afraid of every day, the one whose microaggressions and social media predatory terrorism is far more scary than ISIS. Why? Because it goes unchecked and is often brushed away or excused as “mental illness.”  I have a degree in clinical psychology, there is not that much crazy in the world.

This is the great American hypocrisy, because it’s only terrorism when people of color do it, right!? No. NO! That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!

Let’s be clear, it has been well discussed in the media the last week since this shooting that there have been 355 mass shootings in this country in 2015 *.  We have also seen an alarming rate of black and brown people assaulted, maimed and killed by law enforcement who can offer no excuse other than what become apparent in the public sphere.  Yet and still, our society will only tie the minimally deficient stigma of mental illness to these individuals who cause carnage.  Dylann Roof slaughtered nine people in a Charleston church because they were black and—to be honest—because he could, THAT IS TERRORISM!  In Ohio police officers surrounded Tamir Rice and shot him before he knew what was going on, before he could ask for his mother, did not let his sister—who watched—get to him to help him, nor did they administer aid in time, THAT IS TERRORISM! George Zimmerman stalked, confronted and killed Trayvon Martin who was minding his business, THAT IS TERRORISM! Daniel Holtzclaw abused his position as a police officer to rape more than a dozen black women and on Facebook there is a group asking for justice for him because everyone knows how sexually provocative black women are, THAT IS TERRORISM!

And the list goes on.

None of these terrorists are Muslim. None are recruited by ISIS, but they all have one thing in common: hate and the understanding that their skin privilege grants them an inherent right in this country to exercise and act on that hate without fear of being labeled a terrorist; they know society will just call them crazy and to a terrorist, that ain’t half bad!

 

Those who do not support gun control legislation want to point to the catastrophic events like San Bernardino and Charleston where more than three victims are killed, however, I agree with most who study these events that whenever a shooting involves multiple casualties, it is a mass shooting and every loss of life should be regarded in this manner under those circumstances. 

Friday “Flashblack”: The Wiz

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The Wiz Live on NBC last night was such soul stirring black excellence, I thought that instead of writing a new blog piece on it today, I would rewind to a blog piece I wrote back in 2012 about the 1978 film, which is my all-time favorite.  In fact, the piece was part of my blog post called “Soul Stirring,” a series of late night musings about random subjects that came to mind.  That particular night, I had been up watching The Wiz on Bounce TV, I believe, at 3 or 4 in the morning and I saw it for the first time through my sleepy adult eyes.  I never understood people, mostly men, who said they didn’t like it. It wasn’t until I realized that they had been looking at the film through the eyes of maturity and not childhood did I finally understand because I made this mistake once when I couldn’t sleep and it was weird.  Though, I didn’t dislike the film, it was just a different viewing experience.

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As I told someone yesterday, The 1978 film with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson was intended to be blaxploitation for kids, pure and simple and it has to be viewed that way to be thoroughly enjoyed or you take the magic out of it, and there is so much magic in that film.  The more I watch it, in the 38 years since I first saw it at age 4, I find things I never notice, hear little quips I never knew were spoken and it becomes even more enjoyable.  And after last night’s version, which I already pre-ordered, I now have three versions of this wonderful piece of black art to love: the original 1975 stage play, the 1978 film, and the 2015 live TV version, just like with Hairspray.  The Wiz is so much a part of my life that there are no words to describe its meaning, so I will just leave it here with my 2012 blog post, Diana Ross in THE WIZ and Motown/Universal Pictures’s Very Real Marketing Problem:  Going Back 35 Years To Move A Generation Forward Now.

So Black Pastors Met with Donald Trump…And!?

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This may come as a surprise to Donald Trump, but NO, you are not getting the black vote. N-O! You can beg, borrow, steal and pimp our pastors…and in fact, he tried.

So one pastor who, for whatever reason, believes his relationship with Trump will flourish into something more than nothingness agrees to get a “coalition” of black pastors together to “endorse” this blowhard. That’s not even the laughable part.  As African-Americans, we know this political tactic all too well of trying to buy our vote from the pulpit. Not only do we know, but we have openly said as much. Apparently Trump didn’t get that memo.

Anyhow, this pastor then goes and sends invites out to the pastors. He gets few responses.  They then resort to texting —YES, TEXTING— these pastors and ask them to attend (insert laughter here). So they get responses. Now, the pastors are told it is just a meeting to discuss the issues that are important to the black constituency in this election cycle, NOT that their attendance at said meeting will be viewed and publicized as an endorsement.

The Trump folks and Preacher Nobody then release a list of the “100 black pastors to endorse Donald Trump,” only the list is copious in the number because it included invitees, not those whose attendance was actually confirmed, and it also stated that they were endorsing him and that did not go over so well.

The pastors began to speak out and in a “yessir, Massa Trump, I’s sorry” moment, Preacher Nobody then says that it was his fault, he led the campaign to believe it would be an endorsement.

The dissent from the pastors who publicly spoke on this sham of a press conference was not a good look for the Donald, he then cancels the media spectacle and holds a private meeting with those who agreed to show, all the while saying that there were 100. A preacher who was in the room confirmed the table held 20, there were 15 chairs against a wall, 5 by a door, and 5 outside the room. Forty-five is a far cry from 100, but when you are Donald Trump a campaign rally of 2,000 is 10’s of thousands. At the end of the meeting, the pastors were given endorsement cards to sign. Again, only a few (less than a dozen) signed, but in Trump talk this was blown up to “many, many endorsements.” Of course he did not give a specific number, he gives specifics on nothing, and is rarely called on his bullshit why expect him to change course now?

After this whole saga, I am with Rev. Corletta Vaughn who was one of the pastors who vehemently refused to grace that low-class wannabe politician with her presence:  “this was a get-played moment for the preachers. Put them in the same room, take pictures, and then you can put anything you want, in terms of content, with a picture.”

No doubt he will!