Friday, May 11, 2018

The Conscious Battleground

It is so interesting how the world around us revolves on a daily basis.
You can be so close to people and yet be so far from them at the same time.
I drove a truck  to Ojai, California 6 nights a week, for 6 years straight and traveling to Ojai and back to L.A. was like a culture shock.
I sometimes would have to drive bearing  the burden or trauma of a friend or loved one that had been violently murdered, by way of gang violence, I once received a call telling me a beloved young homeboy that I had watched grow up had just been murdered.

As I drove up S.R. 150 through the mountains up a road that consist of ranches for miles and hundreds of heads of cattle would be grazing in the pasture of  these ranches, in the back of my mind I thought how amazing it is that these people that reside in this backdrop would be oblivious to the trauma and anxiety that I was going through at that moment. There is a shift in dynamics and culture that changed somewhere back when I transitioned from the 110 and 10 Freeways (in South Central Los Angeles) to the more northbound freeways,where the culture of premature  death is woven into a warped way of life that has been fueled by miscommunication, xenophobia, and the Willie Lynch syndrome.
I speak of this culture shock to make a point as I continue.
I am from a gang related neighborhood that runs into the U.S.C. area in some parts, but more than likely if you are not a young Black or Hispanic male you would not know it outside of what you may see on the news or hear from law enforcement.
It is especially funny to me how Black and Hispanic warzones are becoming Caucasian Utopias.
I live a few blocks from U.S.C.'s Fraternity Row, across the street from Mt. Saint Mary's University, and a great deal of my neighbors are students of either of these 2 universities.
Sometimes I meet students in my community but I always have to ask if they are aware of the Black or Hispanic gangs that reside in the area we live in and they become surprised when I give some history of the area.
Before the big Starbucks racism allegations and video, I use to be at the one on Figueroa and 28th Street.
I would often trip off all of the students that would be there because I would be in a space like this because it was a safe place among friendly people and nobody is sett trippin' or looking to shoot anybody over there.
The students would have totally different issues (nothing related to their lives being in danger or death as a reality).

Within the minds of us all exists our own realities and what makes those realities tangible is the amount of people that share those same realities and are will to contribute, expand and build on those realities whether good or bad.
The psychological programming that comes about as a common thought becomes the subculture of the minority and the culture of the majority.

Bloods and Crips were founded in Los Angeles by what were then (in the early 1970's) adolescent teens that had no sense of direction, no particular agenda, and no end game in mind.
You see I am a 50 year old Blood (by way of my history, membership and culture).
for decades I was absorbed by the thoughtlessness of being involved in the L.A. gang Conflict at the climax of the most violent times to ever exist in the streets of  Los Angeles.
That was a time of constant retaliation and no communication. You see by there being no communication there was never any room for diplomacy or negotiation because even though we were growing into being grown men we maintained the traditions of these adolescents that were the founders of these setts and other that constantly engage in violence and escalate to unbelievable heights.

There was not a lot of thought put into the early gang situation in Los Angeles so there were not many decisions made, but that just means to go with the outcome that is determined by default, because to not make a decision is the same as making a decision is still making a decision and the default in the Landscape of the early generations of Bloods and Crips only called for reaction, instead or reaction, or reply.

It was the thoughtless ideologies of this time can be attributed to the massive death toll in Los Angeles during the 1980's and 90's.
Our in spoken reality is that we were busy holding on to the past traditions and history

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Rules of Engagement for the Young Black Man

The Rules of Engagement for Young Black men at the Hands Law Enforcement

I know it is a major conversation regarding unarmed young Black men around the U.S. being killed at the hands of law enforcement  under all types of suspicious circumstances.

In most cases there is some type of video evidence (such as cellphone footage, the officers own body cam, dashboard cam, or even security cameras from nearby homes or businesses) these videos often conflict rather than coincide with the police officers may have given, but the common denominator or even code in all of this when the story is told by law enforcement and  the words,"I thought my life was in danger, I thought he was pulling a gun." The keyword in that last statement is "thought," by injecting the word "thought" anything factual does not matter.

The element of what is perceived as "danger" by the police department is all that matters in a split second to determine whether you live through that experience with them or die.
On July 26, 2016, there was a disturbing video, that was shot by a traumatized girlfriend as she sat in the car next to her boyfriend as the police shot him multiple times while reaching for his I.D.
In this engagement the victim Filando Castile did have a firearm, but he informed the officer that he had a gun and he also had a permit to carry a firearm and somewhere throughout there line of communication he stated that he was reaching for his I.D. or permit and somewhere though here the entire situation had gone bad, by way of a homicide being committed.

On New Year's Day 2009, 22 year old Oscar Grant was shot and killed in an Oakland, California B.A.R.T. station while handcuffed and laying on his stomach by B.A.R.T. officer Johannes Mehserle.

On March 18, 2018, Stephon Clark was killed in Sacramento, California by 2 Sacramento police officers, when officers showed up at his grandparents house after answering a 9-1-1 call about someone in a hooded sweatshirt breaking windows out of vehicles in their neighborhood.
The person that called the police never identified Mr. Clark as the person that  was vandalizing these vehicles.
As the video shows a chase ensued on foot where the officers "thought" Mr. Clark pointed a gun at them while running away from them and ended up firing an estimated 20 rounds at him, subsequently killing him.
No gun was ever recovered Mr. Clark was shot in the back so there was no way he could have pointed anything at them and the only thing he had in his possession was an cellphone.
Upon observation of the officers body cam video that shows up to the moments of the shooting, there was the use of another code word that means just as much as, "Ready! Aim! Fire!" and that word is "Gun!"
Should a young Black man ever be fleeing the police and hear the word, "Gun!" that might be the last word they ever hear, before the discharge of police issued service weapons.

This is a national conversation regarding the lives and deaths of our young Black men.
There is a conversation that we as Black parents have with our sons when they become old enough to be out at night or even when they go off into the day on their own doing whatever it is that they do, whether that be going to school or simply talking to some friends in front of their home on the sidewalk and that conversation is, "As young Black men, how do you engage the police in a conflicting situation?"
In Black families this conversation is bigger than the talk about sex.
This conversation also reverts back to when the young Black men were taught how to engage white people and slave catchers during and after the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and how they should be addressed in order to keep the young Black man from possibly being hung or beatin' to death.

I already know other people are killed at the hands of the police across this nation, besides Black people, but not at the alarming rate the unarmed young Black men are killed.
                                                             Sacramento police gun down Stephon Clark on body cam

Considering that the Black community is still going through several levels of mental illness due to Post Slave Era Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, A government inflicted crack epidemic, Willie Lynch Syndrome, and a host of other genocidal,fratricidal, systemic means of oppression and we also have to worry about being gunned down by the police no matter where we are in the U.S., because of nothing more than being Black and born male.
The purpose of Digital BlackGround is not to amplify problems, but to seek solutions and seeking solutions means to start the conversation so we as a community have the opportunity are able to blend and mix our input and ideas in order to make the output the answers of hope that are needed to stop this violence from being inflicted on what is soon to be the endangered species of Black men.
If  it were up to me to begin the conversation of how our young Black men should engage the police if confronted, I would say to simply cooperate because any other way could be fatal.
I would tell my son to put your hands up and to keep them in plain sight, not to do something like run, because running might take you into a secluded space, where there are no witnesses, that could put you in a position for anything to happen and if anything can happen you may not make it out of that situation alive.
Never forget we live in this time when everybody has cellphones and everything is being recorded.
It is best that the police are aware of the fact they are being recorded and  there are plenty of witnesses to any encounter you have with law enforcement, because the more aware of being watched (more than likely) a lot less rights violations will take place. 

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Login to the Digital BlackGound section in the forum @ so we can keep the conversation going and we can create some solutions.