Thursday, July 11, 2013


www.sociallyurban.comI began this blog five years ago and it's been such a rewarding and transformative experience. Every time I reread some of my older entries I marvel at how much I have grown as a writer. In that spirit of growth and transformation, I've decided that the next logical step in this evolution would entail making my blog and my writing accessible to a larger audience. So I have moved everything to my own domain and changed the name of my blog from "DeMon's Blue Options Blog" to "Socially Urban". I designed a very sophisticated professional and more reader friendly format that encourages my readers to take part in the discussion by utilizing social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If you were a loyal reader of the BlueOpt Blog and enjoyed reading my political op-ed's, then you'll love all the improvements and upgrades I've made to Socially Urban.
Thank you for your continued support.

Traline DeMon Spencer (Editor in Chief)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coming Out To Friends

After reading NBA star Jason Collins's coming out story in Sports Illustrated and watching his interview on Oprah, I began thinking about my own coming out story. It was extremely freeing just like Jason said his experience was, but mine lacked national attention, a call from the president, thousands of articles, millions of supportive tweets, and a primetime Oprah Interview. Apparently you have to be a 7 foot NBA basketball player to get all that so I guess I can't feel too upset at the snub I got from Oprah and President Obama when I came out (lol). My story was a little different. There was no big decision to come out to everyone all at one time. There was no call to family members to schedule a big sitdown talk. My coming out was a long journey that varied with each person I told. Some people I told face to face. Some people I told over the phone. Some I told with an email message. A couple times I got a close friend to tell someone for me. And then there was this one family member I told in a letter. I've written about my coming out story a couple times over the years but I've never written about the people I came out to and how each of those experiences played out. Of course everyone had different reactions when they found out and most reacted positively and expressed their love and support. There were a few negative responses but under the circumstances I understood. Hearing something like that is a lot to process and deal with so I prepared myself mentally (as best I could) for that possibility. I had no illusions about the risk I was taking by telling the people who meant the most to me. The thought of losing family and friends scared me to death but I knew it had to be done. I carried that load throughout my whole life and I just couldn't carry it anymore. This secret was destroying me. I faked happiness for far too long and was finally ready for the real thing. It took a very tragic event to get to that revelation. I've written about that as well so I won't go back into that dark twisted tale again in this post. 

The first person I ever told was my friend Jessie (Jessica Kirk). I met her while working at a call center during my sophomore year at East Carolina University. At first I didn't like her at all. I thought she was a loud rude stuck-up yankee and I'd have nothing in common with her. After working with her for a week somehow we became fast friends. We were so close that everyone at work thought we were dating. I decided right away that she'd be the first person I came out to. If we weren't together at her apartment or hanging out at my apartment we'd be at work together or talking on the phone. I chickened out two or three times before I worked up the courage to tell her. We were on the phone one night playing the question game. I'd ask her something about herself and no matter what the question was we had to answer it truthfully. We took turns going back and forth for about an hour then I suggested a question that she could ask me. It was something stupid like what type of person are you attracted to or something like that. I think she could sense why I wanted her to ask that question but she played along anyway and asked. Then I told her I'm attracted to guys and I'm gay. I was scared as hell about how she might respond. Then she said that's great DeMon I'm so happy you felt close enough to share that with me. I was speechless for a while but I could actually hear sincere happiness in her voice so I knew she really meant what she was saying. After getting off the phone I felt like a whole new person. For the first time in my life I was truly happy and looking forward to the future. I was amazed at how wonderful and freeing it felt to open up and tell someone this. I never gave much thought to that saying "the truth will set you free" until then. I know it sounds cliche but it's the absolute truth. I'll love Jessie for the rest of my life for helping me come out and live my life truthfully. I can't think of too many people that have effected my life in the way she has and I'm very grateful for that. 

The second person I told was my cousin. We grew up like brothers almost. I feared his reaction the most, but I knew I had to tell him. I tried to tell him right before he went away for boot camp but again I chickened out. Jessie knew I wanted to tell him so she suggested I write him a letter while he was away at boot camp. I thought it was a great idea so that's what I did. Waiting for his response was nerve-racking. After a very long two weeks I finally got a response from him. He told me in his letter that he already knew and that it didn't matter to him. He told me we were family and nothing is going to change that. Needless to say I was very happy to hear that from him. A lot of straight African-American men would have freaked out and never talked to me again... especially those who grew up in the south, so I give him props for not going that route. It made me respect him even more as a person after that. I also told him not to tell anyone else in the family and he kept that promise for years. That's very commendable in our family because everybody knows everybody's business and secrets don't remain secrets for very long (lol).

The third and fourth person I told was my best friend Shante and her sister Tamika who I'm very close to as well. Shante was looking for a place so I asked her if she wanted my extra bedroom. While I was helping her move her things in I told her very casually that I was gay and I have a boyfriend that spends the night a lot. Her reaction was very positive. I wasn't too worried about her reacting in a negative way because I knew she loved me and I knew she would never judge anyone. She's just not that type of person. I would have told her sooner but she moved to Connecticut and got married right when I was starting college. After I told her of course she had a million questions and we stayed up all night drinking and talking. I wasn't too worried about telling Tamika either. She has always been very open minded and not judgemental at all. She probably has the biggest heart out of anyone I know but she doesn't let too many people see that so I'm blowing her cover by writing this (lol love you Mika). Shante and Tamika gave me huge boost of confidence right when I needed it most. Years later after my parents found out, Tamika called me and told me to come live with her for a while in South Carolina if I needed to get away from everyone while they sort things out. I told her I'd love to take her up on her offer but I have a dog and a boyfriend. She told me they were welcome too without hesitation. She swooped in right when I needed her most and I love her for doing that. I never felt like a freak around Shante and Mika. They were more than supportive, they were my cheerleaders when my life didn't have much cheer in it. I don't know anyone more loyal then they are to me. I love them both and I should tell them that a lot more often.

After telling those four I slowly became more comfortable sharing that with people. I think the whole coming out process for me lasted about 5 years. All four of them changed my life for the better and I love each and every one of them for it. Now everyone in my life knows I'm gay, both friends and family. Back when I was closeted I couldn't even imagine my family still loving me the way they do. My parents haven't disowned me (even though they don't fully understand that being gay is not a choice), I can talk to my sister about my boyfriend and she's totally supportive, and it's made my friends and I even closer. I'm engaged to the most wonderful guy I've ever met and I'm very optimistic about our future together... and who knows, maybe my family will surprise me and attend our wedding. Anson says I shouldn't give up hope so I'm trying to take his advice.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out

The coolest most awesomest thing ever happened today. Jason Collins an NBA basketball player for the Washington Wizards came out as a proud gay African American man. This guy has no idea how many young African American men he's helping by coming out. When you live in a small town in the bible belt of America all you hear is negative things about being gay and it can make you feel extremely lonely and isolated. After a while you start to believe all the negative things and begin to hate yourself. Seeing someone like Jason Collins come out can help to change all that... and that is a very huge big deal.

When Jason was a student at Stanford he became very good friends with Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton family. After he made his announcement today, Chelsea and former president Bill Clinton released a statements.

President Bill Clinton's statement:
I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
Chelsea's statement:
I am very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to become the first openly gay athlete in the NBA. His decision marks an important moment for professional sports and for our country. I echo what my father said in his statement and similarly hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.
After receiving a ton of public support via twitter, here's Jason's response:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DeMon's America (If I were president)

If I were president this is what my agenda would look like.
T. DeMon Spencer's Ideal America

1. Legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. 

2. Abolish the death penalty (state and federal).

3. Reverse “Citizens United” that gives corporations permission to anonymously funnel unlimited amounts of money into the election process.

4. Create a nonpartisan federal commission to construct and implement guidelines to standardize all elections. No matter what state you live in, your voting process will be identical.

5. Disallow private money in presidential elections. Each candidate will have a federally funded campaign budget. This can be funded by a small tax added to everyone’s driver’s license fees (2 or 3 percent should be enough).

6. Attach the federal minimum wage to the fluctuation of the living wage. (Minimum wage = living wage + 20%)

7. Free health care for all Americans.

8. Create new restrictive regulation on Wall Street to protect our financial system.
        a. 2% tax on every stock trade
        b. Reinstate the capital gains tax 
        c. Sever the ties between banks brokerages and hedge funds 
        d. Limit high speed stock transactions (add another 1% tax for these types of trades) 
        e. Reinstate the “Glass Stiegel” act and the good parts of “Dodd Frank” 

9. Legalize marijuana.

10. Limit prison sentences for non-violent offenders and offer rehabilitation programs for first-time offenders instead of prison.

11. End elections for district attorneys and county sheriffs. These positions will be appointed by county commission boards with input from the town’s mayor and the state Attorney General.

12. Close all privately owned prisons.

13. Divert a majority of resources away from the failed war on drugs and use it to improve low income neighborhoods.

14. Restore voting rights to nonviolent felons.

15. End district attorney job promotions that are based solely on conviction rates.

16. Create legislation that says the government cannot regulate the internet in any way under any circumstances. 100% off limits for the FCC

17. Create a program that offers zero percent interest for student loans.

18. Increase salaries for all teachers and give them performance based bonuses.

19. Legalize work unions in all states.

20. Corporate CEO’s cannot give themselves bonuses if the company did not meet projected earnings for that year. (every time the CEO gets a bonus all workers get one as well).

21. End all drone attacks and reduce the number of American military bases in other countries.

22. Fund a huge government program to encourage organic farming.

23. Heavily invest government funds into legitimate energy alternative research and implementation.

24. Create a program that gives unemployed workers an opportunity to get their unemployment benefits in a lump-sum to start a cooperative with 9 other unemployed workers to start their own company.

25. Ban former senators, legislators, and congressmen from becoming lobbyist after they leave public office.

26. Rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure which will create a lot of jobs in every state.

27. Make it easier for the poor to get low income housing in nice neighborhoods.

28. Undo tort reform laws and remove judgment compensation limits.

29. Allow illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship after completing and meeting certain criteria.

30. Ban all assault weapons and extended clip ammunition and require extensive background checks for every weapon sold, given, or traded.

31. Abolish ALL stand your ground laws in every state.

32. Give employers tax incentives for implementing a pension plan for their employees instead of a 401k plan.

33. End the anonymous silent filibuster in the senate.

34. Close tax avoidance loopholes for corporations.

35. End predatory lending in poor neighborhoods (pay-day loans, pawn shop check cashing, title loans), and make it easier to repair and/or maintain a positive credit score.

36. Fund a program that gives start-up capital to entrepreneur who wants to open a business in their neighborhood (to lessen the amount of outside people who have no ties to the community from owning every store and restaurant.)

37. Make all textbooks digital and give the students a free ipad or laptop in the 9th grade.

38. Offer free high-speed internet for low-income families.

39. Legalize gay adoption in ever state. Gay couples will have to meet the same requirements as straight couples.

40. Implement a 10 year term limit for Supreme Court appointees.

41. Make contraceptives available for all high school students who ask for it (from a guidance counselor who will also give them information about and talk one on one with them about pregnancy, sex and STD’s.)

42. Every public high school must have a gay straight student alliance club.

43. Give tax break incentives for those who register as an organ donor.

44. Break up huge media conglomerates into smaller companies to create a less bias corporate driven media industry.

45. Create a new government office under the FEC whose sole purpose is to monitor the fluctuation in income disparity, and report their findings once a year along with suggested courses of action to return it to a reasonable position.

46. Remove the legislation that protects gun manufactures from being sued for wrongdoing.

47. Ban lobbyist from writing bills and legislation.

48. Close ALL American prisons and detention centers in other countries.

49. Lessen time limits for drug patents and make life-saving drugs obtainable for 3rd world countries.

50. Take a much firmer stance with Israel and strongly push for a two state deal giving Palestinians the land they were forced away from.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Justice Scalia's Racist Agenda

I've been seething for a few days now over Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's outrageous comment calling the Voting Rights Act a “racial entitlement”. There's an article by LEONARD PITTS JR. in the Miami Herald that sums up everything I've been feeling about the injustice of The Supreme Court even hearing this argument. Although concise and extremely eloquent there is one very important aspect that Mr Pitts article left out.  Supreme Court justices are not elected or held accountable by the people.  They are lifetime appointments appointed by whatever party is in the white house whenever a seat becomes open (which is rare).  The Voting Rights Act was enacted by congress and upheld by congress with overwhelming bipartisan support for almost 50 years now.  Congress is an elected body who serves as a voice for their constituents aka THE VOICE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.  Justice Scalia not only wants to destroy The Voting Rights Act, he wants to remove the power to uphold or overturn the Voting Rights Act away from a democratically elected body who are there to represent the American people and transfer that power to an appointed body who can make decisions that goes against the intentions and will of the American people without scrutiny or recourse.  This is one of the most radical concepts the bench has ever seen.  The Supreme Court has never done this or even contemplated doing this in the history of our nation.  If Justice Scalia is allowed to remove the power of congress as he sees fit, we are no longer a democratic country.  It's unconstitutional, it serves to further disenfranchise minority voters (which is his intention), it's a huge step back from the progress we've made toward equal rights, it makes the voice of the American people irrelevant  and it sets a very dangerous precedent for future legislation.  This is not a democrat vs republican issue.  The last time the Voting Rights act went through congress in 2006 99% of democrats AND REPUBLICANS voted to extend it, but unfortunately current house republicans aren't speaking out and condemning Justice Scalia.  That says a lot about how different this crop of republican law makers are from where they were just 6 or 7 years ago. If you can't publicly support The Voting Rights Act as popular and as needed as it is, then what can you support?  The silence from the hill is deafening.

Miami Herald article I referenced:

Friday, October 5, 2012

President Obama's First Debate 2012

The first debate of the 2012 Presidential election is over. Now the pundits and the American people are deciding who won.  Just to be fair I feel I need to let you know that I have been and always will be a very liberal democrat.  After watching the debate I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the way the President handled things.  I could concoct some kind of spin or rationalization that would diminish President Obama’s shortcomings during the debate and leave the impression that I believe Romney lost.  But that wouldn't be the truth and if I go down that road I’ll become everything I abhor about Mitt Romney.  His history of misrepresenting the truth, flip flopping, changing his message to suit each crowd he’s speaking in front of (pandering), and spouting outright blatant lies whenever it’s politically advantageous.  But like I said, I can’t do that.  My conscience and upbringing just won’t allow it.  So here’s the truth.  President Obama lost this first debate.  Simple as that.  I’ll get into what this may cost him politically and if it’s as important as some might think later in my post.  But first I want to go over what I think were the President’s biggest missteps.  The first thing I want to talk about is body language.  I picked up on this very early into the debate.  Most of the time when Romney was speaking President Obama had his head down writing notes.  Romney was facing the President trying to engage him and look him in the eye.  This was a pretty big mistake for the President because it made him look passive.  No one anywhere in any country, business, organization, etc wants a passive leader.  It’s an oxymoron to even put those two words together; “passive leader”.   But let me be clear about this because I do not want anyone misunderstanding what I’m saying here.  I said it made the President “LOOK” passive.  Anyone who can remember Obama vs Hillary four years ago saw from the very beginning that this man is definitely not passive.  But in these kind of televised debates perception is more important than truth or reality.  Mitt proved that point time and time again.

The second misstep was letting Romney say misleading things without correcting him in the moment.  This drove me completely crazy the whole night.  I was almost yelling at the television at some points.  Here are a couple examples:  Mitt said “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut.”  Which was a seriously bold statement when anyone with a calculator and a little common sense can easily prove that this is a lie.  An independent economist at the Tax Policy Center ( have shown that the price tag for Romney’s tax cuts equals about $360 billion in the first year which extrapolates to $5 trillion over a decade.  It’s simple arithmetic and for those that don’t believe me I included a link to the Tax Policy Center’s website where you can see it for yourself.

Here’s another example of Mitt misrepresenting the truth:  About half way through the debate Mitt says “We’ve got 23 million people out of work or who have stopped looking for work in this country.”  It’s true that we do have a lot of people still out of work in this country due to the Republican’s bad economic policies under George Bush, but the actual figure is 12.5 million.  Not 23 million.  Here’s how slick Mitt manipulated the numbers to lie for dramatic effect in the debate.  He counts more than 8 million wage earners who hold part-time jobs as also being “out of work”.  Clever but still misleading?

One of the biggest outright lies of the night was when Romney said “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.”  He suggested that his health care proposal would guarantee coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.  This is just not true.  Under Romney, if you have a pre-existing condition (such as I do) and have been unable to obtain insurance coverage or if you have had to drop coverage for more than 90 days because you lost your job or couldn’t afford the premiums, you would be out of luck.  I was born with Sickle Cell and the cost of my medical care throughout my life so far has been upwards of one million dollars.  Someone like me needs this pre-existing condition protection to get proper medical care.  So for people like me this is a life or death issue.  Watching Romney be so careless with the truth and exhibit such a callous disconnect infuriates me to no end.   Under Romney’s plan Insurance companies could continue to discriminate and deny people like me coverage.  This whopper of a lie was even too big for his campaign staff to stomach.  Immediately following the debate Romney’s top adviser had to release a statement saying that Romney  “misspoke about his health care plan including pre-existing conditions”.

In my opinion someone who lies so easily has no right to become president.  Some people might bring up Clinton as a counterpoint to this statement, but I would ask them to think about what both individuals have lied about.  President Clinton lied about straying from his marriage.  Mitt Romney has lied about his economic plan, lied about President Obama’s record, lied about details in his health plan and misrepresents many other politically important issues that will affect the direction of this country.  Bill Clinton’s lie had absolutely ZERO effect on the welfare of the country and it’s people.  That’s why the comparison of the two isn’t even legitimate.

Back to the debate; now the final misstep President Obama made that cost him the debate.  Letting Mitt Romney play the bully all night and gain control of the debate format.  It was very clear early on that slick Mitt Romney wasn’t going to abide by the debate rules that both parties agreed to prior to taking the stage.  President Obama should have seen that coming.  I knew even before the debate began that Mitt wasn’t going to keep his word and abide by the rules.  That’s just who he is.  Mitt Romney believes that rules and laws aren’t meant for wealthy people like himself.  His whole attitude and outlook was shaped by the privileged world of wealth that he grew up in.  He’s shown us this time and time again.  Remember the hate and disdain he showed for the 47%  who he deemed as leaches and lost causes because they grew up with financial hardships and work low paying or minimum wage jobs.  This man speaks a completely different language when he’s among his wealthy peers.  There’s no way he can relate to real Americans and he acts as if it’s a bother to even try.  So based on the 47% video, his economic disconnect and his history, the Obama team should have seen the bully takeover coming and prepared ways to counter it. 

There are a few more areas where the President could have improved his performance but those are the main ones that ended up costing him this first debate.  Now, it remains to be seen whether this changes the polls any and that will be apparent in the days to come, but if we look at past presidential debates where an incumbent lost his first debate, we’ll see that it really has no correlation to winning the White House.  Here are the stats:

DeMon's Debate History Chart:
1976 Incumbent Gerald Ford lost 1st debate against Carter CARTER WON ELECTION
1980 Incumbent Carter lost 1st debate against Reagan REAGAN WON ELECTION
1984 Incumbent Reagan lost 1st debate against Mondale REAGAN WON ELECTION
1992 Incumbent George Bush Sr lost 1st debate against Clinton CLINTON WON ELECTION
1996 Incumbent Bill Clinton won 1st debate against Bob Dole CLINTON WON ELECTION
2004 Incumbent George W Bush lost 1st debate against John Kerry GEORGE W BUSH WON ELECTION
2012 Incumbent Barack Obama lost 1st debate against Romney ??????????????????????

So history tells us that out of the last 7 presidential debates, three incumbents lost the first debate but still won the election.  And an equal amount of incumbents who lost the first debate also lost the election.  I’m using this piece of presidential history to make a point.  Romney may have won this first debate, but it really isn't that big of a deal when you put it into the proper perspective.  So I want my fellow dems to stop with the doom and gloom.  President Obama is still leading in every single poll they've taken in the swing states.  Romney still has to deal with his likability issues and he has to somehow try and make Americans forget that he wrote off 47% of the country as moochers and lost causes who can’t take responsibility for their own lives and they consider themselves victims.  That’s a HUGE hurdle to cross and 5 weeks is a very short time to do it in.  It’s time we own up to the loss of this first debate, then move on and find ways to help the president win this election.  Let this ignite our resolve and do whatever we can to take an active role in this election. President Obama is only one man and he can’t win all by himself.  I can do more, you can do more, we ALL can do more. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


As soon as I heard that the billionaire republican Koch brothers were bankrolling Herman Cain's bid for the republican presidential nomination, I knew instantly what they planned to do with him and why they chose him. First of all, anyone with any political knowledge will tell you that Herman Cain has absolutely no chance in hell of getting the GOP nod for president. I'd like to think that Mr. Cain is smart enough to know that as well, but the more I see and learn about him, I'm not so sure he's in on the joke.

The Koch brothers created an organization in 2004 named "Americans for Prosperity" as a vehicle to influence the political process and funnel millions of their dollars to republican politicians who share their political views and whoever could pass laws that would benefit their business interests. After President Obama won the election in 2008, the Koch brothers along with their "Americans For Prosperity" organization had to come up with a way to insert race and racism into the election without making themselves and their fellow republicans look overtly racist. They tried to do this in the 2008 election but it backfired and lost them the presidency. So the Koch brothers, their organization, and a number of other GOP "think-tanks" devised what they thought would be the perfect solution. All they had to do is find a republican African-American who they could back as a seemingly legitimate presidential candidate, and use him to deflect any charges of racism, and also use him as a puppet to say the racist things that they could not get away with. They could also use him to paint democrats who are critical of him as racist... or as Rush Limbaugh put it "Cain can level the playing field". So this organization "Americans For Prosperity" (aka Koch brothers) started planning a presidential campaign before they even found who they were going to run. Normally prospective candidates start fund raising about 2 years before their party's primary. But the Koch brothers are BILLIONAIRES and didn't need to bother with all that. They wanted to buy and own a negro, and Herman Cain fit the bill. An African-American REPUBLICAN business man who they could Kapture, Koach, and Kontrol (KKK lol). Never-mind that he's never ran for any type of political office. Although I'm sure his naivete was a necessary attribute that fit into their plans perfectly. I don't know Mr Cain personally, but I'm told he's a successful businessman, and if that's true, then I'm sure he's probably good in that field. But after watching him in interviews, and seeing how he reacts and interacts with the press, and hearing his public speeches, it's painfully clear that he is unprepared, inexperienced, and miles away from being a serious presidential candidate. His encounters with the press has made for some of the most cringeworthy political moments ever. I have yet to find one single quality in him that looks presidential. He's not a good public speaker, he gets visually agitated with the press easily, he has trouble communicating his ideas (or should I say the ideas given to him), he lacks charisma, and at times he seems evasive and even dishonest. So it makes you think, why would the Koch brothers put millions of their money into a presidential candidate who they know won't make it past the primaries. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that they have a different agenda with very devious intentions.

Watch this clip from Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show "The Last Word". He plays a clip from a recent Rush Limbaugh show, and in it, Rush inadvertently explains the republican's stagey and Herman Cain's purpose and role as their puppet. I hope Herman Cain wakes up and realizes that he's being used... and maybe he'll stop tap-dancing in the republican's minstrel show and recapture some of the dignity he lost before it's too late.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Teaching Gay History & Manipulating Black Voters

In California a law was passed that requires public schools to include prominent gay people and gay rights milestones into the school's curriculum. Of course the Evangelicals and Tea Party members are organizing and working to get 504,760 signatures from registered voters to get a ballot referendum that would repeal this law. They are telling would-be voters that the new mandate would inappropriately expose young children to sex, infringe on parental rights and silence religion-based criticisms of homosexuality. I first read about this on a popular blog that has a large African-American following. Then I started to read some of the comments and I couldn't believe how vicious the homophobia and hate speech was in a large majority of the posts. Some of the homophobia was expected, but I didn't expect the amount of sheer ignorance that was prevalent in almost every comment. So of course I had to leave a comment of my own in hopes that someone would read it and see the world from a different perspective. So here's what I wrote:

After reading some of the comments, it's clear that I can't assume that everyone who read this article and are reading my comment are intelligent enough to see what's going on here. First let me explain one thing that most of the "Bible beaters" are missing... so listen close. This law in no way allows any school or teacher to teach or discuss ANYTHING DEALING WITH SEX OF ANY KIND... GAY OR STRAIGHT. I'm puzzled by the huge leaps, exaggerations and assumptions being made by those leaving comments here. If all I knew about this story came from the "Bible beaters", I'd think the schools were having classes that taught children how to have gay sexual intercourse complete with pictures videos diagrams and live demonstrations. I know I'm being a little facetious here but it's not that far from reality. The TRUTH is, this law allows the school curriculum to include FACTS about some very important people in American history that happen to be gay. Learning about the gay uprising at "Stonewall", or learning about the gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin who worked in the trenches of the Civil Rights Movement as a close advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King (who was well aware of Rustin's sexuality and accepted him for who he was instead of condemning him), or learning about Glenn Burke who's a legend in Major League Baseball who refused to stay in the closet and live a lie just to keep his job, or learning about Harry Hay who started the first national gay rights organization and who's credited as the "father" of the gay right movement, or learning about Harvey Milk who lost his life fighting for ethnic, gender and gay equality... and there are hundreds of other notable brave figures and important events that are a part of American history that shouldn't be ignored just to pacify the ignorance of religious zealots. This country, it's citizens, and our children deserve better than that. America is a land governed by laws that ensures our freedom. This works because our freedom is absolute without the taint of religion. This ideal/promise is written in the first amendment of our Constitution in very plain English. It erects a proverbial wall of separation between church and state. When we start letting religion interfere with government, we are no longer a free country. Just look at how well establishing a religious dictatorship works in Iran. 

The other issue that needs to be addressed is the timing of this ballot referendum. I want people to open their eyes and realize when they're being played. The closer we get to the presidential election, you'll see stories and articles deliberately planted and precisely timed to manipulate the African-American community. Republicans have used this same tactic over and over again to distract us from real issues, and it seems to work every time. Remember President Bush and how he got elected? He had more African-American votes than any other Republican candidate in recent history. They know how prevalent homophobia is in our community, so they launched a PR campaign that targeted Black churches and got them all stirred up and scared that gay's would get equal rights if they didn't elect him. And that's all it took. The church my mom attends received faxed messages with urgent warnings about the so-called "gay agenda" to recruit their children and spread Aids to everyone. I couldn't even read the whole document because it saddened me that my people were buying into this B S. And as a consequence Bush got elected and proceeded to destroy and obliterate the Black middle class. So I beg of you, whether or not you agree or disagree with gay rights, PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM TRICK US THIS TIME because the stakes are too high and the future of our community hangs in the balance... gay and straight.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who Knew Racism Sells Skin Care Products?

The well known skin care company Nivea has a line of very popular men's care grooming products available.  I've used their shower gel for almost a year now, and  I've even recommended it to friends when they ask me why do I smell so good when I get out of the shower.  I like it because it has a mild yet pleasant masculine sent that isn't overpowering like some of the other shower gels aimed at men.  It lathers well, and it's reasonably priced.  So when I saw their new print ad campaign, I was shocked , disappointed and somewhat confused.  The ad depicts a very well dressed clean cut African American man holding the decapitated head of another African American man who has an afro and a beard with a scowling almost menacing facial expression, with the catchphrase "RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF and LOOK LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN" prominently displayed in the center of the ad.  But the abundance of offensive stereotypes didn't end there... to top it all off they have the clean cut African-American head chopper posing on a football field... yes, a football field.

According to Nivea’s brand messaging, Black men are inherently uncivilized and can only become civilized if they forsake what comes out of their hair follicles naturally and adopt a more European look.  But, have no fear, Nivea will come to our rescue and saves us from savagery by getting rid of our "unacceptable" wool like coarsely textured NATURAL fro to make our appearance more like our "civilized" Caucasian counterparts.

Unfortunately to some people this ad and anything like it will never click for them as being racist.  I have some of the most open-minded progressive thinking (white) friends, and I know a couple of them would never see the racism in this ad no matter how eloquent and descriptive I made my explanation.  This use to bother and frustrate me like nothing else until I had one of Oprah's "ah-ha moments" (lol don't we all miss Oprah).  My friends weren't purposely refusing to see racism, or purposely ignoring things with racist connotations... they weren't doing that at all.  When they look at me and other minorities, they were looking at us without any historical context.  They saw me and other African-Americans the same way they saw themselves.  Not figuratively or metaphorically... but they actually saw no difference.  So when stories like this would pop up, they would judge it by putting themselves in the situation and base an opinion on how they would feel or react.  They wouldn't understand or see the racism.  Like the hair issue with this ad.  It's saying that African-American hair in its natural form is uncivilized, and the racism there is pretty clear to me.  Sure there are degrees of racism, but racism of any kind big or small should not be tolerated by anyone who believes in equality.

So my advice to those who are white and have a problem with understanding how things like this could be seen as racist would be this:  If you have a close African-American friend who you respect and trust to always tell you the truth, and you believe them to be rational thinkers in every aspect of their lives, and they confide in you that they are offended by something because they found it to be insulting and racist... BELIEVE THEM.  They have experienced all types of discrimination and racism throughout the course of their lives, so why not trust that this friend is better equipped to recognize this when it happens.  Being flippant or dismissive about it is hurtful and it shows your trustworthy respectably friend that you in-fact do not trust their judgement (which more than likely came from painful real-life experiences of racism against them).  I know this is not your intention because you see life from a totally different perspective, but the next time something like this occurs and you're discussing it with an African-American friend, please keep this in mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tracy Morgan's Gay Bashing Rant

Comedian Tracy Morgan has come under fire lately because of some homophobic remarks he made during his live comedy show in Tennessee about a week ago. The first half of this blog is taken from a post written by a man named Kevin Rogers who was in attendance at the show and was deeply offended by Mr. Morgan's hate speech. The second part of this blog is my response to all of this. And the last part is a small update on everything that has happened since this incident first began.

So tonight was the night, Tracy Morgan in the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium.  The show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor... I have to say it was hilarious and well worth at least 40% of the $86 we spent per ticket to see him. I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I'm well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor.  I have very thick skin when it comes to humor; I can dish and I can take. What I can't take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay shit was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that "Born this Way" is bullshit, gay is a choice, and the reason he knows this is exactly because "God don't make no mistakes" (referring to God not making someone gay cause that would be a mistake).  He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that's just a woman pretending because she hates a fucking man.  He took time to visit the bullshit of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little fuckers that bully them, not whine about it.  He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death. He mentioned that Barack Obama needed to man up and quit being all down with this just because he has a wife and two daughters. All of this being followed by thunderous cheer and "You go Tracys".  Tracy then said he didn't fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass... they can take a fucking joke.  The sad thing is that none of this rant was a joke.  His entire demeanor changed during that portion of the night.  He was truly filled with some hate towards us.


Kevin Rogers story was SHOCKING to me.  Out of all the stories I read about this incident, none of them actually quoted anything that Tracy Morgan said.  So because of this, I felt like maybe it was something small that got blown up by the press.  But after reading this, I do not see how any journalist could write an honest and truthful piece about this without letting the reader know exactly what was said.  His actual words were far beyond anything I had imagined.  This has totally changed my opinion of Tracy Morgan.  I was fan, but now I'll never watch or listen to anything he puts out ever again.  What he said can't be brushed over with an apology.  His apology means nothing to me because I know it will only be about him trying to save his career.  He's a sad little hate filled man, and I hope people will see him for what he is and stop supporting anything that he is a part of.  Why would anyone want to support someone like this?  I hope that gay rights organizations are not trying to solicit any kind of public apology from him.  It would be insulting.  Someone that says the kind of things he said doesn't change the way they think overnight, or go to some weekend siminar and magically become a changed man.  That kind of ignorance and hatred comes from a very deep dark and disturbed place, and any proclamations of change should be met with extreme skepticism.  As long as he's on 30 Rock, I'll NEVER watch that show EVER again.  The sad part of it all was the reaction Tracy got from the audience.  A large majority of them were cheering him on during his homophobic rant.  To me that's a confirmation of the long and treacherous road ahead we have yet to travel to reach total equality for our community.


Morgan has agreed to go to Nashville with GLAAD to protest the state's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill, according to E! Online. He spoke to E!'s Marc Malkin about his regrets over his rant, emphasizing his belief that all children should be loved, regardless of sexuality.  "I know how bad bullying can hurt," Morgan said. "I was bullied when I was a kid. I'm sorry for what I said. I didn't mean it. I never want to use my comedy to hurt anyone. My family knew what it was like to feel different. My brother was disabled and I lost my father to AIDS in 1987.... Parents should support and love their kids no matter what. Gay people deserve the same right to be happy in this country as everyone else. Our laws should support that."  In an interview with Russell Simmons at Global Grind, Morgan apologized again for his verbal tirade that sparked national outrage, swore off his hate speech and came out for marriage equality.  "Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia. My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself," Morgan said. "I don't care if you love the same sex as long as you have the ability to love someone I am deeply sorry for the comments I made. What I am most sad about is the comments I made about kids and bullying."

Morgan also noted his support for gays serving in the military -- an issue solved by the recent repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and then insisted he believed in gay marriage, too. "I believe everyone deserves the right to be happy and marry who they want too; gay, white, black, male or female. Let me know where the rally's at Russ. I'm there!" Morgan promised.  The words came as he works to make amends, not only with his public, but his friends, too. Tina Fey, his "30 Rock" co-star and executive producer slammed his comments but noted that she believed Morgan was a loving person.  "It doesn't line up with the Tracy Morgan I know, who is not a hateful man and is generally much too sleepy and self-centered to ever hurt another person," Fey said in a statement.  Another co-star, Cheyenne Jackson, said that he was "disgusted" by what Morgan had said.

Was Tracy's apology sincere?  Is he serious about making amends?  Does he understand how hurtful and dangerous his gay bashing tirade was?  I wish I had the answer to those questions, but only time will tell. When I began to write this blog, I kept thinking about something Mya Angelou said in an interview with Oprah.  It seemed to fit this situation perfectly, and I've found it to be true in my life as well.  This very wise woman said "When someone shows you who they are, believe them".


To view free streaming episodes of 30 Rock or Saturday NIght Live, visit the links below.
30 Rock seasons 1 through 5:
Saturday NIght Live seasons 1 through 36:


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