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If there is one thing I have learned as a working writer – notably one who writes for the Internet – it is that this climate is so conducive to constant complaining. So many of us are urged to reflect more what has yet to be done as opposed to what’s happening or what has literally just happened. Small victories are often dismissed as not being enough. In many cases, big victories aren’t always enough either.

However, if there is one thing I have struggled with throughout my life, it is knowing when to lavish in the moment and not obsess over what comes next.

There is a difference between not being content with the status quo and constantly moving the goal post to the point that you can never truly embrace progress. With that in mind, I take great pride in the historic moment that has taken place in my lifetime. I have struggled with the idea of marriage due of the examples of it in my life, but I have since challenged myself to see the possibilities. Now, it is a prospect that is real and attainable thanks to last week’s Supreme Court ruling that has made marriage equality nationwide. I will not play down this moment. Too many people have worked hard to make this happen.

Yes, some are right in their suspicions that our Black faces were likely not in the minds of many of the White LGBT members who worked toward this dream, but it’s a reward that we can now each share all the same. I respect my friends and colleagues who feel conflicted over how to be happy that they can marry, but fear that they or their brothers and sisters can easily have their lives snatched away before ever getting to that point. I understand the frustration over erasure, too.

I recognize all the continued struggles we have to fight, but I am not willing to allow our pain to cloud a cause celebration. You can be critical without falling into cynicism. You can be vocal about what still needs to happen without shouting over what just did. You can do all these things and promise to fight tomorrow.

But, but, but: you can and should celebrate the present. Sometimes tomorrow feels like eternity and I wish more people – self-included – had a better appreciation for what happens in the here and now. I am actively working to be better about it. I am using this ruling to further push myself towards that goal.

My first introduction to gay life was death. I saw AIDS by the first grade, and I have written, and will soon write in a broader narrative by way of a book, just how devastating and paralyzing that was for me. My uncle died when I was six, and for a long time, that is all I knew what being gay could be. Now, thanks to the work of so many people of every hue and the Supreme Court, my six-year-old niece will have a different vision. She now knows Uncle Mikey can get married.

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During an interview on the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron,” Obama argued that while America has made some advancement in terms of race relations, “What is also true is the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.”

Obama added, “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination.”

This is a thoughtful take on the state of racism in this country, but naturally, cable news chose instead to focus on “nigger.” Earlier today, a CNN segment weighing in on whether or not it was okay for Obama to use language that is “offensive to some.” It’s been a question I’ve since noticed has been repeated on the network. Then there is Fox News, which asked the same question with a panel of four white people.

I wish I could be amused by mass media’s disingenuousness. President Obama is not the first president to use “nigger,”—he’s merely the first one not to use it as a slur. For all his work on passing civil rights legislation, former Democratic president Lyndon B. Johnson let the word fly freely and routinely from his mouth. The same goes for former Republican president Richard Nixon, and for Harry Truman, when he called Adam Clayton Powell “that damned nigger preacher.”

And, you know, all those other presidents who owned slaves and expressed deep contempt for black people.

So, with that in mind, what purpose does it serve asking whether or not the first black president’s use of “nigger” in the context of a larger reflection on covert versus overt racism relevant? Because a few white people will object? Who cares? How much longer are we going to entertain thoughts of whether or not there is a double standard at play? This is a ruse of the highest order. Even if you don’t agree with the approach, black people use “nigga” in a different context than “nigger.” Whites have every other advantage over blacks; they can take the “L” on this one word.

Context is everything. It’s not like Obama greeted Loretta Lynch as his “nigga” on stage recently. (Had he done so, I’d still stick with the belief that black people can say it and white people cannot. But he did not go there.) What Obama did was remind people—many of whom needed to hear it—that racism is not just calling someone a racial slur. It’s not just about a confederate flag, either.

Read the rest at Talking Points Memo.

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As the city of Baltimore deals with what many have considered inevitable – conflict between the community and law enforcement boiling over onto the streets – its mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, finds herself rushing to clarify controversial comments she made about the protesters.

Over the weekend, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said of protests on Saturday, “It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we gave those who wished to destroy space to do that, as well.”

In response to criticism, Rawlings-Blake took to Facebook to write:

“I did not instruct police to give space to protesters who were seeking to create violence or destruction of property. Taken in context, I explained that, in giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who were seeking to incite violence also had space to operate.”

Unfortunately, this is not the comment that’s most troubling. Even if Rawlings-Blake meant she allowed some people to act out their rage for the sake of possibly preventing more, so be it. Rawlings-Blake noticing anger is not the problem. Her lack of regard for those who are angry and why – i.e. her constituents – is the real disappointment.

During a press conference on Monday night, Rawlings-Blake said:

 “I’m a lifelong resident of Baltimore and too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who in a very senseless way are trying to tear down what so many have fought for. Tearing down businesses.

Tearing down and destroying property, things that we know will impact our community for years. We are deploying every resource possible to gain control of the situation and to ensure peace moving forward.”

As a life-long resident turned mayor of Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake should know better than anyone that the frustration turned into rage that gave way to rioting was decades in the making. It is the result of jobs fleeing the city in favor of cheaper labor abroad; a war on drugs that was only successful in taking Black men off the streets to the delight of the now booming private prison industry; a police department that has such an extensive history of brutality that it has spent millions upon millions to pay victims off. Many ofthose payoffs are just a few years old.

As a politician, Rawlings-Blake ought to also be keenly aware of how “thug” is often employed by critics of Black people in thinly veiled racist rhetoric. More often than not, “thug” is a substitute for “nigger” and while I’m not surprised to see a Black face echo a white supremacist sentiment, it is no less disappointing.

How dare she bear witness and preside over a police department that has long been known to harass Black people and find the nerve to call them “thugs” without also acknowledging that they’re pissed over the thuggery of the Baltimore Police Department? It’s like the Baltimore Police Commissioner calling on parents to “take control of your kids” as he fails to control his police department.

Then there is President Obama, who in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, once again called on the nation to “do some soul-searching.” Obama then joined Rawlings-Blake in condemning the “criminals and thugs who tore up” Baltimore Monday night, arguing, “They’re not making a statement.” I certainly think a statement was made, though it seems Obama, Rawlings-Blake, and Maryland Governor Hogan have stuck their fingers in their eyes and proceeded to chant, “La-la-la-la.”

By the way, Obama lamented over “communities where there are no fathers who can provide guidance to young men.” It’s a feeling echoed by Kentucky senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul. How patriarchal. How hallow. How boring. I’d rather Obama lecture Hogan given he’s the one proposing to cut $35 million to Baltimore City schools.

To hell with all of their moralizing. This country was stolen from its original inhabitants and built on the backs of African slaves held in captivity. It presently oppresses descendants of those people both socially and economically. So when it comes to Obama’s call for America to “do some soul-searching,” one wonders what soul America has ever proven to have?

Read the rest at NewsOne.

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People like Republican politician Mike Huckabee remind me of the personal pitfalls one endures when they lead a life in which they think sex works best in missionary and with a marriage license for the sole purpose of procreation. The former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister also reminds me of the virtues of shutting the hell up and minding one’s business.

However, Huckabee has a long history of telling others what they should and should not be doing — most notably, women who dare to take ownership of their sexuality. He won’t stop any time soon with the promotion of his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy. Huckabee aims his God and gun at various targets, though his critiques of Beyoncé have drawn the biggest headlines.

The book seems to read as exactly as it sounds, so I look forward to kicking it over once I spot in the clearance aisle. In it, Huckabee slams Beyoncé for her “obnoxious and toxic mental poison in the form of song lyrics,” and though he says she’s a “terrific dancer,” he suggests that some of her choreography is “best left for the privacy of her bedroom.” People with no rhythm are such a nasty bunch.

Huckabee goes on to criticize Jay Z, explaining, “Jay Z is a very shrewd businessman, but I wonder: Does it occur to him that he is arguably crossing the line from husband to pimp by exploiting his wife as a sex object?”

Here’s a better question: Why does Beyoncé need her husband’s permission to be sexual? Huckabee went on to criticize the Obamas, especially First Lady Michelle Obama, by targeting both her parenting skills and her healthy eating initiative for children, quipping that when it comes to Beyoncé’s music, “If lived out, those lyrics would be far more devastating to someone’s health than a cupcake.”

Actually, I’m almost certain safe sex between two consenting adults is far healthier than eating a cupcake— at least the former is exercise and gluten free.

Joining Huckabee in the “White Men For Policing A Black Woman’s Body” squad is former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Last month, Duke bashed Minaj’s purported “disgusting and horrific and violent and drug-drenched” music: “Why do people blame blacks like Minaj? Because Minaj wouldn’t be a pimple on somebody’s rear end except for the fact that she is promoted by the Jewish record producers and the media, the mass media, the powerful media, that promotes absolute degenerates like her.”

Read the rest at The Urban Daily.

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Mitt Romney has as strong a shot of becoming the next president as NeNe Leakes does becoming the 2015 Miss Teen USA.

Based on previous interviews, Romney seemed to be aware of his chances at once again becoming the de facto leader of the Republican Party. Throughout 2014, Mitt Romney was asked the following: “Are you going to run in 2016?” Each time, the former Massachusetts governor, 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and 2008 Republican presidential primary candidate loser answered no.

The reasons why varied.

On CBS’s Face The Nation, Romney said he wasn’t thinking about himself in the 2016 race, but rather, “No, I’m thinking about the people who I want to see running for president, and there’s quite a group.”

In an interview on The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show, Romney was frank about why he wouldn’t bother, explaining that was his “belief that someone else stands a better chance of winning than I do.

When hit again with this question on FOX News Sunday last November, Romney repeatedly said, “I’m not planning on running.” One month prior, his wife, Ann Romney, ‘Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done.”

So much for that.

According to MSNBC, a source close to Mitt Romney revealed, “He’s more open to it, based on all the encouragement he’s received.” It was not a declaration; more like  a not so subtle nod to potential GOP donors that if they’re willing to throw some money behind him, he’s willing to give it another go. And then Romney himself became more blunt about his interest.

On Friday, Romney reportedly told a “room full of powerful Republican donors” that “I want to be president.” As for his wife, she has changed her mind and is now “very encouraging.” His sons are said to be conflicted and split down the middle — proving at least two of the Romney sons have a more realistic view of the world than their parents.

Even the often-obtuse head of the RNC knows this is a bad move. The New York Times reports that at this month’s Republican National Committee fundraiser at the Union League Club in New York City, Reince Priebus did his part “to remind donors deluded by a Romney repeat run just how terrible a campaign Romney ’12 was.”

As much as Romney’s massive wealth was made an issue, it wasn’t so much the problem as was Romney’s failure to understand the world outside his own privileged life. The “47 percent” comment hurt, but so did the manner in which he spoke about diversity–the infamous “binders full of women” remark is perhaps the most noteworthy example.

Then there were campaign stops like the one Romney made in 2012 at a West Philadelphia charter school. There, Romney said, “I come to learn, obviously, from people who are having experiences that are unique and instructive.” What he actually did, though, was lament about the importance of having a two-parent household — which should’ve earned him a dunce cap that day, given that former President George W. Bush’s Healthy Marriage Initiative had already proven itself to be a failure.

This is why as “eccentric” as many (rightfully) find him, Rand Paul makes more sense on addressing inequality than relics like Mitt Romney.

And given the way Romney interacts with Black kids, I’m so not keen on the prospect of Romney visiting a community center and asking, “So can you guys show me and Ann how to twerk?”

Read more at EBONY.

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In theory, the historic victories of Tim Scott and Mia Love are worthy of celebration. After Sen. Jim DeMint resigned in November 2012, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley appointed Scott to the office – thus his win on Tuesday makes him not only the first Black senator elected by South Carolina, but the first Black politician to win stateside election in South Carolina since Reconstruction. And thanks to voters in Utah, Mia Love became the first Black Republican woman – as well as the first Haitian American – to be elected to Congress.

For a party who counts only a minuscule amount of Black people in its fold, to have two Black faces serve in two powerful positions sounds like progress for both the GOP and the rest of the country. However, as common as these remarks from Zora Neale Hurston may read, they are no less powerful or truthful: “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”

Fellow South Carolinian and Congressman James Clyburn understands this point, and like me, is not impressed with Scott’s victory. Speaking with the Washington Post, Clyburn explained, “If you call progress electing a person with the pigmentation that he has, who votes against the interest and aspirations of 95 percent of the Black people in South Carolina, then I guess that’s progress.”

This would include Scott openly speaking to the necessity of impeaching President Barack Obama; voting to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act; voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress; voting to delay funding a settlement between the United States and Black farmers who accused the federal government of refusing them loans because of their race; calling for the tightening of food stamp restrictions; and slicing the HIV/AIDS budget for South Carolina.

Scott also notoriously refused an invitation to join the Congressional Black Caucus, saying, “My campaign was never about race.” Like Scott, Mia Love also discounts the role of race in her win. Some people just like to pretend.

When asked why it took so long for Republicans to elect a Black woman by CNN’s John Berman, Love said:

“This has nothing do with race. Understand that Utahans have made a statement that they’re not interested in dividing Americans based on race or gender, that they want to make sure that they are electing people who are honest and who have integrity. That’s really what made history here. It’s that race, gender, had nothing to do with it, principles had everything to do with it.”

Love’s response is a cake full of lies topped with way too much disingenuous icing; it’s nasty, stale, and worth immediate trashing. Love and Scott managing to be Black Republicans who can win elections in 2014 despite a clear opposition to Black voters, Black political interests, and our first Black president has everything to do with race, only not in a way either would imagine.

Love and Scott can succeed as Black Republicans in Republican territory because they are Black faces to political views typically associated with White men.

Love of all people should know the role race plays in politics because she fell victim to it only two years ago when she was running in office. Both she and Scott choose to ignore race, though, because it is benefits them professionally. That doesn’t negate the role race plays, however, and their choice only confirms that they are two people who are willing to uphold a standard molded by White supremacy for the sake of self-interests. Congratulations to them on their victory, but forgive some of us for not being impressed with the soulless.

That said, this is not a direct shot at all Black Republicans.

Read the rest at NewsOne.

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In what was formally a confidential memo that has since been exposed by the New York Times, a former pollster for President Obama offered a very blunt assessment of what Democrats can expect on Election Day. Cornell Belcher warned of “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do secure more Black votes.

Belcher went on to explain why such a feat may be unattainable given when “over half aren’t even sure when the midterm elections are taking place.” So now, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pouring tens of millions into an initiative that directly targets the kind of voters needed to maintain control of the Senate – particularly for races in states like North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia. Meanwhile, prominent Back elected officials and surrogates (good day, pastors) are being deployed to encourage us Negroes to get to the polls.

These efforts would be more impressive if they didn’t reek of desperation. If Black votes matter so much to the Democratic Party, where was the attention to our needs 18 months ago? It seems as if the Democrats’ original plans to maintain control of the Senate still appeared within reach, there would not be this sudden rush to boost Black voter turnout.

If there’s any one Democrat who could prompt more Blacks to turnout in a traditionally low voting year overall, it would be President Obama. Unfortunately, many Democratic candidates have placed distance between themselves and Obama. To the point that he has only been booked to appear in less than 10 campaign events. Some call this independence, but I consider it an act of cowardice.

Ken Salazar, a former senator from Colorado who served as Interior secretary during Obama’s first term, argued that in order for, Senator Mark Udall (D-Co) to win, Udall must show that he stands for “the Colorado way, not the Obama way or the Democratic way.” Yes, vote for the Democrat who doesn’t stand for the Democratic platform or the Democratic president who helped Udall get elected in the first place.

Then there is Kentucky Democratic candidate for Senate, who not only initially refused to acknowledge whether or not she voted for Obama, but also ran an attack ad leveled against Obama this summer. Never mind the reality that while many Kentuckians have never liked Obama, they despise Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for opposing the health care reform that is Obama’s creation. The same can be said of doing everything in his power to make sure nothing gets done in Washington.

Although Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) was brave enough to admit that he voted for his party’s nominee in an interview with the Washington Examiner, he added, “The president’s not relevant. He’s gone in two years.” Vote for Mark Begich: So Democrats can keep the Senate and do absolutely nothing because the president is irrelevant. Are you fired up and ready to go, y’all?

And while it’s less harmful to bash the nation’s first Black president in states like Kentucky and Alaska, Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate in Georgia, did admit voting for Obama, but also complained about an attack ad by her Republican opponent, David Perdue, for featuring a “misleading photo of her” with the president. Surprise, surprise: The only way Nunn wins this race is if she boosts Black voter turnout in key areas like ATL, shawty.

Georgia Democrats recently released a flyer with two Black children holding up “Don’t Shoot” signs coupled with the caption, “If you want to prevent another Ferguson in their future — vote. It’s up to you to make change happen.”

It is as patronizing as it is misleading. After all, much of the blame in the mishandling of Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson goes to Missouri Democrats presently wasting space in office. Just ask some of the St. Louis County residents now asking Black voters to consider voting GOP next month in order to punish those very Democrats.

Read more at EBONY.

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Even if it included too much techno and not enough rhythm, the “#TURNOUTFORWHAT” ad, brought to us by the nonpartisan group Rock The Vote, pushed a simple yet important message to young people: vote. For whomever and whatever, just vote. Meanwhile, back at the ranch that hosts the conservative media industrial complex, Media Matters notes that they are peddling a more dangerous sentiment: Women, when it comes to voting, do yourself a favor and opt not to. I suppose they don’t have to bother relaying such a message to Black people as various Republican state legislatures and the Supreme Court are doing that work for them.

The Mario and Luigi of this “If You Ain’t Got A Penis Stay Far Away From The Polls” are the National Review and FOX News.

In response to the Rock The Vote ad, which starred Lil’ Jon and Lena Dunham, the National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson complains about those who “need Lena Dunham to tell you why and how you should be voting” and takes shots at those who get “news from television comedians.” This, despite numerous studies that show those sort of viewers are more informed than FOX and CNN viewers. Williamson would rather these people do other things besides voting, including entertaining the option of becoming a nun.

Taking the baton not long after was FOX News’ Tucker Carlson, the bow tie-wearing curmudgeon who consistently makes blatantly racist and sexist to the delight of aging bigots watching at home. During an appearance on Outnumbered, Carlson complains, “You want your government run by people … who’s favorite show is Say Yes To The Dress.” Well, do I want my government run by people who watch shows that essentially think women belong in the kitchen and Black folks way in the back, shining shoes and shutting up about racism?

Then there is Bill O’Reilly, who slammed women altogether by claiming that due to emotion, women voters skew Democratic “no matter what happens to the nation.”

It’s not surprising to witness white men condescend towards young people, and in particular, young women, but as FOX News has shown repeatedly over the years, they know how to present classic white male branded patriarchy (and racism) with a diverse face.

During the October 21 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle agreed with fellow co-host Greg Gutfeld that young women lack the wisdom to vote as conservatives. Yes, young women lack the “wisdom” to know that these gray haired, women-bashing men have their best interest at heart when they try to police their uteruses.

In any event, Guilfoyle not only lent her female voice to this sexist point of view, but went further and added that young women should also be excused from jury duty given they “lack life experience.” Moreover, when it comes to voting, they just “don’t get it” because they’re not paying mortgages and having babies. So what should they be doing instead? According to Guilfoyle, “They’re [young women] like healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world. They can go back on Tinder or Match.com.”

Guilfoyle is a 45-year-old woman, proving that even if you’re closer to menopause in life than you are your first period, you can still sound as ignorant as any toddler learning how to use the potty.

Read more at EBONY.

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1. Why So Hostile To The Gay, GOP?: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is many things: Orange, conservative, and awful at his job, and consistent victim of unnecessary scolding from the kookiest sect of his party. We’ll never know what Boehner might’ve been able to accomplish had he not been so willing to bend to the whim of the House hooligans, but I will give him a solitary cool point for deciding to help fundraise for openly gay Republican California congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. Yes, despite my prejudicial belief that gay Republicans are more times than not, just like Black Republicans: useless as a can of greens.

In any event, Boehner’s decision has reportedly drawn the ire of social conservatives in the party. You know, those people who just can’t get over the fact that some people don’t want to spend their lives having boring missionary sex with someone of the opposite gender the way their distorted view of Jesus intended. It’s a shame that even when presented with a chance to win and make further gains in their corporatist agenda (the real God of the GOP, FYI), these geniuses would actively campaign against someone of their own party ‘cause he makes the sex with another man. Get help, idiots, or better yet, get over it already.

2. Paula, Please: Like a few of you, I caught the premiere of TV One’s latest reality series, Hollywood Divas.  The show made me sad for a few reasons, but I did get quite the chuckle out of Paula Jai Parker who claims that she was blackballed by the industry because she married and procreated with an “outsider.” Now, I don’t like to put fellow Howard University alum on blast, but c’mon nah Bison. Sandra Bullock, among, many, many others have dated outside the Hollywood pool and managed to keep booking gigs. Yes, I know you’re not a White woman, but who do you know who is gullible enough to fall for that excuse? Elise Neal called her out on that in the premiere, too, so there’s something else there. Like, I don’t know, you being combative and taking random shots at your peers mere moments into casual conversation. Or that your acting thus far in the confessionals gives Cruella de Vil after one too many well drinks at happy hour realness. Try again, girl.

3. No New NeNe, No, No, NO:  Even if she’s not my favorite Atlanta housewife anymore, I salute NeNe Leakes for being able to take the popularity she gained from her persona on the show – a dash of Shirley from What’s Happening!!, Black gay slang sprinkles mixed with any evil queen from a Disney movie you can think – and flipping that to other opportunities i.e. acting gigs on network TV and Broadway, but I really hope she doesn’t become the new host of Fashion Police.

On the rumors, she recently said: “I have to say Joan is unreplacable, we all love her, she’s fantastic, she’s given me some amazing advice about my career, I love Joan…If the opportunity comes it’s a possibility I might, I might not…I’m a fashion designer, love fashion and I’ll give you a good read every now and then so it may not be a bad place for me to be.”

A who, what, and how? No thank you. I imagine she can find some other vehicle to threw her shade, but not in Joan Rivers’ chair.

Read more at EBONY.

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Despite pleas from the family, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will not release surveillance footage surrounding the shooting death of John Crawford III. Crawford’s father, John Crawford II, says the footage make it clear in no uncertain terms about what happened in that Beavercreek Wal-Mart. Speaking with The Guardian, Crawford II claims, “It was an execution, no doubt about it. It was flat-out murder. And when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”

DeWine has argued that releasing the footage would be “playing with dynamite” and prevent any trial from being fair. And yet, the narrative about what preceded Crawford III’s death remains: He, with his Black and menacing self, walked around the store brandishing a gun, forcing them to believe that they were under direct and imminent threat. That gun turned out to be a BB gun for sale in the store and the person who called 911 has since recanted his story. Also speaking with The Guardian, Ronald Ritchie now says, “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody.” Ritchie, maintains Crawford was still taking the toy gun and “waving it around,” but he nonetheless soiled the minds of a potential jury pool, too – his own ability to bend the truth be damned (his claims of being an “ex-marine” have been proven false.)

Nonetheless, a Beavercreek police spokesman maintains their version of events, claiming in a statement: “Preliminary indications are that the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances.”

I bet, but a tape will likely confirm what most of us already know: this death should not have happened.

Personally, I don’t have to see video footage of a horrific incident when the surrounding details are crystal clear. I feel confident in concluded that based on the facts, an unarmed Black man lost his life for no good reason. The same goes for knowing that now former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice assaulted his then fiancée, Janay Palmer and that justice was not served by the NJ prosecutor, nor by a permissive NFL commissioner. But while I don’t need to see the gory details of something in order to comprehend its ugliness, but I do recognize that this is the case for others.

For varying reasons – lack of empathy or the effects of being bombarded with desensitizing imagery for far too long – many often have to see horror to interpret it as such.

Yes, in a perfect world, it should not have required TMZ leaking footage of Ray Rice knocking out his partner, stepping over her as if she did not matter in the least to him, and spitting on her motionless body to get the public riled up to the extent to which even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may soon find himself unemployed, but it did. The same can be said of the site publishing photos of Rihanna after her brutal beating from then-boyfriend Chris Brown. Had we not viewed those images, Chris Brown might’ve been able to sing about disloyal “hoes” mere months after the incident as opposed to five years.

That does not in any way make TMZ a crusader. They are not releasing this sort of footage out of the goodness of their hearts. It is about profit and securing it through wetting the public’s insatiable appetite for all things celebrity. Still, no matter their intentions, their actions have yielded real consequences for abusers and those who enable them for those who may have otherwise simply skated by.

There is an obvious cost to that, though. Rihanna did not want the world to see those pictures. The same can seemingly be said about Janay Palmer Rice. Victims often do not want to be viewed as such. Not to mention, there is gross embarrassment in having your victimization ready available for consumption to anyone with an Internet connection.

Read more at EBONY

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