Category Archives: Say what??

You know how stuff happens in real life and you have to ask yourself “Did that just happen?” This section is dedicated to those moments.

Day 5: What It’s Like to Read an Uncle Remus Book for the First Time

Hidy and Happy Friday, Folks!

I don’t know if vlogging counts towards my posting goal, but that’s what’s going down today. On this Frivolous Friday, I have the distinct honor of reading from a beloved children’s book, Uncle Remus: His songs and stories.

Most people over the age of 30 have heard of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, and all the other Brer Rabbit tales. Uncle Remus is a fictional character who embodies the souls of three people; Uncle George Terrell, Old Harbert, and Aunt Crissy, who told stories and myths when they all lived on the plantation where the author of the book, Joel C. Harris was working at the time. He re-told their stories and sold them to publications all over the country.

It was really uncomfortable to read the stories at first, and there was definitely an overwhelming feeling of “WTH did I just read?!?” when I parted the first few pages of the book, but it gives a valuable look back at what plantation life was like in those days. African-Americans have always used stories, tall tales, songs and humor to get us through the dark times, and these stories are a nod to that reality. Furthermore, it gives one a glimpse at what Negro dialect sounded like in those days. Of course, I sound like a blithering idiot trying to make sense of the vernacular, but it definitely imparts a sense of respect to the unsuspecting reader. After all, it’s not like Negros were handed a Rosetta Stone and given diction classes on how to properly enunciate or communicate using proper verb tense agreement. Quite the opposite, in fact. Sounding too “educated” could get you killed. Our fore-bearers did the best they could, repeating words as they thought they heard them.

Enough of my prattle! Watch what it’s like to read an Uncle Remus book for the first time.

If you ever want to borrow the book to read out loud, give me a holler. It would make for a great evening with friends.

*This post is the 5th in the seven day long #YourTurnChallenge series.

Untitled and Pissed Off

Caution: Rant

I’m about to say some things. And those things will be directed at misogynists, whether they possess a penis or a vagina; because yes – there are many women who are doggedly dedicated to the subjugation of their own sex. As low as a misogynistic man may be, a woman who is devoted to the defeat of those who share her gender is lower than that. She is a grub.

I am about to say some things about Ghanaians and Ghanaian culture, and though those things may (and probably do) apply to other African cultures, I am not here to admonish them. They have their own warriors. If you know you are one of these ‘men’ who gets all in his feelings over words published online, click the ‘x’ on your browser now.

 

In 2010, I visited my father in Ghana and he said something that shocked me during one of our conversations. “I can’t speak for other African nations, but I know that we Ghanaians treat women very badly,” he said.

I’ve told this story before. I’ve recounted how I met his assertion with skepticism. I’ve told anyone who would listen how proud I am to be of Ghanaian heritage, and how –despite all their wealth and global influence – I am grateful to have never been born a woman in Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country. THOSE women have no rights at all. I’d rather be Black, poor and hungry than a woman of living under an obviously repressive Arab regime.

What nonsense I was talking. Five years on, I have discovered what my father was talking about. Middle Eastern countries tell a woman her place and compel her to conduct herself accordingly from the outset. She is not raised to have hopes because of her gender. As cruel as this is, it is nowhere near as fiendish as what Ghanaians do to our girls. Where gender is concerned, Ghanaian society is built on a foundation of deceit, broken promises and lies. We tell ourselves we are progressive and egalitarian, dedicated to the advancement of ALL, but it is not true. Because time and again, Ghanaian men have proven their strength not based on innovation, vision or advancement, but rather based on the oppression of Ghanaian women.

A Ghanaian man is only strong when he makes women around him look/feel/act weak.

Today we got news that 19 year old college student Ewuraffe Orleans Thompson, who reported that she had been raped by broadcaster KKD, has withdrawn her rape case from court, because she is “no longer interested” in pursuing it. Now, take a long hard look at that sentence and tell me immediately what’s wrong with it. Most intelligent people can already gather what has happened here, and how this girl got to this point, but I’ll help the rest of y’all out:

  • We know how old she is.
  • We know her name
  • We know she reported an alleged attack by a beloved Ghanaian personality
  • Though I did not insert it into the sentence, anyone with access to the internet knows where this girl lives and goes to school.

How, and furthermore, WHY do we know all this? This is precisely the sort of divulging of information rape advocates in America have fought against (and successful won over) for years. There is no reason to publish the name of a rape victim for a myriad of reasons. This child – and she IS a child – is 19 years old. She is still under the care and protection of her parents. She has barely begun her tertiary education. Publishing this information about her is literally akin to assaulting her all over again. Who knows what her future in Ghana will be, with a society that has devoted itself to lowering the posture of women? You think that’s hyperbole? Listen to what your “relationship counselors” say on the radio about women! Listen to your mega-pastors misquote the Bible and tell women they will rot without the proposal of marriage of a man to save them! Listen to an MP come to parliament floor and THEN go on national media to advocate for the stoning of women. Now go to your social media feed and look at the kinds of things men AND women are saying about this girl, despite the fact that four more women came forward in the wake of this revelation to divulge how KKD raped them in their teens and ‘tweens. Let’s not forget that William Nyarko, formally of the Chronicle, recently admitted that his publication routinely killed stories about KKD and his preying on ‘small girls’ in an effort to protect him.

Image widely circulated of the wrongly identified victim.

Image widely circulated of the wrongly identified victim.

Now you tell me: how is a 19 year old girl supposed to stand against a system that was designed to destroy her? When it comes to KKD, the media was – and IS – singularly bent on protecting their own, with Citi FM leading the charge in the most abysmal display of a lack of journalistic ethics. There is no way this outlet and the others like TV3 and co. would have gotten away with what they have done to Ms. Thompson in a civilized society. In a vagrant display of intimidation, they hounded her for every tidbit of information they could find and published it, some times without verifying facts. Need I remind anyone of the supposed image of Ms. Thompson in a backless dress that went viral? That was actually a picture of Grace Omane, who threatened to sue all the media houses distributing images of her and tagging her as the alleged victim.

Tell me again: how does a girl/woman gather the strength to fight for justice in a toxic climate such as Ghana’s?

The problem with Ghana is Ghanaians. Secretly, we are convinced of our own superiority. We think certain things can never happen in Ghana. @Ayawuku actually alludes to this on a blog she wrote recently entitled Trigger where she discusses a bout she had with depression. When she tried to broach the topic with an aunt whom she felt would identify with or at least acknowledge what she was feeling, she was shot down with the words “You have been brainwashed,” and informed only white people suffer from depression. This is why there are “no suicides” in Ghana. People either stumble to their deaths from a balcony or accidentally overdose on some pills. In order to be truly mentally ill, you have to be drooling on yourself and eating your own shit. Similarly, this is also why there are “few rapes” in Ghana; because if you don’t scream and your assailant happens to be powerful – a chief, a pastor, a radio DJ – you are an attention seeking harlot who wants her 15 minutes of fame at the expense of a “good man”.

I’ve said before that I don’t know if KKD raped that girl, but I know for a fact that he is a predator and a nasty ass man. I know this because just a week after I published my story, my cousin contacted and told me how KKD got grabby with her outside of his bathroom, but she managed to fight him off. When she’s ready, she’ll tell her story. I know he’s nasty because of the four other women who were brave enough to tell, but too scared to reveal their identities. And I know for certain that after today, fewer Ghanaian women will feel confident enough to come forward and name their attackers, and Ghanaians can move forward believing that theirs is a just and civilized society, albeit a false assumption.

 

Okri vrs John: Rrrrrumble in the Literary Jungle!!!!

Note: This is a very serious subject, but I honestly can’t bring myself to write about it seriously. I jigga too much. I’m too excited!

Hol muh Guld! Is Jesus dashing Kwanzaa presents so soon? You know today is Kujichagulia (Self-determination) on the Kwanzaa calendar; and how apropos, since two authors went online to duke it out over what it means to be a African writer , and more importantly, a prolific African writer. Where we as generic Africans are concerned, there are certain themes and causes that inspire us to go to war. These include religious dominance, land, tribalism and political affiliation. It’s rare that we wage war for reasons outside of those realms. But my lawd, when we do, it’s a wonder to behold. Have you seen two poets/novelists go at it over art? Not since Achebe and Soyinka. Hei!

This morning, Ben Okri published an article on The Guardian entitled “A mental tyranny is keeping black writers from greatness.”  His contention is that African writers are too preoccupied with certain subjects, like poverty, war and yet more poverty:

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

As an author myself, I read it and thought he had a point. I agree that we do need to diversify the themes and types of writing we as African writers do. African centered romance, mysteries and sci-fi are gaining more notice and momentum in the literary space, as the literary field where these are concerned has been left wide open for centuries. The void is being filled with the likes of Nnedi Okorafor and Marguerite Abouet, but not fast enough in my opinion. For example, I have often gone in search of humorous or witty novels written by Africans and come up empty handed. The novels that are easiest to find are those with themes centered around that Mr. Okri expresses his exasperation about: war, poverty and suffering. Therefore, I was all ready to crown him as King of the Interwebs for the Day for his thoughtful analysis and keep it moving.

And then Elnathan John brought himself with this series of tweets. (Start from the bottom):

EL4

EL3

EL2

EL1

Oh, dear. Oh my! Did he just say something about big roosters and riding high? Yes, he did…

Suddenly my view was switched and I found myself in support of Mr. John. Obviously Mr. Okri was not insinuating that African writers NOT tackle these ubiquitous (albeit dull and heavy) subjects, but it can’t be denied that he suggested that they would be lesser for it. And that pretty much pissed Elnathan off. For those unfamiliar with the two, Elnathan John is more of a man of the people, whereas Ben Okri would be considered a high brow Returnee.

Bwei! Talk about a war of words!

It remains to be seen if Ben Okri will respond to this series of (not so) sub-tweets. Chances are if he does, it will not be in the public arena – which would actually be a shame. I think we would all benefit from a public discourse on the matter. As both a reader and a writer, it is frustrating that they only sort of African writing that garners international acclaim or notoriety is invariably centered around child soldiers, overcoming the effects of FGM and abject poverty. Why are international audiences so ready to reward writers who dedicate hundreds of pages of a tome to these subjects, rather than love, sex or dreams of space travel? Chimamanda’s Purple Hibiscus was no less brilliant than Half of a Yellow Sun, but it was the latter- a story centered around a brutal war, rather than a coming of age story of an adolescent child – that catapulted Ms. Adichie into the renown she enjoys today.

So who is right? Ben Okri or Elnathan John? Does the African/black writer have an obligation to shun the themes that the West rewards us for writing in order to create “art for the ages”, or is it the job of the African writer to keep on writing these tales – and documenting our truths for as long as necessary? Which would you rather read?

Discuss! ↓

 

 

In Support of Cosby: Faizon Love’s Coontastic Display of Unbridled Ignorance

WARNING: This post contains content of the most foul order. Reader discretion is advised.

Like many people around the world – not just Americans – I haven’t know what to make of the Cosby rape allegations. Bill Cosby is not just a folksy American icon: he is (or was until 2 weeks ago) a universal Black treasure. Some of us may have not liked the way he talked down to us in regards to education and fashion preferences, but deep down inside, we knew he was right. Yes, perhaps I should invest my money in books and educational toys instead of these $100+ Jordans for my kid. But did you have to be such a douche about your suggestion, Dr. Cosby?

Those of us in The Community (like Cornel West) who took issue with Bill Cosby’s superior attitude towards Blacks made our grumblings on any new network that would provide space to allow for disagreement with his pronouncements. Those spaces were few and far between. I mean, who is going to disagree with the wholesome and loveable Bill Cosby? Plus, the majority culture LOVES anyone – a person of color in particular – who crusades for the cause of absolving them from the part that they’ve played in creating and facilitating poverty and disenfranchisement among Blacks, Latinos and the ever ignored Po’ White Folk who cluster in the Appalachians. In time, Cosby would become an even bigger hero to them than he was to us. He was their personal Uncle Ruckus.

Then the rape allegations began trickling in. And despite being the guard dog for White innocence, I have YET to see a White man stand up and throw himself on upon the fast becoming corpse that is Bill Cosby’s legacy in his defense. In fact, The Man is strategically dismantling his legacy, pulling his new show, refusing to air his syndicated programs on certain platforms, and inviting him to do interviews as though he were an oddity and not the icon he was just a month ago. I’m glad Maya Angelou is not here to see this sad day!

There are some people who believe that The Community (code for all Black folk) should stand in defense of Dr. Bill Cosby because, well…because we’re Black. One of these persons is Faizon Love. And if you’re asking yourself “Who in the name of good grits is Faizon Love?” that’s part of the point. Mr. Love is a prop used to embody all that is odious and underachieving in Black manhood. He is slovenly, barely educated and singularly gifted in the craft of abusing women. Perhaps more dangerously, he’s been paid an actor’s wage to play the part of the field hand in modern clothing giving his access and exposure to a broad audience. And last night, it seems as if someone gave him a kilo of coke and access to his Twitter account. It was like watching a star go nova. Prepare yourselves for the most coontastic display of niggery I have seen all year!

Read from the bottom up.

faizon 4faizon 3faizon 2faison 1

I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt his tirade as I shared it with you. I know the oscillation in emotion you experienced as you were reading this, for I share them too. Confusion. Anger. Fear (that Faizon’s brand of stupid is catching). Astonishment. Disappointment. These sort of things are best delivered at once rather than spaced out over time, like a beating or a blow to the face. In some of his responses to those twitterers who agree with him (who were thankfully in the minority!) he says that the reason the Black race is failing is because we’re not united. And he ought to be thankful for that, because this sort of yard jockery is not something I want MY Blackness associated with. If the race was indeed united, we would unanimously vote him out.

Furthermore, for someone who talks about unity among the race, he has used the words “nigga”and “bitch” more times than an intoxicated plantation overseer at cotton harvest and breeding season. Again, only the similarly mentally captive would want any association with this sort of underachievement. As one Twitter user pointed out: Even Bill Cosby himself would never invite Faizon Love to his dinner table. Faizon is the embodiment of all that Cosby abhors in the Black race!

To be clear, Faizon Love’s tirade has absolutely nothing to do with his support of Bill Cosby, but rather his delusional view that a woman’s body is for a man’s routine use and pleasure. Faizon Love himself was recently charged with the assault of a woman who rebuffed his sexual advances. Faizon Love is a pimple on the face of America’s pervasive rape culture.

Remember the beloved, boy raping, football coach?

Remember the beloved, boy raping, football coach?

At the end of the day, we may never really know what transpired between Bill Cosby and the 14 (and counting) women who have come forward with rape allegations. The allegations cannot be brought to trial, because the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape vary so vastly from state to state. In some states a victim has just 3-5 years to report the crime. For anyone asking “Well shouldn’t 5 years be enough for a woman to come forward?” ask yourself why it takes men even longer to gather the strength to report rape. Don’t delude yourself: men ARE raped, and with more frequency that we’re comfortable admitting. The process of dealing with the trauma of having one’s body so utterly violated has no fill by date. This is Jerry Sandusky all over again.

As we await E!’s True Hollywood report Bill Cosby: Behind the Puddin’ Pop , we must each draw our own conclusions about what we THINK happened. As much as I have loved Bill Cosby, I have to side with the victims. People like foul-mouthed Faizon Love are the reason so few rapes and assaults get reported. I am adding my voice to the chorus telling ALL victims that we support and believe you; and though it may be painful, we want you to speak up quickly so that you can get the justice you deserve. Don’t let rape apologists and our laws rob you of that.

The Curious Case of Nelson Baani: How Many Other Murderous MPs Infest Ghana’s Parliament?

One thing I’ve always been proud of as a Ghanaian is our ability to make a joke out of anything, no matter how shocking, grotesque or frightening. When the AIDS epidemic struck in the late 80’s, we made an ampe song in which the disease served as the protagonist. When war broke out in Liberia and our troops were sent to fight, we choreographed a danced called ECOMOG. When the likes of Duncan Williams and Dag Heward Mills feel compelled to flaunt their misogynist views and insult the worth and intelligence of Ghanaian women, they do so in song. And guess what? There are vapid Ghanaian women in their congregations who dance and sing right along with them.

It’s always a circus in Ghana! Nothing is ever serious. Even when people are dying from cholera, starvation and preventable disease, it’s all fun and games, all the time. That’s why even as a woman, and therefore a second class citizen, I have always felt safe in Ghana. No matter what calamity may befall me because of my gender, I knew at some point, we’d have a good laugh about it later. As Swaye Kidd once said “We’re a nation of jokers!”.

That all changed on Friday, November 14th, 2014.

When you’re a woman living in Ghana, there are certain realities that you become accustomed to. Age and gender can either give you access or serve as barriers to certain privileges, and in Ghana, there is no one more barred from basic privileges (like the right to dress her body as she chooses, and not to have that body touched or commented on by perfect strangers) than young women. But as I said before, that reality has never truly mattered because it’s all fun and games in this country run by circus clowns, trapeze artists and magicians whose sole skill is to cause the unexplainable disappearance of millions of dollars in foreign loans and tax-payer funds. Somehow, we manage to smile, cope and keep trudging.

When it comes to basic women’s rights, Africa as a whole has a horrible track record. Too many countries on the continent lead in global maternal mortality, women are still barred from owning property and scores more are discouraged from getting any education beyond the primary level. There are parts of Ghana –particularly in the north – that typify the worst of Africa, and though I am ashamed of many of the attitudes society holds towards Ghanaian women in general, I still have pride in our constitution. It gives me hope. The constitution tells me as a citizen of Ghana, I have a right to an education, protection provided by our armed forces and a rule of law that guarantees my safety and well being. That constitution is upheld by a whole cadre of parliament members who individually swore to reject practices that “dehumanize or are injurious to the mental and physical well-being of a person.”

Of course, as any Ghanaian on the ground can tell you, this is all stuff written on paper and the reality is very different. Accra is Gotham, and it is run by semi-literates, goons, thieves, cowards and philanderers of the lowest order. And because business and politics in the country operate on “trickle down” principles, the entire nation is corrupt from root to tip, starting from its capital. Still! I felt safe…that is again, until November 14th when MP Nelson Abudu Baani took his turn on the floor to debate the Intestate Succession Act (PNDC Law 111). Unsatisfied with provisions in the law which are designed to be more fair to widows (and we’re talking about a country in which right now, a man’s extended family can kick his wife and kids out of their marital home and seize their property if he does leave a will stating the contrary at the time of his death), MP Baani used the opportunity to propose murdering women who have been unfaithful in their marriage by hanging or stoning. He offered Afghanistan as a model to emulate, because “in Afghanistan, day in [and] day out if you go behind your husband they will hang or stone you.” He says that this will ensure that wives remain faithful in their marriages.

Seriously. When since the creation of Hell has anyone woken up on any day of the week and declared “I want my country to be just like Afghanistan!” ? No one but Nelson Boko Haram Baani till last week, that’s who.

No one stopped him y’all. NO ONE. The Speaker of Parliament didn’t halt him. The female parliamentarians didn’t walk out in protest. Even ECG didn’t turn the lights and air-conditioning off and shut down on his crazy behind. In fact, he was asked to speak louder, and after his conclusion the Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak also chimed in, saying the promulgation of the Bill will encourage “cohabitation, which adverse effect will be the creation of more problems for families.” (Never mind that more and more people can’t afford to date, let alone get married in Ghana due to the ridiculous cost of existing.)

In the days that have followed, Nelson Baani has not backed down from his position, going as far to say he would happily see his wife stoned if she were to commit adultery. Really? What about all his male colleagues in Parliament, many of whom have are currently having illicit affairs with university girls, other married women and the occasional cross-dressing prostitute? Would he happily see them stoned as well? It might do the country some good actually, and save us all time and money…but of course because patriarchy utterly blinds those who it benefits, MP Baani does not see the hypocrisy in his words.

A petition has been generated and directed at Speaker Adjaho asking him to compel Nelson Baani to retract and apologize for his statements. It pained me to even have to start this petition. I would have thought the NDC – which dealt so swiftly with Victoria Hammah after audio of her declaring she would never leave office until she had made $1 million was leaked – would have come out with a statement condemning Nelson Baani’s utterances or at least distancing themselves from them. But again, Victoria Hammah is a woman, and Nelson Baani is man who only suggesting the wholesale slaughter of adulterous women (and not ALL adulterers).

What it looks like to die by stoning.

What it looks like to die by stoning.

Reaction from the general public has been to express disgust, and for good reason. If Nelson Baani was sitting at a bar having a beer expressing these views, it would merely troubling. He has a right to his opinions, after all. However to speak these views while operating in his full capacity as a Member of Parliament is inexcusable, is a violation of the constitution and must be repudiated in the strongest terms possible! If Ghana were not Gotham, he we would be made to resign immediately for failure to comprehend and uphold the constitution. But because each of these MPs runs their regions and districts like a personal fiefdom, this is the rot we get.

Ghanaians have very serious questions for our leaders, especially women who fought so hard to get into these positions via struggles like the 31st December Women’s Movement. As one user wrote:

Where are the women in parliament? Why did you sit and watch silently as Nelson Abudu Baani was making such barbaric and inhumane proposals for the punishment of your fellow Ghanaian women? Are you in support of hanging or stoning women who are suspected to be unfaithful to their husbands? I have been struggling to maintain respect for parliament and parliamentarians in light of recent events such as the irresponsible decision to buy furniture from China and your deafening silence on issues that bother the Ghanaians you claim to represent. Do something. Take a stand for the women of Ghana. Ask your colleague Nelson Baani to retract his statement and render a full and unqualified apology. Your grandchildren and their grandchildren will read about you in the future. What sort of legacy do you want to leave?

Best wishes,

Kuukuwa

Others haven’t been so generous, writing:

Dear Abudu Baani,

Growing up, my grandfather used to say that if ex-president Rawlings did not do much for Ghana, he will always commend him for passing the PNDC law 111. And that is a man I consider to be the first ever misogynistic male in my life yet even he, recognized the importance of the law and always praises it.

But you, kind sir, greatly surprised me with your statement that a woman who commits adultery should be stoned. What, you want the Sharia law frowned upon worldwide to be enforced in Ghana to give you further reason to subdue women? If you can further elaborate your point, I will be very grateful because I cannot seem to get my mind around it. I am as baffled as the next Ghanaian woman.

No, we do not and will not agree to this. It is the most absurd suggestion of a law I have ever heard out of the confines of the Ghanaian parliament house and trust me, you lot do come up with some amusing ones but this is just unacceptable and we are not having it. Perhaps a law on the reasoning capabilities of MP’s or that men who commit adultery should be castrated and fed their balls (so both sides are favored, right?)

Kind regards

Abena

 

It’s not fun and games anymore; not when our lawmakers feel at liberty to advocate murder on the hallowed halls of our government. Ghanaians deserve better. Nelson Abudu Baani should be sacked from his position and barred from ever entering Ghanaian politics again! We must discover how many other MPs hold these and similar views, gut them out and ensure that they do not lead our nation down the path of anarchy.

I’m asking all right thinking people, Ghanaian or not, to sign this petition send a message to Nelson Baani and our Parliament at large that this foolishness will not be tolerated. This is the moment we prevent the next humanitarian disaster in Africa. This moment, right now!

 

 

Susu in the Time of Ebola

Susu: Cooperative economics/ A method of wealth/resource collection and distribution in which three or more members agree to contribute a predetermined amount of currency over a specified length of time to be used by the contributors as their individual needs dictate/ It’s something West Africans and Caribbean people do.

 

Brothers and Sisters:

I greet you with the warmth of hot kenkey and with the adoration of freshly smoked fish.

Yesterday, #Ebola was the number two trending topic in the USA. I’m sure it was among the top five topics trending globally. CNN has replaced 24/7 coverage of Ferguson with relentless coverage of ebola. Family, the time to strike is NOW! We have already let too much time pass.

Our dear (fictional) brother and mentor Cyrus Beene has already instructed us on what to do in this time of Ebola Hysteria. If you had been paying better attention to the words of the Dark One, you would have already made your move by now. He said, and I quote:

“Never let a crisis go to waste.”

I don’t recall the circumstances that inspired this utterance – there are so many crises on ‘Scandal’ – but his words resonated in me brothers and sisters! There is always a way to profit, be it professionally, personally or financially, from a crisis.

A few days ago I was horsing around on Twitter, saying that we all need to invest in ebola. There is money to be made there! Imagine my surprise when I got a DM from a friend who works in pharmaceutical production. She told me that vaccine makers all around the world are ramping up their Ebola vaccine production and rattled off a few names that I might be interested in:

Chimerix (USA)

Tekmera (Canada)

Icon Genetics (German)

A quick check informed me that the value of Chimerix stock has increased by 15% within the last few days and has been steadily trending upwards. Yei! Someone is making money off of Black flesh and despair. Why not you and me?

I know, I know! It sounds, horrible…but no matter how distasteful the notion may seem SOMEONE out there is already making money off the thousands of dead and infected West African bodies that (don’t) dominate the headlines. I am telling you, the time to strike is now – right now! Particularly now that a cute Asian nurse has been infected with Ebola here on US soil? Oh, the stocks are going to explode!

By now you may be thinking to yourself: Oh, that crazy Malaka, with her crazy conspiracy theories. This is 2014 and people are better than that. They are more compassionate and recognize the humanity of their fellow man. No is trying to profit off of the suffering of West Africans who have been shafted by their respective governments! This is not the era of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade! In fact, Angelina Jolie is planning a telethon to help the Ebola Orphans right now!

Is that a rope/chain on that baby's leg?!?

Is that a rope/chain on that baby’s leg?!?

Humph. You dey there. Let me show you something.

My husband has been attending some trading seminars. Now that we have a little extra money in our pockets, he uses his “play money” to buy “play stocks”. Look at the text he received on his phone recently:

Ebola Money

Yes! You read that right! Don’t wait for the Jolie/Oprah/Pit Bull telethon. By then it will be too late and the stock will be too expensive! We won’t be able to buy it because Warren Buffet and Donald Trump will have gobbled up all the shares!

The truth is more Americans will die from texting and driving this week or at the hands of the police than they will from Ebola. However, it is tres gauche to propose that anyone try to profit from White teen death or police brutality. There’s nothing mystical or sexy about about. Ebola is both mystical AND sexy, particularly now that Halloween is upon us. Besides it rolls off the tongue better. Whenever anyone asks what you put your investment in, you can glibly reply “bio technology”. There is no sugar coated way to imply that one invested in gun violence. I guess you could say “defense”, but since the majority of kids killed in the street and in classrooms have been unarmed…

Now, brothers and sisters…I beseech you once more to consider what we should do about this. At least if we all make money from Ebola, it will end up back on the continent in the form of remittances. Any profits we make will surely be sent home to pay for Kofi’s school fees or Ama’s apprenticeship. If we don’t, Becky & Co will spend the money made from Ebola profits on blood diamonds and slavery cocoa and no one is helped outside of Babylon’s establishment.

I propose that we all band together and form susu centers if we cannot individually afford to buy stock in each of the companies I’ve named or others like them. Let’s all profit from Ebola. This is Africa Rising!

 

I Racially Profiled a White Man…And He Didn’t Seem to Like It

We all don’t use social media the same way. We can agree on that, right? Some people create accounts which are simply used to follow/stalk certain users. Some people are actually interested in contributing to the discourse on a particular subject. Some people never comment on anything; ever. Others still don the cape of the QWERTY Crusader and believe it is imperative that they comment on every tweet, like or status on the Interwebs.

A decade ago, I myself was a QWERTY Crusader, on my way to becoming a keyboard thug. A few encounters with some people who had no conscience, no line, broke me of that. These days, when it comes to other people’s conversations, I keep my comments light and happy unless specifically asked. This has become the norm on social media these days. Nobody really just butts in on someone else’s conversation…unless they are a troll. That is why I was so surprised to find this guy in my mentions today.

I’ve already told you all I’m not doing Ferguson. I did Trayvon Martin and that took too much out of me. And it hurt. I cannot spare the emotional currency that is going to be required of every person in this nation who sees Mike Brown’s killing for what it is – murder – when the end comes and the officer in question is exonerated and escapes all of this unscathed and nothing changes for another 100 years. So no, I’m not doing Ferguson. I’m burying my head in the sand on this one.

And yet…and YET!…Ferguson seems to find me. No matter how deep I plant my head in the mud, Ferguson always finds a way to locate me!

As the list of Black White Supremacists grows ever longer with that über bootlicking porch monkey Larry Elder leading the charge, I was horrified to find Juan Williams in their company. As a rule, I respect Mr. Williams. I think he’s a great journalist and very center when it comes to his opinion. Except, that is, when it comes to Black American affairs. Larry Elder may be a porch monkey for the establishment, but Juan Williams is right behind him, grinning, slapping his knees and “ham boning” in time as my kids call it.

He made some remarks today about Black people acting like thugs and not being disparaged against if they didn’t act like thugs, etc. This from a man whose son Raffi was described by a former fellow student while at Haverford as a “disrespectful, loitering, drunk, rude ass”. Fortunately, since Daddy sat on the board of this college, young Raffi went on to boast with glee that he could “slack off, because he would get in no matter what.”

But, you know, Raffi is an RNC staffer, so that’s not “thuggish” behavior. That’s just a college kid enjoying his daddy’s influences and his personal privilege. Funny how the same behavior on Crenshaw can get you shot. Funny…

Anyway, I expressed my displeasure with Mr. Williams’ opinion by calling him a Black White Supremacist, as he is indeed pushing the agenda of the KKK and all the baby terror groups and policy that are offshoots of the Klan’s ideology. A few hours later, this dude shows up in my mentions.

race guy

Just read it. It’s funny. Go on!

Now, anyone who knows me – and truly knows me – is aware that I am a habitual line stepper. Was it wrong for me to say the man looked like he raped babies in his spare time? Perhaps. But that’s why you don’t talk to strangers. I am a STRANGER to J Michael Coleman. I’m liable to say anything. So is anyone else on Twitter, which is why I only follow a handful of people. But this isn’t about social media etiquette; this is about Mr. Coleman’s intense reaction to being racially profiled. From what I can tell, he didn’t like it one iota. Nope, not one bit.

You all know I work at a shoe store. Guess what group causes the most shrink – the most loss due to theft – in our store? Hmmm? No, you’re wrong. It’s White women over the age of 40. They will steal anything: the umbrellas from a London Fog twin set, change purses, those god-awful Grasshopper shoes, Kenneth Cole sling backs and anything Tahari. So while my manager is mobilizing her team to chase after a gaggle of “thugs” in the athletic department, Mildred and her pet dog will be walking out of the store with a pair of Ralph Lauren boots this autumn.

Mais, quelle horreur, let’s all gasp at the idea that I or anyone else on the team should shadow an old White lady around the store like she was going to steal something. The crazy thing is, she IS. She’s going to steal something…tonight!

“The boogie man wears khakis.” That’s what Akuba Sheen and I used to say. It’s not the guy in the hoodie and baggy pants you need to be afraid of: it’s the dude in the boat shoes (with no socks) and Dockers you need to fear. These are the men who steal millions of dollars from corporations, destroy families, and shoot up movie theaters. But no, let’s everyone panic when a corn-fed Black kid is walking through a new neighborhood with an iced-tea in his sweatshirt pocket.

I wondered if J Michael Coleman knew what that felt like. You know: to be looked at with suspicion before you had a chance to say three words? Because bath time with kids was done and my blood sugar was relatively stable, I had both the time and the energy to give him a glimpse into my Black world of perpetual assumption and bias .

race guy2

Gosh, he seemed not to like being judged so severely by appearances, or to have someone assume the worst of you because of one attribute or another. Now why would that be?