Today’s Word is… COPS

This might ruffle feathers….sorry (not sorry).

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So it was about 4 years ago, I had just moved into my first apartment.  I got up went to work and when I got home there was note on the door by a neighbor, “the cops stopped by looking for you”.  Well, now this is odd.  They had also left a voicemail on my home phone saying they needed me to come by the station.  I go to the station, wondering every bad decision I’ve made in the past year and wondering who got some bail money if necessary.  I get there and…..they were just returning my wallet.  I had lost it weeks ago, already when through the arduous task of replacing everything in it but this wallet had a photo of my mother which I did appreciate recovering.  I had a talk with a few officers, talking about how I just moved out here, sights and sounds stuff like that.  All in all good day.  Over the years, I got familiar with the cops of the town, they walked the streets regularly, most lived in the town, whether I was in a tailored suit or baggy camos and a backwards fitted they treated me like a neighbor. 

It was a whole new dynamic I wasn’t used to.  At this point I’ve been falsely arrested twice, weapon drawn on me, followed home, stopped and frisked on my own porch, called bitch, nigger, punk and thug, and witness a family member being assaulted.  Of course this was in my old neighborhood, where I was still for the most part a good kid.  The cops there maybe lived in the neighborhood, they didn’t know me by name which was ironic because I was getting frisked and name ran 3 times a day.  Me and my friends would take alternate routes home, have split up into groups of 2-3 because a group of us together was just asking for it.  It was almost like having a playground bully except you couldn’t stand up to him, you just learned to stay out the way. 

For what its worth, I do respect law enforcement and the thankless job they have.  Recent events in New York and Ferguson has really made me reflect on my experiences with the boys in blue, which as you can see were two very different ones.  The glaring difference being the connection between officers and community they are serving.    In my old hood, we were treated as the enemy, to the point our mere presence was enough to drive them mad.  Their job wasn’t to serve it was to eliminate, we weren’t allowed on these streets anymore and they made sure we got the message.  [These days the old neighborhood has got a facelift, a lot people have moved because of rising rent and the old park has been remodelled and named in honor of one of the lone white residents (who is actually a close family friend, so no shade or whatever). Funny how that worked out.]

So what happens public servants are treated as guard dogs instead of part of the community they are supposed to be a part of?  Well, this does.  A cop familiar with his community could’ve told Eric Garner to cut the shit and go home, Tamir Rice to not flash his toy in public, Mike Brown and his friend to get out the street.  Instead they just saw targets, saw “the enemy” and acted accordingly.  So as the President on down asks, how can the police improve relations with people of color, it starts by establishing one period.  It starts with humanizing everyone and not thinking every brown person is The Incredible Hulk.  It shouldn’t be my job to make person who swore to protect me feel safe.  I shouldn’t have to pull my pants up, wear my cap forward and grin ear to ear just to be viewed as an equal.   In the same way I don’t view every cop as the same one who choke slammed me in that pizzeria, every cop shouldn’t view me or anyone else as a “demon”.  That doesn’t start with video cameras and fashion, it starts with empathy, acceptance and community.  Until police truly love and accept all civilians, sadly I expect more of the same.  Myself and anyone I love being one bullet away from being a hashtag ourselves. 

-Stan-

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December 10, 2014 · 5:08 pm

Today’s Word is… NO

So a reader asked me was I afraid of commitment, without a second thought I had said no.  She was surprised by this answer, as young dudes usually try to avoid commitment like they do baldness, debt and the flu.  She asked for a particular reason, she was seeing someone and everything was going okay except there hasn’t been much effort on his part to eliminate the gray area and make it official.  “He’s afraid of commitment” she explains, he’s been burned in the past and is cautious about doing it again.  I had nothing.  And by nothing I mean I had a suspicion but I didn’t feel like speaking on it at the moment.  That suspicion being he’s probably more than likely full of shit.  I never placed much stock in the being afraid of commitment because titles don’t breed feelings, he is just as likely to get hurt by this girl she’s dating routinely than someone he’s actually yoked himself to. Hell, I would say that it hurts less failing a relationship than being jilted by a never was.  I’m biased.  So of course what followed is the cliche question:

Why are men afraid of commitment?

Now, there’s some men who are just unabashedly self aware, they don’t feel as though they would be a good mate, they’ve been hurt, they inflict hurt, they don’t trust themselves to take that leap. But in her beau’s case, and I would say they aren’t afraid of commitment, they’re afraid of the “no”.

No is rejection, no is finality, no strips always the blissful ignorance that is enjoying the ride and seeing where things go.  No has consequences, suddenly the spoils and privileges you enjoyed as a “friend” cease to exist.  Those all day conversations are now “hi, wyd, and thats good”.  Its like coming into work one Monday and your badge doesn’t work. (Which is terrifying, every time.) 

No shines accountability on the other side as well, there is no more being led on, no credence lent to your doing the wrong thing with the right intention.  Now you know this is a road to nowhere, there’s no hope to hide behind.  You’re left with two choices; continue down this road to nowhere or just turn around and head back.  The reality sets in that you were never “friends” or you were never “talking”, you both just, were.  Its a tough pill to swallow.  If only a return to bliss was possible…but its been spoiled forever.  (Well unless someone changes their mind)

The ignorance is addictive sometimes.  Don’t ask questions you can’t process the answers to,  keep telling yourself who knows what the future may hold when you know deep down it looks very bleak.  In her case, she just accepted that he’s afraid of commitment and he’ll come around.  I would beg to differ but maybe I’m wrong on this one and he truly is just afraid of a being hurt in a relationship with the person he’s been dating for months already and seemingly has feelings for.  Or something. 

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Today’s Word is… GROWN

Just thinking out loud…. Don’t mind me.

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I don’t think I slept the day before I started college, maybe it was nerves, maybe it was excitement, probably was the partying I did all week to commemorate leaving.  What I do remember that it was morning, and it was time to go.  My father was busy, my mother didn’t drive so instead of the unofficial bring your parents to school day that usually is the first day of college, it was me and my luggage making the 3 hour greyhound from Boston to Amherst.  It was me and that same luggage years later, crashing at this place for a few days, a couple weeks, a summer, I was homeless.  I was never like on a park bench homeless but I wasn’t on any leases, wasn’t in anyone’s care, I just went one day to the next just trying to get on my feet and stay out the way.  I was grown, and was raised under no one was taking care of a grown ass man.  Tough love and whatnot.  I wouldn’t wish my late teens/early twenties on anyone, it wasn’t the most pleasant years, struggling to pay for school, organizing my crashes so I dont wear out my welcome one place or the next, some days just not eating (yet still too fat for the military…but that’s another story).  But don’t cry for me Argentina, yada yada yada I’m living better now Versace sweaters now (well not plural but still).

I been reflecting on my past lately, thinking about Mike Brown, Trayvon and some #familybusiness I won’t discuss, how I see boys and others see grown ass men.  Made me think of how I was viewed only a handful of years ago.  This tweener phase when one wants to be grown but really isn’t, and as evidenced personally most just aren’t about that life.  There’s the fork in the road of tough love vs flat out coddling.  We’ve all seen the cliche 30 something stay at home son who just plays video games and call in sports radio,  but then the alternative is a 18 year old boy cast out into the world because his mother is tired of talking to him.  There’s the parent who wants to be the best friend and hang with their adult child and then there’s well, my father who raised me and pretty much punched out of work.  Of course, I’m not a parent myself so I can only speak from a limited perspective but I guess I can just stop tip toeing around my question:

Why are we so quick to discard our young?

Again, I wasn’t kicked out, I chose to leave and circumstances beyond my control locked the door behind me.  However, plenty of my friends were.  The reasons, talking back, girls, running the streets stuff that isn’t exemplary but now they’re young, homeless, and making a wage they can’t live off of.  Then on the other end of the spectrum, I know people in their mid to late 20s who live at home, most of which never left.  However, even they have tales of threats, drama and resentment, not kicking out but its very apparent they are not wanted.  I can’t imagine that being any more pleasant.  We all see what the world is, and how it can chew one up and them out why are the first blows coming from the nest?

That’s not to say, shield them from it but I can’t say I’m in the camp of tossing them out into it either.  There has to be some middle ground between “my roof my rules” and your kid and their kid both calling you “Mom”.  What is “grown” now?  I can say I don’t think its 18, 19 or even 20 now.  I can only hope I keep my baby off the pole and my boy out of the national headlines for being executed without fault and then being told how he deserved to die because dark skin is “scary” out the basement. 

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… HOE

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Rood.

So my Twitter feed was abuzz about Lil Bow Wow and his wife to be Erica Mena of Love & Basketball Divas Atlanta? She’s from whichever show that had that lightskinned dude who cried in front of that Olivia girl who used to be in G-Unit when 50 Cent was the biggest star in music.  (I abhor VH1).  Apparently, Ms Mena has had 324 sexual partners and Mr 106 and Park should’ve checked the odometer.  For what its worth, I don’t believe this unsourced story also if she’s nearing 30, let’s assume sexually active for a decade that’s about 2-3 partners a month.  But its Twitter so the jokes gonna fly, then people are going to stop laughing and start psychoanalyzing about “body counts” and respectability politics as usual. What it boiled down to is that Like Mike committed the cardinal sin of manhood, he’s wifing a “ho”. 

Since the dawn of time, man has been taught to fear the “ho”.  Don’t love these hoes, they ain’t loyal, don’t turn them into housewives, they’re for everybody.   You are to enjoy yourself and then shame them, because ha ha harlot, you thought you could sleep with me and then break my heart but no, I will leave YOU first….or something.  Basically, don’t associate yourself with “hoes” because they’ll use you and break your heart….quite a delicate sentiment from seemingly macho misogynists. Theres a level of shame that is supposed to be cast upon a man who commits to a hoe, he’s got to be naive, a simp or just desperate.  Why else would someone “pay” for what they presumably can get for free.  Treating a woman like a human, pssh where they do that at.   While I actually question the sincerity of this Wow/Mena union, similar sentiments were said about Wiz/Amber, and Kanye/Kim etc (these are all rappers; so were they supposed to meet a nice girl in college?).  In real life, we’ve either dated a woman with a past or bust the chops of a homie that did.  As men, as hunters, you’re simply supposed to know better and when you don’t, its heavily frowned upon. 

The conundrum is that everyone has their own definition of who and what a hoe is.  It could be

The aforementioned body count, her profession, how soon you hit, where and what she has tattooed, how she dresses, she cheated, she sends nudes, her twitter avi, she has a kid, who’s her friend, her government name, relationship with her father, she likes porn, she writes erotica, she likes Gucci Mane, she’s bisexual, she averages 50 Instagram likes, she owns a waist trainer, she does yoga, she eats breakfast, she has a big forehead, she has or has owned a Nissan, she has gone enrolled in college more than once and didn’t finish, she put tired of drama and games on her online dating profile….

So basically, marry a prude, turn her into a “hoe” for you and if you ever break up now she’s tainted and no other dude would want her because she’s a hoe….got it.

Or

Just get over your ego and date a woman and trust your own judgement.  I judge off the present, I could seriously date a woman who accepts and grew from her past, a woman who is a “club hostess” on Instagram, probably not.  I’ve had long term happy relationships with women who I slept with on the first date, I got cheated on by a graduate student.  There is no cheat code, life hack, equation, survey, combine to tell you who is the right woman for you and assuming every attractive woman is a how, well good luck with that.  Don’t trust women with breast tats tho.  That one is science.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BURDEN

Tristan.:

So the Fairy Godmother of SFW had a call to arms of sorts….especially in light of recent events what exactly is it like to be a black man. With over a quarter century of experience in this matter chimed in with my two cents……see you Monday (I think maybe Tuesday, I been slipping)

Originally posted on [now a word or two]:

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[ed. note: i don’t have much to say as introduction because this dude is one of my faves. so with that…]

this is tristan’s story

Everyone has an idea of how the black man thinks, acts, talks, emotes, or at least they think they do, even other black men. In my hood, your blackness was determined by how well you scrapped, how many girls you pulled, what you listened to, how you dressed. It was what we knew, what we were conditioned to know.  It was what the older dudes in our hood did, our brothers, our cousins, to us the hood was like a fraternity, a brotherhood. To others, we wasn’t just friends who lived near each other, we were a gang, we were thugs, we were threats.

In school, I excelled.  I was one of the few black students there and I didn’t want to once again…

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Today’s Word is… NOSTALGIA

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So way back in the day, I was out with my mother I think we went grocery shopping and I wanted to get back home in time to watch Full House.  She assured me we would be back in time.  Of course when we got home, it was literally the end of the episode and it was the episode of DJ’s prom that closed with Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”.  I was livid and because I was like 5 I cried about it until my mother played the song for me which had nothing to do with nothing but I appreciated the gesture instead of giving me something to cry for #NoPeterson. There was no on demand, no DVR I literally wouldn’t see that episode for like 2 years in syndication.  It wasn’t good. DJ was the worst character on the show.   But in the moment I felt like I just missed a television spectacle.  Thats pretty much how I view nostalgia now, people who just miss the idea of something but not really.  People my age are pretty much overwhelmed by nostalgia, so much to the point we use modern technology to complain about how “great” the 90s was (because apparently you ask anyone about 10 years ago they immediately think 1994).  Don’t get me wrong I loved the 90s, it was probably the blackest decade (we ever gonna get), from Michael Jordan ruling the world, Clinton on Arsenio, FOX on Thursday nights, your favorite black movie, your favorite black movie soundtrack, to hip hop’s peak.  However , I do think we get so glossy eyed over the past we forget that plenty was left to be desired.  Then there’s the people who have just pitched their tent in the 90s and refuse to come out.  The ultra, nostalgia folk. (they didn’t get this Frank Ocean reference because he wasn’t out in 1998)

The Nostalgiamaniacs are easy to spot, but do not engage unless you want to talk about how Aaliyah would be bigger than Beyonce if she was alive.  They watch the same 90 Martin episodes and are in denial that the show wasn’t good by season 3.  They spend all their time on Buzz feed and Tumblr taking quizzes about which Saved By The Bell character they are and reading the 25 lessons you got from Boy Meets World.  They loathe most new artists and are in complete denial that bad music existed before 1999.  Ayyyyy macarena. They have any least conceded that 90s fashion was abhorrent, which is prefaced by the fact that its being worn by hipsters and teenagers now. 

I think part of it comes from us wanting to feel like what we experienced was unparalleled.  We balk at the notion that any player could be in Jordan’s league, won’t admit that slow 90s R&B wasn’t as great, or that Tupac was overrated a lot of 90s sitcoms did not age well (I’m looking at you Urkel).  We don’t miss these things as much as we think we do we miss where we were when they happened.  Again, I do miss the era of positive black faces being mainstream without having to say hey look I’m black and positive and I may or may not have considered bringing back the old school answering machine message (because I mean if you leave me a voicemail in 2014 you ought to be trolled).  I loved Nickelodeon when I was a kid, I’m in my 20s now, I’m not watching Rugrats.  Full House? Maybe.

-Stan-

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So the other day, I spoke on partners and the difference between being a lover and a friend.  Obviously, every relationship needs a friendship so why is it that you are just so awesome that you aren’t inevitably chose?  There’s the more obvious ones; attraction and deal breakers but then there’s the much undersold element of “maintenance”; sometimes you are just so chill one doesn’t take you seriously.  We hear people bitch talk about the friendzone and the perils of being nice to someone who won’t sleep with you.  For what its worth, I consider myself pretty low maintenance and I’ve also seen it backfire in my own face.  So afraid to ruffle feathers or put my foot down then I either ended up resentful or neatly put away….way over there….in a corner…by myself. 

Too often we downplay standards, avert expectations; you still single, take some search filters off.  Then you find someone who you didn’t really want in the first place and to add insult to injury you’re bending over backwards to hold on to this relationship which wasn’t remotely what you ordered.  Why? Because you didn’t want to be high maintenance or too good.  The Steve Harveys of the world continue to preach said logic, especially to women because an ain’t shit man is still a man…its get chose or get froze out here.  Sometimes you just settle into that mindset on your own, and maybe its not important he texts “come thru” in lieu of formally asking out, yeah let’s just see where things go even though you’re obviously seeing other people.  Sure you can ignore me for weeks at a time and who am I to even question it. Netflix, video games, football I’m with it.  Fast forward and they complaining to you about the high maintenance person they ARE dating and you’re like….I thought you wanted the opposite of that. I thought you wanted…me.  (The memories…. Ouch….)

We’re a capitalist society, we equate price to quality.  We love bargains and open box specials but we also know the value of things.  So while we might trample over the elderly and small children the day after being thankful for what we own already to get a $200 40″ TV, that same TV offered for $1000 on a regular Tuesday, we probably won’t bother, $100; we grow suspicious.  Applying that logic, the super high strung people usually price themselves out (or snag someone who tends to overcompensate) and the super chill low maintenance person with no standards.. you tend to wonder what’s their deal? They come off as pushovers or desperate and it turns people off

Why? Because relationships require maintenance and deep down we need to maintain. Low maintenance for lack of a better word….is boring.  That doesn’t mean crazy is passion but often the line is blurred between chill and apathy, courting and fraternizing, compromising and convenient.  Being like one of the homies, like a brother, a long distance partner, a friend with benefit none of these things are terrible things to be but none of them are long term dating prospects either.  They’re just what they are…easy, expedient, and  equitable. 

-Stan-

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November 3, 2014 · 6:55 am