Raised by Demons, Part 2:

It's the argument, "Hate the action, not the person." And we are all talking about Trump, in some fashion or another. I've heard of people darker than I speaking about how they look at every white person, like they might have voted adversely. While it's a catch 22, if a white male doesn't vote for Trump, who did they vote before? Dr. Stein, Governor Johnson? Ms. Clinton?

The challenges with which we are faced, are exponentially more nuanced than anything we have ever encountered. Their solution requires finesse. I can't say I know exactly what that is, or how a solution manifests. But I've heard others echo a sentiment: it takes faith.

I was raised by two white individuals who voted in a manner inconsistent with individuals aware of the cultural repercussions of such a situation. I've watched a white woman attempt to cast demons from me, and heard a white man tell me I am unfit to live in Minnesota. Hate the action, not the person.

It takes faith, they say. Though if one were to take the Bible at it's word: they would say, it takes hope, love and faith. The greatest of which, it was said, was love. Though my question is ... well, it's not really a question any more; it's difficult. The argument this evening being: she is, "filled with Christ's love." There is no room for the devil. Thus, anything she does is bathed in the blessing of Jesus Christ, our collective Lord, and Savior. I won't go on to say what she, or they, might have done; for all appearances I was given most every opportunity most kids could hope. I even traveled internationally in my youth! All said and done, for an orphan from Colombia, I was doing rather well.

Slowly I came to realize that this second to last allegation was a snag. If I were to succeed, I would be considered a credit to those who had adopted me. If I were to fail, it would be as a credit to my ethnicity, and my race; to be brief. While the opportunities for failure surrounded me. We have allowed society to grow in a manner which unsustainable. Rather than encouraging innovation and exploration; we have shackled these words, and others like them. Society has pinned them like butterflies, and defined what they are. It is a disservice to ourselves, and consequently, our children.

Truth be told, I've been fighting since the day the adoption of finalized. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't. Whiteness is tricky; and it certainly isn't safe. Every conversation was an interrogation; exploring the "other's" experiences, mining ideas to fuel their innovations. I've just used two specific words in a crass phrase. Unpacking it, I do not propose that such intentions are explicit. Though I must acknowledge that by process, the white male often is given credit quicker than any other of a diverse group. It is not proposed to be viewed as a trend, or confined to certain communities: it is a culture-wide, science-deep, manner of interaction that is reinforced by most everything in the media.

The solution isn't to bash white males, nor to ignore them; it is to open our eyes to all of the other possibilities. It takes faith, and it takes hope, to love ourselves. And this means to believe in our selves, outside of the white gaze. Hate the action, not the person. But moving on from this, what does it take to not repeat the action, if it is all you've ever known? If all I've ever been told, is that white expectations are the arbiter of what might be; what does a world without such a litmus test look like? What might be possible?

It is a tragedy that society has come to such a place, wherein a race war is not so much explicitly, as implicitly, needed. Though as others have pointed out, the war is not a war between races, but rather a war within a race, the white race. Faith allowed me to believe in my self, hope kept me going, and love is the prize.

I do not know what happened; how, or why? But there is a disease within the white race, there is a lack of value which is propped up by an inflated ego. This ego is fed in most every market humanly accessible. This is why skin whitening products are popular in certain geographic areas, and other procedures are popular elsewhere. Whiteness, in it's ubiquity, abdicated it's definition, in exchange for the definition of perfection. Herein which resides our paradox: the white man, alone, knows what perfection is, and so becomes the definer, the creator, of his own being. Connotative in pattern, a preeminent example of hubris.

For it is in this capacity, that the plague is so susceptible to spread. Hubris makes one immune to exploration. Knowing is the end of possibility. Not knowing, the beginning. It takes faith to make that first step into the beyond.

Moving away from knowledge, a trail is formed in our wake.

Something else is possible.


[Notes] Testifying Today: SF 498 BodyCameras On Cops

If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about.

Part 1: What are you hiding?

While the cops have lots to hide. Bob Kroll's affiliation with(/affinity for) white supremacist organizations being the tip of an iceberg. But it's not so much that you're hiding, rather, what remains invisible to you.

This bill will further disproportionately affect communities of color who are terrorized daily by your "Peace Officers." You just don't see any of it, because we are, and have historically been, invisible to you.

This is an economic problem. Immigration is increasing; cultural aptitude is not. I asked a Minneapolis Police officer a few days ago, if they went through any cultural training --- he said he didn't know, then he asked, "Hey LT, do we go through cultural training." It's not having an affect.

That's is the defensiveness. White People feel attacked --- I won't get into the psychological specifics; there is an issue with police, and white people in general, being able to operate off of assumptions, instead of engagement. "MinnesotaNice", is a part of how this is can further be enabled by the cultural norms. Why is this an economic problem?!

Part 2: It IS an Economic Problem!

Both the University of Minnesota, as well as prominent members of the local technology sector are opening up about their hunger to attract a more diverse workforce. They are having difficulty attracting qualified, diverse, workers. Because for all of our pomp and punditry about Minnesota being a "Best Place To Live" - this is only for white people; and people of color know this.

Paid Less To Get Treated Worse
2015’s States with the Highest and Lowest Financial Gaps by Race/Ethnicity


Part 3: Instant Act-rite Pill

Open Data = Instant Act-rite pill. When everyone knows they're on camera, they will behave better.

Maturity is the ability , the foresight to make the sacrifice necessary to achieve, to earn, the progress we want.

You are running.

This is how the foundations for dictatorships are built. Alliances with the capacity and access to violence are able to congregate in secret, while having their actions condoned, and even praised, by their soon to be subjects.

Do you have the maturity to make the decisions an adult needs to make, or will protecting the children who wish to keep their toys and activities hidden - like a dog burying their bones in a hole -- while people die, while people are being killed, be your guiding light?


MPDComments [dot] com

All of the entries are in the database!! Eight-hundred names, badge numbers and assignments. Now to start cataloguing vehicles. The reason for it all primarily is as a challenge, and exercise through which to learn other social and technical skills. Both the creation of the database structure - which items to add where - as well as the technical details of how to dynamically connect otherwise separate database structures, are key features key another project.

As well, this is information communities should be tracking. It is information communities to which communities also have a right. The macro-level visual of >90% of Minneapolis' police force living, raising children, and barbecuing with friends outside of the city is horrifying. One community is policing another. My question being, regarding suburban police forces - do they have residency ordinances? Oooo, wasn't expecting to find that question! Welp, this seems to be the start of another adventure.



Data For Funsies: %ΔHP by MN Congressional District

I've been munging a bunch of data for a while. Learning to processes, etc. Here's a little something I put together after deciding I wanted to have something to show. Using Quandl as a data source I was able to grab monthly average housing prices by zip code. By comparing this to data from the Minnesota Legislature's website - I was able to plot the Average Percent Change of Housing Prices per Congressional District.

This was an excellent project to get into pandas, a requisite for deep analytics. Also, matplotlib, being another prominent tool; it also uses ggplot, just like R. Python ever expanding libraries are the impetus behind moving on from R with regards to statistical analysis. Before endeavoring to complete this small side-quest, I dug into NLTK as well. This is where the optimization, and extensibility of Python really come into play.


Phyllis' Revenge

Apparently Minnesota House of Representatives District 60B Phyllis Kahn is a retired biophysics professor. Oh wow, all Ivy League too. Ahh, and her husband passed just last year; 58 years is a long time to be married to someone. That's pretty cool.

What isn't cool are some of the things Representative Kahn has said since facing competition from Illhan Omar. She was recently quoted to say the following:

"Ilhan is younger than me. She is prettier than me. She appears nicer than me. She agrees with anything that anyone says to her. So, it was tough competition."

While another local activist did some digging and created the image used above. This seems to say that while Representative Kahn is touting herself as a corollary to Senator Sanders; she has in fact maxed out her donations giving to the Clinton campaign. While the donation was made all the way back in July 2015; as pointed out elsewhere, the scenario causes one to question Representatives Kahn integrity and dedication to passing on the torch.

It is sad to say that such duplicitous behavior is all too typical for Minnesota. But what frustrates me is just how self-destructive it all is. The City Pages recently published an article that speaks to the discrimination Ms Omar already experiences within the Somali community. For this to be compounded by someone who could be otherwise be an exceptional mentor is astonishing!

The opportunity lost is immeasurable. And for someone who others would consider an elder to act with such ugly disdain towards the sincere accomplishments of a powerful and rising voice is considerably more than regrettable. It is offensive. It throws into question the motives behind everything she has done; it makes one question the sincerity behind each action. It makes one wonder: could more have been done, and thusly, was she ever the right person for the job?

Update: the previous title of this post was "Phyllistine's Revenge". I remembered the word, and looked it up to affirm the colloquial definition. Upon further inspection of the word - I affirmed where from I had remembered it. I've since changed the title of the post.


A few quick thoughts in reflection

I attended an meeting of young progressives this evening; a community I've been ostracized from for as long as I can remember. They still fear me; and still espouse aspirations beyond their realization. Zeal is good; we are all in transit. We would never grow if we weren't. The fear is eroding.

There is the line between talking too much, knowing both that you are not wanted to be heard, and are simultaneously needed to be heard. There was talk about what do we want? or were we a politician, what would we want to see/do? We still struggle to see a world outside of bureaucratic and administrative paradigms. We still struggle to see freedom unbound from Capitalism.

While I don't want to assail capitalism, it is not a perfect system by any means. Nor would I like to dwell in the delusional world of ideals. Rather, instead, bound by humanity on one-side, morality on the other, the hope of happiness ahead, and fear of folly behind me; I am seeking to keep my eye on the road ahead. Where that is leading I don't know.

In a Circle We Shelter Each Other:

I wonder if we are yet capable of this? Both of the American political parties are in turmoil. Whether it is Rosario Dawson declaring open dialogue with her elders; or Ted Cruz caught between shouts of cowardice only to be haunted by his own reflection. We are experiencing moments of great fluctuation. There is a exception comment made to the following effect:

Are we making gains, or shifting power?

Gains can be taken away, shifted power is not to easily regained; is the allusion to be inferred. But shifting power is no simple task. Minnesota has it's own awkward relationship with these complexities. Minnesota is considered to have excellent welfare benefits and system, comparatively. We could consider these to perhaps be gains. Though because very little power is ever in fact shifted, Minnesota is able to also be in possession of the nation's worst racial disparities by fiscal calculations.

Though before power can be shifted, we must in fact let go of our own desire for power. This is all very easy for me to say, as a misanthrope, power was taken from me whenever mistakenly given. I became bitter, and this perpetuated by powerlessness. Having no power, I fear not it's loss.


Return to the Trenches

Mpls Activist scene hates me, and I hate it. But, here we are again. I have feels about this. People are still hoping to get reach-arounds from NOC; and NOC, is still fraternizing with acclaimed predator Nick Espinosa. I do think I will spend sometime in the near future recounting that fiasco from beginning to end, though this post is neither the time, nor the place.

It is going to be an uphill battle to be sure. Mayor Hodges is a reactionary public official; moreover, I'm curious as to just how heavy-handedly the police might threaten their leverage. I do not put it past the Union to ever be seeking control of the Mayor's office. The threat of allowing crime, is not something I put past elements of any police department. While the threat of increasing police brutality is also something that cannot be put past any police department these days.

While I also consider the Chamber of Commerce's position in all of this as well. They are the power-brokers, along with the criminal/judicial system. There is money to be made in activism.

We've got two years of Mayor Hodges left, with an alright City Council (needs more investigation here), and an certifiably vile Police Union Rep. The empty threats will not suffice, while both sides seek for their stubborn to be renown. This is a recipe for violence if ever there was one; and we have already seen violence.

We have reason to be scared; this country is on the brink of another civil war.


Dear Minnesota State Senator Thompson

[Thank you, Sam. March 16, 2016 I attended a meeting at the Minnesota Senate regarding the SF 2384. There were four individuals who were resistant to the bill's passing, and one individual Senator Thompson, who wanted to amend the bill in a manner that would have effectively declawed the legislation. It would have also made it almost mandatory for those with strong corporate ties to sit on what would be called a "citizens board". I attempted to speak with him afterwards about the following topics.]

On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, after the Committee on State and Local Government meeting, I sought to speak to you for a moment about the investigative proclivities of emerging constituencies. As well, I sought to mention an example where niche silos of expertise were appropriately experiencing pushback, and a cross-pollination of thought developing: higher-education. You did not hear the content of my conversation.

Instead you responded by asking me if I had ever been outside of “the city” (of Minneapolis, or St Paul, I assume are the cities to which you were alluding.) You also alleged that I was being inconsiderate of “the farmers”. The overall tenor of your sentiments seemed to express the following rather clearly:

That I had never been outside of city limits, and therefore, am completely ignorant of rural economics, social life, and values.

It is my presumption that your perception that I had never been outside of the city was based on the singular fact that my skin color is a very beautiful mocha brown (though it’s beauty really comes out around June, when we start getting kisses from the sun.) Your comments were not only insulting, but another reminder of the racism Minnesotans feel obliged to perpetuate.

As a matter of fact, I have been outside of Minneapolis/St Paul city limits. I grew up in Senator Osmek’s fine district; raised by a family who grew up in Senator Stumpf’s hardy district. My desire was to talk to you about how Twitter, Facebook & comment sections, were normalizing a dialogue with which constituents will continue to confront their governing bodies. To these ends, the re-institution of the MPCA Citizens Board (S.F. 2384) is both the responsible, and democratic, decision; as is the maintenance of it’s authority and structure.

Now you have also made this about race; environmental justice is a racial issue as well. You are entirely correct to assert the notion that, statistically, youth of color to do not have the same opportunities to experience nature as their fairer-skinned peers. And so this is not only about farmers, the environment is also affected by industrial projects near our State’s most precious resources, one of which we share with our distinguished neighbors in Canada, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park.

I have also had the privilege to experience their pristine waters, both through the Gunflint Trail, and through Ely. I spent time at Goosebury & Taylors Falls, and many other State and National Parks, in my youth. It is for these reasons as well, that as our society & culture continues to grow, and more youth of color are enabled to experience these features of our great State, that it is a priority that they be maintained for future generations, and their security be able to be protected by the constituency.

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