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.

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Raised By Demons

I've typed that description in my Twitter profile. Ubiquitous and casual as they may be, sometimes our profile descriptions speak to truths otherwise inexpressible. From the simple to the intricate, they are reflections of deep waters. Was I truly raised by demons?

There is no love lost between the white male who adopted me, or is racist mother, and I. Though the white woman who adopted me; her mother let me live, treated me as a human being ought be. Though I have seen her daughter pour out more emotional heartache over her physical possessions than a brown child's spiritual, emotional, or physical well-being; and I'm not talking about my own welfare. I don't hate her, but a deep-seeded, lifelong sense of distrust has been inflicted.

Is that enough to call her, them, demons? They are white, to some that is substantial enough criteria; and for which I could place no blame. They are Evangelical Christians, moreover; yet another nail in a demon's coffin. They are not poor. None of these are sufficient reasons to castigate anyone as a demon; so why will the notion not submit to the logic of compassion?

I found the words today: because they have no hearts.

The human heart, when it is open and conversant, allows us to connect with other humans; it is our connection to the world around us. But if we do not have our heart to connect with, we cannot connect to others. In place of our hearts, the vacuum is filled by vanity and ego. Left unchecked, this is how, in my opinion, a demon is born.

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TEDxMinneapolis: McFail Salon

It's always an interesting time when I exit the walls called my bedroom; and Friday evening was no different. I attended the local rendition of a TEDx Salon; which as was explained, was to be a scaled down version of the larger TEDx, or TED "experience". They're real big on branding in the TED scene. You can't even throw a TEDx event unless you've attended the main TED event; tickets go for over $5,000 and you have to apply because they "actively seek out leading thinkers and doers across a wide range of fields". Super 'sclusive!

This evenings TEDx event brought together 4 presenters and was topically focused on sound. There was a vocal coach who spoke poignantly about the magical ability of the human voice. How our own voices uniquely reverberate through our bodies, and in this capacity serve as instruments for healing! I came to rely upon singing as a means to get me through trials and tribulations in my own life. How both the words and melody combine to provide affirmation of self amidst chaos. Singing is a means to both acknowledge one's autonomy while remaining connected to the larger whole of humanity. Was a great talk to hear given.

The next talk was given by a gentleman named Toki Wright. He is a bit of a local celebrity; respected rapper, activist and most recently, professor of hip-hop at McNally-Smith School of Music. I was a good three beers deep by the time his talk came around; so I don't remember much of it. I think he talked about how music can provide both a means to escape immediate surroundings and relate to other stories.

I met Toki many years ago, I can't remember if he dated a friend's sister or not; they were involved in Yo!TheMovement for a time together. Along with a few other local notables. Either way, we also shared a teacher from the University of Minnesota General College. A formative individual who taught a class called Multicultural Relations. It was an introduction to anything and everything activism, and raised my own expectations for Toki's empathic capacity. Needless to say, time and again he has disappointed me. Without regaling the negativity; up next was actual music: a flute, a cello, and a beatboxer! That was worth the price of admission to me.

Lastly, for me at least, was Dr Roger Dumas! My old high school computer science lab attendant. I know, I have no respect for people it would seem. His talk was basically a pitch for people to listen to the records again, because the static inherent to their recording actually facilitated a more complete listening experience, as affirmed by science. Not really a mind-bender, but sufficient to make the rich, mostly white, people in the audience feel nostalgic for the time-being.

Now onto what was interesting, to me at least. I met the kid of a VP of the McPhail School, and his mother! Sat right next to them too. Later in the evening the kid and I spoke. Naturally the conversation delved into politics, in which I asserted the idea that most people of our generation thought that marijuana should be legalized. To which he countered, for medicinal use only. I was a bit taken aback; where the hell did this conservatism come from, I wondered?!? I should also mention, he worked at the school as well.

So let's get this story straight; daddy is a VP at the school, and in all likelyhood, because of this, you've got a comfy job; wherein which you think that marijuana should only be accessed by doctor affirmed patients. Sounds like uneducated privilege born of inexperience to me! Meh, moving on.

I also met a Colombiana. She is a student at the University who sought an opportunity to volunteer; and connect with a local academically minded scene. A pleasant individual to be sure; I was quick to discern she was wise to the game Minnesota plays. I was a dangerous character with which to be seen fraternizing. As a brown male, often alone in large groups of people, I'm more often than not seen as a threat, based purely on stereotype. Later, when we exchanged Twitter handles, her white friend was beside her; also a student. The friend seemed fairly taken-aback when I mentioned that I actually had a relationship with President of the University as I involved myself with the state legislative processes last spring, and have been active for quite sometime at the school as well. Damn, foiled the stereotype again, had not a coherent channel for them to turn!

Here is the kicker - on her, the Colombiana's, name placard, the topic about which people were encouraged to ask her about was "Columbia". Yup, you read that right! What was infuriating is that, rather than apologize, or seek to amend the oversight, she was told that it was spelled that way for the phonetic ease of Minnesotans!!! HOLY WHAT THE WHITE ARROGANCE!!

Overall, the evening was a success, I got drunk and have a few more funny stories to tell. I discerned that Toki is a pompous putz; though, as in his words, "everyone has a good side." Minnesota is a vain culture, and navigating it means negotiating inflated egos. I'll let the rest of the context slide for the time being, and conclude this post by reminding folks that Colombia, the country, is spelled with an "o"; and that it is incredibly offensive to attempt to justify the misspelling of one's homeland.

Better luck next time TEDxMinneapolis!

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Update on UMN Data Ooops

In an earlier post, I relayed some numbers cleaned from a test run of my use of a Python library to scrape web pages, Twitter and Facebook. It was not well-received by an individual in their office who sent me a direct message via Twitter. At first I was lightly questioned, and then my presence was requested, and a meeting arranged. I thought I might have found an opportunity!

Nope! Got chastised for not knowing the way my numbers made another person look, and they wanted to know if I was trying to take their job!! So I recently went through filing a complaint. Relationships were ruined because this individual was insecure about their ability to do their job. My curiosity made this evident; and I have been punished, it would seem.

This is a cycle that needs to stop.

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[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

WalletHub

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?

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Welcome to Suburbia [Video]

When white kids run because they've legitimately never seen a pain of color up close.

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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.

MPDComments.com

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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.

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