The Second Line Blog

More Than a Rapper: Nipsey Hussle Should Also Be Remembered for His Activism

This past Sunday at around 3:25 P.M. Ermias Asghedom, AKA Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in South Los Angeles. If you are over the age of 40 you may not be familiar with who that is. However, if you are a member of Generation Y or Z then you likely feel the absence of Nipsey Hussle regardless of whether or not you listened to his music because his death is still the top topic of social media.

Let’s point out the elephant in the room. Rappers die all the time. Rappers are killed all the time. Nipsey Hussle is not the first nor will he be the last. So why is the mourning over him different? Simple: Nipsey Hussle was not just a rapper.

Now Nipsey Hussle was a rapper, and a very good one. His lyrical ability earned him respect among his peers and with fans. Losing a talented artist would be a huge loss by itself. But in the loss of Nipsey Hussle the community is also losing a father, a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, and a community activist. You see Nipsey was one of the rare people from the hood who really did make it big… and rarer still decided to give it back.

You can’t really accurately boil someone’s life down to bullet points but in order to illustrate the positive work he was doing, here is a list of Nipsey Hussle’s attempts to give back to his community:

  •       Invested some of his wealth back into community via his business on Slauson Ave.
  •       Opened a South Los Angeles stem center and co-working space called Vector90.
  •       Encouraged healthy eating and holistic health.
  •       A former gang member, Nipsey Hussle devoted his life to stopping gang violence.

Ironically Nipsey Hussle was set to meet and brainstorm ways to curb gang violence with the LA Police Chief Michel Moore the day after he was killed.

Nipsey Hussle’s death has been the subject of conspiracy theories. Some fans are claiming that Nipsey was killed because of his work to expose the pharmaceutical industry via a documentary about the controversial Dr. Sebi. Becoming the subject of government conspiracy theories after your death in some ways is the highest form of flattery from the black community. People don’t usually claim the government killed you unless you were important and revolutionary. Nipsey Hussle was both.

Conspiracy theories aside, Nipsey was not killed because he was making a video about Dr. Sebi. As controversial is Sebi was, there is a wealth of easily searchable information available on him as he has been the subject of many court cases and treated celebrities for years before his death. As hard as it is to accept, Nipsey Hussle was taken by the thing that takes most young black men, inner city violence.

Police do have a suspect, and he’s in custody, but even when they catch who did this, that won’t bring Nipsey back. The best thing we can do to honor Nipsey is carry out his legacy stopping the violence and community uplift.

The College Admissions Scandal Shows Just How Unequal Our System of Education Really Is

Throughout life as an African-American woman, I haven’t found myself the beneficiary of privilege. I am forced by society to work twice as hard as my white counterparts. In educational and work environments I am underestimated and assumed to have little knowledge. Constantly, I uplift myself to persevere and to surpass the commonly held beliefs of White Supremacy.

In high school, I viewed my applications to college and the SAT and ACT as my golden tickets to success. For years I prepared myself for the material on these standardized exams while staying heavily involved in my high school community. My family taught me to work hard for what I want and blessings would follow.

Recently, celebrities including Lori Loughlin, J. Mossimo Giannulli, and Felicity Hoffman made headlines due to their involvement in a large-scale college admissions scandal. They “donated” and paid athletic officials ridiculous amounts of money to get their children into universities. Federal officials are forcing them to cooperate and to answer questions during this investigation. Situations like this have gone on for years as common knowledge, but this scandal is bringing it to the light.

Instead of hiring tutors or possibly encouraging their kids to be more involved in high school, these parents paid millions to create false qualifications for their children to get into colleges. The only reason privileged, wealthy individuals feel comfortable doing things like this is that they have a supreme sense of entitlement. For generations, acts like this college admissions scandal have been accepted and pardoned, often on behalf of their European-descent.

This is unfair for the many underprivileged students throughout the world that put in countless hours of community service and studying to earn their acceptance into universities. In today’s society, everything seems to be easily awarded at the right price and given to individuals who in many aspects are not deserving.

According to U.S. News, “income inequality in education has a long history, in large part because so much of K-12 budgets are dependent on local property taxes, meaning wealthier communities with higher tax bases automatically have more money to pay for things like better teachers, AP courses and college counselors – all of which provide a leg up in the college admissions process.” This is a primary reason why many students in marginalized communities have no access to resources nor teachers to aid them in their success.

I am one of these students.

Maintaining a high GPA and being heavily involved in high school was quite the task. Due to me not having access to laptops, tutors or enough capable teachers, school was stressful. Despite my unfortunate surroundings I prevailed and gained acceptance into a prestigious university.  This reflects the reality of many admitted student’s lives, who work hard and receive the fruits of their labor. I believe that we are progressing in America, the color of one’s skin doesn’t wholly depict a future, actions do. But, we still have work to do. Collectively as a nation, we need to continue to highlight matters such as the recent college admissions scandal the inequality in education that they represent.

When They Call You a N***er

Despite the fact that they’ve benefitted from white supremacy and systemic racism for the past 400 years, navigating through life with the assistance of privilege and power, white people are STILL MAD about Black people who dare to walk around freely existing as human beings in this country. STILL.

How do we know they’re mad? They demonstrate it daily when they choose to take on the behavior of their forefathers and call Black people niggers. Our latest example (of MANY) hails from the northeastern state of Connecticut, where they vote blue but think red. (You didn’t think racism stopped above the Mason-Dixon line…did you?)

Corinne Magoveny Terrone, a former employee of Hamden Public Schools, was caught on camera unleashing a racist tirade at a Black man and Black woman in an East Haven, CT grocery store the evening of Friday March 15th. According to the 911 call she placed (you already KNEW that was coming…even though SHE was the attacker…), Magoveny Terrone stated: “The man in his little, um, scooter said, ‘Are you talking to me bitch?’ And I said, ‘No nigger, I’m not’ because he called me a bitch, I called him a nigger, then he continued to get up and threaten me, so there was spitting going back and forth. He spit on the back of me and I am pressing charges.”

Various videos of the incident, which pick up in the middle of the altercation, tell a much clearer story. The videos start with Magoveny Terrone being plainly heard over all other noise calling the man “motherfucker,” and shouting about he and his companion being “…niggers that’s why, they’re fucking niggers in East Haven…” Here, the man starts walking toward the supermarket supremacist, amid the other customers chants of “noooo, don’t do it…” imploring him to stand down. As his female companion attempts to hold him back from approaching the racist, Cocky Corinne begins taunting the man by saying “…put your hands on me, come on, put them on me…” and then engages in the highly disrespectful act of spitting at the man. It is unclear if the “back and forth” she referenced in her 911 call actually occurred, but from the video it seems she was the first and only spitter.

The internet wasted no time in finding out Magoveny Terrone’s identity and place of employment, and by Saturday morning, she had “resigned” from her post, amid the investigation. It was also reported that the Department of Children and Families had to be called, since her two small children were witness to the incident. The DCF released a statement, saying “The Department does investigate reports that a parent or other person responsible for a child’s care is acting erratically or in an impaired fashion that puts a child’s safety at risk or is injurious to their well-being.”

So…let’s unpack this.

On a Friday night, while doing something as innocuous as grocery shopping, a white woman got agitated/irritated/disgusted enough with the presence of Black people in her town and grocery store to call them what is universally accepted as literally the worst thing a white person can call a Black person. This act of aggression was performed publicly, numerous times, in front of her (and other people’s)children, while she was well aware she was being recorded, and after numerous people tried to diffuse and deescalate the situation. At this point, any and every notion of her “getting caught up in the moment” or “not being able to control herself” should be abandoned. Why? Because she meant that shit.

White people know EXACTLY what they’re doing when they call a Black person nigger. They not only know the history and power of the word, they know the vitriol and venom it contains. They say it when they mean “I’m better than you.” It’s their favorite synonym for “You are less than human.” They whip it out whenever they want to remind Black people “We once OWNED you, RAPED you, and KILLED you AT WILL with NO REPERCUSSIONS!”

When white people say nigger, it’s saying “Black thing, you don’t belong.” It is an attack on a Black person’s humanity, and not in a hyperbolic way. When white people call Black people nigger, it is their clarion call for Making America Great Again; That time where, less than 60 years ago, you could hang a Black body up in a tree just because you wanted to. For kicks, you could cut off their genitalia or cut out the baby growing inside them. You could take a picture of all this, and send it across the nation to your white relatives as a keepsake or as a postcard, inviting them to join you the next time. It was common practice. It was accepted. It was supported by law enforcement. It was encouraged and championed.

And when a white person hurls the word nigger at a Black person in the year of our Lord 2019, it is demonstrative of their innate desire to go back to the days where Black people were disposable commodities and white people were the only “people”. When they call you nigger, they mean to strip you of your worth. Thankfully with video evidence, numerous witnesses, and the self-snitching she employed, the only thing getting stripped in Connecticut is Corinne Magoveny Terrone’s job and earning potential.

Party with a Purpose

This past weekend I attended the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. As most of you know, “The UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball is one of New Orleans’ signature fundraising galas and premier social events of the year. Hosted by a diverse group of corporate sponsors and individuals, it involves celebrities, dignitaries, civic leaders, volunteers, public officials, alumni and others who support UNCF’s mission of investing in America’s future by getting students to and through college.” A true party with a purpose.

Read more here

Wealthy Parents Implicated in College Admissions Scandal

By Andrew Pillow

In news that will likely shock no one, some wealthy parents have been using their money to game the college admission process.

The FBI has charged around 50 people in connection with one of the biggest college admission scams ever prosecuted. This all started when the FBI caught the ring-leader of the scam, William Singer, and convinced him to flip on his former clients.

The scam worked like this:

Parents would pay Singer to get their children into prestigious colleges. The main way Singer would follow through on his end was by falsifying test scores either by having someone take the test for them or having the wrong answers changed afterward. The second way was by posing the applicants as student-athlete recruits and bribing coaches to use recruitment spots for students who were never actually going to play a varsity sport.

Some of the schools involved were Yale, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Stanford, Texas, and UCLA. According to the FBI, most of the schools and students were unaware of the fraud.

Over the decade long scheme, Singer’s clients paid him around $25 million in total.

As you might expect, there were some high-profile names fingered in the investigation including Lori Loughlin of Fuller House, and Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives.

Coincidently, this isn’t the first time we have heard about Lori Loughlin’s daughter in regards to school. She once had to apologize for saying in her YouTube vlog “I do want the experience of like game days, partying.…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” This was after she implied, that she might not even attend that much. A video which is sure to get more attention now that the public is aware of how she actually gained entry into the USC in the first place.

As of yet, there is no word on whether or not the students will be allowed to remain at the schools they fraudulently gained entry.

This post was first published on https://indy.education

Why I Love Being a Black Woman

Black women are the earth you live on yet destroy, the god you revere yet crucify, and the organic food you need yet shun….and still we rise.

We have the ability to adjust and adapt to any circumstance whether good or bad.  We make the grim trials of life we endure look easy, even though the mental and emotional remnants of our scars feel like a ton of bricks fixated on our shoulders.  We bounce back like rubber bands albeit being stretched far beyond our limits – a little bent out of shape, yet still full of elasticity and purpose. We are wise beyond what anyone can ever imagine, and it has nothing to do with books – but everything to do with our harsh yet gratifying lessons that come from simply being alive.

Black women are the most innovative creatures on the planet.  Give us a child, and we will present the world with a talented and brilliant adult.  Give us a potato, and we will give you a feast. Give us an inch of hair, and we will give you the most creative and elaborate up-do you’ve ever laid eyes on leaving many to wonder, “how she do that?”  Play us a song, and we will mold the beat with the movement of our hips. Give us some bad news, and we will grieve deeply…..storing the pain in the hidden pockets of our soul while still managing to smile, move gracefully through life, hold our heads high, and cling tight to hope and a prayer.  Give us a bitter life, and we will come out with a song and a story to tell that will bless multitudes. Give us time, and we will show you just how resilient our youthful glow is.

Like Salt-N-Pepa brashly rapped, “every curve on our body has a story to tell.”  Every stretch mark, every blemish, and every incision carved on our physique are windows to life, passages to secrets never told, and insecurities turned into triumphs.  Our love is enduring, impenetrable, and persistent. It never dies. We never die. And this, is why I love being a black woman.

 

A New Meaning to “White Lies”

Hard truth: lying is a part of being human. Big lies, small lies, lies of commission and omission; If there is one thing you can count on human beings to do at least once in their lives, it’s lie. Whether it be a lie to spare someone’s feelings, like the ones you tell at office pot lucks (You know damn well you’re not gonna try Brenda’s nasty looking crockpot surprise, so telling her you’re “on a cleanse” is just easier), or a lie to make something more appealing (Telling people Brenda’s dish was SOOOO GOOOOD last time you had it—which was never), or even a lie to avoid getting caught in a previous lie (YES you ARE still on a cleanse, you’re taking the cupcake hidden under this napkin HOME to your KID…), most people consider the majority of lies they tell harmless or benign, which is why they call them “white lies.” White denotes purity, therefore a white lie must be something pure in intention; innocent; meant to help and not harm.

Then we have actual white lies: the lies white people tell to excuse their racism and bigotry. From Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and his “it wasn’t me in that picture” (after first apologizing for being in the picture, but ok), to newly minted dummy of the day Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, white people can come up with some WHOPPERS when faced with the label of “racist.” Lisanti is the latest casualty of the True Colors Shining Through epidemic, after a colleague reported that she used disparaging language to describe the majority Black county of Prince George’s, Maryland. According to reports, Miss Mary Ann told her white colleague that when he campaigned in Prince George’s on behalf of a candidate last fall he was door-knocking in a “n—– district.”

When first questioned on the accusation, she acquired situational amnesia (a frequent symptom of the TCST epidemic) and stated “I don’t recall that. . . . I don’t recall much of that evening.” Later, when asked if she’d ever used the n-word, Lisanti went with “I’m sure I have. . . . I’m sure everyone has used it. I’ve used the f-word. I used the Lord’s name in vain.” However, when witnesses came forward, she firmly stated her white lie. Mary Ann Lisanti, a Democratic Lawmaker in the state of Maryland, released a statementto the American public, in the year of our Lord, two thousand and nineteen, that read in part: “I am sickened that a word that is not in my vocabulary came out of my mouth. It does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what is my heart.”

A word…that is not in her vocabulary….came out of her mouth. Like, involuntarily.

Ok.

Now, look—I don’t claim, to have knowledge of every miracle, medical wonder, or inexplicable phenomenon to have ever occurred, but I’m fairly confident that words don’t just emanate from the larynx unassisted by the brain. Especially words like nigger. Especially words like nigger, when referencing Black people. ESPECIALLY words like nigger, when referencing Black people, from an American White person. For instance, I don’t know the French word for ugly. It’s literally NOT in my VOCABULARY,

Therefore I have not, do not, and probably will not ever use it to describe ugly things. (I just looked it up though, and it’s “laid”—which now makes me question if every time someone said “your hair is LAID” it actually meant my hair looked like trash…but I digress.) Yet, when you use a word in proper context and common definition, it is safe to say the word is definitely within your vocabulary.

Mary Ann, why you lying? WHY? Just say you didn’t mean to speak in such an ugly way. Say that you apparently have inherent biases that prevent you from being objective when it comes to Black people. Blame it on your privileged and prejudiced upbringing. Blame it on your parents using the word around you growing up. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol. But this whole invasion of the bodysnatchers routine is for the birds, as are most actual white lies. Reason being? Actual White lies are easy to spot. They require such a Herculean suspension of disbelief that the most common reaction to hearing them, across multiple demographics, is “bitch, please.” Actual white lies want us to disassociate with our own life experiences and believe in fantasies, fallacies, and fictional fuckery. They are not just an insult to human intelligence they are, themselves, just…dumb. Void of intellectual content or logical thought. As are the people that tell them.

As of this writing, it has been reported that Lisanti was stripped of her leadership role on an unemployment subcommittee, and will attend sensitivity training for the offense. I wonder if the training will be run by a young priest and an old priest? Maybe Lorraine Warren, famed Connecticut paranormal investigator (and the lady from “The Conjuring”) will make the trip down to the DMV? No matter who facilitates it, I fear whatever possessed Mary Ann and forced her to say words that “aren’t in her vocabulary” won’t be exorcised. Some believe you have to call a demon by its name in order to cast it out—but as long as White people continue to tell these actual white lies? Racism and bigotry are here to stay.

Black Teachers Offer Our Black Children Something Others Can’t: Empathy

I don’t have an overwhelming need to surround my kids with people who look just like them. I believe that kids should be familiar with all types of people, customs, and cultures. Children’s perceptions of other people and cultures should not be solely from the outside, but rather from an intimate, familiar perspective from relationships and exposure.

While the above is true of all children, I believe that exposure of black children to other cultures must include at the core of its framework a positive experience of people who look just like them.  Black children should see people who look like them working in significant roles as they interact with them through their life’s experiences – such as, going to the doctor, or their church, and especially when learning from teachers.

Anyone who cares for children and devotes his or her life to teaching other people’s children is commendable. It’s a career that is getting harder to do in today’s environment. Although many can be qualified to teach, it takes a special talent to reach children where they are. In order to reach children, you have to understand who they are and understand the complexities of their experience. You must also be able to imagine their potential future experiences not only as black children but as they grow into adulthood.  This level of understanding can only come from having walked in the shoes of a black person. At this level, the care and focus can be in educating and molding the whole being, the whole child.

In the book Black Like Me, published in 1959, John Howard Griffin, the author and main character undergoes medication and exposure to ultra-violet lights to darken his skin in order that he might understand the black experience. In his own account, and of course, speaking of that time period, Griffin finds that conditions for blacks were appalling and that black communities seemed run-down and defeated. He even notices a look of defeat and hopelessness on his own face, after only a few weeks as a black man. This new level of understanding he possessed could not have be possible without having experienced what black people experienced first-hand in the 1960s deep south.

Our understanding of one another’s experiences as black people is critical to the manner in which we educate our children to respond to and cope with racism they will face. Black children, in particular, are bombarded with mixed messages about who they are and who they should be. This is confusing at best.

Having a black role model in such an impressionable position is significant to a healthy sense of self and identity. Further, it is even more impactful and meaningful for a young black male to have a black male teacher than it is for him to just have a black teacher. Positive images of black males are not in abundance in our society and unfortunately, many young black boys do not have fathers living with them in the home.

It is on this basis that we clearly identify the need to adopt the African proverb into our way of thinking concerning educating black children, it takes a whole village to raise a child. You might add it takes a whole village to raise and educate a child. Others in our community must be aware of their part in this village and we, ourselves, interacting with our children should recognize the role we play in the village.

With the digital network and systems in place today, the work of the village must broaden with increased diligence or we will completely lose our children. We cannot ignore the impact that black teachers have on black children and the role black teachers play in molding future generations of black children. It only further dictates that our voice must be deliberate and lifted as one on this topic to ensure that we value and secure more black teachers and leaders for the future.