Street harassment

Street Harassment and Why No One Talks to Each Other Anymore

Since the release of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XGPvbWn0A (I think that’s the right one there’s about a million iterations floating around) the topic of Street Harassment has become a hot button issue. Awesome. Fantastic. I couldn’t be happier. Street Harassment is real, there is a male culture that perpetuates it, young males are taught that it’s ok, that women are bitches if they don’t respond etc. etc. I am ALL for stopping such a culture from spreading, and if possible reversing it.

Why then might you ask, does my tone seem so negative? Because I am so completely done with people sensationalizing things.

I have alot of problems with the responses this video has been getting. First there’s the race element (the missing white guys from the video in case you haven’t noticed). Then there’s the element of idiot men who’ve come out to threaten to rape and/or kill the woman in the video (wow seriously?). But the commentary I keep running into is:

Guy: “So I can’t even say hello to a woman anymore”

Woman: No. You Can’t. You are not entitled to say anything to a female ever because it’s part of a culture that makes you think you have a right to my body (continues for 3-5 more paragraphs, you get the point).

 (Proper response, that has yet to be heard): “No, I didn’t say that. There is a difference between, “Hello, How’s your day going” and “Dammmmnn Ma why you aint tryin’ to let me holla?! Stop being such a bitch. That difference is the line between trying to start a conversation or dialogue to better get to know someone, and talking AT them as though they are an underling or an object. Get it?

Here’s the issue with this dialogue, it doesn’t aid the cause in any way shape or form. Women need to stop telling men we’re not allowed to speak, that’s not how equality works. You get to talk AND I get to talk. A man saying “Hello” to a woman is not harassment, it’s the start of a conversation.

Now I’ll pause here for the common pushback that I receive which is that well if a man says “Hello” or “How are you” or any equally arbitrary sentence he’s obviously trying to bang you.

Except well, now you’re assuming just as much about my intentions as a man as you ask me not to assume of you as a lady. You tell me not to assume you’re promiscuous if you want to wear a short dress on a Friday night, right? Then don’t assume I’m a rapist because I said “Hi”.

It’s called equality. You don’t get to tell us when or when not to talk, and neither do we. That’s the ideal we should be working toward, and anything else is simply counterproductive. I’m sick of all the “well it’s ok because the patriarchy does it to us” bullshit. I feel bad about it, I do, but realize that me saying “Hello” is not the patriarchy trying oppress you. It’s me trying to make a friend. Or ask you where you bought those shoes because they’re just like the ones my girlfriend said she wanted for christmas. Or whatever of a billion reasons people say fucking hello.

Remember all those years spent fighting for the right to own property, vote, have a VOICE. I respect that struggle entirely, and am on board to help. However don’t tell me I now don’t get a voice because I have a penis and that makes me dangerous.

One blog I read written by a woman told men, “If you’re going to say hello to me you might as well say it to every man, woman and child you see.” I would argue, how do you know that I don’t? And even if I don’t, it is clear that this blogger believes that women can choose who to talk to and who not to (she laid out a variety of social settings in which she’d feel comfortable approaching people), why as a guy am I not allowed to do the same?

I LOVE starting conversations with strangers, but in my lifetime men have become demonized to a point where I can’t strike up a conversation with a woman without being called a creep, I can’t ask for a dance without having an intent on banging you and I can’t teach a young kid how to throw a football without being called a pedophile.

Newsflash, a burley old man who lived next door taught me how to throw a football because he was good at it. A woman who taught my 10th grade history class taught me how to dance with no intent on sleeping with me (at least not to my knowledge) because that was her fun way of getting us to remember historical facts and countless people have randomly started conversations with me from grade school to current day; it’s sort of how people make friends.

I recognize the world is a big scary place full of creepy characters that we all need to be alert and on watch for. I also recognize that in 2014, in a time where more media exists than ever before, that statistically instances of rape, sexual assault, child abuse, and just about everything else you hear about on the news (save for terrorist attacks, missing planes and school shootings) have stayed pretty level. You’re just been taught to be more frightened by them because we spend 80% of our days in front of a screen, consuming what roughly 10 companies decide to put in front of us. We’re more disconnected than ever and that’s what makes the mere idea of humans talking to other humans now qualify for “Harassment.”

So Let’s Be Clear as We Recap:

Screaming “Dammmmnnn You Look FINNNNNEEEE” or anything equivalent IS harassment (side note: Woman & Men both do this, I’ve heard you and seen you. My friends, myself and my family included).

Telling a woman she’s a bitch because she won’t give you her number IS harassment.

Physically touching, grabbing, smacking etc the body of another IS harrassment and likely assult as well.

Following a girl down the street, stride for stride, for 6 minutes IS harassment, And likely you’re starting toward a new crime called stalking at that point.

But Saying “Hello,” “Good Morning,” “How are you” “Those are cute shoes” “I love your dress, you look dashing/amazing/pretty/beautiful” is not harassment. I’m sorry to break it to you. You can choose to accept or decline anyone’s compliments or interactions, that is completely up to you.

But Please Please Please, let’s stop making things bigger than they are, some of us, maybe the minority of us (I’ve been the minority my whole life why stop now)that believe it or not, just want to say hello. Maybe to make a new friend, maybe to talk about a show we watched recently or just what’s happening around town. You know, like people used to.

 

 

 

 

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#27, This Story is About the League NOT the Player

Let’s start with what we all know. Ray Rice beat the hell out of wife (then-fiance) Janay Palmer in an elevator in Atlantic City a few months ago.

Let’s follow that with what new news we received this weekend: Nothing.

The video released showed nothing more than what we all already knew happened. Rice admitted to it, and the NFL punished him (I use the term to describe his 2-game suspension loosely) for it. Rice’s wife has gone out and spoken about how they are working on their relationship and they went on to get married, happily so by all reports. Furthermore, many (myself incuded) believe that this video had already been seen by the NFL and at the very least they knew it existed and CHOSE not to view it.

 

Now let me make it clear that I’m a firm believer that most people who abuse their partners in any way often are going to do it again. That said, why don’t we go after those guys who actually do, rather than putting Rice’s head on a stake because it was on video? It’s graphic, it’s horrifying and the lack of empathy shown as he drags her body off the elevator is terrifying. But in a league, and a fan base, who has no problem heralding convicted murders and cheering on rapists, where do we get off claiming this guy ought to never be allowed to earn a paycheck again?

Charges weren’t pressed, punishments WERE handed down, and by all accounts he’s doing everything right since. He’s in counseling and while I don’t think all of his actions have been perfect (see: The “Apologetic” Press Conference in which he opens by apologizing to everyone besides Janay) his behavior since seems about on-par with what you’d like to see; a guy trying to do the right thing after fucking up epically.

Many people I’ve spoken to are outraged that I think Rice ought to be allowed back in the league (though I think the original suspension should’ve been longer than 2 games). More still think I’m apologizing for his behavior and I’m not. But if you’re looking for a guy to go after, to make him the face of domestic abuse in athletes I do think this is a terrible choice.  There have been hoards of athletes who’ve been convicted of multiple assaults on their significant others. There are athletes with 11 kids from 11 mothers many of whom they assaulted. Here in New England we only need to go back about 12-15 years to remember running back Dave Megget who was convicted of rape or Aaron Hernandez who fucking MURDERED somebody. In Kansas City last year a linebacker murdered his child’s mother before taking his own life and got about 10% of the attention this is getting.

 

I’m all for bring domestic abuse to the forefront of the conversation, I think it is an important issue that needs to be addressed, and in a violent sport that is home to many of our sons’ heroes we need to be keenly aware of the example we’re setting. All I’m saying is perhaps this should’ve started long ago; It shouldn’t take a video for the NFL to do something about it, and it sure as hell shouldn’t take weeks of public pressure and a SECOND video for them to take any serious action. I am sad for Janae Palmer and hope that Ray Rice is serious about getting help, but I am far more sad for NFL fans, specifically for those with kids, who’ve had to wait this long to watch the NFL bumble it’s way through attempting to address an issue their league has had for generations and one they are unwilling to admit is real. This story is about the NFL and how they’ve turned a blind eye to domestic assaults for decades, it shouldn’t be about taking Ray Rice to task.

 

Gloucester – The New Hotbed for Hip Hop?

Originally posted on The Gloucester Clam:

By Guest Contributor Michael Caesar, Special Hip Hop Correspondent

Gloucester Massachusetts is set and primed to be the next great hip-hop hot bed.

Yep, I said it; my expertise on the subject is derived from the 17+ years I spent living on the island and a profound appreciation for DJ Premier beats and gold chains.

#BLOGGIN
#BLOGGIN

Now I know what you’re thinking…How does this suburban fishing community qualify for the birthplace of the next big hip hop revolution? Simple. It has all the characteristics of the direction post-2006 hip-hop has taken. Think about it…

It Has a Blue Collar Attitude, While Sporting White Collar Attributes

Gloucester rappers are professionals at talking rapidly in profane sentences that don’t make sense, making repeated references to #TheStruggle and their realness all while residing within a stones throw (more often than not, literally) from the ocean. Waterfront property, vacation homes and B&B’s create the…

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help-wanted

Give Me a Reason….

They say blogging, and writing online in general, is about creating great content. There is a million tricks of the trade (very few do I know, and even less do I utilize) about getting traffic to your blog, but hardly anything works as well as providing something worth reading. With that in mind how do you narrow down the idea of your blog?

As many of you may have noticed, my blogs jump all over the place. Sometimes I post poetry, others I rant about politics and then occasionally I go hit-hunting and write lists blogs for fun. The problem is that this, (along with my super cliché WordPress 2014 design) makes my blog feel very sloppy, convoluted and under-maintained. Not to mention it lends credence to me not having a reason to write, where having a defined subject matter would give me a reason to write much more frequently.

I originally started this, not as a blog but as a place to publish some of my writing for a destination separate from the rest of my creative portfolio but obviously it’s evolved into something of a platform for me to express my opinions and other creative works simultaneously. While I am not arrogant enough to believe for a second that I have gathered a “following” I have received a fair amount of commentary from folks saying they like my work and would like to see more of it; making me feel like I should…well make more of it.

With that in mind I ask you, my extraordinarily small readership, along with my Facebook and Twitter communities to give me 5 topics you’d like to see me write on consistently. They can be anything as definite as “your favorite pizza topping and why” (though I may run out of that material quickly) to something as vast as “music”. The point is, I just need a reason to write more post-worthy work, on a consistent basis because writing makes me feel better and be a more productive person and hopefully entertains you as well. Feel free to comment down below with your ideas or send them to me privately and hopefully in the next week or two this blog will have a much more defined-at least once a day-5 days a week level of consistency to it. Until then…well I guess you can hold out hope I get drunk one night and write something gripping.

Til next time….

Surprised woman isolated against white background

6 Things To Know Now that Your Daughter Dates a Black Guy (or At Least This One)

This post originally began much more scathing and mean. I have since realized that some of it was unjust and other parts just a little over the top, not to mention just downright LONG. So I condensed it into this handy dandy little guide for the mothers of all the white girls in the world who grow up in places where the population is 98% white. Feel free to share the knowledge and maybe they’ll be less cringeworthy (and by cringeworthy I mean, god do I wish you were male and not the parent of someone I hope to marry because I swear to fucking God I’d punch you in the face if I thought there was the slightest chance of re-couping back into your good graces afterwards) moments.

  1. Your daughter’s preference for men of color does not translate into a preference for criminals. What? You never said that? Of course not. Just a few hundred iterations of “bad boy” and “thug” to really drive the point home.
  2. Get over the fact that I dress well. I do not need you to compliment every item of clothing I own that has a collar. I have a separate closet worth of sweaters and a tie collection bigger than your ex-husband’s. Believe it or not, the black male wardrobe is not all neon colors, and 3XL tee-shirts.
  3. Yes I like hip-hop, no it’s not all I listen to. The assumption that the only music I listen is hip-hop is downright fucking insulting. My favorite genres of music also include most variations of EDM, punk rock, pop, jazz, ska, and soul. My father was a Berklee-trained jazz musician who played with Miles Davis and James Brown, please don’t insult me by assuming my musical depth ends where the ass shaking stops.
  4. On the topic of ass-shaking, I am a better dancer than your daughter. I’m sure you met a Latin man once on vacation who knew how to dance, so I know you’re familiar with this phenomenon of people who posses penises being able to do more on a dancefloor than stand there and leer at you awkwardly from 50 ft away, or better yet standing dead still uncomfortably close to your ass. Just accept that I am part of said phenomenon and move on.  If I have to listen to the two of you talk about how “he said I was a good dancer for a white girl” and giggle in giddy excitement while you think I’m still asleep in the other room one more time I think I might lose it.
  5. If you have the balls to invite me into your home to mediate a conversation between you and your daughter because you have difficulty communicating with her, then you should probably get over the idea of me sleeping in an extra hour when she wakes up early for work. This whole “you need to be out of my house by 7am” because you’re “not comfortable” with me being here thing is clearly a sham. You’ve all but said to your daughter (who tells me these things FYI) that you’re worried I’m going to steal something and that you don’t feel safe. You’re an adult woman, grow the fuck up please.
  6. I wear a baseball hat pretty much everywhere. Yes I wear them backwards. No it is not because I am some sort of “gangsta”. It’s because when I was a kid I had long hair and couldn’t fit a hat over it, and now that I wear my hair short, I like the ability to wear hats. I own over 60 of them so get used to it. I wear them backwards because by the time I had short enough hair to wear hats my dad had died and there was no male role model in my life to show me how to curve the brim of a hat properly and they’d always come out pointy. Too embarrassed to ask somebody for assistance, I started wearing my hats backwards so people wouldn’t see the brim as often and was really excited when the whole “flat-brim” style came into vogue.

Long story short, I am a financially independent, creative professional with a cum laude bachelors degree. I am not an extra in a 2 Chainz video. Please behave accordingly.