philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


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On “Authenticity”

I live a colorful lifestyle. Instead of corporate riches, I have chosen the wealth of freedom, bohemianism, liberty of knowledge, and learning hardcore street smarts. In the span of things, I am a bohemian at this point in my life, fleeting and flowing around without many things bogging me down, trying to find my place in the world. One thing that I have learned for absolute certainty, is that when there is a lack of resources, there is a wealth of what could be deemed “authenticity”.

Many years ago, for a university class called “Feminism Gone Wild”, I wrote a paper evaluating the concepts of authenticity, credibility and respectability with regards to African-American cultural values. I chose to evaluate Lil’ Kim (authentic and credible as a female rapper derived from both her hardcore lifestyle growing up in Brooklyn and inherited from Notorious B.I.G.), Oprah (respectable for being an American powerhouse, authentic for having lived through true hardships of the American South, and credible for representing female Black power in America) and Kobe Bryant (his reputation called into question due to rape allegations, but his ultimate solidification as a figure representing authenticity, credibility, and respectability within the African-American cultural dynamic allowed these allegations to have little negative affect against him) which resulted in a very entertaining college paper. Hopefully, I will find it again some day. Writing this paper expanded my alertness concerning reputation, behavior, and the values of a certain group one is operating within.

Over the course of the last month, in a post I hope to follow up on, I have gone through some intense personal experience, trials and tribulations of the very definition of a person and what it means to be human. As a bohemian, as to be expected, I am not a part of the elite class, but a part of what could be referred to as the underclass, the outlaw caste, and/or the fringe. Some of the people I have been friends with could be identified as “hardcores”, in the sense that when they fuckin’ do something they fuckin’ do it and they don’t fuck around about it even (and especially) if they are fuckin’ around. I am quite certain there are those who would refer to me as hardcore as well due to my high tolerance for chaos, fringe culture, strange experiences, and ability to carry on through extremely bizarre circumstances. To a degree, I always knew I had this in me I just did not know how it would manifest while I was growing up.

One thing I know for sure as a result of finding all these beautifully unconventional people is that, identity cannot be bought. No matter how much money you may or may not have, you cannot don another outfit and become another person. You cannot escape the wounds of moments past and turbulent emotions to flee into another version of one’s self. An orange is an orange, it is citrus, a bursting flavor of cleanliness, and it is vibrant in it’s color, so much so in the English language it is simply identified as an “orange”.

There are three types of people in the world: unmovable objects, unstoppable forces, and essences. It should be fairly obvious to one’s self what one is, and if one is strong in one’s identity, others should have no problem identifying it.

There is a fantastic documentary called “Paris Is Burning” about the Vogue Scene lived among the Black gay community in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s. Madonna took voguing from these people, a certain style of attitude, dress, and ultimately dance that she turned commercial and benefited astronomically financially while the founders were living in varying stages of decrepit urban hardcore living. These people were not elite, not rich, but wealthy in life and in struggles. Many were banished from their families and became their own families as a result. This is an extremely common experience for those of us among the fringe, an extended family beyond the bounds of blood, something forged must deeper of the mind. People who have not been a part of fringe movements may understand this in theory, but to actually feel like one is coming home to a family that was not created out of blood but mutual identity is a contrary familial experience to blood bonds. Neither one is richer or more rewarding in and of itself, but both have features that are both advantageous and disadvantageous. The documentary is a rich and insightful glimpse into how these people made it work, something of a catchphrase among American gays. Many of the people featured in “Paris is Burning” probably also suffered death from the AIDS epidemic, the name of which President Reagan refused to uttered until millions of Americans had died, because who cares about queers and junkies right?

The thing is, there are those of us who care about the people on the fringe. We care because they make the world infinitely more interesting. The people who live on the outside, who live in mystery and shadows, the people whose faces you look at and you see a vast novel behind the visage, the pages in the mind’s eye hidden in the pupils, those are the gems in the dust.

What is a house?

Does a house end when the wind whips your breath from your nose? Does a house end at it’s roof? Are the people within the house part of the house? The warm smells in the house, is that part of the house? Is the laughing, the crying, the sorrow, the seizing excitement, the shouts, the stealthy silence, part of the house? Where does the house end? Do you carry the house in your heart when you step into the world?

This corporate society can sometimes get me down. I don’t like measuring peoples worth based on their monetary value. I don’t like to see people as worth more than others simply because there is a financial system that has been rigged to keep few extremely rich with money and many extremely careful about money. The solve for this problem is beyond me, minds far wiser and of more education and intelligence have tried and failed, debated and philosophized about this matter. Simply, those of us who have infinite worth but are money poor must be proud. We must be proud for the beauty of our poverty, how objects take on new worth, how the sentimental value of something is beyond what the financial measure. We must also pity the extremely wealthy, those who have poverty of knowledge in the beauty of objects, who have become so jaded to the things that come with financial wealth, those who are tied like a chain to the monetary system and those who fear it’s collapse because “What if I’m poor?!?!”. The worst has already happened to us, we are poor, but we are fierce and we are more brave than those with a thousand rooms in their homes.

We find home with each other. We can go home wherever we are.


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Who Is These Niggas, I Don’t Know Them.

The title of this blog post may offend some, but indeed it is not a quote from me. Chief Keef’s song, “I Don’t Know Dem” which contains the lyrics “Who’s these niggas, I don’t know them?/Who’s these niggas, I don’t know them/This nigga looking at me like he want some”. I have used narrative discretion to not use the euphemism “n-word” but instead spell the full word out to keep the integrity of Chief Keef’s work intact.

Given the dramatic attention given to the number of African-American men who are being murdered by the police force, the representation of state monopolized violence, this song is particularly important to in a proper analysis of race relations in America. Chief Keef as an artist may have some pieces that are superficial, but many of his songs contain social commentary that is interwoven with themes of violence, sex, and drugs which appear superficial, but indeed are highly significant of the disadvantaged position many African-Americans endure daily.

The lyrics

This nigga looking at me like he want some
Pistol to his face if he owe some
My niggas they keep them tools make ’em blow some
OTF they ride for Sosa

mean, in accordance to help from Rap Genius, that if there is a rival around who wants to fuck with Mr. Kief, his niggas are gonna back him up and murder the rival with their “tech shit like lawn mowers”, Chief Keef’s reference to the ridiculously large assault rifles young Chicago gangsters are carrying around these days.

The song is a precise example of Chief Keef’s apocalyptic audio style, which signals the dominance of Chief Keef as a gangster within a dangerous area and the eerie presence of the specific type of horror one feels when living in a constantly dangerous area. “I Don’t Know Dem” contains direct, first hand information about the inter-workings of the underground African-American narcotic community that operates on a paradox of trust of “my niggas” and an inherent distrust of “niggas” one does not know. Within the narcotic dealing lifestyle, there are some African-Americans who refer to white people and other people of color as “niggas” to indicate that they are a part of the gangster, narcotic lifestyle. I have personally heard more than one person referred to as a “white nigga” and those persons were indeed, white and a narcotics dealers.

There were 38 homicides in Chicago in November of 2014, sixteen of which were on the street, and so far into the ten days of December there have been eight. The year of 2014 was a horrifying year for Chicago, seeing 393 homicides, the peak of which was in September with forty-four murders. The majority of victims are male, and many are teenagers.  In contrast, New York City, which has 8 million people to Chicago’s 2.7 million people has had 290 murders in 2014.

There is a monopoly of state violence perpetrated and represented by the police force of this country which has an absolutely undeniable record of killing African-Americans while sparing the lives of white people. American police officers kill a black man every twenty-eight hours. This is an alarming and unique statistic.

While this happens, there is a deliberate state-sanctioned effort to outsource the illegal, black-market narcotic industry to African-Americans. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is a real part of American history, with the story of Freeway Ricky Ross being verified by the American government itself. If you are not familiar with this story, please Google “Freeway Ricky Ross CIA” and read about how our government engineered the spread of cocaine into the United States of America in exchange for a political alliance in El Salavador. It is one of the most heinous acts of killing two birds with one stone in United States history. The modern drug war acts in alliance with white supremacy to ensure the destruction of the African-American community and other peoples of color while maintaining the white monopoly on wealth and power.

Chief Keef’s song exists in a racial reality where black men have unequal access to the same educational opportunities as whites that allow them to hold comfortable corporate jobs, and instead have to choose dangerous street narcotic jobs. Chief Keef is not a stupid man. He survived the heroin trade as a teenager, a feat few people would be able to successfully live through as experienced adults. Furthermore, most people in the illegal drug industry are not unintelligent, in fact, many have a unique type of intelligence that many in mainstreamed society are unable to access.  He dedicates the song to “my niggas, O block” a reference to the fellow comrades in arms he soldiers on with. These are the only people he can trust, and as anyone who has watched a gangster movie knows, that trust doesn’t always come through long term. The war is real, it has been engineered by his government, and his opponents are both the white establishment that bound him with unequal opportunity, increased violence and humiliation, and the same black men who face the exact same problem he has. He has himself, his gun, and his niggas. It is a necessary decision to murder or be murdered.

The systematic act of the United States of America has caused a racial climate that is clearly attempting to commit genocide against black men both by their own hand and by the long arm of the law.

Many privileged white people act enraged by Chief Keef’s fast and irresponsible lifestyle. He has posted photos of himself receiving oral sex on Instagram, gotten pulled over for speeding 110 mph, and been placed under house arrest numerous times. My question to these privileged white people is: if you knew that you might die at any moment, how would you be living day to day?

Who are these people supposed to trust, when they absolutely cannot trust the police force of their country?

When white people deny this, we are murdering our fellow Americans.


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Murder is An American Value

If a person is declared murdered by a medical examiner, then they have been murdered.

Eric Garner was declared murdered by a New York medical examiner.

The people who are videotaped murdering Eric Garner, a video that is accessible on the internet, have not been indicted by a Staten Island grand jury. These people happen to be police officers.

If a person is declared murdered in the state of New York and that person is black,and that murderer is a white police officer, then there is a likely chance that the murderers will not be indicted.

This is what this decision means. We are not in Mississippi in the 1800s where black men’s mutilated bodies sway from trees, and for all intents and purposes, those murders were legal. The United States of America has a long standing history of instituting legal murder against black men and women through the use of people granted the manifestation of it’s monopoly on state power.

This is the definition of genocide.

Genocide against black people in Mississippi was a domestic terrorist experience for black men, women, children, and families. Genocide against black people in New York now is the same domestic terrorist experience, with absolute submission required in order to walk away with one’s life. And as Eric Garner shows, who was not in any way shape or form acting threatening to officers, even being completely non-violent can still result in your murder.

Murderers are walking free, with liberty, able to pursuit their happiness, in New York City. In New York, my home state, we wonder how one of the most policed states in America (stop and frisk, NYPD being a standing army, the absolute submission we give to police, the total and complete disregard of black men and women as human beings with civil rights) has actually let several people walk free after they murdered, on camera, a human being.

This is not my country. This is not my country. If this is what it is like to live in America I will do everything I can to make sure your horrific version of reality fails.

Bernadine Dohrn, the mother of the Weathermen Underground, once stated, “We live in the most violent society history has ever created. I am not committed to non-violence in any way.”

I cannot, in good standing as a person of morals and ethics, call for the people of the United States to not resist in every way we can possibly to this genocide being perpetrated against our fellow citizens. We do not have to act violently, but we cannot continue to allow the genocide of people of color by the police force to continue. I cannot state any endorsement of violence on this public forum because it could be used against me in theory, because I have also lost my right to freedom of speech within the cyber sphere due to militant surveillance by the American spy apparatus.

Perhaps no one will ever read this. Perhaps no will will ever care about my words or ideas, or my absolute fear that we are about to tear our society apart and participate in our own destruction because we are too afraid to let love and tolerance prevail.

But what I know, is murder is an American value, and I will not be a part of it.