Alternative Media Bias

This is from an article that popped up a couple times in my Facebook feed. Both personal and professional. An article titled:

“Supreme Court Rules that Cops DO NOT Need a Warrant to Search Your Home”

Now, there’s already a redflag. The capitalized letters for “do not”. That’s a sign of sensationalism and click-baiting. The article goes on to imply that the cops do not need a search warrant to search your house.

Now, the law basically says if you have a roommate and if you both disagree on whether the police can come in and search your home, the police can search your home anyway. But if you just look at the headline, what would you have thought?

I expect this from Buzzfeed, gossip cites, etc. However a website that titles itself the Free Thought Project is kinda disappointing. The article itself was poorly written and it’s still difficult for someone to understand what exactly the law is about due to the author making a snarky or passive aggressive comment about the government every other paragraph.

In other words, you have no property rights slave, and we can snoop through your personal belongings if we wish.

Then, at the very end, the author clarifies what should’ve been clarified in the headline and the first sentence.

While this doesn’t particularly allow for police to choose and enter any home they wish, it is nothing to be downplayed, especially since Justice Ginsburg, one of their own, even stated that this could lead to even more erosion of what is left of the 4th Amendment.

This isn’t a shot at the website itself or even the writer. However, this is the problem with “alternative media” or “alternative journalism” they can be just as bias as your everyday right-wing cable news channel. Granted, this article in question did provide a video which summed up the ruling perfectly (the article couldn’t do that with 400+ words). However, this is why alternative media needs the same scrutiny that the mainstream media does. It does cover stories that the mainstream doesn’t, but when you’re presenting them in a bias or poorly constructed manner, you’re just as bad as the big ones.

Another problem is how these articles are shared like wildfire. Please stop sharing articles you don’t read. If you’re going to read just the headline and scroll through the comments for a few seconds, it’s really not worth even clicking on the article at all. Otherwise it’ll get the point where Snopes or Truth-O-Meter will have to debunk it.

Another thing to note: This ruling is from February. This article blew up on my timeline just recently, so I’m assuming the Gay Marriage ruling was the cause so Supreme Court cases are spreading around again.

That said, the ruling is pretty stupid.

See the article here: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/supreme-court-rules-cops-warrant-search-home/

Apply the same thing to clickbait headlines, Calvin. That’s all we have the patience for, apparently.

Marriage Equality

There isn’t much to say. Everyone’s been talking about it all day. However, I feel no commentary on the subject would be an insult to our brand. Gay Marriage, or Marriage Equality has been supported by the Supreme Court, with 5 of the 9 Justices realizing that what goes on in someone’s personal life is their business. Congrats for common sense prevailing today.

Which reminds me, we need have a talk about the Supreme Court. Expect an Extra Ignorance or video on that topic.

Gay and straight Americans alike unified and fought. And they won. You have a goal, change the way the culture thinks, push for changes in law, and you get success. Despite all the hate, ignorance, and pushback, gay people let their grievances be known and ended it. Though, I think Macklemore single-handily turned the tide for gay marriage (sarcasm, people).

I do have one issue. Gay community, I love you to death, but stop comparing the struggle of the LGBT to that of African-Americans. It’s your own unique experience and comparisons to racism are completely unneeded and unfair. Until you can point out a Transatlantic slave trade consisting of gay people, I’d rather leave those comparisons out. There are indeed some parallels, but when you get pictures like this:

I mean, c’mon. Besides, as straight black guy, I wouldn’t dare compare me being black to the nonsense LGBT people have to deal with on a constant basis. And I can never understand what it means to be LGBT. Though I can support and sympathize. Glad all those donations to LGBT organizations, talking to friends struggling with their sexual orientation and gender identity, and arguing with friends about homosexuality eventually paid off.

Other than that–love each other, get married. and get ready to contemplate divorce in a couple of years like the rest of us.

Now if we can only get the White House to speak so openly about race relations…

Confederate Flag Controversy

Check out our Youtube Channel for video content. We’re trying to expand and would love your support!

Sincere Ignorance Podcast

Sincere Ignorance (7)

It’s here, the full, weekly podcast of Sincere Ignorance. A week early from its’ iTunes and Stitcher releases due to of the waiting period for the pending reviews and the fact I wanted critiques of any kind for improvement.

We’ve finally got our Youtube channel running. You can watch a series of new videos along with some revamped older ones. We’re committing to releasing at least one video a week. Subscribe, leave suggestions and tips.

This is not like our usual audio commentaries, this is the official promotional podcast.

First episode deals with the issue of classism, the following 2 episodes will deal with sexism and racism.

http://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/68500/39642828

 

Sincere Ignorance: Helen Keller

Helen Keller. Sometime during grade school, you learn about her story and how she’s a model for us all to overcome any disabilities and challenges we face. How her teacher and mentor, Anne Sullivan, represents enormous will and passion not to give up on our youth.

That’s it.

Her story ends. You learn she becomes successful later in life, but further details into her exploits are kept vague at best.

There’s a reason for that. For one, Keller was extremely critical of the government:

“Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What does that mean? It means we choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. We elect expensive masters to do our work for us, and then blame them because they work for themselves and for their class.”

– Helen Keller in reference to the American political system.

“For our governments are not honest. They do not openly declare war against Russia and proclaim the reasons. They are fighting the Russian people half-secretly and in the dark with the lie of democracy on their lips and the indirect weapon of the blockade in their hands.”

– Helen Keller in an article published by the New York Call, November 10, 1919 in reference to a blockade of Russia by Japan, The United States, and Great Britain during Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War.

She was also a socialist.

You don’t hear much about that do you?

This is further proof of how Hollywood shapes Americans perceptions of so many things.

Yet this iconic scene from the 1967 film, The Miracle Worker is almost instantly recognizable, even for children.

Her being a socialist is public record, left around in numerous biographies, covered in documentaries. But she’s primarily know as “the blind and deaf child who overcame her disabilities with the help of a great teacher”. Which is an insult to someone who did so much afterward.

Well, her being a socialist is just the tip of the iceberg for this outstanding woman.

You want more information like this?

Click our Youtube channel tab here on the site and pre-subscribe to our Youtube channel. We will be re-launching the channel soon with many short, but sweet videos that are full of information. Recommendations are fine. If you like what we do on the site, please do so. It would really support us in the future as we look to expand. Helen Keller will receive her own video, covering information her, plus much more. 

5 Signs of Housing Discrimination: Simplified Ignorance

Housing discrimination, in short, is discrimination of certain groups of people as it pertains to housing. Think job discrimination, but with real estate.

6 Signs of Housing Discrimination

1: Unfairness and unequal treatment of tenants.

Example: Black tenants are not allowed to pay rent late, but white tenants are.

2: Falsely denying a property is available for sale or rent.

Example: Retail Lady: “Oh no, this apartment complex is full, but there’s another nice one on the other side of town!”

3: Unwillingness to rent to different groups of people.

Example: “I don’t rent to black people. They’re loud and lower the property value.”

4: Refusal to accommodate the disabled.

“I don’t care if you’re blind and he helps you, no dogs period. My rules.”

5: Ending a tenancy for prejudice reasons.

“We’ve been getting complaints from the neighbors. You have to go.” (Or some other suspiciously contrived reason.)

What can be done?

If you believe you’ve been discriminated against you can contact the U.s Department of Housing and Urban Development and make a claim. This claim must be made within a year of said discriminatory act happening.

Phone number:

  • 1 (800) 333-4636

Website:

Other things to note:

  • Landlords must give you a written, 30 day notice if they’re going to raise the rent. If you’re in a lease, a landlord may not raise the rent unless the lease agreement allowed this.
  • Landlords rejecting you on the basis of low or unstable income, past evictions (unless those were due to discrimination), and credit history is not housing discrimination.

There is a video we have created on this which will be released in the next few days along with the re-launch of our Youtube channel. This video will answer much more questions concerning housing and the powers of tenants and their landlords.

American Bully

New York City police officers play with kids in Harlem circa 1978. The man on the left is undercover.

Police sirens blared. They stood there, pistols at the hip in holsters. Thick smog and faint gunmoke choked my lungs. The mid-summer’s heat bared down on us, making us pant like dogs. We felt like dogs. Told to stay put. Our legs crossed like kindergartners on time out. The rough concrete and jagged glass scrapped against my thighs.

They started going through the car. The first officer tore out left over fast food bags out the backseat and worn CDs out the front. The second waltzed to the car’s rear, his black loafers clicking on the concrete, to pop the trunk.

Could they do that? I wondered. I looked at my cousin; he less bewildered. This was his city, I was nothing more than a tourist. His face contorted and in objection, but he said nothing. Deep down, he knew it didn’t matter. Other moans and of dissatisfaction and the occasional swear, that was all he had the courage to muster.

Why did they stop us again? I wondered. I didn’t know. They just pulled us over and we instantly obeyed. Without question, without second thought. I rolled down the window and he peered in, sniffing the fear on both of us. Next thing I knew, we were on the curb, questioned about everything from gang affiliation to drugs.

They found nothing. The first officer flashed us, a condensing, but nevertheless impressed smile. The second flicked the flashlight’s beam in our eyes before heading back to their squad car.

They left, sirens blaring.

———————————————

The picture above offers a glimpse into a pefect world, absent of brutality, prejudice, fear, and exploitation. The job of a police officer is beyond stessful and truly a daunting amount of responsibility. But when you mistrust those who you’ve sworn to protect, and that mistrust morphs to misconduct and malice, you no longer are a police officer…

You’re just a bully.

“Floodwaters” + Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

Every night, for the past three years, I had the same dream. And every night, it gets more vivid than the last. The trumpets and saxophones melt together in a smooth melody. Men chatter, glasses clatter, and smoke shifted above their heads. Smell of the sea and its bounty linger the air.

Then water rushes in, and drowns out everything.

Sound, sight, time. The world becomes a blur, an abyss. I’m sinking and struggling to breathe.
My nails dig into the shingles of my neighbor’s roof. My fingers become as red as the paint. Just as I’m slipping, about to fall back into the abyss, I’m pushed upwards, higher on the rooftop. My husband. His strength, his force, his force, his love lifts me, and I scramble up the roofing like the side of a mountain. Safe. Finally safe.

I turn around and he’s gone. And the water continues sweep and roar, the streets turned to rivers.

I stand up and call his name; then scream it. Repeatedly and frantically. I get no answer. Only the cries of others stranded. The sky, still a storm, is absent of both mercy and sympathy.

I hold my tears back. Too worthless to be helped, too pitiful to help ourselves. We wait.

And then I wake.

I sit upright in my bed, my body draped in dark cotton sheets. My brown eyes weary. The moonlight and hum of streetlights crept inside the room from the window and blended across my bed.

I get up, my feet pattering the floorboards. I gathered my things in silence, not to wake the other women. Weaving through rows of beds. Women and children sleeping soundly, each with their own struggles and nightmares to overcome. I go into the hall and exit through the shelter’s double doors.

It was time to go home.

———————————————

The effects of Hurricane Katrina, I think is extremely downplayed concerning importance. It was a pivotal moment in American history. The Hurricane opened up a lot of issues about government accountability, neglect, racial implication, socioeconomic barriers and so on. A country that can mobilize for war in a matter of days, takes weeks to do anything about a city within it’s own boarders under water I think says a lot. People talk about how police killings are an issue now, they were always an issue. From the criminalization of blacks in the media during Katrina as looters to the slow and inffective response of the local, state, and federal governments, it’s possibility to be a case analysis for how true systematic oppression and neglect works is constantly overlooked.

With this year marking the 10th Anniversary, expect something big with more analysis on the subject from us at Sincere Ignorance. For now, check out these resources on the subject.

http://www.propublica.org/special/timeline-katrina-and-its-aftermath

http://www.propublica.org/nola/story/post-katrina-shootings-by-police-where-things-stand

Crossroads: A Story Inspired By Robert Johnson

https://i1.wp.com/image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/yz4Pc1FTiZNs8z1EhNZqocVJho7.jpg

I held my guitar, strumming the strings to hear its cool twang echo bounce through the forest as I stepped up the moonlit dirt road. I thought I was pretty good. Some said I had talent, but I was never talented enough to step on stage.

But that was about to change. I reached an intersection, where four worn roads came together. By this time, the forest was behind me and there was nothing but miles of sweeping Mississippi farmland coating the earth. The distant, pained howl of a hound lingered in the night air for a second before fading into silence.

A man stood in the center of the crossroads, dressed in a sharp gray suit with a fedora tipped sideways atop his head. The look in his dreary blue eyes sent a whirlwind of doubt ripping though my subconscious. I stopped within six feet of him; a lump filled my throat.

“I believe you know how this works, right?” he asked, his voice as pale as his skin.

I nodded and swallowed my uncertainty. I stepped closer to present my guitar to him.

His eyes widened. “I suppose not. We’ve changed policy, dear.”

Before I could raise an eyebrow, he slipped a hand into his jacket, pulled out a sleek pen and a sheet of paper— offering it to me. I placed my guitar on the ground, next to his briefcase, and took the instrument.

“Sign the dotted line, please,” he said.

The paper was strong enough to write on without need for a clipboard and it was glazed with legal jargon. Some words I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone understand.

“Midnight doesn’t last forever,” he said after a few minutes.

Fearless of sin, I scribbled my name in pen. The signature glowed a bright blue, but the ink started to sizzle and smolder to a coal black. There was a blank section below the signature line which filled itself in with words that formed my biography. Before I could speak, the man snatched the paper back and scanned it.

He arched an eyebrow. “Keisha Williams? Born in New Orleans, sixteen-years-old, and second daughter of James and Angela Williams?”

I nodded.

He bit his lip. “I see, and what do you plan to do when you’re a rich and famous musician?”

I paused for a second. “Charity,” I admitted.

A thin mocking smirk played on his lips. “For the hurricane, I assume.”

“Yes.”

He tore the paper to pieces and blew them into the humid air. Like fireflies, the pieces lit up the night sky before fading into darkness.

The man then reached into the breast-pocket of his jacket, taking out a red pack of cigarettes and a pack of matches. He shook a thin single out and plopped it between his lips. “Please don’t try to undo our work, Ms. Williams. You have a good evening.”

He struck a match and a bright flash nearly blinded me; my eyes slammed shut. The flames crackled like witches. When my eyes flicked open, he was gone. The dirt beneath me was covered in dark soot.

My guitar sat next to my sneakers as a pile of black ash. Left were the twisted metal strings protruding from the instrument’s charred remains.

Law school it is, then.

————————————–

Robert Johnson was the inspiration for this story. I felt it could’ve went in a better direction, but I see these shorts I’m posting as literary exercise than anything else. Decent to be written in a day I’d hope.

https://i0.wp.com/www.sacurrent.com/imager/king-of-the-delta-blues-robert-johnson/b/original/2401841/9337/cityguide48-1.jpg

Robert Johnson was a 30’s blue musician, passing away at the age of 27 and joining the legendary 27 Club (with Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix), Johnson left a huge dent in music despite his short tenure in blues. In the 60’s his re-released works grew immensely popular and went on to inspire many white and black powerhouse artists of the day.

It’s always been according to legend that Johnson made a deal with the Devil to play the guitar the way he did. That, coupled with the fact little is known about Johnson’s life besides his music career and his early demise, and you have yourself the music blues legend.

Things like this “alleged footage” increase the spookiness factor.

The idea of the crossroads has always interested me. Standing alone by yourself, making a choice in which direction to go. Or hoping to meet something of supernatural origin to strike a deal that you’d soon regret.

Check out some of Johnson’s music:

Sources:

http://www.robertjohnsonbluesfoundation.org/biography

http://www.biography.com/people/robert-johnson-9356324

https://i0.wp.com/fc03.deviantart.net/fs45/i/2009/124/6/f/Robert_Johnson_by_jugodenaranjo.jpg

American Bandit + Black Literary Magazines

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From the darkness, I approached a woman with a daringness and audacity not seen since the Old West. Her brown eyes lit up. I flashed a gun and any intention of heroics died in an instant. I aimed the barrel at her chest and she froze; her silk green dress ruffled in the wind.

But those shock-stricken eyes were familiar. Thick, white lines of cocaine had nearly erased my memory, but not of her. I blinked and she came back in flashes. I remembered her short, curly black hair and her smooth, dark skin. Danielle, the woman I once loved.

My confident smirk faded and my head sunk low like broken ships into the cold harbor. A shadow lingered above me, not below. She said my name, asking if I needed help. The worry in her voice was a needle to my heart. I could feel the spots and blotches dotted along my arm. I needed help. I needed her.

I didn’t want help, though. Help strangely always arrived and handcuffed me. The blue bandits. Red and blue lights flicked in my eyes just thinking of them. I didn’t want to risk rotting. A drizzle of rain pattered on the worn sleeves of my jacket as I contemplated both lunacy and salvation.

“Just give me the money,” I said.

I closed my eyes held out my hand, expecting crumpled bills or a credit card on my palm. After a few seconds of silence, a soft hand wrapped around mine and squeezed gently. Whispers of support floated through the air.

I squeezed back.

——————————————————–

I’ve been reading more, so that’s inspired me to write more. Not my best work, fairly heavy-handed, but pretty decent for 15 minutes. I’ve been struggling between activist and artist for the past year now.

I’m leaning more towards artist.

Black Literary Magazines to check for:

http://www.unionstationmag.com/issues-3/

http://www.spectermagazine.com/

http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/new-literary-magazine-spook-228#.VQh5M-FsWM8

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