Author Archives: Uncle Cosby

Baby, Cuz I’m a Thug: Consequences of the “Thug” Image

Pit bulls have a bad rap. It’s a stereotype, really, and stereotyping is wrong, right?

Well, maybe not. If you are walking down the street in your neighborhood and you see two Yorkies strolling towards you on the sidewalk, you probably won’t think twice about continuing on your way past them, unless you are afraid of a couple of nips at your ankles. However, if you saw a pair of pit bulls unattended strutting their muscles in your direction, you would probably try to get away as quickly as possible without attracting their attention.
Think about the correlation between that and the Michael Brown situation: your image matters. If you have spent your whole young life trying to present yourself as a “thug” or “hard”, then how could you possibly expect the people of authority not to expect that you will cause trouble when confronted? How can you realistically say that you are being wrongfully stereotyped? The entire appeal of the “thug” image is to represent a “hardened” criminal who has no respect for authority, no regard for the law, and whose is willing to do anything, including criminally to increase their “street cred”.
“Baby, cuz I’m a thug”. Listen, if you want to wear “thug life” on your forehead as a badge of honor, then you are also going to need to accept that you are going to be stereotyped as a “thug” as well. Authorities will assume you are up to no good. Shopkeepers will assume you are a potential thief or robber. People in general will assume that you are a criminal. It is, after all the look you are going for and the attitude you intentionally carry on your shoulders.

Listen, I like the “thug” rap. One of my favorite songs in this world is “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta”, 2Pac was one of the most talented and irreplaceable rappers of all time and I still harken back to the days I was kickin’ NWA on my walkman. But that’s where it ends for me… I don’t idolize these rappers for anything other than their talent with words, rhythms and beats. They are artists. Entertainers. They entertain me. They pump me up when I am working out at the gym. They hype me up on a Friday night on the town. They make me move when I’m in the club. But that is where it ends.

There is nothing glorious about having an life expectancy of just 20 years and five months. I didn’t even know what it meant to be a man until twenty-five, and most of these “thugs” are dying before they are legally the drinking age? Let me ask you thugs something: why is it that all of these “OG’s” when they have reached around the age of 40 or so (you know, the whole dozen or so people who make it that far in a decade) and actually given their brains a chance to mature and their testosterone a chance to level out, why is it that nearly every one of them tells the stories of how “hard” they were and the stuff they did, and then follows it up with “I was a stupid kid…That’s all I knew and it’s all I wanted…If I could go back now…blah blah blah” looking spiffy in their orange jump suits. Why? Because that kind of stuff is for idiots only. They were swept up in the thug life because they bought into the rap songs and the street cred crap. They had not given themselves a chance at any other life (and don’t even start with that “they weren’t GIVEN a chance… the whole thug mentality is if you want something, take it. Imagine if they applied that mentality to academic achievements, or cleaning up their neighborhood, or starting a business).

The problem is that black people are holding back black people. We are encouraging one another when it comes to being “gangsta” and we are chastising the ones (the few) who manage to get out of the hood and make something of themselves as being “Uncle Toms” and “Cosbys”. You know what, Cosby is right. The shame of it all is that the black community jumps all over another member of the black community like Bill Cosby or Juan Williams when they point out the FACT that we as black people will never be able to rise up in society unless we expect more from ourselves. At what point do you have to stop blaming “the man” for holding you back when you have given up even trying anymore?

As a black man, I am ashamed of the disgusting way people have reacted in Ferguson. I am not saying that the cop did nothing wrong, not by a long shot. I don’t have all of the facts in the case and I refuse to make an opinion on that. What I will tell you my opinion on is the fact that my fellow black men and women take to the streets of Ferguson acting like just plain criminals and the trash of society looting, and throwing rocks at cops. Al takes to the mic and condemns the cops and incites riots and uprisings without even knowing the whole story? Spike Lee says he “hopes” that there is an uprising if the cop is acquitted or not charged without even seeing a photo of the cop’s reportedly beaten face or reading the police report? What pure ignorance.

Let me say this: Ferguson, Travon Martin, etc., these are all examples of “Black Terrorism”. We as a people have regressed into a hate-filled, unorganized yet ready to organize at the slightest excuse, un-unified racially motivated undomesticated domestic terror organization. Without knowing all of the facts we jump to protest. Without knowing any details we assume a side and we protest. When the details come out and prove maybe there wasn’t quite as innocent a victim as we were led to believe, we going even further into denial. Then we threaten looting and riots? We destroy our own towns? We ship in other hate filled people of all colors to help us burn the very stores we patronize? We have we become? When does it end? When are we going to wake up and admit that we kill more of our own people in a weekend than any corrupt cops or mentally challenged neighborhood watchmen could kill in a decade?

We are our own plague. The “thugs” we strive to be are the rats which carry the fleas and we are simply disposing of our dead in our own reservoirs to perpetuate our own failings and inevitably to keep us down. We made so many strides over the mid 1900’s till today, and look at us now? Dr. King would be ashamed of us all watching the chaos in Ferguson. Rev. Al and Director Spike are bathing in it and turning on the tap to keep it flowing.
Call me a Cosby. Uncle this, Uncle that, whatever hateful slurs you want to throw at me because I don’t buy into your automatic hatred and excuses for acting like a criminal and rioting when you are treated like one. Black people, we have to evolve. When are we going to realize that WE are our own worst enemy? The “man” holding us down stopped being the white man years ago, it’s us. Grow up.

 

Image credited to: http://www.stltoday.com/gallery/news/multimedia/scenes-from-looting-in-ferguson/collection_be35e468-a67c-5b30-84ba-50a7384dfd62.html#4

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Seth Rogan to Maclemore: “@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”

I read a report online in the Speakeasy section of the Wall Street Journal today which bothered me a bit.

apparently, and I am summarizing, Maclemore, the unsigned, unlabeled grammy-winning (not that any of that is really relevant to this story) showed up at a surprise show in his hometown of Seattle wearing a..well…odd looking, to say the least, “costume”.  Apparently he had no ill-intent (according to his responses on his website), but some people viewed the outfit as inappropriate and as depicting a hurtful and mal-intended jewish stereotype.

 

Seth Rogan, to me, a very funny, very well crafted joke-deliverer, stated his opinion pretty clearly in a couple of tweets which are, as taken from the Wall Street Journal story, as follows:

 “@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?”

Followed up by tweeting  that the fake witch’s nose, beard, and wig are items similar to the shopping list for an “anti-Semitic Jew costume.”

First of all I do think that Maclemore is a very, very talented “rapper”. Whatever you label him as, I think he is a talented artist who has a great understanding in meanings, usage and timing in word delivery. That being said, I posted the following comment in response to the tweet by Seth Rogan on the Wall Street Journal story:

“Listen… Seth, man, I’m saying this as both a fan of yours and someone who is anti-segregation and anti racism from my heart..at some point, you have to let go of the hatred associated with things you deem to be representative of hate. Simply ask yourself these three questions before you associate something with hatred: 1) Did they perpetrator/artist clearly state their intent to be demeaning or hurtful 2) Is there any chance that no harm is meant by the words/actions/situation and finally, and most importantly 3) Would a child, one whom is not raised to view everything through a prism of racism and bigotry, just a normal, everyday, life-loving child view this as anything hurtful if they are not trained to see it that way. The reason I say this is the most important of the three is because it exemplifies the point: Something can not hurt you unless you let it. If you are offended by something it is because YOU find it offensive. I have no hatred or stereotypical views of jewish people or their culture, so never, not for a second would I have looked at this costume and thought “wow, this is obviously hateful toward jewish people”. I would have looked at it and said, “man, what a goofball” or “what an odd choice for a costume” but never, and I MEAN NEVER would I have immediately thought “wow, what a BIGOT. You, Mr. Rogan (again, still a big fan!) were the one who assigned hate to the costume for me. It was your words, your observations, and ultimately YOUR VIEWS which introduced any sense of bigotry to the otherwise, in my view anyway, simply silly costume. Let go of your own sense of hatred, and the hatred you associate with words/actions/situations can again become simply what they are :playful and innocent and most of all…harmless.”

It’s true. I really do feel that way. Yes. You can argue all you want to, but…I truly do think Seth Rogan is VERY funny! I just watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno for the first time like two weeks ago and I loved it, as I do pretty much every film I have seen that he has been in/a part of (I really don’t get the people who hate him and or think he isn’t funny, I guess they just don’t get his style, BUT I DO!!) Back to the subject at hand…

I really believe in what I said to Seth above; If we stop allowing things to automatically be associated with hatred and bigotry, we take the hatred away from them. They can go back to being what they really are: just words, or just actions, or just clothes, etc.

Want some proof than I am right, alright you “Clover”, try this on:

 Let’s harken back to the old “NINA” days when a young healthy bog-jumper used to roam the streets of a young New York in search of work only to be ridiculed and taunted, beaten and refused work all together anyway just for being a harpie. Most mackrel-snappers were lucky to be coal-crackers, if they were given the back-breaking opportunity to be one in the first place, and struggled to make ends meet. A lot of the female frotches were put to work in the streets to provide for their narrow-backs, if they had any, and were spit on by the same shunful society which forced them and their families into that position in the first place. These were hard times indeed for many of our ancestors, but they muscled through it, and most of all those days of pure hatred towards them and their race is well behind all of us.

 

Now, if you had any trouble understanding what or whom I was talking about there, it is because you are a helping me prove my point: hatred and the hatred associated with certain words or people or things will eventually die and permanently dissolve if we let it. I am not going to tell you what I was talking about.  It is very good that you don’t know (if you do, that is amazing and you have either lived a very, very, very long life or you have managed to travel through time and miraculously also how to use the internet which may be even more impressive given your birth year and I would like for you to please leave a comment so I can send you a gift for being the miracle that you are). However, if you’d really like to know, you can translate for yourself by using this site (I hate perpetuating hatred, but it is only fair that I give credit to my resources).

All of that being said, please people understand that our children only know of hatred because they are taught it, either by home environment or social environment, and they are not born with hatred or bigotry. If we stop perpetuating the hate, it will eventually go away, because it will eventually stop meaning something hateful. If you refuse to be hurt by something said, than it can not hurt you. You are offended only because YOU are offended. It does not offend me when you say the “F” word Seth, not one bit, in fact sometimes it adds to the humor of the situation for me; my grandfather however, would say you are a despicable and humorless person who doesn’t deserve a single dollar you have earned by being “filthy”. I have de-valuated that word, while he would still find it very offensive. There are limits, my eight year old did not watch Zack and Miri Make a Porno with me, but one day, she will and we will both laugh at it…together, but not today.

I welcome your comments, arguments, and insights on this topic. Please feel free to post as a guest or leave your own comments below.

You can view the Wall Street Journal story by Lyneka Little here and find the response to Seth and the others who though Maclemore was being a “bigot” at his website: http://macklemore.com/

 

Image borrowed from http://www.breathecast.com/articles/macklemore-anti-semitic-controversy-rapper-says-random-costume-15829/ and credited there by to Screen Grab/Twitter

 

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Here comes the Mac: The Trend of Mac Owning College Students

Being the “IT guy” for the small-medium sized company with whom I have been employed as an independent contractor for these past 4+ years, I have noticed a steady trend when setting up our network for newly hired contractors over the years: the younger they are, the more likely they are to be plopping a dreaded “macbook” on my desk. It became a running joke in the office: someone would say there is a new guy/girl I need you to set up and I would ask them “How old?” and if they responded early to mid twenties I would say “Here comes the Mac”, and sure enough, I was generally unpleasantly not surprised.

I began to question this phenomenon after some time and eventually the answer was very clear and obvious: nearly every one of these “kids” was a recent college graduate. It eventually came to be that I was hearing the same reasoning from almost every one of them “Yea, in class they really all but required that we get a mac for day-to-day use and to use the software and programs they were using to teach us, so you pretty much had no choice.”

It was that last part of the statement that particularly stuck with me: “no choice”. Soon I realized, they were right. These young, anti-conformist, anti-capitalist students were being led by the collar by their institutions into purchasing a product that they could have gotten cheaper had they been “allowed” to buy the competitor’s product, which any of us who went through college will tell you, the more money we save, the more likely we aren’t skipping a meal or two or dozen. The professors were locking the students into buying a product they might not necessarily want by using software which was particular to that operating system and then adding spoons full of the “everybody else is” type of socialist mentality and peer-pressure.

These kids were being forced to either conform or be shunned and possibly fall behind their fellow classmates. I personally find the limiting of choice in one’s life to be a bit disturbing, especially when it is done by someone you are paying! These kids pay for the education they are provided and then are told that they must participate in only one portion of a capitalist market to “fit in” with the professor’s (generally ill-informed) views of the tech market.

What I also found to be very common were the responses the young adults would give me after I asked them “why a mac” and they told me their “pretty much had to…” response when I followed up with “Well, now that you are out of college, do you still like it?”  Most of them responded with an unenthusiastic “yes” or “for some things, yes I still love it”.

Then I asked, “Do you find it as useful as you did when you were in college?” and nearly every single one has answered a resounding “No!” Most people have responded to that question by telling me how unaware they weree that the mac was so limited in software and overall usefulness in the “real world”. That’s right. The overwhelming majority of the young mac users that I have spoken with have explained to me that they have found that the mac hinders their usefulness as an employee and that if they had it all to do again, they would have chosen a pc.

The bottom line is that outside of art and sound related careers, the mac really falls short in the real world workplace. It much more expensive, less capable and less usefull in day-to-day tasks. The mac still is and for years will probably remain the artists’ friend when it comes to portable computing systems, but when it comes to everyday computing tasks, research and analysis, and software availability the pc blows the mac out of the market. The theory that a mac is less susceptible to hackers and malware has been all-but dissolved in the modern-day as well. What that theory was based on was the fact that it was slightly more difficult to develop hacks for macs than it was for pc, but that relied on the fact that hackers were unwilling to put the few extra hours in to their code because fewer people had macs so they would be able to essentially hack fewer people for the time it took them to develop the hack. Now with more and more unwitting kids have macs, you can bet your selfies on the fact that hackers are finding it more worth their time to develop a mac hack.

In the end, I would say 85-90% of the contractors who end up being hired who initially bring in a mac will come to me within a month with a brand new, 1/4 of the price of a mac pc laptop or notebook and I never see them go the other way around. There are a small percentage of the indoctrinated mac users who still swear by their over-priced “toys”, but in the end, a large majority of them finally come over to the “force” and see the light and the utility of owning a pc.

These are simply my observations based on true situations and people I encounter being a tech guy at my office. Every bit of this is my own personal opinion. If you disagree or agree, I’d love to hear your side. I am still trying to figure out why anyone aside from a Pavlovian college student would be interested in owning an overpriced and under-useful mac. By all means, respond and let me know.

About the author:

“Jim”

IT Guy/Head of Research for an independent research and resources company

Unaffiliated with either mac or pc

Uses a computer: About 9-12 hours a day

 

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Who’s head will roll?

Why is it that no one is fired by the president for the IRS scandal? Why was no one fired after the Black Panthers were not arrested for voter intimidation?

At least Chris Christie fired people for this scandal! If he is found to have known more about the issue and he gave the order, then that should be pursued further. Why should he be held to a higher standard than the president of the United States?

We need to stop caring what party a politician belongs to and judge them by their actions.

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