Insights

The Theology of Black Unrest

In the wake of the budding unrest in Baltimore, Ferguson, and the terrorist attack at Emmanuel AME, Black Christians are trying to comprehend how Christianity informs their forms of resistance. While some have dismissed the faith altogether, others are attempting to fit their radical ideologies within the confines of their faith. This dichotomy is emblematic of a double consciousness that can be paralyzing in moments of social unrest. But in order to reconcile our Blackness with Christianity, we must reexamine the attributes of God, reconsider the role of the church, and reclaim the Gospel.

In seeking to qualify God and his attributes, it is imperative that we situate God alongside us in our distresses along our quest of liberation. Much like the Hebrews marching out of Egypt from Pharaoh, Black people need to situate God in their exodus from racism.

To do so, we must strip Jesus of his whiteness and center Him in his otherness and marginalization. Instead of seeing God as a tyrant, we must reimagine Him as a God who is completely given to the notion of grace and a love that transcends human performance. Instead of requiring perfect adherence to the law, the true God extends unmerited exchanges of love and forgiveness. And the true Jesus is one who loves and forgives unconditionally, consistently empathizing with those on the fringes.

The Black soul recognizes that bigotry was not a part of the creation story, nor was it outlined in the attributes of God himself, but is still confronted with the absolute of it’s existence. But the Black soul rejects this false gospel. Any gospel with tinges of tyranny and exclusion could never proselytize this soul. In the interim, the Black soul, due to this false gospel of intolerance, attaches itself to the evidence of any faith at all, which often manifests as unrest. This unrest is indicative of the symbolic groaning of all creation—the same groaning outlined in Romans 8:22-24. A day where Black souls long for our bodies to be released from sin, suffering, and societal oppression.

In the climate of Black unrest, the Black soul is confronted with the perceived sinfulness of his/her resistance. In these moments, the Black Christian is often paralyzed, unsure of where their allegiance lies. They can either defend their blackness against the onslaught of systemic aggression, or defend their Christianity by remaining patient and complacent in their own oppression as they await spiritual deliverance.

In the same way that self-righteous Christians attempt to make amends for their moral indiscretions, the Black soul is constantly attempting to atone for the sin of his predicament - but to no avail. Unaware of the fact that the quandary of his social position is not of his own doing, he tries to satisfy the demands of white supremacy through respectability. But even after integrating, assimilating, and whitewashing, it still doesn’t remedy his distress. The sin of his skin is ever-present, unyielding to his efforts.

This devotion to respectability is so deep that it has driven some to believe that Black bodies are to be offered up as sacrifices to a fictive white supremacist, Old Testament God. From Emmitt Till to Renisha McBride, we consider these figures as covenantal lambs. But no Black lamb will ever be without blemish in the eyes of white America due to the perceived sinfulness of black skin. From Michael Brown to Rekia Boyd, these bodies are offered in hopes that they will satisfy a false god built in the image of white greed, who has a never-ending appetite for Black Death. But unlike the fabricated god of white supremacy and political repression, the real God is eternally satisfied with the sacrifice that Jesus made once and for all.

The true God is a divine figure void of the trappings of racial bias, exclusion, and an insatiable desire for destruction and demise. God, personified in his Hebrewness through the life and death of Jesus, was sent to proclaim a simple and radical message that has the power to release captives, heal the blind, and free the oppressed. However, today, that Gospel message remains largely unemployed to address societal unrest in spiritually productive ways.

In an attempt to maintain the status quo, the church has exalted white supremacist values over the true message of the gospel. Their modern interpretation of the gospel misses the opportunity to cast down the systemic apathy responsible for the Black soul’s unrest. To do so would invalidate the politics of respectability that society places on Black people in times of turmoil. And instead of encouraging righteous indignation, the church often uses religion to quell rebellion and reasonable outrage.

The indignation that should be directed towards the infrastructures of white Christian indifference is instead inverted. In the same way that victims are blamed for the crimes committed against them, the poor in spirit are met with more rules and regulations rather than support. These pillars, erected by white privilege, are so lofty that they shut out those on the margins and unwittingly cooperate with racial exclusion. Until there is an adequate gospel response to Black unrest, this contention will persist and religion will be of no utility to us.

As Baldwin wrote in The Fire Next Time, “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.” I assert the same. I believe that God can indeed make us larger, freer, and more loving; it is our current conception of Him that has rendered Him null and void. God, in light of the work of Jesus, still situates Himself alongside the oppressed and afflicted. But until we reclaim the Gospel and contextualize the unrest that surrounds us theologically, historically, and spiritually, God will be of no use to Black people—or anyone else for that matter.

On Mo’ne, SAE, & The Burden of Black Forgiveness

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Mo’ne Davis, an All-American little league pitcher was called a “slut” by a White male college student after receiving a movie deal from Disney. In equally outrageous news, SAE chant leader, Levi Pettit, called a press conference to collect support from the Black community in Oklahoma after leading a rendition of a colonial lynching song.

Although both incidents were commenced by white male students, both incidents became black people’s responsibility, as we were left to bear the burden of forgiveness.

Is it me, or is anyone else frustrated that there is an implicit expectation on Black people to absolve the guilt and racist behavior of white people?

We recently witnessed Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old black girl, express maturity in her magnanimous approach to forgive despite being called a whore by an adult. And instead of seeking any kind of retribution, Mo’ne turned the other cheek – going so far as to request that the college student be reinstated to his sports team. And though this act of forgiveness was a very noble thing to do, I’m frustrated by the implicit cost she had to pay for it.

After forgiving the man who called her a slut, many on social media celebrated Mo’ne for being a “class act.” And in fact she was, and is. But to measure her character based on her capacity to forgive an act of racism was - and is - still erroneous.

The media labeling Mo'ne a 'class act' is double-pronged. In addition to dismissing the accountability necessary for his actions, it normalizes Mo'ne's response to racism and sexism, and consequently deems more confrontational methods as illegitimate.

By not confronting his racism and sexism, Mo’ne’s actions suggest that it is appropriate for people to say and do whatever they want. It insinuates that Black men, women, and children are meant to carry the burden of inflammatory claims, and suggests that people aren't exemplifying classy behavior when they decide to challenge it publicly.

The public’s celebration of Mo’ne was not about her integrity on the field, but her inadvertent compliance with oppression. She, having been the victim, forfeited her right to be outraged because she believed his comments were isolated, when in fact they are a part of a larger system. A system that perpetually demands black people to forgive their oppressors – even in the absence of accountability.

An all too familiar scene - almost identical to SAE's Levi Pettit's Press conference.


Similarly, instead of placing the burden of correction on SAE’s Levi Pettit, it fell on the Black Oklahomans he targeted in the video , who, ironically, flanked to his side during his poor excuse of a press conference.

Pettit's apology and press conference was a complete farce and showed no real signs of remorse or empathy that would lead me to believe that Pettit actually gets it. When you listen to the video, you hear traces of indignation and apathy. None of it confirming that he understands the ramifications of his actions – just that he’s sorry he got caught. *Cue further frustration*

I am frustrated because I did not watch Pettit apologize for himself or his actions. Instead, I watched Black community leaders apologizing for Pettit.

Black community leaders and clergy, in routine fashion, came together to cape for the indiscretions of dominant culture instead of being bold enough to hold it accountable. To see those leaders standing behind him made me sick because it was an obvious (and strategic) publicity stunt. And though the individuals behind him didn't actually speak during the conference, their silence verified their buy-in.

But why did they feel so compelled to stand behind someone who chanted his preference of seeing their sons hung from a tree as opposed to joining his fraternity? And what kind of message does it send out to OU's Black student population? And to the larger community? That one should feel inclined to forgive those who desire to kill you, because you'd want the same done for you? Frankly, I 'm beginning to think so.

That's why I pose this very simple hypothetical to those Black Oklahoman leaders that stood behind Pettit: If the shoe was on the other foot, and their son had sung a similarly racist and hate-filled chant directed towards White students, would Levi Pettit’s father be standing in solidarity with one of their Black sons? 


Quite simply, in this society, even when White people are to blame for racial indiscretion, Black people are always expected to absolve the crime, its guilt, and the repercussions of the actions in a timely fashion. It is for this reason that the media was so quick to celebrate Mo’ne Davis’ willingness to forgive. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they then attempted to measure her character based on her decision to excuse racist and sexist behavior.

But contrary to popular belief, Black people are not responsible for carrying the burden of white remorse. We are no one’s moral mules and neither are we anyone’s ethical scapegoats. We are more than that. Much more. Black people are autonomous and responsible for none other than themselves and deserve to operate as such. And gratefully, people of color are starting to redefine morality on their own terms and are casting off the burden of forgiveness, one highly publicized racist incident at a time.


cropped-cropped-p1130772Tyree Boyd-Pates is a man on a mission. As a writer, he aspires to expound on Black culture from a millennial perspective and unite and empower communities through journalism and social media. A Master’s in African American Studies, he also is the creator of #TheCut, a brand new podcast! You can follow him on Twitter: @Tyreebp.

#TheCut Podcast | SAE & The PWI Problem

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https://soundcloud.com/correctivelenses/thecut-podcast-sae-the-pwi-problem-makiahisms

On this episode of #TheCut, I had a discussion with Makiah Green, the creator of the online platform @MyPWI, about the national outrage on college campuses about the recent racist remarks from Oklahoma State University fraternity, SAE.

In our discussion, Makiah and I go in depth and offer practical advice on how minority student should deal with racism on college campuses - all semester long. Do you agree?

Share this and JUMP into the conversation.

-@Tyreebp

10 Black Literary Works Every Person Should Read This Summer | List

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 Whether interested in learning, or just gaining more knowledge about African heritage and culture, nothing beats opening a good book. Still, with so many choices at one's disposal, deciding on a title can prove difficult.

With the help of several well read scholars and emerging millennial voices: Writer & activist  Melanie Coco Mccoy (@MelanieCoMcCoy), Hip Hop Artist & Professor, Timothy Welbeck (@TimothyWelbeck ) & Middle Tennessee State History Graduate student, Joshua Crutchfield (@Crutch4), I sought to compile a necessary list of books we felt every young African Americans should read. A list featuring a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and autobiography. From Maya Angelou to Assata Shakur,many of these authors have been heralded with national awards in the United States. Stemming back to 1845 with Fredrick Douglass's "The Autobiography of  Fredrick Douglass". It's these 10 titles have heavily  who have contributed to contemporary narratives about the black experience across the globe.

1. "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou (1969)
2. " The Autobiography of Malcom X"  By  Alex Haley (1965)
 3. "Assata: An Autobiography"  by Assata Shakur (1987)
4. "The Miseducation of the Negro" by Carter G. Woodson (1933) 
 5. "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)
 6. "The Wretched of the Earth" by Frantz Fanon  (1961) 
7. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison  (1970)  
8. "All About Love" by Bell Hooks (2011)
 9.  "The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas, an American Slave" by Fredrick Douglass (1845) 
 10.  The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois (1903)
_______________________________________________________________________

 Let's make reading cool again! 

cropped-cropped-p1130772.jpgTyree Boyd-Pates is a man on a mission. As a writer, he aspires to expound on culture from a millennial perspective and unite and empower marginalized communities through journalism and social media. A Master's in African American Studies, he also is the creator of The Corner, a one-hour student run weekly radio at Temple University. You can follow him on Twitter: @Tyreebp.

  

Why Cultural Appropriation Isn't (Entirely) White People's Fault. 

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I'm over it. Like seriously. Why can't white people make black music too?

We’ve all heard the countless arguments as to why white artists and celebrities should stop to acknowledge Black culture whenever they seize and replicate our gyrations, hip isolations, hair styles, and rhyme schemes in music. And though that’s important, I'm over it. Before we start divvying out cultural homework assignments, we need to stop to finish our own. We know where Black culture comes from. We know that African Americans have influenced every form of popular music. We know Elvis adapted Black folks' music to make Rock And Roll. We all know this.

"Shake , Shake, Shake it off"

But who allowed the appropriation to begin and continue? If we're honest, the answer is simple: us. Black artists who have refused to safeguard our culture in exchange for universal profit and appeal have, in exchange, contributed to the 'smudging  of Black culture' in pop music that artists like Azalea Banks are crying about. Yeah, I said it. If anyone deserves a rebuke, it's us. We're the ones that've enabled it. I'm not sure as to why we tend to forget that that every major white act found on Billboard's Hot 100 has been co-signed by prominent Black artists and producers that have given them cultural "hood passes" to enter into the Urban music industry. In return, these Black artists/producers are receiving large lump sums while the genre becomes oversaturated with white faces that emit black sounds. Do we really need examples?

Iggy Azalia =  T.I.

Justin Bieber = Usher and L.A. Reid

Justin Timberlake = Timbaland

Robin Thicke = Pharrell

Convinced yet?

Now, It would be duplicitous of me to say I didn’t like Justin’s 20/20 Experience, but even I can admit that cultural appropriation is real. Yet indicting white artists for their replication of Black culture and their subsequent and often unmerited success is mislay. It's simple: blame black artists! Similar to stock brokers, the major influencers of Black music are the ones selling our culture for the top dollar. And for the longest time I couldn’t understand why, but then all of a sudden it hit me. ...They're using the formula!

The Formula

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For so long Black artists have been forced to prostitute their gifts and talents to a fickle white music industry in order to salvage any type of success. James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., the list goes on and on…So it's common knowledge that it's an industry that only appraises Black artists based on their latest 'shuck and jive' that then sells the same recipe to white America, but this time, in white-face. So in response, Black artists have employed White America's cultural appropriation formula, but this time in reverse. Which makes sense due to the current state of the industry, where black artists have had to become more crafty in marketing themselves in order to top the charts. Why? According to NPR, there were no Black artists that topped Billboard in 2013. Now, Black artists are playing the executive role and are selling urban music to White America, only they are they are removing themselves from the equation while inserting white artists. On a individual level, this sounds like a smart move, but it is nothing short of exploitative and damaging on a cultural level. Still don’t believe me? If you don't, you probably haven't seen the countless Black artists that came to Iggy Azalea's rescue on Twitter to see the evidence of the "formula" at work, aka cultural appropriation enablement.

The Response

For example, after Q-tip gave Iggy Azaelia his Hip-Hop history lesson, countless mainstream rappers came to save Iggy and ignored Azealia Banks message in its entirety, tragically mistaking her salient critiques for mere haterade.T.I. gave his exaggerated and verbose side. Wiil.i.am gave a rendition. Nelly did, too. And surprisingly, even the ever-so-conscious, now dubbed "fake deep" Lupe Fiasco did as well. ...Yes, even Lupe. After reading these tweets by these well-respected artists, it only solidifies my point: the recent of trend cultural appropriation in music isn’t the fault of white artists, but the black artists that continue to enable them too (yes, that means you T.I.). So, seeing Azealia banks on Hot 97 crying about her erasure, though heartfelt, still sounds displaced. It’s clear her tears won't fix the music industry. Heck, even the music industry won't fix the music industry. The only people who can end cultural appropriation in the music industry are the white audiences that consume it. And since that's not going to happen any time soon, we should stop blaming white artists and start asking people like Usher, Timbaland, and Pharrell and even Kanye where their cultural and artistic loyalties lie?

....Catch my tune?

Tyree Boyd-Pates is a man on a mission. As a writer, he aspires to expound on black culture from a millennial perspective and unite and empower marginalized communities through journalism and social media. A Master's in African American Studies, he also is the creator of The Corner, a one-hour student run weekly radio at Temple University. You can follow him on Twitter: @Tyreebp.

Q-tip gave Iggy Azalea Hip-Hop 101

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Today, Q-tip took to Twitter to address Iggy Azalea about the origins of Hip Hop. In his tweets, he went into length to describe how the art form came about and it's role in Black and Brown culture.

 Personally, I admire Q-tips approach; especially as someone who is arguably one of the pioneers of the art form. He was not only firm, but gentle and that's what starts healthy dialogue. Specially when clarifying that Hip Hop is a "socio-political movement/culture" that will always remain true to it's original role .

I believe Iggy now, whether she wants to admit it or not, has officially been schooled. Now only more emcees would read this? *Sips Tea*

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Did you enjoy the tweets and see the intention behind Q-tip's words? Let me know.

Let's Make Reading Cool Again!

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📚| ... So, you guys probably remember that reading list that I gave you a few weeks back? Well, guess who starting his own book club. The #DiasporaBookClub is a way for people to learn more about the literary contributions of African-American authors. The first book that were reading is the autobiography of Malcolm X sore to be a winner! If you want to join, let me know. Let's make reading cool again!!📚

Welcome to The Diaspora Book Club! 

The Diaspora Book Club is a new book club for young adults (18-35) to explore the literary contributions of African-American authors and to connect young people nationally/abroad - around the purpose of reading and growing.

I decided to create the Diaspora Book Club because of a need I saw within our generation. Firstly, a lack of positive African American role models in mainstream culture that resonate with youth outside of sports and entertainment. Secondly, the disinterest by my generation in reading and the unfamiliarity of it's transformative power. And lastly, my desire to inspire people and bring people together around literacy - even if they are from the other side of the world!

The books The Diaspora Book Club will investigate come from a wide range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and autobiography in Black Literature; From Maya Angelou to Assata Shakur, many of whom have received national awards for their writings. The selection of authors and books come from a literary list provided previously in another post.

The first book, we have decided to read is The Autobiography of Malcolm X  - which is sure to be a winner! Want to join? Pick up the book and join in the conversation. We are doing so via Twitter (using the Hashtag #DiasporaBC) to share our qoutes, thoughts, and  insights with every book we are reading. Exciting!

Join me and  LET'S MAKE READING COOL AGAIN!!
 
#DiasporaBC

Why Prop. 47 Matters!

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This week, California dealt a big blow to the prison system. One so significant, that it may change the way we view incarceration all together. With the passing of Proposition 47,  nonviolent felonies like shoplifting and drug possession will officially be downgraded to misdemeanors...But why does this matter?

  • As with other misdemeanors, the new maximum sentence will be one year in jail, down from a maximum of three years.
  • Anyone already serving time for a felony conviction may be able to petition for a new sentence—even those incarcerated under the state's “three strikes” law.
  • As many as 10,000 people may be eligible for early release from state prisons. Additionally, courts are expected to dispense around 40,000 fewer felony convictions annually.
  • The new measure will save hundreds of millions of dollars on prisons that will be redirected to education, mental health, crime victims, and addiction services.

With the passing of Proposition 47, we are witnessing the dismantling of the school to prison pipeline, an arrangement that has sustained policies and practices that have pushed our nation’s most at-risk children out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Essentially, California voters have reversed the prioritization of incarceration over education. And that's why I'm excited.

As a former at-risk youth, the passing of Proposition 47 brings me so much joy!  I have never been to prison, but I know plenty of young men who have, many of whom had bad experiences in primary school, like me.

I can't even recall how many times I was written off by teachers and school administrators who believed that I wouldn't make much of myself. Fortunately, due to wonderful mentors and interventions, I was redirected from a very clear trajectory. Unfortunately, many young men weren’t as lucky. Thankfully, under Prop 47, they will be given a second chance.

According to SuspensionsStories.com:

  • 40% of students expelled from U.S schools each year are Black.
  • 70% of students involved in "in-school" arrest or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino.
  • Black students are 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than whites.
  • Black and Latino Students are twice as likely to NOT GRADUATE high school as whites.
  • 68% of all males in state and federal prison do not have a high school diploma.

Thank you, California, for deciding to reinvest into our children. I’m ready to see the pendulum of justice swing.

Jesse Williams' Scathing Inquisition of Ferguson and the American Double Standard

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Jesse Williams

.. If you weren't a Grey's fan before you'll probably be one now!

On Tuesday, actor Jesse Williams gave a scathing critique on the mishandling of Ferguson and the bias surrounding it. Particularly, the relentless injustice and double standard placed on black and brown people.  And it must say, it was brilliant!

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Do you agree with what Jesse Williams? Tell me your thoughts below. 

5 Things they never told me about Christopher Columbus... | List

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If anyone knows me, they know one of my pet peeves is historical inaccuracy - especially ones that are widely touted to be true. So the sheer concept of millions of children singing the praises of a man who falsely discovered a land he never landed on and killing thousands of people, makes things even more annoying. After doing some research on Christopher Columbus, his exploits, and the inaccuracy of "In 1492"  with help of several sources (Laurence Bergreen's biography, Columbus: The Four Voyagesand Columbus's own journal entries), I decided to compile 5 things that you were never told about this Spanish conquistador. Especially, as to why our celebration of this man is deeply tragic and misplaced.

1.Christopher Columbus never actually set foot on America – ever.

... Christopher Columbus never set his anchor in America, but in fact, present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 

Upon arriving, Christopher Columbus was met by the Taino and Arawak’s who were friendly people. So much so, that they assisted Columbus in rescuing his cargo and men when they got shipwrecked on the side of the shore. Columbus noting their generosity, took it as a sign of how advantageous it would be in exploiting them.

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.” – Christopher Columbus

2. Christopher Columbus was actually going the WRONG way.

Not common knowledge: Christopher Columbus actually had a difficulty in funding his first voyage to “India” because of advisers to three of Europe’s leading Monarchs believed his calculations were incorrect. They were right.

Christopher Columbus completely underestimated the length of the ocean and in 1492, Columbus didn't land in India, but in fact, in the Bahamas.

3. Christopher Columbus raped, pillaged, and exploited Native Americans when he arrived.

Sources share that Christopher Columbus gave women to his soldiers as gifts and would cut off the limbs of Native Americans who did not do his bidding.

Columbus ordered every Indian over 14 to give a large quantity of gold to the Spanish, on pain of death. Those in regions without much gold were allowed to give cotton instead. Participants in this system were given a "stamped copper or brass token to wear around their necks in what became a symbol of intolerable shame." (Bergreen, 203)

According to Cuneo, "Columbus ordered 1,500 men and women seized, letting 400 go and condemning 500 to be sent to Spain, and another 600 to be enslaved by Spanish men remaining on the island. About 200 of the 500 sent to Spain died on the voyage, and was thrown by the Spanish into the Atlantic."(Bergreen, 196-197)

4. Columbus was actually arrested for his mismanagement of the New World - Hispaniola.

After a multiple complaints against Columbus about his ill management of Hispaniola, Spain arrested Columbus in 1500 and brought him back to Spain in chains. Stripped of his position, Columbus was pardoned by the King, who then subsidized a fourth voyage to "explore" some more.

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5. Lastly, Christopher Columbus was not the first traveler to America.

Archeological studies are beginning to speculate that the Native Americans living in the New World likely had encounters with other groups across the Atlantic - predating Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492. Particularly, with Africans in the Olmec civilization of Mexico .

Statue heads (like the one above) and pyramids found in the Olmec civilization serve as clues to the possibility of trade relationships between the Olmec people and those from Africa. Why? The physical features of those heads and pyramids bear African features and craftsmanship (large lips, and wide noses) not only native american ones, making these claims difficult to refute about their influence.

Its important to note: the Olmec civilization serves as the mother culture of Mexico. Of this, Michael Coe, a leading American historian on Mexico, has written that, "there is not the slightest doubt that all later civilizations in [Mexico and Central America], rest ultimately on an Olmec base." Thusly, allowing us to arrive to the conclusion that African influences in the New World predate that of Spain and Columbus, and is one that still permeates through Mexican culture today.

In short...

We’ve all been touting a lie. Christopher Columbus was not the man we‘ve been told he was. The truth is Columbus raped, killed, and pillaged the new world, opened the floodgates of colonialism, and indirectly served as the forefather of the Atlantic slave trade in America. None of which deserve celebration.

So join me in getting rid of this lie. Band with me and sign the petition to abolish Columbus Day in return for Indigenous People Day. Eight Cities have already done so, and it's time make sure we do the same. Its clear that after reading just five misconceptions about him, Columbus is no hero, and it's time we stop celebrating him as such.

I am a man on a mission! As a writer, I expound on Black culture from a millennial perspective and unite and empower marginalized communities through journalism and social media. A Master’s in African American Studies, I’m also the creator of The Corner, a one-hour student run weekly radio at Temple University. Follow me on Twitter: @Tyreebp.

National Coffee Day | #TrustTheProcess | Ep. 2

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdM3xypuv4s

...In this episode of #TrustTheProcess, My Grandma and I travel to our local Starbucks for our usual Coffee date. While there, she imparts her lovely wisdom on just why I should just 'trust the process'.

#TrustTheProcess Ep. 1

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSZ5sI9ONt8

Follow a day in the life w/ Tyree!

In this episode (the first of many ) I travel across Los Angeles on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Both, to stop in to serve at my local Church and meet up with friends along the way.  I'm doing  this new series, to show you guys just how I 'Trust the process' after Grad School.

Disclaimer: It's pretty EPIC!

#TrustTheProcess.

Why I Won't Step Back into Walmart: John Crawford & The Mess America Made

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9FtNOV6Qhk

“Somebody’s going to have to explain to me how anybody goes into Walmart and ends up dead,” said John Crawford Jr., the dead man’s father.

Walmart's motto is Save Money, Live Better. However, what happens when you go in to do so and are killed in the process?

In what seems to be a compounding issue in the U.S., here we find another case completely reflective of the justice system we so proudly espouse. What we've found is a recent inductee into the pantheon of Black male lives taken by police officers without any form of recompense.

News outlets reported today that the Beaver Creek Ohio Police officer responsible for the slaying of John Crawford (22) would go without indictment by the Ohio Grand Jury. He was originally charged for murder, reckless homicide, and negligent homicide. According to the law enforcement’s version of events, Crawford failed to drop the weapon when ordered, a claim that his lawyers dispute.

Note: this is third time in five years police in this county have fatally shot someone. None have faced charges.

Having seen the surveillance video of Crawford being executed by the Beaver Creek Police officer, I can see why it was withheld for so long. It was completely nonsensical. I was left with questions:

  1. How does one deserve this?
  2. Where was the miscommunication?
  3. Isn't Ohio an Open carry state?
  4. Could this happen at my Walmart?

After this ordeal, I’ve come to the conclusion that the U.S. is a lot like Walmart. While it’s one of the leaders in bargains and products, its aisles are in desperate need of repair.

Walmart, like the U.S, doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to race and class. They both have a history of cluttered aisles, disheveled shelves, and an inordinate amount of aisle spills. In this case, it’s John Crawford’s blood that has been spilled and left for us to mop up.

If we want to see any change in this Walmart that we live in we must require more from those who work for it. Moreover, those who continue to let these spills happen while they are on the clock create even more of an issue. They enable other people to refuse to acknowledge that the messes we've all been stepping over for generations.

Is Kendrick Lamar's "i" The New Kumbaya?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aShfolR6w8  

After nearly two years of hiatus, Compton's very own Kendrick Lamar came out of hiding with a new Isley inspired single, entitled "i". And I have to say, it couldn't of come at a better time.

In "i",  Kendrick Lamar convincingly gives an antidote to what he sees ailing the world. He does so by charismatically harmonizing (as only he can) over an infectious chorus iterating the importance of loving one's self. All very timely, in the wake of Ferguson and the civic distress found around the world.

Like many listeners, I wasn't anticipating such an optimistic sound from Mr. Lamar - especially one about self love. But I have an inkling as to where Mr. Lamar maybe coming from. Now, before Mr. Lamar's concept of self love gets co-opted into something entirely different, here is a what Self Love means. Self love originally was a Black Power concept (Huey P. Newton, Malcom X, etc.) championed by leaders about the importance of self admiration and collective identity. All of which raised consciousness, self esteem, and activism in light of what was happening during the 60's ( hence the activist in the beginning of the song).

Are you saying 'i' is the new Kumbaya?"

...Now, I know what you are thinking? Tyree, are you saying 'i' is the new Kumbaya? Or even drawing parallels to Public Enemy's Fight The Power because of the social activist references? Yes; seeing how the song does entreat the listener to have higher admiration for them self and a radical identity reflective of the 60's. But irrespective of my quirky musical and historical associations, Kendrick Lamar's "i" put's love at the center - and that's something none of us can argue with.

Kudos to you, Mr. Lamar.

 

MUSIC REVIEW | Anomaly: Lecrae's #1 Album on Billboard

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Last week, I promised my 1200+ twitter followers that I would discuss one of Hip-hop's newest emerging acts, Lecrae and his album Anomaly.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyGDVCM6ds4&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

In this entertaining video I share why #Anomaly is Lecrae's best album yet and why it deserves your attention.

Some of the highlights of the album were:

Maturity

Lyrical Content and Versatility

Beats 

Transparency

My Score: 5/5

The 5 Standout songs

Timepieces

Dirty water

Runners

All I need is you

Messengers

Purchase Anomaly: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/ano...

What did you think of Anomaly?

Is Everything Alright?: My Encounter w/ Domestic Violence

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https://twitter.com/TyreeBP/status/509081696684490752 In the aftermath of the Ray Rice situation, I took to Twitter to discuss domestic violence and to brainstorm ways on how to prevent it. Within a mere 48 hours, all of that was put to the test.

... This week, as I was on my way USC to meet a friend for a brainstorming session. I entered the train station and realized that I didn’t have exact change. In the process, I had to miss the train that I needed to make it on time. As my train flew by, I descended onto the platform to find two individuals moving sporadically at the end of the platform. I saw what looked like two people dancing, but upon further observation I saw one of the individuals striking the other.

Eventually, I saw that it was a couple — the female was aggressively hitting and kicking the young man, who was trying to calm her down. As she swung and continued to yell, "I don't care, I don't care," he grabbed her arms in an effort to restrain her. Everyone on the platform looked uncomfortable as they tried to deflect from the awkwardness of the situation.

“Is everything alright?" Another young man and I bellowed out in unison.

"Yeah! We good," the young man responded as they continued wrestling one another.

After watching them further, I sensed that he was nearing his breaking point and knew enough was enough!

As I got closer I thought, Who am I to walk up to a couple in the middle of an argument that has nothing to do with me? Who am I  to speak on their relationship? And most importantly, How is this guy gonna respond to me intruding in his business? Although I didn’t know how things would end up, the stakes were far too high. All I  said was Father, be with me.

I then proceeded to introduce myself  in order to ease the tension. Shortly after, I reminded the young man that violence is never the answer and consoled the young woman, who was crying. Almost immediately, they stopped fighting and I knew I had done the right thing by intervening. As soon as I got back to where I had set my belongings, I felt the weight of what had just happened. I considered all of the future altercations that I wouldn’t be able to stop, and ran through the possibilities of what could’ve happened had I not been there.

The remaining people on the platform greeted me with reassured stares, while others looked at me in bewilderment, surprised by what I had just done. I looked back at them, disappointed in their indifference. "Why had no one helped to stop this," I thought.

In that moment, it became clear to me that domestic violence is a very real thing. Not only for the Ray Rice’s of the world, but to everyday people who endure behind closed doors. Whether those doors be in train stations or in hotel elevators, we have a responsibility to speak up.

#PrayForThePrivileged

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Believe it or not, a significant amount of people believe that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, was justified in his actions last week. They also feel that that the  deployment of Humvees, snipers, and tear gas  was warranted in quelling peaceful protestors. These sentiments  stem from their belief that property is more valuable than people.

This morning, I woke up in a cold sweat, anxious to find a solution to all that's been going on. While I've been praying for  the people of Ferguson, I realized that I had not yet prayed for the people oppressing them.

Wondering why it's important to pray for them? These communities are being ravaged with something far worse than looters and tear gas-filled lungs. These communities are breathing in another toxin called privilege. And it's this invisible poison that has created a blind paralysis that inhibits their ability to empathize with the marginalized.

#PrayForThePrivileged

Post-Grad Chronicles : Trusting the Process..

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This is an encouragement to all the post-grads eagerly searching to put their majors to use, who are still in limbo due to the economy, family pressure, and loan deadlines.

Scenario:

You are a recent grad who’s out of a job. After receiving your first telephone call from Sallie Mae and Mr. Perkins, you did the following:

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  1. Updated your resume
  2. Drafted a cover letter
  3. Complied your references
  4.  Pressed “submit”

And while you’re waiting for several weeks, you get a few follow-up emails, but still find yourself unemployed. After four years and two internships, you thought you’d be walking into your dream job, but instead, all you’re able to do is to move back into your parents’ house.

The Hypothetical

Imagine: You are an optimistic 25-year old African-American male, who recently received his Masters Degree from a well-known Pennsylvania University. Excited for what lies ahead of you, you apply to jobs in several industries that you are qualified for (Education, Media, Broadcasting etc.), but to your dismay, you receive no results.

This, Ladies & Gentlemen, is the life and times of Tyree, a Black college graduate living in a post-recession economy. Unfortunately, my plight is not unique to me; it’s a trend among many African-American graduates today.

Stats:

Huffington PostClutch Magazine recently reported that:

  • In 2013, 12.4 percent of black college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 were unemployed.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, the unemployment rate for black recent college graduates nearly tripled.
  • In 2013, more than half (56%) of employed black recent college graduates were “underemployed,” working in an occupation that typically does not require a four-year college degree.

Most graduates in this situation would look at these statistics in despair, but I urge you not to be discouraged. Consider the bright side: although you may be unemployed as of today, you’re still in demand. So take this opportunity to do the following:

  1. Volunteer! Creatively approach new ventures for entrepreneurship that utilize your degree and experiences.
  2. Strengthen your skillset. Develop the skills and qualities you already possess.
  3. Revamp your profile. Revise your resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn account to ensure that they reflect your current skillset.
  4. Reflect on your past. You’ll be surprised to see what you’ve accomplished thus far.
  5. Trust the process.

Trust the Process

What does it mean to trust the process? Trusting the process is having an unwavering confidence in the positive outcome that God has destined for you. Connie Chapman explains that, “even if you cannot understand what is unfolding right now, you (should) have an unshakeable sense of trust that the reason that this is happening is because circumstances are rearranging for your higher good.”

Furthermore, things are starting to look up! Even President Obama has announced a plan that seeks to lessen the burden of paying back student loans for college grads.

So, don’t be dissuaded by the above statistics. If you’re like me – 25, unemployed, and filling out job applications as you type—you’ve probably overcome worse situations. Remember to trust the process. You got this! You possess greatness; the process will only make you better.

-Tyree Boyd-Pates, A Black (Unemployed) Post-Grad

Why I weep over Maya..

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As if it were yesterday, I can recall nearly two semester's ago, an assignment I was given in African-American Lit. For the assignment, every student had to exposit one of  several readings that demonstrated  a mastery and authoritative voice of an author's text. As the books were being passed around, oddly, I felt a strong conviction to choose "I Know why the Caged Bird Sings".

After nearly a month and half of reading, I began to feel different. I was slowly be drawn in by the story Angelou was telling. I began to feel every nuance, every motif, every poetic metaphor of her life in Stamps that left me with the impression that I was on those dusty roads with her.

I was witnessing her innocence as a child. I was witnessing her curiosity about faith and family. I was witnessing her ambiguous relationship to racism in this country. Moreover, I was witnesses sing her awareness of self; despite her displacement, disruption, silence.

Quite naturally, after Caged Bird, I had a growth of sympathy; not only for Angelou, but for Black women as a whole. I began to sympathize with their rape, I began to sympathized with their silence, I was growing sympathetic to the difficulty of identity formation in a society that doesn't see their humanity, but instead, their usefulness for exploitation.  Powerful, right?

Out of all the novels I've had the privilege to read, not many have given me such a lesson. Not only a lesson in my blackness, but my maleness. Maya Angelou revealed to me that regardless, of gender or race, we all have had things that have attempted to silence us. However, as Maya's life and writing has shown us, there is no cage with bars strong enough to conceal ones voice. That voice is the key that lead  you to freedom.

I write this with a grateful heart and eyes full of tears: 

Thank you Dr. Angelou.