Posted in Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy on Martin Luther King

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” –Martin Luther King

Edward Snowden and I are on our way to America (or back to Russia) to bring justice for all. Maybe this is an illusion but I like to think I can make a difference just like I can make spaghetti and just like Edward Snowden can steal secrets. It’s no secret that racism exists and that it is taught to us by our parents and reinforced through social interactions and the media. What is a secret is that there’s a large percentage of the population that believe race doesn’t matter when it comes to dispensing justice for all. This fact remain: there is a disparity when dispensing justice in America.

According to the Center for  American Progress:

1. While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned. The prison population grew by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates. The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.

2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

3. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make up two-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today.

4. According to recent data by the Department of Education, African American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates. The data showed that 96,000 students were arrested and 242,000 referred to law enforcement by schools during the 2009-10 school year. Of those students, black and Hispanic students made up more than 70 percent of arrested or referred students. Harsh school punishments, from suspensions to arrests, have led to high numbers of youth of color coming into contact with the juvenile-justice system and at an earlier age.

5. African American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. According to the Sentencing Project, even though African American juvenile youth are about 16 percent of the youth population, 37 percent of their cases are moved to criminal court and 58 percent of African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

6. As the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800 percent over the last three decades, women of color have been disproportionately represented. While the number of women incarcerated is relatively low, the racial and ethnic disparities are startling. African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated.

7. The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color where people of color are more likely to receive higher offenses. According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.

8. Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison.

9. Voter laws that prohibit people with felony convictions to vote disproportionately impact men of color. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote based on a past felony conviction. Felony disenfranchisement is exaggerated by racial disparities in the criminal-justice system, ultimately denying 13 percent of African American men the right to vote. Felony-disenfranchisement policies have led to 11 states denying the right to vote to more than 10 percent of their African American population.

10. Studies have shown that people of color face disparities in wage trajectory following release from prison. Evidence shows that spending time in prison affects wage trajectories with a disproportionate impact on black men and women. The results show no evidence of racial divergence in wages prior to incarceration; however, following release from prison, wages grow at a 21 percent slower rate for black former inmates compared to white ex-convicts. A number of states have bans on people with certain convictions working in domestic health-service industries such as nursing, child care, and home health care—areas in which many poor women and women of color are disproportionately concentrated.

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Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, Culture Clash, The Mother, Themes

Dear Tim Hardaway

For Hamid, an Iraqi “victim of a wide-reaching campaign of extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and torture of gay men that began in early 2009.” Human Rights Watch Report, “They Want Us Exterminated”

You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known….I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States. —Tim Hardaway, Former NBA Basketball Star, Miami Heat

You know, I hate basketball players as much as you hate fags, and I let it be known. I don’t like men who play with balls (except tennis players) because they play with balls with other men which, to me, is so gay in a literally gay sense. I love Nadal and Novak Djokovic though. I also love Martina Navratilova and the film Space Balls. I wouldn’t mind if the aforementioned were or become gay one day like Martina. Not that I’m gay, at least not yet.

I really don’t hate ballplayers but I feel like I should. Nina Simone says I don’t. “There’s nothing wrong with you,” she says. Even though Nina is still dead she still communicates with aliens via the youtube. I have her in my telescope. She has me in her throat. “I still ain’t got no money,” she says. “But at least I got you, sister. They just ain’t got no class, baby. Give ’em a hug in the end. Show ’em what you got then walk away.”

I’m showing you what I got Tim Hardaway. (See image to your right.)

Tim, I don’t don’t like basketball players and basketball shouldn’t be played in the world or in the United States, except maybe France perhaps, which is neither the world nor the United States. I hate basketball haters and people who hate to play with balls or pig skins.

Dear Tim Hardaway, I’ve got lots of love for you but not your kind of sportsmanship. I know you must have trouble getting a hard-on in the locker room, poor thing, but it’s ok. If you can’t, I won’t mind. You’re not my type anyway. Mom would love your number and a key to your heart by the way. She’s into sports and the power of the id.

Anyway, I don’t hang out in locker rooms or spaceships, I’m too young. I don’t even like sci-fi or loony tunes, which is why I’m afraid of Kansas and the inevitable tornadoes to come.

The Inevitable Tornadoes To Come:

It is after midnight and I just read the testimony of Hamid, a gay Iraqi boy whose boyfriend was kidnapped and murdered (his penis cut off and tossed in the trash) by anti-gay forces in Iraq who may or may not have been sanctified by religious elements in Kansas, or Sadr City. The distance between Kansas and Sadr City shrinks, religion and murder celebrated as yin and yang, piety and the promised land vs Babylon and Boogeymen. Sometimes I wonder if Tim Hardway would survive in Kansas in the halls of Westboro Baptist Church.

Tim, this is what I have to deal with. I wonder if I would survive in Sadr City or Kansas with my red shoes and my penchant for dramatic wigs. I don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend but I have a concept of genitals and believe in the power of words. I also believe in the power of bacon double cheese burgers. I have no car, no sword. Just horns and wings and a desire to crash and burn in peace.

“We’re not in f-ing Kansas anymore,” mom laughs, stupid woman with holes in her pantyhose. She can’t believe the story I tell her about Hamid and his boyfriend’s private parts. Hamid claims that being gay is worse than being a used battery you buy at a swap shop. Mom says that’s how she feels working at the bar at the swap shop. Being a basketball star must feel like you are the center of the swap shop universe.

Mom pulls one leg of her pantyhose off after the other then pulls one leg over her face. Smiles. Points her trigger finger at my Netherlands.

“Stick ’em up, girl. Spread ’em.” Before I spread, she shoots me mid eagle. “Pow.” Right in the you know what. Where it all begins and ends my friends. “That’s how they’ll treat you in the real world”, she said. “Or something like that.”

I never had a chance, nor would I ever in Kansas or Iraq, in front of a firing squad of moms or Westboro Baptist or Muqtada al Sadr. Rifles. Buckshot. Tiny Tims. Tim, you are lucky you were born on the other side of disaster in a century where humans revolve around NBA death stars and flying pigs. Imagine if everything revolved around me. Red shoes. Jabberwocky. Lunar landings. Yellow brick roads. Everything would be just fine between you, me and Hamid. We’d talk shop. Shoot hoops. And bury Hamid’s boyfriend in peace.

Hugs & Kisses,

Almost Dorothy