Moving past identity politics w/new DPD Chief Hall

August 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

1500789806351Chief Hall is the newly chosen Chief of Dallas Police Department. Transferred from Detroit as a chief deputy, Hall beat out the popular internal choice, Chief deputy Malik Aziz. She’s a Delta and Grambling State graduate. For obvious reasons, Chief Hall has received a lot of praise from different corners.

While Chief Hall shouldn’t be reduced to only being a “black female” or the “first female chief,” refusing to praise this advancement is almost on par with neutralizing our politics. Refusing to acknowledge this – desexualizing and deracializing our politics – does everyone a disservice. The community is hard at work to ensure your representation – as a Black woman – is possible.

Moving past identity politics…


Right now is the perfect time to put in place bi-partisan policies necessary to improve community relations. A few days ago President Trump encouraged law enforcement officers to disregard the Constitution by treating suspects with harm. Last week, another Minneapolis policeman shot an unarmed person, this time, Justine Damone, a white woman. Similar to Antoinette Brown serving as a sacrificial lamb on the issue of stray dogs in South Dallas, the timely death of this white woman introduces the real possibility of establishing fair guidelines for the body worn camera policy.

Neither Officer Noor or his partner body cameras were activated at the time of Damone’s death. Why? I don’t know and I won’t check into Minnesota’s laws. Damone was just another victim of spilled-over police violence that normally occurs in African-American neighborhoods. Next time, a notice will be put out in case the point was missed that, Hey, these policemen are cray-cray. In case #BlackLivesMatter and children killed while sleeping or on playgrounds or SWBW (Shopping While Black at Walmart) wasn’t enough, a nice dish of blonde hair, blue eyed spiritual teacher is served to your liking.

If a blonde hair, blue eyed white woman in pajamas can get killed by police, you know damn well something is up with police training which has to lead to so much recklessness and death. For bonus points, mix in some racial biases, fear of masculinity then try to imagine life for a black male suspect – YIKES. The discussion and actualization of a sensible, citizen-centered body camera policy should start now before another innocent person dies at the hands of LEOs for seemingly no reason other than an irrational fear for their life.

Minnesota is not the only state where body cameras are underutilized. Texas attempted to deal with this matter last year with S.B. 158 which essentially gives autonomy to the department receiving the body camera grant. Having been a tough critic of S.B. 158, authored by State Sen. Royce West, there is an opportunity we can jump on that is provided by the language of the law.

S.B. 158 states the agency shall create:

  • “guidelines for when a peace officer should activate a camera or discontinue a recording currently in progress…”
  • “guidelines for public access…”
  • and a last important part which refers to the “72 Hour Rule”, “provisions entitling an officer to access any recording of an incident involving the officer before the officer is required to make a statement about the incident.”

 

In short, S.B. 158 gives Chief Hall the chance to adopt the most enlightened – dare I say PROGRESSIVE –  body camera policy in the country. The chance is only noticed if you have the will. Does Chief Hall have the will and courage?

Does she stand a chance getting this past the city attorney and assistant city manager? Will she get support from her fellow city councilpersons? Maybe one council person who doesn’t look like you.

Lastly, in addition to a thoughtful camera policy,  a review on the effectiveness of the Citizens Review Board is necessary. As of now, the CRB lacks subpoena power and overall aren’t perceived as a serious or consequential body. I agree with you that it “takes a whole city to police.” Ask City Council to bless this review.

Chief Hall, I am putting you to the test. Hall, if you support improving community relations, if you want to cease the demi-god and citizen-slave dynamic, if you want to stand apart from your predecessor – be the first chief to support the community and support a body worn camera policy that puts the citizen needs first and foremost. Not the Dallas Police Association suggestions and concerns. Fortunately, you don’t have to put the weight all on your shoulders and you don’t need all the answers right now. Reach out to the same people and groups who interviewed you weeks ago – except DPA President Mike Mata – and they’ll point you in the right direction.

Yeah. There is work to do Chief Hall. Welcome to Dallas.

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What the rest of us think about JWP’s acquittal and Rep. EBJ’s re-election

May 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

It took a week to get this out. It took a week to process the acquittal of Commissioner John Wiley Price. Unlike most people, I didn’t follow the case. Lady Justice’s lackadaisical treatment towards Race Soldiers (or “bad cops”) has been maddening, so court and legal matters are no longer forms of entertainment for me.

What does Commissioner John Wiley Price’s acquittal mean for the next generation of Black Dallas politics? When I mention Black Dallas politics, I’m referring to the playmakers and institutions (and the ideologies which undergird the latter) that make up Black Dallas, for example, Dallas Citizen Council, ICDC, Councilperson Young, the Potter’s House, etc.

In conjunction with the rumors of Congresswoman EBJ’s refusal to give up her 30-year-old job re-election, JWP was acquitted a week later. This is the context in which one should view this topic.

What EBJ’s announcement and the subsequent JWP acquittal means for Black Dallas politics is DOOM. And I am not being facetious, for once. This is bad news. Any Gen X or Millennial who had hopes of seeing something new might have to wait another ten years to wedge their way in. Taj Clayton, Eric L. Williams, State Rep. Eric Johnson, and the others hold your horses.

A lot of us consider these two figures, a microcosm for the inflexibility common in Black Politics at-large, too large to allow others to fit in the room. Sucking up the air, if you will. In the damn way of a younger, progressive wave of politicos who will vocally oppose the toll road takeover of North Texas, law enforcement violence, curtailing women access to health care, gentrification displacement and support better access to mental health care, affordable housing, a more progressive tax code, stronger public schools, major criminal justice reform like drug decriminalization and legalization, and a worker-friendly environment. Rep. EBJ fluff townhalls on law enforcement violence and community relation, recent statement on Jordan Edwards just doesn’t pass the bar for what is required from a Black politician in 2017. 

 

 

rescue-group-old-dog-haven-today-161226-tease-01_00bac92f7fa6330b327ff47cdd4acdf2.jpgOver the years, Rep. EBJ and other long-time elected officials, like old dogs, bark has gone unnoticed and teeth rounded. Lost their teeth, even, figuratively and perhaps literally. Rep. EBJ fluff townhalls on law enforcement violence and community relation result to worse than inaction, a codification of more of the same. For example, her recent statement on the killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards just doesn’t pass the bar for what is required from a Black politician in 2017. Read it yourself here. 

Yeah, I know I am supposed to be praising the Lord Our Man Downtown wasn’t sent downtown. But this is simply an example of another powerful man who got off, ultimately. Do you think YOU, Black person, can skate 7 of 11 charges? How did the courts treat you the last time you had a criminal charge? Can you afford a private  Jewish lawyer? Can you afford a private lawyer period? Well, can you?

I’d like to emphasize the danger of living vicariously through other people. Doing so usually alleviates responsibility from the personalities within Black Politics, especially to the detriment of our quality of life. Good politics supports office holders who support our agenda and/or make good allies. Furthermore, bad politics takes on the battles of our beloved Black figures as our own; a case not between JWP and the Feds but between Us and Them, this nation’s oldest battle. They mess with JWP – or EBJ, or any of the Obamas, or Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Maxine Waters, or whatever – and they are messing with you and your grandmother personally!

Is JWP’s legacy worth defendng if proven and found guilty on all charges?

is a question every sympathizer should ask themselves. Knowing what I know and heard, I’d say most of his sympathizers would still defend JWP, which is a testament to just how maybe forever twisted and backward Black Dallas and maybe Black Politics is at-large 

texas-state-mapThe next wave of elected officials has to strictly be about improving the quality of life for Black people, specifically the descendants of slaves, throughout Dallas and Dallas county. Black Dallas’ (including suburbs like Desoto and Cedar Hill) politics must be lead by selfless individuals with the capacity to lead and the ingenuity to empower others to receive the baton and take agency over their communities.

We have to be unapologetic to both the previous generation and Powers That Be about what is necessary to move forward, catch up with other states, and ultimately catch up with the other first world countries. The truth of the matter is whether it is Joppa community, Arizona and Kiest, SOC High school, 10th Street or St. Augustine, many parts of southern Dallas resemble third world countries. Descendants of slaves in the richest country on earth live in third world conditions in this “world class city,” as Mayor Rawlings characterizes Dallas.

We have to be willing to snatch the baton and hit anyone over the head who gets in the way. DO THW WORK! Besides, it isn’t like you haven’t been patient enough.

Does TOP support Mexican sanctuary cities for African-Americans or nah?

February 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

Update: Apparently Councilman Griggs is also considering a similar resolution in response to this resolution by Councilman Kleinman basically declaring the city will follow federal immigration laws. 

___________________

It was a sunny afternoon, and we managed to cross the border with the sun still up. Finally, we reached the other side: the land of Mexico. We never want to go back. President Trump ramped up the hate speech, Attorney General Pete Sessions officially endorsed the beginning of chattel slavery and deputizing random White people. If only Zimmerman had waited. They say the chattel slavery thing is temporary. “About as temporary as the income tax,” became a new saying around here.

Earlier I was dreaming about opportunities to escape tyranny in the event it became direct. In reality, it is 2:11 AM and I am currently reading about an organization and government entity who agree: it is OK for people to break the law. Certain people. Read the Welcoming Communities Resolution here for yourself.

1486493703-resolution_6

You may not read it like that but I do.

The organization is TOP. I like TOP a lot – I am a member – or was. So this is not a diss to TOP, as they are consistent in where one should stand regarding human rights and are actually on the LEFT, unlike most Dallasites who are only liberal when compared to a Texan Republican)

But there are some of you who don’t hold any consistency, who this is addressed to. Some of you will not talk to your own cousin or uncle for being locked up for a non-violent drug or non-aggressive firearm charge but will be on the front line for criminals who want to and do come here for an improved life.

TOP-119-e1462918666649-1000x480.jpg

From 2016.

Yes, criminals. When you break the law you are a criminal. I don’t mean to be crude but that is how crude many Black people are to own their family and that is how crude most people are about Black life in general. No one gives Black life nuance – not even many Black people – Jimmy is either on crack because he wants it or because he is lazy and Michelle doesn’t have a valid license because of whatever other reason you conjure. “If XYZ, then this person would not have been in a cage.” It has never made sense to me why a descendant of a slave who is deserving of compensation administered by the American government, will forego and advocate against compensation, while advocating for people, Mexicans for example, to 1) be forgiven of committing the crime of illegal immigration, 2) if not given citizenship, to be provided with set asides, 3) or, be elevated to a level of American citizenship.

When given the opportunity, people usually align with the Powerful Group over the Powerless Group. This describes the position Black people constantly find themselves in, as every generation, they watch the wealth rise of every group around them including Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

In a video, I will go over the resolution and article. Lastly, I will try to include Brianna Brown in this video to discuss this resolution, her work at TOP and the possibility of organizing around a sanctuary city in Mexico for African-Americans.

Radio station fight guy is back AGAIN for another swing – at City Council

February 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Dwaine Caraway is on the roll. Or should I say, on the run? Or he is on fire? Whatever you call it when basically every local media outlet promotes your campaign candidacy (I personally call it “suspicious”) – he is THAT.

After failing to topple the Black Dallas King, and County Commissioner on the side, John Wiley Price, Caraway is back. This week he announced his return to chop off the head of his dear friend: a sweet, feisty old woman and retired teacher, Councilwoman King-Arnold.

Two years ago, Caraway begged people for money in support during Arnold’s campaign. Now, like the big brother who let his younger sister try to beat that Call of Duty mission, he has deemed her as ill-fit to represent District 4 and wants it back. The only difference is Caraway is younger than her.

(OK maybe the analogy is off but it would be so much better if Caraway was an Omega!)

jwp-and-arnolnd

Arnold is good friends with Black Dallas King JWP by proof of the regularity of photos selfies she has with the man.

Anyways, Beneath Everything is not in the business of endorsements or positive words for politicians in general. However, we do appreciate the time Arnold takes in studying the issues and connecting with her constituents.

A quick look at Arnold’s voting history shows she is not the Mayor’s Rawlings’ lapdog. That is an impressive feat for Black councilmembers nowadays. Arnold seems to be more committed to providing basics for her area than being the vessel for gentrification.untitled

 

 

The map below is her district. Many South Oak Cliff neighborhoods lack decent street lighting. Parts of Tenth Street, a historically African-American neighborhood in her district are uninhabitable, and Kiest Rd. infrastructure sucks. Problems like these are why she opposes a proposed deck park near the Dallas Zoo and prioritizes other stuff. A retired teacher, Arnold also opposes providing funding to charter schools – unlike another former public school teacher, Mayor Pro Tem Eric Wilson.

d4-map

But Caraway, and his handlers want to stop all that. He has visions of a different District 4. One where Rudy’s Chicken offers delivery and all the ghetto kids can play throw up football on the deck park, looking down at the Oak Cliff Gateway, watching drivers complain about fluctuating toll prices and constant congestion. Can’t you see it now? You lack his vision, then!

In a manner I can only refer to as “Trumping”, he tweeted this yesterday. Like Trump, I can’t tell if he is trolling or not, but he might actually think the two options are mutually exclusive. Like Trump, lastly, it would be laughable if it wasn’t a real tweet that could manifest into reality.

caraway-tweet

Caraway was good for Arnold while it lasted,  but I think we should expect low blows before the May election. With friends like Caraway, who needs enemies?

Dallas City Council elections are the ghosts that keep on haunting; new Pleasant Grove candidacy

January 28, 2017 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I ran into a familiar sighting: Tennel Atkins campaign ads next to Gail Terrell campaign ads.

Depending on how you view the situation, we are blessed or cursed with the repeat of candidates and former councilpersons from the previous cycle. This includes former council persons Dwaine Caraway, Sandy Greyson, Gail Terrell, and candidates Tennell Atkins, Joe Tave, and Kevin Felder, to name a few. That is not to say that any of these candidates are bad or good. But that is to say, I am tired of functionary candidates diluting the vote and, more importantly, don’t want former councilpersons returning.

It will be on an agenda (somewhere) but I want to say to that in my head, I am challenging the current council to sign an resolution  promising not to return after two terms or pass an ordinance to prohibit such a thing. Since we can’t pass an ordinance, that is, since we can entrust the council with the burden to pass an ordinance restricting their own powers and abilities, council persons can accept or deny the challenge themselves.

More to come on that.


Also, attorney Dominique Torres announced her candidacy in District 5 against Councilman Callahan of Pleasant Grove area. She is a member of NGAN and Director of Latino Affairs.16179644_1278697098852465_4049085802450828384_o

Deep Ellum looks a lot like Burleson

January 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

This past weekend I stopped by Common Desk in Oak Cliff for an action journalism meeting. Later we stopped by Adair’s Saloon in Deep Ellum for a burger and came to a quick realization.

 Deep Ellum is really white

Someone said it. Or maybe I said it – I honestly don’t recall. But we, four black males, were all thinking it and it was the dead, honest-to-God truth. Noooo shades of color were present. About as diverse as Burleson.

“It is like a country hipster white,” someone else said. This phrase I am certain someone said.

Then a chandelier, like a UFO hovering above a warehouse, came out of no where and just the right amount of trap R&B was pumping out of this now almost completely carved out warehouse at a 3 PM.

Twelve months ago, a lot of the high-end barbershops, clubs and restaurants were not here. At the time Dallas comedy club was open, I could light a blunt in my own comfort and safety. Now, the Freeman parking lot has “Will Tow” signs.

What the…

I miss the old Deep Ellum.

 

Obama’s first year in office set standard for next wave of Black Politics

January 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Changa and I recorded a video touching on this topic titled “What is the Post-Obama effect on local politics.”  Click here for that video, please subscribe, and bear with BE for future interviews.

In case you are unaware, President Trump has a lot of secrets coming out from unknown sources like secret spies, Russia, and possibly the intelligence community like the FBI and CIA. Whatever the case is, many people are warning him to back down and chill out, lest he pisses them off and we learn about a  pedophilia sex party he hosted – hey, you never know what floats the Elite Class boat. « Read the rest of this entry »

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