Indict the Others Too (#BryceMasters #PoliceBrutality #BlackLivesMatter)

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. —A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against a former Independence, Missouri, police Officer Timothy Runnels.

According to the indictment, Runnels violated the constitutional rights of a minor who was in his custody and obstructed the subsequent investigation.

An incident report released in September showed that Runnels stopped Bryce Masters, 17, and smelled marijuana from the passenger's side window.

Runnels asked Masters to step out of the car, but he refused.

Cellphone video shows Runnels using a Taser on Masters.

According to the federal indictment, Runnels continuously deployed a Taser against Masters while he was on the ground and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.

The indictment also states, "Runnels deliberately dropped the minor headfirst onto the ground."

Runnels is no longer with the Independence Police Department.

He faces 10 years in prison for each of two counts of violating Masters' civil rights.
I Googled Bryce Masters this morning to see if he got any justice for getting tasered into a coma - literally into a coma - last September. Because the taser prongs hit him near his heart, Bryce suffered cardiac arrest and spent months recovering from brain injury.


Apology Not Accepted #LeviPettit

The 10-second clip was as shocking as it was disgusting. Members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma gleefully chanted the N-word in a racist song that alluded to lynching. Coming the day after President Obama marked the 50th anniversary of the bloody march from Selma to Montgomery with a powerful speech on our nation and race, the video was especially jarring.

But yesterday, one of the two expelled university students did something extraordinary. Flanked by African American leaders and clergy from Oklahoma City he met with before his nationally televised mea culpa, 20-year-old Levi Pettit apologized without equivocation and asked forgiveness with a humility far too many fail to muster.
Needless to say, Levi Pettit is not forgiven; his apology isn't even worth the usual Toilet Paper title, yet damn near every mainstream blog and news outlet is branding him so sort of hero.  In fact, the above quote comes from a post literally titled, "Accept Levi Pettit's apology for racist fraternity chant".

Nice commanding little tone he's going on there, don't you think?  Hell, the Dallas News even has a post up entitled "Forgiving Levi Pettit is a sign of power, not weakness."  It's like the message is, "Forgive Levi Pettit...or else."


Not Too Much of a Good Thing

There was a noticeable shift toward minority castings last season, with more parts opening up to ethnic actors, a casting term used for non-Caucasian thesps. It was a concerted effort, with more than one instance where a family member role was rewritten as adopted to make them ethnic. Then, following the success of freshman series How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Jane the Virgin and especially Empire, which launched to huge ratings at the kickoff of pilot casting season, ethnic castings exploded this season.

The change is welcomed by talent agents who no longer have to call casting directors and ask them if they would possibly consider an ethnic actor for a part, knowing they would most likely be rejected. “I feel that the tide has turned,” one agent said. “I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that’s good.”

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

...While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak.
It hasn't reached its peak. Give us more, more Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American shows, covering a vast range of styles and themes. Some of us want a full streaming docket of brown faces and voices, more shows than we can count.

We'll let you know when we get sick and tired.


Mortal Kombat X

(h/t mrkareemruiz)

Must be that time of the decade.

Mortal Kombat returns April 14th with the tenth game in its series, and to be fair, a lot of the excitement is justified. For one....

See, I wasn't even going to bother with this one after the fuckery which occurred last time, but then they brought Tanya back and so now I have to pay attention.


The Art of Cleaning House: President Boren vs. #Ferguson

It would appear that "scathing" is the mot du jour.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren has been at the center of one of the week's major stories: a viral video showing multiple members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the university singing a racist chant. Boren issued a scathing condemnation of the video Monday as he closed the fraternity and sent its members to find other living accommodations. On Tuesday, Boren expelled two of the students that the school says led the chant.

In a Monday news conference, Boren told reporters that he hoped his school's handling of the video would "be an example to the entire country of how to deal with this issue. There must be zero tolerance for racism everywhere in our nation.”

A day before he decided to expel two of the students involved, University of Oklahoma president David Boren offered a scathing condemnation of fraternity members who had participated in a racist chant. But in explaining Monday what he hoped the university would learn from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon episode, Boren referred to his previous career, as a U.S. senator. “I remember when I voted for the Martin Luther King holiday,” he said. “I received about 100,000 letters not approving.”

Boren added that the fallout over the racist SAE video that went viral and the much earlier controversy over the 1983 vote to make Martin Luther King Day a federal holiday are moments that “make us aware that there are still tinges of racism” in America.

...The reference came as Boren tried to explain his strong reaction to the incident in which SAE members were filmed making the racist chant. “The whole society has to change, and we’ve continued to change, and that’s the reason why I was so — I guess I’m too old to be shocked — but, taken aback when this happened,” Boren said in response to a question about past racial tension on campus.
While I don't know much about President David Boren of the University of Oklahoma, and I'm not here to brand him as some sort of saint, I do commend his swift action against the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Like many of you, I was expecting the usual bullshit about how "we're not all like that" and "we're so disappointed" and "we've spent many hours in prayer", and some vomit-inducing display of WMT while absolutely nothing got done.  Instead, President Boren promptly delivered a fiery "fuck you" to the SAE, stating that in no uncertain terms he was disgusted with them and that they had until midnight the next day to get the fuck off his campus.  It was an ultimatum heard 'round the world.  And y'all...that never happens.


Cry Me a River #WMT

Move over WWT; you've got some stiff competition.

First up...we have Chris Pine.
...that was the gist of the headline over at Gawker christening actor Chris Pine the “face of civil rights.” Why? Because he shed a lone, beatific tear in response to John Legend and Common’s performance of their powerful song “Glory” from the Selma soundtrack at the 87th annual Academy Awards.

That’s right: Blond-haired, blue-eyed Pine is a symbol of the black blood spilled by police dogs, billy clubs and Klansmen on roads from Mississippi to Alabama. His face, not that of
Selma star David Oyelowo—whose face was flooded with tears that caused a visceral, reciprocal reaction in many black people watching—is mainstream media’s symbol that we have overcome.
I actually meant to write about this a lot sooner, but let's face it...reading something like this takes time to digest.  I'm not surprised, mind you; allow me to make that clear.  News like this doesn't actually come as a shock.  In fact, in the face of constant criticism, I'm not surprised this year's noticeably white Oscars would have an incident/stunt/whatever like this...along with the Patricia Arquette fiasco (God, that was excruciating).  All that seemed to be missing was a performance from Macklemore dropping some rhymes about black-on-black crime.


The Bar Bows to Courtney B. Vance #ScandalABC

Last night, Scandal showed a young black teenager get murdered by a young white cop.  Apparently the reaction online has got tongues wagging and supposedly several white viewers are swearing off the show.

Anyways...the episode was pure wish fulfillment, of course, because the cop is proven a murderer and goes to jail.  However, there's a slight twist I wasn't expecting.

The episode opens with Olivia lying that she's resting to Jake when in fact she's off to meet with the Chief of Police.  A black child is dead, a white cop killed him, and El Jefe needs Liv to fix it.

Yeah, I know, right?  And everybody sees through it right away except for Liv, but moving on...

Before Liv can do her thing, a loud warning shot rings out and all heads to turn behold a not-in-the-mood-today black man wielding a shotgun who bellows, "Bring me the cop who killed my son."

And I'm like, Dayum.


...Case in Point (#BlackMenDeserveBetter)

Courtesy of Sassy Gay Justice, the King of Snark.

Vanilla Fever, Coliver, and the Revolutionary Nature of Brown LGBTQ Love

One person asked the question during the discussion that was centering on the unity theme at that moment why Black transwomen and Black transmen haven't been hooking up in relationships with each other.

It was a valid question, seeing that I know of Black trans women hooked up with long-term relationships with cis men and Black trans men doing the reverse with cis women.

Why haven't we seen more often the no-brainer situation of transmasculine and transfeminine people not only hooking up in long term relationships, but marrying each other? What is preventing us from doing that?

...As Precious Davis said in a comment on her Facebook page that accompanied the initial photo, 'Black trans men and Black trans women loving each other is revolutionary'.

It damned sure is. And we need to do a better job of role modeling the mutual respect and friendships which will allow that love to blossom and grow.
As many of you know, I am fan of ABC's How to Get Away with Murder. I started watching it for African-American actresses Viola Davis and Michaela Pratt, and I was overjoyed when Asian-American actors Conrad Ricamora and Arjun Gupta joined the cast as recurring stars.

Conrad Ricamora portrays Oliver, the on-again-off-again love interest of Connor Walsh (a white guy), thus the nickname "Coliver" from fans of the ship.  At first, I was happy because one 1) good-looking Asian nerd whom the audience fell in love with immediately, 2) a very skilled Asian-American actor who proved to be more than just a nice face, and 3) whenever Oliver got pissed at Connor, he didn't just curl up and cry; he showed it.  I'm talking hanging up on Connor, slamming the door in his face - all that good soap opera ish.

But their relationship began with Connor manipulating Oliver for information, and using Oliver's insecurities against him (i.e., checking out another guy when Oliver initially refused to divulge info, and after Oliver revealed he didn't normally get to speak to hot guys in bars).  Recent episodes showed those insecurities resurfacing again, with Oliver talking about how guys like Connor can have whomever they want and don't normally go for guys like Oliver.  Oliver also mentions what people must think when they see them together, and reveals he's basically fallen in love with Connor overnight and out of the blue, while Connor couldn't even bother to stay faithful.  And when Oliver is ready to kick Connor out once and for all, Connor lies and says he has a drug problem, and occasionally uses that lie to extort sympathy.

I was a huge fan of Coliver...until I started reading (you might want to settle in; it'll be a while).