Monthly Archives: April 2017

When Incarcerated People Die, Blame the Prison-Industrial Complex

Early Wednesday morning, Aaron Hernandez joined the long list of incarcerated people, including Sandra Bland and Kalief Browder, who allegedly committed suicide while in prison, or soon after being released.

We should not be mistaken about who or what is to blame: prisons and jails. The prison-industrial complex and the various ways it promotes the profiteering of black and brown bodies—coupled with lack of mental and emotional support, sexual violence and shoddy investigations into reported abuses—must be held responsible for its complicity in violence and death.

Read the full article on The Root.

Let’s stop making mentally ill people the scapegoat for violence

On Easter Sunday — while most of us were leaving church service, headed to the nearest brunch, or about to devour food at a neighborhood cookout — Steve Stephens took to Facebook Live to tell his friends, followers, and anyone who would listen that he allegedly killed 14 people in Cleveland, Ohio, and was looking for more. It was a pretty sick event that thousands could see happening before their very eyes. He wouldn’t stop his killing spree, Stephens notes on video, unless and until he was contacted by Maggie Green, his mother, and Joy Lane, a former girlfriend of three years and the person Stephens ultimately blamed for his own twisted actions.

It didn’t take long for the internet streets to do two things: first, place blame on Lane, a black woman, for Stephens’ actions and demanding she contact him (some even unnecessarily referring to Sunday as the #JoyLaneMassacre), possibly putting her in harm’s way; and second, automatically deduce his violent rage to experiencing a mental illness.

Both are problematic.

Read the full article on The Grio.

STD Awareness Month: I’m a Black Nerd Who Went on PrEP and I Encourage Others to Do the Same

As a black queer man, I understood at an extremely young age that I didn’t have the ability to be as sexually free and liberated as my heterosexual male counterparts.

Whether it was because black gay men are merely looked at as a health statistic or because our freedom comes at a deadly cost, it was apparent that our sexual appetites were to be suppressed. Now, although that suppression isn’t quite the same, and it looks quite different from how it did 20 years ago, it’s clear that some queer individuals are still expected to be too “respectable” to desire sex, let alone consensually act on that desire.

Take me, for example. I am a 31-year-old, self-described black queer nerd with a penchant for social justice, activism and community involvement. I also enjoy sex. But if I had a dime for every time a person connected my alleged intellect and community involvement with an inability to like sex, or merely rejecting it as a practice, I would have been wealthy many moons ago. That’s because in some twisted world, people are learning that being a black and woke—for lack of a better word—nerd and enjoying sex are somehow mutually exclusive. Trust me, they are not.

Read the full article on The Root.