Thursday, December 19, 2013

Equal Rights, Equal Fights.

I was sitting on the sofa watching sequences of images and sounds on a device supposedly called "TV" with my mother this evening, and we happened to run into a show on ABC (teaching us anything but "ABC's" since 1943), which basically reviewed the year.

While trying to come up with a really dumb title for this post, I also realized 2013 will definitely become a part of the arsenal in the arguments of superstitious people for at least another 2,013 years, because...well...look at what happened.

The world lost both a little more of its sanity and population (like every other year), but this year was special.  The revolution of social media, both for good and/or evil.  Like in the way that "selfies" have been used for both promotions of self esteem and narcissism, or adding new words to our dictionaries, like the aforementioned "selfie", "binge-watch", "cronut", and "twerking" (which I thought was already popular, but...thus is the price of not giving a crap).

We also accomplished great strides in equality, with (as of today) 17 states allowing same-sex couples to marry, and our nation's first transgender prom queen, to name a few.

But like any year, or any day, we lost some pretty beloved people, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who was surprised that Nelson Mandela wasn't going to live forever.

Seriously though, I'm sad to see such and powerful, determined, resilient, loving, and true human being pass on, but I'm more happy that he got to live in the first place.

Now while my mother and I were watching the montage of people that died this year, I put up a fist in memory of Mr. Mandela...and my mother asked me, "You're not black...are you?"  Honestly, I found this pretty amusing, because when I was in the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) based on my college campus I had a person ask me if I was gay, that being the reason I joined.

Here's something that I want to make clear...I find nothing wrong with fighting for human rights no matter where you come from...even if your ethnic and/or socioeconomic background happen to be the same as the oppressive group or groups.

If you question a person's motivations in wanting to fight for equality and unity, based on his/her background, you miss the whole point to begin with.  Being exclusive in who you want to fight for inclusiveness will only exacerbate the problem.

The term "human rights" implies that equal treatment and rights should be allowed to every person, and that means anyone who biologically qualifies as a member of the human species...and I think about 7 billion or so meet that qualification.

The point being that the ultimate goal is to hold the view that every person, no matter what "category" they're in, is just as human as any other person on the planet.

So you people out there who see wrong and want to do something about it...don't be afraid.  We all need to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery as one Mr. Robert "Bob" Nesta Marley sang.  We need to see everyone as equally human as any matter the economic, social, neurological, ethnic, political, sexual, or spiritual/religious circumstance.

R.I.P. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: 1918-2013

P.S., I'm sorry, but I'm going to miss Nelson Mandela way more than Paul Walker, in the same way I miss Ray Charles way more than Ronald Reagan.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I love humans.

Hell...I am one myself, and it's actually ironic since...I'm autistic and all.

Going from speaking around 60 words in full sentences when I was 1 and the next year, having most of my social development seeming to just stop was quite an adjustment for my family.

But they pulled through (especially my parents...if there is a God, may he/she bless them.), and I (mostly) recovered my ability to communicate and socialize properly.

But the most interesting thing about it is that even though I didn't have any social skills most children would have, I very much wanted to be with them and interact with them.  Very little social inhibition.

I think as a result of being a socially open book I was exposed to, if you will, to the two kinds of people that live in our world...those that are positive, and those that are negative. 

Of course, people generally will vary between at times, but I got a good idea of that spectrum of human nature and even though I was called names or completely isolated and ostracized at times, I still carry a heavy passion for human and civil rights, as well as my affinity to want to be amongst my fellow members of the human race...which is why I write the posts I've recently been writing.

Even to this day, though I carry heavy concerns about humans.  What humans can do to the world sometimes is horrifying and ludicrous, not to mention I also carry resentment towards some of my peers...especially those I graduated with.

But I also see the overwhelming benevolence that humans can do.  People I look up too, my family and great people from history.  Inventors, philosophers, teachers, family members, musicians, activists, and artists.

...and I like to think the positive outweighs the bad, but other times I have no clue what way the scale tilts.  But that's what I hope to see happen...that the scale always leans positively.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"
                                                    -Mohandas "Mahatma" Ghandi

Thanks for reading (if you survived  :P)

Monday, November 18, 2013

After Another Fact

In my last post, I talked about the prevalence of people against talking to the police, especially in impoverished areas populated with a large percentage of ethnic minorities.

...and I made a joke with this picture.

Now poverty is ANYTHING but a simple issue.  There are so many components to something that has occurred since the literal dawn of civilization, and it would take up half a lifetime to talk about.

But as I mentioned in my last post, there is a general....well, distrust of the police for these people.  For me, I can see why.

I think that of the biggest issues that law enforcement has had in recent history (meaning from the first big steps of the Civil Rights Movement to present day) in dealing with crime involving those in impoverished areas and/or ethnic minorities, at least two of them are;

1) Suspects will in a lot of cases (not all), be hastened through the system, cutting corners and violating constitutional and human rights to get a conviction.

2) Victims are treated with disregard and those in charge of the case end up dragging their feet.

With that said, I'd like to bring up something that has shaped not only hip hop music, but its following impact on pop culture as a whole

Namely the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, i.e., The Notorious B.I.G.

Both were killed in similar drive by shootings literally months apart from one another, with Tupac shot on September 7, 1996, dying six days later in a coma, and Biggie being shot and killed on March 9, 1997.

The reason I'd like to bring this up is that both of these cases remain unsolved to this day.

...See, it's things like this that make me start to ponder, and accordingly start stroking my magnificent man-beard that totally looks like this:


Now not only am I a fan of both of these guys' music, but I have wonder why it is that the killer(s) of arguably the biggest names in rap haven't been found yet.

As far as I can see, from the hours of obsessively geeky research I've done on the issue, it seems that quite a bit of blame rests on the police investigations of the murders...especially in Tupac's case.

This article seems to shed light on many of the wrong steps and missed opportunities had to catch the assailant.

Now it's probably true that some of the witnesses were uncooperative, as I'm sure that in many, many investigations of any kind, the police are bound to run into some people who don't want to talk.

But other than what's stated in the article above, the very settings of both crimes leave much to be desired:

For one, Tupac was shot in Las Vegas at the intersection of Koval Lane and Flamingo Road in front of the Maxim Hotel...on a Saturday night...after a Mike Tyson front of Tupac's entire entourage of bodyguards and fellow group members.

Biggie was shot outside of the establishment where the after party of the Soul Train Music Awards took L.A...and there's a tape--
Not to mention that in the realm of pop culture, a lot of people dismiss these as gang shootings that were in relation to one another because Tupac and Biggie apparently hated each other (even though they used to be friends once, and the rivalry was one-sided as Tupac believed Biggie had something to do with his non-lethal 1994 shooting in New York)
I think if people even knew half of what happened on either of those nights, they'd see these events and how they were handled is fishier than a goddamned sushi bar.
And just for the sake of evidence (or apparent lack thereof), I'd have to side with Tupac's family on the sentiment that if it were somebody other than Tupac...somebody who was portrayed better in the media...or if they were white, they would have found the killer years ago.  Hell, I bet if somebody had shot Eminem (a rapper with big controversial headlines), they would have found the killer in minutes.
I'll also go so far as to say that I think the police were somewhat OK with that fact that these two were dead.  My reason being, that they were black artists often talking about problems affecting poor black people, not to mention that these poems of struggle, violence and oppression (and partying perhaps in spite of it) reached a very wide (and white) audience.

Now I want to be clear...I'm not saying every law enforcement agency is KKK-style bigoted, I'm just saying that the actions taken by those officials back then shed a disturbing light on the issues between law enforcement and human rights.

But if anyone out there does have information on who might've taken these brave, talented souls away from us, please contact the appropriate authorities...for justice's sake.

Rest In Peace.

*Disclaimer: The content on this blog is based on what I believe happened based on information I've obtained through my own research and should not be blindly taken as truth, or an implication of truth.  I write these posts in the hope that this will get people to think and look these kinds of things up themselves.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thank You For Not Snitching

I know I probably don't have too many readers at this point, however I still want to apologize for not updating recently.

My life has not only been busy, but I've been unsure what to write about.  I think about things all the time that I wish to share, but to be perfectly honest I either forget about those thoughts, forget about the blog, or think it's not good enough...but that is going to start to come to a gradual minimum.

Now off the blabbing and on to the entry:

The title for this entry is named after an episode of Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks, the main topic of which is snitching, or acting as an informant to a certain person or...entity if you will.

In this case, it refers to acting as an informant to law enforcement.  Now under most circumstances, being cooperative with the police is something a good citizen does.  Besides, it feels good to know you had a hand in putting that serial murderer/rapist/bank robber/puppy kicker in prison and off the streets.  But if you go to the "hood", it's a different story;

No...not that one...

A little exploitative of an example, but...yeah...something like that...

Yeah, "snitching", or being a "rat" as always something of a bad rap to a degree...but it seems to a lot of people that any kind of telling in these areas lands one in a pretty bad "I could seriously get killed if I tell" bad.

Scarily enough, this isn't an empty threat...several instances have happened where informants were killed as a result of their cooperation, including a woman named Angela Dawson, whose entire family was firebombed as a result of her informing of police about drug related crime in the area where she lived.

I, like many people have wondered why even though they (like a lot of us mentally healthy people) want the violence to stop, but at the same time want to stop any and all informants to law enforcement or other entities.

Here's what I will say to you, the person also questioning this little contradiction:

Remember this?


Yeah...we as a nation haven't always had the most enlightened issues on human rights, but like it or not, it's a part of our history.

So I ask you to think about this for a moment; We live in a nation that historically speaking (and presently) has been presided over a system that emphasized whiteness over non-whiteness.  Not only to the extent of a sense of superiority, but the enforcement of which through systematic oppression and poverty.

Now...let's say you live in the 'hood and a guy with a badge who says he's from the police department tells you that your buddy Jimmy-Bob has been shot and they're looking for his killer.  You know who did it, and you tell them it was your neighbor Bobby-Jim.

For the sake of argument, Bobby-Jim did, without a doubt, kill Jimmy-Bob...evidence proves it, motive is there, etc...and he goes to trial, is found guilty, Bobby-Jim goes to prison.  Good job, citizen, you have helped put a killer off the streets!

But here's the just cooperated with the system.

A system that ultimately was (is) responsible for the historical enslavement, oppression, impoverishment, and mistreatment of your people...not to mention, you just exposed another killer in your territory, which is not good for the cause of getting more people to recognize the impoverished as a people who, for the most part, are good, hard-working people, rather than leeches who whine and moan about the same system that gives them a check every month.

In other're a traitor.

Just for my potential readers, this is a reminder that is simply a thought that has occurred, which may be my opinion, and is subject to change.

Thank you for reading and I'll see you next time around!  :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Le Debut

Greetings, all.

Sorry my initial greeting isn't mind-blowingly FABULOUS...but I hope that the things that I have to say are.

First off, with all intentions of being at least mildly interesting, I should get the boring introductory crap out of the way first...

My name is Joseph Shipman.  My mother managed to push me out on Thursday April 16th, 1992 at 12:27 PM in a small to medium sized town called Mountain Home just beneath the heart of the Ozarks in North-Central Arkansas.

One key thing at this point that should be noted (because it's a subject I'm probably going to mention a lot in this blog) is that even though I developed quite quickly as a child, between my first and second year on this planet, I went from speaking with the 60 or so words I knew, to not speaking at all....soon afterwards I was found to be on the autistic spectrum.

To make a long story short, I had to be taught, in a classroom-esque fashion, how to socially interact with the fellow members of my species...something that so called "normal" people learn automatically.

After many years of extensive therapy, hard work and support on behalf of my parents, relatives, and therapists who I came to know as my friends I have gainfully been able to communicate for a while now.  I am presently a 21-year old aspiring musician, future college student, and human being who loves the world, it's creatures, and its people (well...most of its people anyway...), and I love learning, talking to all kinds of people about all kinds of things, and I hope this here blog is a useful tool in my role in helping the world become a better place.

I invite you to have fun with me, aaaaaand I'll see y'all down the road!  :)