What is Justice… really

The concept of justice is both simple and wildly complex. Justice at it’s simplest is fairness, but it is also supposed to be some balance of righting a wrong by making the perpetrator of that wrongdoing face punishment or rehabilitation and an effort to make the victim whole. Hmmm…🧐

But there is often a very different standard of justice for male wrongdoers and female wrongdoers. Men who wrong women are very often, simply because they are men, given a pass on even some of the most heinous crimes. Think Bill Cosby or even R. Kelly. Even these Black men benefited from the extreme patriarchy of America, where men are applauded for as many sexual exploits as they can muster and women, the same women these men are having sex with, are slut shamed. Hatred of women is such an American truth, that drugging women to rape them and raping women too young to consent is forgiven snd pushed under the rug by other men and some women alike. Patriarchy is such a deeply ingrained American value, it is accepted by the people it harms most. But women, particularly Black women, are often demonized and set up to be burned at the stake if they make a mistake. A mistake. That is not justice, but it is lauded as such.

Look… in America, “race” is specifically about color. There is no Jewish box under race. So for many Americans, especially African Americans who are most affected by the racial strife and discrimination in this country, Jewish is an ethno-religious category. So the other day Whoopi Goldberg, on The View, made the comment that the Holocaust was not about “race” but about man’s inhumanity towards man. What she said was not antisemitic, be clear. What she said was just based on American views of race… the ones she knows well. Race as a means to discriminate and separate is a colonial American construct to justify the system of slavery.

Now, what I know about Nazi Germany is that Hitler was a horrible person with marred intelligence. He was a reader and he enjoyed recalling facts, but he believed that having and regurgitating that information was more important than understanding the information. That is a fatal flaw of many narcissists. His intelligence can only be properly determined in light of those facts about him. SO, Hitler determined that Jewish people were an inferior “race” to Germans. He also similarly labeled people of African descent living in Germany. The term race was simply being used to codify a categorization based on superiority and inferiority. That is how he saw the construct of race. That is a simplistic way to view it… but not a whole understanding of the concept as it was used to justify slavery and continue to justify the discrimination of Black people in America for centuries. In Europe, however, the larger countries of France, Britain, and Germany had long before created a hierarchy of superiority surrounding ethnicity. These were White people discriminating against other White people… a question of the purity of one’s whiteness. Not racism, according to it’s historical conceptualization, but nationalism and ethnocentrism. All equally horrible.

In reality, her comment was not incorrect. There is a difference between ones “race” (a socially constructed categorization based on one’s skin color or other physical traits), ethnicity, and nationality. Regardless of how Hitler used the term, what he was referring to was something wholly different, because recall, he was a student of information but not understanding. He wanted to annihilate Jewish people based on some idea of Germans being superior racially, meaning more purely White. He believed Aryan (WHAT even is that???) people were the most pure and should rule the world, and the dominance of Jews threatened that. According to annefrank.org, Hitler’s antisemitism was framed by his two mentors, Georg Ritter von Schönerer who was a German nationalist who believed Austrians, Hungarians, and Jewish people were culturally inferior and the wild anti-semite Karl Lueger who politicized Christianity in Vienna on the platform that Jewish dominance was a threat to Christians everywhere. His heroes based their anti-semite values in ethnicity and religion, and really, at the heart of it, was a strong desire to destroy Jewish financial and political success.

So Whoopi Goldberg, in light of that comment was suspended from The View. If you believe for one second that that was more about the content of her comment than the reaction of White and Jewish executives to the idea that a Black woman would even have such nuanced conversation and opinion about the Holocaust, and frame it as a White v. White atrocity… you are mistaken. As one of my great girlfriends said…

That is an exhausting and daunting BUT 200% CORRECT premise. But it also speaks to the issue of justice. Again, she wasn’t wrong. She was giving a different take on the reason behind the atrocity of the Holocaust. She wasn’t joking about it, making light of it, trying to offend, or misinterpreting history. Race is a specific concept in America and most if the world. The use of the word race by an idiot, to annihilate a group of people, doesn’t make that tragedy about race. But a bunch of White people took offense, and she was labeled wrong and justice had to be served. She had to pay for making what generally amounted to “a mistake”… and not a mistake in terms of it being untrue but in terms of evaluating, before she said it, whether it would greatly and unnecessarily offend. Because we know, we (Black folks, Black women particularly) are going to be held to the highest standard humanely possible in terms of our behavior, but we are expected to swallow simultaneously being continuously offended by EVERYBODY ELSE! It was a mistake of greater harm to herself than that done to anyone else, if we are going to keep it 100. She never negated the heinous inhumane treatment of Jewish people during the Holocaust… EVER!

But justice, real justice, looks to me like Whoopi being allowed to explain her rationale and not blindly punished like a schoolgirl especially when We can still hear whole full rapist’s songs on the radio and see their shows in syndication. Make that shit make sense. Whoopi Goldberg is a cultural treasure, even if folks don’t acknowledge her as a national treasure. She was Celie, “until you do right by me”; Sister Mary Clarence, Oda Mae Brown, “Molly, you in trouble girl”…. and in many instances, our voice. Plus, she was born Caryn… and well that just makes her special cuz she was a little Black girl probably called everything but “Karen” because it was spelled different. 🤷🏽‍♀️ But I wasn’t watching The View anyway… Megan McCain’s irritating ass ended that for me, but on the rare chance I do watch a clip, it’s to hear Whoopi wax poetic. She is a legendary philanthropist and supporter of women, Black people, Jewish people, and speaking out against inhumanity. She doesn’t deserve this shit. Period. This is not justice, it’s sexism and it’s racism. Be real clear!

“Justice is what love looks like when it speaks in public!” -Michael Eric Dyson

Dear Jordan

The brand, the man, whoever.

Let me start by saying that I am a fan of Jordans… I got the Biohacks and Black Stingrays on my NEED list. So, understand this is personal. My beef is Grade A! So check it…

You release these dope ass shoes you know that people want… but if they are available in the store, which many are not, you gotta be at that joint at 7:00am… nope! Niggas work. Or it’s the weekend and I get to sleep in. But most of the big drops aren’t even in the store. Instead you put them on special apps or make people enter a RAFFLE… to buy a shoe. A raffle yo. Is this a cabaret or a shoe drop… why we doing raffles?!? Make it make sense.

You sell a shoe for $170, $190, $200 and the same twelve folks buy all the shoes and sell them on StockX for $500. They are listed before they even come out because they already know they are gonna get the shoe… but I can’t get one shoe I want. Or I gotta pay the shoe plug more for the same shoe that only cost you 27 cents to make. Nope. And I understand supply and demand, so I get the concept of the price of the shoe. But you value that joint at a fourth of what these suckas sell them for. You gotta know the masses think you are invested in this shit. Gotta be. No way you selling my shoe, with my name, for $10,000 and I’m only getting $170. I mean if I’m wrong… lemme know.

Sneakers are a huge part of urban Black and hip hop culture. The first big sneaker stores for sneakers as fashion were in the inner city. It was young black kids in Philly, Detroit, and Brooklyn rocking Diadora, Italian soccer and tennis shoes; the suede Puma joints, from the German soccer shoe manufacturer; and the aerobics shoe, the Reebok Freestyles that were dubbed the 5411s (that was the cost with tax in New York). These twelve dudes with 5,000 boxes of a shoe you only made 6,000 of, they aren’t hiding, these jokers are famous… and profiting of that culture. The culture that made Jordans not just a basketball shoe, but a staple of urban fashion. Don’t let these white girls in sneakers with their dresses confuse you, sneakers didn’t just get hot. Like cornrows before them, Black inner city kids made those joints hot. The facts are that most of these millionaire resellers are far removed from urban culture, and reselling the re-releases of these shoes we grew up loving but likely not being able to afford. So now that we can afford them, we either cannot get them or have to pay them well over retail for them. I searched the internet, I couldn’t find one of the top five guys in the sneaker resell business… in a sneaker. Again, make it make sense.

So look, I buy your shoes… a few as collectors items, many to rock, I even give em as gifts. I’m a bona fide sneakerhead. So listen… resellers are murdering your brand reputation slowly but surely. This shit should be banned. Period. And even if you don’t ban it, honor the folks who rock these joints, take pics in them, and really make them this profitable in the first place. Put 1/3rd of the damn shoes in the store and the rest on nike.com and when them bitches are gone, they gone. If you wanna buy them and resale, cool, but fuck a bot. You are a whole multi-million dollar brand being threatened by these dudes and their sophisticated “bots” that trick your sites into letting them buy 500 shoes at a time. You have all the power… get to it. But I swear, somebody is gonna have to answer some hard questions if those stingrays drop and I don’t cop them. So in honor of Darryl, Joseph, and Jason who in 1984 pulled the laces out and took their Adidas Superstars through concert doors and over coliseum floors… give us us sneakers!