Bad Religion

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I used to go hard against religion.. well Christianity anyway. I’ve evolved.. but old habits die hard. In my eyes, Christianity was the reason behind everyone’s audacity to judge me, even as a child.

Once I discovered Islam through hip-hop and 5 percenters (peace Gods!), I asked my mother why in the hell weren’t we Muslim. Her answer made sense to me. It was something along the lines of “because they are oppressive to women (just like the rest of them).. same reason I don’t consider myself a Rasta.. they believe women should only wear long skirts, never pants.. f*ck that!” Uh.. say no more Ma.

At some point I became aware that most enslaved Africans of the diaspora practiced Islam before being forcefully converted to Christians. They also practiced ancient African religions as well. This solidified my preference of Islam over Christianity. Not that I was in search of a religion to practice, I was just on a spiritual journey and trying to understand things.

“I don’t recall Islam ever being force fed down people’s throats in America.”

I learned so much of the taboo and “hidden in plain sight” stuff from Moors and people who chose Islam as their religion. I feel like Islam, practiced by Black people in particular, symbolizes rejection of 2nd class citizenship in America. First of all, it’s a choice. I don’t recall Islam ever being force fed down people’s throats in America. That’s why it makes sense that Islam is under attack and has been made our 21st century’s public enemy numero uno. Only second to the people who are practically indigenous to the Americas. But I digress.

I feel like an ulterior motive of religion is to program our subconscious and give false frames of reference, good and bad. There are obvious positive and negative aspects to every religion; it’s highly subjective and interpreted differently for each individual. It should be anyway. I just wish people would be more careful not to judge someone else’s choices based on a set of principles they either chose to believe, or were forced to.

My Issues w/ The “Pro Black” Community

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These are just little notes and blurbs strung together. Bare with it. And i’m talking about the extreme black supremacist folks. I’ll probably (not) elaborate on my position further, later. But whatever, anyways:

In my opinion, the PBC is an ego trap. The “leaders” validate themselves by degrading other people of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, alternative lifestyles and so on. They are capitalist in their own right, attempting to capitalize off of the ancient past and ignorant future. Human societies must evolve in order to survive. Evolving DOES NOT mean assimilating. Nobody, and certainly not black people, OWN the planet. But let them tell it …

I feel like their target audience is people in search of an identity, or new paradigm.  Like those leaving the church. Those folks are influenced to replace the religious paradigm with an Afrocentric one, which isn’t necessarily beneficial or relevant to them, personally. The “good life” is subjective .. there’s no uniform right way to live.

We are Africans in America; ok fine. But then let’s grapple with the scientific evidence that ALL HUMAN FORMS originated in Africa. Lose the “black” thing. Be a universal human seeking justice for all. And mean it.

I’d bet a  number of these so called black leaders come straight from the gutter and or broken homes. No disrespect, but it’s evident that shame and guilt has shaped them into angry people who want to “do onto others what has been done to them.” They are cult leaders wanting you to subscribe to THEIR notion of reality and progress.

And then they have the nerve and audacity to bash the LGBTQ community.

Who holds the authority on disgust? On human sexuality? Sexual orientation and preferences. Huh? Prototypes are subjective. Fuck your opinion of what a “black man” or “black woman” is “supposed” to look like, walk like, talk like, dress like, have sex with. SAYS WHO?!

It’s bullshit. They are hustling. Hustling hate, hustling anger, hustling negativity. They aren’t healing anybody but themselves and their pockets. What each and everyone of us individuals do, make up the human race. Besides committing genocide and harming others, what’s right and what’s wrong?

If you listen close enough, you’ll hear them contradict themselves severely when it comes to male-female relationships (particularly the male leaders).  Just be mindful of their got damn books, “services” and pipe dreams up for sale.  Just check it all out after reading this.

If they aren’t organizing a Pan-African Body Politic inclusive of ALL Black/African/Indigenous peoples, exactly what are they doing? 

I was obviously mad as hell when I was writing these notes down, because the rest don’t even make sense.. lol. I call that experiencing an extreme emotion .. I’m learning to control those! I read this book recently and it speaks volumes to my position.

 

This video .. Just let me know if he makes sense to you, from beginning through end. Mind you, I found this particular “leader” and video after my initial posting of this perspective.

Thanks for reading!

! @NewRetroGeneral “General Public Radio” | Th.Ur.Di. Mixtape Review

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@NewRetroGeneral 301general.bandcamp.com x www.youtube.com/thenewretro2009

While this mixtape was released 3 years ago in 2011, it still resonates with me as one of the best mixtapes I’ve heard … indie, local, mainstream or otherwise. I don’t know if it’s because it’s actually that good, or because I was spiraling down the rabbit hole when I discovered it and it seemed to be in tune with everything I was into at the moment.

Conspiracies, covert government operations, the illuminati… that kinda shit ya know? So here I am revisiting General Public Radio (G.P.R.) with a purpose, equipped with the Th.Ur.Di. lens giving it a thorough review.

The last verse of the Intro is creative in that it’s like a table of contents on what’s to come. General cleverly raps about the track list by describing what you’ll be hearing. For example, the last song on this mixtape is called “introspection hour”, the next track after the intro is a “commercial break” and following the commercial break is the track entitled “Today’s Forecast.”

“And the last hours introspection, it’s in the perfect place
analyze your life, meditate and make sure its straight
now i’ma take you to the weather after this commercial break”
– Intro

The Commercial Break is actually a double entendre where General expresses the commercial choke-hold on hip-hop music, even eluding to the rumors of how it’s ran by secret societies and fueled by material possessions.

“I go by the General, all about residuals
got em on my own, no blood, bones and rituals
just, keepin’ it lyrical, not concerned with materials
but of course i want it, my stomach it isn’t nearly full”
– Commercial Break 1

I grew up listening to NPR; so the concept alone caught my attention and captivated me. I wondered “why the hell is he fashioning his mixtape after a news program?” He has clips from broadcaster Diane Rehm throughout the tape and also samples of the NPR theme song. This makes the mixtape that much more enjoyable to me. If you don’t know Diane Rehm by name, you’ll certainly never forget her once you hear her voice.

General’s creativity throughout the tape is impressive, showing his intended audience is of a higher brow. This mixtape has the formula for a good time; quality content, wordplay AND production. G.P.R. certainly opened my mind to “indie” and “underground” music. It was one of the first projects I heard with no glitz and glamour. Just straight up REAL SHIT I was dealing with.

“Startin’ in debt, it’s clear they robbin’ us
so it’s funny that our money says in God we trust
when it’s in man to keep the economy moving forward
companies maximizin’ profits by cuttin through the corners
and then they stock is droppin, there goes a few employers
to all my graduates of college i hope that you enjoy it”
– Current State

Frequently I listen to lectures and independent programs on media manipulation and news cycles.  I had to double check the date on this mixtape because a number of the same topics from years ago seemed to had resurfaced with different details. For example, the oil spills and government shut down.

G.P.R. has an old school feel, not necessarily boom bap though. I feel like it’s the perfect balance of urban music and urban cultural expression. General is lead rapper of an (awesome!!!) funk band New Retro; this live music form is obviously an influence on his solo music. I feel like people who enjoy spoken word and jazz would gravitate towards his genre.

General raps about a little dilemma he has himself in the Outro, “they say i’m spittin’ like i’m 5 percenting but i’m Christian,” and again in Oil Spill “son of a pastor so, i guess i’m Heaven sent in this dark world, tryin’ to find my relevance until Heavens my residence.” He also references fusing hip-hop with Eastern Philosophies throughout the mixtape. His faith, intellect and being from Prince George’s County Maryland is very influential to his art.

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General Performing @ Tropicalia DC

This mixtape is as good as I thought it was; what’s even more evident to me this time around is General’s lyrical ability. It’s obvious he has knowledge of self and is aware of our skewed society, as explored in tracks like Oil Spill, Commercial Break 2, and my personal favorite Introspection Hour.

“I’m seeing signs of peeps that keep they mind runnin’ on E
I try to teach, but my advice they just don’t want to take heed, it’s all about the present
consistent momentary fixes have defined our presence
while we listenin’ to death under the guise of lessons
I swear it’s like a weapon”
– Introspection Hour

Be sure to check download this project and check New Retro out. If you like The Urban Dilemma blog, you’ll love General Public Radio!!

Thanks for reading!

 

The Radical Rant

It ain’t easy being me.

Because I didn’t necessarily grow up “in the ghetto” but also wasn’t raised by “white washed” parents, I’ve always felt like one of those lost tribe motherfuckers 2pac rapped about. Like I didn’t belong. I am anti-religion, pro thug shit .. but why? It’s like I’m carving out this identity for myself and people like me. Where it’s anything goes, except dishonesty.

Is that just me being a cynic? No. It’s taking what I know (good with the bad) and making decisions that will get me from point A to point B through point Z without going ape shit crazy.

Religion like, gives you a predetermined lifestyle. It provides rules, regulations, rewards and punishments with an ultimate outcome. But it’s all made up, obviously. Being a thug for some reason is associated with being ignorant .. but what if you aren’t ignorant?

Then you should know better than to do thug shit right? But isn’t following a religion more ignorant than physically and mentally resisting a state of destitution? And what happens when you do everything you were told, everything that you saw others do to succeed.. but are still marginalized? Then is it ok to be a thug? Or Nah?

I just don’t understand where people with a radical paradigm like myself can exist, peacefully. Everybody who I look up to from the past is dead or jailed as a political prisoner. That’s not fair, why isn’t anybody with a voice and ability to reach people like me .. able to? It’s 2014. There is definitely enough to go around, who is secretly keeping the status-quo jumping?

Who was it calling Donald Sterling about reprimanding V. Stiviano for hanging with heavily melanated people? Who fostered the environment where it was okay for her to change her name to be more acceptable? What the fuck does it mean to be more acceptable?

Thanks for reading!

Fake #Money & The Real #World

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I grew up spoiled rotten. I had everything I needed in addition to virtually everything I wanted as a child. I had a new gadget and wardrobe every week it seemed. I became popular off the strength of my new shoes alone. This went on throughout my teenage years. I didn’t have my first job until I was 19 years old, mainly because I wanted one. I spent those checks on frivolous shit I already had and didn’t need more of. Shit people took the lives of others for, risking theirs. Although I was spoiled, I wanted to get out there and work to supplement my spending habits. Work is a lot more complex than I realized however, and it tied into the real world. The world of labor and wealth producing resources. This is how I got from point A to point B, from a spoiled child to the scholar I am today.

Money
Being spoiled was bittersweet because I grew up not understanding what money was or how it actually worked. My father would always tell me to save money and stress delayed gratification; I wasn’t hearing any of that (imagine my guilt when I learned about the concept of planned obsolescence). I thought there would always be an endless flow of money at my disposal. In the grand scheme of things, in terms of economics, finance and capitalism, I had absolutely zero knowledge of how money worked. In the back of my mind though, I was always curious. I read a fortune that said “you will never have to worry about a steady income” and took that to heart. Don’t worry about it, pursue it and it’ll come. I played the numbers on the back and everything, won $35 bucks. I thought I had cracked the Ancient Chinese Secret.

By the time I fully grasped the concept of money, I held an exorbitant amount of student loan debt after receiving 2 degrees from both a State and Private institution. Me. Not Mommy, not Daddy, not my friends. Just me in exit counseling both times, all by my lonesome. But… I just knew I’d graduate and get a well-paying job within 6 months of graduating, just in time to begin paying my loans back. Loans had I realized would be mine and did the math on even as a naïve 17 year old, I may have had second thoughts taking on. I went to school so I could get a good job and buy more stuff. I finished undergrad in 2009 during the midst of the economic crisis. The DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program paid for majority of my undergrad expenses. In hindsight, I wish I had just stopped there.

Oh, don’t worry. Just go ahead and get your Master’s, things’ll get better.” I was so very hesitant to continue after taking my first course, but wanted to “do the right thing.” I always finish what I start. I finished alright, with a lot more debt than before in 2009. Currently, obtaining it is thee biggest and most expensive mistake i’ve made thus far. It’s the sole regret I have to date, I just wasn’t ready.

The Real World
I always hated school but loved to learn. And even though my Master’s degree is the root of my stress, during my quest for it I discovered the source of my motivation to truth seek. It was during my Constitutional and Administrative Law course when I finally decided to reject school and follow my heart, my soul, my inner dialogue. I had learned enough to confidently challenge what didn’t make sense to me.

It was while reading the text for this course, a passage about the origin of The United States criminal justice system, that I had my Eureka moment. It was talking that Greek shit; no mention of any preceding Ancient Civilizations in which they borrowed  from. I had just spent 4 years studying an abundance of histories and cultures, including those that preceded Western Civilization. Nothing. When learning how our system of public policy was rooted in Greek Philosophy, I wondered why Greek? How can European philosophy be used to police me or any black person for that matter? I thought about all the students who weren’t as familiar with World History as I was and how they perceived this.

This was the beginning of me learning about global oppression and the identity and space created for me to be conditioned to fit into. It’s what led me to research the Federal Reserve System which just blew the lid off of everything I thought I knew about law and government, civil and human rights. I finally understood what Dr. Barnes was asking in American Government & Politics when he asked “exactly, what is government? exactly, what is politics.” Though I had guidance, I basically taught myself the most important lessons.

Learning about our system of economics and how it ties directly into controlling natural wealth producing resources, including people from across the globe, blew the lid off of imperialism, colonialism, democracy and so on. I was finally shifting my paradigm from what I had been programmed to believe; I could see the lies embedded throughout society and hidden in plain sight.

I attended a majority of classes with African adult students; this was a very precious experience I feel special to have had. My former professor was an Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria. It was a mature environment with totally different perspectives from my own and those I’m bombarded with. We were able to form friendships and learn about each other in a space that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. I was able to speak on behalf of children of immigrants, like their own, as well as African American cultural influences on us.

A majority of my classmates intention’s were to receive their Master’s in Public Administration and return to their native countries to serve. This made me say, “well damn.” Maybe I should take my education and skills to Jamaica or somewhere it will actually benefit from, rather than falling in line and assimilating into the American way of making things better. Possibly even live The Good Life. Then I think about all the people outside of the United States who’d give anything to trade places with me at my lowest and never look back, regardless.

The real world has been a never ending rabbit hole for me. I’ve answered the most pressing questions i’ve had throughout my life and now I am able to observe and understand the world around me. I am mentally prepared for the ups and downs towards my pursuit of happiness. Money is just a medium of exchange for the things I love that have unfortunately been commodified and overpriced in the name of capitalism.

Thanks for reading!

The Moment I Rejected #Religion

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My intellect tells me that around age 12 or 13, which I’m only assuming is the correct age because of the development and maturity of my thoughts, I started to question the validity of a “God” more precisely “Jesus Christ” and the Christian religion. My intuition has been telling me for years that I was a mere 10 years old. As a child I was certain I would remember the exact ages certain occurrences occurred, needless to say I am very grateful that I decided somewhere along the line to document these things. This blog is a testament to me feeling as though we never forget the most introspective things. However, I vividly remember having this very short and very curt conversation with my mother.

I remember the very distinct and exact moment I decided to confront my inner dialogue concerning God and religion. Growing up in a virtually religion-less household, I was pretty much on my own navigating this institution. I learned about religion, among other things, from school, other families and observation.

With that being said, religion and God first intrigued me, second, scared the fucking shit out of me and thirdly, confused me. Confused me so much that, as its ultimate purpose intends, consumed so very much of my thoughts and behavior. It altered my creativity because I was afraid to think, say and believe certain things. For a long time I neither accepted or rejected religion completely. I may have been too afraid to do either. So back to this vivid memory:

I remember riding in the passenger seat of my mother’s vehicle driving down Kemp Mill Road passing the street in which my school, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, was located. I remember asking my mother “Ma.. what religion are we?!” Her rebuttal, almost verbatim, was “I don’t know. Christian I guess?!” My mother is extremely intelligent; I believe the lack of thought and effort she put into answering this question further confused me.

I remember at that very moment I refused religion. I didn’t accept that answer. I said to myself “no i’m not. I don’t even know what it means or how to be a Christian.” Because I didn’t quite understand religion and it left a sour taste in my mouth and the number one person I looked to for guidance treated it so nonchalantly, I felt emboldened to discredit it. I didn’t feel the need to even respect it anymore, although the psychological affects had already done, fortunately reversible, its damage.

Most of my encounters and understandings of religion up to this point were negative. To me, it was basically saying you have to walk the straight and narrow OR ELSE. It was extremely judgmental and psychologically oppressive. And who the hell wants to submit to that? And furthermore, who is this white guy you are telling me I should worship?! The White Jesus image has never resonated with me. I have a lot of sentiment about religion, Christianity in particular, but it’s still developing. I will most certainly write more on this subject.

However, when I discovered atheism I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I was the only person in the world who was any kind of indifferent about religion and God. Like any other belief system, I didn’t and still don’t submit to atheism. If I had to try and subscribe to a notion of God, it would probably be closest to agnostic, which is to my understanding belief of not knowing or ever knowing. To me, God is a concept and religion is the story and principle that make up that concept.

My mother did have a bible in our home and she grew up Christian. She hated it though. She replaced that kind of talk with “higher power” and “the creator”. She vowed to not raise my sister and me up in the church for a number of reasons. We would recite the Psalm 23 prayer some nights, so I knew it had some kind of significance.

My father was more into bible passages than my mother, though it appeared to be in a less traditional “European” sense. He even provided me with my own bible and bookmarked some pages and highlighted passages that appear to be more of the Old Testament/Hebrew faith? Idk. It speaks on Ham and Cush and those kinds of stories. I actually grew up in a Jewish neighborhood which also tremendously influenced my thinking about religion and ethnic/race relations general.

CC: Jamaican Mother, Jewish Neighborhood

Thanks for reading!

#Jamaican Mother, #Jewish Neighborhood

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My mother was brought to the United States in January of 1968. To put this into perspective, she never experienced American racism or temperatures below 65 degrees. She was totally uncomfortable and afraid of this place.

As you know, Martin Luther King Jr. would be assassinated just months following her arrival. With the aftermath embedded into her psyche, she grew up somewhat politically and historically aware and decided to align herself with the “feminist-black power”, sprinkled in with some Rastafarian, paradigm. She has an Afrocentric, Grass Rooted point of view about life.

With this being said, I always knew certain ethnicities and groups didn’t fuck with other ethnicities and groups. History is taught so non-politically in school that I couldn’t make these connections myself. I would piece together what I could from conversations my mother and I would have as well as listening to NPR and other news outlets.

I lived the white-black racial dichotomy; I was aware of discrimination though I didn’t fully understand how it got this way, or why. I just knew white people made all the rules for everybody to follow, especially black people. This disturbed me to the core and it would take the last half of my life before I figured the whole White Supremacy thing out. For all of the years prior I pretty much accepted white privilege as the norm. For black and white people to have beef  made sense.. other groups though? What’s y’all problem?

All my life I would have these inner dialogues, questioning so many things around me, particularly things that didn’t quite make sense about race and ethnic relations. I think I felt embarrassed to ever question them because I felt it was conventional wisdom.

From ages 8 through 16 I grew up in a predominately Jewish neighborhood (Kemp Mill in Wheaton, MD); we had at least three synagogues and two Jewish schools I would see on the regular. I always wondered why they were so “special” and had their own institutions and establishments. Their school was located adjacent to our neighborhood park. They had their own basketball courts which were nicer than ours, one was short enough for us to try dunking on! They wouldn’t welcome us to play on their court, however they would come down to our shabby ass court at will.

It also appeared they had their own religion and way of life different from any I’d witnessed before. Of course their attire was strange to me, as well as their “stand-offish-ness.” I felt like they felt they were better than everyone else. And then there were the Jewish kids who I went to public school with who were my friends and nothing like the kids who attended the Yeshiva School. I even attended a Bat Mitzvah! My good friend Jaime would always make it a point to remind me that she wasn’t “orthodox”. While I didn’t quite know what that meant, I assumed it meant she wasn’t like the Jewish people in my neighborhood.

This opened my mind to a field of inquiry concerning the race and religion of people in general, but particularly Jewish people. I wondered, are Jewish people white? Can a non-white person be Jewish? Why does my mother wear a Star of David pendent on her chain? What is this 12 tribes of Israel stuff I hear Rastafarians talk about? Why do they require their own bible? Excuse me, Torah.

They even had their own grocery store (Kosher Mart) and pizza shop (Ben Yehuda). Hell, they even had Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum with Hebrew writing on the comic. Obviously, I had zero notion of the concept of nation building. Adding to my curiosity about race, religion and ethnicity were the other people who made up my neighborhood.

I lived in a high rise apartment building with 21 floors. The tenants were multicultural & multiracial; our community was also diverse as far as socio-economics are concerned. Now that I think about it, our community included a number of nursing homes and disabled people as well. There were residents from all ethnic backgrounds and class levels technically living under one roof. Diplomats from foreign countries would reside in my building, as well as their children, many my age. The same could be said about low income residents who lived in my neighborhood.

We had people from African countries, Eurasian countries, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean and so on. I could virtually play basketball with Jewish kids on Monday, street hockey with Albanian kids on Tuesday, soccer with Nigerian kids on Wednesday, football with American kids on Thursday, swim with Jordanian kids on Friday, play tennis with Vietnamese kids on Saturday and play baseball with El Salvadorian kids on Sunday.

Thanks for Reading!