Category Archives: Editorial

Viceland’s White Weed Privilege

By S. Christopher Emerson

Watching Viceland Weed series videos on social media from time to time gives me a chance see what wonderful possibilities are coming out of the legalized weed market in the US. But mostly and moreover, I troll all of the uber-happy, stoooooked wypipo who revel in their bubbles at yet another personal freedom. I guarantee you this makes my teeth whiter.

I do this from time to time ‘cuz Viceland just tells all these sunny azz stories about wypipo who are taking full advantage of legalized weed in some states and making sooooo much money off of cannabis creativity. And wypipo being wypipo just eat these “civil liberties” shenanigans up.

And, without failure, EVERY TIME, some snowflakes show up kickin’ some “Dude, this is Cali. Weed is legal here. Why some nigger always gotta throw race into EVERYTHING?” (The irony… I know).

Answer: Black people make everything about racial and social equity. Wypipo make everything about race discrimination and oppression. There’s a WHOLE system set up for it, which you can’t perceive because you’re so busy reaping the benefits.

White folks thought (many still do) Blacks intentionally kept themselves economically unstable and therefore unable to take advantage of the “American” Dream. Come to find out, extensive data exist proving that White folks lock Blacks out of opportunity after opportunity, from housing and home ownership, to law, to employment, and now, also, to legalized weed.

Meanwhile, I don’t know ANY Black people who have consistently profited from and simultaneously avoided ‘dem laws while publicly consorting with The Stickiest of the Icky Icky.

These clear folks be cookin’ with weed, having public weed brownie cook offs, preparing weed salads, weed garnishes, weed tea and smoothies and all manner of privileged greenery… And I’m like, “It’s lovely that y’all get to enjoy weed now that jails are still being built for brothas like me. And while White boys out west are building trust funds for their grandkids off drug money, there are 20 year-old Black college girls and boys who are STILL in jail ONLY for nonviolent petty weed offenses, when cops and courts could have EASILY let them go.”

In short, Black folks get demonized en masse for any participation in cannabis, whether it be medical or recreational, while White folks, particularly, White boys, are seen as a new crop of millennial entrepreneurs embarking on the frontier of state-by-state legalized weed law and commerce. And they say they don’t know what privilege is.

Moving Forward from Proposition P

By S. Christopher Emerson

Prop P passed in St. Louis city last Tuesday with nearly 60% of the vote, much to the chagrin of many progressives in St. Louis communities working for change. The measure passed in all North Side wards, with the closest margin, by far, occurring in the 18th ward where Terry Kennedy is alderman.  I voted “No,” and am disappointed in the outcome. I’m also curious.

Approved by voters, the measure will raise an estimated $19.5 million annually from the sales tax and $3.9 million from a corresponding increase in the use tax. Below is the breakdown of the distribution of the funds according to KMOV:

 

*Approximately $12.8 million (2/3 of revenue raised) would go to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to raise starting pay from $42,000 to $52,000, to compete with St. Louis County and other municipalities and to hire an additional 100 officers.

 

*Approximately $5.4 million allocated to the St. Louis Fire Department to retain and attract top quality firefighters

 

*Approximately $1.5 million allocated to the Circuit Attorney’s Office

 

*An additional $3.9 million from a corresponding half-cent increase in the city’s business use tax would fund after-school programs and summer jobs, recreation, social work, and mental health programs

 

-Approximately $975,000 for after-school programs and summer jobs

 

-Approximately $975,000 for social work and mental health

 

-Approximately $975,000 for recreation programming

 

-Approximately $675,000 for building demolition

 

Many progressives feel like the people, definitely those earning lower wages, will shoulder the burden of this initiative. Add to it the notion that these people are also the ones who are most negatively affected by racist police practices, and the fact that community programs were tossed virtual peanuts from the tax bump. There’s a (perceived) recipe for another uprising.

But there wasn’t.

Since the work of building progressive power in our communities that has featured a strong anti-Proposition P message has been highly visible as of late, why does it seem that the message is not connecting with voters?

I’m not here to assume that half of the Black folks on the North Side are sell outs or intend on further oppressing us, but if we’re interested in raising our communities, we must know what was so attractive about this proposition that caused them to vote for it.

Many of the residents we’ve spoken to state that of the issues in our communities, public safety is of major importance. When they think of reduction in crime, they think “more cops.” We may ask “Why?” when we consider the mounds of data that suggest that adding cops doesn’t curb crime, but our people’s experience is often that “police presence” equals “Ray Ray is gon’ take his shady bizness on ‘round the corner.”

Our people aren’t lost on the fact that oppression creates crime on a broad, macroscale. But down here on the ground, our people feel like more cops keep more teddy bears from being tied to trees.

So how can we work with our communities in ensuring that our experiences are reflected in progressive policy? We engage.

First of all, we LISTEN to our people and COMMIT to working for us. What are our collective concerns? Where can we meet? How can we represent the concerns of the people from the North Side elder property owner to the Midtown socialite? How can we craft a strategy that addresses a myriad of Black concerns and isolates no one? These are the questions we should ask while we get game from our friends, cousins, neighbors, local shop owners, and fellow community members.

Other means of engagements include voter rights and education drives. These inform our people of the importance of voicing our collective concerns, and empower us with information about how to vote, and the issues of each election. Sample ballots for upcoming elections give our people clear-cut advice on how to vote, from trusted sources.

And not only are we engaging folks in the streets, but we also engage each other; simply put, we ORGANIZE. We build strategies. We fit the right people in the right spots to accomplish objectives. We make sure we adhere to our activist commitments. We must see ourselves, truly, as members of the community we are politicizing.

Black Men Ain’t a Problem and Black Women Ain’t to Blame

By S. Christopher Emerson

I totally agree with several negative analyses of the continued debate, and unfortunate wellspring of poor-written thinkpieces on the pervasive “Why Black men are so weak/problematic.” But first off, we’re just going to establish that the premise is GAH-bage.

The latest attempt to some how victimize Black men at the hands of Black women is a lazy musing called “Black women create the men they complain about.” I’m NOT going to link that rubbish here, but you’re welcome to check it out.

How a Black man could fix his mouth, pen or fingers to diminish himself and ALL the rest of us is the height of mental weakness. We understand allowing oneself to be vulnerable in a piece. But reducing “Black men” to coddled grown children is just silly. I’m only addressing it because it KEEPS coming up.

And then, blaming, you guessed it, Black women is awesomely dull and ignores, at the very least, the last 500 years of Black resilience in the face of the worst slave holocaust know to this current world. Bruh, get it together.

Quite frankly, blaming any Black demographic over another is just flat out lazy ass, unaccountable and divisive thinking, especially when the core of our issues can EASILY be traced back to European/White oppression. What historical event interrupted social and spiritual traditions, broke families and communities up, brutalized our people and caused us to distrust each other. Damn right , slavery; or did we forget?

Our problems are OUR COLLECTIVE PROBLEMS and we solve them together, not blame each other. White oppression doesn’t care if Black folks are male Black folks or female Black folks or blended/non-binary Black folks; we’re all a threat to White dominance. Especially when we’re united, and being solution-bearing in our criticisms. Anything less is textbook niggerdom.

Before I go forward, I’m going to admit that I didn’t give the reading a serious treatment because it’s poorly-written and its premise is ill-conceived, jumbled and stream-of-consciousness. But since there wasn’t any measurable degree of sophistication save the couple of paragraphs of conjecture he pulled out of his long-term memory sphincter to the “essay,” I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anything.

Now, the second argument… Yes, while I understand how some men can feel that women use their platforms to openly bash Black men, that thinking IS based in misogynoir. Men, in particular, Black men, are so busy victimizing ourselves per euro/american oppression (and time-honored widespread societal “buck breaking”), that we can’t see the oppression that we cause Black women. While Black woman presence in academic and social platforms has increased, Black men have already been there, and have other platforms from which to politicize our views, namely sports/entertainment and government. Considering the restricted, unfulfilled voice Black men have had in these areas, Black women have historically had an even smaller one.

Also, I’ve realized that what Black men often perceive as “bashing,” very often (but not always) amounts to defense, or being “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” We feel pain from Black women’s criticisms because they are intended to make a dent in us, but we should use that feeling to get us to understand that if WE, as Black men, feel this much pain, the place of pain from which it originates in Black women MUST be far deeper and painful.

Many Black men have been complicit in patriarchy, so while we fight for racial equity, gender equity is still nebulous and yet to be attained. If we TRULY understand the notion of “raising the race,” then we ought to be highly sensitive to the plight of Black women in oppressive systems built and maintained by White men that, above all, benefit, White men, and fight against ALL of those oppressive systems, to make them equitable.

We gotta be accountable for our own mistakes, and work with our sistas to get free y’all. That’s all I’m sayin’ here.

Information on Proposition P

By MCNS Staff

Name: Proposition P: St. Louis Public Safety Sales Tax

The ballot question is as follows:

“Shall the City of St. Louis impose a sales tax at a rate of one half of one percent, solely for the purpose of providing revenues for the operation of the department of public safety, including hiring more police officers, police and firefighter compensation, and enhanced law enforcement services?”

YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION

NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION

St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners, “November 2017 Sample Ballot,” accessed October 21, 2017

Breakdown:

How much would Proposition P raise?

*If approved by voters, the measure would raise an estimated $19.5 million annually from the sales tax and $3.9 million from a corresponding increase in the use tax.

How would the funds from Proposition P be distributed?

*Approximately $12.8 million (2/3 of revenue raised) would go to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to raise starting pay from $42,000 to $52,000, to compete with St. Louis County and other municipalities and to hire an additional 100 officers.

*Approximately $5.4 million allocated to the St. Louis Fire Department to retain and attract top quality firefighters.

*Approximately $1.5 million allocated to the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

*An additional $3.9 million from a corresponding half-cent increase in the city’s business use tax would fund after-school programs and summer jobs, recreation, social work, and mental health programs.

-Approximately $975,000 for after-school programs and summer jobs.

-Approximately $975,000 for social work and mental health.

-Approximately $975,000 for recreation programming.

-Approximately $675,000 for building demolition.

http://www.kmov.com/story/36664759/st-louis-voters-undecided-on-next-prop-p-vote

Recommendation:

  1. First, the tax is a sales tax increase, which means that the people would shoulder the burden, and a half cent sales tax increase is far more of a burden for communities of color and other disenfranchised folks than for middle- and upper-income people. If people are so interested in raising funds, one way to raise them could be to add to the taxes of those who can afford it.

Also, let’s keep in mind that the city’s police have had a particular history of oppression, brutality, excessive force and insensitivity to Black folks and other communities of color, most recent displayed during protests against the not guilty verdict of Jason Stockley. Stockley is a police officer who was videoed stating that he was going to kill a Black man, and then, a few minutes later, followed through on his promise.

Per the Stockley example and countless others like it, Proposition P is essentially asking the people who are hurt and killed by unjust and corrupt police to pay their abusers more money to continue the injustice . Nah Son.