About Andrew T.

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The Problem(s) With the Skittles Comparison

The Problem With the Skittles Comparison

In the recent immigration debate, I’ve seen/heard this argument:

skittles

Here’s three points against that argument. (Feel free to try these at home or on facebook!)

  1. People are not actually candy.

This fact alone should be enough to disprove the argument, but just in case, please proceed to number 2.

2. In this argument, you only risk your own life.

This argument proposes that you could make yourself seriously ill or die if you take the chance and reach into this bag of skittles. But again, since it’s a bag of candy, you are the only one taking a risk here. You can always buy another bag of skittles.

But for the 65 million refugees out there, the risk is real. Not taking a chance on the overwhelming majority who are seeking to escape prosecution and war is putting them all in danger. It’s not just your life.

3. Skittles Are Delicious.

Have you had some recently? I’ve tried all the flavors, wild berry, sour, tropical…they’re all different and all delicious. I’ve still many flavors to try and I hope to do so as soon as possible. The world is full of skittles all of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Each one I encounter expands my view of the world and makes it more beautiful. I think it might do so for everyone else.

In conclusion, the skittles metaphor attempts to reduce an extremely complex subject into a meme by removing humanity. If we truly want a better country for ourselves, we must lead off by thinking of what others can bring. We’ve had refugees that have contributed greatly to our culture like that little known Albert Einstein. Opening up the door to others can open up doors for ourselves as well.

So the next time someone uses this meme as a comparison, bring up these points, remind them of E=MC2  and tell them to enjoy a damn bag of skittles.

America’s Play 3/9-3/16

Featured

Welcome to the America plays! A weekly play about the top story or stories in America last week. This week it’s all about trump!  Without further ado:

What  About Trump?

Characters

AMIR, 20’s, Black/Hispanic Male

RICO, 20’s, Caucasian Male

 

(Lights Up)

(AMIR is sitting on the couch in the living room, eating cereal in front of his laptop. He wears a “Make America Great Again” t-shirt. RICO enters, wearing a #FEELTHEBERN t-shirt)

 

RICO

Hey, Amir!

AMIR

Hey, Rico, did you get my text about Nancy Reagan?

RICO

I think so.

(Walks to his room offstage.)

 

AMIR

And?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

I got it.

 

AMIR

I meant…how’d you feel about it?

 

RICO

(From offstage)

Oh, it was, uh, a shame. She was a credit to our nation.

(Enters the living room)

Now, can we talk about tonight?

 

AMIR

I actually wanted to talk about Turkey…

 

RICO

Later, we have to hurry up if we’re going to make the rally in…

(Notices Amir’s shirt)

What are you wearing?

 

AMIR

(Looks down, smiles)

Oh, it’s a new Trump t-shirt. It just came in the mail today!

 

RICO

Why are you wearing it?

 

AMIR

Because I support Donald Trump. Duh.

RICO

Why would you support him???

 

AMIR

Lots of reasons. He’s charismatic, popular and has a strong message. Kind of like Obama back in ‘08.

 

RICO

This is a joke, right?

(Rico laughs as Amir stares at him)

You’re messing with me!

(Rico laughs harder as Amir stares)

There’s no way in hell you would even consider voting for that guy.

 

AMIR

(Puts down cereal. Calm.)

Rico. I don’t see why you are having so much trouble taking my choice seriously.

 

RICO

Because you can’t be a Trump supporter!

 

AMIR

Why not?

 

RICO
(Motions his arm up and down Amir’s body)

 

AMIR

Because of my height?

 

RICO

You are black and hispanic! Trump is racist!

 

AMIR

How so?

 

RICO

Remember that stuff he said about Mexicans being violent?

 

AMIR

When did he say that?

 

RICO

Like six months ago!

 

AMIR

That’s so long ago, man. I remember Beyonce’s choreography at the superbowl more clearly. And besides, I’m not Mexican.

 

RICO

He wanted to deport Muslims!

 

AMIR

I’m not Muslim, I’m Catholic.

 

RICO

He insulted a woman over her looks!

 

AMIR

That’s just sexist.

RICO

(Frustrated)

You can make all the excuses for Trump that you’d like, but you can’t deny his supporters are a problem. The other day a guy was elbowed—in the face—at a Trump rally.

 

AMIR

I saw that. Old guy has a mean arm.

 

RICO

See?

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

His fans are out of control.

 

AMIR

And that means I shouldn’t vote for Trump.

 

RICO

Yes!

 

AMIR

Rico…let me put it like this. Imagine if you go to a concert for your favorite band.

 

RICO

Twenty-one pilots!

 

AMIR

Sure. Anyway, let’s say a fan at the concert stabs you in the stomach today.

 

RICO

Jesus!

 

AMIR

If that happened, what would you say?

 

RICO

That the guy was crazy!

 

AMIR

It could be a girl. Don’t be sexist!

 

RICO

What’s your point?

 

AMIR

When you get stabbed…

 

RICO

If!

 

AMIR

After the stabbing, would you stop listening to the band?

 

RICO

No.

 

AMIR

Exactly. So if a stabbing  by one person at a concert won’t stop you from listening to music, why should one angry fan end my support for Trump?

 

RICO

(stops, considers this point. Then shakes his head)

I’m not going to the rally with you while you’re wearing that shirt.

 

AMIR

Fine. If it makes you that uncomfortable, I’ll change.

(Amir removes his t-shirt and reveals a blacklivesmatter t-shirt)

 

RICO

What the hell?

AMIR

Huh?

 

RICO

You’re wearing a blacklivesmatter t-shirt!

 

AMIR

Yes. Cause I think blacklivesmatter, especially mine.

 

RICO

How can you be a Trump fan and support blacklivesmatter? They’re enemies.

 

AMIR

But they’re so similar.

 

RICO

In what universe is the trump campaign similar to the blacklivesmatter movement?!

 

AMIR

You just proved it!

RICO

HOW?!

 

AMIR

Anger. Blacklivesmatter supporters are angry. Trump supporters are angry. Aren’t you angry?

 

RICO

A little.

 

AMIR

We have two strong political movements that desire strong outcomes, massive change and have millions of passionate supporters. They both come at a critical time in our history. And their t-shirts are cool as hell! The goals are different in some places, I admit, but both groups are standing on the edge of a deep valley of values and reason. If they’re both so close to the edge, why do they have to stand on opposite sides?

(Beat.)

 

RICO

I need to lie down.

 

AMIR

What about the rally?

 

RICO

I’m not going with you!

 

AMIR

Cause of my shirt? I can just change to my Kanye West shirt if you’d like.

 

RICO

This isn’t just about a shirt. You can’t just wear Trump and take it off the moment you get tired of it.

 

AMIR

If I get tired of him.

 

RICO

Listen, Amir. I’m genuinely scared.

 

AMIR

Me too. But Trump is going to make America great again.

 

RICO

When’s the last time we were even great?

 

AMIR

I used to think that we were always great, but now I’m thinking it happened when Bush was in office…

 

RICO

I’m terrified for you, Amir. What if some people think Trump winning is a sign? To indulge in their worst viewpoints? To say whatever you want, no matter how negative it is? To stab me?

 

AMIR

Trump will take care of it. He has to.

 

RICO

He’ll just deny his involvement like he always does.

 

AMIR

It won’t matter. He’ll be blamed anyway. It’s always the President’s fault when something bad happens. Thanks to Obama.

 

RICO

Wait. Wait. Are you saying we’d blame Trump for everything that goes wrong?

 

AMIR

I also said, Thanks Obama.

 

RICO

(processing)

If Trump screws up, we’ll hate him. He’d be destroyed day by day….

 

AMIR

If he fails.

 

RICO

He will! Trump has no specifics, broad policies, simple rhetoric…he might be the worst President we’ve ever had! And then…oh my god…people will see that anger gets them nowhere. They’ll see the error of their ways! They’ll finally feel ready to feel the bern!

(grabs amir’s trump tshirt)

Can I borrow this?

(Amir nods)

I’m going to make sure Trump gets elected. Is there a Trump rally nearby tonight? I’ll text Constance and find out…

(Sends text)

 

AMIR

Rico?

 

RICO

Yeah?

 

AMIR

I was just messing with you.

 

RICO

What?

 

AMIR

This whole Trump thing was joke.

 

RICO

A joke that went on for that long?

 

AMIR

Yes.

 

RICO

You were very convincing.

 

AMIR

I took those improv classes.

 

RICO

Are you sure?

 

AMIR

Come on. I compared the blacklivesmatter movement to Trump’s campaign. That should have been a dead giveaway.

 

RICO

But why?

 

AMIR

You’ve haven’t been answering my texts about anything that doesn’t have to do with the election.I did this all to get you to pay attention.

 

RICO

What did I miss?

 

AMIR

Nancy Reagan was a blip on the radar to you. Migrants died leaving Syria. Ankara…

 

RICO

(distracted)

Oh, I get it. You come up with these crazy stories because you don’t want Trump to fail.

 

AMIR

What?

 

RICO

Well, newsflash, Amir! I’ve got to pay more attention to him now. Prop him up as high as he can go, so we can knock him down.

 

AMIR

But while you’re setting up this game, what else are you gonna miss?

 

RICO

(Getting text)

Constance has a rally spot! You coming?

 

AMIR

No, man. I’m not.

 

RICO

(goes to exit)

Suit yourself! Here I come, Drumpf!

 

AMIR

Rico!

 

RICO

(stops, turns back to Amir)

Yes.

 

AMIR

Could you…at least check in on Ankara for me?

 

RICO

Who’s Ankara?

(Rico Exits. Amir stands there and sighs. He takes off his blacklivesmatter shirt to reveal a shirt with the Turkish flag on it.)

Blackout

End of Play.

 

I’m Black and I’m…Quiet?

It’s weird…I didn’t see any police being attacked by Beyonce albums today. Could this be because Beyonce’s halftime show was not just about inciting violence against police officers?

No, that’s crazy.

Beyonce’s halftime show was big and energetic, with crazy costumes and gravity itself tripping on Beyonce’s dance moves.  But it was the theme of her halftime show that was the most talked about. The outfits that paid homage to the black panther movement. The word negro sung repeatedly in front of a stadium full of people. And the main song of her act, “Formation” connected to a music video that depicts a New Orleans cop car underwater. Many critics put the pieces together and drew their own conclusions.

Since I believe in the freedom of speech, I’m highlighting my favorite comments, and adding my own commentary:

From Former Mayor Giuliani,

“I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” – Giuliani

(Because Negro is a secret code word for attack, obviously)

To Facebook commenters:
“Rise above and stay above the strife. For a girl who grew up in a privileged, wealthy family, she has no business pandering to those who didn’t.”-facebook commenter

(If you have money, you can’t comment on society. That’s just how it goes.)

And as of now, there’s even  petition to ban Beyonce from performing:

In Beyonce’s newest music video which was just released, she is shown drowning a police car. Her video is disgraceful. Why should she be able to perform on the same field as the great men of the New York Mets?

(The first thing I think of when I see A New Orleans cop car underwater is Hurricane Katrina for some reason. But I can see why you would confuse that with drowning.

P.S. And I’m a huge Mets fan from Queens but I’ve never heard anyone refer to them as great men. Thanks!)

 

Overall, I love that this is such a big topic. Because every article, good or bad, about Beyonce’s performance has the potential to bring more attention to issues affecting the black community. But the thing is-none of the above critiques were ABOUT her performance-just the content of the performance. Which is troubling. If kids of any race, creed, or orientation are seeing that an international celeb is being criticized and potentially boycotting for trying to make a statement, they may become more fearful of expressing their own strong opinions. What’s the point if people are going to shut it out?

Fortunately, I have no doubt Beyonce will take this all in stride. She’s Beyonce. But it bothers me tonight. Will I get attacked for making a Facebook status about blacklivesmatter? Could a tweet about the black panthers get a police officer angry at me?Will this article get me banned from my local Trader Joe’s? The fact is: at the end of the day, I”m going to say what’s really on my mind.

If I’m quiet…who’s going to make jokes about the Mets?

(And commentary about blacks in society.)

 

#Grief

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In the latest of a series of gun related incidents, a man shot a reporter, photographer and witness, killing two of them before turning the gun on himself. I followed the story closely all day from my office as the tragic details emerged. But as the details came in, so did posts like these:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.31.38 PM

That got responses like this

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.34.18 PM
People were outraged to see a debate about gun violence so close to the incident. And their rage is completely understandable.

I want you to imagine that you’re in middle school. The resident bully sets up an elaborate prank wherein you are drenched with spoiled milk in front of your crush.  In the moments following this series of events, people start yelling about how bad bullying is, what a waste of milk that was and how this is a sign of the broken American school system. Now I ask you, do you care more about those arguments or the fact that you’ve lost your crush forever?

Look at it from this angle as well. People in the cafeteria are emotional, screaming and yelling at each other. When they’re calmed down by the aide, their feelings of rage go away-along with the energy to protest. Even worse, maybe their opinions, as well formed as they are, are invalidated as emotional ramblings. Maybe if they had waited until they were outside of the cafeteria, more people wouldn’t be in danger of rotten milk-but we can’t know for sure. Unfortunately, we deal with much bigger things than that every day.
When people use tragedies to support their causes so close to a horrible event, it can ignite others to take a stand as well. And that is important. But even more important are the lives of those directly affected. The families of the shooting victims need support the day of, not through angry tweets and yelling, but  with kindness and dignity.

Give them time to grieve.

Yes, gun violence, race issues, mental health are all topics that need to be discussed. Let us do that-after the memorial service. Maybe you’ll argue that no one will care if we wait long after a specific incident.  If that’s true, then you must take it upon yourself to remind people when they begin to forget. That’s why there’s #blacklivesmatter, #itgetsbetter, #heforshe. Not just for one singular tragedy. But to to raise awareness. To show we are fighting a long battle that we won’t win right away. To remember.

But we can do that all very soon. Right now, send your love and good feelings to the families and everyone at #WDJB. Because right now isn’t about mental illness, racial issues or gun violence.

It’s about healing.

It’s about community.
It’s about grief.

Carson’s Answer About Race: Big Applause for a Small Answer

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At the beginning, I was enjoying the circus that was the Republican debate last night. But as the jabs at Hillary and uncomfortable comments about women’s rights to their bodies mounted up, it became less funny by the minute. All of a sudden, a question about the #blacklivesmatter movement was asked and it got…one answer. Then straight to commercial. And that commercial? A Straight Outta Compton trailer. I thought that this was the most angry I’d get last night.

I was wrong.

Later on in the debate, Ben Carson was asked what he would do to help the racial divide in the country. (yes, they asked the black candidate about this issue, a whole other thing in itself). Ben’s answer specifically to what he would do was:
“The skin…The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that. Our strength comes from our unity. We are the United States of America, not the divided states. Those who want to destroy us are trying to divide us, and we shouldn’t let them do it.”

Now, on the surface this sounds like a well-constructed and great message. Carson points out that we should evaluate people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We can succeed if we unify ourselves and become one. And we shouldn’t let people divide us by racial lines. It all sounds nice, but as Jon Stewart said in his closing monologue (Daily show!), you’ve gotta pay attention to the bullshit.

The speech that Ben Carson gave not only avoided the question completely by being so hopelessly general, but is essentially a remix of the I Have A Dream speech. Carson wants us to look inside and overcome! This is a nice sentiment, but the fact is, we need a much more substantial answer than that. At least Scott Walker, when given less than a minute to answer the #blacklivesmatter question, mentioned specifically that police officers should be better trained for these crises. Ben Carson’s answer didn’t contain any concrete answers. This is not to take anything from Dr. King’s powerful and moving messages years ago. His words were exactly what we needed for the time, and King clearly backed that up with non-violent protests. Carson’s response are nothing more than words, air that is sure to dissapate if he ever achieved the high office.

It’s sad, because to some point, I agree with Carson. I want a nation where we look beyond skin, hair, gender, sexuality, ability and all other lines that divide us to unite us all. However, when Carson makes statements like, “I don’t talk about race because I’m a neurologist”, I lose all hope that he actually has a plan to get to the vision of that nation. I’m no stranger to politicians not living up to their promises. Every politician makes at least one promise they can’t keep. But when a black man does not have a solid answer for a problem in the black community that has become so prevalent in the last few years-I’m disappointed, to say the least.

The debate last night showed me a side of the political spectrum that I’m used to putting aside simply because I don’t like to listen. But last night showed me that I should start. Yes, it’s likely at this point that we’ll have a Democratic house in 2016. On paper, both parties still have a 50/50 shot at power. We can hope for Bernie Sanders and other independents, but history has shown that they are usually distractions for the main candidates. As both the Republicans and Democrats still have a strong chance for office, I can’t ignore the statements they made about race last night.

“#blacklives matter for less than two minutes of the debate. Let’s direct the question to the black candidate to put the pressure on him to deliver. Smile as he says nice words with no substance.

Now let’s make fun of Hillary Clinton again.” -Fox News.