To the Honorable Justice Roberts

Can a woman have an abortion without interference from the government? Regardless of your beliefs of what constitutes life, should the government be able to tell women that they must continue in pregnancy if they do not want to? If so, why? In the 1st draft of Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Alito writes, “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” Does the Constitution allow for the government to interfere in medical matters that aren’t a public health concern? Justice Alito further writes that, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” What are those damaging consequences? He never bothers to list them, so we’ll never know.

The opinion states that the Court must, “examine whether the right at issue in this case is rooted in our Nation’s history and tradition and whether it is an essential component of what we have described as ‘ordered liberty’.” The problem is our country doesn’t have a long history of respecting women’s bodily autonomy or citizenship, so is it any surprise that an exclusively female issue has had one dimensional representation in our history? Were women allowed to write medical opinions or try cases in 1732 and 1602 (the years when the court cases -that Alito quotes from- took place)? How could something be a part of our Nation’s history and tradition when true deliberation on the matter excluded 50% of the population? What legal voice did women have in 18th century America? Was it equal to men? While disappointing, it would be no surprise if the court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, as our country’s courts have had a long tradition of discrimination on the basis of sex.

In another Supreme Court case, Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford (1891), Justice Gray writes, ‘No right is held more sacred or is more carefully guarded by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person…’. He goes on to quote Judge Cooley: ‘The right to one’s person may be said to be a right of complete immunity; to be let alone.‘ What I think Justice Alito and those in agreement with him miss is that abortion is not a public conversation, it’s a private one. No government should be able to tell anyone what they must do with their bodies. And to take the point further, no government should be able to make someone take on risk without their consent. Some of the so called anti-abortion laws limit the time to obtain an abortion to six weeks, others don’t allow it in the case of rape/incest. What the court doesn’t acknowledge is the risk of pregnancy.

I was 20 weeks pregnant. I had a short cervix and, according to my doctors, was showing signs that I wasn’t going to make it to full term. This was my first pregnancy. I was 32. He explained to me that I could get an abortion and try again or I can wait it out. If I waited it out and the baby was delivered prematurely, the health risks would be immense for the newborn and there was a chance the child or I or both of us wouldn’t survive. I had a preexisting condition of large fibroids which made the situation worse. The bleeding from the fibroids could cause me to lose too much blood. If my home state had strict abortion laws on the books, the choice of whether to continue the pregnancy or not would not be mine to make.

The Supreme Court has a responsibility to protect choice, not because of precedent, but because the State does not have the authority to determine the risk that a woman must take if she becomes pregnant. It shouldn’t just be matters of life and death. It could be matters of future fertility, physical health, or mental capacity. Problems can arise at any time during pregnancy, not just before six or fifteen weeks.

The Court has a responsibility to start a new tradition in American history. One that respects women’s bodily autonomy. In our past, where you lived determined much of the freedom you could enjoy as a woman. We need to make a decision to end that tradition now.

updated 8/5/2022

I’ll support BLM, but not with money

It pains me to write this post. I have been nagged by the thought of writing this for years. I was hesitant to move forward because my criticism is directed toward a black female led organization. It’s quite a thing to stand on the other side and look up and see what could be your own reflection. I was moved to write this after watching a thoughtful video on the subject of financial transparency within BLM (specifically, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation). I decided to compile my research and get it out, once and for all.

For the past couple of years, BLMGNF has used a fiscal sponsor, Thousands Currents (formerly IDEX) to manage its finances. This is typical of new non-profits that have yet to receive 501(c)3 status, without which they are unable to receive contributions directly. Thousands Currents reports the sponsored organization’s financials with theirs. This was the only way to discern how BLMGNF has used monies received so far and the details are beyond disheartening.

The earliest statement available from FY17 on the left and the latest, FY19 on the right.

The expenses related to BLMGNF are listed under ‘fiscal project’. For FY17, BLMGNF spent $674k on salaries, $333k on fees for service (i.e, consulting fees), $369k on travel and meals. To put that into meaningful context, these costs represent 55% of expenses in comparison to the 6.9% disbursed in grants for the same year. In contrast, their sponsor, Thousand Currents, had 30% of their costs go toward grants and less than half goes toward salaries, consultant fees and travel/meals. FY19 isn’t much better with 76% of costs being represented by salaries, consulting fees and travel/meals and only about 5% issued in grants.

What Does this Mean?

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation isn’t putting the money where their mouth is. It means that the mounting complaints about financial transparency are valid and worthy of investigation. It means that a couple of things need to happen in order for BLMGNF to regain legitimacy:

  1. Black Lives Matter Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit and it needs to behave like one. Thousands Currents stepped down as fiscal sponsor last summer and the Foundation partnered with a new one, the Tides Foundation, which means they won’t be filing their own 990 (the non profit version of a 1040). The magnitude of Tides’ operations means that BLMGNF’s financials will be enveloped within the larger organization making scrutiny close to impossible. An organization of this stature should function as a stand alone non-profit, file its own forms (as required by state and federal laws), and make those documents available on their website.
  2. Hire non profit professionals and identify them on the website. lists no staff names or e-mail. Legitimacy requires transparency. Is everyone working there family and friends? We don’t know. What are the roles within the organization and how do we reach them? We don’t know. There’s only two direct contact e-mails: for press and partnerships. There should be a clear idea of who does what. A community organization should make themselves available to the community for something other than donations and interviews.
  3. Assemble a board of directors who are experienced in the goals of the organization, are independent stakeholders and have control and oversight over the organization. It appears that Patrisse Khan Cullors, BLMGNF’s executive director, is the sole decision maker for matters pertaining to BLMGNF’s funding and direction. If something happens to her, what happens to the organization? The idea of decentralized leadership is one thing, but the practice isn’t being applied to their finances.

In the meantime, individuals should stop donating to the Foundation and instead send their contributions to local charities and organizations with proven track records. If you insist on giving to BLMGNF, specify the way in which your donation is to be used. General giving allows them to use the money for any number of purposes, but once you apply a purpose they are bound to use the money for that reason. If you cannot do this, don’t give.

Despite the claim on the website (, BLMGNF is not the one leading the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s just the one getting paid for it.

The Equality Act and why it shouldn’t pass

On the surface, the goal of H.R. 5: ‘To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes,’ is an important one. The Equality Act will amend portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the words ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation,’ which at first glance makes sense. All citizens deserve equal protection under the law. There’s no argument there, but upon further reading, the Act creates a hierarchy between sex and gender identity placing the latter at the top. Under the sections titled ‘Unlawful Employment Practices’ and ‘Other Unlawful Employment Practices,’ it states: ‘in a situation in which sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, individuals are recognized as qualified in accordance with their gender identity.‘ Gender identity is an individual’s internal sense of being male, female, neither or something in between. It is subjective and according to quite a few sources, expansive.

There are gender identities like pangender, which includes more than one gender identity and genderfluid, wherein an individual’s identity shifts between different genders. If a job specifically requests a person who identifies as a woman, would someone who’s pangender or genderfluid be able to apply or only those who identify exclusively as women? If a job indicates sex as a specific qualification because of the service population, for example, a position where an employee would be in regular contact with cisgendered women who suffered traumatic abuse or a role that works closely Jewish men, what consideration is made for the service population and whether or not their needs will be appropriately met?

Different gender identities have different lived experiences. Does that matter for sex specific occupations? Why or why not? What, if any, protections will the federal government make to ensure that the self-reported model is not abused?

Abuse is a very serious subject to address especially as it pertains to another amendment in the Equality Act:  ‘(with respect to gender identity) an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.‘ Again, there are a few gender identities which do not align with male or female, which facility should these individuals use? Is it fair that they should have to choose when those aligned with other gender identities do not? Are there concerns that people who are unwell or deceptive will identify as a specific gender for inappropriate purposes? Why or why not?

These questions, anchored not in transphobia or discrimination, are what’s holding the Equality Act back. To gain support, it will be necessary to: explain the shift from an objective standard to a subjective one, show how faith based employers will be able to meet the requirements without breaking with moral standards established within their beliefs and focus on why the country will be better.

Call me naïve, but I believe people can be convinced with a good argument or at the very least, they’ll be reduced to simply saying, ‘that’s just what I think/believe.’ It’s not enough to want to be on the right side of history, it’s even better to be clear about why it’s the right side.

Parler & Big Tech’s Control of Speech

There’s usually no monetary cost to post your thoughts online, but there’s definitely a price to pay. Being that more and more digital spaces are becoming the favored ground for public discourse, how much control should private interests have in deciding who’s on or offline?

Parler fell victim to its inability to moderate/remove content found offensive, not necessarily by its users, but by its service provider, Amazon Web Services. Last month, Amazon terminated Parler’s contract effectively pushing them offline. Parler’s return last week is a victory. I would prefer a business fail because it couldn’t make a mark in the market, rather than the gatekeepers threw them out.

Many people cheered when Trump was silenced online by numerous social media sites, some of the bans were pre-emptive, as the former president hadn’t broken any rules within the terms of service. This raises an important question: should we co-sign the ability of a handful of individuals to silence someone online? Google Chrome has approximately 64% of browser market share. If Google decides the content of your website is problematic or, better yet, you are problematic, without any interference, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (who retain controlling interest in Google and parent company, Alphabet) can teleport you to obscurity.

The people running spaces we think of as public (perhaps because they are “free”) are few, homogenous, and not serving the public interest. Alex Jones, Donald Trump, and others removal from Twitter had nothing to do with what people wanted or safety. It came down to the bottom line: they were bad for business. Turns out, Trump was right on this one. Lack of regulation has never served this country well. In order to clean the playing field, the government is going to have to help create boundaries because hoping that internet companies will draw lines when it affects their money is wishful thinking.

We need better. There are serious side effects to social media use, especially among pre-teens and teens. And if the Capitol Riot has taught us nothing, it showed what kind of actions can be galvanized online and on social media.

It’s not enough to encourage people to get off social media. It’s 2021. Capitalism will not let social media die. It’ll kill us before it does that.

Today in Who Cares: Rachel Kirkconnell and Chris Harrison

I don’t care about Rachael Kirkconnell or Chris Harrison. I don’t wish them ill. I hope that everyone is able to move on with their lives successfully, but they are not my primary concern. My concern is laser focused on micro-activism and it’s ugly older sister, retro-activism, once again stepping out all over social media, dressed up like social justice. For Kirkconnell, her misstep was taking pictures at an event while dressed in hoop skirt. The tweet claims it was an antebellum plantation themed formal, but without that description, just looking at the pictures, is that the conclusion you would have come to? Are we now convicting people of wearing the garb of a southern belle? And who, pray tell, are the BIPOCs who were so greatly offended by this picture?

According to reports, the event was organized by the Kappa Alpha Order, who had long since banned ‘Old South’ formals and renamed it, the Rose Ball. Under the guidance, Confederate imagery was no longer allowed, but dresses of the era were. Why does this matter? Because she (and Harrison for defending her) are being accused of upholding racist traditions. (I will say the only thing that Harrison is guilty of is the overuse of the word ‘woke’ in his conversation with former Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay).

Here’s what I don’t want: I don’t want the very serious allegation of upholding racist traditions to be muddled with wearing tulle and a bustle. I don’t want unseen faces in the media and entertainment news deciding what should be offensive. I’m sick of the very real problems that cause genuine harm to Black people being lumped together with absolute foolishness like this. To know American history, is to know that this is not what our forefathers and mothers fought for; this is not what they died for; this is not worthy of an apology. There is real work to be done and it actually seems to me that if someone really wanted to be racist, they would use ‘issues’ like this to help minimize what racism really is; help move the bar low enough so that we end up fighting for any and everything, looking like people that have no sense or discernment, perpetually antagonized. There’s something furiously insulting about this.

I use the term retro-activism to describe past events used to ‘hold someone accountable’ in the present day and micro-activism to describe small-minded focus on individuals in the fight for justice rather than on institutions and issues. As I said before, the problem with these practices are that they work, quickly and quite effectively. Kirkconnell issued an apology a few days ago and Harrison did the same, stating that he would be on hiatus for awhile from the show.

Great job everyone! Our lives are better! Thanks.

Was the Election Stolen? (the Michigan Edition)

I had been researching this article for some time with plans to post today. The events in DC make this entry in my blog feel more necessary. The integrity of our country’s presidential election has never been more scrutinized as it has been in recent weeks. Much has been made of the many losses that Trump’s team has suffered in the courts, but what can be said of the evidence which they touted publicly. One of those first pieces of evidence was a 234-page collection of affidavits from approximately 100 Michigan residents, many of whom volunteered to be poll watchers/election challengers. Inserted below are clippings from a handful of the statements:

The first thing I noticed was that repeated appearance of similar phrases in some of the statements, specifically: Throughout the day, I witnessed a pattern of chaos, intimidation, secrecy, and hostility by poll workers. You’ll see the phrase repeat three times in the images, (and a few more times in the entire document). The likelihood that multiple people would use the exact same words is slim to none. It suggests use of a template which, given the gravity of what’s being signed, strikes me as inappropriate.

Secondly, most of the affidavits offer opinions and observations, rather than facts. Many spoke on their personal difficulties during the poll watching process rather than observed fraud. A little over a dozen simply attested to the fact that they didn’t get to poll watch at all. Generally, comments went under two categories: 1) I thought what happened was strange and 2) what happened was not what I expected and I thought that was strange. This likely has to do with a lack of understanding regarding the vote counting process. For example, I’m asked to watch an electrician repair a light socket to make sure he doesn’t do anything sketchy. The first thing I should know is… how to repair a light socket. Unfortunately, many of these well meaning and passionate individuals didn’t understand what they were observing, but most importantly, quite a few didn’t understand their role.

Poll watchers are not the same as election challengers. Poll watchers are strictly allowed to observe, not challenge. Guidance from Michigan’s Secretary of State makes it clear that only election challengers can issue challenges. The types of challenges are specific as well, but perhaps the one most applicable is absent voter challenge which states: If an absent voter ballot is challenged, prepare the ballot as a challenged ballot and make a notation on the Challenged Voters page in the Pollbook. Proceed with routine processing and tabulation of the ballot.

Many of the affiants suspected fraud since ballots that were challenged were processed anyway, but the steps as described above, show that nothing was out of order. As a novice to the intricacies of vote counting, my thoughts on this are not definitive. I don’t assume that there were no errors, but the entirety of the document makes a poor case for elevation to the level of fraud.

As it turns out, the case made by the 100 affiants was so poor that none were chosen by Giuliani to be a star witness when he spoke before a panel of Michigan lawmakers. No, that distinction went to the now infamous Melissa Carone, whose appearance before Michigan representatives went viral.

In her affidavit, she states that, ‘I witnessed countless workers rescanning the batches without discarding them first, which resulted in ballots being counted 4-5 times’ and that she, ‘witnessed nothing but fraudulent actions take place.’ She attributes much of the fraud claim to ballots being counted over and over. The issue is that once a hand recount is done with the actual ballots, an error of this magnitude would be revealed because counters would only account for the one ballot. Again, the issue is that someone whose expertise is in another area (Ms. Carone served as an IT contractor during the election) is judging whether or not a process unfamiliar to them is accurate or not.

The reality is her testimony doesn’t add up…but the ballots do.

Bleeding Red

In the days since the election, the conversation surrounding use of force by police has quieted some. The death of Walter Wallace Jr in Philadelphia and the subsequent release of bodycam video forces us to revisit the issue and this time, with a different perspective. Wallace Jr’s family has asked that the officers not be charged with murder as they were not trained and properly equipped to deal with the situation.

Quite magnanimous and a shift from families who, understandably, demand indictments and convictions. And while the district attorney will decide whether to press charges, who determines how are officers are trained and equipped? Wallace Jr’s officers didn’t have tasers. In the video, a woman can be heard yelling, ‘he’s mental!’ What changed in how the officers approached him? The police involved with George Floyd observed his distress and erratic behavior. What shifted in their treatment of him?

Answers to these questions matter if you believe civilians shouldn’t necessarily die for suffering from mental health issues or drug induced impairment. We are, after all, in the midst of an opioid crisis. ‘Comply and you won’t die,’ assumes that all who are in contact with police are able to follow orders. The Wallace family’s comments addresses a crucial need: retraining of police and properly equipping law enforcement, and indirectly, the need to educate communities on safe interactions with police.

A two-prong approach recognizes that both parties have a responsibility in avoiding, as much as possible, a fatal incident; it is possible to say that Officer Sheskey didn’t need to shoot seven times (or at all) and also say that Jacob Blake shouldn’t have resisted arrest; we can say that police misconduct and abuse exist and that it needs to be addressed and at the same time still respect officers and the sacrifices they make.

We can also admit that death by the hands of law enforcement is a rare occurrence. Roughly 1,000 Americans died in police shootings in 2015, representing .00031% of the general population. Around 25% of those killed are black men even though (in 2015) black men were only 6.6% of the general population. White men are also disproportionately represented, though not as drastically, at 32% of general population in 2015, but nearly 48% of victims. The vast majority of those killed are male (95%), but the conclusions the media makes about black male deaths (i.e, police officer bias and racism) aren’t made as it pertains to sex. Men make up 49% of the United States’ population, but account for nearly all of those killed by police. Is that also a matter of bias? Are police using more force against men as they assume men are more likely to be dangerous? Does disproportionateness automatically prove bias?

Use of force (lethal or otherwise) by police is sorely (un)(under)reported, but numbers alone aren’t enough to address matters of injustice and lack of accountability.

@theEllenShow and the Pitch Perfect Apology

I give apologies seriously, not carelessly. I’m not a fan of saying sorry ‘just because’, which is why I took an interest in Ellen’s first show since the accusations surfaced this summer of a toxic workplace environment.

It all started, mean spiritedly enough, in March with a tweet from podcast host, Kevin Porter soliciting horror stories about DeGeneres:

Don’t bother clicking the image. I didn’t link to this foolishness.

This is Twitter, so there’s no way to sift through what’s real, what’s saltiness dressed up as social justice and what’s simply a lie.

A few fell into the category of discernibly believable:

Only two are first-hand, the others are something that happened to someone else🙄. Based on the virality of the post, you might have been left with the impression there were hundreds of juicy replies. This tweet, after all, triggered something much greater…but no. The vast majority were the written version of rubber-necking and a very slim minority were people confusing being likable (how you are with people) and being kind (what you do for people).

It’s normal to think that someone’s persona is who they actually are, but what it seems like and what it is are two different things. Ellen, or anyone for that matter, should not be tasked with being everyone’s friend. Behavior which we engage in to protect ourselves or draw boundaries, might not be perceived as nice by outsiders. What should we do then?

I don’t know Ellen DeGeneres personally, but I do know that a little over twenty years ago, she took a tremendous professional and personal risk by coming out. Perhaps that experience shifted how she deals with people. Whether it’s right or wrong isn’t really the point. It comes down to who has she hurt? If the Buzzfeed articles are to be believed, no one.

One ex-staffer is quoted as saying: “People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,”

A few even stated that ‘they don’t think DeGeneres is aware of the scope of what goes on behind the scenes because she doesn’t spend enough time in the office or interacting with the staff to have a strong sense of the culture‘.

It turns out the best thing that’s come out of this situation is the ousting of a handful of executive producers: Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman and Kevin Leman, who were mentioned in nearly all the accusations of inappropriate and/or toxic behavior in Buzzfeed’s articles. The next best thing is Ellen taking responsibility for the workplace environment. She is in the best position to change the culture because this is her show. She addresses everything pretty clearly in the season opener:

The peanut gallery has complained that she’s joking and that’s inappropriate and that the apology was insincere and that she’s not addressing what she’s done that’s hurt people, but I would argue that she wisely stayed away from that. Apologizing to people would open a Pandora’s box of randos coming out of the woodwork to demand redress from slights from years prior. Genuine harm is worth addressing. She admittedly erred in not cultivating relationships with all her staff and isolating herself from the culture at her own show, but she committed to changing that. We’ll see…

(Side note: I do think Twitch’s promotion was pandering a bit, but I’m not going to go hard on black man getting a huge opportunity.)

Reflecting on Ellen’s situation, I thought about the last time a host had to make a public apology:

Extortion? Affairs with staff? Hilarious!

The behavior is 100% more repugnant, but was received with hardly any backlash. I wonder why?

90% of ‘Cuties’ critics haven’t seen it (spoiler alert!)

Netflix has caused quite an uproar with its release of ‘Cuties,’ a film by French-Sengalese director, Maïmouna Doucouré. The story follows preteen Amy as she desperately seeks acceptance from her obnoxious peers and painfully navigates what she thinks it means to be a woman in the age of social media. Amy, as a recent immigrant, is faced with two perceptions of womanhood; one, (represented by her friends) where ‘being grown’ means sounding and looking like it, hence the tight, short clothes and coarse language that Amy tries to emulate and the other option (represented by her Muslim family), where being a woman means marriage and marriage means listening to your mother cry as she has to feign joy at delivering the news about her husband taking a second wife. Is it any wonder that Amy gravitated toward the former?

Amy and her friends attempts at ‘grown pose’ are met with derision by the older boys they try to flirt with and disgust by the adults who boo them in the movie’s penultimate scene. Amy, in the end, rejects the two options presented to her throughout the film and chooses one of her own, which I believe, makes for a happy ending.

Most of the critics (comprised mainly of people who haven’t seen the film) charge that it exploits young girls and is child pornography. One of those critics, Sen. Ted Cruz, requested that the Attorney General investigate Netflix for its release of the film.

Sen. Cruz’s letter falsely claims there was a scene exposing a child’s breast.

Senator Cruz references 18 U.S. Code § 2251 and 2252 as the basis for his request. Other detractors have cited the Dost test, which is a six-point guideline used by U.S. courts to determine whether or not a visual depiction is lascivious. But to really get at the core of the issue, it’s best to look at 18 U.S. Code § 2256, which gives definitions. First, how does the Code define child pornography:

(8) “child pornography” means any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where— (A) the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; (B) such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or (C) such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Looks like we need to define sexually explicit conduct:

(A)Except as provided in subparagraph (B), “sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated—(i)sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex;(ii)bestiality;(iii)masturbation;(iv)sadistic or masochistic abuse; or(v)lascivious exhibition of the anus, genitals, or pubic area of any person;

(B)For purposes of subsection 8(B) [1] of this section, “sexually explicit conduct” means—(i)graphic sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or lascivious simulated sexual intercourse where the genitals, breast, or pubic area of any person is exhibited;(ii)graphic or lascivious simulated;(I)bestiality;(II)masturbation; or(III)sadistic or masochistic abuse; or(iii)graphic or simulated lascivious exhibition of the anus, genitals, or pubic area of any person;

It’s a lot of words, but it’s necessary given the sensitivity of the subject. So, what do I know for sure? ‘Cuties’ is not child pornography. The Dost test was created to determine what depictions fall into the category of ‘graphic or simulated lascivious exhibition of the anus, genitals, or pubic area of any person.’ At no point in ‘Cuties’ are any of the young actors nude, so at no time are their private parts displayed. A montage in the movie, however, shows close-ups of the dance troupe’s pelvises thrusting, backsides swaying and hips gyrating, so quite a few people have determine that this meets the standard in the test (it doesn’t). But, let’s say it does…

What about this? She’s 10.

And this? She’s 15.

This one’s a classic. She’s 12 here.

This one got rave reviews and won a couple of Oscars. Oh…and she’s 10.

I don’t know if there were charges of child exploitation when any of those performances came out. It doesn’t matter since the statute of limitations has likely passed. My point isn’t to focus on criminality, but on the uncomfortable-ness that people feel watching young girls strike suggestive poses. That discomfort was an important part of what made ‘Cuties’ so impactful. You’re not supposed to feel good watching. We should feel unnerved.

Folks are mad about what they read and heard about a movie, but dry-eyed and tight lipped about what’s happening to our girls in real-life and that to me is the real crime.

Where Are All the Black Non-Liberals?

It appears, they’re all somewhere on YouTube. If you’re a click hole fiend like me, your recommendations list has been populated with some interesting suggestions. Aba & Preach? Yes! Classically Abby? Not so much…

The times we’re living in has me consuming more socially and politically charged content, diverse opinions all along the spectrum, but my discoveries made one thing very apparent: if you are looking for conservative or moderate black representation on network TV, it’s slim pickings. Yes, there’s Juan Williams and Harris Faulkner, but that’s cable and even then, there’s only two. There’s something conspiratorial about the lack of right-leaning (or even middle of the road) black voices on major networks.

We know they exist, and perhaps, their presence would be especially helpful in debunking the myth that Black people are largely Democrats and liberal. It would be interesting to hear conversation about issues affecting minority communities from a minority who isn’t bleeding blue. The topics worthy of discussion are complicated and multi-faceted and would only benefit from varied perspectives.

But maybe there’s a reason why that’s not desirable on network TV…