An ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, “omission” or “falling short”) is a series of dots (typically three, such as “…”) that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.
I learned a long time ago that this is all an ellipsis is for. However, if you are like me sometimes you like to write dramatic pauses into your written conversations and musings and therefore require something stronger than a comma. I believe a dash can be used in some instances, but it never felt right to me. I am no grammatical scholar, but I would like to think that more often than not I use grammar and punctuation correctly. It’s often a lot to think about. Where to put a comma, whether a semi-colon might be necessary, and the hardest one for me, where the fuck does the period go if a sentence ends with a partial quotation? And see right there, I probably was supposed to use a colon instead of a comma before my “where the fuck”. And right there I probably was supposed to put the period before the ending quotation.
I don’t fucking know. So I don’t overthink it. Proof read tho. That shit is important..
The only course I passed at the first university I attended was a writing course. I learned about myself that when I really apply myself, I can get busy on paper. That’s ironic because my handwriting is trash, but I express myself through text far better than through speech. The other thing I learned in that course is that good writers break the rules. Consider that. All the grammatical rules we follow were probably derived and evolved from great writers. The greatest of writers make their own rules because sometimes the confines of grammar limit the freedom of expression. So one day, I decided that I would create my own rule.
Going back to the ellipsis, some people like to use that to emphasize pauses within their writing. However as explained above, that is not what it is for. I still recall my high school Creative Writing teacher telling me that an ellipsis is only utilized for omission as explained above. So I stopped using it for my pauses. And then, sometime after high school, I created my own punctuation for a dramatic pause. I don’t have a name for it because like I said I am no grammatical scholar, and I am not out here trying to evolve the English language. However, I needed something. I need my pauses, bruh..
That was it. Did you see it? It’s just two dots to end or break a sentence. When it ends a sentence, it’s a pause to leave the reader room to go “damn” at how dope that shit they just read was. And other times it is to lead into something else. For example, I posted this as my facebook status earlier today:
See that is the kind of post that needs a pause for the irony of it. The beginning being that it’s not always about winning. The expectation being some positive message about:
But nah.. We bout those wins over here. And we let them haters know. And how? Using two dots to lead into it. If said aloud, it would be stated with a pause for the sake of comedic timing. I write words and punctuation the way I feel they would be spoken. I feel it is the most effective way to communicate. So the dot dot gives me the freedom to pause without shitting all over existing rules of grammar and punctuation.
If you have read anything I have written, you have seen it many times over. Perhaps you have wondered about it. Perhaps you never noticed it. Maybe you thought I was an idiot who couldn’t commit to using an ellipsis (incorrectly). Or maybe you figured out what it was and appreciate my resourcefulness. Does this make me a great writer? Probably not.
I enjoyed Black Panther for the same reason I voted for Barack Obama. My blackness permits no alternative. That being said, I will admit that there is more that I wanted from the movie.
Wakanda is hard not to think of as the road not taken for black people.. or should I say the road taken away. Perhaps if Africa was allowed to thrive with its people and its resources without outside interference, a society could have been built to rival the great powers of the world. It’s a fantasy. Black people (especially black Americans) have always struggled to find our place in the world. I have never been to Africa but I am sure there are some places that got along much better and are well established societies. But it feels like most black people in the world have been held back from what we could achieve. Wakanda fuels that fantasy by giving us something amazing that the rest of the world has none of. Vibranium.
Like I said, I enjoyed the movie. But I had a few disappointments. I didn’t see the need for “sneakers” to be a factor at all because I feel like “shoes” have been a sore spot for black Americans. Young black men chase shoes like they are the most important thing in the world and that in and of itself causes us to hurt each other physically and themselves financially. And Michael Jordan has never given a fuck. But it’s still a big part of our culture so whatever.
The story was about two different belief systems. One belief system is isolationism. We need to protect ourselves because if the world knew what we had, they would try to take it from us. The other is that the world has betrayed us and that we are strong enough to take over and therefore we should act. I hate to say it but T’Challa before the end of the movie was in line with Donald Trump’s America First policy. Taking on an extremist like Killmonger who was created by being forgotten made T’Challa realize that he needed to use Wakanda’s power to reach out and help his forgotten and struggling people. It was a good story.
One thing that bugged me about this story is that it was a black civil war.. Black people fighting black people.. Which feels like an old trope at this point. One of my biggest frustrations with America is the lack of unity. This lack of unity is even worse in the suffering black community. Gang violence and what not. It’s a bunch of poor people doing what they have to in order to survive combined with a savage tribalism. The ghetto or hood as you may know it is a scary place. I grew up in a place like that and managed not to be tainted by it. I have family and friends who weren’t as lucky or privileged as I was. When the big scene of all of the different tribes came I was a bit affected by the fact that it was the whole of Wakanda (black people at their best) fighting each other. Especially considering all it took was a single outsider to cause this fight to happen. Where was the unity?
Furthermore, I didn’t feel like it made sense for an advanced society to use a fighting tradition to choose leadership. These kinds of traditions are not what create great societies. In fact I would argue they do the exact opposite. They prevent society from evolving in a way that is progressive and on par with technology and information. Science allows us to live more peaceful and simple lives and our laws need to reflect that or we will get stuck arguing over old things that are only politically significant but not at all progressive to human advancement.
Anyway, I got past all that. Why should the best among us be infallible? Black and beautiful yes, but still human. Someone even went so far as to describe the story as MLK vs Malcolm X. I do not know the details but here is what I believe they were referring to. MLK was all about fighting injustice and prejudice with peaceful protest while Malcolm X was more direct as a revolutionary, wanting to fight black oppressors by any means necessary. They did not agree on the best path to progress. I personally do not agree that Black Panther had anything to do with MLK and Malcolm X. No one was fighting for freedom. One side was fighting for the security of the people in their society and the other side was fighting for their people struggling throughout the world. Besides, Marvel already told the story of MLK and Malcolm X in extremity through X-Men. Charles Xavier is MLK in that he wants to teach mutants to cooperate with human beings and teach them not to be afraid while Magneto was more like Malcolm X and felt mutants were better than human beings and needed to overthrow them and take their place at the top of the food chain.
Now that I have brewed on it, I realize what I wanted from Black Panther. Everything about it was inspirational, but the story was not really a black story, but more a story with black elements. The black story is that our communities are struggling and so many of us are left to struggle while others of us manage to get out and assimilate into more prosperous societies. Wakanda is not a ghetto. Wakanda is human perfection, and ultimately is colorless. Wakanda metaphorically is America, an advanced and powerful nation with the ability to touch the world.
I don’t want the characters or villains to be any different. Just the main conflict. In the story I wanted, Wakanda could be a great society, but I would have preferred the conflict be about Wakanda itself. Something happens to change Wakanda for the worse and the leadership and citizens have to make a decision and are divided. This division to me would be less shallow than the division that was created by Killmonger becoming king of Wakanda. Some feel Wakanda is lost and want to find a new home somewhere else while others are either unable or unwilling to leave their home and would prefer to defeat the problem and rebuild. This is the story of black communities in America.
Integration in America mixed with drugs and gangs lead to a significant decline in black communities that we have never recovered from. Those communities still struggle to this day and many of us have just left to establish our own lives as Americans, unsure how to or unable to help the struggling communities that we came from. With all of the inspiration that Black Panther has provided, I believe this itself would have been a very powerful message to many of us and maybe make us look at where we came from differently and even inspire some of us to do something about it. It could end on unity being the ultimate tool in order to defeat whatever evil we encounter. Deciding not to let go of home and saving Wakanda would make the “Wakanda Forever” mantra much more meaningful.
I also realize I am being a bit closed minded. Blackness goes far beyond American blackness and perhaps this story was enough. Nobody else is complaining. And neither am I, but as usual I am going to analyze. Besides, this story was part of the story as a whole, just not as fleshed out and not the center-point of everything. All of that being said Black Panther is definitely a great movie with a great message and a great cast.
A friend of mine asked me recently if it was offensive for him as a white man to use darker skin-toned emojis.
That is an interesting question.. My answer at the time:
However, the answer is most certainly more complicated than that. So let’s do wtf we do and over-analyze that shit..
First and foremost, let’s talk about the smiley face. For the first time ever in my life, I googled “black smiley face”. Here’s what I got:
Not exactly what I had in mind, but it speaks to what a smiley face is supposed to be. Does the typical yellow smiley face have no race? The simple answer is supposed to be yes. That motherfucker is yellow and I have never met a human being with that skin tone (it’s 2018 tho so it’s only a matter of time). Same with these black smileys. I decided to refine my search a bit. What does a brown smiley face look like?
Still pretty racially ambiguous. Blackness is in more than just the skin tone. Smiley faces don’t have noses and a wide nose is a prominent black facial feature. Also he’s not wearing a fitted.. I kid. But yeah. Look at that brown smiley face. It looks weird. This is the first time I have ever seen one. The yellow boy reigns supreme, especially in the emoji world. And furthermore, the skin tone of smiley emojis can not be changed from the universal yellow. So the yellow smiley doesn’t have a race, right?
Let’s take a look at one of America’s most prominent white families..
If a friend of yours tells you that The Simpsons aren’t white people, never ask them opinions about food because they don’t know anything. The Simpsons are white af. You know how I know? Because there are brown characters in The Simpson’s world who are not white. Jazz player Bleeding Gums Murphy. Apu, who by the way the people Apu is supposed to represent don’t care for.. There’s probably some more, I don’t watch The Simpsons. They are white, but they are yellow. So thanks to The Simpsons, whiteness in animation can be represented by the color yellow.. As if white people didn’t take enough shit for themselves.. I kid.
So I ask again. Is the smiley face white? Yeah man. It’s a hard and debatable yes, but it’s still a yes. Why? Because whiteness is the default race. It shows at the top of the race category checkbox on any given application and just in case those other race checkboxes are feeling frisky, the application itself is white paper to keep them in line (I kid). White people are the default in everything because white people run the world (or at least the country that thinks it runs the world). They have invented and conquered things since the dawn of civilization and put their faces on them as declared normality and made the rest of us caricatures.
Let’s focus. The emojis that can change skin tone are the hands and the ones that look like actual people with hair and probably noses and clothing. In case you didn’t know pull out your Apple or Android phone and find the hand emojis and touch on them and hold to see additional color options. Keep in mind that the default is still something of a white person’s hand, whatever color that is called. Maybe it’s peach or whatever color crayon you used as a kid to color white people before they came out with the skin tone crayons. Maybe it’s yellow. Either way, as we have established, it represents whiteness. The default. I am not complaining about this. Just stating that this is the case.
So let’s go back to my answer to my white friend’s question. My skin tone is probably only a shade or two lighter than his so I may not be the best authority to answer a question that deals directly with skin tone. Sure I understand things about the black experience, but skin tone matters as well. Furthermore, he is my friend. I know him and I like him. His use of any emoji wouldn’t lead me to think too heavily about it. However, if I didn’t know him, I may wonder. Intentions matter. Intention is the difference between willful racism and mistaken ignorance.
I personally take no offense, but is there someone who would? Once upon a time, Snapchat created a Bob Marley face filter. When you used the face filter, it made you look like Bob Marley, skin tone and all. This was the day I heard the term “digital blackface”. My immediate response:
In one of Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy specials he stated that he may retire from comedy again for a while because “the whole country has turned into bitch ass niggas”. Yeah bruh. Y’all soft af now. And that is coming from a dude who is most certainly a lover more so than a fighter. So nah I don’t agree with Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter as digital black face, but I could see someone making the same leap with someone white posting black emojis. Like I said, for me it’s about the intention, even when it comes to real life black face.
So after I answered my friend’s question, I decided that I couldn’t be the deciding factor on whether or not a white man using a black emoji is offensive or not. So I posted it to my facebook page for my diverse following of facebook friends to like, share, and comment upon. One commenter basically (and most likely unintentionally) #AllLivesMatter’d the post. That is the harsh way of putting it. She felt the best way to answer the question would be to put herself in the shoes of the possibly offended. The problem is that she is white.
She said that she would not be a offended if someone dark skinned used the lighter skinned emojis. The default emojis. To her credit, she may not be factoring in the lighter skinned emojis as the default. She may consider the default emojis as racially ambiguous as Bruno Mars. But we don’t. I asked my black friend what the default emojis were. He said they were white. To me, they are white. So.. If someone took offense to someone who was not white using the default white emojis, that is point blank racism. That is “They are not allowed to have the norm. They need to stick to their own.”
She isn’t racist though. She said she wouldn’t be offended. She was harmlessly trying to put herself in the shoes of black people by turning the argument around but one thing white people can never understand is that those are shoes they can never fit. There are things about blackness that they will never understand regardless of how many black friends they have or how much they enjoy hip hop.
I get her point though. I would say too many black people think that black people as a people cannot be racist because racism is about oppression and black people are not in a position of power to oppress white people. While that argument is true, racism in its truest form is not that complex. Racism is ignorance fueled by an unhealthy dislike or hatred. For someone black to tell her as a white person that she is not allowed to use black emojis because she is white, well I think that’s racism. It’s telling her to remain in her whiteness and don’t touch what is ours. If that is how we want things, then white people can feel justified and calling America “their” country and trying to get rid of us. All of that is bad shit that needs to be destroyed.
Such a long winded post about something so basic, right? Emojis? But it’s not that basic. Black Panther has been a long time coming and is so very needed right now. Black people feel lost in this world and the main thing that keeps us grounded is feeling like we are making progress. When a movie with a predominantly black cast drops on this level of entertainment, we feel that much more free and inspired to be ourselves. And now it feels important because the age of social media has brought so many things to light for all of us. This isn’t the first black super hero movie. There was Meteor Man. And even bigger, there was Blade. Times for black people were no better when those movies dropped but now we are all more aware than ever. We all see the man this country elected and the kind of people he inspires. We all see how police handle unarmed black young men. Black representation feels like progress. Black emojis are just another, smaller form of black representation and blackness as a whole being accepted and equalized.
Shoutout to my friend for asking the important questions. I was not expecting to get this much out of it lol..
How do you deal with crazy people? Do you smile and nod until you have the opportunity to escape? Do you try to ignore them even when they appear to be speaking directly to you? Do you act crazy as well and try to communicate with them? Do you sympathize with them as another human being with problems and dreams and try to connect?
Let me tell you what I do? Or in this case, what I did. This afternoon I decided to get Chinese food for lunch. When we entered the Chinese food place, there was a short black man standing at the counter. No one ever expects a crazy person. It’s always a surprise. Chris and I just happen to be discussing gun control as we entered the Chinese food place.
You know.. How 17 kids died and the government isn’t going to do anything about it.
I don’t know if that is what made him talk to us, but considering that isn’t what he talked about, I can’t be sure. When he turned to look at us, you could see that the white of his left eye was blood red. He wore somewhat dirty clothes, as if he worked a hard labor job, and had one sock on. No shoes. I didn’t notice that right away though.
He seemed very normal at first. He spoke in something like a Caribbean accent. He talked about being a veteran but also working in secret intelligence for the government. I can’t get into much of what he said because most of it I tuned out. He said Walmart doesn’t charge him for anything. He said he had a stroke and began to cry about it for about 40 seconds. He called Hillary a liar. He said he supported Donald Trump. He even inched into scary territory stating he had “plans” for the White House and that if he were the one to go after Bin Laden, he would have killed his children. He said a lot.
After we ordered our food and sat as he talked, Chris continued to look at him and nod as he spoke without engaging too heavily. The man had a backpack and recent shootings can make some people careful in how they interact with strangers. I, however, looked straight ahead with a disengaged look on my face. I only have so much patience for things I don’t understand.
I am sure this man has a story. I am not sure that he was telling it. Most likely something traumatic happened to him. He was once like you and I and one day or over the course of years possibly, something happened to make him what he is today. I say crazy, but that isn’t fair. He most likely has an undiagnosed condition. This kind of thing can happen to anyone. He said he had a stroke. Maybe that part was real. Maybe it was all real. Maybe the government did this to him so that the secrets he knows sound like the ravings of a mad man. Unfortunately there is no way to know. Worse, it is likely that no one is helping or is able to give him the help he needs. He is lost and will one day be forgotten.
Quincy Jones recently gave an interview to Vulture. It’s an interesting read to say the least. He dropped bombs on everyone, from Bono, to Michael Jackson, to Ivanka Trump. By bombs, I mean he said some shit that some of us weren’t expecting to hear. I got into a long and stupid debate regarding the Ivanka Trump bit so that’s what I am going to focus on here.
Here is what he said about Ivanka:
QJ: I used to date Ivanka, you know.
Vulture: Wait, really?
QJ: Yes, sir. Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada said, “Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.
At face value, I wouldn’t think much of this. Honestly I could care less. He’s a legend and he probably could get a date with Ivanka regardless of the fact that she was literally one third his age. However when people decide “he fucked Ivanka”, I begin to take issue with the whole thing.
Let’s look at the facts.
Ivanka Trump is gorgeous, young, and the daughter of a billionaire (who happens to be President of the United States and also the back of his head looks like cat butt). Quincy Jones was 72 at the time and a music legend. According to Quincy himself, she stated that she wanted to have dinner with him on a single occasion. That’s all there is in the realm of facts.
Here’s where you have to make your own decisions. Why would a hot young heiress date a 72 year old man, let alone have sex with him? So I automatically throw the implied “Quincy fucked Ivanka” out of the window. Is that sexism to make that implication of someone saying they “dated”? Probably. Because it automatically paints Quincy in a favorable light as an old man who managed to have sex with a PYT with her own money. Depending on your perception of women, it paints Ivanka unfavorably. So of course Trump haters love that narrative.
I don’t even believe Quincy Jones “dated” Ivanka Trump. My common sense won’t let me believe the ramblings of an old black man. I know old black men, legendary or not. I know the kinds of stories they tell. They paint themselves as the heroes of their stories. I look forward to my own embellishments marinated in I-don’t-give-a-fuckery.
I am not calling Quincy Jones a liar, though if you read the interview, the man certainly has a big ego. I think Quincy decided to perceive his dinner with Ivanka as a date and eventually believed it himself after 12 years. With that, stating that they “dated” is technically not a lie. That’s Quincy’s truth. Only Ivanka Trump can offer up an alternative truth, and then we would have to decide who we want to believe.
This time, I am on the side of feminism. I am not a fan of Trump, but I choose to give his family, especially the women, the benefit of the doubt (free Melania). Men tell stories about women all the time and women cannot always defend themselves, especially if the public has already decided that the story is fact based on their own personal biases and favoritism of the parties involved along with their perception of women in general.
In fact, it’s very ironic that the #MeToo movement essentially contains the same fuel. Stories about men (accusations of rape and sexual misconduct) that essentially allow no defense. The public decides based on the accusation. Very similar to the OJ verdict when a black man managed to beat the system seemingly against all odds and facts. Sometimes unfairness turns around and destroys the original beneficiaries. Maybe that’s how life balances itself out. Not by balance, but by imbalance against different parties at different times.