For most of history, men have both written history and have worn the crown. Only a small handful of women can have done the same. One of these women is Cleopatra.
Her story has been told time and again across the generations. The 1963 epic starring the late Elizabeth Taylor is the film that most people think of when it comes to Cleopatra. Over the weekend, it was announced that Israeli actress Gal Gadot will step into the Egyptian Queen’s shoes. The film is to be directed by Patty Jenkins, who was at the helm of the Wonder Woman, which starred Gadot as the title character.
Not surprisingly, some have already questioned if casting Gadot is another example of whitewashing.
From a certain point of view, Gadot could be seen as a good choice for the role because she is from that part of the world. However, there is a question of Cleopatra’s skin color, which historians don’t quite agree on.
Only time will if Gal Gadot is the right choice and if the movie succeeds or fails.
Either way, it is a reminder that issues of race and racism have not yet been fully dealt with in this country.
On March 13th of this year, Breonna Taylor was an ordinary woman, sleeping in her bed. Then the police barged into her home and she became another icon of racism and police brutality.
The outcome of the trial against the police officers who killed her was announced today. The grand jury in Kentucky declined to charge the officers for her murder.
Once again, the message is clear. Americans of color are unimportant and their lives are disposable. The police can do whatever they want, without fear of the justice system catching up to them. I wish I could say that in 2020, things have changed. But nothing has changed and another life was needlessly lost.
Between Covid-19 and the protests against racial injustice this summer, I think it is safe to say that most places in the US are drained in every sense of the word.
Earlier this week, the DOJ (who are working for the President and not for the people) claimed that New York City is an “anarchist state“. The official statement is the following:
New York City is one of three places that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to its designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” the Justice Department said Monday.
I don’t how how they describe anarchy, but this is what I think of when someone says anarchy.
From my perspective, it looks like they think that protests against racism and racial injustice are the work of so-called “anarchists”. If that is the case, this country is in deep trouble. While there will always be crimes and the need for police, there is also the right to protest. If that is what they deem “anarchy”, I will take that over the autocratic police state that is the vision of the current administration.
There are some topics that are hard to talk about, regardless of how the conversation is couched. Race is one of them.
Ijeoma Oluo‘s new non-fiction book was published last year. Entitled So You Want to Talk about Race, the book takes on a subject that is necessary to talk about, but not easy. Speaking to both Caucasian readers and readers of color, the book helps to pave the way to open doors, open minds, and most of all, create necessary change.
This is one of those books that I think we all should read. We all know that in 2020, we are at a precipice when it comes to race and race relations. This book allows us as a society to finally do what we must and move forward from our racist and ugly past.
Since we were children, Americans have been taught that we are a nation made up different people. But the one thing that binds us all together is that we are American.
As pretty as that statement is, it is a pipe dream, even in 2020. Racism and xenophobia still rule the day. It does not help when we have a President whose policies and beliefs essentially come down to one statement “whites only“.
Though he may deny it or walk about what he has said, there is no denying that his man is a racist.
The question is do we want a President for another four years who believes in “whites only?”
If nothing else, the summer of 2020 will be known for the murders of innocent African-American men and women. It is not a distinction to be proud of. Though this is nothing new for Americans of color, the difference is that the country is waking up and taking notice.
Back in March, Daniel Prude was found naked on the streets of Rochester in upstate New York. As the story usually goes, Mr. Prude was restrained by the police to the point of where he lost consciousness. He died a week later.
But there is more to this story that the standard accusation of police brutality. The issue of mental illness also comes into play. The police were initially called because Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother called 911, worried about his brother who had just walked out of the house.
I wish I could say that this will be the last incident of this kind. But we all know that until we deal with racism as a whole, Mr. Prude will be just another name on a long list of Americans of color killed by police.
Whether we know it or not, we often look to celebrities as examples of how to behave or not behave.
Since May, when George Floyd was murdered, protests have exploded all over the country. Across Hollywood and the sports world, celebrities have stepped up in the name of justice and equality.
With the shooting of Jacob Blake last weekend, America was again reminded that police still single out Americans of color. In response, several NBA teams have chosen to strike. Jared Kusher, sticking his nose in where it did not belong, claimed that they were “taking the night off“.
The full quote is as follows:
“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”
While it is true that they will still earn their salaries, this strike is not about money. It is about racial inequity and violence that still exists in the United States. These players are using their platform to take a stand and send a message.
Not that Kushner or anyone around him would be able to understand that message.
When it comes to our children, we are taught that we should model the behavior that we want them to emulate.
If that is the case, then I wonder what the children of the Jacob Blake have learned. On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Blake, an unarmed African-American man, was shot by police. They shot him in front of his three children as they sat in the family car. The children are all under the age of ten.
As of yesterday, Mr. Blake was still in intensive care.
I have to wonder what message this sends not only to his children, but to everyone’s children? That people of color, especially African-American men and women, are automatically suspicious because of their skin color?
This summer has been one of upheaval, to say the least. Between the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, protests have been happening non stop. The message should be loud and clear. Law enforcement does not have the carte blanche right to arrest and kill simply because the assumed perpetrator has dark skin.
My prayer is two fold. The first half is that Mr. Blake wakes up and returns home as physically and emotionally whole as possible. The second half is that his children are do not grow up with the emotional scars that come with what they witnessed.
When the Internet and social media took off decades ago, they both seemed to be a beacon of freedom of speech and communication. We would speak to and (virtually) meet people who we might otherwise not meet and become a better world.
But while the technology has changed, the world has not.
While the social media giants claim that they are all for freedom of expression, they continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That elephant is racism and antisemitism that continually flows from various tweets and posts.
Twitter, while claiming that hate speech is not allowed on the platform, does not prevent Iranian officials from threatening Israel with annihilation via tweets.
I wish it was easy to remove ourselves from social media. But, they are so much of a part of lives that to do so would be akin to cutting off a limb. The only solution is that the people who run the social media platforms follow through on their terms of service. The question is, will they?
Antisemitism is a disease. How does one route out a disease from one’s body? You hit with medicine. In this case, the medicine is truth and the power of the average person.
In response to the antisemitic posts appearing on Twitter and Instagram, a boycott has been called on both platforms for 48 hours starting this morning.
There is a distinct line between freedom of speech and spewing hate. Until the people who run the social media world realize this and follow the rules they created, they will be as guilty as the ones who spew racist and antisemitic lies.
I know that this boycott will be difficult. But if we do not move forward with the boycott, the message that racism and antisemitism is acceptable will continue it’s destructive grasp on this world.