Monday, February 18, 2019

Safe Spaces: The New Apartheid

After conducting my "White Women Yoga" Meetup experiment, the most troubling response I have gotten from people is not that they were upset over the concept of an all-White group that excludes POC (People of Color) - because I, too, do not believe all-White groups that refuse members based on the color of the skin is anything but racism and discrimination - but that so many believe all-POC groups are not only acceptable but necessary in today's world. Furthermore, if you are a person, especially a person who does not believe this, you are a racist and white oppressor (White supremacist) and if you a Black, an Uncle Tom or a sell-out.

Here is  got from a White person which exemplifies this thinking:

And here was a more rational discussion from a Black person and my response:

So, this is where we are in society today and why I formed the White Women Yoga group on Meetup to bring our societal dilemma into the open and hope that we can work to find a solution to the dangerous road our country is headed down. Yes, the United States has had a history of discrimination and racism that has affected POC over many generations but creating a separatist society in the reverse direction is not the solution. Already it is acceptable for POC to have separate Meetup groups, POC safe places on campus, Black dorm floors at colleges....where does it end? When will we see the signs go on the doors of yoga studios saying “Blacks Only” and signs on the doors of Black-owned restaurants saying “People of Color” only and then signs on the doors on nightclubs saying “ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves) Only” because Jamaicans and Africans aren’t welcome? Will POC demand separate school classroooms so their children don’t have to be uncomfortable around children of their oppressors? Does this sound right to everyone? Is solving the problem of what discrimination of POC still exists in our country yet more discrimination? More separatism?  If it wasn’t okay to discriminate and separate from one race in the history of our country, how is it the right thing to do now? Where do the proponents of racial separation think this is going to lead?

We need to move forward and not backward in this country. We need to come together as American citizens - regardless of our race or ethnicity or country of birth - and we need to do POSITIVE things  to help everyone achieve; improve education, improve our communities, improve the state of families for children, improve economic opportunties - but we do not need to separate, hate, and reduce our nation to tribalism and apartheid. 

Pat Brown

February 18, 2019

Saturday, February 16, 2019

White Women Yoga: Meetup, Racism and the Growing Separatism in the United States of America

You can join, but not your spouse. Sorry.
I have received some urgent emails and messages from people letting me know that someone using my name and photo has started a racist group on Meetup: White Women Yoga, a group that declines all requests from POC (People of Color) to join the group.

No one is using my name and photo to run this group. I, myself, have started this group along with White Women Walkers and Caucasian Camera Buffs. Horrified? So are many others who are outraged - Black and White and Asian and Hispanic – the hate mail pours in and the angry mob is telling Meetup to take down these racist groups and even contacting the NAACP and CNN and MSNBC and television stations local to DC to inform them of these hate groups, especially White Women Yoga which seems to be getting people the most upset (after all, yoga was started in India by Brown people).

So, why, WHY, did I do this? As the hate mail poured in about the White Women Yoga group, I was finishing up a month in India, touring schools with my Indian friends who run a charity which I support and sponsor poor children’s education. I am a mother of two biracial children and one black son. What gives?
India 2019

What gives is Meetup is an organization that promotes separatism and racism and has been doing so for over a decade. There are more than 800 one-race-only groups that Meetup supports and promotes. In fact, Meetup kept sending me emails about joining these groups and when I tried, my membership was declined solely based on my photo. I tweeted to Meetup about this problem as I live in Prince George’s County, Maryland where my race (White) is a minority (13%). Most community groups (not Meetup) near to me that I join are mostly Black which is fine with me because of the demographics. I even am part of a line dance group in which I am the only White because the group uses soul and R&B music and happens to be in a predominately Black area. Because this group is county run, it is not allowed to discriminate against Whites and so I can be a part of it. This is the music I love to dance to and I am happy to be cheerfully accepted as a member of this line dance group.

But, Meetup, not so much. Based on my photo, I am not allowed in. One group that declined me specifically said the group was only for people of African/African American descent. I asked what was the percentage of African descent I would need to be to join. I got no answer. What would happen to my 3/4 White, 1/4 Black granddaughter? Would she not be allowed to join a group with women who look like her mother, relatives and friends? Would my biracial son not be allowed to join because someone thought from his photo he was Hispanic? Maybe my biracial daughter might pass muster and my black son but why would they want to join a group which would not allow their PONEC (People of Not Enough Color) spouses, family and friends to join? For that matter, why would any nonracist Black person want to be part of a group that denies membership based on color? Interestingly, many of the Black persons who requested membership in White Women Yoga (obviously to see what would happen and to send me a blistering message that I was a racist) were themselves members of several Black-Only Meetup groups. I, myself, find any one-race-only group appalling and would never join a group that would refuse membership to someone who didn’t match the chosen color.

So, after being declined membership in these groups, I tweeted Meetup.

I am a White woman who lives in the DC area (Prince George’s County, Maryland) and I have found I am locked of many dozens of groups in my area because the organizers label the groups as Black, African-American, Mahogany, People of Color, etc. This seems to be a way of keeping White people from joining. These are women’s groups, travel groups, photography groups, etc, which should have no need to attach race to joining requirements. I’d like to know why Meetup is allowing this blatant racism which is against policy. {or so I thought}

Meetup replied:

Meetup fosters communities of people centered on shared interests or common identities. Meetup is a diverse community and group identities can be centered around gender, race, religion, political affiliations, or language, among many other things.

We believe there is a Meetup group for everyone, Pat. We’d love to help you find one that works for you. Let us know if we can help?

I responded:

So, you will help me find a group that accepts white people?

No response from Meetup.

I further tweeted:

So, what you are saying, since I cannot join groups that require me to be a POC (Person of Color), I can start White Photographers, White Women Travel, and White DC Socializers?

No response.

I wanted to be sure I was understanding that Meetup was actually permitting one-race-only groups who could discriminate and refuse members of another race (like the White golf clubs of the old days who refused Black members and this was eventually outlawed). So I wrote Meetup for clarification. I received this response from the Meetup Integrity Team (yes, their INTEGRITY team).

“We allow groups to come together based on a common identity. If a member wants to create a group to connect with their ethnicity, be it Black, Asian, or what have you, they are more than welcome to do so.

There is nothing wrong with people wanting to meet with other people and create a private space with others who share the same culture or identity.

This includes you. If you feel the need to have a private space to connect with other white folks, you are allowed to do so.

Now bear in mind, and this applies to all groups regardless of their identities, within your description we recommend refraining from mentioning who you do not allow (bolding Meetup’s). Rather, we recommend focusing on who you do allow (bolding Meetup’s).

Regarding members who complain against you, I highly recommend refraining from engaging them, and instead remove them from your group.



Senior Integrity Specialist

Meetup HQ

Wow! I was shocked! In this day and age, one-race-only groups should be a thing of the past. There is quite a difference between a group that happens to be one race because of the neighborhood it exists in (like a Black church which might be 100% Black because that is who lives nearby but if a White person moved into the neighborhood, they might attend as well) or a country line dance group that was 100% White because of the neighborhood being predominately White and White people being the biggest fans of country music (but if there was a Black person in the area who loved country line dance, they might join as well). And there is nothing wrong with having a group of friends of one color you go golfing with or picnicking with or party with at your home. But to specifically permit and promote one-race-only groups like Meetup does should be abhorrent and illegal, but it has been going on for over a decade and no one is saying anything. So, I started three White-Only groups with the blessing of Meetup and all hell has broken loose, especially with the White Women Yoga group I based on a Black-Only Yoga Group with more than 300 members called Yoga is 4 Black Girls. I cut and pasted their description changed Black to White for my group.

Their description:

This Meetup group is to allow space for Black women to gather in the name of yoga, surrounded by the supportive community of Black people, Black yoga instructors, and all around safe Black spaces.

My description:

This Meetup group is to allow space for White women to gather in the name of yoga, surrounded by the supportive community of White people, White yoga instructors, and all around safe White spaces.

Here are just a sample of the many, many angry messages I have received:

You’re a dumb racist. I hope you feel unsafe outside of your ignorant Klan meetup.

You racist POS.

This is a group for only one race? You’ve GOT to be joking!

You cannot establish a group based n race, color or ethnicity and restrict “everyone”… that’s called Racism and it should not be allowed on this platform.

Your racist group is disgusting.

Just read about your group online. Shame on you for being so racist and hateful. It’s people like you who are destroying our country.

What is wrong with you? This is the most racist hateful thing and it goes against the principles of yoga. It is black history month for god’s sake! Educate yourself!

An all-White meeting condemning others is “not safe” has gotta be one of the most racist things I’ve ever seen.

This is absolutely disgusting. White women don’t need a “safe” space.

I’m half white. Can I join?

Considering that yoga as a traditional and spiritual practice comes from the common Indian community, it feels concerning, in the least, to take this practice and then refuse to allow the exact people it  culturally comes from any access to the community. It’s racist. Please delete the group.

Where have these people been for the past decade of Meetup allowing one-race only groups? Is it because people don’t care, accept, or are afraid to speak out against Black-only groups? Is it the problem that only Whites can be racists and reverse discrimination isn’t a real thing? Or doesn’t matter? I spent years being concerned that my non-White children would have to suffer discrimination and racism and I did my best to raise them to appreciate all cultures (as each has so much to offer) and all colors (as I have always felt the melanin- based race stuff is garbage). With a Jamaican father, a White mother, German -born Jewish grandfather, a Cuban-born grandmother and friends from many countries and cultures like Mexico (their father’s usual soccer team) and The Gambia (long-term friend…I developed an interest in Africa when I visited there at the age of 19) and friends of various religions as well, my children grew up liking people for who they were and accepting them as their friends regardless of race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation.

Washington DC 1981

As my children grew to adulthood I was relieved to see racism dying down or at least POC (People of Color) making great strides in business and politics, even to the point where a biracial man attained the presidency of the United States.

Then, everything changed and went downhill. Without getting into the politics of it all, we are seeing George Orwell’s “Animal Farm coming true. Where there used to be oppressors of one race, now we are seeing a rise in oppressors of another race and we see support from all races that this is acceptable. “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others” was what the pigs claimed after they ousted the humans and then became just like them. We can love our country, protect our borders, work for intelligent immigration, love our citizens of all races, religions, cultures and birthplaces as long as they too love America and work for the betterment of our country. We may not all agree as to how it should be accomplished, we may discuss and even argue, but we should not hate one another and exclude one another from our lives and communities.

Mexico 2019

It’s 2019 and I fear for the future of my PONEC (Person of Not Enough Color) grandchild. I fear for all my future grandchildren if my non-White children “err” and marry White persons instead of POC (People of Color). I worry about my children and my grandchildren and my friends, Black and White and Asian and Hispanic, having to choose which group to belong to and who they dare not associate with. I worry about people hating each other for being Republican or Democrat or Independent or Trump Supporters or Trump Haters. I fear hate, tribalism, and separatism are taking over the United States. There is even a new acronym – ADOS – that is becoming popular. ADOS stands for Americans Descendants of Slaves. Now two of my three children are not accepted by that group because their father is from Jamaica (and it must be American slaves); my adopted black son is the only one in the family entitled to claim to be an ADOS. I am sure ADOS groups will soon show up on Meetup and then black people from the Caribbean or Africa or the Dominican Republic or Cuba or their children will have their membership declined. Maybe then there will be outrage over blacks getting discriminated against by other blacks.

Meetup is both the disease and the symptom of what is happening to our country.

Ramping up racism, refusing to associate with people of a different color, and claiming to need “safe spaces” because even being near a person of another race is emotionally destructive….this should not be happening in America

Organizations like Meetup who institutionalize racism and separatism in our country, this kind of organization should be shut-down if they do not remove their one-race-only discriminative groups. The same should apply to the separatism that is growing on college campuses. We are one people, Americans, and we need to remember that when we start thinking of ourselves as separate groups, we stop caring for others:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me

 Martin Niemöller

NEW POST in response to comments on this blog: SAFE SPACES: THE NEW APARTHEID

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
February 16, 2019

Friday, October 26, 2018

Psychopaths and the Need for Grandiose Ideology

On the heels of the arrest of the nutjob sending hoax bombs to Democrats, we now have outrage pouring out about how political ideology is fueling violence and terrorism. While we are in a period of terrible political unrest in our country with much hostility between people of varying viewpoints, it is wrongheaded to conflate psychopathics and their bizarre criminal behaviors as a representation of a larger group of people.

Grandiosity is one of the major traits of a psychopath. They like to think of themselves as someone bigger and more important than they are. Failures in life who do indeed view themselves as the losers, they attempt to erase that label from their own egotisitical minds by making something of themselves, making themselves a hero who is saving society (when they commit a what appears to be a politically motivated crime) or an antihero who is getting back at society for treating him poorly (a mass murderer offing the bullies at school or the serial killer picking off one offending person and another, mocking the failure of society to figure out it is him). A psychopath loves the idea that while society thinks of him as a wimpy Clark Kent, ha ha, he is really Superman!! You thought I was a weak loner? Bang! Bang! Bang! You thought I was unable to get a date! I got you now, ladies! Thought I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me? Let me send these scary hoaxes to important political people and just see how much media attention I get!

Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City Bombing was a mass murderer, not a terrorist. He did not represent any political group or cohesive ideology. He was a loser who wanted his day in the sun and he read a really cool fiction book that gave him the blueprint for carrying out a spectacular attack. Nidal Hasan of Fort Hood infamy wasn’t a Muslim terrorist. He was a loser who went postal on his workmates because he felt he had been passed over in his employment. That he wanted to pretend to be a hero for a cause has everything to do with him being a psychopath and a mass murderer, not that he was a true soldier for any political faction that sent him on a mission. This mail bomb hoax perpetrator and the perpetrator of the recent ricin hoax mailings were on different sides of the political divide but neither really represented any faction...they are just psychopaths being “heroes” for a cause they picked. Either one could easily have decided to “represent” the other side. Psychopaths do not have true political aims; they use politics or religion or whatever ideology as an excuse to make themselves important.

Now, it is true that real terrorist organizations use psychopaths to carry out their slaughters because they can GIVE them that hero status, something the psychopath craves. But, what makes it a terrorist attack is not the individual but the organization behind him who is using defective humans to do its will. A true terrorist attack is the result of planning and coordination by a specific group to change the political climate, whether a domestic group or a foreign group. They will continue to commit terrorists acts in an attempt to beat down their political opponent which may be their government, someone else’s government or an aspect of a culture or religion or laws they disagree with. ISIS is a terrorist organization and if they send out a person or person to murder people, they are committing a terrorist attack. Lashkar e Taiba carried out the 2008 horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai, India and they have committed many other attacks and will continue to do so as they strive to get Kashmir out from under Indian control. If a domestic organization in the US (like the KKK or Antifa or an antiabortion group or a proabortion group, etc) threatens or carries out a brutal attack on a specific group of people, than this is a true example of domestic terrorism.

Don’t confuse lone psychopaths committing mass murders with lone terrorists carrying out a terrorist attack on behalf of a terrorist group. These are two different kinds of crime and need to be handled differently, both in prevention and investigation. Just because both are terrifying and terrorizing crimes this  doesn’t mean they are the same kind of crime. Using the term “terrorist” haphazardly is not beneficial to understanding the issues. Oftentimes, the use of the terms “terrorist” and “terrorist attack” is an attempt to inspire outrage against the perpetrator’s motive, whatever people decide it must be, in order to push political agenda.

Sometimes the label we give an offender says more about us than it does about him.

Criminal Profiler

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Cry and the McCann Story

I have read the book and I have seen the BBC series and I am surprised at how few people recognize that this IS a fiction story pretty much based on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Although I am sure the McCanns would deny it and the author has seemingly denied it (by saying the story was inspired by a number of different missing children’s cases), this story is extraordinarily close to the reality of the McCanns and what happened to Maddie (not directly, but in connection with the issues of the Madeleine McCann case). If it walks like a McCann duck....

First of all, I thought both the book and the show were quite good. I complement the author and the producer and the actors. As an author myself who has written fiction, I can tell you that many authors use real life stories to build a fictional story on. Quite frankly, a great true story is an easy way to have your fictional story write itself without having to come up with the idea and all the elements. Having said that, I thought the author mixed her own unique ideas in with the reality and made a fine fictional drama. Also, it is not unusual for people whom we know and behaviors which we have seen to end up in a fiction story. After all, it IS fiction so we can do what we like. At least in theory.

The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald is said to be fiction but it has so much of the McCann story woven in that I am sure a certain legal group could find the story to be defamatory of the McCanns and that it purports a theory of what happened to Maddie and only covers it with a thin veil of “it’s made up and has nothing to do with her.” I find it quite fascinating that a publisher was willing to take the risk of publishing this book. Morever, that the BBC was willing to make The Cry into a series with little changed from what the author wrote is stunning considering they are totally unwilling to make a documentary about the Madeleine McCann case that dares to present the possibility of their involvement. Perhaps they know the McCanns are running out of money to sue people or there is something else afoot (not the arrest of the McCanns, by any stretch).

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you want to enjoy reading the book or watching the series, stop here and come back when you are done.

Let’s see how similar this fiction is to the story of Madeleine McCann.

The couple, Alistair and Joanna, are not married (but they are partners) and they have one child together, a 9-month-old baby boy, Noah. The McCanns had two other children together to consider when things went wrong, and the daughter of Alistair becomes one of the reasons he and Joanna cannot tell the truth about what happened to their son; Alistair wants to be able to still have a relationship with his daughter. They are from the UK (living in Scotland) and are off to Australia, not for a vacation, but because Alistair wants to get his teenage daughter back from the clutches of his ex-wife and bring her back to Scotland.

On the plane, little baby Noah cries and cries and cries. Joanna pretty much falls apart (she was a happy single woman who then met Alistair, got into a relationship with a partner who puts his needs first, and isn’t dealing well with the stress of motherhood and caring for a baby). She gives the baby some Calpol (BWAHAHA! Yep, nothing like what might have happened to Maddie!) or at least she thinks she did (and is concerned it wasn’t the Calpol but an adult antibiotic) As they get off the plane and into the car, Alistair carries the baby and puts him in the car seat and off they drive. Somewhere along the way in the middle of the outback (I guess), Alistair needs to make a phone call and stops the car and gets out. Joanna checks on the baby and, lo and behold, the child is dead. They panic, freak out, runabout, cry, and then Alistair makes a plan that he forces Joanna into by saying 1) it was an accident and not anyone’s fault, 2) if we tell the truth YOU and, maybe me, will go to prison, and 3) I will not have a chance of custody with my daughter. 

So, the plan is made and they drove to a store (after visiting where they are staying) and Alistair goes in and then Joanna runs in, leaving the baby alone in the car which is when the child goes “missing.”

All the details of the rest of the story are not necessary but here are some other similarities. Joanna wants to keep the bib the child was wearing because it smells like him. Very similar to a toy Kate kept because it was something keeping her close to Maddie. Gerry (or Kate) washes the toy which is odd because it eliminates evidence (if they are innocent) and odd because it eliminates the smell of the child as well. Alistair burns the bib because he knows it has evidence of some drug on it. Alistair is seen with a bag that presumably holds his baby’s body and he goes off to bury the baby without Joanna knowing where. I believe evidence supports that Gerry did a similar thing, moving the body of Maddie in a sports bag and burying her in an isolated area without Kate by his side.

So, they lie to the police, everyone searches for the baby except them, and eventually the police give up and they return home. They become suspects at some point but nothing is proven. The media is all over them and they become notorious. Social media goes nuts with people taking sides as to their guilt or not.

The basic story of this couple is extremely similar to the McCanns. Sure, the number of children is changed, where the baby died is different, but we still have an accidental death  brought on by a drug  (my theory and the theory of Goncalo Amaral along with a fall behind the couch), a cover-up by the parents, fame and media attention, social media scrutiny and a return home where they remain free on any charges of killing their child. Left out are any helpful friends, a fund and search by private detectives, and the dogs.

Now the couple is a most fascinating portrait of Kate and Gerry, I mean, Joanna and Alistair. Clearly, the author, if she is basing Alistair’s character on Gerry in any way DOES NOT like Gerry. He is presented as a weasel, a control freak, a liar, a manipulator (he really was the one who gave the overdose of Calpol to the baby and let Joanna think it was her fault), and he courts the media and is excited about getting a book deal and doing big TV shows. Sound familiar? Joanna sure seems a lot like Kate although she get a bit of a softer treatment in that the author presents Joanna as not a bad person but one in over her head with a master manipulator like Alistair. It almost seems as if the author might have a soft corner for Kate and think she really was not responsible for what happened to Maddie; that it really WAS Gerry’s fault and she is purporting her own theory of what happend to Madeleine McCann through her book, The Cry. Accidental death, parental coverup, Kate controlled by Gerry, and Gerry presents as a psychopath.

I would really love to know if the author read Amaral’s book or my book and understood our theories and what the evidence supports. But, we may never know because, well, if I were her, I wouldn’t want to throw my own self under the McCann bus, right?

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
October 25, 2018

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown 

Rating 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Black Panther: Wakanda Mess is This?

When Black Panther came out, I was in India. I almost saw it there, but I really wanted to wait until I got home to see it with my son, Jeremy, as he is my Marvel/superhero fan who also happens to be black (and age 35) and so I thought he might relate to this kind of macho black man superhero movie. I mean, I knew there was going to some political stuff I might not be overly fond of (since I had read this was kind of a very liberal/black power/ bash white people movie, but it was getting crazy great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and everyone was gushing about it being the best movie ever made. So, I thought, I have to see this, ignore my personal conservative political biases, and enjoy maybe a really cool movie. I asked Jeremy to wait till I got home to see it and he agreed.

So we went to see it. When the movie ended, I looked over at Jeremy and he looked back at me and said, "God, that was boring as fuck. I couldn't wait for it to end." I was shocked! Of all people, I thought he would like this flick. Yes, I was really bored as well, but I am not a big superhero movie person and what do I know of superhero films. But, Jeremy bored to death? Wow. We left the theater and he just huffed and puffed on the way to the car about how Marvel could make such a bad film, the worst of any of their productions. I didn't get into too much of what I thought of the film because I was still trying to process the convoluted mess that this movie was and how it could possibly be considered a good movie and how anyone could have liked the messages in it, even if they were strong liberals or Black Lives Matter supporters.


Let me break Black Panther without referring to all the actors and actresses names and all because I don't feel like going back and researching all that. All I can say is there were good actors and actresses in this film, but they had such a crappy script that I can't blame them for the wooden and dull acting that was exhibited throughout the movie. Now, let me go to the bizarre plot, plot holes,  and bizarre ideation.

Wakanda is this place in Africa, a kind of Brigadoon, which has kept itself secret from the rest of the continent and the world for a couple thousand years by a lucky landing of a metal in their land called Vibranium which is such an amazing compound that it jettisons this country into far superior technology than anyone else has on the planet. Hence, they have space age like cities and spaceships and superior science and medicine. However, there is no explanation how they survived the early years shut off from the world when they are a landlocked nation with no ports and clearly no transport in and out of products from other places. Oh, wait, yeah, they didn't need anything from the outside world because Vibranium somehow solves all problems. But, where did they develop the educational levels to develop the Vibranium without any input from the outside? I guess they were just a genius people and didn't get ruined by white colonizers.

Yet, wait, how come such highly advanced people still have a monarchy which the leader can only become king if no one kills him in a battle to death with spears on the edge of a cliff? How, if this is how you stay in power, in all those couple thousand years, no despot took over and completely screwed up the country? And, why, oh, why are black men fighting to the death in a fight that looks like it was set up by slave masters from Django? Why isn't this embarrassing for the black community?

And speaking of spears, why is the all female guard force using spears as their main weapon? Haven't they got anything better considering they have Vibranium to make weapons with? And why are they using rhinos in battle?

Before I go on, let's talk about what Wakanda is. Why are a bunch of black Americans pretending to be Africans in a fake African country? Aren't they kind of appropriating the hell out of African culture? And why do Wakandans speak Xhosa, a language of South Africa, thousands of miles away? Why don't they have their own language? Why are the people wearing tribal costumes from around Africa when Wakanda has shut themselves away from all the rest of Africa? Why has Wakanda allowed the rest of Africa to be colonized by evil whites and carried off as slaves to America all without lifting a finger to help them? Why don't they have their own culture and art?

Why does Wakanda look like a postapocolyptic city with huts welded onto the skyscrapers? Why do we not see beautiful neighborhoods, universities, and shopping malls that make us drool to want to live there? Why do we only see huts on the outskirts (this is supposed to fool people into thinking they are a third world country so no one will bother with them; so why not use a hologram instead of making people live in huts and use wooden toilets? Or are those happy rural farmers a nod to the beauty of rural African life?), an ugly city from the air, and one shopping street selling colorful African handbags that looks exactly like a crowded tourist marketplace in a present day African city?

Why is neighboring gorilla worshiping tribe up in mountains that look like the Himalayas when they are supposed to be located relatively near Wakanda in the imagined area of Rwanda or Uganda? Why the heck aren't blacks upset that this this tribe worships a gorilla and goes around making gorilla sounds? Isn't that racist as heck? And, WHY, is the gorilla god called Hanuman, the real name of the revered Indian monkey god? Speak of cultural appropriation! Was the writer so lazy he couldn't make up a name and just googled "monkey" and "god" and came up with Hanuman and so, yeah, whatever.

Now, let me go to the start of the movie where for twenty minutes I could barely see the black actors on the screen due to horribly low lighting used in the filming. Then we find our heros in Oakland, California. It appears the brother of the then king was sent as a spy to the United States (Why? We have no damned idea) and, although Wakanda is extraordinarily wealthy, the king's brother is forced to live in a ghetto, which we know is a terrrible ghetto because his apartment is crappy and his son is outside playing basketball with a hoop made of a plastic crate. No wonder this guy is pissed off. Anyway, he marries a local woman and has a son (who she is and what happened to her we have no idea because she is not around) and he gets angry at the way black people are treated in California and so he plots to get the Vibranium and use it to help save all the oppressed blacks in the world. Mind you, it is insulting as heck to represent the entire black population of the United States as a ghetto with no successful blacks anywhere around. If I were a black American, I would be pretty offended that Wakanda and the film producers did not think blacks in this country have achieved a damn thing; no doctors, no lawyers, no politicians, no famous people, no great educators, no well-renowned achievers of any sort, no black colleges, black actors and actresses, no great sportsmen, nada ... blacks in America are total failures (albeit due to white oppression).

Now, the king of Wakanda finds out what his brother is up to and kills him and then takes off, leaving the orphaned kid to fend for himself. Why he does this is never explained as more than a careless mistake. What, was the kid not a full Wakandan, so he wasn't welcome in Wakanda and worth caring about? So, poor halfbreed Killmonger, who learned of this mystical kingdom of Wakanda from his daddy, finds a book in Wakandan that explains everything. Killmonger somehow gets highly educated, joins the military special forces, becomes a killer and decides to go to Wakanda and become king and use the Vibranium to give it to all the black people on the planet to fight their white oppressors. So, speaking fluent Wakandan or Xhosa, whatever, he returns to the kindom and fight the present king, T'Challa for rulership. He wins in the brutal fight and T'Challa is supposed to be dead. I don't think it is necessary to get into all the other silly stuff - the bizarre Korean segment or the drinking of  blue juice to get power and see your ancestors and the whole actual Black Panther suit thing  and how T'Challa somehow survives what should have killed him and is brought back to life to fight against for the kingdom - but what IS interesting is that T'Challa represents Trump and Killmonger represents Obama!

Yes, T'Challa wants to protect the borders and culture of Wakanda and Killmonger wants to go global. Yet, Killmonger is the bad guy and T'Challa is the good guy. Umm...isn't that kind of opposite of what one would expect for the political message? But, no worries, because T'Challa does become more enlightened and decides, even if he doesn't arm all blacks to wipe out the white people, he is going to help blacks with Wakandan technology. So, he lands his spaceship back in the same Oakland ghetto that Killmonger played basketball in and leaves his sister there to build...get this...a community center. And, you know that they are going to live up to helping those poor, completely helpless blacks of Oakland because we already see that they have a REAL basketball hoop instead of a crate. Thanks, Wakandans! Black Americans have no hope unless they get help from Africa and these special Wakandan Africans who have no clue what they have experienced and are dealing in the present with because Wakandans have lived in  isolation all their lives, never been colonized, never been slaves, and never dealt with oppression.

I could go on and on; there is so much more nonsense in this movie it is just unbelievable. It was a failure in every aspect. Not even the good-looking men gave me enough eye candy moments; where is Tyler Perry when you need him to spice things up a little?

Why was this not a really awesome film with a great script, superb acting, an amazing secret country, fascinating visuals, and a great message?

I have no problem with an all-black film. I love a good Bollywood movie from India and many of them have not a white person in them. I love being immersed in another world, another culture. Same for my love of Colombian and Mexican telenovelas. I am happy to see a whole other culture doing their thing. Wakanda could have been a superb place with a strong, unique black people and I could have rooted for them, even rooted for their specifically black culture. And, I would have loved an amazing new superhero in Black Panther that I could have been as drawn in with the character as I was with Blade.

But, sadly, Black Panther was "Wakanda Llight" and for all those shouting "Wakanda, forever!", all I can say is I hope, if there is a Black Panther Returns, Wakanda will get a full makeover with a new director, new videographer, and, for god's sake, new scriptwriters.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
April 19, 2018 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Racism lurking behind Every Rock and Tree: Starbucks and Liberal Hypersensitivity

In the early 80s, when I thought race relations were getting better in the USA

I saw an interesting bit between W. Kamau Bell and Don Lemon on CNN today. Bell, in a most pleasant and friendly manner, spoke about an incident he had in Berkeley, California at a place called the Elmwood Cafe back in 2015. He gave an example of unconcious bias and unintential racism that he believes is similar to the recent Starbucks arrest of two black men. Actually, the two incidents are quite different. The men in Starbucks incident broke the rules of a private establishment when they refused to make a purchase or leave when asked and Bell did not break any rules at all; he was truly an innocent in what occurred at the Elmwood Cafe.

But, I still will argue with Bell that what happened to him was NOT racism (any more than the Starbucks incident was racism) and it is this ultra liberal mentality of making everything about victimization and a perfect utopia that is causing massive damage to our country. One can't get so sensitive about each moment of human behavior (and ignore our own behaviors that contribute to things happening) and think that you are going to make us all better friends in the long run. In reality, you are making too much ado over too little and making enemies and pushing people into opposite corners.

Here is what happened at the Elmwood Cafe. This is a cafe Bell's wife has loved dining at for many years and they have dined together there without any problems numerous times. So, right up front we have Bell admitting the Elmwood Cafe has never acted in any racist manner against him in the past. Well, on this particular day his white wife (so he is no blatant racist himself, only super liberal and a community organizer and race commentator) was sitting with a few white girlfriends at a table outside. Bell was down the street at a bookstore, bought a children's book, refused the bag and walked out with the book in hand. He walks down to the restaurant and onto the patio area of the cafe and is standing at the table where his wife and friends are sitting and he shows them the book. While he is exhibiting this book to the ladies at the table, he hears a knock on the window behind the table and some guy who works there gives him a glare and mouths "Out!" or "Go away!"

Bell, says he felt the guy was treating him like a dog and doing so because he was a black man. He spoke with management and his wife told them he was her husband and they apologized and said they thought he was trying to sell them something. They denied it was anything racial. Bell thinks otherwise. He believes that it was because he was a black man talking to a group of white woman that they pegged him as harassing them. He refuses to take his wife back to her favorite restaurant and demanded a community conversation with Elmwood Cafe about racism.

Oh, for fuck's sake, Kamau, you are going to have some long and difficult decades ahead being married to a white woman and raising biracial kids. You do realize that sometime in the future someone is going to ask if those kids are yours when you are out and about with them. Are you going to get all enraged and racism about it? There have been white men at the local playground who have had people call the police on them because they saw them approaching children which turned out to be their own. Why? Because we are hypersensitive about pedophiles and child abductors. It isn't always personal or about race.

So, what happened at the Elmwood Cafe? If your book had been in a bag and you had been chatting with some white women, probably nothing would have happened. Problem was, you really DID look like some guy trying to sell something on their property. If a white male had been holding out a book to a group of black women, the same thing might have happened. Then is it racism? Or can it not be racist the other way around? What about if a white guy was standing there showing a book to a table of white women and it still look like he was trying to sell them something and it turns out to be one of the women's husbands? What then?

The simple fact is, Bell, you had zero evidence of racism here except in your own head. And, EVEN if it were true that because you were of a different race it seemed more likely to someone working at the cafe you were not connected to the group and this is so-called unconcious bias, good lord, are you going to make a federal case out of every individual's level of ability to perfectly access a situation and have the perfect reaction? Oh, yeah, right, you actually DID make a federal case out of nothing.

Before I get the stupid white privilege crap slung at me here or you telling me I am a racist or that I also need to attend those stupid Starbucks classes, I was married to a black man for twenty-five years and I have two biracial children and one black son. My family has experienced very little racism (well, it is getting worse now because everyone is becoming so hostile about politics and race) in our time together. One, my ex and my kids always respected other people, dressed properly, and behaved well. No one has had problems driving while black or getting the police called on them. This doesn't mean we haven't had a few moments where we could have gotten all offended like Bell, but having compassion for others -their innocence, their stupidity, or their upbringing - and a sense of humor has always done us well. I am sure my kids may have had a few times when they did experience some level or racism but they clearly have learned to keep things in perspective and not make themselves victims. And, if there was true discrimination that was of the clear breaking-the-law kind of thing, my ex and I did stand up to that and I am sure my kids would as well. We are not for blinding ourselves to serious problems; we are just not willing to make things worse in our country and tear everything apart that has been built to make some false political statement. Below I will list every race issue I have dealt with in my life in a interracial marriage and mixed-race family and you can decide if I handled things well or if I overreacted or underreacted to racism in America.

Incident One: I was moving into my new apartment in a mixed race apartment building. I had three white friends helping bring up boxes. My husband was not with us. An elderly Jewish lady who was going to be my future next-door-neighbor came up to me and said, "So glad you are not black!" To which I replied, mimicking Groucho Marx with his cigar, "You're only going to be half-glad when you see my husband!" The woman actually looked stricken and went on to explain she was only worried about loud music which her previous black neighbors had played night after night. I told her that my husband did like to play his reggae too loud but, if he did, she should knock on our door and we would be sure to turn it down. She turned out to be a most sweet neighbor, inviting us to dinner and bringing us home baked goodies.

Incident Two: I worked for Berlitz teaching English. I went through the training and then the probationary period at a horribly low wage (a number of months) and was just about to get to permanent employment and a decent wage. I had received accommodations for my work and even one from a high level embassy person. One day, my husband picked me up from work and the next day I was fired. This was my first experience with what I thought was clear racism. I filed with the EOCC and they ruled in favor of Berlitz! Why? They told me it wasn't a racism issue but that Berlitz was a shitty company and they fired everyone when they finished the probabationary period so they didn't have to pay them a decent salary. So, it was just the timing that made it look racist and, it goes to show, not everything is racist; sometimes it is just assholeness. (Comment to Berlitz; you were jerks back in 1979, so you may be an okay company now).

Incident Three: My husband worked for a German company and they told him if he went to electronics school he could move out of the mechanical section and up into a better job. He did that, graduated, and when a job opened up he was now qualified for, the manager of that division told him to apply. They hired a white guy with no skills for the position. When a second job opened up, THAT manager told him to apply (these managers knew him and like him and his work ethic) and he applied again. Another lesser skilled white guy was hired. I told him to file with the EOCC. He won. the EOCC found there was clear racial discrimination. My husband continued on with the company after they settled (it was a poor settlement, actually, in that my husband had to accept a lesser salary than he should have) but he got the job he wanted. He didn't hold a grudge (because he knew it wasn't everyone in the company, just some dick at the top) and he went on to work there for three decades and had a great career.

Incident Four: My husband and I had just moved into an all white neighborhood and he went running. As he was walking back up the hill to our house, some middle-aged white guy in a pickup drove by him and yelled at him to get out of the neighborhood. Okay, this was probably a bit racist, but it was also probably some guy thinking a sketchy guy (in sweats wandering around in an area he probably didn't live in) might be up to no good. Luckily, this didn't and wouldn't have turned into a Zimmerman and Trevon Martin thing because they guy didn't approach my husband on foot and, even if he did, my husband wouldn't have gotten into a fight with him. My husband went on to living in the very white community for the next 20 years and became the soccer coach and ran for mayor and never had another incident (and this was kind of a working class white community with people with guns and pickup trucks). Which lead to the next incident (a little out of order of our lives), but so much like this one I have to put it next.

Incident Five: Just three years ago when I moved into Bowie, Maryland, the wealthiest black community in the US (and the largest where whites are a minority), my cat went missing and I made up fliers and was distributing them in the area. I went into a cul-de-sac on foot and was closing in on one of the mailboxes when a black woman in a Mercedes pulled into her driveway, stopped, rolled down her window, and asked what I was doing there. Racist! Hah! Yeah, white woman in sweats wandering around in rich black area...shades of what happened to my husband 35 years ago. But, again no Zimmerman/Martin scenario. I showed her my flier, told her I lived down the road, and was searching for my missing cat. The lady was very nice and wished me well.

Incident Six: I was returning from Canada with my three kids (my husband wasn't with me) and when I reached the border, the guard looked into my car, saw my kids in the back and asked if they were mine. I looked back at them and then in mock horror said, "Oh, my god, I always thought they were!" The guard cracked up and, with a big grin on his face, passed me on through.

Incident Seven: One year when my sons were about eight and my daughter ten, they attended a summer church bible school. They had a rule, for safety of the children, that a child could only leave at the end of the program day in the company of a parent. So, my black son, Jeremy, looked out the door and saw me coming up the walk. He said to the church lady, "There's my mom!" and tried to go out the door and the woman looked out the door and said, "No, she's not here" and held him back. My son said, "Yes, she is!" and the woman said, "No, she's not," and held on to him. I came in the door and my son said, "Here she is!" and I put my arm around him and the white church lady said, "Oh." We laughed about it all the way home. We sat at the dinner table and said, "Yes, she is!" "No, she's not!" We thought it was hilarious. We realized that a black church lady might have done the same thing. If the world gets to the point where interracial adoptions are as prevalent as biological births then maybe the woman wouldn't have thought I wasn't his mother. We see a lot less questions these days with white people who have adopted Chinese babies because it is getting more common.

Okay, those are truly ALL the big racial moments of our lives as a family for three and a half decades. Wow...horrible, right? We are all so damaged! ::sigh:: We are all just fine because we didn't jump to the racist conclusion every time some little thing happened, we gave people a break, and we had a sense of humor. We also act right and don't break rules and don't make sudden moves around the police, run from them, and point shiny objects at them. We certainly would never resist arrest if that would ever happen. We respect others and so they respect us.

And we don't make racist mountains out of tiny minor misunderstanding molehills and we never played the race card except TWO times when it seemed truly warranted over three decades ago when discrimination against blacks was far worse than today and, then, we just went through the proper governmental channels.

Our country is being pushed into a race war by ultra-liberal white Social Justice Warriors and far left black power groups like Black Lives Matter. Their angry protests and boycotts and their ranting to the media are tearing us all apart instead of bringing us together by focusing on being friends, making friends, sharing culture, improving our own communities - black, white, Hispanic, Asian, mixed - by fixing our educational system, our families, our drug use, our criminality, and by supporting the police that protect our communities and put their lives on the line every day. These groups are flaming the tiniest of little embers to make a racist problem where there isn't one and sometimes just throwing a Molotov cocktail at our society when they riot and accuse police of murder when the police where only acting in self-defense against a thug acting in a criminal manner. There ARE true incidents of racial discrimination and police brutality but all this nitpicking and straight up lying is destroying all the racial progress that has been made in this country.

So, sad, how we have come to this. It is a plague that is spreading and I just hope it can be killed before our country implodes.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

April 20, 2018


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Starbucks: Guilty of Racial Profiling or Unfairly Targeted?

First of all, I boycott Starbucks all the time, not because of their treatment of customers but because I won't drink their overpriced burnt coffee and nothing else there is worth forking out the cash at the ridiculous prices they charge.

But, if you are actually a regular patron of Starbucks, should you get all boycotty over the Philly incident?

::sigh::I am so tired of the over-the-top reactions to local issues which blow-up into national race crises demanding us all to enter the race war so provoked by the media and certain political groups. And, before I go on to profile the Starbucks incident, let me state for the record that, yes, of course, any minority group suffers some level of discrimination and ostrasization because they simply are less integrated culturally into the larger group of people. As a minority in the area I live in, I can attest to some of those same problems myself (although, to a more recent degree and not over such an large expanse of time) and, sometimes one does indeed feel less welcome or left out or misunderstood. It is the way society works and one must deal with it and both groups, the majority and the minority, should do their best to make life good.  I love where I live, even though I am a minority (white in a heavily black county) and I take my status in stride and do my best to be a good citizen and not overreact to certain situations or attitudes.

One day I was walking around in a posh area of town, putting fliers in mailboxes in an attempt to find my lost cat. A black woman in a BMW pulled up next to me and asked what I was doing in the area! Why? Because I was a sloppily dressed white woman wandering about in a wealthy black part of town. I told her why and she took a flier and wished me good luck in finding my cat. I could have been all "you are a racist" about the incident but I figured she was concerned that I didn't look like a local resident and was only protecting her neighborhood from harm. Suppose she was right and I was casing the area for future burglaries and I jumped her and started punching her and she pulled a gun out and shot me,  hmmm, would we see a national news story here about racial profiling?

Anyway, to Starbucks. There are three possible versions of what happened here and we have to wait and see what the truth is. We need to find out who the three men involved actually were; the two black men sitting at the tables and the white man who claims to be the friend they were waiting for.

Version One: The most innocent/concerning version would be that two black actual real estate brokers were waiting for a third real estate broker in order to discuss business. They hadn't ordered because they were waiting for their party to arrive before their got their refreshments. While waiting, one needed to use the bathroom and when he attempted to do so, was stopped by the Starbucks' employee and told he could not due to the fact he was not a paying customer at that point. Returning to his seat, he continued to sit without purchasing any drink or snack and he and his friend were asked to leave if they were not going to buy anything. Maybe they said they were waiting for a friend or maybe they didn't, but Starbucks obviously felt they were just loitering which is against policy and asked them to leave. They refused. The police were called. The police asked them to leave. They refused. The police arrested them for trespassing. A white man then stepped in and said he was there and was going to buy them coffee but it was too late.

Was Starbucks wrong? I tend not to think so. First of all, we have no idea what that particular Starbucks has to deal with on a daily basis, how often they have drug users and dealers and homeless guys loitering in their restaurant, bothering people, shooting up drugs in the bathroom, selling drugs in the bathroom and even having sex in the bathroom. If you have to keep your establishment clean and safe, you HAVE to have rules and you HAVE to profile. The rules are simple at Starbucks and meant to prevent problems: one, you must be a paying customer if you want to use the toilets and you must be a paying customer if you want to hand around for any length of time.

These two men knew these rules and they did not abide by either of them. If the "friend they were meeting" was late, they could have gone ahead and ordered some coffee and drank it while they waited and then they also would have had the right to use the bathroom. After all, if they were really real estate brokers, they could have afforded the drinks. Also, they could have simply left the establishment and waited outside for their friend if they were unwilling to make a purchase while they were waiting.

You might say, yeah, but white guys don't get so scrutinized. We don't know that is true. A lot would depend on their behavior as well as how they were dressed. Sorry, but those two guys did not look like real estate brokers to me. Their hair and dress makes me question that. Maybe they are real estate brokers but they kind of looked a bit like bums so that could certainly have influenced the viewpoint of the Starbucks employees. Also, did they speak like professional men or like troublemakers?

If these really were two real estate brokers meeting another real estate broker, then it is my suggestion they follow the rules of the establishment and dress and act better. Believe me, when I have entered an establishment looking less-than-spiffy, I have gotten profiled as well. Once when I was in Costa Rica, I went to a local Taco Bell at midnight after an all-day long grueling drive involving floods, landslides, and mountain fog. Being a vegetarian, that Taco Bell (in a businessman's district, not a tourist area) had only a Cheesy Potato Taco (not even a bean burrito) as a vegetarian choice. I gave the guy a couple dollars and bought two of the little tacos and he told me to wait a minute. Then he came back and pushed a bag toward me and whispered "Here is a little extra food for you." Hah! He thought I was a homeless druggie because why else would a disheveled white woman show up in that area at midnight buying so little food? He may have misprofiled me but I could hardly blame him for his analysis. Likewise, Starbucks MAY have misprofiled these guys but I don't think, if that was the case, they are entirely to blame.

Version Two: The two guys aren't real estate brokers at all. They really were loitering and when they were getting arrested, some white guy decided to fight the fight against racism  and claimed he was coming to meet them and was going to buy them coffee.

Version Three: It is a setup. These guys ARE real estate brokers but planned with a white colleague to set Starbucks up. They dressed down, loitered, tried to use the bathroom, refused to leave, and when the police arrived, signaled the friend to show up. The plan? To prove racism and maybe make a big lawsuit payday.

Which version will turn out to be true? I don't know. We have to wait until all the evidence is in.

All I can say now is that I do not see this as a big racial discrimination moment for Starbucks and I find it rather frustrating that they are apologizing for standing up for their store policy when it was clear there was a store policy and these two men violated it. The police also have nothing to apologize for as they were doing their job and were quite polite about it.

As I keep saying, I am all for pointing out true racial discrimination and true police misconduct but if the country keeps using poor examples as race problems, they are only fanning the flames and causing a race war and this is NOT how to make things better.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
April 15, 2018