Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Proof you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t whether you try to stay above the fray as CBS did or try to make a statement, be culturally relevant, positively impactful even while selling soda, candy, entertainment, foods. And no, America doesn’t need a better, more attuned emotional quotient unless it involves not falling for these non-scandals, but certainly not in terms of avoiding the ‘Kendal Jenner’ ad as it has since been dubbed or immediately recognizing why it is offensive. Because just as fans, the internet’s debate of a black Hermione for the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage production had nothing to do with race and everything to do with J.K. Rowling’s constant additions, revisions, inconsistencies and incongruent information sessions during, but especially post, series following in the unfortunate steps of George Lucas and Star Wars, leading to a situation making casting a black Hermione the way they did completely silly and untrue to the character. Dawning comprehension CBS’ rejection of a cute little girl reciting the pledge of allegiance had absolutely nothing to do with the unpatriotic, un-American sentiments of network bigwigs, an attempt to appease secular humanist liberals, social justice whine-o’s who want to annihilate America’s cultural history, generate a forced utopia as fake as reality television with twice the devastation, and was contrastingly centered around its ill-fit to sell real estate, varying kinds of insurance for those properties even to a local audience viewing an annual rodeo event. Because they knew where opinions would fall on both sides, the further likely spawned uproar regarding using patriotism to sell a product, any product versus say giving to charity; lively discussions talking about using a child in such a shameless way, not to mention the added, special permissions needed to use children in such commercials, particularly scrutinizing known exploitation revealed running wild in Hollywood on top of the droves of lost young stars, ruined young talent chewed up and spit out by too much pressure too soon. All detracting from the goal: to sell insurance, draw business to your firm, agency, group, bring in dollars for the TV network; CBS, reading the landscape tealeaves, shrewdly said no thank you. Returning us to the latest hot button, trending topic, social media explosion cranking out article after article, warranting a nightly news mention, Pepsi’s gamble arguably should have been worth it offering a totally different message that should have resonated rather than making people feel patronized, their struggle cheapened, angling a bid for unity, defacto providing recognition in a more vibrant, lasting form than endless protest footage on wall to wall cable news. Again no, no one thought, least of all white, privileged, member of the hated Kardashian clan Kendal Jenner, thought they were telling the public you, ‘little miss important,’ she, pop star wanna be, could stop police brutality with soda; instead it is exactly what soft drink executives said it was, a bid for national unity couched in an ad for popular drinks, a variation on the multi-ethnic faces montage we’ve seen done for various products, they couldn’t do that again san seeming stale, redundant, so they did this. Using scenes for recent protests was a way to keep the public talking about the underlying issues without repeatedly shoving it in their face to where they either become numb to the horror or its coverage becomes white noise to be ignored; wasn’t there a complaint article less than 2 months old alleging in all the Trump craziness and distraction we had lost sight of police violence against black, brown, minority people? You can’t have it both ways, common practice today is to blame ‘the corporate media’ for not covering all the news, leaving off news stories relevant to the American people because of who exactly pays their bills, the ‘establishment bubble,’ thinking they inhabit in the course of their jobs; not say the 30 minute time slot given to national news across the country on all stations, the limits of even cable news doing wall to wall news all day, interruptions for breaking news, greater detail given to larger topics analyzed, background delved into, experts brought on. Equally rarely considered, the mentioned above phenomenon where more news coverage of police brutality, shootings of brown, black individuals won’t move the needle on the necessary conversations to make it stop, put a dent in the growing number of casualties from this historically recurring type of should be already gone, violence. That ad at least got people talking, didn’t allow to fade minorities’ continuing reality—that ‘routine’ traffic stops, meeting a police officer on the street for any reason can be life altering and too often life ending; ad hopefully catching their eyes and attention the way one more news story, police brutality video won’t. Unfortunately it, understanding the cyclical nature of history, got people once more talking about the wrong things: Pepsi, Kendal Jenner’s racial insensitivity, how grating it is as a black person to watch entities A- shamelessly hock you products using your heritage, unique ethnic experience and B- do so while mocking serious challenges, obstacles, daily life struggles effecting your community, limiting their opportunities to shortening their very lives. Well let me tell you, I am a black person and the ad did not offend me; nor did I buy explanations of their controversial ad history referencing one where a goat and a string of African Americans where placed in a lineup, goat being guilty, ad allegedly racist and stereotypical. If the person attacked, robbed, almost run over can’t tell the difference between a human and a goat a lineup was going to be useless to start; the premise ridiculous taken literally anyway seeing as goats don’t drive and attacks by animals are filtered through animal control, sarcastic humor lost on everyone screaming racism. What offended me more, having to write about us getting our noses in a twitch, our panties in a bunch over the inconsequential, while ignoring the consequential entirely. Shouting you can’t change the world with a commercial, with an ad on television/the internet, dominating streaming services while networks for decades have run PSAs under slogans like The More You Know and CBS Cares aimed at preventing everything from date rape in the 90’s to suicide in the modern era, Alzheimer’s and autism awareness spots to correspond with their assigned awareness months, Latino, Asian, African America heritage month profiles of influential minorities jammed into 30 second spots, as is breast cancer, distracted driving warnings, arrive alive, arrive safely anti-drunk driving ads for graduation season. If ads are so ineffective why were doctors complaining recently about patients coming into their offices demanding medications for acid reflux, varied ailments they’d seen on TV, why do law firms you’ve previously never heard of know they’ve hit pay dirt when they advertise in primetime asking did you take this drug and suffer one, any of these laundry list of side effects, do you have this brand hip replacements sold under the names X and Y and suffer Z complications, did you have this medical device, wound closing tool placed in/on your body then suffer any of blank symptoms? Announcements about the truth of tobacco, tips from a former smoker aimed at preventing persons beginning to smoke, increase efforts to quit, announcing the latest drug treatment options that may be covered by insurance, inviting Medicare recipients to call and find out if they qualify for extra benefits, peddling supplement insurance programs to Medicare, life insurance, savings bonds for older adults to grandchildren. Or are they truly effective because they just keep running like the late night, early morning ads/infomercials for food cookers, exercise equipment, floor cleaners, shower cleaners, specialty laundry additives, facial hair removal devices and legions of beauty products, wearable fat reducers, body shapers, supplements, enzyme controllers; that, if they actually worked as advertised, they would be in every doctor’s office, hospital nationwide? Either way there is hardly any denying America has bigger things to worry about than the wildest implication of Pepsi’s ‘poorly conceived/received ad;’ we seriously yet again need to check, reevaluate our priorities if this is the race relations example that gets us riled up, if we think attacking either Pepsi or Jenner will change, do anything other than diminish legitimate issues in all minority communities, but in particular the black community, detracting from larger grievances, more significant battles both needing to be fought and when won will represent greater strides for the minority condition than backlash to an ad ever will.

General consensus seems to be Pepsi should have just stayed out of it, found another way to sell their product without being utterly tone deaf to the mood of the country; belying to ridiculing the seriousness of resistance and what it means to the activists, people fighting for life, livelihood, the lives of their children, justice for unfathomable wrong those who’ve never experienced it simultaneously can never understand. Situations sufferers already feel the rest of America doesn’t see, white people pre-privileged out of the womb, handed opportunities as their defacto birthright wouldn’t know how to live, function or succeed without and why are you making it worse in the process of selling soda, something you have a thousand other ways to sell it might be added? Recurring theme here, aren’t we putting too much stock in a soda ad, what people could possibly get out of aforementioned soda ad, giving it their maximum attention and let’s face it who does that today with anything forget a commercial, not part of the super bowl set meant to grab and keep your rapt attention costing millions to make and the only consistent time throughout the year you can get a mass audience focused on the same thing at the same time. Commercials, shock and awe, drawing attention to something they, viewers, may not particularly like, won’t necessarily buy, may prefer Coke, Mountain Dew, Doctor Pepper or Root Beer over Pepsi, the unique beverage not the brand. Social outrage, the direction it’s taken in this case is strikingly akin to calling female underwear ads sexist while being titillated by male ones, wanting to see your favorite young, handsome stars hocking Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, calling women’s makeup ads, beauty creams, anti-aging serums, lotions advertisements exploitive, oblivious to how many woman want and buy said products to the tune of billions of dollars; mounting similar arguments against shampoo, deodorant though the gender neutral products to wash hair and body, moisturize skin have been for years marketed to both sexes, options for both genders focusing on odder and preservation problems generated from each’s unique biological factors, lotions and soaps too crafted to address male and female skin problems generated by their gender associated biological, physiological traits. It’s kind of like asking why men and women’s underwear are different, why diapers and pullups for infant and toddler children have fortified absorption areas in different places concepts carried over to incontinence products most readily known by the brand names Depends and Poise—huh; invest in an anatomy diagram please. Hating to disagree with a civil rights icon who continued her father’s work and made it possible for me to go to a non-segregated school, choose what career I perused sans being constrained by my race, not grow up being called n*gger, assaulted in the streets by whites, forced to the back of a bus, relegated to colored only restaurant seats, water fountains, public toilets, no, Bernice King no one at Pepsi, involved in filming or staring in that commercial believed they were going to stop discrimination with a canned soft drink, soda, bottle of pop, whatever they call carbonated beverages in your region of America; being equally blunt, no one was saying actively or subliminally Martin Luther King Jr. could have stopped the carnage enveloping the civil rights movement, violence, water hoses, dogs, knight sticks turned on civil disobedience protesters if only he had shared a Pepsi with them. What they were doing consciously or subliminally: both asking people to contemplate and showing them what can happen when we do try to come together, open a dialog, talk, and most importantly, listen in the midst of protests, promoting they don’t always and don’t have to erupt into violence. There also must be critical distinctions made between then and now, comprehension key things have changed and for the better, many things yet to change enough; dogs and water hoses aren’t by and large being turned on protesters, not singularly traded for guns, tear gas and military surplus armor/vehicles. Protests can be peaceful, can look like that ad, and the violence erupting is mainly product of poor training, panic versus rooted hatred and animosity; protests can be peaceful tactics used in Dr. King’s day only used when absolutely necessary. Technology playing a bigger part than it did then too; with the advent and proliferation of smaller journalist film equipment down to the camera/video phone and subsequent proliferation, cameras sized so they can be body cameras for police whites, less targeted minorities tempted to side with conventional thinking ‘white authority’ are seeing via their own eyes bystander shot videos depicting what the black community has been screaming for decades, are able to ask the question if only to themselves what if it were my…child, bother/sister, aunt/uncle, mother/father, friend? Calling for reforms to police and police training, spawning investigations, DOJ uncovering training videos on use of force that were 35 years old; modern era data collection exposing gypsy cops darting from precinct to precinct nationwide with substandard and questionable records their new command knows nothing about until an incident happens devastatingly effecting a community members life, exactly what happened to Tamir Rice when one of the officers responding was a man cited for poor gun handling and an inability to handle stress before quitting and picking up a job in Cleveland. Cops viewed being aggressive to protesters called out, reprimanded, fired; we are seeing cops brought up on charges for the senseless murder of black/brown persons, attacks, assaults harassments. Granted full circle would be convictions for nothing short of heinous atrocities hidden behind a badge, full circle would be these things never happening in the first place, full circle would be cops prone to doing this never allowed into the police academy, once discovered never permitted to graduate, interact with the public holding that authority. But worth noting what you’re describing in that sentence is utopia called that for a reason, because it is so improbably unattainable; however, nowhere is it said in this piece we can’t do better, make improvements, change outcomes merely strides that have been accomplished be acknowledged, put into context alongside a soda ad no one should care about. Further tackling the accusation Pepsi used other people’s pain to sell a product, a particularly crass product in the form of soda with no intrinsic value, hold it; you mean they did what advertisers every one have done for decades going back to the first newspapers, traveling salesmen peddling elixirs, tonics throughout the old west laced with every kind of drug and not fulfilling half their claims, shock everything seen in a commercial isn’t real? Perhaps people need a reality check on the fundamental nature of advertising then along with a twin dose of recognition Pepsi’s advertising tactic is no different than funds solicited for St. Jude or Shriners hospitals, the ASPCA, religious program documentation of abysmal conditions for faith X and needing viewers’ financial help to change it, pictures of the drought induced famine underway in Africa; equally the links to donation options posted on ABC’s website, the donations accumulated from something billed an informational newscast segment. Few see anything wrong with that excepting possibly televangelists bilking grandmas out of social security checks if that wasn’t a stereotypical slanted trope to begin with; quite the opposite argument, the segment was done in hopes it would both make people aware and elicit donations to help save lives. Unhindered and widely un-objected to products do the same too from hair removal wands to bathtub and sink scrubbers, specialty mops whose top selling point is either no need to visit a doctor, pay for expensive electrolysis treatments to remove unsightly hair or clean your home with ease sans bending to reach shower corners, be on your hands and knees to effectivity clean floors. What about specially tubs ideal for elderly persons permitting them to stay in their homes, life alert and adjacent systems of wearable devices connecting elderly disabled persons to emergency help; again granted mentioned causes, attempts to sell certain products are for their target audience’s good making it possible to stay at home safely, mitigating fall, bone breaking hazards for our growing elderly population, convenience cleaning items holding positive implications for older individuals, those with disabilities, painful injuries, but isn’t that always advertising’s angle, even soda can enhance your life with a better tasting drink? Additionally, despite the current political climate, data surrounding the election of president Trump, emboldened hate groups of all stripes, first and foremost white supremacy, spewing their views at every turn, feeling justified in saying what they’ve sadly been thinking for quite some time, directed hate toward African Americans, Muslims, LGBT persons; our activist climate, numerous protests are proof more people want diversity, inclusion than don’t. Responded vehemently to rejection of immigrants, the very idea of a travel ban; naming it un-American, were there at airports holding signs welcoming refugees, long before a day without immigrants plenty of citizens knew their value, appreciated their contributions epitomized in this steak house owner deported to Mexico, border towns especially who don’t want the wall, find it an eyesore to tourism, residents upset when finding out preliminary plans literally divide border towns, put U.S. citizens on the Mexican side. The under reported story of election ramifications following 2016 is the growing success of efforts to reform or remove the electoral college clearing the path for elections by popular vote; so many marchers are in the streets because they support or are neutral about the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, certainly don’t believe your LGBT status should cost you a job, an apartment, lead to physical assault, they want science, they care about the health of the planet, the environment, hunger for science, at minimum don’t want it erased from government websites because science represents truth, tangible, calculable facts. Returning exclusively to African Americans chiefly offended by the ad, where are the Muslim, Latino, also featured other minorities’ leaders/representatives voicing their collective community outrage, shouts about the video participants badly exploiting their culture, their religion selling out exc. with that ‘showcase’; commenters on several pieces believing you won the battle when the ad was pulled off the air, many of the suppositions and analyses of racial dynamics would only be true if the ad were left to run on the airwaves unnoticed and unchallenged. Meaning the focus should be on Pepsi pulling the ad in response to shrewd public perception and comment, not a how far America still has to go lecture wasted on the trivial, later ignored on the greater issue.

Too blaming Kendal Jenner, who it has to be pointed out between laborious character assassinations, independent who her family is, the sizeable wealth she stands to inherit at some juncture in her life, may have already inherited since 21 is the standard age for such inheritances to activate chooses to work anyway, unless working in some aspect is tied to receiving inheritance monies, continuing to receive said monies. Kendal Jenner, who regardless of unknown stipulations placed on her in reference to accessing family wealth seems to enjoy the work she does, has several modeling, business venture and writing gigs to her name, belying her fame and popularity comes exclusively from appearing on her family’s reality TV show. Jenner who technically, theoretically, if she ‘truly wanted to work’, be a ‘normal’ contributor to society could have become a doctor, lawyer, teacher, social worker; however, in the longstanding climate of who you know outpacing, outperforming what you know when it comes to career entrance and mobility, she arguably did the right thing parlaying her family knowledge of the business, not just name connections, into opportunities for herself. Nor is she unique in doing so the Olsen twins did the same thing both during and post their Full House years, Hillary Duff, Miley Cyrus, several former Disney stars including Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Selina Gomez branched out significantly from their beginnings; neither is she responsible for the current state, the longstanding state of the industry she elected to work in because it made the most sense, she appears to have a talent for, worthy to keep in mind she is new and just works there. To that end, she showed up to do a job, unknown is if she petitioned Pepsi for the gig, maybe her agent did; stars of her caliber, looking to gain jobs routinely have one, at which point he’s merely doing his job in securing his client meaningful paid work. And, everyone in acting, modeling, TV, show business, by the way, puts in their time, pays their dues doing small parts, underwear ads, TV commercials before hitting it big, moving on to better, greater projects. News at 11:00, bashing Kendal Jenner for being white, privileged and successful all at once is not only reverse racism personified, it will not change race dynamics in this country. Going a step beyond, had she earnestly tried to turn down the part she was doubtlessly thrilled to get, distinctly able to carve out a name for herself among her already famous family, stand on her own merits in a notoriously fickle industry we would have pegged her spoiled and entitled, declaring you take the work offered to you and be grateful multiplied 10 fold when working via some aspect of Hollywood, asking do you know how many people would give a limb, nearly any aspect of their life for the opportunity dropped in your lap, you were able to parlay from your family connections? Simultaneously let’s assume for a fraction of a second she agreed to do the project, the commercial expanding her professional résumé and agreeing with the commercial’s social goal, she would be/is being labeled obviously fake, after all what could she know as a young white girl, about the struggles of African Americans; she’s blatantly latching onto a cause to gain even more attention than her last name, family association presently bring her, appear different than her family, she’s doing it to craft an image, to be pegged ‘the good social justice warrior millennial. Laughed at for asserting she has principles paralleling the way everyone laugh at Angus T. Jones post him calling his show filth, vowing to leave yet only after his contract was up. Creating a domino effect, had she chosen any other cause to throw her name and celebrity behind, donate charity dollars to, give of the wealth that she has we would mockingly call that impossible, accuse her, anyone like her of ulterior motives whether they existed or not. Called it a desperate plea for attention as her family’s show was winding down, a ploy to boost her fame on par with Hayden Panettiere getting arrested at a save the dolphins protest, whispers of mental illness that followed that arrest, shamed her as we are doing now, as has been the case of Shia Labeouf not singularly for his appearing in public while intoxicated, with a bag over his head declaring he didn’t want to be famous anymore, the latest for having his He Will Not Divide is anti-Trump museum exhibit shut down, before them Charlie Sheen’s original way of declaring his independence for producer Chuck Lori having garnered a reputation for problems between him and actors on his various sit-coms, the disappearance from and return to public life of comedian Dave Chappelle. Proving she is merely a convenient scapegoat for reality of advertising we want to ignore, the indisputable fact our entertainment comes at a personal costs to entertainers, no matter their category or venue, the race conversations we don’t want to have, the discomfort collectively felt when trying to have any in depth conversation around race, the involvement some don’t want in standing up against things they know are wrong, so they zero in on Jenner believing themselves able to say they support racial equality, racial justice, movements like Black Lives Matter, because they didn’t like the ad either. Interesting hatred for her and her privileged life is intense, as is hatred for Pepsi and the creators of the ad, but not all the other people seen there, far from camera and production crew, though why exclude them, if Kendal Jenner is to be a target for being asked to do a job that didn’t involve rape, murder, pillage, racial epithets, nudity, profanity exc.; where is the hate, vitriol, shaming for those extras cast in the ad, those people of various ethnicities that seemed to have no problem appearing, perhaps saw it as she did: a way to increase their acting portfolio, their extra appearance portfolio, just a way to get paid, eat sans doing something illegal? But when they have a darker immigrant assimilation, minority experience story resorting to the illegal, borderline activities to survive, when their only crime is having come to this country illegally because they couldn’t wait for the slow wheels of ‘legal immigration,’ almost a contradiction in terms, were ineligible to obtain so much as a visa to visit because they don’t have relatives here, don’t own property or possess a college level education, its let’s deport them all. Let’s leave sudden, huge gaps in local economies, let’s suddenly leave landlords without renters, schools without a large number of students even for immigrants who’ve done nothing criminal since coming here, have families, jobs, ties to their respective communities. Or were they just, those extras, those close up shot persons Photoshop-ed in from photo bucket, internet stock photos, CGI creations to serve their purpose, looking diverse while not actually being truthfully so; is that what you are trying to tell us? Never mind who exactly is paying that much attention to commercials, who would see it anyway calculating the number of households steadily cutting their cable cords, trading in expensive cable packages for a Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime subscription combo giving them better quality programing and a distinct lack of ads, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast creating similar effect, internet purposefully crafting ads based on user search histories virtually eliminating ads for things that don’t interest that specific person. Combine both items with dwindling soda sales as increasing numbers of people are born, diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetics explicitly told to avoid sugary drinks, sugar, especially the artificial type long linked to migraines, latest studies suggesting a possible link between consumption of diet soda alternatives and dementia, stroke; otherwise healthy people deliberately choose healthier options, switching to water, sports, energy drinks, vitamin added and flavored water choices, to maintain their health, concerned about recent findings. Beverage conglomerates long since delving into their maturing market and you almost ask yourself why Pepsi bothered to film a soda ad period; Coca Cola even coming out with Coke life sweetened by Stevia plants and half the calories or something. When all else fails, you actually are dealing with old school audience members the invention of the mute button and the fact we all know watchers head for the refrigerator, the bathroom as commercials start takes huge chunks out of the body of persons you’re reaching; before going off shelves entirely VCR’s held an auto-fast-forward activated during commercials no one wanted to see, common knowledge people pause shows using their TiVo, TiVo usage reducing ads seen as well multiplying the fold reduction of people viewing the ad, translating into, again why are we talking about this period, still talking about it? Lastly, raking Kendal Jenner and Pepsi concept producers over the coals also discounts scenes in the midst of real, actual protests mimicking what was indeed seen in that ‘horrible’ ad, 100% indicative of the peaceful protests can and should be; where children were filmed still shot, video giving police officers water, marchers hugging police officers, officers responding to mobilized community members giving high fives and encouraging words to youth, talking with local residents about how relations between citizens and police can be improved both nationally and right there locally. What we know as the Dallas tragedy, where officers were killed and a deranged man with a gun had to be killed using a first of its kind robot designed to spare human law enforcement life, began as a peaceful protest. Oh maybe that’s where they got the idea not minimizing the iconic photo of a female protester standing alone against police ensconced in riot gear with her hands up, utterly unmarred, absolving both Pepsi and Kendal Jenner of this racial insensitivity, cultural/racial ignorance, social climate, notational mood cluelessness albatross placed around their necks.

Talk about a distraction, wasting ink, talking points, news segment space over Pepsi or Kendal Jenner in this instance is a trolls and the Trump agenda win; because while we were talking about Pepsi’s bad ad in the context of anything other than this is what gives so called social justice warriors a bad name, remarking it leaves them open to being called ‘snowflake,’ pansy ass real things were happening that effect broader swaths of the American people in much realer ways than perceptions from a soda commercial. Setting aside ongoing escalations with North Korea, how the French election impacts Europe, reshapes functional parts of the world, what Russia is doing today to manipulate us, someone else, undermine democracy globally there’s what’s happening here at home, local legislation going on behind the national scenes. Example, do you live in South Carolina, are you of child bearing age; then you might be interested in their latest push to outlaw abortion with hot off the presses incarnations of a personhood bill. For or against LGBT rights, issue neutral: North Carolina you voted out Pat McCrory over the bathroom bill backlash costing the state millions if not billions in revenue from lost advertising, canceled concerts, celebrity and other boycotts, business withdraw, not to mention the NCAA, NBA and every other national basketball organization fleeing the state, so shouldn’t you be more upset they are spending legislative energy trying to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage at least as far as North Carolina is concerned? Be advised, South Dakota passing their version of the same thing; unable to ban gay marriage outright thanks to the Supreme Court, they’ve opted to pass local legislation making it absolutely miserable to be an LGBT person living there fired from jobs, religious freedom bills denying services including adoption, foster care if you are LGBT. Adding to budget constraints by allowing tax payer funded administrators of those 2 services to discriminate against interfaith couples who want to foster or adopt, single parents, couples where one was previously divorced, legislation passed early 2017. Texas women you know the consequences of ultra-conservative, ultra-restrictive abortion laws as clinics there have not reopened jeopardizing your health. Are you a coal miner, know a coal miner, related, married to one; if that describes you, you’re aware of 2 things: devastating ramifications surrounding repeal of Obamacare, replacement with the American healthcare Act and doubtlessly feel betrayed when the current administration seems blasé about benefits for minors set to expire. Relatedly you, voters gave the republican candidate not only the presidency also both houses of congress and they still can’t pass a budget to foreseeably prevent government shutdown originally passing a bill to stave off that disastrous outcome for one week; president Trump saying, not 2 weeks ago we needed a ‘good government shutdown.’ Also infamous for shuttering national parks and monuments, dampening tourism, putting government workers into forced servitude to keep vital operations going, robbing countless government employees of their rightfully earned paychecks, but not the congress continuingly dragging their heels; epitomized by Ted Cruz circa 2013 reading Green Eggs and Ham on the senate floor emphasizing the absurdity, futility of his actions over something that turned out to be for the good of the country, much better than GOP drafts of replacement healthcare bills looking suspiciously like a grade schoolers failed homework. Everyone should be paying attention to the flurry of executive orders, regulation rollbacks issuing from the Whitehouse including ones allowing coal mines to dump their waste in rivers, slash safety regulations for workers not to mention potentially their overtime pay, a new religious liberty order greenlighting religious institutions’ foray and monetary donations into politics, possibly streamline with ease discriminating against both contraception and LGBT persons when it refers to religious landlords and employers. Coinciding with what Alabama was already poised to do regarding adoption agencies and LGBT persons mirroring what already happened in Mormon dominated Utah pertaining to the lesbian foster parents of a 1 year old despite her thriving, despite the birth mother’s hand picking of the couple to raise the child she knew she couldn’t care for. Zika funding may end by summer 2017 for want of funding for tracking effects, devastating birth defects i.e. microcephaly and the documented 58 cases, prevention; Zika on track to wreak more havoc as there is an outbreak in Texas ahead of traditional mosquito season even for such a warm area. Stoppage of Zika funding removes too mosquito control that could cut down on other health effects, viruses and sickness carried by the insects, end patient education about the virus, its transmission, potential devastation on pregnancy and the resulting infants. Major headlines are focused recently on healthcare, tax cuts as they should be; sadly meanwhile republicans are likewise very quietly doing all they can to erase precious few gained financial regulations enacted post the financial crisis—chipping away at Dodd/Frank , weakening the consumer protection bureau behind banking regulations, controlling credit card fees, revoking rule preventing commercial banks from risky speculative investments, shrinking the too big to fail test, elongating timeframes between tests to discern health of financial institutions posing a risk to the entire system, paving the way for increased debit/credit card fees. GOP tax proposals released to media beyond projected to explode the deficit, amounting to little more than massive tax cuts for the rich, consisted of one page double spaced bullet points in more fonts than most knew were available in standard word processing programs, extremely light on details pushed out just prior to Trump’s 100 day mark embodying a play on the saying Jesus is coming look busy; this time constituents are watching look busy. Latest word on the GOP healthcare bill that passed the house, it could possibly classify rape as a preexisting condition along with domestic abuse sufferers and survivors, dido the man who gave someone a kidney; ignored living donor exchanges save hundreds if not thousands of lives yearly and you can successfully live with one incurring minimal complications, never mind a person’s generosity on that scale shouldn’t be penalized by removing their healthcare. Comedian, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel poignantly talking about the birth of his newborn son, the discovered heart defect and not only how it shouldn’t matter how much money the parent(s) have or don’t when treating a child who will suffer then die absent said treatment, his story further highlighting what non, limited coverage of preexisting conditions means outside of words on paper; exposing the diminished, shortened lives of people not victim to their own lifestyle choices, years of using alcohol, drugs, more commonly ‘gorging’ on processed meats, lacking exercise, surgery foods, junk food, obesity but children just born found to have defects, genetic disorders, illnesses, complications, the kind not resulting in a mothers poor choices while pregnant, drinking, smoking, poor eating habits, lack of self-care, if anything lacking access to prenatal care, unawareness they were pregnant, but currently uncontrollable, leads to dystopian science fiction if you try to control it, genetics. And even if all the negatives of the mother were conformed, it is now U.S. healthcare policy to punish children for their mistakes, punishment that will eventually come back on society in prisoner care, institution care for the mentally ill, permanently disabled, group homes for persons with everything from autism to Downs Syndrome? Yet children like Kimmel’s little boy face not only an uncertain future thanks to their conditions if their parents have subpar, no insurance, were to be insured under the American Healthcare act dubbed Trumpcare; they are hammered again when they go through perhaps their entire life devoid of insurance after leaving their parents coverage as adults, qualifying in childhood for things like Medicaid, state run health insurance initiatives specifically for children, children with expensive, chronic health issues out in the cold when it comes to garnering health coverage to maintain good health, lead the productive lives than can, repeatedly independent their condition being previously resolved. Depend on H1b visas for tech workers, see the guys managing your lawn are likely immigrants or just count yourself among decent persons, citizens on the planet then you should care about immigration enforcement crackdowns to the point people are developing crisis plans related to who will take their apartment leases and care for their children; indicating they have/had jobs, apartments were contributing to local economies and might be missed from a budgetary, fiscal perspective. Deportation of dreamers given deferment of deportation by DACA including one individual herded into a van and dropped in Mexico despite having minimum 1 more year left to his deferment possibly 3, a traumatic brain injury and his lawyer having to sue under the freedom of information act to even find out precisely why he was being deported. Texas shortly to become the next papers please state completely nonchalant about what similar legislation did to Arizona, international business ventures reconsidered because of like legislation across the country, a German business man detained in Alabama during a misunderstanding traffic stop, turns out he worked for auto giant Mercedes Benz, identical arrest of a Honda auto worker sparking fears they too would vacate the state. But by all means let’s continue brining up issues like Kendal Jenner’s Pepsi ad, using it as a social barometer of race relations in America.

What offends me more than any celebrity, white celebrity doing just about anything, let alone seen in an ad for whatever product racist or no, is minorities paying greater premiums, greater amounts for car insurance for no conceivable reason other than they weren’t born white. Held up alongside people who don’t understand, nor want to understand, initiatives like affirmative action continuing to insist our race problems nationally are in the past, and anyone speaking out about race issues now, it’s all in our heads. Collective society concurrently doubling down on the portrait, narrative black people are Hulk Hogan sized monstrous thugs who need to stop going out committing felonies if they want to be seen otherwise while minorities in F towns like Ferguson Missouri are targeted for traffic stops, jay walking, breaking hardly known ordinances on old cars situated on your own property in order to fill city coffers. And poorer minorities or whites are victims of court systems only open 1 day per month, are miles away from where the ‘defendant’ lives; such persons forced to languish in jail, unable to contribute to their own defense because they can’t afford bail. Cops are caught on tape telling their subordinates to arrest more black people coupled with a jury who couldn’t convict cold blooded murderer, laughing former police officer Michael Slager for the life of them or 50 year old Walter Scott; originally stopped for his broken taillight, ran for fear of being returned to jail over unpaid child support. Another asinine idea designed to paint especially black and brown minorities as aimless wonderers all too willing to father children bailing when it comes time to support them, not the sparse to non-existent opportunities for poorer people, people of color to achieve gainful employment, assigned astronomical amounts in child support comparative to income leaving them to resort to criminality or it go unpaid. Offending more still, police manage to avoid charges in the brutal slaying of Alton Sterling though they had him on his back and shot 2 bullets point blank into his chest while kneeling on him; gun he bought to protect himself from area muggings during the course of hocking CD’s out of his car trunk giving what little monetary support to his kids he could after amassing a ‘criminal record’ under previously described F-town conditions, found in his pocket. Officers plainly appearing to panic the moment they emptied his pockets discovering the gun, somehow forgetting as pinned down as he was he couldn’t have reached it anyway. The enraging case of 15 year old 9th grader, honor student Jordan Edwards gunned down by police leaving a party where police allegedly were called to a noise complaint; why, the car came towards the officer in an aggressive manner, claims proven false by body cam footage, as was apparently reports by responding officer(s) of shots fired. Escalating my offense level is, the proms that weren’t desegregated until double digit years of the 21st century because they were hitherto held in private venues, the Mississippi school courts ordered in 2016 to desegregate deemed acceptable until then due to railroad tracks dividing essentially 2 area middle and high schools, not race exclusively ending a legal fight began in the 1960’s. The Alabama school allowed by federal court ruling to return to what is basically segregation or the Florida principal of a largely black school who instructed staff to put all white students in the same class. What offends me far more: how society views select persons of color, different sexual orientations, lifestyles, reality Rachel Dolezal couldn’t be who she was without fabricating a history and was nearly laughed out of public reckoning when she said she identified as black; paralleling stories one of my college English teachers told about channeling, trying to quell her son’s love of black vernacular, music lest he be declared racist, guilty of cultural appropriation. Being a child somewhere between 4 and 8 at the time there was no guile in him, no seeing black people as anything other than people yet his mother was forced to think that way to prevent him being labeled something he wasn’t. Deeper offense than a biracial African American encountering racism is the is the relatively few personal experiences I’ve had with racism juxtaposed against where I found them, the nature surrounding how they came about; when a speech teacher said during a class I was attending contrasting the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy ‘as far as I know there are no African Americans here tonight,’ me siting right next to me in the semi-circle he asked us to place our desks in to see the classroom smartboard, and he says that as an educator, teaching public speaking, a branch of communication, the importance of good communication without any internal check that says he should stop talking, rethink or rephrase what he intended to say. What offends me more is our society wide failed understanding why personalities a-la Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos never should have been invited to speak on any college campus anywhere, anytime; yes, we know college campus violence, mass protest is rare, most college students are worried about being awake for their first class, passing professors’ pop quizzes, doing well on finals and that Berkley has always been a flashpoint through previous decades, times of national upheaval, unrest for protests. However, problems with the named persons, other headline making commencement addressees, event speakers is not owing to they are conservative and campuses are primarily liberal, not that the term ‘safe space’ has gone so far students think they have the right not to hear viewpoints, different, opposing from their own, coopting too many administrators and professors into believing the same, willing to desecrate free speech by not allowing them to speak in the process. Converse to all that millennial gen Z stemming drama, it’s said speakers behavior, prior, present statements disqualifying them the same way revelations about Bill O’Reilly, Rodger Ailes, Bill Cosby and Shawn Hannity mark them undesirable. The same way we wouldn’t invite a holocaust denier, 9/11, Sandy hook truther to spew their hate; it’s one thing to not impede freedom of speech, it’s another to hand hate, vitriol, inciting of violence and obnoxiousness a podium. The same way climate change deniers, all/most birth control is abortifacient champions would be unwelcome, because the things they are saying are factually inaccurate. Highly offending under listed criteria is why people are confused at uproar over Condoleezza Rice’s Rutgers commencement speech invite years before or Betsy DeVos’ days ago, blaming the students for protests, trying to ban speakers the antithesis of the event they are scheduled to speak during when that falls to, talk about tone deaf, administrators; administrators who should have been cognizant that Rice receiving an honorary doctorate in law hypocritically, not only could be viewed but was, inappropriate. Considering her prattling on beside her boss George W. Bush about WMD that very probably did not exist, her support of water boarding, themed attitude leading to incidents like Abu Ghraib; her actions, support of actions taken during aforementioned administration leading many far removed from social justice warrior college campus snowflakes to believe she should be tired for war crimes. Astute protesting students stating had she been invited to a panel on ethics during war, her administrations, presidential administrations in general’s response, declarations of war, modern warfare as seen in Iraq, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen exc., ethics in modern warfare vis-a-vis the preceding instances she would have been both welcomed and respectfully heard, even if profoundly disagreed with. DeVos on the other hand represents something distasteful to the institution of education itself, incompetence, a job achieved by deep pockets and cronyism while knowing nothing about it; evidenced by her confirmation hearing where she couldn’t answer the most basic questions regarding debates in approaches to education, achievement measuring, is totally clueless on the challenges facing public schools, has never attended one herself, allowed her children to attend a public school, even plagiarizing senate questionnaire answers, irony lost only on her. Provoking legitimate fears, understanding her religious background, she will privatize, monetize through tuition fees, charter schools now public K-12 Ed.; also unsettling her financial support for gay so called conversion therapy and the largely religious institutions who practice it, a practice one state has taken steps to outlaw on persons under 18 cataloging the devastating psychological effects. Sealing her dunce like fate in the minds of even high school flunkies, never mind college educated students set to graduate admonished at the ceremony where DeVos tried to speak, scenes from her confirmation hearing where, when asked about guns in schools and do guns have any place there, presumably in the hands of security guards, conceal and carry authorized teachers to prevent, mitigate loss of life if confronted with an active shooter situation she suggested guns were needed in Wapiti Wyoming to protect students from grizzly bears, footage readily available to mildly tech savvy persons on the internet. What offends me more is looking at the march for science, the climate march, going back to the women’s march beginning of the year comprehending we’ve needed a march on each one of those subjects plus many others besides in growing pockets of the nation for a solid decade or longer when Texas schoolboards decided to whitewash history books translating to the whole nation because the largest maker of textbooks manufacturing facilities are concentrated there, when one state tried to craft an AP history class solely out of the 10 commandments and Reagan speeches, scaling back biology, physiology at the high school level to accommodate abstinence only sex ed. And we’re just now getting national attention to what’s been happening when president Trump was elected? What offends me more is ignoring the subconscious, almost subliminal message the ad was conveying that was positive: the conversations that can start when we calculate then recognize those things that unite us, make us similar, the same far out way those that divide us make us different. Speaking of celebrities, what offends me more are the hypocritical black respectability politics of Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley and now Jesse Williams constantly saying black individuals, black communities must do better if they want to be seen in a better light. How black comedians easing their pain from difficult upbringings and a horrifying legacy of corporal punishment to the extreme has left disastrous results on society doing little to quell the ‘black bad behavior’ they swear it does resulting in the likes of Adrian Peterson who flogged his 4 year old son, for shoving his bother over a video game, leaving marks and scabs up to a week later when he was returned to his mother who saw his injuries, took him straight to a doctor and cooperated with a filed DFS report. Prior to that James Harrison who made a big social media splash announcing to the world his sons’ participation trophies were going back from wince they came supposedly to teach them about actually earing achievements, when your best isn’t good enough quickly dissolving into a lot of bla, bla, bla when another parent of a child roughly the same age did a little digging into Harrison’s own past behavior family support dollars lost to fines, suspensions because he couldn’t follow the rules of his chosen profession, lawsuit over some dogs who bit a Harrison child and personal trainer describing his own child spontaneously putting in the hard work, practice to be better than his favorite soccer hero, largely thanks to a goal, not life lectures, modeled life lessons al-a the Harrison method. Not to mention all the black professional athletes, movie, music, comedic stars who’ve been arrested for rape, domestic violence, gun charges, wild, out of control party behavior, but they can’t get their heads around doing something different; perhaps as the article directly above depicts, not treating their kids like an inconvenience, normal questioning and developmental stage behaviors with physical violence. These and more are the things that will advance the black condition to a better place, society, as a whole’s condition to a better place fittingly leaving Kendal Jenner in our 15 minutes of fame dust.