I fit the description. I was a black man.
Could it be that, in a nation that has legalized racial profiling through such policies as "stop-and-frisk," the persecution of pigmentation makes African Americans indistinguishable from each other in the eyes of the law -- so much so that all are feared as imminent threats?
The shock is not only that a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager. That, tragically, has happened too many times before, and when the details remain murky, many people withhold judgment. The shock was that the police response to the protests was so hugely disproportionate, "like an invading army."
Hogwarts is run by white people, and let's not touch racism and Tolkien. Where are the South Asian superheroes? The Black people in Dr. Seuss? Make sure your kids know the world they see has missing pieces, missing people and missing stories.
If a black person can be gunned down and left in the street for over four hours with no disciplinary action taken against the government representative responsible, what does "equal protection" mean?
When I started writing about the gender disparity I saw in Silicon Valley, I took intense fire from the boys club. They could get away with this because such frat-boy behavior was considered acceptable in Silicon Valley. But things are changing for the better.
The profound division of American society along racial lines is part of a vicious circle exacerbating a host of social problems, from excessive use of force by the police to mass incarceration and wealth inequality.
I believe that having hard conversations is hard because we haven't put ignorance in its proper place. Ignorance has become synonymous with choice and that's not always true. If I can't ask an ignorant question, how will I become enlightened to the truth?
No matter where you are in life, finances can be a big pain in the you-know-what. It doesn't get easier, no matter how much older you get. So to help, we've devised a little roadmap of goals that everyone can follow to make sure they are meeting the right financial goals for their age.
Reloadable prepaid cards have evolved over the past few years, but many Americans are not informed on how to compare and benefit from this financial product. These cards can be very beneficial for a variety of consumers, as long as they devote the time to finding the card that's best for them.
Only by participating in the political process, building trust and cooperation with people unlike us, and using our smartphone cameras to expose official misconduct can we make America -- to borrow Dr. King's words -- be true to what we said on paper.
The words "college life" and "savings" are typically not used in the same sentence today. However, for college students preparing to move onto campus this fall, finding ways to save money may very well be as important as their academic major.
The election of Barack Obama was the Lexington and Concord in the latest great battle of race in America. We are a nation at war with itself. For all of our desire to move beyond the narrow confines of many of the events of our tragic history, we cannot. The president's election gave new life to what had been lying dangerously dormant for the better part of 50 years.
Black people have been dehumanized and disregarded in America since its inception; and it is thus time for us to truly realize that this country is not "one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The expedient historical analogy alleviates any pressure to understand the moment at hand. One is free to return to the caldron and pull out the example that support one's preconceived notion.
As a lawyer in that system, I know that the American criminal justice system is institutionally racist, even though the vast majority of people that work within it are people of good will. We can change the system, but that requires us to recognize the problem and commit to making the necessary changes.
Just look at the facts, and it becomes clear that America's egregious rates of incarceration of blacks and Latinos stem from the enforcement of unfair sentencing laws -- laws that are grounded in racist policy, and that are desperately in need of reform.
By Karu F. Daniels, AOL Black Voices
Hip-Hop diva Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott joins a short list of the genre's pioneers and legends to be honored during the fourth annual 'VH1 Hip Hop Honors,' premiering Oct. 8.
Hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan, the show -- which celebrates the players who broke new ground and pioneered the genre into a true cultural phenomenon -- will be taped at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Oct. 4.
West coast rap icon Snoop Dogg, old-school hip-hop trio Whodini, original hip-hop super-producer Teddy Riley, and hip-hop-soul music mogul Andre Harrell are among this year's honorees. A special 25th Anniversary tribute of the break-dancing film 'Wild Style' will also take place.
Elliott, who has been lavished with many coveted awards over the past decade (including four Grammy Awards), said that this particular event is "more" than a regular honor.
"Hip-hop is my first love and no one can ever tell me dreams don't come true," she told 'The BV Newswire' yesterday. "Although I'm being honored, I am more honored being part of this music that has such realness, rawness and edge and being around so many who have made records that motivated me to be creative and original and follow my own path in music."
"Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Erick B & Rakim and [Queen] Latifah are just a few who I honor," she said, naming other honorees who have come before her. "I thank God for allowing me to reach the masses with my music. You'll never know how grateful I am. Through all of my struggles you've made me feel loved and again, I am more than grateful for this incredible honor. I love you all and hip-hop!"
Elliott, whose first incarnation in the music business came in the form of being a member of the Devante Swing-created girl group Sista (think = Mary J. Blige meets Jodeci times four), broke through as a hit-making, behind-the-scenes collaborator of Timbaland's in the mid-1990s. Her contribution to hit projects by Aaliyah and 702 galvanized her into the hip-hop soul arena, making way for her auspicious debut opus 'SupaDupaFly' in 1997. Five albums later, Missy (as she is affectionately known) has been one of the more consistent hip-hop artists over the past decade. As a song-writer, producer and guest cameo-maker, the Portsmouth, Virginia native has been called on by the biggest names in the business, including Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Blige, Lil' Kim, Madonna, Nelly, Michael Jackson, Diddy, Angie Stone, Beyonce, Monica and Fantasia.
And helping Elliott achieve her success along the way was her manager Mona Scott, who calls her "a musical and visual icon second to none."
Upon hearing that VH1 announced the honor, the Violator Management chief proclaimed, "In a genre generally reserved for testosterone driven braggadocio or slinky haired diva-dom, Missy Elliott has forever carved her niche in pop culture and hip-hip history. She is a creative force tirelessly engaged in a quest to bend our ears and challenge our senses - all while daring us to find a new way to bounce. This honor is well deserved and long overdue and I am so proud of my client and my friend."
Scott, one of the most hands on superstar talent managers, revealed that Elliott's latest disc -- her sixth studio album, tentatively titled 'The Countdown' -- is due out in a few months. A new single should drop at radio next month.
AOL VIDEO: Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliott -- 'She's A B**ch'