Don’t Be Silent



I don’t know what to say anymore, but I don’t want to be silent either.

A year ago I wrote this, which started out as a review of the movie Straight Outta Compton, but it naturally turned into an indictment of police brutality against black people. Another year has passed and today my social media feed is filled with news of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was pinned to the ground by police and shot dead. Philando Castile being shot by police during a traffic stop. I watched the video. It is horrifying. (In the day it took me to finish writing this, I had to update the information above to reflect the latest police shooting of a black man.)

I remember seeing the video of Rodney King being beaten by police 25 years ago. I remember being shocked that it happened. I remember being more shocked that the police officers went unpunished. In 25 years, nothing has changed except that I am no longer shocked. Still horrified, but not shocked. It doesn’t matter that these murders are caught on video. The police are killing with impunity and people can yammer about #AllLivesMatter as much as they want, but police are killing black people, specifically. All lives aren’t at stake here; Black lives are.

I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I don’t know where I fit into this discussion. My whiteness protects me. I have never felt fear when being pulled over by police. I can drunkenly approach a couple of cops and ask them about their weapons and they will answer me and chuckle.

Then I thought about how I feel when a man calls himself a feminist and speaks out against campus rape culture. Do I appreciate his involvement or do I think, “That’s great that you care, but you will never understand the vulnerability that comes with being a woman”? Both, I guess. Maybe if more men became involved in the discussion, the focus would be on how not to rape rather than how not to be raped. Maybe if more white people become involved in this discussion we can shift the focus back to the real problem: the police.

Why should my black friends have to teach their children how not to get shot by police? That’s like teaching our daughters how not to get raped. Stop putting the onus on the victim!

Dear fellow white people, please just ask yourself this question: “What have I told my children about the police?” Have you told them that if they are ever lost, they should look for a police officer to help them? Now take a minute and ask your black friends what they have told their children about the police. (If you don’t have any black friends, watch this.)

There is a problem with the police in this country. We need to fix it. If we don’t, this country is going to explode. I’m old enough to remember the Los Angeles riots after the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted. If we don’t stop this insanity soon, the whole country is going to burn.

Nobody has the luxury of ignoring this any longer. I don’t care what race you are. This affects all of us. I don’t know what to do. I have no fucking idea. All I can do is talk about it. All I can do is tell you I care about what’s happening. I will continue to have uncomfortable conversations about white privilege. I will keep challenging the idea that we live in a post-racial society just because we have a black president. I will keep stating what should be obvious: BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I won’t be silent because silence implies acquiescence. I don’t want there to be any doubt about whose side I’m on.


Open Letter: J.J. Abrams, My Abusive Boyfriend


Producer and director J.J. Abrams participatin...

Dear J.J.,

I think it’s time I finally tell you how I feel. You are ruining my life and destroying my dreams.

Okay, maybe I should back up a little bit.

Let’s start with Lost. Remember that little show, Lost? That’s when I fell in love with you, and when you fucked me over for the first, but not the last time. See, I got on board with Lost a little behind schedule. It was in the early 2000’s that I discovered your mysterious creation, and I was instantly hooked. That was back when people still got their Netflix DVDs in the mail, and I watched the first two seasons back to back like it was my fucking job. I couldn’t wait to see how those survivors navigated the incredible wonders of the island you created. Adam and Eve! The hatch! That crazy fucking hatch! And the numbers! What the hell were those numbers all about? I was riveted and trembling with anticipation.

I should have known it would all fall apart when you veered left of center with that Nikki and Paulo shit. What the fuck was that, J.J.? Were you hung over that week and decided to throw together a plotline that would dangle endlessly and then just disappear into the ether? I let that one slide, thinking it was a one-off mistake. Oh, how wrong I was. As time progressed and the clock ticked off 108 minutes at a time, I was eager for a perfect ending that would seamlessly weave together the myriad plot threads I had been lovingly following with nail-biting intensity season after motherfucking season. But it would never be.

I saw stories evaporate and threads snap as you deux ex machina’ed the fuck out of everything I had been hanging on to for years. Good versus evil? Motherfucking trite much? Jacob and the magic river of glowing ectoplasm? I was waiting for Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd to show up and spew some shit about not crossing the streams. Then, guess what? We’re all in heaven and everybody’s happy! Yay. Not this girl. Fuck you, J.J.!

So, why am I bitching about this now, you may wonder. Well, I’ll get to that.

A few weeks ago, I garnered some insight into why you may be such a crazy bastard. Or if not why, I can at least testify to the fact that you seem to have been this way since you were a wee lad. Exhibit A: TED Talks. Now, I’ve always thought those kids who hold onto their toys without opening them from the cellophane packaging (see: 40 Year Old Virgin) were more than a little off, but this takes the cake. In an attempt to explain your creative inspiration, you show a “mystery box” package you purchased from a magic shop as a child. This mystery box is unopened and one cannot tell what goodies are inside. It takes a special kind of crazy to purchase a surprise like this as a kid and not open it. CRAZY! The fun is in the opening! I cannot reiterate this enough. This doesn’t explain why you are a great creator of entertainment; it only explains why you are a bastard who doesn’t reveal the mysteries in your television and movies. I want to reach through my laptop screen and tear open your mystery box. (That sounds like the makings of a heavy metal/boy band mash-up song, but you get the picture.)

The reason why all of my frustration with you, J.J., is coming to a head at this particular time, is because I recently started watching your show Fringe on Netflix. Apparently it’s been long enough since you fucked me over with Lost, and I felt ready for another beating. Why, oh why did I do this? It’s like I saw your name and only remembered the amazing sex and not the bad case of The Clap you left me with. And it burns.

Fringe started out incredible, of course. The far-out science is interesting and compelling. The actors, especially John Noble, are wonderful. I started ‘shipping the Peter and Olivia characters almost immediately because I’m a typical fangirl and I cannot help myself. Then, the other shoe fell and you broke my heart again. Just when I thought my couple was coupling, you had to cross universes and have mistaken identities abound and complicate things with unintended accelerated pregnancies and now the world might end. (No spoilers, please! I’m only on Season 3, and I’m still holding out hope everything will work out. I know, I know. I’ve got it so bad.)

I knew I was completely fucked last week when the episode focused around a series of very familiar numbers. Really, J.J.? Are you fucking kidding me? If it turns out that they are all in heaven at the end, I will find you, and I will shove your box into a very mysterious (and uncomfortable) place.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Begrudgingly yours,

Tina Steele