Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What is #Ferguson Really About?

Much of America had forgotten about Ferguson until the grand jury returned its decision. It was evident that it didn't find sufficient evidence to indict when the press conference to announce the decision was delayed for hours. It was preparing for the storm to come once it officially announced the grand jury's decision.

What is happening in Ferguson right now isn't shocking at all... It was expected. The violence that followed shooting and death of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson on August 9 had us embracing for another set of violence. I'm not using the word "uproar" to describe the violence because this violence has nothing to do with the uproar that comes from rage when faced with injustice and racism.

I cannot possibly fathom to understand what it is like to be an African-American male, but I do understand what it feels like to face prejudice. As a Korean-American female, I face prejudice everyday. Mocking of stereotype based on nothing but ignorance... It is outrageous. How African-American males are perceived by majority of America... Words like outrageous and ignorant seem somewhat inadequate to describe the prejudice that many are still facing today. However, destruction of its own community isn't the answer. In fact, it only feeds already existing prejudice.

How does destruction of public and private properties help bring justice for Michael Brown and his family? How does looting shed light on prejudice faced by African-American males? How does destroying Ferguson help end racism in America? None of these destructive behaviors do. So, how do we explain the destruction that has once again engulfed Ferguson?

It isn't the outrage... It is the desperation brought on by the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson. We get desperate when we feel that we don't have options... We get desperate when we feel helpless and hopeless... We get desperate when we think that we can't change the path that is ahead of us. That is what is happening in Ferguson... Desperation.

Desperation often leads to self-destruction, and I feel like I am watching a community self-destruct because it feels helpless. Helpless in the prejudice the community faces every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month... I can certainly understand how an African-American community may feel desperate. It doesn't seem that long ago when unarmed Trayvon Martin (17) was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. It happened in February 2012. Trayvon's death brought national attention on prejudice African-American males still face... It didn't seem to matter because George Zimmerman was acquitted, but it did matter. It mattered because America once again paid attention to racism and the price of it.  A life of seventeen year old boy is a big price to pay for one man's ignorance.

Don't get me wrong... I don't know if officer Darren Wilson justly shot and killed Michael Brown. Three autopsies showed that Brown was shot from the front and not from the back as witnesses accounted. Officer Wilson called for backup when he realized that Brown matched a description of robbery suspect from roughly ten minutes prior. Altercation took place between Wilson and Brown  thru Wilson's patrol car window. Shots were fired where one hit Brown's arm. Brown and Johnson (Brown's friend) fled. Johnson hit behind a car while Wilson pursued Brown. More shots were fired and six bullets hit Brown. I understand Wilson was pursuing a robbery suspect and altercation had already occurred with shots fired. I understand that Brown may have been charging towards Wilson. I understand that Wilson had the right to protect himself... Against unarmed man? Was it necessary to shoot him six times? Was it racially motivated or is this the case of safe defense?

Sometimes, desperation surfaces from mis-directed anger.  Michael Brown was unarmed, but the altercation with Darren Wilson may not be the best example of police brutality or prejudice faced by African-American males. Brown and Johnson were walking on middle of a street. Officer Wilson pulled over besides them and told them to walk on the sidewalk. He then realized that Brown matched the robbery suspect and called for backup. Brown and Wilson got into an altercation that led to Brown's death. I don't buy all of Wilson's grand jury testimony, but Brown certainly had a hand in the matter.

Having said all this, it doesn't mean that Michael Brown's death isn't tragic. All human lives are equally valuable, and it is most tragic because he was so young. Justice won't come by burning and looting private and public properties... Michael Brown's name won't be remembered the way his family would like him to be remembered by engulfing communities in violence. What is #Ferguson really about? It isn't about Michael Brown anymore... 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Classic: Capes

My first cape was bright red made with wool when I was in the kindergarden. I still remember it like it was yesterday... I wore that cape pretty much everywhere during that winter season with a pair of matching knee-high boots. My Mother had to battle me to stop wearing them when the sun started peeking out... Ever since then, I have been a cape gal. Timelessly chic, you just can't go wrong with them no matter what the occasion is or how old you are.

Here are six capes that will melt fashionistas' hearts everywhere:

spotted at net-a-porter

spotted at farFetch

spotted at Nasty Gal

spotted at Zara

spotted at Burberry

spotted at YOOX

11.24.2014 Style Maker

stretchy neoprene shafts + rubber sole + folds easily for travel
...spotted at Bloomingdale's

Halting of Bill Cosby & Rape Allegations

Words like wholesome, great father, generous man and role model come to our minds when we think of Bill Cosby... They are strange words to associate with a man who has been accused of sexual assaults by several women since 2005. The allegations of sexual assult have become recently louder... 

He was in the thick of orchestrating a comeback with his own show on NBC and a special on the Netflix... They have been cancelled, at least for now. His interviews with Queen Latifah and David Letterman have been also cancelled. The actor's recent tweet daring people to meme him and the allegations backfired. His beloved 'The Cosby Show' reruns have been quietly but surely removed from the TV Land's roster.

Andrea Constand, Barbara Bowman, Janice Dickinson, Joan Tarshis, Tamara Green, Therese Serignese, Linda Joy Traitz, Louisa Mortiz, Beth Ferrier, Carla Ferrigno, Angelia Leslie and Kristina  Ruehli have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assaults... from forceful kiss to rape. It is natural for some of us to wonder why it may have taken some of these women decades to come forward... Some may question motives for having kept their silences and only have come forward while Cosby was orchestrating his comeback. Some of his accusers have openly admitted that they started consensual relationships after being assaulted by him. Perhaps, not all the women are being truthful. It is, however, difficult to believe that all of twelve women are lying.

Sexual assault isn't like other violent crimes... Most of the victims blame themselves and feel shamed by what happened. Home robbery victims feel violated, so imagine what it would feel like if you body was robbed. Unfortunately, calling 911 isn't instinctive for sexual assault victims as it is for home robbery victims. Unless these twelve women got together and conspired to accuse Cosby of sexual assaults, I find some of their stories creditable. The key word here is "some".

Andrea Constand came forward in January 2005 after being sexually assaulted in Cosby's home in Pennsylvania. She reported the assault to Canadian authorities one year after it took place. Cosby was Constand's mentor at the Temple University, their alma mater. She claimed that they were at his home when he gave her a herbal pill to relax her and then sexually molested her.

A month after Constand came forward, Tamara Green appeared on the Today Show. She alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her in the 1970s. When Montgomery County's DA decided not to press criminal charges against Cosby, Contstand filed a civil lawsuit against him. There were lots of mud-slinging on both sides, but Cosby had the upper hand. No surprise there...

Before their lawsuit was settled out of the court, Beth Ferrier came forward. Her story is similar, yet a little different. She claimed that Cosby drugged her coffee instead of giving her the pills. Barbara Bowman also came forward with her accusations. She gave multiple accounts of sexual assaults. She had felt that no one would believe her over him and thus had kept silent until Constand, Green and Ferrier came forward with their accusations. 

Nearly a decade had gone by before the accusations gained the voice earlier this year. Newsweek published its interview with Green and Bowman... The voice became stronger when comedian Hannibal Buress called out Cosby for being a rapist. Press certainly took interest in the allegations again... Cosby's PR team made a fatal error of believing that no press is a bad press. Not in the age of social media when an individual's opinion can reach millions... Duh! His team dared people to make fun of him and the accusations he is facing. Yep, it backfired big time.

New accusers came forward, including Joan Tarshis, Linda Joy Traitz and Janice Dickinson, this month. Some of his accusers seem credible, but I find Janice Dickinson somewhat less credible. Her claim to fame was self-proclamination as one of the original supermodels. Oh my... I hate to sound catty, but someone needs to break the news to Dickinson. There are only five original supermodels and they are Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patiz, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. Dickinson wrote a tell-all biography about up's and down's of her life back in 2009... Hmmm! I have a little trouble believing that she left out Cosby raped her back in 1982 after he gave her a pill to sedate her. Someone please tell her that polaroid photos of Cosby in his robe is a proof that they were together in a room, but it doesn't prove that he drugged and raped her. Ummm... It also doesn't help that she sold the photographs to TMZ.

More accusers seem to step forward everyday... Commonality of the allegations is that Bill Cosby drugged his victims before assaulting them. The question that could unravel this she-said and he-said is to find his supplier. Bill Cosby's guilt or innocence can't be determined by just the number of accusations. There are no evidence that links him to these accusations... As much as we may feel for some of these women, Cosby cannot be penalized just based on accusations. You wouldn't want to lose your job over accusations and he shouldn't either... It hurts for me to say it, but we need to be fair  even to Bill Cosby.

Let's face it... He didn't drive to street corners to buy these pills he was giving out to the women. He must've had one supplier... Where is the supplier? He has had an army of people working for him, yet no one has stepped forward. Several women have been sexually assaulted over decades, and not one person from his inner circle has broken the silence. Not even a whisper of who supplied him with the pills and who saw what. I think we've been focusing on the wrong person to break his silence... We need to start focusing on those who were in his inner circle at the time.