The racial issues I talk about

There was one comment I got a few weeks ago on one of my posts that’s been in my head for a while now. I won’t name names even though I have nothing against this blogger at all. They discovered Ospreyshire’s Realm through another blogger I follow since I’ve commented on multiple posts of theirs.

To paraphrase what they said, they’ve said that I talk a lot about racial/POC issues.

Do I talk about those issues? Yes, and I’ve been doing so before the recent police brutality cases this year. I’ve shared news stories, written poems with that topic, mentioned it in some film reviews on my other blog, written stories with that as a concept (usually on the more subtle end while doing my best to have positive racial representation), and I even have recordings that allude to racial issues especially with my “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit (Circle of Lies)” single and multiple tracks from my first full-length album “Dear Innovare…”. This is something I do care about not just on principle given my heritage, but also because it’s a human issue and I wish more people would realize it.

I wasn’t like this at first when I started blogging when I came up with the Ospreyshire project and eventually my other blogs. I didn’t talk about those subjects at first on here since it was mainly for my first EP, my more innocuous poems, and promoting other people on this blog. Things took a bit of a change where I started to talk about these particular issues in overt and abstract ways (mainly with my creative projects) in my other blogs and it trickled down here. It’s been surprising how supportive people have been with what I’ve been blogging about since I revealed my racial identity, talked about some of my personal experiences on that matter, and to expose more people to these important issues whether it’s with some conversations, poems, music, news stories, film reviews, or personal opinions on different subjects. 2020 wasn’t some trendy thing for me to talk about these subjects. I’ve been doing so before that. I used to shy away from these topics offline most of the time, but I can’t hide or certainly lie about these things. Blogging has made me braver and more outspoken whether it’s talking about racism or at the very least mentioning uncomfortable truths or unpopular opinions.

Before I finish this post, I do have some advice for some of my readers out there on this subject.

1. Don’t make racism a partisan issue at all especially in this election year. This isn’t a left-wing or right-wing issue since both sides have been guilty of bigotry. This is a HUMAN issue, as I’ve said before.

2. Get (un)comfortable learning lesser-known parts of history. Learning about Black Wall Street was the first big example for me of a real life part of American history I never learned about during all my years of schooling.

3. Realize that even so-called “innocent” media can contain harmful subtext. Watch how things can be slanted or what the implications could be in a story, movie, TV show, etc.

I hope this post worked in some way for you. I wanted to do something more constructive than just ranting and raging over everything even with what’s going on right now. That doesn’t mean I’m ignoring these issues at all. Have a great day, everyone.

Dystopian Futures: Space Junk Music Video

I have some bad news and good news for you. Bad news is that Dave Emmerson decided to close down his DIY label ZAP Records. It’s quite sad since there were so many good bands associated with that indie label. I’ll be talking about my thoughts on the matter in a separate post. Good news is that his band Dystopian Futures is still going to make music and they just came out with a new song called “Space Junk”! Oh, yeah. I even got to make the music video, too.

Dystopian Futures certainly continue to use their quirky experimental punk rock for this song. It’s a story involving a cosmonaut who has been in stasis in a spaceship for a century while trying to flee from his vice-ridden past. Things don’t go to plan as he’s in the cosmic ocean.

Feel free to buy the song on Visions Press’s Bandcamp!

Misconstruing Inconvenience as Slavery

Did it really feel like oppression?

Don’t misconstrue everything. Everyone isn’t faring so well with this environment at the moment.

Job opportunities become ghosts, masks are everywhere, and hand sanitizer companies are raking it in.

When the comparisons to slavery came up, there was a serious debate on whether to facepalm or to laugh at the sheer lunacy of a statement such as that.

False equivalency detected!

Funny enough (or sadly enough), those same people are paid handsomely for their careers.

This worldwide inconvenience was a shock to everyone and there are no ill-wishes from me, but the level of stupidity and fallacious rhetoric is laughable if it wasn’t so offensive.

Excuse me while I check to see how much sympathy I have…Sorry, I don’t seem to find any for that kind of argument.

Some music I’ve been listening to lately: McIntosh County Shouters, U-Carmen soundtrack, and Wildbirds & Peacedrums

I researched a bit of the Gullah Geechee culture somewhat recently especially after watching the movie Daughters of the Dust and checking out some of Miss Trudy’s Sierra Leone travel vlogs. I wanted to know about some of the musical parts of the culture and didn’t realize a number of African American spirituals came from that autonomous group. One band known as the McIntosh County Shouters who’ve been around for decades and preserve a lot of the Gullah songs as well as the culture. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t have actively listened to them when I was younger, but I’ve been gaining more appreciation for other types of music. I even bought one of their albums and saw some of their concert videos on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/YELZepKtr1I

I got to see U-Carmen earlier this year. For those of you that have never heard of that movie, it’s a South African adaptation of Bizet’s famous Carmen opera. Not only is this set in the 00s and in a different country, the entire opera is actually done in the Xhosa language (the X is pronounced by clicking). It was a very fascinating take on that classical work. In the movie, all the actors actually sing live on set instead of lip-synching to pre-recorded performances. I would definitely recommend the movie and soundtrack. This song in particular is a Xhosa cover of “Habanera” which is a song a lot of you know even if you don’t know anything about opera or classical music. Just listen to the melody, and you’ll instantly recognize it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjThbylqXdI

Here’s a band I found out about somewhat recently after finding out that they’ve collaborated with the Congotronics Vs Rockers project. It was a superband involving Congolese bands (mainly from Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars) and various musicians from all over the world. Two of those musicians happened to consist of the Swedish married couple known as Wildbirds & Peacedrums. I’m a sucker for experimental forms of music and I didn’t think anyone can make a band with just vocals and percussion. They’ve got some avant-pop and jazz kind of vibes with their minimalist approach to music which I found to be unique. I was also a fan of the stop motion filming in this music video.

I’m glad I still have an appreciation for music in these stressful times. Hope you like these selections.

10K+ Views Pt. II: Q&A Answers

Here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. I get to answer the questions I got last week for my 10K+ view milestone!


“What was going through your mind when you wrote all those 455 posts? I mean did you ever run out of ideas or did you always had a topic in your mind(if yes you did run out of ideas, what did you do to bring yourself back up)?”

from Eggsandwich04

Well, I certainly have more than 455 posts at this point in time now. Haha! Okay, in all seriousness, my mind has been at different points when I made certain posts. I mainly focused on the Ospreyshire project for my spoken word stuff with the poems, recordings, and videos. I expanded to talking about news events and my opinions about different things. I ranged from sad, angry, serious, and occasionally comedic if the time calls for it. However, I think most of my poetry tends to lead towards sad or angry in hindsight.

I can’t say I’ve ran out of ideas since new ones pop up. Some of them will affect this blog since I still have more things to do with what Ospreyshire was made for.

“Who would say is or makes your blog audience?”

from Khaya Ronkainen

That’s a question that I legitimately thought about. I guess the people who I know mostly view and comment on my posts are usually other poets, some bloggers that cover serious issues, and anibloggers given my prowess in multiple blogs. Funny how I have that kind of crossover appeal with different types of bloggers.

“Do you have any favorite poets or collections of poetry?”

from Eggheadluna

Some of my favorite poets include Langston Hughes, Buddy Wakefield, The Last Poets, and so much more.

“Do you think you’ll still be blogging in five years and if so, care to guess how many views you’ll reach by then?”

from Lynn Sheridan

I believe I’ll still be blogging in the next 5 years. I don’t know if I’d be working on multiple blogs at once, but I could see myself managing at least one of them that far in the future. If I were to gauge how many views I could get then, I’d say 20-30K by then. It took 4 years to get 10K here, so I don’t know.

“What do you think is the best story you’ve written?”

from Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews

Hooray! I’m glad there are people who know about my fiction/author exploits! That is a really tough question. Hollandus Landing was a very important book for me since it was the first time I showed off my cell phone novel projects let alone a full story to everyone as I serialized it live back in 2017. Another important story I wrote would have to be in the Revezia series like Praxis of the Disenchanted or the Electrum Trilogy. By the way, you can get Hollandus Landing for free or donation!

“It seems that you still have some hangups about yourself as it pertains to anger about self-worth based on what others have done to your self-esteem, so having said that, has this blog done more to aid you in self reflection and instilled in you a true sense of self worth or are you letting others get into your head and instill their thoughts, their prejudices, their biases as it pertains to you being bi-racial?”

from Shelby Courtland

Yeah, I still struggle with these issues, but I do appreciate you checking up on me. It definitely shows with some of my poems and some of the news stories that touched a nerve with me whether it’s racial issues or when I did that infamous rant against a certain movie last year. One of my weaknesses is that I can care too much about what others think of me. It’s NOWHERE near as bad as when I was younger, but it still slips in from time to time.

This blog has certainly helped with self-reflection and catharsis. I am slowly rebuilding that self-worth that was diminished after dealing with bullies and people getting away with their abusive behaviors even when I would call them out. There are times where I wished I was more aware about subtle forms of derogation like projection, dog whistles, or low-key insults when I was much younger (I guess taking a psych class might have helped for some of that in hindsight). Speaking as someone who is biracial, I did get my wake-up call years ago about how those who are mixed tend to be treated whether they have a white parent or not. Knowing about that reality certainly allowed me to do my own research about things I wasn’t taught (various historical events mainly like Black Wall Street being a major one for me then). At the same time, I’ve had a bad habit of having to prove my humanity, competency, and authenticity to anyone regardless of my ethnic background whether online or offline. I’m not singling anyone out because I’ve sadly had that mindset with anyone I communicate with. Getting rid of these prejudices, biases, or even assumptions out of my head has been quite the task. Hopefully, this answers your question.

“If you could witness the writing of a poetry collection (or novel), whose would it be, and why?”

from Ashley Capes

If I had to witness the creation of such books, I would’ve liked to have been there to have seen the process of the Circle trilogy from Ted Dekker (I read all the books years ago) or if I were to cheat with manga, I’d say Hikaru no Go. Wow, I sound like such a stan with the second example.

Thank you so much for your questions. I still have something else planned for this milestone!

9/15! Pre-Orders for my newest Hollanduscosm books! All of them are 99 cents!

I have some new cell phone novels coming out on September 15th for my Hollanduscosm series. All of them are 99 cents, and I hope you get a chance to read them.

C. M. B. Bell's Writing Universe

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10K+ Views! How did I not notice this before? Also, there’s a Q&A opportunity!

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This put a smile on my face even with the things going on in my life or the global climate this year. As of this post, I have crossed the 10,000 view threshold! After having this blog for 4 years now, I didn’t expect to have this many views or to have over 330 followers at this time. I’m still small potatoes, but it is amazing to have some people who’ve checked out my stuff on here.

It just started out as an outlet for my poetry and for my current spoken word/avant-garde project, but things expended with bringing up news stories, posting my opinions on matters, discussing racial issues (not just on principle in my case), or even exposing various artists to those that might care. Funny how life works.

I want to do something special for this milestone and I want it to be multi-tiered. One thing I want to try first is a Q&A. Just make sure you put your question in the comments section and just keep it civil and polite, please. I’ll answer them next week and promote your blog if you have one.

Besides that, I want to do other things to commemorate this occasion. I do have a few ideas in mind for what to try. Stay tuned.

I just want to thank everyone who has checked out my blog, my music, or my other projects. Thank you so much!

My Heritage Confessional Pt. I

I didn’t feel judged at first since I grew up in a multiethnic area. My neighborhood had people of all races represented and everyone got along. No one had an issue with an interracial married couple moving in with my sister and I during my childhood. Having parents of differing ethnic stock was normal to me and I didn’t think that much about it. Sure, I was darker than my dad and lighter than my mom, but I didn’t had any issues with it when it came to my family.

During this time, I read a ton of books, yet I also watched a lot of TV shows (balances it out, right?). I didn’t think too much about the heroes at my young age. I wanted to see the coolest and unique characters. Maybe in hindsight, I should’ve paid more attention like how it was a bad idea for Zach to be the Black Ranger or even how Trini was the Yellow Ranger way back when. I collected action figures of various superheroes of different ethnic groups, but to be honest…most of the heroes were Caucasian that got attention for the toy marketers and whatnot. I know they’re inanimate objects, but maybe Bishop, Sunfire, and Warpath felt like tokens and I didn’t realize it (can’t you tell I was big into X-Men?). Deep in my mind though, I wondered why not many heroes looked like me. I certainly didn’t see that many superheroes who did and certainly not Disney protagonists.

I was fortunate not to deal with as much racism (that I know of) during my elementary school years. Sure, I had my own issues growing up, but nothing too severe as far as bigotry was concerned. With that being said, they slowly became more obvious as I was in my teenage years. Life wasn’t as innocent as I thought even with the history they did teach me in school. When my family moved to a majority-white suburb because of my dad’s job, that’s when it became more apparent as I didn’t see that many Black let alone other POC groups with the exception of a few people of Asian or Indian descent living there. People didn’t believe my mom and dad were married to each other. There were some neighbors who only saw my dad and said to him “At least you’re not part of a Black family moving in”. I didn’t know about that conversation until years later and it broke my heart that anyone would say that. I’m glad my dad called them out on their bigotry and we didn’t associate with them during our time in this town.

Besides that history, there was some dualism in the perception of me existing. There were people who were curious about my heritage which I wasn’t offended by them asking as long as they didn’t say “What are you?” or “Are you American?”. I’ve been mistaken for Indian, Arab, Polynesian, and Native American before (Side note: I’ve had two people directly from India ask if I was Indian and two people of MENA descent [Egyptian and Iranian respectively] wonder if I was a Middle-Easterner). There were people who didn’t have an issue with having both African and European ancestry which is awesome. Unfortunately, there were others who did low-key digs at my ethnic background or considered me worthless. I certainly had enough melanin to not look Caucasian which made me a racial bullying target for some white people and there have been been a couple of Black people who assumed I thought I was better than them because of my mixed heritage while also claiming that I didn’t know anything about being a victim of racism. Those assumptions made me so furious even though I kept quiet since I was bullied into silence back then. Even now, my self-esteem is low enough that I don’t believe I’m better than anyone and I could do an entire post listing all the times others said or did racist crap around me or to me.

I wasn’t the most cognizant of some of these factors when I was far younger, but I certainly got my wakeup call ages ago. Granted, I’m still learning and I can’t stand being put under a microscope by so many people including those that should know better. It’s due to all these jerks that I sadly have to prove my humanity or competence to anyone and everyone.

Some positive things despite the insanity of the world: African travel vlogs, traditional Burundian drumming, and Hikaru no Go song covers

 

I know things are still very intense in this world. I’m not ignoring them at all. This is just a slight change of pace. I had some rough emotional moments earlier this week, but I’m better now. It’s been amazing by getting some encouragement from offline and online friends recently. Here are some things that I thought were fascinating recently.

 


I’ve been getting into Miss Trudy’s videos a lot over the past few weeks. Miss Trudy is a Kenyan YouTuber who makes travel videos mainly of different African countries. I checked out some of her videos on Sierra Leone and Liberia among other countries and I was astounded by the beauty of those nations. That’s the Africa they NEVER show you especially in the West. Here’s one of her videos where she’s in Freetown (the capital and largest city). Also, did you know Freetown was actually created by freed African slaves from America, the Caribbean, England, and Canada? I thought that was very fascinating.

Burundi has been one country I didn’t pay too much attention to, but I have to thank Miss Trudy as well as Dr. Y. for exposing me to more things about that country. One cultural tradition in that country is their drum corps. These drummers carry on a legacy dating back centuries when Burundi was a kingdom. The drummers would play for the king and they had their own unique rhythms. This was wonderful and I even picked up the live album of the Drummers of Burundi on Bandcamp where they played at Real World Records which is owned by Peter Gabriel.

I got back into the anime and manga series Hikaru no Go this year. It was one of my favorite series during my high school years, and after rediscovering it, HNG still holds up. Seriously, if you think all anime is nothing but martial arts ultraviolence, collectable monsters, or hentai, then please rethink your priorities. I found a cover of the 2nd opening theme “I’ll Be the One” by HAL that was performed by this Thai singer named MindaRyn. I thought she did a great job at singing this song. This was almost as good as the original in my opinion.

Besides all of that, I’ve been having some thoughts about what to post, but I’m debating about having it here or on my other blogs involving different topics.

Hope you all are doing well today.