Posts Tagged oakland

Alone in a locker room of wannabe Oakland Raiderettes

Well, not completely alone. Imagine my surprise, as I – post work-out, dressed in boy muscle shirt, boy shorts, wearing weight gloves and my iPod – rounded the corner into my section of gym lockers, and literally walked into a gaggle of twenty 20-something wannabe Oakland Raiderettes Cheerleaders. Yes, today was the second Sunday of Raiderettes try-outs at my gym. And I was there. Again.

I’ve never had to walk over and around so many nylons, contestant numbers, and stiletto heels especially in a narrow section of gym locker room. These woman, dare I say contestants/interviewees/candidates had gobs of accessories. Who knew there were so many shades of “who knew it came in that color” pink? Sparkles and sequins, short shorts, zippers, white belts, either purchased online, at the store, or hand-crafted by their mother-in-laws. Fake eyelashes that could double as umbrellas. And spray-on tans. No one came without. And velour sweat outfits. All true, folks.

This scene made me uncomfortable. Why? Was it because I have never seen so much spontaneous arranging and rearranging of parts, real or assisted? Weren’t they of the same sex and because of my chromosomes, a sight I should be enjoying?  Uh, no. Raiderettes and pre-Raiderettes are a different species than I. Consider a Sporty Spice action figure and a plush Hello Kitty doll. You can put them together on the same carpet in a family room, but you would never see them run off together and start a family even in fantasy land. Now, that would be weird.

Anyway, I high-tailed it to the showers, gym bag in hand and ran into an older woman wrapped in a towel who looked at me with a sour look on her face and asked, “What is happening here? I thought they weren’t allowed in here.” Well, last week they weren’t allowed. This week, apparently, with the “fierce” competition and all, these women needed to be ready for pictures and cheering, so they needed our locker room.

A lot of these women were mothers, one wishing out loud that her two-year old daughter was old enough to be a junior Raiderette. I guess they could practice together. Think of a cross of something Diablo Cody would create and Little Miss Sunshine and you’re starting to see what I saw.

As I was leaving, as quickly as I could, one Raiderette hopeful went up to another and said that she looked great. You could have heard a pin drop. All at once, these curling- and flat-ironed heads of hair, bottle blondes and reds, hushed and turned toward the one who got the compliment. Fierce indeed.

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The Oscar Grant shooting

I feel compelled  to write something about this tragedy. Fruitvale Bart Station is my stop. I shop at Farmer Joe’s where Grant worked behind the meat counter. Every day this week, as I got off the train, I couldn’t help but try and imagine what happened last week and where it happened. Is it down there, or am I walking by the very spot he was shot? I’ve been imaging all of this because we were in LA when this happened, and up until now, I have only seen stills of the shooting.

Today, I watched three different cell phone videos of the shooting, and man, Oakland is lucky they have seen only a few days of violence, misplaced as it may be.

To me all cops are bent. I sometimes feel bad when I think this, but that’s what it is. I can understand the need to do good and uphold the law, but to do so with a swagger, a uniform, and guns at the ready, as you patrol your beat, I’m sorry, but a cop is not wired the same way I am. And then Bart cops. Not real cops, are they? A glorified security guard with a real gun, perhaps? How many people get their GED, graduate high school, and say, I want to be a Bart cop? Exactly. Yes, many generalizations here, but after all, this is my blog.

Tell me after looking at the videos you can’t help but think that something went terribly wrong here. Look at the body language of the Bart cop, Johannes Mehserle. His animal instinct was to grab a gun, taser or whatever, to let Grant know he had no choice. But Mehserle fucked up. Big time. After the shot, his buddy jumped back, yelled something at him, and Mehserle held up his hands, as if to say I don’t know what just happened. And don’t you just love how the cop buddy turned Grant over like a piece of meat, checking to see that really was a bullet. Not a lot of compassion here.

You’ve got witnesses. Witnesses that were feet away from the shooting, up against the wall, awaiting their fate. Witnesses by the many in the form of Bart police. Witnesses on the train who were taunting, yelling, encouraging, and then scared once they figured out someone was shot. And now you’ve got thousands, if not millions of witnesses, watching these videos on YouTube, and feeling the same way I do now.

Oscar Grant didn’t get his day in court. His verdict came in quickly, noisely, publicly, on New Year’s day in Oakland on a Bart platform. Mehserle can hide all he wants, resign, hide behind his unions and lawyers and due diligance. But give him his day in court. And quickly. Justice needs to happen. We need to start seeing some justice.

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