Everything You Would Call the Cops For, The Cops Have Done to Me

By Teka Lark (June 15, 2020)

CW: sexual assault

I heard someone say, “We need the police, what if you get home invaded.” Chances of that happening are almost nonexistent for boring people who worry about being home invaded on Facebook. That’s a crime you have to plan out, it’s not a dash-and-grab kind of situation, and it typically involves people who you know.

I, unfortunately, DID get home invaded: by the police. I hid behind the piano while the police dressed in street clothes ransacked my house and destroyed my computer owing to some stories I wrote in my newspaper.

I remember my first interaction with the police. I was 14 years old, my friend had called the police on the drug dealers next door (look up Rampart for details on that). Turned out the drug dealers next door were also the police. They put guns to our heads and threatened to drop our bodies in the LA River.

My second interaction with the police, I was 15. I was a camp counselor, and for some reason, the police helped to run the camp. Anyways, a police officer offered to take me home. In the car, he put his hand on my leg. Right before he got to my house, he stopped the car and sexually assaulted me in the car. I had begged my parents to let me have a job. They said they were worried something would happen to me, so I did not tell anyone what happened, and I hung out at the library for the rest of the summer.

I have only called the police one time in my entire life.

In 2003, I called the police when my friend’s (who was on vacation) taco stand in Los Feliz looked like it had been robbed. When the police arrived, it became apparent that they were viewing me as the perpetrator of the crime, so I somehow managed to get them to let me go to the bathroom of the eatery next door, and once I got in the bathroom, I exited the window and went home.

I have been questioned half a dozen times by the police for not having a car and waiting for the bus to work as a special education kindergarten teacher. Fun fact: If the police think you’re a sex worker and question you about it, they also sexually harass and/or try to become a client when they stop you.

I have ZERO positive stories of the police. I have had 100% negative interactions. They have never solved a problem; they have never made anything better; they have almost always made things worse.

Literally, everything you call the police for, the police themselves have done to me. Is that called irony?

But really, I don’t think if you’re white, you’ll have to worry. I really can’t see the United States allowing you to be treated the way I have been treated, cops or no cops. That would be barbaric.


The Good Old Days Weren’t Good For Everyone

By Teka Lark (June 8, 2020)

During WW2, over 127,000 Japanese Americans were put into internment camps.

The Japanese American community lost $400 million, which would be $5 billion in today’s money. I don’t give a damn if Japanese Americans got a pathetic amount of reparations (if they were still alive), you never recover from someone uprooting your family and throwing you in jail. You can never make a thing such as that right.

The good old days were not good for everyone.

Racism creates two parallel worlds one for white people
and another for nonwhite people, a world where you have to be
exceptional, and nearly perfect, to have the life of an ordinary white person.

For Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Black people, the fear that white people have now due to Trump, we have known that fear, and sadly many of us are numb to it.

The only difference with this particular leader is he is messing with white lives now. He is going to destroy the white middle class. He’s going to destroy your colleges. He’s going to destroy your tenure. He’s going to dismantle your K-12 schools. He’s going to dismantle labor laws. He’s going to make you choose between getting your teeth fixed and paying your light bills. He’s going to make you choose between paying your rent and staying home to raise your child, which seems unreasonable, for a person, not working class, not Black or Latinx. Those problems are coming for you under Trump.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this US is much worse for you if you’ve never been enslaved in the US, lynched in the US, excluded from jobs and/or housing in the US, because of your race, murdered for reading, murdered for owning a business, had your whole life taken from you and your family locked away, because white people are afraid. I’m sure if you’ve never experienced this on US soil, this America is terrifying for you.

I’m sure my great-great-great-great-great grandfather was terrified too when they brought him over here in chains on a boat, so I understand.

I know you may think I am exaggerating, that’s because you live in an entirely different America than I do.

Many of us not protected by white supremacy have had the displeasure to come upon your grandparents.

You don’t need to warn us about things that happened outside the US. We have lived nightmares in this country under your leaders. Leaders like Washington, Lee, Roosevelt, Lincoln, McKinley, and Polk have murdered us, kidnapped us, stole our land, lynched us, and interned us. You don’t need to point to anywhere else, you can just point to the horrible things that happened to nonwhite people here.

You can say, “Please, don’t vote for Trump, because I don’t want to be treated the way the US has had no problem treating nonwhite people for the 243 years existence of this stolen country.”


Public Transit is a Human Rights Issue Under Covid19

By Teka Lark (May 7, 2020)

More women take public transit than men, and more Black people are in car FREE households than anyone else. Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American households are more likely to be in a car FREE household than white people. So it has always troubled me that upper-middle- and middle-class white men have continued to dominate this conversation. This conversation is intersectional. Open streets, human transit movement should be feminist. It should be Feminist with a capital F, but no it is far from that. The women in the human-centric transportation field seem to rather be viewed as the “cool girls” than stand up for other women and children. On Twitter, FB, in the media I keep hearing praises for carFREE BUSINESS initiatives that put people at risk and women at risk so that predominantly white business owners can make money. And I see women, with children co-signing on it, because of the pack dog mentality of movements that are male-dominated.

If you care about women and children, you need to speak up about the irresponsibility and selfishness of opening up businesses now —even if a bicycle is pasted on to it.

You need to say something about the vile new practice by urbanplanning/alttransit/bigdevelopment funded media trying to find the silver linings on opening up nonessential businesses, just because the streets are blocked off from cars. The workers that SERVE you and the public employees that bring them to work don’t live on the open street and often have to come on the train, the bus from FAR AWAY owing to redlining and racism to serve, work, so others can have fun.

There is no bright side to Florida (with horrible public transit) opening up because the streets with businesses happen to be blocked off from cars. The servers don’t live in the businesses, does that entire concept escape you?! If you’re Black, Latinx or white working class, you’ve probably experienced a two-hour commute for a piece of shit job, if you’re white, metropolitan and middle class, understand this: that is how the rest of us get to to work to serve you a coffee.

People are going to die because of this shortsightedness. Do people understand that people don’t live at their workplaces, that they have to travel, and all kinds of things can happen between home in East NY and serving a coffee on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan?

Men fine, I can see how middle-class white men don’t see this, but women in the carFREE movement–Black and Latina women are trying to eat, so I get why they are quiet, but white women — I’m not getting your silence on this madness? Being a feminist means sometimes being unpopular with guys.

This is a picture of Maryland of your essential retail workers getting to work, so maybe you can think about this before you co-sign on to some dude’s awesome idea of opening things back up.



Structural Racism is the Reason People of Color Are Dying of Covid-19

By Teka Lark (April 13, 2020)

The Surgeon General, Dr. Adams, stated, to paraphrase, that we people of color (Black people and Latinos) need to lay off the alcohol and healthfully eat so that we won’t die of the COVID-19. People were quite (understandably) outraged, but I also found something similar in the Chicago Defender that also outraged me:

“If it was in place now, it would be issuing nutritional, dietary and lifestyle advice to Blacks that emerging research is beginning to suggest that may minimize the effect of the epigenetic damage.”

Respectability politics sometimes comes dressed in a three-piece suit and other times, it comes dressed in kente cloth. Still, regardless of its uniform, in the end, it blames Black people for our oppression, and it refuses to attack the root cause directly (fewer grants in that).

For many reasons, I don’t like the historical trauma argument. It implies that we’re damaged when we are born and that gives alive racists a get out of jail free card. I’m not willing to do that. I’m not throwing it out, but I feel it’s a dangerous game to play with white institutions, because white institutions are always looking at ways to pathologize Blackness and wiggle out of fixing themselves. Fixing themselves would involve no longer existing.

The disparity in care is a massive problem for Black people. It takes us twice as long to get help, and once we get help, it takes us twice as long to convince medical professionals to understand or rather, care what we ware saying. And once we do all that, we’re dead.

From NPR “All Things Considered” from 2016 Analysis by NYC Health

“Five years of data found that black, college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth than white women who never graduated from high school.”

This analysis and other studies point to a disparity of care.

Another challenge is that Black people live farther from their jobs. Black people and Latinos typically live farther from work and are farther away from good public transit options. That means Black and Latino people generally are walking more than a mile and transferring at least once to get to work. The 2015 “It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and It’s Racial Implications” study of the Minneapolis and Twin Cities area stated that people of color communities were spending 11-46 more hours a year on their commute than white people.

You lose nearly two days of your life just for not being white.

More time commuting means more time being exposed to illness, disease, and just the elements and being in cold weather in addition to stressful commutes lower the immune system.

Another huge issue for Black people is that we typically work in the public sector and the service industry. In July 2010, the Center for Labor Research and Education released a report examining the state of Black workers in the years 2005 – 2007. It found that the public sector is the most critical source of employment for African Americans, and it is the sector that provides us with the highest paying jobs.

Those jobs include education, transportation, sanitation, the postal service. Even when we have degrees, we’re going to be working with the public, owing to the dynamics of race and access in the US.

In 2020 this is still the case.

Outside the public sector, we work in retail services and parts of the health care sector, including home health aides and nursing home workers, jobs that also expose you to the public.

And also the kind of jobs we have outside the public sector tend to be last hired, first fired. Jobs that you can’t do at home, that are at-will employment.

The cemented institutions of racism is the reason that Black people are disproportionately —exposed and dying from COVID-19.

There are no buts here. There are no if we just…no, it’s structural racism, that’s why and that is the only reason why.


Nelson, A. (2002). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Journal of the National Medical Association, 94(8), 666-8.


The Fed Wants You to Be Afraid

By Teka Lark (March 19, 2020)

The central banking system of the United States is the Federal Reserve System aka the Fed. According to Investopedia a central bank acts as the regulatory authority of a country’s monetary policy and is the sole provider and printer of notes and coins in circulation. The Fed is run by the board of governors. The current chairperson of the Fed is Jerome Powell an alumnus of Princeton appointed by Trump in 2018 the vice-chair is Richard Clarida an alumnus of Harvard, also appointed by Trump in 2018.

Do you know why the Feds couldn’t give you a $1.5 trillion? Because their job is to keep you scared and that kind of money would have put your mind at ease.

Why do you need to be afraid?

One of the Feds purposes it to keep unemployment rates low, but for a bondholder this is bad. When unemployment rates become low, then labor costs start to rise, because they have to pay people more to get good employees. You have competition, competition is only for poor people. That would be you, people who think they are middle class.

Another one of the Feds jobs is moderating long term interest rates.

As the unemployment rate drop, interest rates begin to rise. For bondholders, this Is bad, because their interest rates tend to be lower, though their bonds are so large they still make money if the inflation rate rises above their interest rates they lose money. Their profits get eaten with inflation.

As a result, the Feds look for an optimum unemployment rate that is low enough, so you don’t have social unrest, but high enough so the workers are frightened enough that they will work for low pay to have a job.

They call it maximizing employment I call it behavior modification. Maximizing employment means some people will always have to be underemployed and unemployed, to encourage certain behavior and mindset for the employed —for now.

Who are usually the unemployed, underemployed, Ph.D. driving Uber, in urban areas often Black people. Having a visually different, small, marginalized demographic example of what will happen if you get out of line is sadistic genius.

This is why you are thankful to have anything during a pandemic and feel that the government has no obligation to do anything, but make rich people money.

The selfishness here is embedded in our systems and institutions.


We Need Better End Time Stories

By Teka Lark (March 16, 2020)

So I’ll be spending this time off writing manifestos because I do that.

Writing essays, finishing my book, doing yoga, planting seeds. I feel like we need a new narrative for what happens when this all ends. THIS Is horrible: capitalism, poverty, racism, sexism, nationalism, people being mean as entertainment. This is horrible. This bad party ending is not bad, I already feel sick (figuratively of course).

But you know capitalism, imperialism creates all this fiction that makes it seem like if this horrible thing ends that more horrible things await. I think that is bullshit. I’m writing a better second part of this story, so we don’t all have to use Walking Dead, Lord of the Flies, Nineteen Eighty Four, A Scanner Darkly—besides those stories were warnings, not guides.

If this ends, and we end up eating each other, that means we didn’t really understand the point of many of those dystopian novels.



Why Did Southern Black Folks Vote for Biden?

By Teka Lark (February 5, 2020)

If you think I believe Black voters voted for Biden because they believe white people are racist and he was the most palatable racist, you have lost your damn mind. That is not how Biden got the Black vote. That is not how this works. That is some very creative fiction, which will get you a lot of talking head gigs, but that’s bullshit.

There is a very complex and complicated network of systems and institutions that make this magic happen. Since the 3/5th Compromise the Black vote has been played with and manipulated, am I saying that Black people are more ignorant when it comes to voting than anyone else? No, anyone can be manipulated with the right messaging, the right propaganda, and the right people paid for a long enough amount of time.

White people have voted against health care, college, and all kinds of things that would greatly benefit them, so ignorance is the United Stated voting tradition not relegated to a particular race.

The Southern Black community votes as the DNC tells them to every single election because of a very complicated and old system that involves the Democratic Committees and the Historic Black Baptist Church (which 53% are a member in the south that number goes past 80%). The Baptist Church EXISTS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF CONTROLLING THE BLACK MOVEMENT and that includes the vote. The DNC pours money (not a lot) and time into the Black community in the primary in states that, for the most part, DO NOT COUNT IN THE GENERAL. They do this all the time. They do this for the sole purpose of economically propping up establishment candidates. With fewer polling places, selective enforcement of illegal voter ID laws, and limited transportation options in the Black belt is even easy to control which Black people vote. The Black vote is generally pretty cheap.

Since Black people are hyper-segregated, it’s rather easy to misinform and more importantly, to block information. When I tried to remedy this situation in Los Angeles by starting a newspaper, my office was shot up, my house was broken into, and my life was directly threatened.

This system is not only deep; it’s dangerously deep and bites hard. It’s not as simple as white people are racists, so we’re going to vote like this, that’s not how this works, but that’s some amazing spin to stop anyone from questioning the DNC.



Instead of Preparing for War, We Need to Organize

By Teka Lark (February 24, 2020)

The problem with individualism is this: eventually, you have to go to sleep and that is when they will shoot you in the head. See Fred Hampton for a historical example of that.

I have friends that are far-left individualists, kente cloth capitalists, and others who don’t have labels, who say they are ready for the revolution. They are ready, because they have guns and they have gone to the shooting range and they have practiced.

When they talk this way I typically stare. I stare not because I am anti-violence, I stare, because I have read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Prince by Machiavelli , On War by Clausewitz (I read SOME of that one)…in any uprise of violence at this current time, the left will lose. It will lose badly.

The Far Right (which includes present-day Republicans) has more people, more discipline, and more weapons.

In an armed fight, disabled people will die, older people will die, children will die, and those who hesitate will die.

90% of the fraction of the people the left has who has the stomach to kill, will die, and that means all us will have to move, die, or be locked up.

You know I am not an alarmist. You also understand that I have been great at deducing future actions by observing present and past actions.

So my point is that what we need to do, instead of preparing for a battle, is to organize for peaceful political change. We need cooperatives up and running, so when the fire sale of the United States is over we have examples of a better way, instead of hoping the wealthy’s robots won’t enslave us for our universal basic income.

I guarantee we will lose in a violent battle. Accelerationism theory is only going to work well for those with an escape hatch: a passport, a trust fund, and a Ph.D. or other credential that allows a person to wax poetically in the ivory tower in another imperialist country after this one has burned to the ground.

We need to work together. We need to cooperate. Being reactionary is not going to be helpful. We need more time, this is not about stating that what we have is OK, or repairing what is not broken, because the system is not broken, it is working as it is supposed to. This is about giving us more time, because I don’t want us to die or even worse — be forced to live in what I fear is coming.


On George Washington, Destroyer of Towns

By Teka Lark (February 18, 2020)

This week we’re honoring George Washington or Conotocaurius (Town Destroyer) as the Iroquois called him, a man who enslaved 316 people and brought nine of them to the White House (Coard, Philadephia Tribune, 2018).

When I was a child, I was told that George Washington was our first president and that he had wooden dentures, but his dentures were not made of wood they were made of human teeth.

In 1789, according to the book “George Washington’s Teeth: An Unconventional Guide to the Eighteenth Century” by Dr. Robert Darnton, Washington had teeth extracted from enslaved people’s mouth and got a full set of dentures made.

Five years prior in an account documented in the “The Private Life of Washington’s Slaves” by Mary V Thompson it states:

May of 1784, Washington paid several unnamed “Negroes,” presumably Mount Vernon slaves, 122 shillings for nine teeth, slightly less than one-third the going rate advertised in the papers.

I guess this is supposed to let us know that while yes, you historians lied to us for decades about the origins of this stolen country’s first president’s teeth, now you’re telling the truth. Washington was clearly reasonable. He bought teeth from enslaved people. He didn’t just yank them out. See, he really was a good guy, because even white people sold their teeth back then, poor white people got their teeth yanked too.

Why don’t you care about them? What about poor white people. Don’t they matter to you?! This isn’t a Black thing, why do you always have to make this about “the blacks?”

Anyways, Happy Town Destroyer Day.


Moderates Don’t Care If This Country Goes to Hell

By Teka Lark (January 31, 2020)

Being in the United States owing to slavery, and having relatives who are still alive who survived Jim Crow, gives you a unique perspective on justice in the United States.

If you look throughout history in this country, oppression is an ebb and flow. For example, during the Reconstruction Era, the era right after the ending of slavery (1863–1877), there were 1500 Black political officeholders. More than a half-million Black men became voters in the South during the 1870s, and the federal law somewhat protected Black people’s rights. But after Reconstruction, not only did we not hold office, we couldn’t even vote, and by “we” I mean Black men.

When I look at Trump’s impeachment trial my friends that are reasonable and logical say: “Well the moderates will be so disgusted by this that even if he doesn’t get impeached, they will come around?” Come around? Come around to what? This country bankrupts its own white children because they don’t want one tax dollar to go to a college program that might benefit a “Black.”

This country doesn’t have universal childcare because it would rather have white women kill themselves if they don’t have to share with Mexican-Americans. The moderates are racists and nationalists whose retirements are tied to the stock market. They don’t care if this country goes to hell. They’ve sent it there many times before.

The people who are most pro-Trump right now who are trying to suppress the witnesses in the Senate are the moderate Republicans. If they do the right thing, they will be primaried out.


Does the Anti-War Movement Include the War on Black People?

By Teka Lark (January 8, 2020)

In Newark & Los Angeles, when I would go to protest I would have to step over Black people. I would have to step over them on the way to train, on the way to the march. I would have to pass over places where my friends used to live. But now they live in their car, at their grandmothers…. I had a good friend, a comrade try to get a job in NJ ,and this Black man, despite having a college degree, could not get a job. He was political, far left, but he paid for college through the military. It was not his desire to choose this Robert Frostian path, but after much resistance he had no choice but to reenlist in the military.

The best draft the US has is racism and classism. You get some amazingly talented, smart, and able Black people who are highly motivated to not die on the streets of Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago….

You will sign up to do a lot of things when you’re hungry.

I myself was never able to obtain employment in New Jersey, despite having a Masters degree. I was never able to obtain a job that would give me enough money to pay my rent. In NJ a place with the biggest and best paid middle class in the entire United States.

The poverty rate for Black people in Newark is 30%. I would be part of that 30% if I had been born here and was not able to obtain the experience and social capital (social capital is key and hard to come by in places as hypersegregated as NJ) to access jobs in other states that hire Black people.

If you are Black stay out of this place, seriously.

I can’t help but see over and over again college educated Black people in NJ with no job, no prison record, constantly hustling to fight unemployment and underemployment.

But you know, I feel that being a high school drop-out shouldn’t doom you to starvation; but I also don’t feel that being Black should doom you either.

I don’t mean to bash people, but context is everything, I can’t not be Black or pretend that Black people aren’t here when I do my political work, I don’t have the privilege.

I am anti-war and that would include being against the constant war on Black people. I can’t walk over homeless Black people to do a political action, I just refuse to do it. I am willing to do many things, but I just don’t have the cognitive dissonance needed for that kind of thing.