A LESSON BEFORE DYING POSTS: WHY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP MATTERS

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“The choices we tend to make in life.”


The above photo is of the historical fiction novel, A Lesson Before Dying. This book would later go on to be made into a motion picture played by Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson, and Mekhi Phifer. A story about a young man sentenced to death for the killing of a store clerk and two of his associates. The film gave a really great depiction of the racial relationships of the South, as well as the harsh realities of growing up Black in the region. Now my topic today is how does ones’ choices influence their lives moving forward. Because in A Lesson Before Dying, all the main character had to do was pass on a ride with his friends.

We may all see it as nothing more than just a ride with some friends. Yet, in the film, there was something that made Mekhi Phifer, the young man sentenced to die, hesitate before getting in the car. Something in him knew he shouldn’t have been riding with those guys. It’s a feeling at times that we all have when being in the presence of someone we know we shouldn’t. It does not necessarily have to be a group of friends. You could be in the presence of family and a monogamous relationship. But the reasoning for Mekhi’s character getting into trouble is a story anyone can relate to; outside the racial premise of the film.

So many young men have been offered rides by their friends. Then get into the car and find out in the course of the ride, their friends have just committed a crime. How do you explain to the judge that you had no hand in the matter? The answer is, you don’t; and unless they state you had nothing to do with the matter, you’ll go to jail as well. Better yet, what happens when you ride somewhere and the people you are with commit the crime while you’re there with them? There is no way to plead your way out of that situation. In the case of A lesson Before Dying, the culprits died themselves, and Phifer was charged and executed for the crimes. In today’s society, you might be able to argue your way out, but not Jim Crow South.

Which brings me to my last reason point regarding the company you keep. You need to understand where you live and the laws as well. Southern laws are of the strictest laws in America. And what may be a slap on the wrist in one state is prison time in another. So in the end, you need to understand a few key words of advice. Watch the company you keep, be comfortable with decisions you make, and understand the place in which you reside.


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HER WORD IS WORD: THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF RAPE IN OUR SOCIETY

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“No joking matter.”


Recently in the news, there was an incident on the reality television show Bachelor in Paradise. Two co-stars in the show Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson were hanging out together. Their casual hangout with drinks took a turn and eventually they were both in a hot tub together engaging in a lewd sex act. Camera crews were in sight of the whole entire ordeal. When the story was made public, the television show was yanked from the air. Why was the show yanked from television? Because in an unexpected twist, Olympios stated she was too inebriated to have consented to any sex act. Even though she said she wasn’t raped, she just was too drunk to consent to any sex acts. This left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

Everyday women throughout this country are raped and so many of the stories fall on deaf ears. So when Corinne eluded to being sexual assaulted, even with video footage, it made a lot of people angry. Though she kept saying it wasn’t rape, the way she said what happened was still sensitive. When you say I don’t remember consenting, you’re still in a way saying something was done to you without your consent. So saying rape or not, it opens the door to more investigation. And the television show was cancelled, understandably so. Because why would a multinational conglomerate like NBC want allegations of sexual misconduct on one of its television shows.

But let’s say for just one moment that there were no television cameras around. And she found out there was something sexual that took place. Would she still come out and say that nothing happened? That is what has people so outraged. DeMario would be in a lot more trouble had there not have been cameras present. Because now the ball is in her court regarding what happens next. And on top of it all, her parents and her boyfriend found out. So instead of her coming correct, it could be something much more that didn’t have to be. So what about men who don’t have cameras present? Or better yet, what about women who are actually being assaulted who never get the appropriate attention they need.

And that is why rape allegations, even slightly eluding to rape should be handled in a delicate manner. Because the fact that someone feels like not facing the reality that they screwed-up, they can now use rape as a get out of jail free card. It could have changed a young man’s life forever. There are men sitting in prisons across the country who have been exonerated for charges of rape. Men who spent greater portions of their lives behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Another slippery slope is if a woman thinks rape, that’s enough to charge a man with a crime. Meaning, she could have said I was too scared and thought it, but didn’t say anything. That is a strange position because he now says I thought it was consensual.

In the end, sexual assault is a very serious allegation. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, not even eluded to in conversation unless it’s true. And what’s tough is that even if it comes out that the guy is innocent, no one speaks on it. It’s kind of expected to just go away. As for the guy, he is stuck with this stigma for life.


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