Sudhama Ranganathan | 04.25.2012
Everyday in every corner of the world people learn new things about the world they live in – the world we each live in. Much of life is about learning about yourself and about the world you live in from people closest to you to the community you live in and so forth. Though they may not seem like positive experiences while we are going through them, there is always something we can take from them after we have gone through them. Often these experiences make us stronger in ways we may not even realize until well after we've been through them.
For myself, going through discrimination based harassment was one of the most difficult, stressful and cold experiences I've been through. However it also helped me to become wiser, stronger and be able to empathize with others' struggles to a greater degree than before. It also revealed aspects of the world I had heard about, but never really experienced or learned about in any in depth way previous to having gone through those experiences.
The harassment was mostly done through subtle forms of discrimination as being blatant would have caused those doing the harassment to expose themselves, leaving them vulnerable. By always being sure to maintain a level of plausible deniability, the people harassing me covered themselves. Though they did slip occasionally and sometimes they landed pretty hard as a result.
The harassment seemed to be limited to people within the school I was at where it occurred, and more precisely to the people within my chosen major of landscape architecture – for the most part with one notable exception. It started with a professor seemingly trying to get me out of his program because he mistook me for some kind of terrorist. When that failed, he pulled in a small group of volunteers, that, after his spins and lies, stepped into the fray. Then he just forced the rest through harassment and academic threats.
This developed into an even more colorful nonfiction when,after I mentioned my intent to file a formal complaint, a fellow student that had supported me in an on again off again manner that I didn't trust, but used because he used me and I needed people though the thought of using people turned me off, told me he had been working on campus in the capacity of an undercover law enforcement personnel. He said he had been on campus for eight years and that there were others in the same degree program as us where the harassment had been happening and that his cover and work and theirs could be blown if I filed a formal complaint.
I still don't fully know why law enforcement would harass people on a crowded college campus they claimed were unstable and a threat. It made no sense especially as since it had started in 2003 they could have easily just rejected my application to the school. They obviously had no problems lying and covering it up, so that would have been just one instead of three years worth.
Either way I began thinking about it and writing about it after graduation both for others and myself. I publish what I write because it's important that people going through harassment have another perspective or insight on what might be happening to them or at least give them some ideas to roll around in their head that may plant the seed for their own insights into what's happening. Even if it's only to see they're not alone, that too would be good.
I write about all sorts of things from general observations, to my ruminating on the why the what or the how of it. Sometimes I write about more specific things such as how the people that harassed me tried different strategies and what those strategies consisted of.
One of those things was something I referred to as “pimp talk.” Real pimps, not guys that are promiscuous and call themselves pimps, but people that do it as a source of income, have some basic rules that they adhere to and most follow. I of course was never a pimp, but spent time working for an underground record company, helping running a studio that catered to mostly hip hop musicians, I worked with musicians, did shows myself, lived the life of a struggling Hip Hop musician, etc. Though most musicians weren't, they often had associates, sponsors that might or that might be associated etc. You met people is what I'm saying, and sometimes like gangsters, you'd meet pimps.
One thing they always said was that the job of a pimp was to get all the money from their... employees. They totally controlled the women and they never allowed the women to keep the money. They bought them what they needed and essentially did nothing more than talk the women into agreeing to this. They gave them nothing, they did nothing the women couldn't do for themselves, just talk, but that talk worked. In other words, what made them pimps essentially was the manipulation and convincing a person to give them what they wanted without having to do a thing for it, just talking.
Often when I was at college and being harassed the people that were talked into going along were offered things. They were offered things sometimes that were and could be delivered, but others they were offered things never delivered and that couldn't have been. People were offered jobs at prestigious firms and so forth, but they only really came through for one person and that person turned out to be one of the people identified by the undercover law enforcement employee that identified himself to me. Who knows if that internship even really occurred?
Either way this was pimp talk. People offered me things they never intended to make good on also, hoping I would leave the program in exchange. For example, I was a DJ at a college radio station at another college while I was in school. It was on the weekends and it gave me an outlet and some time away from thinking about school, if only about an hour or two. Another DJ started showing up during my sets and trying to get to know me. He was a Hip Hop DJ and rapper named Self Suffice and, though he had a wife and two kids, he always showed up during my show which sometimes ran until midnight doing basically nothing as he was no more than a DJ, he stayed there trying to get to know me.
I had been warned about the school by other DJ's that said the school was a “hotbed for CIA recruitment” etc. But why would the CIA be interested in me? I am not especially smart, skilled nor am I involved in any sort of crime or espionage whatsoever. They could find that out through surveillance, reading my emails, phone taps, talking to my friends, etc. This was post 9-11 and all those things would clearly show I was no threat. Then again, there were all those people in my major.
Anyway, I had no reason to be suspicious of anything so seemingly paranoid, conspiracy theory-ish or over the top. I did not want to live my lifelike that.
He kept talking to me and convinced me to make some music with him in my spare time when I had it so he had something to rap over. I thought about doing some music again many times before going to school even. I missed music, even as a hobby.
I got some freeware online and started. It was fun. Soon however, he started trying to convince me to quit school, as I had told him of the harassment, and to pursue a career in music. Further, he told me not to seek the limelight and to try and be a ghost writer, selling my music anonymously to others that would essentially purchase it and say they did it. (Yes an industry semi-secret sorry if I bursted a bubble or two about one of your fav. Artists.)
It immediately raised a red flag and I became highly suspicious of him and his efforts to try and get me to switch careers. He wasn't telling me to go for it in the music industry, but to essentially shoot low and to stay there. Further, here was a guy that was going around giving lectures and advocating the importance of education with a college degree himself and with a wife going for her graduate degree. The two of them had travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to research for her major.
One day, one of the people in my degree at my college that had been identified by the person at my school, walked by me and looked me dead in the eye smiled and said slowly “Khaiim.” She giggled and walked away looking back smugly to gauge my reaction. That was Self Suffice's real name. At that time he had taken a show after mine, from 12 AM to 2 AM, and came on right after me. So I started ending my show with a song called “Black Cop” by BDP to see what his reaction would be.
He could have reacted any way when I did this, after all it was only a song. But when I played it it was obvious. He would be setting up in the waiting room outside the main studio with a big glass window between us and his face would turn pale and he would be unable to look me in the eye. Gone was the big smile and twinkle in his eye of the person behind the character enjoying his game – the manipulator employed to manipulate his own people. Snared.
I never bought into his moves to get me to quit, anyway. The music in fact only enhanced my creative juices and helped me to think outside the box on design projects I was working on. But I was getting my degree and his efforts only made me suspicious until finally he was revealed. It was all pimp talk. He never actually introduced me to anyone that could do anything in the industry. I had never even done a song with anyone he introduced me to let alone himself.
It was all talk, talk, talk. I had been in the industry and recorded at large studios where major artists not only had recorded but at times were recording while the people I was with were recording. I had hustled tapes of the records the underground record company I was working for out out on the streets of New York and met industry insiders. Heck, I watched one of my associates sell a tape to Tupac Shakur one day. (BTW he never looked funny at my associate like ”why would I buy your tape” like some other major rappers and r&b artists did that will go unmentioned. He gave a big smile shook his hand pulled out a roll of money and bought a tape for him and one for the person he was with happily. This was after the Holler If You Hear Me album dropped. PAC was genuine.)
Khaiim never fooled me with his incense smoke being blown in my face regarding a career or anything he could do for me. It was a chance to do something creative on the side in my spare time. I still do it and know there is no career in my cards in it. It was just pimp talk.
He wanted to get something for nothing. “You'll be a star. You'll be a player. You're the greatest. You're amazing. You're so good they'll have to put you on a ship to the moon to play there. You'll marry Pam Anderson. You'll get a million dollars. You're gonna be president some day.” All snaggle tooth, crack addicted pimp talk. It means bunk.
I had seen it before and I never fell for it. You can't be a pimp and have respect for women, and my father always told me to respect women, maybe that's why. IDK. In fact I just used it to my advantage, especially once he was outed for what he was.
People in my degree program at times trying to say I could start my own landscape design business without a degree were all using pimp talk. They wanted to get me to do something without them having to do anything more than talk. In the business world, including the music industry, you are taught early on to never do a thing for money without written legal agreements and/ or contracts. When it's written down, it will have to be delivered upon. That is not pimp talk. Pimp talk is trying to get something for nothing. Shadowy dealings.
If you find yourself being harassed and people you have suspicions about are trying to fool you into quitting, doing something to get yourself fired, kicked out, flunked out, etc, don't listen. It's pimp talk.
They want something for nothing. Give me what you have and I will do nothing more that flatter your ego. Pimp talk. It only works when you believe the person trying to be a pimp. Don't get pimped. Whatever your reason is for being in the situation you are until whatever goal you have set is reached, don't lose it. Don't fall for the pimps. Why would you?
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.