Love While You Can

The most unfortunate thing about my mode of thinking is that every once in a while I have to turn and face what society forces me to accept as reality. On one of my trips back to what we call the “real world”, I realized that if the conditions under which we live continue in their current direction, the possibilities of growing peacefully to old age are slimming each passing day.

Pessimism is not my forte. However, being aware of factors that could effect my wellbeing is indeed my forte.Read More »

And Then There Was Mr. Andrew Young

In my Week 26 Recap (just posted last night), I stated that I was going to give my six week long focus on Black American issues a break…

…and then there was was Mr. Andrew Young.

The bottle in the background was his idea! Photo by @anthon256
The bottle in the background was his idea!
Photo by @anthon256

I mean, what do you do when you are having a typical day at work, minding your own business and see Black American Civil Rights Legend, Andrew Young, coming down the hall? What do you do?!Read More »

Week 26 Recap

With this week at a close, I’m going to attempt to give race issues a break for a while to cover some other stuff that I’ve been working on since before February. It is not that I have run out of topics on the issue, but because there is a lot more to my interests as a writer. I want to share, ask, and explore the blogging community as a writer too; and not just use it for bringing attention to what is the most obvious and overlooked problem in America. For example, I have seen more support and awareness driven towards the NCAA March Madness tournament than I saw for Black History during the month of February. I say that without any bias as I am a sports fan and black man. This also speaks to the profit-driven culture of our country. I am not complaining though; it is what it is, and all we can do is play our part in changing things for the better.

Last week though, I shared my experience in marching at the 50th Anniversary of the March at Selma. As pro-black as I am, I do not rush to every single event just because it bears the image of Black American rights or justice. I have to be thoroughly informed on the purpose of the event, organizers of the event, and whether or not I personally feel that it is for a just cause. Well, this march was to commemorate the pain and hardships that went into granting voting rights for Black Americans; a feat that changed the course of justice for our people from that point on. I had to be a part of it. I described as much as I could of it in #Selma50: To The Bridge. One part that I left out though was the exchange of money from black hands to other black hands. It was so refreshing to see our people spending money amongst ourselves via the hundreds of vendors there. I feel as though that is a major downfall within our communities — we spend the more money than any other people, but over 90% of that money goes outside of our own business. Seeing the unity among the people that day though gave me hope that things will get better. You can never lose hope; and if in fact you do lose it, you will have find it again if the cause is great enough.

Wednesday, March 12th, I wrote added another encounter to the Thirty Seconds Ago… series. I honestly thought I was done with that and considered removing it from the blog altogether. However, as long as I am me, weird stuff is bound to happen. I mean, weird stuff happens to everyone, but I seem take a large percentage of everyone else’s occurrences (keep in mind, to maintain a reasonable level of dignity, I do not share everything). Well, in Speechless, I described how I was saluted with the black power fist… by an Asian man. It was definitely a first; I had not even been greeted by another brother in that fashion. Interestingly enough, I heard that he was married to a black woman. I feel that I have a right to ask and confirm if you take into consideration the awkward place he put me in… I just haven’t figure out how to do it yet.

Me: Good afternoon.

He: ‘Sup.

Me: So… Married to black lady, huh?

He: …

That is all for now. I hope everyone had a great Monday, and hope that you have a great week going forward. Thank you for reading and being open to my perspectives as I try to make sense of the some of the unnecessary issues surrounding us all. Until next Sunday (or Monday), try to share perspectives, show compassion and spread the love.

Thirty Seconds Ago… Speechless

I’m not even sure how to start this one…

I got up from my computer after about three hours of staring at the screen. Unsure of whether I’m tired from no recent chill time or just simply sleepy, I shook the feeling, pepped myself up and headed to go grab lunch. My day had been pretty uneventful, and I was not prepared for any events, of any kind.

Anyway, I took the shortcut through the sub-levels of the buildings to get to the deli. I take the sub-levels for two reasons; one: because it’s faster, and two: to avoid all traffic, avoiding as many people as possible. Today though, as I walked the long empty hallway toward the elevators, there was already a man there waiting. This was no big deal though because I pass this particular guy quite often in this part of the hallways, and he rarely says much more than “Hello”. Keep in mind that this is an extremely long hall and I am not yet close enough to verbally speak. So now that I am about thirty yards away, he turns, sees me and greets me — but not in a way that I was prepared to be greeted. Let me rephrase: NOTHING could have prepared me for his greeting.Read More »

#Selma50: To The Bridge

This past Saturday, I watched on CNN as Obama spoke at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. I was glad just to be watching the events unfold live. The longer I watched, the prouder I felt to be culturally connected to the many struggles that have been overcome by the efforts of black men like Martin Luther King and Hosea Williams; producing President Barack Obama.

As I watched, I questioned (as I often do) the time, thought and energy that I put into educating myself on race issues and attempting to bring awareness to them as I see necessary. It seems that so much was done during the eras of slavery and segregation that there is nothing left to fight for. There is plenty though; as long as lives are being lost there is plenty to fight for. The tricky part now is finding out what angles to fight the injustices from as most of them are covered by laws riddled with loopholes (i.e., The Stand-Your-Ground law).

There is enough for me to fight for and still make a difference; even if it is just in my community. Besides, the fight for Civil Justice, could soon turn into a fight for Religious Rights — this could be practice.

Sunday morning, I headed to Selma with a tank full of gas, a heart full of pride and a very inquisitive little sister.

IMG_6922

On the way, we got more and more anxious with every road sign marked for Selma. The traffic was thick, but flowed smoothly. We saw license plates from all over the country, but being an Alabama native gave me game an attitude to want to welcome everyone else to the state. There was no horn-blowing, no fighting for parking spaces (even though there were none), and everyone seemed to know everyone. I found myself in conversation multiple times with people that I had never even seen before; yet I cannot call them strangers. The theoretical sense of unity that I often speak of was present there; all of our differences were overlooked by perspective, compassion and love.

When I first laid eyes on the Edmund Pettus Bridge from five blocks away, I took it as the sight of our Statue of Liberty. It was beautiful, and I could not wait to get to it (neither did the thousands of other people there).
IMG_6988As I read the name, Edmund Pettus, stretching across top of the bridge, I saw an awful name, that represented an awful person, and should remind us of an awful past. Instead we took that awful person’s name and monument and made it a symbol of equality and freedom that is now more closely related to our triumph than our bondage.

My march across that bridge represent more to me than I realize yet. I am still taking in the fact that I was there for such an event in history. I believe as time goes on, I will be able to build from what I experienced on the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama.

Selma – 50 Years Later

Disappointed that plans to be in Selma, Alabama this morning fell through, I sit and watch the program on CNN. This may be a once in a lifetime occurrence to be in a reunion of the Civil Rights Movement that changed the face of this nation hosted by an African-American president. Usually I refer to our people as Black American as we all identify differently. In this case, however, our president is in fact half Kenyan! He is African American.

I am in part, surprised and relieved of his blatant admittance of the existence of America’s lingering racial issues. It is not a dead horse that we continue to beat. I am no criminal and never have been, but I feel as though I have experienced enough discrimination to know personally, that skin color is enough to get you in trouble. Over the last few years, with the publicized deaths of a few innocent blacks, I believe that the nation is becoming more aware as well.

I am glad too that he is discussing the personal responsibility of Black Americans to vote and make sure that our call for equal rights are met. As we grow more and more complacent with the  illusion of equality, actual equality start to slip back into nonexistence.

I have just as much patriotism as the next man, but it comes in a different form as I come from a different branch in our nation’s history.

Is White Pride Shameful?

A movie buff asked me today, “Man, you haven’t seen Action Jackson?!”

“No, I ain’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list.” I replied.

“It’s cheesy, but it’s good. I mean it was the 80s… And Apollo Creed.” I cannot recall what was said after that — and I hate misquoting — but then the was the reference of black war heros. If my grandfather had served and ranked highly in the military, I’m sure I would extremely proud of that. The courage that it calls for to serve and excel in the face of death is surely a legacy worth leaving behind. “It must be pretty rewarding to tell of your grandfather’s heroism,” I thought.

But what if you are white, and your father, grandfather or great-grandfather fought for the confederacy? Can you be proud of that? Should you be proud of that? Can you be proud without agreeing to the siding of his allegiance? Or could you agree with his allegiance for strictly political or economical reasoning without being considered prejudice or racist in 2015?

I wrote a list of questions as if I were a young white male from the South who had ancestral ties to the confederacy. In doing this, I realized that this could cause some identity conflicts with for whites as well. I am very slow to develop an opinion and speak on a situation that I cannot personally relate to; and being white is one of those situations. Family, family history and traditions are all very important to me. This are the things that will account for a majority of your identity; I never put myself in the shoes of those who are unable to be proud of what their forefathers DIED for. Plainly put — that sucks!

I do not believe that the ignorance and wrongdoings of a confederate soldier are all passed down to his living descendants. That would be an ignorant assumption on my part. However, I know some really nice white people whose roots are here in the South. I am also pretty sure that if they have ancestry that fought for the confederacy, they know about it. Should they hide it and be ashamed? Can you be a proud southern white man or woman with those roots? I can see how it would be difficult to answer and be politically correct, but I believe politically correct is the cause of a majority of America’s suppressed tension that seems to erupt at every racially motivated incident.

I’m going to look further into these questions, from this perspective just to see how I really feel about it. Black Power is a term that simply implies pride in our heritage and we say it, shout it and sing it to remind us that we are in fact, proud. Have the history of whites eternally robbed them of being able to openly expressed pride for their heritage?

Just looking for a different perspective.

February Recap

Unfortunately, I did not cover half the topics that I wanted to cover. The topics could have waited, but I really wanted to cover key people whose actions contributed to my personal outlook on races relations; or people that I relate to or would like to relate to. That’s a long list too.

The good thing is that I learned way more than I had expected to learn. There are so many things that you think you already know, but every once in a while you need a refresher. Your understanding change as you grow older and add experience to your life. Malcolm and Martin are not the same Malcolm and Martin that I had learned about in grade school; I had not even been called a nigger yet. 🙂

I have literally fell into a pit of questions ranging from music to how county zoning works. America’s foundation —the very foundation — was built along lines drawn by race. How is it then that race is no longer an issue when it is what our country is built on? People act as if talking about race relations is beating a dead horse. That horse isn’t dead at all. Just because we choose to ignore it, or act as though we have risen above it, does not mean that it does not exist. I was told that black people still make it such a big deal because we teach it to our children from generation to generation. To logically refute that, I simply ask, “Are black parents the only parents teaching?”

As the country grows and more social developments take place, there seems to be less and less room on the political agenda to ensure that black people are treated fairly. We have just enough equalities (on paper) for there to be nothing left to profit any political candidate, so the fight and struggle becomes the responsibility of each black individual. While I worry about the condition of Black Americans, I question whether or not there is actually a fight to be fought at all. If the majority of our people are content with how we are portrayed in the media, who am I to challenge that mass opinion? If we are content with being the most marketed people in the country, who am I to change that? I cannot say that injustices happen everywhere all the time to black people, but I can say that it happens so much that I see personally that I am numb to it.

There was speculation that the low Oscar ratings this year was due to a boycott of blacks refusing to watch. I had hoped that there be some press coverage on it, but then I considered, it would not be smart for media to bring awareness to the power of our numbers. We have power to change whatever we have problem with. However, if we continue to learn from television and social media, what is important and what it not, we will continue to be molded into the consumers that we have been led to become.

The best example of a family I can find on TV is the Duggar’s from 19 Kids and Counting. I cannot even think of a current TV show where black people are shown in a positive light. Then we wonder why  black children think like this:

There is a fight to be fought, but we have to be awakened to it. The unfortunate and scary thing is that the time for fighting for Black Rights is running down, while the time for fighting for Christian Rights are just beginning.