Week 24 Recap

This month has led to a lot of additional learning for myself that I had not prepared for. So the accumulation of reading and exploration has put a squeeze on my time for sharing my perspective. Last week was great though. On Monday, February 16th, I discussed the issue of displaced location that some Black Americans still wrestle with. The fact that I am American and that I live in America is completely okay with me. The fact that the Black American has come into existence partly by rape (in my own personal lineage) is something that I am at peace with as well. I’m not happy about it, but it is who I am, and I accept it as a token of my stake in this country. Moving back to Africa would have been a reasonable solution during the more treacherous times of oppression. Now that life for us here can be lived conformably — despite nuances that could be worst somewhere else —I’m not leaving. This isn’t to say that I would NOT leave, but not under the reasoning that our ancestors are from there.

Wednesday, February 18, I wrote about my first time experience of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. I have been following the schedule of the show to see how soon will I be able to see it again, because I don’t think I can wait for it to come back to Atlanta next year. It was awesome. I hate that I had not seen it before, but I will not let it be the last. The cultural fusion of dance and song vaulted me through an online scavenger hunt of similar performances and songs. The album by Alvin Ailey, Revelations, has been on repeat while I have returned to Langston Hughes’ work, but this time discovering his work with music and Negro spirituals. Alvin Ailey has really set a standard for my year and has carved a whole new section into my perspective about proudly being a Black American.

Saturday, February 21st, I wrote about the feud that has set a divide to this day concerning the advancement of Black Americans; that is the feud between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. DuBois’ opinion of raising the majority by an elite minority is a great way of looking at the issue. If the concentrated focus of law and educating succeeds from the top, it would be an overnight open door of opportunities for the awaiting ninety percent of people. However, Washington’s view consisted of a gradual undercurrent of growth by the masses that would go unnoticed by whites that may disturb the movement. I respect both men and their views without question, and I feel that whatever side an individual may choose may simply be because of their personal perspective.

That’s everything that I covered last week, but I really feel as though I could go another week on the same three topics…

No, I’ll move on. Enjoy this week and help someone else enjoy theirs. Remember to keep an open perspective and share compassion.

And thanks for reading!  Whenever I see that a post from Perspective Park has been shared by a reader, I like to image that I saved a life… That’s just my perspective though!

Back to Africa

We’ll I’ll see you when you get back.

The idea of Black Americans going back to Africa was an exceptional, bold and relevant solution to oppressions that we once faced. Marcus Garvey initiated a plan to remove Black Americans from the oppressed lifestyles that we suffered here in the United Stated. I personally believe that it was one of the most impressive plans ever put in place for our people when you consider the time period and the work that went into it.

Young Garvey
Young Garvey

Let’s fast forward to 2015…

Black Americans are still suffering from discrimination, mental stigmas and lack of identification; even geographical identification within the United States. Whether we fit better in the South or North, which coast, and where prejudices are most prevalent all come into question when it comes to where would be best for Blacks. However, no matter what part, I honestly believe that the United States is the best place for Black Americans now. After centuries of building a country and adapting to a country which is virtually closed off to all other countries, I think it’s safe to say that America is pretty much all we know. Not only is it all we know, we have just as much ownership (if not more) of this country as any other race. Going back to Africa at this point would be like building a house and leaving to go to another. I think it makes more sense to fix the issues at the place that you have made your home, rather to go somewhere you hardly understand and have had no history in for 400 years.

Now let get this straight too… I love Africa. I love what it stand for in Black American history and culture, and I love the seemingly never-ending roots that it holds for human civilization. I love it so much that I hate that I cannot call it home. The United States is my home; and it has been my home for five generations (going backwards from me) that I can personally account for. I’m sure there’s a mansion somewhere that contains everything that I could ever imagine putting inside of a home, but it would hold my memories, I couldn’t relate to the structure or the people in it. My home is my home.

I admire the zeal for those who have made it their business to return to the Motherland. I would much rather stay here where progress has been made for me to live comfortably and change the small remnants of oppression that still remain.

I look forward to walking the grounds of Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar and some of the others — But when I finish visiting, I’m coming back home.

Beauty: In All Forms

Preparing to make a left turn into the parking garage this morning, I was opposed by a vehicle with a British flag vanity plate. “This is America, Jack,” I mumbled under my breath. That’s a phrase from my favorite movie Coming to America, that I normally quote when watching international sporting events. However, I say it pretty much every time I see something British. Rebellious American pride against the UK? Maybe; nevertheless, no harm intended.

Yielding the right-of-way, I allowed the proud vehicle to turn in front of me. Now I am forced to stare at a license plate uniquely spelling out the word “British”. Well the driver of this car wants it to be clear that they stand for their country no matter what. I don’t blame them though. I’d be proud too… But I have to see what they look like now. My curiosity is peaked.

I pull up next to the car, and it is not what I expected… At all. In the car was a lady whom I had always assumed to come from some part of Africa. I’m not a fan of stereotypes, but they are normally formed on some basis of truth. She’s an older lady with a beautiful deep carob skin tone, a broad nose and a large set of lips. She has dark deep-set eyes, long black dreadlocks, all atop a large, robust  5’11”  or 6’ frame. She is an appealing woman with strong features that I am pretty sure are rooted in the Motherland Continent.

I try not to assume. It is a horrible habit to have. However, right now, I really want to know does her enthusiasm for labeling herself as British have anything to do with the way she looks. I’m not the most culturally versed person by a long shot and I will not try to be. Even so, I am aware that there is a large population of people of African descent in the United Kingdom, so I do not deny that she is from there. I am wondering would the assumption that I made (that she is from Africa) have anything to do with it. I believe I would be annoyed if people constantly asked if I was from Alabama because I looked like it. Maybe after enough of that I would walk around with only Georgia apparel on, even though I am extremely proud of my Alabama background. I would much rather that be the case than the other alternative I mapped out.

America has popularized a standard of beauty that, unfortunately, does not accommodate quite a few women. Whether it be because of size, complexion, facial structure or whatever else, some women may feel left out. It has not been until recent years that plus-sized women were as accepted as they are now, and I dare say that it is simply because of media highlights like Beyonce. This woman that I saw though, is plus-sized, dark-skinned, and has broad facial features that you would find hard to find on the typical model in America. Considering the fact that she is also older, means that she went through her younger years, when the more natural and cultured look was not as appreciated as it is now in the more liberal world of modeling and media. Could all of the British labels be to disassociate with stigmas linked African roots?

Now I’m not saying that either of these assumptions about her is true. It’s just that my brain runs a million miles a minute trying to figure out why some things are the way that they are; especially when it comes to issues like these. Little dark-skinned girls in America will have to face these issues, whether we ever realize it or not, and quite frankly, I hate it. They can grow up always feeling inadequate without anyone having to verbally say it, because the media will do most of it.

Another thing is that so many times we look at this issue of being one that only affects the female population. I am sure that females are more susceptible to it, but it affects guys too. Take me, for example; it took me until I was a full-grown adult until I was comfortable in my own skin. If I were to be completely honest, I’d say that I was twenty-four or twenty-five years old. Up until I learned to love who and what I was, I found every imperfection there was to find on me, and I shunned any compliments from nearly everybody. So I can personally attest to the fact that if you do not love yourself or what you are, it is impossible to believe that anyone else does.

IMG_6268
In this picture you’ll notice the crook at the top of my left ear. My beard refuses to connect which results in a natural Wolverine/Shaft.
IMG_6271
More Shaft on the right side of the beard. And notice how the bottom lips swells into a bubble. If it were any bigger, you couldn’t find my chin. BUT, the eyelashes and brows are cool 🙂
Notice how the eyes are not completely aligned. The nose is what we refer to as a broad-tipped bell pepper.
Notice how the eyes are not completely aligned. The nose is what we refer to as a broad-tipped bell pepper.
Even when I smile it throws my right eyebrow into an unexplained fit. But I smile nonetheless. I'm me!
Even when I smile it throws my right eyebrow into an unexplained fit. But I smile nonetheless. I’m me!

The point that I’m making is that we all have to learn to be happy with who and what we are. It took me far too long to do learn it, but now that I do, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. We have to be ever so careful to not let the media or others shape how we view ourselves. It gets harder and harder as time progresses, but as long as you have an open Perspective, you will be okay.