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.

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!

DuBois vs. Washington: Common Ground Wins the Vote

There are so many prerequisites of actual experience needed to understand the identity crises that Black American men (specifically men) go through while growing into adulthood. With this in mind, I always try to give background on whatever position I may take on an issue. In this particular instance, it was a little more age, a little more understanding and a just few experiences that changed how I feel about the positions of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois.

From the ages of 15 and about 22 years old, I ignorantly and openly made it clear that I disagreed with the methods that Washington thought Black Americans should have taken to educate and grow as a people. Washington felt as though Blacks should continue their menial jobs while quietly getting their educations to avoid hinderances from whites. I hated the idea of that; I felt as though it was cowering.Read More »

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Revelations

Recently, I had the pleasure of finally seeing the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform Revelations.

It was everything I thought it would be… except better.

Now it may be because I have a proclivity to dance that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Tap, ballet and modern dance have always been interest that I have had neither the time nor the courage (simultaneously) to explore. When I was younger and had the time, I had not the courage. Now that I am an adult and have the courage, I have not the time. So I have enjoyed the explanations of their histories primarily through documentaries and Youtube. 🙂

Like most other things I enjoy, I tried to find where dance most closely linked with the overall powerful sense of strength and unity within Black American culture. It started when I was younger watching Savion Glover on Sesame Street. As I grew I learned the history of our culture and our roles as entertainment to whites. It did put a damper on my interest a bit; but after growing even older and learning of systemic progress needed for people like Glover to exist, I took a second round of interest. By this time though, I had already committed to writing; feeling as though there was never any shame in the practice.

However, when I finally sat in my seat at the FOX Theater, I witnessed a display of art through dance that embodied Black history in a way that could be explained in the fashion that it was before me. Alvin Ailey’s Revelations reminded me of one of my favorite books called, The People Could Fly, by Virginia Hamilton. It is an advanced children’s book telling a tale of slavery through folklore passed down from generation to generation. The book was written in a way where you feel as though nothing was lost through reading it, as nothing would have been lost if you were listening to the story being told for the first time. That’s what I felt about Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. The dancers brought life to the music; the music gave life to their movements, and combined they gave me an experience that is nearly unmatched in my lifetime.

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Was it something that I feel every Black American should put on their bucket list?

No. It did not shed light on anything we don’t already know.

Did it teach me anything from a Christian perspective?

No. Even though it was based in the Christian faith that our ancestors had, it did not enlighten my understanding any as we have advanced in our knowledge of the gospel since then. It depicted what their faith would have been like in that day, and stayed true to the time period.

So what was so special about it?

It was an overall experience. The music, the dancing and all around showmanship was nothing short of passionate perfection. Alvin Ailey shared his perspective of the hate stricken south perfectly through song and dance.

I would recommend any cultural or art enthusiast to go see it. I find it hard to believe that you would be disappointed. I would even recommend purchasing the album from iTunes just to hear the songs; you will not be disappointed. I’m looking for something to top that for 2015 — the bar has been set.

Mediaheads

I scrolled past this picture on Facebook the other day. It was the first time in a long time that I had seen anything that actually made me think on social media.

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Do I agree with what this picture says? Yes, but it surpasses this month.

Black History Month is not the only thing that media targets. A majority of enjoying life has been subjected to media and how it interprets life for us. It actually speeds time up to the point where you can’t enjoy life for what you have — especially if it isn’t what you see in movies, on television and social media. That goes for whites and blacks and every month of the year… Not just February.

I believe a person’s level of success in anything will have some correlation in his/her ability to tune out unnecessary distractions in the world (or media). For me personally, I like sports. But I have  to realize that it’s hard from me to tell how fast time is going by because I’m living for the next game, series and championship. The NBA, NFL, MLB and NASCAR all profit from me; I profit nothing from them. These luxuries, must be enjoyed under strict regulations in order to attain spiritual, financial or any other personal growth. I call them luxuries because I can’t afford to entertain myself with someone else’s success.

In short, if you let these four events in the picture distract you from Black History Month, maybe you should reprioritize. If you let anything distract you from a goal, you should reprioritize. Life can pass by you regardless of your race and there are no shortages of distractions to keep it from happening. Set your own priorities.

Love Born into Slavery

February 4th, 1822 – Columbia, South Carolina

“You doin’ an awful lot of grinnin’ tonight, Jeremiah.”

“And I’ma keep on grinnin’.” Jeremiah grabbed his new wife by the waist and brought her close to him. “We been married now for forty-one days. Now what you thank about that?”

Sarah laughed and rested in the crevice of his labor sculpted chest. “You still countin the days, I see. Well it’s been the best forty-one days of my twenty-three years. Let’s get some supper and get to bed; it’s like the sun been risin’ earlier every mornin’.”

The two sat and enjoyed supper at the table Jeremiah had made himself. They had been so deep in each other’s thoughts that the sudden banging on the door startled them both to embarrassment. The bad thing about knocking in this hour is that rarely does anything good come from it. Jeremiah stood from the table and made his way to the door. He cautiously opened it and did not like the sight that stood before him.

“Evenin’, Masta Jamison.”

“Evenin’, Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah opened the door a bit wider and stepped out onto the porch of his small shack of a home. He looked to the left and right of his home to see if any others were with the master. His mind raced as he thought if he had done anything that would have called for a late-night beating — no; not since last year.

“What brang you down from the big house at this late hour, Boss?” Jeremiah asked, nervous of the response.

Mr. Jamison sucked in a gulp of air and started, “I need Sarah up at the house for a few chores.” There was a pause. “You know, since the lady of the house is gone to visit her mother.”

Jeremiah’s stomach turned in knots. He knew what that meant, and he could smell the liquor coming off of Jamison. “You mean to tell me that Sarah ain’t been doin’ her duties during the day, Masta Jamison?” he asked. “Since it’s late and she gettin’ ready for bed, I can come on ova’ and do whateva you need.” The attempt to deter the situation was obviously going nowhere, but Jeremiah had to try. There might be some change in heart that would spare them from such disgrace.

“Now these here are lady duties, Jeremiah. Just send Sarah on out and she’ll be back in about an hour.” The pause was longer and quieter than the first. “Boy, am I gonna have any trouble out of you tonight? If so, you about to get you and that lil’ nigga wife of yours a real bad lashin’!”

Jeremiah turned and went into the house. His wife was staring at him with hopeful eyes, welling with tears. “Sarah, Masta gonna need you up at the house for just a few minutes,” he said as assuredly as possible.

“I ain’t goin’ up there, Jeremiah,” she whimpered. “You remember what he did to that girl last year? He gonna do that to me, Jeremiah!”

“No he ain’t,” he responded. “One thang for sho; if you don’t go he likely gone beat you real bad, and I don’t wanna see you hurt, Sarah. If you go, he just might need the bathrooms cleaned or somethin’ small like that. It’ll be alright.” He kissed her on the forehead and walked her to the door.

**********

Hours later, Sarah gently walked back into the house. Jeremiah was sitting in his dinner chair in the middle of the floor. His hands held his head up as he sat slumped over, staring at the floor. Sarah came and sat on the floor in front of him. Her face was bruised and clothes were torn. He stared at his wife, and she stared back at him. Jeremiah stood up over her and went to bed without saying a single word. She cried until she fell asleep; right there on the floor.

As Jeremiah lay in the bed, he thought about his wife laying there on the floor. He had never learned to deal with any problems without use of force. It was all he had ever known. The only two people that had ever calmed him or had been able to get him to talk, was his mother and his best friend from years back — Sarah. Those were the only people he had ever trusted since his father and siblings were all sold away. He knew in his mind, that none of what had happened was Sarah’s fault, but he felt as though it was his. He thought that if there was anything ever worth dying for, it should have been that. He hated himself for not doing more. He hated himself for the fear that he let lead him and his wife into this situation. He wanted to tell her. He knew that if he did tell her, that they could heal together. But his disdain for the white man who had defiled his wife, caused him to be disgusted by the sight of her. His emotions for her were spread in every direction that his heart could reach. So he did nothing; he said nothing.

Sarah knew Jeremiah. She knew how he thought and why he though it. So she did nothing; she said nothing. He needed time and space. After it was noticeable that she was pregnant, he said to her at supper, “I’m running away to Charleston. It’s a free man, named Denmark Vesey, talking about starting a revolt.”

“Don’t go, Jeremiah,” she said as tears ran down her face. “I’m pregnant and I’m scared.” With those words, Jeremiah saw that he still had a duty to serve as a man and as her husband. He had not been degraded to uselessness, though he had felt as such the whole time. He got up and rushed to Sarah and hugged her like he had wanted to on the night she returned from the big house.

**********

On day three-hundred and two of their marriage, Sarah gave birth to a beautiful chocolate baby girl. Their relief was immeasurable to say the least. Jeremiah thanked his wife for asking him to stay. If he had fled, he would have surely been caught and killed, and he would have missed out on seeing this little girl. Sarah thanked him for being the man that he was, making things work for them, and not just him.

They both thanked God for what they had, and for keeping them from worse; and prayed that one day their baby would see better days.

Week 21 Intro

Well it’s finally February. It’s ever so fitting that this month started on a Sunday, which gives me an even four weeks to cover the some selected topics surrounding Black History and Culture. I remember saying in one of my earliest blog posts that I would rather not limit a lot of my writing within the confines of race. I would rather blog about the my personal perspective of the world on a much wider spectrum. However, since making that statement, I realize that much of my perspective is simply a counter of the world’s perspective of me.

This month I will center all my posts around black history, culture, a few of my key people in history and an imaginative explanation for some of the conditions — positive and negative — of black people in America today. As of now, I have a format for the month that allows for Recaps on Sundays, culture topics on Mondays, my creative perspectives (short short stories) on Wednesdays, and my key people on Fridays. Now for those of you that follow my blog, you already know that it’s difficult for me to strictly stick to a schedule. Sometimes bigger issues come up, and I might want to address something on a Tuesday. I may want to switch days for different topics or whatever; so I never write up a strict schedule to follow. As you can see, this Intro was supposed to be done yesterday; I apologize for that. I’m finishing up my post for tonight though, that way I will not be behind.

When it comes to the recap, last week I posted “Nearsighted Point-of-View”. I tried to explain the reasons for why I am as optimistic as I am, and how and why I think we should practice spreading it to everyone we come into contact with. I also briefly went over reasons why this practice would not work for everyone in every situation. In a nutshell, it’s just a detailed explanation of another Christian way to love.

Show some compassion, spread some love and enjoy your week!