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.

#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.

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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.

Week 19 Recap

This week actually ended on an uphill slope. Most weeks, I would have been worn down by the daily struggles that I have admittedly and ignorantly accepted as life, that the recap is best post of the week. I’m not ashamed of it though. Going forward, I will be scheduling a block of time to actually unwind. It may be daily, every other day or half of a Saturday or something. I’ll sort that out this week so that I’ll have it in effect by February (I already have the whole month of February scheduled; excited about that.)

Tuesday, January 20, I took an educational field trip to the movies to watch Selma. I had plans on writing a review of the portrayal of struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his supporting cast to get the Voting Rights Act passed via the marches in Selma, Alabama. Well, I went and saw the movie, but the review did not go as planned. I have an incredibly hard time sitting through depictions of the struggles of slavery or the Civil Rights Movement; so until Tuesday night, I never did. However, I’m glad I gave it a watch. It was an excellent, realistic and accurate reenactment of the movement. The directors, actors and casting crew were all excellent. My review turned out to be just a screen shot of the notes that I took during the movie. That was something new for me — sharing notes — because I really did not have the mental strength to go in depth about the film. Those are the types of emotions that I can’t just close off when I feel like it, so from the start of the movie until I went to bed, the emotions flowed… and you ended up with a screen shot of halfwitted notes. I laughed when I read back over them the next day.

Wednesday, January 21, I literally had to battle all day to find my regular optimistic mode of thinking. The day went on on and on without an upside, until I had finished Blogging vs. Journaling. It was something that I had taken a couple notes on and never got around to. Since I needed an easy write, that I needed not put a lot of new thought into, I pull it from my notebook and posted it. It was basically about how blogging can easily turn into journaling even if that had not been the initial purpose for which you created it. Since my blog started as a medium to share cultural relevance the way that I — a young black Christian male in the south of the United States — see it, some things will naturally take on a journalistic style. I have to make sure that it falls within the guidelines of relevance that I’ve set though and be sure not to vent, because that’s not not my point. My point is to share, encourage and make aware that there are people who fall outside of the stereotypes, but still being very very much engrossed in the culture. So basically, my blogging is about being me, and journaling is whining about being me… and I’m not a whiner. 🙂

Yesterday, January 23, I wrote I Was Looking For Me; I Found Black. This was basically about the path that I took through 2014 to become a better person to make way for a better future. In doing so, I neglected the parts of me that the rest of society sees first; and that’s being black. Honestly, as strange as it might sound, I became so focused on me, and what I needed to do, and me me me, that I actually forgot that by simply being black, all of those plans could be taken away from me just as fast as I could think them up. It was the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases that reminded me. “I could be killed for no reason at all, forgotten and my killer could go on living with no justice being served. If it could happen to one black man, it could happen to me. If it could happen to any man, it could happen to me.” This was my realization that I needed to adjust me re-identification process to include someone other than myself. We live for each other; living any other way is selfish and is not Christ-like.

I look forward to the rest of 2015, but I’m really looking forward to February. I know, you’re probably tired of hearing about February, but I can’t help it. I’m getting a lot off my chest and a lot of barriers are coming down next month. It’s nothing bad or extreme, but I’m a person of conservative nature; at first. The more comfortable I get with anything or anybody, I’m actually one of the most liberal. So when it comes to blogging, I’m reaching the point where I’m okay saying some things that I dared not say in the beginning.

With that being said, I hope you have a very enjoyable week sharing perspectives, showing compassion and spreading your love. I know it’s not always easy; trust me I know… But any other way is just not as fulfilling. 🙂

Selma – (Very) Unoffical Review

I just saw Selma a couple hours ago. I am always very reluctant to watch movies depicting the history of Black Americans and our struggles in the United States. There are so many thoughts, imaginations, and emotions that these movies provoke that I would rarely just ignore the cinema depictions and learn through reading. While watching the movie, I realized in a helpless and nearly hopeless state, that it is nearly impossible to to advance further as a people without the togetherness we once had and a single leader to lead the charge. It also became very clear that there are so many inequalities we still face that are masked by the laws; there is no law that can heal the condition of the minds of the people being torn down by the illusion of freedom and equality. However, this condition is not limited to the minds of Black Americans alone…

There are so many topics that a movie like this set in motion that I can not cover them all. I am actually quite drained. It took all of my might to stay after the first ten minutes, but I forced myself to continue watching. Since I have gotten through Selma, and can agree that it was a total success, I recommend it to anyone who may have the slightest interests in what the movement was all about and its role players. I LOVED IT! Now maybe I can go back and watch the backlog of movies depicting our peoples’ struggles that I have avoided year after year after year. I’m a pretty easygoing guy, except when it comes to family and race relations. I feel as though all of my passion has been reserved for simply wanting everyone to be treated fairly; a task so simple, but yet nearly impossible.

Since I won’t do a review, I have sharde my notes (something I never do) that I took during the movie. Instead of a review I will break down the major themes that I took from the movie, to be discussed next month as what I feel to still be issues today.

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I am completely satisfied with the movie. It was great! Casting was great! Acting was great! Plot and theme of the movie itself was great!

But I’m tired…

In February I will devote more detail into my personal perspectives surrounding the movie.