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 23 Recap

There was a skip in February (as you might have noticed). Anytime I attempt to put together a schedule, it gets shaken apart. So unfortunately, I missed the end of the first week and all of the second.

However, I did  manage to squeeze out a couple on Saturday the 14th…

…to be completely honest, I didn’t have to squeeze them out.

I wrote Mediaheads in an attempt to explain how much we are constantly bombarded by media events that rarely do anything to benefit us — financially, mentally, or spiritually. There is virtually no benefit to what we spend so much of our time doing. While we admire other people’s success, we forget that they spend all of their time practicing to keep us entertained. In short, I realized that entertainment is a luxury. It doesn’t matter if it’s inexpensive or even free; it should still count as a luxury if I spend time on something that doesn’t add to my needed improvement.

I had been waiting to share the interview of Danny & Annie Perasa that I found while browsing NPR. I actually wanted to share as soon as I found it, but since it was so close to Valentine’s, I decided to wait. Their two-part interview covers their not-so-glamourous but love-filled 27-year marriage. It’s really a great story the was done by StoryCorps and was a perfect fit for a February 14th post.

I will be continuing the black history month schedule going forward. I hope that you all have a wonderful week showing compassion and and sharing perspectives.

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.

Blogging vs. Journaling

Brother: What’s up Red? I just read Country Guy, City Life; I think that was favorite post so far.

Me: Really? That one didn’t seem to go over well.

Brother: Well I can kinda see why though. I think I liked it because I know Atlanta, Alabama, and you. It was really personal. More than likely if someone reads that one, they’ll be thinking, “Why would I leave Atlanta to go to Alabama.”

Me: Ahhh… Gotcha. Didn’t see it like that.

When I first started this blog, I quickly realized that blogging could easily turn into journaling. That is not what intended to do. In fact, that’s my biggest issue with a bulk of social media activity — “Who cares?!” is what I ask when I scroll past a check-in, relationship update or a picture of your dinner. Of course you will post random pics of you and yours friends and spouses at different locations and festivities, but I should not be able to account for nearly every waking moment of your day. Some parts of your life should remain exclusive, and not just the emotional death that over-posting is sometimes used to mask.

However, after I started blogging, I felt as though I had found a social media that works for me; one that would be a bit more difficult for me to critique. There had been many occasions where I had scrapped an essay because it did not meet the criteria that I had set for the purpose of the blog. If it doesn’t share a constructive outlook on life, or concerning something of literary relevance, or even the occasional comedic relief, I deny it. So when I received this criticism from my brother who is currently attending college in New York, it forced me to reevaluate the post. As he explained it to me, “The students up here know very little about Alabama, but Atlanta is way more popular than you might expect… And besides, they don’t know that 99% percent of our family resides in Alabama. It’s a really personal post, bro.”

When I went back and read the post, I could tell that most of it came from the frustrations of my own monotony combined with the pageantries that are city life. It was something the was written predominately personal emotion that pertained only to me and the way that I was feeling at the time. I had, metaphorically speaking, posted my dinner to Facebook. That should be a testament to the subtleness of blogging though. It’s a very relaxing (and productive to a career writer) way to keep the wheels of creativity going, while networking and learning through others. But if sight is ever lost of your purpose, you can begin to treat your blog like the ever trusted pages of a diary and forgetting the presence of an audience. And you know what happens next? You’re a weirdo with a webpage, that’s what happens.

Kidding…

If your blog is not meant to be personal, it takes a bit of diligence to ensure that it doesn’t happen. It’s another curve that I had to learn and I think that it would be unfair for me recognize something and not share to others who may fall for the same thing. I read a few blogs from beginners like myself to see where, I could improve and I found that it is not to uncommon to see the patterns of posting something that lacks relevancy. Then on the other hand, the blogs that are in fact more personal to the author are usually exceptionally good. That is just too much exposure for me. Like I described in Writing and Schizophrenia, sometimes the person in real life, is not ready to be shared with the online world of strangers. It’s a fear that most writers share — but if you ever want to get over it, start blogging.

Welcome to Social Media!

My time of living outside of the virtual world has come to an end. It was a slow transition, but I was still astounded when the realization completely set in. It was the means by which it happened though. I knew it was coming; I just had not anticipated how it was coming. I am having to learn to use and incorporate social media in my day-to-day living.

Background

I am a reader/writer. I like my books with paper, not on screens. I prefer to buy them from stores, not online. My DVDs are on a shelf, not in a cloud. I will admit to purchasing most of my music from iTunes, but that is because I am not much of a music person. I usually text, but that’s because I like to speak on the phone alone and not in grocery stores or riding with friends or among any other people all together. I feel that the person in my physical presence takes precedence over a line of communication happening via a tech device (this is generally; there are exceptions). I usually hold on to conversational topics if I know I’m going to see a person, rather than call or text them at that moment. I am highly inquisitive and have to get to the bottom of any questions that gives the slightest tug at my curiosity. I drive to random places to witness random things. If an interesting story breaks the local news, I’m going to see. I’ll make a purchase on one solid word-of-mouth over five consumer reviews. I will take GPS getting somewhere, but I usually get lost on the way back. I enjoy legwork.

So when I started blogging a month ago, I felt as though I had finally found a social media platform for me. I discovered WordPress was offering writers a place to meet, greet and share all types of writings; some who are very well known; like my favorite, Writemeg! and a lot of beginners, like myself. I should have started years ago, but because of my old-school way of thinking, I just kept putting it off to the side.

The writing has definitely put me on tiny quests throughout my beautiful city of Atlanta, finding and meeting people that I never would have otherwise; and I’m loving it! However, this is when I realized that the means of sharing and spreading your writing has to expand outside of WordPress. You have to have some means of getting readers to your blog. So I reluctantly created a Twitter account. After a coupe days, it started to pay off, a few visitors here and a couple views there. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So I stuck with it.

One Saturday morning, I was walking through Cabbagetown, a quaint liberal neighborhood network hidden within East Atlanta, and covered in graffiti. There I met @laurenpallotta, @joekingatl, and @stephenstumberg88. I was surprised and excited to actually meet the artists in the beginning stages of their work. They welcomed questions, suggested ideas, and were very very cool laid back people. (I guess that’s to be expected from graffiti artists, but I hadn’t ever met any. As far as I was concerned, you go to sleep and wake up to a painted city while the everyone tries to figure out when the did the Paint Fairies come.) Anyway, things got real when we started to trade contact information. “What’s the name of your blog?” Stephen asked. I told him and asked if I could follow any of them on Twitter and keep up with the progression of their work having seen it in its infancy.

“TWITTER?!? Welcome to 2014! INSTAGRAM, SUCKA!!!”

It actually happened nothing like that, but that’s how I heard it. They all gave me their Instagram names. I had only just created one the night before, not knowing I would be confronted with it in a little less that eight hours.

I have come to the place where I see that in networking, social media has become just as important as legwork and face-to-face interaction. I mean, this may sound ridiculous coming from a city dweller in his mid-twenties who has spent the last nine years working in IT, but I didn’t know it applied all over. I thought Skype has replaced a small percentage of business meetings… But that’s about it.

The fact of the matter is that I just had not found a good enough reason to connect through the social media world. Now that I have, I look forward to using my computer for things besides working and gaming. I can tweet and follow and share now. I know how to do it from my previous Facebook usage; which is basically the other internet. Everyone uses Facebook. I just have to learn what is post worthy, make sure it’s relevant to my topics and all of that good stuff. I’ll iron out those details as I continue learning how to cope with integrating with the modern world.