Friday, September 18, 2009

It's hard to forgive, but I do.

With 68.7 percent of the population in South Carolina being White, it's no wonder that Joe Wilson has a completely different view from my own. When I put myself in his shoes, I can understand that his road has different signposts. I forgive his ignorance of my life and those who look like me. He can't know what he's never lived. He can't understand the plight of those who are less fortunate than he is. If he chose to make a detour and see the actual lives of those he seems to be against he might begin to understand. If he walked a mile in an immigrants shoes or spent a day waiting for medical care that he knew he couldn't afford, maybe he could see a side beyond his own. The percentage of Blacks living in South Carolina is around 28.5%. Hispanics make up about 4.1%. Does Joe Wilson have any Black or Hispanic friends? Who knows? It's easy to tear him down because of it. It's easy to tear anyone down when they or you've chosen a side instead of standing in the center and and taking in both halves of the whole. The fact that he doesn't feel it necessary, speaks to our societal ills. From the time we are able to think for ourselves we are trained to think like everyone else in our lives. We are taught that a person has to choose a side. Right or wrong, good or bad, mean or kind, we all learn to choose. The only thing you can't choose is your family for the most part. If you're family is White, it's possible that you are taught to fear those who don't look like you. If you're born Black, it's possible you are taught the same thing. Only the reactions are different. I believe that Joe Wilson is passionate about being who he was always meant to be. His disrespect to the President is a by-product of who he has always been. I don't agree with what Joe Wilson did, but allow him the right to do it. He alone is responsible for his actions and he alone must walk the road he's chosen.

Let’s not dismiss and miss the point.

It's sad that President Carter is being criticized so harshly for his comments about race in this country. Racism still exists. Who better to identify the warning signals, than someone who grew up in a world where it was as close as your next breath? There is nothing wrong with our elders giving us advice. I think James Madison said, "If we don't know our history, we are doomed to repeat it." But once identified, we have an opportunity to examine ourselves and see what our feelings are surrounding this issue. It's also true that our world has changed. More and more our racial landscape is blending. Our President is referred to as a Black (African American) man, but a White woman made this contribution to the world. I also grew up Black even though my father was American Indian and my mother is a mixture poured from a Louisiana melting pot. The label of African American wasn't my choice. At some point the Black label got transformed. I've never been to Africa and I've met Africans who don't like Black Americans any more than they like White Americans. Growing up in the turbulent era of civil rights meant I had my share of being called he N-word and being told to go back where I came from. My answer has always been the same, "Chicago?" I guess my point is that there will always be someone who doesn't like, doesn't trust, and doesn’t tolerate you because of race. There was a rainbow of faces at my family gatherings, but I knew there was danger in certain neighborhoods. You couldn't cross one avenue because it was the dividing line between the races. Fortunately, that has changed somewhat and unless it's Orange County or Simi Valley, I'm pretty much ok. I've been married for 20 years to a man who has a family tree that grew in Scandinavian soil. Even he is a mixture of Swedish and Norwegian. What we've given to the world is a daughter who is part Black (African American), American Indian, Jewish, Irish, Norwegian, get the picture. None of us can truly claim only one bloodline, unless cousins were the only ones at the party. We need to get beyond this affliction of racism. The majority of us in this country have. Dare I say that the world is moving beyond it simply because isolation is hard to come by these days.

Roadside bombs in American soil

Many have lived to tell the story of the horrific moments after an angry soul bent on destruction has been moved to action because they see their fears and prejudices supported by someone “playing the game”. With so many groups organizing and being financially backed by huge corporations with the intent of stopping at all costs any reform, it makes me wonder. Where does the responsibility lie? Who pays for all the pain and suffering associated with this drastic turn? Can these groups truly walk away from the aftermath with not so much as a slap on their collective wrists? The proof of incitement is so clear. It has been documented and proven legitimate by many concerned citizens, news reporters, and whistle blowers. Big business continues to spend millions to support “Tea Baggers” and the like. If one of their followers makes a choice to take matters into their own hands, can these companies just walk away spouting the notion that they had no idea that such a thing could happen? Can it be justified merely by saying that “It was just Satire”? Maybe they could in the past when fact checking was something that happened after the fact. Maybe they could get away with it when there wasn’t a 24-hour news cycle and their names would most likely remain hidden until years later with the tragedy a cold memory. I say we call this what it is. Domestic Terrorism. Is there any legal action that can be taken against these groups who knowingly incite violence and discourse into the public arena? If something terribly wrong happens because of the poison that has been injected into the arm of the fringe element, do we as a nation have the right to hold someone accountable? Would we call this Domestic Terrorism? I wonder what these people who are so cavalier about their games of seek and destroy would do if they suddenly found themselves behind the defense table of a federal court? We send our troops into harms way to stop terrorism, yet we allow companies with huge amounts of money to wage war here at home by planting theoretical roadside bombs into the minds of people who are already unstable. These people who would die for the cause and become martyred are the roadside bombs. What makes them any different from the extremist we are currently fighting in the Middle East? It’s sad that we as a country have become what we despise. How can we be the moral authority for any other country when we allow such civil unrest to thrive in our own backyard blanketed by the First Amendment? A U.S. Representative of California, Wally Herger led a town hall meeting where a 67 year old man, Bert Stead declared himself to be a “proud right-wing terrorist”. The Representative gave him a reply of “Amen, God bless you. There’s a great American.” How is this not a crime? At the very least it should be an act of treason on the part of the Representative. On 9/11 we wanted to take out all terrorists. We wanted to hunt them down whether home or abroad and make them pay for killing so many of our American citizens. Now we have “Proud Right Wing Terrorists.” What’s the difference between them and Al-Qaida?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where’s My Thug At? (A Black President’s dilemma)

Maybe Barack Obama didn’t realize that he was chosen more because of his color than his eloquence. Don’t get me wrong; he wowed everyone at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I knew he would be a great senator, but I truly believe that he was chosen because the Democrat Party needed some muscle. The party is full of politicians who can give good speech, but the first Black (African American) President by virtue of being Black, would most certainly bring with it some of the physical and mental toughness afforded to our Black athletes in this country, or even some of the “bust a cap in your ass” generalizations that some Whites have held onto even in this supposed “post-racial” America. The fact that he’s also from Chicago must have been the tipping point. Now, many people are expressing disappointment in his unwillingness to jump into the fray and throw punches. It would surprise no one in the Black community that he wouldn’t conduct himself in that manner. Mr. Obama is a highly educated man with a family. Not a street thug. Have we ever stopped to think that he’s playing the game? He’s been in office for 9 months and the fact that he hasn’t used his A-K is surprising to some. When Blacks won the right to vote, they were subjected to lies and misrepresentation when they showed up to polling places. “If you can’t read, you can’t vote.” was one of the lies told at the polls. When Blacks cry racism these days, they are met with a reverse racism label and told to be quiet. I think Mr. Obama is playing the game. We voted for him. We put him in office with a mandate. Now after less than a year we are swayed with untruths and intimidation. The “Right” Whites in this country who will never vote for anything he puts forth and are trying to bring him down at all costs are happy that we are silent. We stand idly by and watch while the big corporations in this country use their considerable wealth to hold onto power and the status quo by trotting out the same old fear and intimidation tactics they always use. Why? Is it because we expected Barack Obama to run the White House like the thug brothers we see in movies or on television? Did we expect him to call out the name callers and the “Deciders” for a game of one on one? What is it that we want from a man who has been in office for 9 months, has two wars, a failed economy, record unemployment, and a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit (none of which happened on his watch)? We truly are spoiled children who want everything and are willing to do nothing for it. If we don’t stand with our president, if we don’t push back in numbers against those who clearly have a BIG problem with a Black man living in the White House, then we have gone back on our word. Our promise. Our vote. With our vote we promised that we would help Barack Obama bring change to this country. And EVERYONE from age 18 to 100 plus has a responsibility to help this country back to health. HE CANNOT DO IT ALONE. We complained for eight years about an administration that bullied us and ran the country into the ground. We now have someone in office that is willing to work with us. Are we willing to work with him? The Democrats don’t have backbone. They run full tilt when the Republicans pick on them and call them names. I believe Barack Obama has shown his backbone simply by running and actually winning the White House in a country where white and black, white and brown, white and yellow is still the underlying issue.