Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dream Deferred?

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, as I am sure that everyone knows. Pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. along with quotes from his I Have A Dream speech made the rounds on every social media outlet that I subscribe to. Media aided in the hype (as usual). People changed their profile pictures to black and white photos from the day in question. Activists linking arms, raising their voices in one unified tone, declaring that the status quo wasn't good enough. Using one voice to say that the bare minimum was no longer acceptable. I saw those pictures and my heart jumped and fell- all in the same moment. The history nerd in me rejoiced and the realist in me looked on with sad eyes and a sorrow filled heart. Being able to look at those pictures made me so incredibly happy to see what kind of stock American people come from, yet so ridiculously upset at the static state of our society today.

I think that I have typed these words before, so the following should come as no shock: We are NOT living the dream that MLK was talking about. I am not part of the group of people who think that JUST because our President is Black we have overcome. We, as a society, are further behind than we were 50 years ago, in some aspects. Women and minorities still get paid less than white men on a regular basis. Minority children still get a substandard education when compared to the education received in primarily white neighborhoods. Racial injustices still happen daily. Gender discrimination is an every day occurrence. Rape is an EVERY day occurrence. Disenfranchisement happens in polling places AND in state legislatures in 2013. War is happening. The American public is paying with tax dollars AND the lives of our beloved soldiers EVERY day and it is not being reported in our 24 hour news streams. Our leaders are corrupt and WE are not holding them accountable for their actions. Our troops and the elderly are being bilked out of their hard earned money and being left to suffer alone- by the government and their families- in assisted living facilities. Worst of all, we do not have a promising field of minority leaders who are battle tested and ready to take their place on the front lines to fight against inequality.

That last sentence is what I believe will kill the dream altogether. People have been lulled into a false sense of security. They sign an online petition and figure that they have done their job. There is no sense of unity- everyone is too obsessed with the next new thing, new group, new iPhone. They are way too willing to talk about rap verses and not willing enough to defeat their neighborhood thugs. They are way too concerned with fast ass musicians at an awards show than helping the family down the street put food on their table. People are willing to wait in line for some limited release sneakers, but won't wait in line to register to vote. Some think that BECAUSE we have a Black President that the fight is over. It isn't. Your oppressed brothers and sisters are out there- and they need your help.

Don't let the 60s be repeated. Don't let the work and the deaths of the people who sacrificed everything be in vain. Get out and make your dream, and the dream of your neighbor, come true. We are all fighting for the same thing, right? The ability to live our lives, take care of ourselves and our families. Don't quote the I Have A Dream speech to me. Live it daily... and you will get my attention.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

While You Were Sleeping - Harriet Tubman

It is almost 1 AM. I NOW have a day job. I was so ready to go to sleep, until I saw references to THIS:

Ok, First of all- this shit is NOT funny. At all. In any form. Second- the fact that not only were they able to find Black actors to downplay the real rapes and savagery that took place during slavery as a JOKE... AND the fact that this appeared on Russell Simmons' All Def Digital YouTube channel- is astounding. Absolutely unbelievable. Third, and here is the true tragedy, there will be more Black people who see NO problem with this video. They may even chuckle. They will not correct others who DO laugh at this. They will be silent.

Now listen, I am not one to jump on a soapbox at the drop of a hat. This blog represents my personality in small snapshots, on topics that I choose to write about. Lately, the subjects are somewhat frivolous, but this is serious. As a lover of history, I have to say... The United States has had a sordid past- that is no surprise to anyone. The history of slavery in this country (and around the world) is no laughing matter. There is no denying that some people's reality has been shaped by the atrocities of 400+ years of a horrid system of buying and selling human beings, of split up families, of beatings and rapes that took place for no other reason than having the ability to do them without repercussion. There is no denying that America, is NOT in fact, post racial anything. We have all held onto stereotypes that began in the infancy of our country-- and some of us hold those stereotypes as truth in 2013.

What I hold as truth is as follows: I will not, ever, support Russell Simmons. Not ever. The fact that he, as a Black man in America okayed this... video... shows me that he does not have my interests, or the interests of a strong Black community, in mind.

Another truth (and I have held this one for decades- I have said it before and clearly I need to say it again): I will not support entertainers, movie "stars", producers, people on the street or relatives that use the N-word. I don't care if you are Paula Deen, Paula from high school, Paula down the street or Auntie Paula- there is NO excuse for anyone to use that word. Black people kill me trying to take back hurtful words- that one in particular. And non-Black people kill me when they try to explain why they should be allowed to say it. You will not disrespect me, my momma, my community, people who have died for the cause, no matter their race or humankind in general, by uttering that word in my presence. I do not care who you are. Father so and so, Pastor so and so, rapper so and so. Listen, Poppa Hot, Black and Bitter says whatever the hell he wants and EVEN he does not say that word in front of me. If I ain't taking it from him... You surely will NOT get a pass.

The truth above all truths: I am a proud, strong, capable woman who knows the history of the country that she loves. I respect my history as a Black woman and the history of others. If I made a video about how much Jews really loved the Halocaust--how Hitler was actually a savior to the Jews he confined in the ghettos of Europe; or, how much Native Americans really loved marching the Trail of Tears and being forced to give up all they knew by outsiders who wanted more resources-- how they appreciated helping the English survive the winter on the East Coast, only to have those same people take everything that they had. If I made a video that somehow poked fun at the war crimes that are going on right now against POWs and others being held against their will. If I trivialized someone else's well noted struggle-- how would that be taken? Who would reprimand me? Someone would, right? So where is that someone NOW? Why is it that no one is standing up for the Black community when ideas like this are being thrown around the production room? Why didn't Russell Simmons see a problem with this mess BEFORE it made it to YouTube? Before there was outrage? WHERE WAS HIS OUTRAGE?? Why didn't the two Black actors in this skit say to themselves "hmm- this really is NOT funny, maybe we should try something else?" What made anyone think that this was okay? Why, when I do defend the Black community I am pegged as out of touch, or too sensitive? And for God's sake WHERE are the rest of the Black people who have a problem with this???

I am so tired of this. Here is the lesson that we (Black) people need to learn: the only way that the ills of our community can be cured is if we, as a community, stop putting up with substandard behavior from our members. We can't blame other people. We have got to nip the nonsense in the bud, all over. So that means, I have no love for Russell Simmons--- or his offspring. I don't live for making his pockets fatter. I have no love for all these rappers that are making it seem as though we are all fools who can't speak English and have thousands of babies without marriage. I have no love for the drug dealers and ridiculous petty criminals in our community. I draw the line and supporting EVERYTHING just because it is Black. Putting up with craziness is not my forte-- no matter who is bringing the crazy. People, we have GOT to expect and receive better from our own community, because I can't have another night like tonight. I can't watch another Black person acting like a fool for a few inappropriate laughs. I'm so done with this bullshit. So done.

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