Today in Post-Race History: What I (Had) Meant to Say Was…

There are 3 things my Grandma Charlotte used to tell me all the time:  1. That books are my friends; 2. That she is always right–even when she’s wrong (she’s right); and 3. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  I remembered that last point when I heard about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments about then-candidate Obama.  If the extent of Reid’s comments were what I read in the HuffPo article about the book, Game Change, the interview appears in, then I’m really not all that mad at Senator Reid.  In fact, I agree with him.  He’s only in hot water because we need a dose of (racial) honesty.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid apologized on Saturday for saying the race of Barack Obama – whom he described as a “light skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” – would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid.

Um, this is racist?  Let’s take it point by point.

The police need to teach corporations like the NBA

(response to “NBA needs to teach guys like Arenas”)

In the early hours of the Arenas debacle—the post-suspension one, commentators took to the airwaves, blogs, and news sites to talk about what changes the NBA would need to make, to not only teach Gilbert Arenas a lesson, but to teach all the other boys in the league as well—not in my house! According to Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports resident turncoat, what “they” need is education. They being the “children from highly dysfunctional families and boys raised to be replacement husbands by single mothers.” As an aside, Whitlock represents the growing post-Imus trend of black people say racist, ahem, conservative things for white conglomerates to lessen protest possibility. Please don’t drink the kool-aid.

Of course, I’m not defending Arenas. 90040591RM025_Washington_WiI’m only saying there is little difference between his actions and those of a disgruntled USPS employee who takes weapons to their place of employment to solve petty intra-office disputes. And just like the USPS worker, he should be fired. All work places need rules and all transgressions need to be met with not only punishment, but with changes that will directly prevent them from occurring again. Thus, Whitlock’s idea to raise the league age requirement to 21 years of age after a near-30 year old player acts out is ludicrous. Let’s try and stay on point. Install metal detectors in the locker room, ban gambling on work property (as did Flip Saunders after the incident)—do the things you would do to foster a safe work environment in any other place of employment.

The First Step is Acknowledgement: I Have Class Privilege

Aloha . . . Mahalo . . . Hula . . . Hana Hou . . . are a few Hawaiian words I’ve learned this week while visiting Hawaii. You know, I think Hawaii is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen with its luscious green mountains and its sparkling blue beaches. There is something special about this place that makes me want to be less troll-like to people who attempt to break my camel’s back or who attempt to pull my last nerve. Indeed, Hawaii is a special place. Perhaps, it has something to do with the bounty of green vegetation that encircles the island. And given that I grew up in an inner city, went to school in an inner city, and probably will die in an inner city, seeing the abundance of fauna and flora is simultaneously breathtaking and a little disturbing as well.

Breathtaking for all the reasons listed above. But disturbing because I seem to be allergic to Mother Nature and of course I have capitalism, pollution, and chemically enriched foods to thank for all of this. Furthermore, seeing all the vegetation and the beauty of Hawaii is equally unsettling because it reminds me of how privileged I am and how many in my immediate biological family will never be able to visit the land of Hawaii because they do not have the funds and/or time to do so.

Yep, you’ve guessed it this blog is not about Hawaii per se, but more about my inner turmoil with dealing with my increasing class privilege. I know the phrase “inner turmoil” seems a tad bit dramatic, but it’s the best phrase I can conjure up to use while struggling with jet lag. Also, Hawaii is a metaphor for talking about privilege. Well, even though my going to Hawaii was based on my services of being a part-time grad school nanny. It still feels like a privileged state because I did not have to pay for anything. Furthermore, the child was extremely well-behaved and I had an abundance of time to explore Hawaii. So, to say the least I felt inner turmoil about being in Hawaii when so many in my family struggles to keep their heads above water.

Recently, my mother told me she and my two younger siblings will have to move yet again because of a faulty housing agreement. This will make the fifth time they have moved in the last five years. Of course, my mother told me not to worry about her because she’s a hustler, but I can’t stop worrying about her and the need for my younger brother and sister to have a stable place to lay their heads. In addition to this, my older sister is continuously in and out of the hospital because her insurance–which she got only a year ago after working at the job for two years–does not provide her with the best doctors to ensure correct diagnoses. And these examples of hardships are just the tip of the iceberg.

In response to me telling people I have “inner turmoil” about my class privilege, they say, “Well, you’ve made the right decisions in life. You’ve worked hard in school and so you deserve to have.” There is something unsavory about their response because they assume I’ve made the right decisions at every moment of my life and that if you make one bad decision than you are forever doomed to be poor living pay check to pay check.

Hate The Fags…Just Don’t Kill Them? WTF

uganda protest

They said it would make my life better. They said I would find my “purpose.” It was my 8th grade school year. My pastor said I should read this book that would change my life. The name of the book was A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It’s always interesting to reflect back to my pre-teen life and think about the different things I was involved in. Some of my childhood experiences were amazing and shaped who I am today, other experiences—like buying Rick Warren’s book—are just embarrassing. I was reading a book by one of the most divisive and homophobic/anti-gay men in America, at 13.

The author of the very same book, seven years later is now in the limelight being accused of supporting the Uganda Anti-Homosexual Legislation Bill. Proposed on the 13th of October 2009 by Member of Parliament David Bahati, the Bill would criminalize key aspects of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention education and imprison health-care workers who refuse to report sexually active gay patients to the police. rainbow ugandaIf enacted, it would also broaden the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda, including introducing the death penalty for HIV positive people who have previous convictions, instituting extradition for those engaging in same-sex sexual relations outside Uganda, and penalizing individuals, companies, or media organizations who support LGBT rights.

D.C. Theatre: How Politicians Steal The Show

Sometimes I feel like life is one big reality show. I can’t say that I’m an avid follower of “For the Love of Ray J”, “The Bad Girls Club, or “The Real World”. However, I do know that drama and ratings are positively correlated. Many of the stars on the reality shows go on to have lucrative careers in entertainment, not necessarily for their acting or musical prowess, but because of their star power. These days, people are just famous for being famous. I’m afraid that this attitude has spilled over into the realm of politics. We all know how dramatic politicians can be. In fact, I think Hillary Clinton deserves an Oscar for her star-studded performance in New Hampshire in 2008 for “the cry heard around the world”. Who can forget former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. It seems like criminal allegations have made him more famous than he was before. You get accused of trying to sell a Senate seat and before you know it every reality show producer wants you as a cast member.

Can You Hear Me Now?

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”  Yeah.  I suck.  But it’s not my fault–this time.  I just spent more than 2 hours at a Verizon Wireless store because my Nokia Twist broke (in half).  Ok, so maybe I broke it on New Year’s Eve.  Anyway, the point is, I spent way more time than I’d planned with an incredibly nice and chipper customer service rep at the Logan Square VZW, which means I’m just now sitting down at the computer, which means my blog is hella late, which means I’m not doing well in keeping resolution number 5

December 28, 2009 – January 3, 2010

The science of science education
Irving R. Epstein, LA Times, January 3, 2010

Chace Baptista: A young voice heard
Linda Borg, Providence Daily-Bulletin, January 3, 2010

Texas schools see more minority, poor kids
Gary Scharrer and Ericka Mellon, Express News, January 2, 2010

Heroin scourge has moved from black to white areas
Keith Herbert, Newsday, January 2, 2010

Texas schools see more low-income students
Associated Press, January 2, 2010

‘Bama history changed on handshake, and trip to LA
Eddie, Pells, Associated Press, January 1, 2010

Our Legacy: In 2010, consider giving the gift of mentoring
Janice Hayes-Williams, The Capital, December 31, 2009

The Washington region’s schools are many-splendored things
Jay Matthews, Washington Post, December 31, 2009

Colorado’s first all-girls public school coming to Denver
Jeremy P. Meyer, Denver Post, December 31, 2009

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s legacy as Chicago schools chief questioned
Nick Anderson, Washington Post, December 29, 2009

Williamsburg County schools settle with students over same-race discrimination
Fred Horlbeck, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, December 28, 2009

Improving Minority Education
Nikole Hannah-Jones, Washington Times, December 28, 2009

Avatar Wasn't So Bad…

I was going to write about New Year’s resolutions but let’s be honest half of you have already fallen off the wagon anyway so there’s no use in wasting time and space here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am critical of racial representation in popular media. I raise a lot of dust anytime I think people of color are represented in negative light. But apparently I failed as a Black person because I actually liked Avatar and had very few negative things to say about the film.

Sue me.

At least it wasnt the native princess trying to assimilate this time, right??

At least it wasn't the native princess trying to assimilate this time, right??

At this point, I have no expectations for Hollywood. It’s almost impossible to be let down when you don’t expect too much.

This post will contain spoilers. You’ve been warned.

December 21, 2009 – December 27, 2009

Daley 2009 — flubs and fiascoes; Privatizing parking meters, failing to win Olympic bid leave the mayor reeling
Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, December 27, 2009

Teens find a place they can call their own
Kristin Davis, The Virginian-Pilot, December 26, 2009

A Random Shooting Disrupts a Life, but Good May Follow
Don Terry, The New York Times, December 25, 2009

Beyond the Spin: The high cost of inequality; Want to save trillions? Deal with the huge health disparities among the races.
George Curry, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 25, 2009

Achievement gap still hard to close
Virginia Pilot, December 24, 2009

Frustrated black youths take to the Internet
Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor, December 23, 2009
(Article also appears on ABC

Temple University Raises its Standards
Susan Snyder, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 23, 2009

Film premiere special for daughter, friends
Associated Press, December 21, 2009

It's 2010, Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year! Wow, can you believe its 2010? Another decade ending which for me is a little exciting and a little worrisome because its means I am getting older and more cynical. I realize that I cannot go to a movie like Avatar and not see how the white’s imagination pictures itself as both conqueror and savior. And of course for the multinational corporation in the movie Avatar conquering was an act of saving the “blue monkeys, (i.e. the indigenous people in Avatar) from their non-technological inferior people of color ways. To put it simply, I hated the movie. It ain’t original just watch any movie by Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise.

Once again, perhaps, this is a sign of me getting older and more cynical. And as the decades roll by 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050, 2060, and 2070 I will become increasingly like the Biblical prophet Jeremiah who proclaimed destruction upon the heads of the children of Israel for disobeying God. Hey, I can see myself waving my cane warning of impending destruction because of capitalistic desires. Well, let me not be a cynic today on the first day of 2010. I hope everyone New Year is blessed with family and friends.