A Love Song

 

Love Tape

 

For any number of reasons, to-date, humanity as we know it, has not been able to find a harmonious tone when it comes to matters of race. And, yet, despite what many would have us believe, an atmosphere of racial accord is not an impossibility – it’s just that at the moment we as a nation are out of sync.

We have before us a symphony of ethnicities and backgrounds that is out of tune – and it has been really since the beginning of time. It appears that various members of this diverse troupe have a different idea about what to play – how to play it – and at what tempo. And, to make matters worse, many of us who are participating in this orchestra of thoughts – ideas – desires – and needs…have failed to listen to one another and decided to do things our own way. We have rendered ourselves incapable of hearing the man or woman sitting on either side of us because we are too busy plucking away at the strings of our own lives. And, so, like a tone deaf performer, we have no idea why this concerto is completely off-key.

What is the first step to getting everyone on the same page? First, we must all agree on the song we are going to play. And, for the purposes of today’s rendering I will play the role of the conductor and suggest to each of you what is admittedly a complex piece called the “Love Song”. As each of you picks up your respective instrument remember first and foremost that this song is in fact about LOVE. I chose love because love is the only force on this planet that has the power to conquer hate. So please keep that in mind that as you pluck the strings – as you beat the drum – as you blow on the horn. Not only that but you also MUST learn how to listen to your neighbor. By listening to each other we will ensure that we play as one. That we maximize our potential. That we put our best foot forward.

Ladies and gentlemen please be advised: this immense undertaking will require patience. We’ll have to practice at our craft with a dogged determination in order to achieve so noble a pursuit. We’ll have to get rid of the bad habits and divisions that have been formed over time. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth achieving ever is. In the end what a sweet sound it will be though, huh? Can’t you hear it? The heart wrenching plea of the regal violin. The subtle begging of the royal harp. The familiar and inviting sound of the incomparable piano. Along with all the other instruments that will rise up in unison to produce what will be considered in the end… a masterpiece. A cacophony of brotherhood – of good-will – of love; all of which is an essential part of this beautiful “Love Song” constructed by the renowned composer…we the people.

 

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 Oreos to go:  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

In the Dark

 

Necto

 

The following three screenshots capture a comment posted by a woman who responded to another comment from a “Mark” on Youtube. And they were both responding to a video in which Dr. Ben Carson, who is currently president Trump’s head of urban development, shares his opinion that black people are essentially solely responsible for the high rates of poverty that they (we) experience collectively in America.

 

Comment 1

 

Comment 2

 

Comment 3

 

I wrote a piece on this blog a while back entitled: “The Matrix” in which I basically compared the premise of that movie to the alternate reality – racially speaking – in which many white Americans currently reside. This is true not only because of the denial by many that white supremacy or privilege exists in America, but also because of what has essentially become an institutionalized culture of avoidance that has been passed down for generations. In my opinion, a significant slice of White America has no idea that they are a part of “the Matrix” (even after reading a post like the one I am writing), because like “Neo”, they have assimilated to the facade of a world that has been created for centuries to placate their guilt and fears. The result of this generational mentality – this truth-dodging if you will – is captured so succinctly and completely in the comment from this young lady in the screenshots above, that I am quite confidant I could not have written it any better myself no matter how hard I tried.

First of all, we have a woman – whom I am almost sure has never visited the neighborhoods she is speaking of – let alone actually faced the consequences of systemic racism herself – but who nonetheless has a blueprint for how black people in these areas can rise up out of poverty. Her sage advice: “Do whatever it takes to have a better life and get away from a life of crime”“The only thing holding them back is themselves being a victim (make a mental note: that word “victim” is condescending). Really? That’s the only thing holding black people back?? And she knows this how, exactly? Because she is there with them in the struggle? Because she has reached out and volunteered her time in blighted neighborhoods and seen this formula in action? I highly doubt it. My guess would be that she came into possession of this “advice for black people”  after hearing the various opinions of people who have been around her since birth. People who just like her: are completely separated from the reality facing communities of color across this nation.

I recently attended a City Council meeting in which citizens were allowed to address their grievances or concerns before the mayor and her colleagues that had joined the mayor on the dais. One by one I heard person after person step to the mic and recount what were essentially horror stories about what they were facing in their various communities. Homelessness – police brutality – gentrification – unjust fees – monthly rental hikes, and so on. Each and every one of these individuals were people of color. People who the system has clearly forgotten. Ostracized and without a manner of recourse at their disposal (guess they could just find a mentor according to our friend above) – these people are catching hell every single day.

And we should not forget that their children are coming home from school to those scenarios as well (or to no home in some cases). Which is the type of struggle that the lady above more than likely wouldn’t know anything about. Sure some people in those types of circumstances may be fortunate enough – are smarter than most (as is the case with her beloved Dr. Carson) and yes with hard work can supersede these types of dire circumstances. But when entire communities are ravaged by the social ills that are endured disproportionately by people who have black and brown skin – it is impossible to transcend collectively without assistance. This is ESPECIALLY true when various communities experience (and they do) the repercussions of what is to this very day systemic racism and adverse public policies that continue to apply a stranglehold on poor and working people of ALL races. Policies that to be quite frank – this woman has probably never taken the time to address in a long Youtube post like the one she offered above (wonder why…hmmm??).

I challenge people who think the way our misinformed friend apparently does to visit poor black and brown communities and hear their stories the same way I did this past Tuesday – and to do so consistently. I challenge them to try to understand a reality that is outside the fictional narrative depicted by Fox News and other outfits of that sort. Because here is the God’s honest truth: Black people and Latinos understand your perspective. We clearly understand what a woman like our friend above means when she states that personal accountability needs to be part of the equation (and despite popular opinion we agree!). But, it doesn’t end there. We have A LOT of white Americans among us who are walking around in the dark regarding racial injustices. In fact, they are so in the dark that they have no idea that they are a part of the problem. The darkness they have inhabited regarding issues of race makes them comfortable with discriminatory practices – without even knowing it in some cases. In that Matrix, America is a magical land and the greatest country on earth. And if anyone is suffering THEY must be deficient or playing the role of a “victim”.

If this scenario doesn’t change – if those who are blinded by long held biases are unwilling to open their eyes – this problem of race – of poverty – of disenfranchisement…will never change. We will continue to have young misinformed women – and old white men – and sweet old grannies – right on down the line – posting comments on Youtube when they have no idea what they are talking about. Truly believing in a self-righteous manner…mind you – that “Republicans” and the “Donald Trump’s” of the world have a monopoly on the truth & morality. Believing that as she put it: “they just want to make America great again”!

I don’t necessarily doubt this woman’s sincerity of heart. I don’t know her after all. But I know this: you can be super sincere and at the same time be super wrong. And, in this case, because America has been remiss in allowing for open dialogue in which women like her are able to be educated on perspectives of race they have never considered – she is counted among those who have been allowed to live in the Matrix for centuries by now. Hopefully someone will be able to gently pull this woman aside one day soon and she will come to see that she has been comfortably living in the dark for far too long. And then maybe – just maybe – she and others like her will finally see the light.

 

 

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 Oreos to go:  People struggling with impoverished situations don’t disagree that having to be on welfare sucks. They disagree rather with the narrative many have construed concerning how that institution became a necessity and how we can eliminate it as a necessity.


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Poor & Working Whites (The Forgotten Race)

Working

One of the very odd occurrences of this past presidential election was actually not unique to the presidential campaign between Clinton and Trump. This peculiar dynamic has transpired for decades if not centuries. Namely, we have had for some time now a scenario in which much of the poor white and/or the “white working class” (a.k.a. “Middle-America”) votes for candidates whose policies are in direct opposition with their own self-interests. It would appear that they are so focused on xenophobic idealism – on religious or pious zeal – and to be quite frank…on prejudiced biases – that they enter the election booth and pull a lever (or trigger if you will) that shoots their own foot. While it is a popular subject in American politics (and in general) to talk about how black people supposedly vote for individuals who don’t care about them – this subject surrounding the predisposition of “Middle America” is rarely if ever discussed in the mainstream.

For reasons we do not have time to unpack many white Americans are so attached to narratives that are drawn for them by the powers that be (Fox News for example) that they can’t see the forest for the trees. I call them the “forgotten race”. And this forgotten race either does not care or does not realize that when people they deem to be their champions… speak out against say… publicly funded programs for “that single mom of three”…they are actually speaking out against the types of programs that assist their own family! When someone like Donald Trump says, “Let’s Make America Great Again”, it is not just about “kicking out those Mexicans” – which “Joe from Idaho” might happen to agree with – it’s also about Joe being dropped from his healthcare coverage because he had pre-existing condition. It’s about the hourly wage he makes at the local factory remaining eternally at a meager rate. And, yet, Joe will step right up and vote for detrimental politicians and policies at his own expense.

There is a profound and fundamental piece to this whole equation that is at the core of race in America. It is the driving force that divides us along lines of color. At its core it is built upon a principle that to-date values a “white-washed America” above all else. And by that I mean that ideals that are tied to what has become “European-American” culture (right to bear arms – immigration reform – small government  – “Christian” morals), have become a manifesto of sorts that motivates people to make decisions that are self-destructive and then stand up and cheer believing they are “Making America Great Again”. I call these people the “forgotten race”, not only because of the fact that the political and economic forces of our nation have forgotten them (taken them for granted), but the truth is they have forgotten themselves.

The issues we face today in America know no color. Morals and values…know no color. At the same time, unfortunately, the social ills of America are more pervasive in communities of color for the very reasons I outlined above. But, one of the many avoided truths in America is that in the process of creating that scenario at the voting polls, many have damned themselves as well. Instead of presenting our political leaders with a united front, “we the people” have allowed issues of race to divide us. This is not a white issue or a black issue. It is not a latino – middle-eastern – or asian issue. This is a moral and American issue. 

The question is: Moving forward how do we confront these problems from a standpoint of truth? And, one way is to tackle our race problem in this country so that people are no longer blinded or motivated to vote for policies for the wrong reasons. Too many lies have been forged that demonize particular races and those lies are disguised in this country as “good-old-fashioned American principles”. As principles that will make America “Great Again”. When the reality is America needs to address some here-to-for old dogmas and stereotypes that have driven a wedge not only between races but the haves and the have notsthat is if we truly want to be great. And less we forget – the have nots includes those of the “forgotten race”.

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 Oreos to go: Bad policies know no color…


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Lebron

bron

“It’s a delicate situation. Racism, we know, exists. You try not to put yourself in a position, for me as a father, I try to give my kids the blueprint on how life is going to be. But at the end of the day, I can only tell them so much and then they have to go out and live it themselves”.
– Lebron James

 

Click below to watch video and then I have some thoughts on the matter below that.

 

 

Posting this on the heels of my submission earlier this week entitled: “Race vs. Class”. The video above vividly illustrates in many ways the point I wanted to make in that blog post, which is that the issues surrounding our racial divide in America supersede class. If class were truly the nexus of this aged issue – LBJ would surely qualify as someone who would escape the type of scenario that transpired at his home in Los Angeles over the course of the last 24 to 48 hours.

Here is a young man who has by all accounts been as stellar off the floor as he has been on it (which is a mouthful). Here is an individual who was simply minding his own business and taking care of his responsibilities as not only a world-class basketball player headed to the NBA finals – but more importantly as a husband and a father. And, yet, here we go again with another malicious act performed against a black person in America (“the home of the free and the land of the brave”) for no good reason, whatsoever.

Now, despite this blatantly disrespectful and wildly uncalled for derogatory act in which someone spray painted the word “N@&$er” on the front entrance of his home – we all know the inevitable reaction that will come from the apologists among us. “This was just a bad apple”. “Probably some idiot on drugs”. “This was just someone who wanted to get attention or who wants to stir up racial tensions”. And that load of crap right there is exactly how America has managed to avoid the truth about race since its inception. It’s how America avoids engaging in legitimate discourse regarding the truth that racism is in fact alive and well in this country. One has to ask their-self how many so called “isolated incidents” have to occur before someone finally stands the hell up and says “we got ourselves a problem”??

While this incident was disturbing – and it to put it plainly: it just really sucks – Lebron James will be ok at the end of the day. He is wealthier than most and undoubtedly wields untold power by way of his influence and prestigious position upon the national and international stage. But, there are countless other black folks whose names and stories are not going to trend on social media when they encounter far worse scenarios than the unfortunate event Lebron experienced. And when they face their nightmarish dilemma – and at this rate they certainly will – it will be for one reason and one reason only. They are an African-American.

Money or no money – educated or uneducated – black people in this country cannot curtail the depravity of the racist heart that beats in the chests of far too many Americans in every state and in every city across this nation. However, if America will finally, as a whole, come to terms with its  long-standing issue of racism. If we will – each of us – be willing to participate in an open and honest discussion (as LBJ admirably did in the video above – was not concerned about his “brand”)  – we CAN change the narrative together. We can deconstruct the stereotypes…we can recognize the vicious legacy of white supremacy and meet it head on…we can decide to set the record straight regarding the predicament we face and how it came into existence.

I look forward to celebrating that day despite the odds stacked against us and will not give up the fight. But, make no mistake, in order to get there we must first diagnose the problem for what it is. Without an accurate diagnosis it will be impossible to recommend an effective treatment plan. Which means that a complete and thorough examination of our corporate body will be necessary. America needs to allow for an MRI to be performed and in doing so I think she will find  what many of us suspected all along. Unfortunately a cancerous mass of racism has formed in her soul over time. Not only that but it has gone undetected for so long that it has spread throughout her body and treatment must begin immediately. Then and only then can we go into remission and the healing truly begin. And if and when we are able to come to grips with the truth about the gravity of our current circumstances – THAT is when equality in America can finally become a reality.

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Oreos to go: Incidents surrounding race in America are not the exception – they are the rule.

*Adding full video of Lebron’s comments to Double Stuff Oreos in main menu*


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Race vs. Class

Unspoken

There are many individuals in this country who subscribe to the school of thought that the issues surrounding race in America are not so much about the color of a given person’s skin as they are about the details of their tax bracket. In other words, what they believe is this: The divisions or lines that are drawn between various groups of people are directly related to economics or class. And, while there is some credence to this notion – I would argue that if one were to follow the long trail of social issues we face today in America back to its origin – that trail would lead directly to one thing…RACE.

It’s true…economics certainly play a role in the divisions we see in current day America. Without the requisite resources at hand it is hard to progress on both a micro and macro level. Whether speaking of the vicious cycle of poverty in a specific family tree – the social ills facing a specific community – or the centuries worth of battles a specific race has endured – basic economics (and resources or a lack thereof) play a critical role. Furthermore, the sectors of America that wield the most power and therefore are in possession of the lion’s share of capital – are not too keen on the idea of relinquishing their position on the economic totem pole. Accordingly, they exercise their influence over every facet of society in order to maintain the status quo. This systematic approach to exacting power means that the most vulnerable among us – those who have the least amount of resources at their disposal – face the greatest difficulties in transcending their given circumstances, collectively. And all of these factors inevitably help to forge the social divisions that many people point to as being a derivative of a “class-divide”.

However, the individual or individuals who believe that the racial division in America at its core – is primarily due to class – are in my opinion a bit naive. Pointing to  “class” as the issue is a convenient means of masking what are very real and unsettling racist or prejudiced beliefs harbored in the hearts of far too many men and women across America. It stops short of telling the whole story. Maybe…just maybe…we could buy what some are selling if divisions of class did not just so happen to also be “coincidentally” drawn along the same arc that divides people according to the color of their skin.

Add to that, the fact that historically public policies also happen to favor one race and not “the other”. Those who craft our laws understand that they can surreptitiously veil their true intentions by engaging in methods that undermine the well-being of particular communities by engaging in things like: budget cuts to publicly funded programs, gerrymandering, or school zoning. And they know full well that these types of actions primarily effect people of color. The “class-divide” in America did not form by way of an organic process in which everyone started towards the “American Dream” on equal footing. It was the result of a systematic disenfranchisement of people of color dating back to the Native Americans. From the word “go”, harsh treatment, coupled with inequitable laws that were put in place, unquestionably led to a scenario in which people of color got the short-end of the stick (and still do to this very day as the examples I listed above would indicate).

So, yes, let’s all take a look at the class-divide that many people point to when discussing inequality. But, in doing so, an honest assessment of the specific reason for that divide is absolutely critical. While there have been improvements socially speaking over time and although racist acts are not nearly so overt as the crack of a slave whip across the back of an undeserved victim – many are still experiencing the after effects of that “lashing”. Whether it is those who enjoy privileges that are a result of centuries of subjugation – or those who live in communities undermined by that very same subjugation that continues to this day in various forms – conspicuously distinct lines have been drawn along boundaries of not just class but race. The question is: will Americans muster the courage to speak the truth about that which ails our failing communities at the very core from both a historical and current day perspective? And will we all then be willing to provide a healing balm or effective remedy to those who are in need.

 

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Oreos to go: A discussion concerning what truly divides us in America is long overdue.


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Disinterest By Disassociation

Disinterest by Disassociation

Want to build upon the subject matter from a previous post in which I talked about the idea that fear can drive us to make decisions based on narratives and stereotypes we have consumed over time – perhaps even on a subconscious level. In that same vein, I have often noted the lack of compassion – the disconnect – that many Americans have as it relates to the circumstances of others outside of their immediate frame of reference. This indifference is not a result of an innate form of evil or the inability of Americans to connect with each other’s plight in a literal sense. It is, rather, a matter of a calculated approach to negatively defining individuals in various communities around this country on the part of our government and their elite counterparts. The motivation for doing so is directly related to factors deemed by these various parties to be in their best interests (which includes for many reasons a permanent hierarchy or class system).

If the powerful among us are able to manufacture an environment of what I call disinterest by disassociation – they are then also able to manufacture a sort of “consent of behavior”, if you will, on the part of the general public, that adversely affects certain citizens within given communities. This is accomplished by simply illuminating in a positive light, events or individuals that you deem important, and then conversely veiling in a cloak of relative darkness and negativity, events or individuals deemed unimportant.

This way as an elite entity (i.e. the “one percent”) you maintain a sort of “mental control” over how individuals view other people around them; and can therefore utilize that narrative to control critical resources (pocket them for the most part) and by connection the fate of the most vulnerable in society.

Take for instance the rather unfortunate events of 9/11 – a single day in history that is commemorated each year with the slogan Never Forget” – and for which – on pre-determined anniversaries – memorial services are held to honor the slain…rightfully so. However, the media, public officials, and the public in general, would rather not talk about the institution of slavery and the ensuing jim crowe era which lasted for four hundred years. Nor – more importantly – the residual effects of several centuries worth of total economic and social devastation that have resulted from those crippling institutions. “Black people need to get over it and let it go, is the company line I believe. No yearly commemoration as a nation. No anniversaries replete with stories of the heinous acts performed by slave owners – or more recently by law enforcement during the civil rights movement and jim crowe era; and the unparalleled endurance of black people in the face of this unmitigated tyranny.

For some inexplicable reason we are encouraged to remember the one (“Never Forget”), but not the other (“Let it go”) in America. While the events of September 11th were an undeniably horrific endeavor carried out by foreign terrorists – if we are honest – the human atrocities carried out by home grown terrorists for centuries in this relatively young nation are unparalleled. Anyone who is interested in recognizing or pursuing even a modicum of truth about race relations in America, past and present, has to ask themselves why all of this is the case? Why are we as a country selective about who and what is worthy of consideration and the shedding of our collective tears? And, just so you do not leave this blog today without the truth in hand, the answer is that this approach to history and current events on the part of the “powers that be” –  is a one that is purposed to produce the disinterest by disassociation that I mentioned above.

At the risk of repeating myself, this entire scenario starts with our government officials and elite forces, who set the tone for the national agenda and the ensuing conversations that are and are not allowed. And that national agenda indirectly informs the media about “who matters” through policies that are subsequently implemented. From there, the media takes the baton, and their coverage of events that transpire every day in America easily shapes public opinion, because we have been pre-wired to not engage in any meaningful critical analysis. And the result is narratives that create negative associations over time that are imprinted on the psyche of our populace here in America.

This must change. This apathetic disposition fosters an environment that severely skews our perception of our neighbors which is precisely how privilege is produced. Instead, what we need to do, collectively, is step outside of that box that has been built for our minds to reside within. More importantly we must remove other people from the boxes we’ve placed them in after having been inundated with depictions and definitions that are unfortunately readily accepted. The American public must learn to think for itself in order to shatter preconceived notions and stereotypes about others – that to be quite frank – make no sense. Don’t assume you know someone you never met – and how to solve issues they are facing – based simply upon what your family or friends told you, or what you saw on the evening news. Instead, here’s a novel idea…start a conversation with your neighbor – a conversation that I hope will never end.

 

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Oreos to go: “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike”.

J. K. Rowling


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Interracial Matters (Part III)

Spectrum

What about fitting in as an individual or as a family that is multi-racial? That question comes on the tail-end of the two previous MONDAY posts prior to this one regarding other aspects of this same subject matter. So, if you haven’t read those – stop – go back (scroll down) – and catch up!

To be honest it may be easier to fit into the framework (as currently constructed) of our modern day society when you enter as a multi-racial family than as a multi-racial individual – just by the sheer nature of the dynamics at play. First of all – as a family – you are a unit entering into any social arena together; which allows each of you to fall back on one another organically speaking. And, in fact, you may not even necessarily feel the need to “try to fit in” within a given social context that you are existing in at the time.

The individual dynamic is on the other hand somewhat different. As most of us probably know, individuals who are bi- or multi-racial, do often state that they either had difficulty identifying with or being necessarily accepted by a particular race or group during their formative years, especially. This is more of an issue in the adolescent and/or teenage years when not only do young people feel a need for “acceptance”, but kids are also much more overtly critical at that age as well. However, I do think there are several other factors involved that go well beyond fitting into a given preconceived racial boundary. Factors such as the area where a child grows up – how diverse their school is – are they by nature the type to lead or follow – are they an introvert or extrovert and so on.

While there are many factors that have an impact on whether one is able to “fit in” -most of us undoubtedly have an innate desire to feel included. And in some instances – depending on the circumstances – a child or even adult who is bi- or multi-racial may feel they don’t exactly fit neatly into the preconceived delineations that have been ready-made by society. There are individuals among us who identify strongly with traditions associated to cultures that are viewed by many to be attached directly to a specific race or ethnicity. And, certain people within given groups that are tied to those traditions, who may not view someone who attempts to identify with  what they deem to be “their culture” – as being a legitimate part of that tradition or circle so to speak.

What’s interesting is that this can happen even when a person is of “one race” (black, white, asian, etc.). People of their “own race” may say things like “he is trying to act black” or “she is acting white”. Or, related to our subject matter in this series: “they married outside their race” so that makes that person a “sell-out”. And that actually brings us full circle to the crux of this whole series on “interracial matters”. It seems that when you drill down to the root of this issue or dilemma if you will – that we as a society have made pre-determinations based strictly upon skin color for what another human being can and cannot do. And here is the kicker: these pre-determinations that are used to categorize every one we see around us – in many cases – completely disregard a person’s: likes or dislikes (personal preferences) – emotions or feelings – background – or experiences. So, in other words, people have decided that you can just take all of that “stuff” that actually defines who a person is and set it to the side. Instead of considering any of that we will just look at your skin color and decide for you what that means to us and try to force you to conform accordingly. Oh and if you are bi- or multi-racial: for some of us that means you are automatically (again based strictly on your skin color or lack thereof) not going to be able to be a part of any of these categories that we have arbitrarily created. Have a nice day!

At the end of the day, the issues we have with race in America are of our own making and are based upon philosophies that are what is known in logic as reductio ad absurdum (click here for definition). I am able to make that logical designation based upon the fact that an attempt to prove that any one “thing” can be based solely upon the color of one’s skin leads to some very impractical or asinine conclusions. And, yet, here we are in 2017, despite so much compelling evidence to the contrary, in a situation where certain individuals are still trying to lump others into their “absolutes” – their pre-determined categories – strictly according to one thing: the color of their skin.

All of our backgrounds – our traditions and our stories are collectively what make this story of mankind an interesting read. America is a melting pot like none other – a gumbo if you will – which is what makes it such a terrific and compelling nation that has unprecedented influence on other societies. And since we lead the way – we ought to set a good example for the world regarding what it looks like to live together in peace and celebrate this august body of diverse backgrounds. That is what makes America great. Not the money or a particular right like the one “to bear arms”. Not the technology – not Hollywood – or even the hallowed American flag. All of these things are but empty pleasures and trivial affairs – sans the actual people who inhabit this great land. And those people (all of us) need be reminded – less we easily forget…united we stand…but divided we will eventually fall. And, this, no matter race, color, or creed.

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 OREOS TO GO:  Share this series on Interracial Matters with a friend.

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Interracial Matters (Part II)

Spectrum

 

The infamous and ruthless dictator, Adolph Hitler, once had global aspirations to put into practice a highly questionable institution commonly referred to as Eugenics. His goal: to create a “pure Aryan race”. Blonde hair – blue eyes – without any physical defect; these were the attributes or characteristics he deemed superior to all others on the planet. Today, although we do still have some socially and morally challenged individuals in our societal midst that hold such extreme beliefs, most are probably not adhering to the Nazi principles of the third reich. However, we should not kid ourselves. There are certainly those who are of the opinion that racially speaking, one should “stay to their own”. To put it bluntly they do not believe in what some have deemed “race-mixing”.

Now, I may shock you here. I am completely ok with someone who does not want to or who does not believe in “mixing races”. If that is your personal preference then more power to you. Date – marry – and choose to pursue only those who are strictly of your own race if that is how you roll. And, of course, by all means, feel free to ensure that you have a baby boy or girl who has your exact physical attributes and then hopefully you and the fam are able to live happily ever after! I have absolutely no problem with someone who lives out a dream that looks just like that one. Where the problem begins for me however – is when that same individual – who has or had that dream – tries to enforce it upon everyone else in society – including their own children.

I get it. Racial pride. Racial heritage. The desire for your child to “fit in” and perhaps not be different; especially for those who live in a rural setting that lacks diversity. But, here is the issue: there are a lot of individuals who hide behind these “desires” in order to mask what are in reality their racist or prejudiced beliefs. Or in some cases there are those who probably live with a fear of being judged by others if their son or daughter marries someone of “this or that” race. And that specific dynamic cuts to the very core of race in America. This is the underbelly that is rarely if ever discussed in the public square and therefore never improves or evolves within certain circles. We must create a productive social atmosphere that allows for subjects like this to be examined under the revealing nature of a critical light.

My wife and I are blessed with two little girls (one just turned three and the other soon to be five). They are actually “TRI-racial” and speak spanish and english fluently. In other words, you might say that they are the very definition of multi-cultural. Their skin tone as you might imagine is a blend of each of ours respectively – hair – the same story. Beautiful – happy little girls who we hope will see the world from a multi-faceted viewpoint. We realized of course – though there are certainly many other multi-racial families and kids where we live fortunately – that “generally speaking” they will be somewhat different. And for us this was a positive thing – something that we celebrate and love about our precious girls.

On what is almost a daily basis we encounter curious onlookers who “love their hair” or who may literally walk up in awe with jaw agape and say: “they are BEAUTIFUL”! But every now and then we will see a look from someone who believes, like our old pal and dictator, the aforementioned Mr. Hitler, that eugenics is the order of the day. No one has actually said anything to us – maybe because I’m 6’2 – 200 lbs – or maybe it is just that they are simply afraid to speak their mind in the modern era – not sure exactly. But, occasionally, we get a feeling at least, that someone (usually black or white) is not pleased. If we are correct in that assumption, this is the type of individual I want to address when I say it is time to let it go. The truth is that someone along the way taught you that YOU need to be concerned with the dating or marriage preference of each member of an entire race as you walk the streets of America. However, if one reads that last sentence again – this time out loud – the absurdity of that statement should be self-evident.

I am over-joyed with my wife and the two beautiful daughters whom God has blessed me/us with. I’m certain that I was meant to marry the woman I did and am thankful that she is a fantastic mom and person. Not quite sure why “Random Joe” from Anytown, USA – whom I have never met is consumed with the fact that our races are not an exact visual match, but I know this: we have to have that and many other discussions – in America – if we hope to progress to the point where racism (or any form of questionable ideology surrounding this subject matter) is no longer taught in our homes. Otherwise, a new batch of “Random Joe’s” are going to continue to be manufactured in future generations. Thankfully my daughters are growing up in a world that is much more diverse and much less ignorant than even twenty-five or thirty years ago, but there is still work to be done. Let’s get to it!

 

 

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 OREOS TO GO:  If your view of the world is similar to Hitler’s – may be time for some self-reflection.

More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos. 

Kudos Boston

Boston Logo

Just recently – Adam Jones who is a member of the Baltimore Orioles called out Boston Red Sox fan’s for the racist epithets they hurled in his direction as he competed at legendary Fenway Park. When I heard the news I was honestly surprised. Not that I was not aware that racist or prejudiced individuals live in the great state of Massachusetts and in all the other 51 states within America – but more so that fans would be so overtly vocal in that regard in 2017. Especially since members of their own team – whom they would turn right around and cheer if they were to make a big play – share the same skin color as Jones! The irony is as confusing as it is disappointing.

I could not help but think about what it must have been like for the lauded pioneers of the game who crossed racial barriers which stood tall – looming – intimidating in times past. Jackie Robinson – Hank Aaron – Willie Mays just to name a few. These gentlemen took to the field at a time when they not only understood that racist terms might come their way – but they expected them to. Men with pride – with precious little children who called them father while others called them names that were drastically different in nature. They were men with hopes and dreams just like the rest of us – who meanwhile were subjected to the vitriol that resides down the darkest alleys of human nature – every time they went up to bat.

I have been to the great city of Boston many times. I’ve visited Faneuil Hall. Walked into the old cathedrals like St. James on Harrison Ave. I’ve eaten at the mom & pop delis that line so many of their world renowned streets and taken a stroll through history as I visited historic sites in a city replete with remarkable human achievements. This is all before you mention what a great sports town Boston is and what great people inhabit that enclave of hard work and the distinct  sound of words that drop the soft R’s. And so my immediate thought when Jones recounted his unfortunate experience was really? Really Boston?

Then this morning I wake up to the news that a turn of events had transpired. In a show of class the fans at Fenway, who once again hosted Adam Jones and the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, stood to their feet and offered an ovation to Jones as he came up to bat. This is the Boston I know and that I hope –  if it does not already – will soon come to represent the majority of not only Bostonians but the American people as a whole. I have no illusions you understand. I am fully aware that racism exists and that it most likely always will. But, what I nonetheless believe can be and MUST be achieved in America: is the assurance that the great majority of Americans will stand against hate and ignorance. The same way Boston fans quite literally stood up against hate at Fenway Park. I believe that not only can we foster an environment where the “average joe” would be uncomfortable spewing hate filled language at Fenway or any other public arena for that matter – but that he or she would not even think to do so in the first place (in public or in private domains).

So kudos to Boston for showing  the rest of us that in the midst of what has become a divided political and in many instances racial atmosphere – that good will ultimately triumph over evil. That though we cannot forget the past we can take steps to right the wrongs. And that while we have much progress to be made – that much progress has been made already. I am sure Jackie – may he rest in peace – and Hank and the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays are somewhere smiling because after their many contributions and achievements – after all they endured so that other people of color behind them could play the game – this ovation in Boston was for them too.

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 OREOS TO GO:  Who else is prepared to stand?


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

 

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.      

Interracial Matters (Part 1)

Spectrum

Of all the subjects that highlight the complexity of race in America – if it is not the actual top – this one has to be near the very top of the list. There are so many nuances – so many nooks and crannies that could be explored. And, in doing so, for the purposes of this topic, I will draw from my own personal experience in what will probably be a three part series. As a black male living in America – whose wife is half-Peruvian and half-white – I inherently have first-hand knowledge and experience with the “ins and outs” so to speak of an interracial relationship. And, to that end, I guess I should start at the beginning.

I had the good fortune of growing up in a home where I was not taught racist tendencies regarding who I should and should not hang out with – regardless of gender. Whether it was my choice of friends or a young lady I might ask out on a date – there were no raised eyebrows per se where my parents were concerned. From that perspective I did not discriminate racially speaking on any front and therefore would hang out with anyone of any race without hesitation. That said – I did see – especially as I got a little older into my teenage years – the racial lines that some attempted to draw and understood the way other people of  all different backgrounds viewed race (for better or for worse).

*In fact I have a friend whose fiancé and now wife was disowned by her parents for marrying outside her race*

As I left my teenage years the intricacies of race were well-known on my part. And what is interesting is that although I had dated girls/women of all races – for some unknown reason to this day – I always assumed I would marry a black woman. Not really sure why honestly. This was somehow just an innate sense I had at the time. It had absolutely nothing to do with societal pressure – or some kind of personal preference – I just thought that was what was going to happen. However, fate – as it does – took over – and I met – fell in love with – and married my lovely bride – who as I mentioned is bi-racial and whom I am fortunate enough to say: is still putting up with me to this very day.

Well, what is it like you may wonder? Do my wife and I face any race related difficulties or have we had to deal with any overtly negative scenarios because we do not share the same skin color? Fortunately enough – and a hopeful knock on wood as we speak – we have not. And I have to say as well that even if someone were to say something – I am the type who would tell them they can go kick rocks. Now, what I do notice from time to time – is the occasional extended glance. Sometimes it is a “hater”. Sometimes it may be the look of a racist heart that cannot bare the sight of two people they don’t know being…(*breath taken away*)…MARRIED”?!! Other times it is a situation where quite frankly there are others who had themselves thought to date or marry outside their race and for whatever reason it did not happen (have been told as much). So they are just curious to meet us.

With that background in mind I have to say that my wife and I have been happy socially speaking (as it relates to our outside interactions day in and day out) and have had an “ordinary” or I guess you might say “typical” marriage if you will – in that regard. We actually may have even experienced some amazingly unique connections due to the interracial aspect now that I think about it. There has been no emotional turmoil because of our different ethnicities or racial roadblocks standing in our way. The diverse backgrounds and therefore experience we both bring to the table if anything actually enhances our relationship – not hinders it. I have occasionally heard an old-wives tale that people of different races who are in a relationship “cannot understand one another” due to being raised differently. Could not be further from the truth. I could see that being a problem for someone who had bought into stereotypes and racist beliefs about someone of another race – but my guess is someone who held those beliefs would most likely not marry outside their race to begin with.

My final take for part one of this series is this: any given individual should be able to date or marry whomever they please based on common interests – attraction – etc. The divisions (where they exist) that have been forged over time in America are of our own making. If two people of the same race meet – fall in love – and get married that is fantastic. I just don’t believe anyone ought to feel as though they are obligated to do so based strictly upon pigmentation. If there happen to be people who unbeknownst to us avoid contact or talk behind our back – we would not want a relationship with them to begin with – therefore absolutely nothing is lost on our end.

So if today’s blog should happen to find someone whose family or friends are warning them to “cease and desist” from an interracial relationship – take a page out of my book and tell them they can go kick some rocks!

 

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 OREOS TO GO:  Share this post with others and let’s get a much needed conversation started. Part two coming next week!


More than a blog. It’s a movement.

Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.

And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.