Archive for the ‘black’ Category

The Obama era: Hero-worship has a price

On Jan. 20 I watched history from the cubicles of our news office.

I’m sure many of you as well, with permission from your bosses or not, popped open a few windows on your computer and tuned in as President Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president. This has been something we have heard for a long while — this word “first.” I have to say it was a moment that I will never forget. And from the stories of my parents’ past, it was a very significant day moving toward healing the wounds of a time where I may not have been able to even write these words to you today.

However,  I also know that this huge job of being president works beyond cultural background or the color of one’s skin. And I only hope that President Obama will be able to work to mend America. What his new presidency has surely done so far is bring people together. But what has to be the one thing I can’t stop thinking about among all this “history” is the constant comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr. The constant comparisons to the days of Camelot. And the constant sheer hero-worship of a man not even my father’s age running our country.

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Must have been shock…

I saw Jesse Jackson cry tonight. And so did you. But that emotion didn’t overwhelm me until I got home from a night of election watching (and for the record, I’m not a Jackson fan and let’s only HOPE that his emotion was sincere and not the fact that it wasn’t HIM on that stage giving an acceptance speech). You see, most of my friends are white. Not that they are not aware of this monumental moment in history, but they can’t or even don’t try to imagine what it feels like to be black and have the first black president in the White House. There I said it. And it was hard too. If you follow my blog you know I have a VERY hard time making race an issue for much of anything. I think it’s an enabling thing to do when we lean too much on such a frivolous notion. And don’t get me wrong. I didn’t vote for race. I just voted. And mainly my points of why I voted for Obama are lost on a few people. I was a McCain follower at first, then Obama, then McCain…you get the idea. I was torn for all of 2008. I was unsure. I was not certain that any vote I could cast would be the right one.

Yet, I still just can’t shake the sheer emotion I felt when words have been continuously spoken: “You will remember when…” And I will. Even in the noisiest of bars tonight. I felt something changed. Even in the slur of celebratory, and in my friends’ case, sorrowful shots (!) I will always remember when, and the shock has yet to wear off.

Yes, I’m finding it hard, even through all my arguments here about race not being issue, to just say, “So what? He’s just a black man…”

“I’m going to vote for a black man…”

My father said casually over a discussion last week about voting.

“This might be the last time I will ever get to do that,” my father continued. He’s 55 and he could possibly be right. After all, it took over half a century for him to see the day. Our fathers and their fathers often see the “black and white” of things. Room for gray is intermittent.

So, as a family, we trotted over to the nearest polling station. Being that this is early voting time, I had to endure the electronic voting process. It was strange. I mean wielding that wheel of power and pushing the red button got to my head a little, even though I was hesitant at first. I’m used to the old black marker and sheets of paper to cast my vote.

I was sure I was going to goof up. On the way there, my father said that my mom has been early voting for years and still can’t figure that machine out. And he made sure to say, “If someone hands you anything, put it in your pocket. You don’t want to go in showing it off…” Luckily no one was at the polling station selling their agendas because that kind of made me nervous. Man, voting sure got complicated…


Anyway, all was well and we left chatting about all the proposals on the ballot. We didn’t all vote the same way on anything. But isn’t that the point?

Commercialism tests waters with Asian/White couples

I’ve noticed something interesting and pretty cool lately. But I’m not sure many others have (or maybe some have). And I am kind of feeling guilty that it stands out to me. But just take a look at the recent Volkswagen or Lowe’s commercials. You know the ones with couples in it all the time? Pay attention to how the couples seem to have a trend: White guy, Asian woman. But a commercial with a black female lead (HELLO OLD NAVY) eyeing and getting flirtation back from a white guy lasted a millisecond. And the Ikea one with the white guy and black girl in bed with their new sheets lasted even shorter. OK, yes. I’m going there.

Just for sake of argument, I’m not one who is against interracial dating. I’ve discussed it here frequently. And in today’s times, I’m still taken back by how incessant racism still is. But I am a person about observations and I couldn’t help noticing this commercial thing, shallow as it may seem.

What I don’t get is that you don’t really see much of any other mix-race couples being represented on television. Unless you watch Grey’s Anatomy or The Practice — both produced by the same open-minded folks. Boston Legal tapped into it on occasion. As a whole, the shows we watch, seem to tryto break this mold but never really are successful at it long even though those story lines may come up again in the future. But commercials  — consumerism — still seems afraid. Such fears are now, to me, archaic. These recent commercials I mentioned earlier; could it be that big business is trying to “test” the waters by starting with what is “more accepted?” I mean it is about time that they stop doing the generic commercials anyway where we are to assume most couples in America are only same-race. There is such diversity, even on normal programming, it makes me wonder when these advertisers will wake up. I’ve also wondered if it’s more of a matter of people complaining. For example, could people have complained about that Old Navy commercial and now that is why I can’t find it anymore? In fact, I have some search engine hits in my blog stats (I don’t understand why, though) from other people googling to find it as well as the Ikea one.

I promise I’m not bitching. I’m just observing. I’m happy to see that big business is at least trying to move pass the old-fashion thinking. I like those Volkswagen and Lowe’s commercials because they are starting to reflect realism a bit more in our world of today. But how much further are they willing to go? And you might be saying: It doesn’t matter. You are right. However it brings me back to the study of the little black girls who picked little white dolls over ones of their own skin color because they felt that the white ones were prettier, better and not perceived as “bad.” Are WE selling that idea?

 

“Wright” and wrong

I just didn’t want to do this. Not another post about race. Feel free to peruse past posts here where I have spoken out against how race shouldn’t matter in the scheme of things. But here we are again, and this time in regards to presidential hopeful Barak Obama. Surprise, surprise.

The remarks of Sen. Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright are not only embarrassing but have set us back quite a pace. Stating that blacks should “damn” America instead of bless it is not only presumptuous but it’s a self-indulgent statement. How can he speak for me as a black American? Scratch that. An American. I know that in the times not too far from my own, I would not be sitting here, writing this to you all, living the life that I live today. We have our issues of race, unfortunately, but we are still leaps and bounds beyond where we were.

But maybe I’m wrong. If race was no longer the issue it was centuries ago, why are we even here now? Here RIGHT now with a half-black man who may very well be president. Everything that has surrounded this candidate has been shrouded in a cloak of racial separation. Is he black enough? Is he too black? I want to believe we are in an America that we can look pass all of this but obviously we aren’t. On all sides — whether it be the Pastor Wrights in the world or the David Dukes.

I am not saying that Obama didn’t have to speak up for his stance on his pastor’s words. They were sorely off track and because everyone became aware of this pastor’s thoughts, Obama HAD to discuss it. However, I think the reason this has become such a grand deal is because of Obama’s ethnicity. No. Half of it. I don’t think Mitt Romney had to face this kind of attack when he was questioned on being a Mormon. Not exactly the same comparison given Pastor Wright’s remarks, but if we are going to make the connection of what happens in a person’s place of worship, we should be looking at everyone’s place of faith. Not just the select few.

Religious leaders say a slough of things we don’t usually agree with — every week. Right now there is probably someone’s priest molesting a child, somene’s reverend having an affair, someone’s pastor saying something ignorant. Oh yea. That already happened…

Let’s start worrying about who is going to pull us out of this war.

Was this necessary?

http://41miles.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/black-and-blind-governor-time/

Black women: they don’t want you.

Warning: This is written as stream of consciousness, you find your own clarity. And I’m sure, your own disagreements with me.

Before leaving my home around 10 p.m. last night, I checked the mirror. I didn’t feel that my hair looked it’s best but overall I felt pretty. Makeup was at a minimum. I dabbed on a little scented oil and dashed out the door. The place I was going was unfamiliar to me but I knew what the crowd would be like — artists, poets, talented people who probably have boring day jobs.

Upon reaching my destination, I felt very alone already. The street was quiet. Just a couple walked passed me, hand in hand. Surveying the street before entering, I walked into a quaint bistro — pretty much ready for a glass of wine, beer, some grub. Before deciding on something ridiculously priced, I realized I was right. Artist types. A few wearing those Hunter S. Thompson  stances, a few looking over their notes before approaching the mic, several looking authentic in afros, dreadlocks — no one really taking notice of me but that was fine. A cute couple approached in line after I placed my order. He full of dreads and a nice, dark physic; she with alabaster skin and flowing brown hair. Nice-looking pair I thought and I took my seat.

Then I noticed something. Every black female, including myself, was either alone or with a group of other black females who were alone. For all I know, they had men at home but part of me, cynical me, doubted it. I looked around. Including the couple mention previously, there were two more black male/white female pairings. That usually doesn’t bother me…

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