Archive for the ‘race’ 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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I’m not rich, but I’m not helpless…

And that is why I think I have had problems with who I’m voting for in this election.

Today I stumbled upon Pat Dollard’s blog, and forgive me if you have heard of him because I haven’t. That probably makes me leaps and bounds behind. Anyway, I read a few posts, left comments and found people there welcomed new opinions though they warned that they are not PC or shy in their approach in any way. In response to one of my comments, I was directed to this man’s letter and it pretty much explains why I’m not swayed on Obama. The link I have referred you to was written by a black soldier expressing his disdain for Obama’s views on black America.

I will have to admit, I don’t know the true legitimacy of the letter. I only say that because how can I really know for sure? However, I’m also not implying that the letter is not real. Dollard (again forgive me if you know this already) is a journalist with a background in reporting the world of soldiers fighting for our freedom. I guess I’m just saying draw your own conclusions. But know that I’m convinced. Does that make me gullible or a person with newly opened eyes? I’m not sure.

So November will soon be here and my vote can go either way at this point for one reason or another. But something I keep running over and over in my head is how can there be change when we are constantly reminded of race, race, race?! And I have to say Obama is guilty of doing that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud to be a black female, but I guess I don’t agree on using my skin tone as a talking point.  I used to think that with so many mixed-race people in the world, we would slowly stop having a chance to bring up a certain race exclusively. But that is wrong. Obama is biracial and we still consider him as only black. Confession: I do it too. The idea of having a president, for the first time, with black blood in his immediate family was, on first glance, appealing. That was a knee-jerk reaction. But once you dissect things beyond that, color fades (so to speak) and you have to pick through what you think is left.

I’ve done this with Obama. And what is left is still uncertain to me.

“I am a racist…”

How would you react to someone saying that to you? Let alone saying it so a matter of fact that it was equivalent to ordering a cheeseburger. That is what happened to me last night. I’m not going to drag this out or go on about my “hurt” feelings. But you should know this was said to me while handing out fliers for a benefit concert I am helping organize right now.

I went to a local biker hangout to pass out fliers. Before you give way to assumptions, I have known and hung out with some very open-minded and very cool biker folks. I went there thinking I was among friends. Especially because the bar right next to the hangout was one I frequented very often and always felt welcome. Boy, was I naive.

So I handed one particular biker one of the fliers. I guess I should not have disregarded he and his friends’ Confederate flag badges. As much as I hate that symbol, it is also a Southern piece of life here in Texas. And I’ve hung out with many cowboys in my day who didn’t necessarily represent the hatred behind that flag. In fact I guess they tried instead tried to change its image. But in this case, however, I was handed back the flier in an eerily polite fashion and told, “I’m a racist. I won’t be going there.” To that I quipped, “Well, it isn’t a benefit for black people.” Yes. That was me taking the higher road for the cause. But it didn’t matter. He sneered. His friends shook their heads as if to just say “nicely” to “just walk away.” As I did, I made sure to tell him that I don’t buy into the biker stereotype. And how unfortunate to find someone who fit it.

“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.

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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