Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Where will you be when they come? Whom will you stand with? What cause will you defend? At the end of the day, we are all defined by what stance we take on those tough issues (racism, sexism, homophobia, diversity, etc). When thinking of one of my favorite poems “Where Will You Be, When They Come”? I think about the obvious silence from the religious community to call to task one of their own. As I watched the news a few weeks ago I heard about Pastor Terry Jones of the Gainsville, Florida calling for an International Burn a Qu’ran day set to take place on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. I was even more surprised as the week continued that a response in opposition to this madness was all but silent. What disheartened me more was the fact that Black clergical men and women, who have never been shy to stand before a camera anywhere and anytime, were not speaking out in mass about a pastor planned event. When I thought about the planned event it reminded me of the similarity to the cross burnings that the KKK used to intimidate my ancestors. Were these still voices a confirmation of a lack of concern/respect, care or just plain ignorance? The lack of concern is stimulated by the fact that we have been convinced to believe that all Muslims are the enemy and they are the cause for all the evil that has bestowed upon this country over the past nine years. There lack of care because we do not value Muslims and only see them as “those people”and lump them all in one group. Thereby, they deserve this intimidation. Why is it that we refuse to educate ourselves on the differences that we allow to divide us on, thereby, living in ignornace? I have wondered how much we would be in an uproar if Muslims had stated that they were going to institute a burning of the Bible.
Men and women of African heritage can least afford to take on the characteristics of our oppressors. I am extremely concerned that African American ministers have not gathered collectively and called this minister out on his obvious racist stance. What happened to ministers standing on principle when it is obvious that there is inequity against another human being regardless of nationality taking place? It was not long ago when Black men and women were looked at with a speculative eye based on nothing more than skin color or uninformed analysis of who we were as a race of people. We continue to show how unintelligent we arewhen we lump Al Queda and Muslims in the same class. Educate yourselves they are not the same. Not all Muslims support Al Queda. I travel often and see how people look at and react to anyone that has the slightest resemblance of being of Middle Eastern heritage. Have we forgotten that there was a white American male that blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma? However, we do not look with suspicion at every white person that boards the airplane.
Pastor Jones stated, "We need to stand up and confront terrorism”. How is the Qu’ran linked to terrorism? Now before you answer that think of how the Bible was used to justify slavery and support sexism. Should we disavow Christians because we believe in the Bible? I think this just goes to show the Bible, Qu’ran, Torah or Tanakh can be and has been used to subjigate groups of people. However, good people/those that know better must stand up against injustice. Martin King stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
We must always stand on the obvious right side of a difficult issue. Sitting idlely by is never an option.
Boots are being polished
Trumperters clean their horns
Chains and locks forged
The crusade has begun.
Once again, flags of Christ are unfurled in the dawn
and cries of soul saviors sing apocalyptic on airwaves.
Citizens, good citizens all parade into voting booths
and in self-righteous sanctity X away our right to life.
I do not believe as some that the vote is an end,
I fear even more
It is just a beginning.
So I must make assessment
Look to you and ask:
Where will you be when they come?
Excerpt (Where Will You Be, When They Come – Pat Parker, 1978)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Often times a song will embrace our eardrums and we immediately will say…Turn it up…that is my song. In doing so we get wrapped up in the song able to recite all of the lyrics that we seem to in some way, shape, form or manner relate to. Hearing the music appears to be a cultural thing with those of us that are of African heritage for our ancestors communicate distant and important messages through the beat of a drum, the chants in the cotton fields or the hum coming from big mama’s kitchen. In some manner we all seem to have the music thread sewn in our DNA. However, at times we turn down the volume of the voice of God telling us in no uncertain terms that we should go left instead of right. However, we go left anyway and defiantly turn down the volume to the song that God is playing in our ears. We tell ourselves this is not a song we want to hear for it is not meeting the needs we feel at the time. However, turning down the volume to God’s prophetic words of advice are also going against the grain of our cultural upbringing. Just think of our ancestors and how often, I am sure, they were told that they could never make it but the voice of God was singing the song of survival in their ears. Where would we all be if they turned down the volume? If they chose to “know better” than what that voice was telling them…the music that was being sung in the background. So when you hear that song/voice, say within to yourself…”Turn it up…that is my song” and I guarantee you that you will dance forever.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I can remember my father taking time in the evening to teach me and my brother how to drive once we received out driver’s permit. Thinking back, I remember how nervous I was when he asked me after one of my lessons if I wanted to drive home. My dad was an Impala man and at the time of my lessons, he owned a brown 1974 Impala, which seemed like the hood stretched for miles. I agreed and pulled out on to 47th street near Lake Park making my way back home about 2 miles away. I was nervous but my Dad reassured me that I could do it. I made it home as he instructed me calmly every step of the way.
My father was not perfect but I never doubted his love for my siblings and me. You see he never remarried for I do not think he ever got over my mother’s death. Let me not make it seem that he became a hermit because he did date his share of women but none made it to the marrying stage. My father let it be known to all that his children were his first priority.
In 1981, my father found out that I was SGL (gay). Believe me that did not go well at all. We went through some tough times because of this newfound discovery. However, my father never abandoned me because of it. Once we made it over the rough patch, we moved forward. I can remember the first day I told my father that I loved him and giving him a big ole hug as an adult man. I could tell that he was touched by it. I respected my father and never brought up my relationship. If he wanted to discuss this, it would be on his terms for I respected and understand where he was coming from. I did not expect him to embrace it for I am sure the acknowledgment of my emotional orientation shattered the dreams he may have had for me ever since the day I was born. We eventually got past the elephant in the room when he was ready. While he did not agree with me being in love with a man he did accept my partner and me at the time. I could not have asked for more than that, our relationship became much stronger, and we were able to openly discuss things about him and my mom of which I was not aware.
Today, I talk to male friends of mine and hear that they have lilmited or no relationships with their fathers and it is sad. I know that father’s have so much to give to our lives to help shape and mold us as adult men. I am who I am because my father molded me and while he has been gone from my life for 14 years he still infuences who I am today. The lessons he taught me many years ago and still applicable in my life. I still want him to look down from heaven and be proud of the man I have become. Each day I thank God for my father for he did not have to accept the difficult responsibility of raising five knuckle-headed kids virtually alone. Over the next few days I will talk to my siblings and we will laugh and reminiss about our father. We will celebrate his life and what he brought into our lives. We could not have asked God to give us a better father.
Everything my Dad did exuded “A Father’s Love”!!!!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Valentine's Day will be here in a few days. You know, that day when florist run out of flowers, Hallmark depletes their card stock and there is a major shortage of chocolate. Many of us get so wrapped up in this day and for those that do not have a significant partner in our lives we tend become depressed or sad. Love is something that does not come easy or without much hard work. This is truly a soft and pink day. I have gotten to the point in life where the day itself is not what I hang my hat on when it comes to me and my boyfriend. It is how we respect and treat each other 365 days a year. There was a time in my life when this day as well as Sweetest Day was very meaningful and if there were no gifts of acknowledgment there was hell to pay. However, life has taught me quite a bit and there importance is not what it once was.
An expression of love is great any day of the year. Life is too short not to feel the warm touch and feeling that love brings on a continual basis. There is no better feeling than waking up each morning knowing that through all the tribulations that life places at your feet the person lying next to you loves you without conditions. Please begin to love yourself and all the rest will flow effortlessly for people will see the glow. With that glow you will attract many to you.