Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Piece of Land

Today, I just went riding.
I drove to check on my houses.
I drove to check on my elderly aunts and cousins (They didn't want to spend the next week in a hot and cramped shelter.).
I drove to try to find some dental-floss. I thought that I was prepared. I have enough deodorant, toothpaste and toilet tissue to last me for weeks - months even.
I didn't think to check my dental-floss levels.

While I was driving around, I noticed something that took me a while to understand. I saw really nice homes with ply-wood covering the windows. I saw average homes with ply-wood on the windows.
The thing that made me think was that I also saw homes that seemed as if the ply-wood intended to protect the windows on was actually holding the home itself together. These homes would appear to be little more than shacks to most Americans. "Why are these people trying to protect that", I thought. But then I thought about it. It's because it's theirs. Or more important, because it's home.

I could never understand why so many of my tenants would not want to leave my small and old homes. I didn't get why these people didn't want to do better for themselves. Many of my tenants have lived in these homes for more than twenty five years. They knew their neighbors, they knew the shopkeepers, drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and clergy. It may not be much... but (even if they were renting) it was home.

It looks as though Gustav is going to do more damage than Katrina. The storm is huge. NOLA is on the dreaded right side (or wet side) of the eye of the storm. Gustav is that big slow moving (but powerful) Russian boxer who will mow everything down in his path. The flooding in Louisiana is going to be terrible. We in South-East Texas will get a lot of rain and wind too. By the time we get hit, Gustav should be almost punched out.

Why do the people in NOLA keep rebuilding in an area prone to natural disasters? Well, Gustav is only the fourth major hurricane to make landfall within fifty miles of NOLA in the past century (Elaina, Katrina and another which I can't recall the name - being the other three).
But the bigger question is; Why do people build their communities in earthquake, wild fire, wind storm and landslide prone California? Why do people build their communities in Tornado-Alley, or even more hurricane prone Florida, or in ice-storm prone New England or the Mid-West or... ?

The problem isn't that houses and the surrounding communities are built in these areas. The problem is in the type of buildings built in these areas. Since the San Francisco earthquake almost a century ago, California has enacted stricter building requirements. Sure, homes are still damaged but not at the same rate as those in areas without such building standards.
Falling Water, one of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous homes, is a beautiful example of his skill and imagination. It's a stunning water side property. The problem with the home is that in Mr. Wright's desire to create - he forgot to take into account the fact that rivers shift. Today, Falling Water is, well... falling into the water.

As I was driving around earlier, I noticed how many tin-shelled building my town has. The town itself looks temporary.
Vidor (the next town over - "famous" for the CNN special on racism. -side note; I've been through this town. It's one big trailer park. It's a dump. They say that Blacks can't live here. It's a dump! Why would they want to live there?) has a double-wide as their City Hall. At one time, I counted more than twenty mobile home dealerships on their stretch of highway. It's a town waiting for a hurricane.
Many buildings in my town will probably be damaged. The choice of materials and the failure to take our conditions into account will be to blame.

If NOLA is flooded, it will be because the buildings weren't built high enough.
If buildings and homes are washed away, it will be because they weren't built strong enough.
Stricter building codes, like those in California and Florida would help a lot.

I'm not sure if the levees will hold.
I'm not sure if all of the work done since Katrina and Rita will be wiped out almost overnight.
But I am sure that the people will always rebuild.
It's home.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm Too Dumb To Run

I just finished seeing off my last tenant, cousin or neighbor.
A day spent trying to attach ply-wood to homes, packing supplies, making survival kits and exchanging phone numbers.

This time I'm staying.
I grew up during the Cold-War earthquake prone Southern a military town...and I was a Boy Scout. Being prepared is something at which I am good. If my roof blows off, I have mosquito nets - it'll be like camping. If a water line breaks, I've filled one bath tub full of water and have bottles of drinking water. If the power goes out, I have candles, batteries and a generator. If gas stations remain closed, I have a full tank and gallons in gas cans. I have plenty of peanut butter and jelly and a few left-over M.R.E.s from Rita. My chain saw, axes and other tools are in good condition. My guns are loaded and readily accessible.
It'll be hot.
It'll be lonely. (Almost the whole city has followed the mandatory evacuation that won't be issued until six am tomorrow.)
But it's necessary.

The Good Things About Hurricanes;

When the lights come back on - It's like when little children see Santa at the mall. The first hummmmm of power surging through the newly repaired power lines. Then a light, then the sound of a television and finally air conditioning.
The need for a laxative - Many people (not wanting to throw away a freezer full of meat) will Bar-B-Que an entire freezer's contents in one day. This is a time for steak and pork chops with a side of sausages for breakfast. It's like a meat-themed block-party with meat for dessert.
Actually talking to neighbors - Many people will sit on shaded lawns and compare notes on their experiences and ask if the other needs anything. We would call it watching reality television - trying to figure out who was home and who was still in Dallas or Houston or Atlanta.
The Hurricane missing you and hitting somewhere east of your area - The western most side of a hurricane is the "dry" or "calm" side.

One More Thing Black People Are Afraid Of;
When I was in high school, a black kid named Eli and a white kid named Haas were discussing how Black people weren't afraid of anything. ...Except ghosts - yeah, ghosts. ...And dogs - okay, dogs too but nothing else. ...Except the police - well okay, the police.
Judging by how quickly this town (49% Black, 49% white and 2% other) evacuated, I'd have to add hurricanes to the list.
Black people ain't afraid of nothin' but ghosts, dogs, the police and hurricanes.

The Things That People Take:
While looking at people's trunks, truck beds and rear seats, I noticed a great variety of things that people thought were important enough to take when forced to evacuate.
Fido - Pets seem to be important enough to take. I noticed many cats and dogs (and one snake) in cars and truck beds.
Gasoline - After the problems with stranded cars in the last evacuation, many people seemed to have learned the importance of extra gas.
Clothes - I saw many stacks of apparently designer clothes and shoes in cars that had female passengers.
Water (in bottles) - Well, one gets thirsty. When the bottle is empty it can be used as a disposable port-a-potty (Don't cringe, one can find many used and tossed bottles next to the road during post evacuation clean up.).

As for me, I'm too dumb to run.

Who's Afraid of Gustav?


About three years ago, the country watched as Hurricane Katrina devastated large parts of Mississippi and Louisiana.
We witnessed as our Federal Government failed to adequately respond to unforeseen human reactions to a natural disaster. Much of the attention was focused on the 50,000 or so individuals trapped by circumstances (or poor choices) in New Orleans. There were millions more people effected by both Katrina and Rita.

Americans responded with donations of cash, supplies and effort. Much of the rebuilding has yet to be done. Habitat For Humanity has projects going to this day.

I have little compassion for many of the "victims" of Hurricane Katrina. Is that cold? Maybe.

About one month after many of the evacuees had settled into other communities (Beaumont, Texas being one of the largest settlements), Hurricane Rita struck South East Texas. FEMA, Texas, and our local government had learned from the Katrina experience and responded proactively.
A mandatory evacuation was issued three days before the storm was predicted to make landfall. According to local sources, 95% of the area's population (in addition to the Katrina refugees) complied with the order.

I evacuated to a small suburb of Dallas and watched coverage on the Weather Channel trying to glean an image of my home. I broke the county wide curfew and sneaked back into town the day following the storm. Trees were strewn across blocked roads, power lines swung from toppled poles like moss from trees. Roofs were in neighbor's driveways and water was everywhere.

When I returned to my house (yes it was still there) I had no lights, gas or running water. We used a neighbor's pool to wash the sweat and grime from ourselves after each days work of clearing trees and debris from our street. We had our block cleaned (lawns mowed, roofing shingles stacked neatly in a corner of each neighbor's driveway and streets swept) in only three days following the storm.
It was hot.
The mosquitoes were everywhere.
Each neighbor who either stayed or came back early helped to reclaim our everyday lives.

$2000.00? What $2000.00? Those monies were only given to people who evacuated and remained evacuated. If someone came back too early and tried to meet the system half-way, they were denied FEMA checks, Red Cross assistance, gas cards, Wal Mart cards, free hotel rooms and a litany of other handouts.
It was an over-reaction to Katrina.

FEMA, The Mormon Church, The Baptist Church and other organizations provided food, diapers, those ubiquitous blue tarps, ice and water to anyone who could get to the distribution centers (not usually more than one half mile from one to the next).

I was bitter.
I had come back early to ensure that my tenants had a home in which to return, to help others make needed repairs, to deliver food and supplies to those without transportation and to just get started in getting back to life. In doing so, I denied myself the thousands of dollars in aid given to others who decided to rely upon the system.

I called home to a group of friends in California. After listening to me whine for about seven minutes, I was interrupted by the question, "What the f*** does all of that have to do with you?". I was shocked ... back into reality.
I was able to do, and did.
(It wasn't that cold of a call. They are my friends after all. I was later asked if I needed to come home or if I needed any money. I said (humbly) "No... not anymore.")
I told people here of my conversation with my friends from home. To a person, they each told me that whom ever would give me the response that my friends gave me weren't my real friends. Actually my real friends knew to put me in my place.

But, I was still bitter.
I was so mad that I packed my tools and found people making repairs and helped them out for free. Single handed, I tore down and stacked TONS of debris of a corner store in the hood. (It was the only source of banking and groceries in that neighborhood. Many people who lived in the area didn't have transportation. The sooner the store was open, the sooner the people could shop for needed items.) I stretched endless rolls of blue tarp onto roofless homes. I delivered supplies to rural and urban areas that weren't readily served by organizations. I worked until I had worked my bitterness away.
It took about six months.
I worked and worked to help people without pay.

Many people blame the Government for mishandling the situation with Katrina. Equal blame should be placed on a community that is so dependent upon the Government that it couldn't think for itself to save itself.

Have we learned anything in the last three years since Katrina?
I hope so.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Michelle Is Pretty?

Am I the only person (in general) or person of color (in particular) who doesn't think that Mrs. Obama is pretty? Accomplished? Yes. Mrs. Obama is a graduate of Princeton University (cum laude) and Harvard Law.
IMO- Mrs. Obama (like P Diddy) looks like she has too many teeth in her mouth. I might call her beautiful ... but not pretty.

I'm often consoled that calling myself "uglyblackjohn" doesn't suit me well.
I'm not ugly.
I'm not good looking either.
I just look like I'm good looking.

The name was given to me by a couple of friends of mine; "T.O.D." and "Gidget". T.O.D. liked a girlfriend that I had at the time and wondered why she would date such a mean and ugly black guy.
Gidget and I didn't get along at one time and she told our friend "Turtle" that she didn't care what a mean and ugly guy thought about her.
I also have a good friend named "Ugly" (a really hot girl whose real name is Cindy) and another called "Homely" (whose real name is Rene' and is also really hot). They're just names between friends.
Vanessa Williams is Pretty. Oh... too European (read: white) looking. Maybe not the best example of classic African beauty but damn...

How about Roshomba Williams? Is this Ms Williams ethnic enough for you? Oh she's too young and not a good example of an older and more
professional image of beauty?

How about the classic African beauty...Iman!

How about former beauty pageant runner-up and Republican Vice-Presidential nominee (Alaska Governor) Sarah Palin? Yeah... she's pretty.
With a degree from the University of Idaho and past stints as a city council member (1992-'96) and mayor (1992-'96) and as the current Governor of Alaska - what was John McCain thinking? She is prettier than Hillary but nowhere near as qualified. Her (short) record of political reform is no reason to give her the "affirmative action" (women are the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action programs) nod over several more qualified candidates.
Most Hillary supporters were voting for Hillary the candidate not Hillary the woman.
Is McCain so out of touch that he thinks that adding a prospect with "movie star" qualities is as important as adding a candidate with proven leadership qualities?
This move seems desperate.
This move seems naive.
In the end, this move will seem foolish.
Someone once said; "It is better to be than to seem". I guess the Republicans didn't get the memo.
For the next two months we'll hear all of the "valid" reasons for Mr. McCain's choice. Republican pundits will wax poetic about the need for change and progress. Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and all of the other lemmings will tell us how wise and forward thinking McCain is. Bill O'Reily will probably be the only national commentator to fill the role of the mythological "Cassandra" in this election cycle.
Isn't progress a Democrat Party philosophy?
If we want Democrat's ideologies - why not just vote Democrat?
I guess George W. Bush is a genius! He and his Illuminati , Skull and Bones, and New World Order brethren must have known that if Bush messed our county up bad(ly) enough, we would progress to the point of electing either the first African-American President or the first female Vice-President.
George W. Bush (like Wile E. Coyote) ... super-genius...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The United States Men's Basketball Team and Hillary Cinton

Women have had it tough throughout history.

I'm often told that The Church is to blame. In reading the Bible, I've come across many references to women;
In the book of Mark, we are told of women being patrons for Jesus, engaging in public dialogue with Jesus, being ministered to and remaining faithful when their male counterparts had fled Jesus.
Paul mentions; Prisca, Pheobe (a deacon), Mary (a colleague - Romans v. 6), Tryphaena, Tryphosa, Persis and Junia (whom Paul calls "foremost among the apostles - Romans v. 7).
The true subjugation seems to have come from those who (mis)interpreted the Bible.

Is a woman fit to run a country?
Queen Hatshepsut - Pharaoh of Egypt
Cleopatra VII - Pharaoh of Egypt
Empress Theodora - Byzantine Empress
Queen Elizabeth I - Monarch
Catherine The Great - Empress of Russia
Queen Liliuokalami - Monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii
Golda Meir - Prime Minister of Israel
Indira Gandhi - Prime Minister if India
Margeret Thatcher - Prime Minister of The U.K
Violeta Chamorro - President of Nicaragua
Corazon Aquino - President of The Philippines
Wilma Pearl Mankiller - Chief of The Cherokee Nation
Benazir Bhutto - Prime Minister of Pakistan
I'd say the answer is yes.

Can a woman run the military? Yes. History is filled with some bad-ass women who prove this point;
Gudit, Trieu Thi Trinh, Boudicca, The Trung Sisters, Artemisa I, Fu Han, Septima Zenobia, Tamar of Georgia and Joan of Arc, to name a few.

The United States Men's Basketball Team has been losing tournaments that they should have won. The 1972 Olympics were the first time a US team (made up of college amateurs) had lost an Olympic games gold medal. Sure, politics and spotty referees played a large part in the loss so it was almost acceptable. Several World Championship losses later, the US decided to use our best (professional) players against other countries' best professional players. Here is where we get the "Dream Team".
The Dream Team was by far the most talented and naturally gifted of players and they easily outclassed their competition.
Subsequent "dream teams" failed to perform at the levels of the original. The Game itself had changed. Being the best individually no longer translated into being the best team. The embarrassing losses suffered by these new "dream teams" would prove this point.

Three years ago, Duke's Coach K was hired to form a core group of players who would work towards a common goal. Many "star" players would take a back seat to the concept of team.
Okay...everyone knows the final result - the US won an Olympic gold medal using players who formed a great team (no Garnett, no Shaq, no Iverson, no problem).

The Democrats are in trouble. The problem with the party is that there are too many groups fighting for their own small piece of the pie. It's easy to list ten core values of the Republican party and it's most important issues. One knows what their getting when they vote Republican. (Well... Bush is pretty financially liberal, but that's another story.)

I'm all for women's rights and equality but Party Unity My Ass (PUMA) has it all wrong.
Their Plan For Action (according to their site) ;
1) Dissociate yourself from the party
2) Reflect on your values
3) Stick together
4) Remember that there is a better alternative (Hillary Clinton)
5) Spread the word

In an interview with Hardball's Chris Matthews, PUMA members (and Hillary supporters) stated; "He (Barak Obama) was registered as a Muslim in Indonesia" Sounds like the same call-ins on Laura Ingraham or Rush Limbaugh. But these (PUMA) people are supposed to be Democrats!?

Mr Obama states;
"I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong unified fashion."
Why? Why does the loser get to dictate terms? Do Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee get to dictate their terms to John McCain?
I think that this is just a case of the Clinton's "discrimination radar" being tuned a bit too high.

10:23 Denver (NY Times)
Bill Clinton in the Hall -
"He's sitting down with some unidentified folks - not in the press box seats with Michelle Obama and Joe Biden"
I didn't see Micheal Jordan on the bench in the last Olympics during basketball games - he wasn't on the team. Bill wasn't the "Jordan" of Presidents. Why does he expect to be treated any better.

During the final game of men's basketball, calls were inconsistent and sometimes seemed to be made to ensure a US loss. The US team remained poised and remained focused on their goal. They didn't whine and complain about the conditions. They didn't point out that the team from from Spain had made racist gestures earlier about the Chinese. They just kept playing the game. They had learned the rules and adapted.

Dwayne Wade (speaking about the 2004 Olympics loss):
"We weren't rooting for each other. We were fighting against each other because everybody wanted to play".
Mr. Wade's quote sounds a little like he's talking about PUMA and other Hillary supporters who seem bent on getting their (losing) candidate more playing time.

Unless the Party learns the lessons of the United States Men's Basketball Team - Democrats are in a lot of trouble.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Richard Pryor/Barak Obama For President

Thirteen years after women were granted the right to vote, a nine year old Sammy Davis Jr. promised "pork chops and chicken for everyone" in the 1933 film Rufus Jones for President. Blacks had been freed and granted voting rights when the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870 (The Voting Rights Act signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 was established to enforce the laws already on the books and to discourage Jim Crow laws [the 3/5 compromise is another blog at another time]). Mrs. Cinton should have studied her history books a little better to understand the American cycle of; White Male>Black Citizens>White Female>Everyone Else. Almost sixty years would pass from Sammy Davis' minstrel portrayal of the President to Gena Davis' in the short lived television series Commander in Chief.

Whether comparing Barak Obama to James Earl Jones' version of POTUS in the 1970s film The Man, Dennis Haysbert's version in the television series 24, Chris Rock's version in Head of State(Damn...a minstrel show again..?), Morgan Freeman's in Deep Impact or even "Tiny" Lister (Who was not just President of the United States but GALACTIC President) in The Fifth Element - Black Presidents in Hollywood have run the gamut from foot-shuffling coons to articulate and educated men.

Black author Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton "America's first Black President". Although with Bill's liberal use of the race card during Hillary's campaign, his "ghetto-pass" has been revoked.

The first female major party candidate to run for the office of Vice-President (Geraldine Ferraro) has written (in a Boston Globe editorial) that Barak Obama scares white people; "They're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white". She asserts a claim of "reverse-racism". WTF? How is this line of thinking any different than Kanye West stating that President Bush doesn't like Black people? I guess that's why neither Kanye nor Geraldine will be in any serious consideration for the White House.

The overweight/angry/lesbian (her words-not mine) Rosie O'Donnel is upset with the smokin' hot Angelina Joile because Ms. Joile states that she is not sure for whom she's going to vote. Ms. O'Donnel asserts that because Angellina has a Black child - she should vote for Obama. Angelina waits to decide for whom to vote based on issues and not race and Rosie thinks that this is wrong? Whatever happened to the content of one's character and not the color of their skin?

Now there are reports that John McCain is seeking the help of Colin Powell. Colin Powell as V.P.? Sure, that's a fine choice. The only reason that Mr. Powell is under consideration is because he's Black. Yeah...I know that this statement sounds like Ms. Ferraro's comment about Barak Obama only being in serious contention because he's Black. Both statements just happen to be true.

This is going to be an interesting three months. The best commentary on race and the Presidency is often made by comedians. Dave Chappelle has done some great skits, Eddie Murphy was funny in his observations too. But the most accurate portrayal is probably Richard Pryor's commentary/skit that can be found on youtube. Just type in; Richard Pryor-Black President. (I would have provided a link but I haven't figured out how to do that yet)

So with no more Olympics to distract many of us,

[Olympic observations/parting shots -
The best looking women at the games were (in no particular order);
-Candice Parker - 6'4" 170 lbs. -US Women's Basketball - tall and hot
-Guo Jingjing - 5'4" 108 - China (diving) - looks like a model when made up
-Jennie Finch - 6'1" - US Women's Softball - on the list every year
-Lolo Jones - 5'9" 150 lbs. US Women's Track and Field - Damn...!
-(Honorable mention - Misty May-Treanor (nice ba-dunk-a-dunk), Blanka Vlasik (sometimes hot/sometimes eehhhh?), Amanda Beard (looked great in photo shoots), Natalie Coughlin (I just think that she's cute), Synchronized Swimming Teams (maybe it's the gelatin in their hair), Rhythmic Gymnastics (taller and older that the regular female gymnasts)]

it's time to think about the future of our world. How will the election play out when the man running as Vice President (Joseph Biden) thinks that the man running for President in the other party is more qualified than his running mate? interesting next three months.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Why I'm A Racist

No, I'm not a member of The Nation of Islam or the Black Panther party. I don't belong to any ethnic groups, clubs or organizations.
I, like most people, am an "accidental racist".

I didn't plan on being racist. I even make an effort to learn how to avoid it. Most of the time, I don't even know that I'm doing something wrong.

For example;
We had a group of friends - three attractive Asian girls. We would often refer to them as 'The Joy Luck Club". We didn't know it was a racist title. We saw the movie, liked it, liked the women in the movie and liked this group of girls. I didn't consider their title racist until Mary Joy (one of the girls) told me that calling this group by that name was similar to calling my friends Turtle, Lydia and myself "The Good Times" gang because we were Black.

I also had a friend named Neil who I would call "YT" (or sometimes "White T' or "White E"). Yea..., I knew that that was a racist nick-name but we would always tease each other so it wasn't a big deal.

I have friends that I call:
"Black A** Rob"(Well... we is BLACK),
"Beautiful Tia Ray" (I could have used the English word "aunt" instead of the Spanish "tia". There was no need for me to use the Spanish just because she is Mexican.),
"Shaneka" (A white girl who had a very nice big butt. She would even answer to the name when she heard someone talking to someone actually named Shaneka.),
"Carmen" (A cute Mexican girl whose other nick-name was "Juicy"),
We would call Tiffani and Cheryl the "Booty Twins" and tell them that they had more a** than Black girls.
All of these statements would be considered "Racist" by today's P.C. police.

I'm sexist too.
One of the many names for one of my best friends is "BLT" [Big Left (Ta-tas)]. Her left breast was bigger than her right.
A girl named Faylene answered to "Goblets". (In reference to the size of her breasts resembling the largest glassware at the bar.)
Another girl named Shonna answered to "Bullets" (Her breasts were no bigger than ...)

Because I won't vote in favor of gay marriage, I'm a homo-phobe too. My friend ErickA related a civil union to a civil service at a court house so I couldn't protest along religious lines. Someone else pointed out the wording in the Loving v. case so that nullified my legal opposition.

When I worked at T.G.I.Friday's, I had a married customer who would always flirt. She would always show me her poorly done breast augmentation (they were kind of lumpy). This well tipping customer had become offended that I always had a group of gay guys at one corner of my bar. One day, she had finally had enough and she decided to complain to me. I handed her her cheque and asked her to leave. She couldn't understand how I could throw her out. I told her that I don't like discrimination in any form and that until she could follow those rules she was not to come back. A week later, she came back and apologized. The guys' sisters heard what happened (these girls were hot). I told them the story - only substituting "Lucky" (my bar-back) in place of myself. He became the hero of our gay crowd (and their hot sisters and friends). I don't like discrimination, I just want to make sure that GLBT groups won't end up suing churches. But still...I'm a "homo-phobe".

In a politically correct world, we are all some type of bigot or "ist" in some way. I'm just happy that my friends understand context and situation.
Like N.W.A. said; "F*** da' (P.C.) police.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's Your Problem ?

Many people (when discussing one's socio-economic status) will use example "a)" when describing the reasons behind one's success or failure. In all reality, example "b)" is a more accurate example of the reasons behind one's socio-economic condition. The parts of the equation may vary, as well as their level of importance but not the over-all problem.

Race in itself (regardless of one's condition in America) is not a valid excuse for not having all that one has worked for. The reasons for doing well are a combination of things. The way in which a person or group of people solve(s) their problem is more important than the problem itself.

There is no need for me to go into all of the variables.
The only important issue is;
What's your problem ?
How do you solve it ?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ne-Ga-Ro Please...

Is it the word or the intent that matters?
When someone calls someone else a M****** F******! (for example) is it always bad?

In some circles, calling a friend one's B**** may imply a form of subjugation but not animosity.
Ahh, B****! May be a reply to a friend's joke about one's having to change their T.V. with a set of pliers.
Or - ahh B****! May mean that there was about to be a fight.

We would often say; (so and so) was paid like a M***** F*****!
Meaning that (so and so) had a lot of money.
Or that (so and so) was smoove (smooth) like a M***** F*****!
Meaning that (so and so) had game or was well dressed or any number of complimentary things.
But we would also say; (so and so) is ugly like a M***** F*****!
Meaning that (so and so) was REALLY ugly.

When I was in high school, I had a friend named Tim. He was new to our school and was known for being kicked out of a different school for placing his testicles in a sleeping girl's hand while she was napping in class. He was kicked out of that school and came to mine. He would hang a BA when ever he had the chance. His favorite saying was; You crazy! N****'!(delivered in a high pitched voice).
Meaning that something that someone had done something that was funny/amusing/or crazy.
Tim was a white kid who had gone to the mostly Black ghetto school across town. (Yes, he was kicked out of that school too.) He was a simpleton, so his use of the "N" word never raised so much as an eye brow (even among the blacks at the school).
Does it matter who uses a word and their intent. Or is the use of an offencive word always offencive?

Blacks often throw the "N" word around with such frequency that it could be mistaken with being a persons given name (although, always ending in an "a'" and not "er"). See what I mean about intent and context?

Can white people ever use the "N" word? Of course they can. Will it be considered acceptable? It depends on the audience. While not white, Carlos Mencia used the word with great effectiveness in his "N****' ...Please" punch-line about O.J. Simpson trying to get into Heaven. Some whites use it when they are only around other whites with no repercussions. Some whites use it towards Blacks with great repercussions. It's one of those words that one has to use at their own risk.

As far as me not understanding context and trying to tell others how to act or what to say?
N****' Please!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What Do We Do?

With the ever expanding list of economic, political and social problems, it's easy for one to become overwhelmed. Many people gripe about change, some even have a political campaign based upon it. Many bloggers are critics of others, many bloggers are supporters of critics. Many bloggers question the prevailing views - yet, there are few sites which actually have answers to questions regarding positive change.

My question is; "What Do We Do?".

Theodore Roosevelt stated;
"It's not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of great deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. And who, while daring greatly, spends himself in a worthwhile cause so that his place may not be among those cold and tired souls who knew neither victory nor defeat"

James 1:22 (KJV) puts it this way;
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves".

I started this blog as a sort of debriefing for the past ten years of trying to help many people out of dire situations - whether self-inflicted or institutional. Over the past decade, my ideas of morality, justice and fairness have been reshaped and in many cases changed altogether. I've failed more times than I've succeeded and have become jaded in the process. Women's issues are important but so are environmental, children's, GLBT, animal rights, economic and a list of others. My situation dictated that I would best serve in the arena of helping those who were victims of racial (both perceived and real) problems. My opinions are mainly based on empirical knowledge and not on the many ineffective studies or theories which abound.

One day, I was giving a lady a ride. It was raining cats and dogs this day. While on our way to her destination, I spotted a car stuck in the road. Instinctively, I pulled into a parking lot and ran to the stuck car to lend a push. Upon returning to my car, the woman (whom I was helping by giving her a ride) became upset with me for leaving her in a dark parking lot. WTF? How can someone that is getting help be mad at someone for helping someone else? As my girl Lydia would say; "My people..." . I couldn't even reply to her anger, I was dumbfounded.
I thought; "Why am I helping these people?" and "How much am I supposed to do for these people?". I thought that all of my grandmothers' Bible teachings must have been in error. St. Mark (KJV) states; "...If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant to all". Were my aspirations of a Heavenly reward at fault? Were my beliefs that if I took care of God's children that God would in turn take care of me wrong?
How much was I obligated to do? Luke 21:4 (KJV) states: "For all these of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God but she (the poor woman) of her penury hath cast in all of the living that she has". Was I supposed to give all until I had nothing left? Did the widow cast in that one time or sometimes or every time? How could I know what God's intentions were for me?
The rules of the Bible were becoming too hard. They'd become an unwanted burden. Matthew 22: 37-40 (KJV) states; "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these commandments hang the law of the prophets".
Now, ten commandments might be tough, but I could do two.

By this time , I had been lied upon, stolen from and taken advantage of - all by tenants in my homes who I was trying to help. The people that the Black people (I live in the least integrated neighborhood in my town. There is one Asian woman in the whole of my sub-division) in my neighborhood thought that they were too good for or were afraid of were the people I was trying to help. My neighbors would warn me to stay away from "those people".
My faith in my childhood teachings had become feeble at best. A man in Mark (KJV) says; "...Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief". Mother Theresa is reported to have gone through the same crisis of faith.

My value to my people [In stating my people, I mean ALL people in general but Blacks in particular] has often been called into question by my people themselves. Many would tell me that by changing their values that they would lose the "essence" of their blackness. Huh? I often heard the older folks stating that a Black man could never have anything good because the White man would always take it from them. I had to remember that this was the South. Many people over fifty had grown up with the conditions of Segregation first hand. The high schools in this town weren't fully integrated until 1983! The problem was that these people were passing those old ideals on to younger generations. The younger generations were buying into the mind-set. I was in an uphill battle against those whose side I was on. Again from Mark (KJV) "...A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house". I had a Muslim-Imam tell me that my goodness was from my White ancestors and that the idea of integrity was foreign to Blacks. It is needless to say that I had little interest in converting. I pointed out a text in an Islamic writing that stated that God loves all righteousness. I never thought that race was an issue when choosing one's friends or allies. I prefer to go by one's deeds not their genes.

Many people would complain about their conditions as being inescapable. Gandhi states; "As human beings, our greatness lives not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the 'Atomic-Age' - as in being able to remake ourselves". This idea sounds more like the philosophies of the Nation of Islam, The Black Panther Party, Marcus Garvey and a litany of others (Bill Cosby, Barak Obama included) to preach a message of self-determination. Viktor Frankel writing about the Jewish determination to retain their humanity in the worst situation wrote; "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in numbers, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but the one thing, the last of the human freedoms to (determine one's) attitude... to choose one's own way".
I believe that many poor and destitute people have given up. Many have chosen to accept their fate and be condemned to the repercussions of that grievous life. Is hope lost?

These ideas of making a bad situation into a good one have cost me much. The rewards are few. The task too difficult. My hope is lost. I now strive to better others by rote. I have little or no feelings in regards to these people. I'm just on auto-pilot. Maybe those teachings from my grandmothers stuck and I can't escape my inherent desire to help.

Author, Mariam Wright Edelman states; "I also learned that critical civil and political rights would not mean much to a hungry, homeless, illiterate child and family if they lacked the social and economic means to exercise them". Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. writes; "Justice is indivisible. It must also be said that it would be rather absurd to work passionately and unrelentingly for integrated schools and not be concerned about the survival of a world in which to be integrated". It seems that acting to help people institutionally does little good without the people making an active effort to help themselves (and vise-versa).

When I used to wait tables at T.G.I. Friday's, Gonzo (a cook) would call me the "King of Lazy". It's not that I didn't work hard. It just made sense to me that if my co-workers were more skilled and better at their jobs - I wouldn't have to work as hard or as often. The easiest fix was to help everyone around me to be better. This theory could apply to society as a whole.
Where do we start?
What do we do?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Re: Acting White - Evolution

I tried to post a comment on Acting White;

The thread progressed to whether African Americans (or Africans) were as intellectually evolved as Europeans, Asians or Jews. I tried to ask a question (post a comment) but the site failed to let it go through. No disrespect to Mr. James Collier (the site's author), I'll just post my theses here.

Are Southern Blacks as intelligent as Western or Northern Blacks?
The Western and Northern Blacks' forefathers had enough sense to leave the South and it's hostile environment. The Southern Blacks either didn't have the skills, resources or intellect to leave an obviously oppressive situation.

The Southern Blacks continued to breed between inferior stock producing inferior beings. The Northern or Western Blacks who failed to assimilate were those who held onto their old values or
they were new comers who overwhelmed the established gene pool in those areas.

Northern and Western Blacks seem to assimilate more easily. The Southern Blacks (even down to their dialect) still resemble their slave ancestors.

Since evolution seems to be the direction of the discussion concerning the failings of Black culture, how far back do we need to go to qualify "evolving"?

I'm not stating that this theses as fact. As ridiculous as it sounds. it's just a discussion that I've had with friends. One in which we weren't able to come to a conclusion.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Flip of A Coin

"People don't have a problem with oppression. They have a problem with being oppressed." - Jessie Jackson.

Jessie Jackson is one of those self-serving polemics whose sole reason of importance is the dis-unity of the races. The above quote is the only thing that he has ever said that made any sense.

If Blacks are going to hate whites, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos...
If whites are going to hate Blacks, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos...
If Asians are going to hate whites, blacks and Hispanic?Latinos...
If Hispanics/Latinos are going to hate whites, Blacks and Asians...
What does it matter who is the most dominant or most subjugated group/ethnicity/race/nationally ?

Maybe God said; "F*** it. They're going to fight each other anyway. I'll just flip a coin to determine who comes out on top."

I don't think that we are all the same. I think that we are all different. I think that we each (all) have a unique mix of gifts/talents/skills/traits that can be used to further all of our best interests in different situations. The assumption of equality is an idealistic point of view. The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. We respect different people at different levels and for different reasons. We may not respect people as being equal but we can treat people with equal respect. I don't think that there is such a thing as "reverse-racism". Racism is racism. The best definition I've read on "reverse-racism" is one of self-hate because of one's race. This point of view makes sense. The other definition assumes that - White=Racism - by default.

To assume that one race is in it's current position because of it being God's will is just as ridiculous as God flipping that coin.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dumb Black People ?

From an article in Black Enterprise:

Many racist and under-informed people would have you believe that Blacks are not as smart as other ethnic groups. I blame culture - not race. Many Africans have immigrated to America. Many of these immigrants have an education.

Country of Origin....................% of population over 25 years old with a bachelor's degree or higher

South Africa.............................55.8
Democratic Rep. of Congo...........41.8
Sierra Leone.............................31.3

The national average for all Americans is 24.4 percent. According to the "jstor" site listed below, over three million African-Americans have at least a bachelor's degree. That would make the national average for African-Americans at about 6.7 percent . It would seem that race has less to do with education than does one's culture.

Sources; U.S. Census Bureau, , 2006 American Community Survey