I've decided to actually start blogging again (haha) but I've moved my blog to a more hospitable location.  check me out here  The Synergistic Pen

Otherwise, have a great new year and a wonderful life...

Science Rules!

Its a new school year... may the force be with us all...
ladies and gents... educate a child, about SOMETHING... please.

Online School
Via: Online School

ok, I'm not in the habit of promoting a musician, but when I like something, I want everyone to know about it.  Sooooooooo... while sitting in a chat room a few days ago, yet another person came in asking everyone to listen to his music and let him know what we thought.  My immediate thought was, ugh, not the "next big thing" AGAIN...

I clicked on the link, and listened, sure I'd want to turn it off immediately.  I didn't. In fact, as I listened to the lyrics, (his voice was so clear, I could actually make them out) I realized this young man was singing about love, TRUE love, and relationships, HEALTHY relationships.  I was stunned, and I told him so.

Q Harper's roots are in gospel (isn't that true of ALL the great singers?) where he and his siblings were tied to the gospel choir in his home church in Detroit.

I was in a family singing group, "The Sensational Harper Singers" and singing was more important than our grades in school.  People takl about how tough Joe Jackson was, but they never met William Harper!  He put me and my siblings through our paces.  Everyone thinks I'm new, but I'm a seasoned singer who has been singing since the age of five."  

His experience in the church eventually led Q to the ministry just as his parents and siblings were led.  But soul music continued to pull at him and in 2008, he heeded the call and recorded his first album, named "One".

Harper loves talking about his live concerts, which he dubs, "The Q Harper Experience", which will indicate what the next CD will sound like.

Every concert I throw is like a party. You'll hear me singing and the band kicking - and we make it blaze.  We wreck the place.  I get the people involved and they feed off that energy and electricity.

I asked him a few questions and promised him I'd introduce him to my world so here he is... Ladies and Gentlemen: Q HARPER

Me: What is your full name?
Q: Quintin Deon Harper.

Me: How did you come to play the acoustic guitar?
Q:  Well, as I began to write more and more songs, I needed melody and chord structure, plus I like having my music totally mapped out before studio, so I slowly began to teach myself guitar and piano.

Me: Who are your musical influences?
Q:  Donny Hathaway, Daryl Coley, Charlie Wilson, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, EWF, Phyliss Hyman:  I'm from the old school when it comes to music.  The Emotions are another strong influence.

Me:  Your lyrics are positive, uplifting and inspiring.  Tell us about them.
Q:  I write from the heart and that is what comes across.  I want people to hear my music and say that they can relate to it.  I write real stuff (reality);  my main subject is love and heartbreak, because its real and it happens daily.  I don't want people to say I hear your music Q, but rather, say I FEEL your music.

Me:  Where can people see you perform?
Q: Well, my name is beginning to get out there, so I might be in your town any day now.  I have dates in Chicago for October 30th at the Arie Crown and New Year's Eve.  I have a November date in Houston and mostly overseas stuff right now.  If you wanna see the Q Harper Experience, call your local promotor and get it booked and we will come tear it up!

Me:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years, both professionally and personally?
Q:  In 5 years, I see myself professionally as the face and voice of love and romance.  I will be the name people speak when it comes to the subject of the balladeer of our generation.  I work tirelessly for this and if I keep at it the sky is the limit. My attorney and the rest of my team think I have sex symbol written all over me (lol).  Like my predescessors, the late, great Donny Hathaway and the incomparable Luther Vandross, , I plan to carry the torch for shonuff singin my way into people's hearts, minds, homes, cars, and stereos!

Personally, happily married, see my 3 wonderful kids make their mark in this world, get them through college and off into their careers, my own full fledged studio, and some travel.  Something most don't know about me is I'd to get back into ministry.  Sharing the word of GOD and demonstrating the love of God.

Me:  Do you have an online presence? If so, where can we find you?
Q:  Yes, I do have an online presence.  I can be found on Facebook (QHarpertime), on MySpace (qharp), Reverbnation (Q Harper), Youtube (search Q Harper).  My official website is down for reconstruction, but coming soon!

Ok people, you need to hear him.  Check out Q Harper.

Oh yeah, buy his cd! 

My son will be attending the American Academy of Art in Chicago this fall.  We're very proud. As part of the process of getting him settled in, he attended student orientation and I attended parent orientation. Listening to the administrators and instructors tell us how our children will be ok, and will learn and are, because they are "artists", are different from other children (as if we didn't know this) and what we can do to help them become the best professional artists they can be.

At one point during the program, we were introduced to the Beloit College Mindset List, and were told that the actual list would be coming out in about a week. The Mindset List is a list of things that incoming college freshmen are aware of in the world.  It is used to give professors a sense of perspective It came out today. I read it.  My husband put me on the suicide list.  Pray for me.

I remember 1991-92. My daughter was 2 years old, my son born in September of 91.  I was complaining about compact discs replacing cassettes. Now, my kids ask why I have CDs and no mp3 player. What a life.

The Mindset List makes note of the things this particular group of humans believe, know and understand about their world, and how the things people older than them believe, know and understand, just don't make an ounce of sense to them.  Like, our son wonders why his father insists on wearing a watch when he has the time on his cell phone. An addendum to that is how he laughs when I talk about winding a watch.  I'm old. 

Both children wonder why I still carry stamps in my wallet and even have envelops and stationary in the house.  They're looking forward to watching me play with my new toy, a slide scanner I purchased to convert all of my father's thousands of slides he'd taken over the years to digital files.  They like playing with my mother's record player and daddy's old LPs.  They wonder why we still have a land line in the house. I'm old.

Check out the list.  It comes out every year.  Just a simple reminder of how the world is changing, moving forward, faster and quieter than we might notice.  Its a look at our past and how our future will be different for us, but just "ordinary" for them.

OK, I've been busy vacationing and haven't written anything.  A girl has to get her rest, right? Right!  Well, I'm BACK!

Check this out... I decided to take a train trip to Jacksonville Florida.  The ticket was comparable to flying, but I wasn't in a rush and I actually wanted to see something other and large squares full of corn, cotton, and/or peanuts.  So, I went to the Amtrak website and hooked up this really cool 30 hour ride to Jacksonville with a 6 hour stop over in Washington D.C.  (yeah, 30 hours, again, I wasn't in a hurry).

I get on the train at Chicago's Union Station at the height of rush hour with folk coming and going and children running around and babies crying and security with drug sniffing dogs and the works.  I was excited.  I hadn't been on a train in nearly 25 years.  I was assigned a seat and climbed aboard the Capital Limited.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to a college student.  Not just any college student, but a petite, talkative Math and Finance Major from the University of Michigan.  Jo is Chinese, Mandarin to be specific as she explained to me how all her Chinese friends at school were Cantonese and she had no idea what they were talking about when they spoke in Cantonese.  After all, Mandarins and Cantonese are two very different languages and cultures.  I'd heard that before, but having it explained by a native made it click.

The train was cold and we commented on that incessantly as the sun sank behind us as we traveled east.  Across the rolling plains of northern Indiana, stopping in South Bend and Elkhart, and then flying like the wind through the night until we reached Cleveland on the far eastern edge of Ohio. There was nothing to see; it was the middle of the night, I couldn't sleep because I've never been able to sleep on moving vehicles; add to that, children who thought running up and down aisles in the wee hours of the night was the ultimate adventure.  NOT.

Pittsburgh at dawn and then the train headed down into a valley and hugged a shallow river as we came out of Pennsylvania and into West Virginia. Several more stops including historic Harpers Ferry and we pulled into Historic (and beautiful) Union Station in our nation's capital 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

I said good bye to my traveling companion who had never been to Washington before. She checked her connection to Connecticut where she was meeting friends before flying to Poland for a wedding. (man, to just travel the world as you please)  We discovered we were 2 blocks from the Capitol building and she screamed as she said good bye and headed out into the midday heat.  I had 6 hours to kill... and found a friend to help me do it.

I returned to the station and my boarding gate only to find out the train to Jacksonville, the Silver Service was running late due to a derailment down the line that had everything coming from the north behind schedule. There was a pigeon in the boarding area.  Several toddlers found this fascinating and followed it around as it walked the floor in search of crumbs. We were finally told we could board an apparently full train and I was seated next to another amazing lady.

Daisy is 68 (I swear I bit my tongue when she told me this), lives in Boston, has been married for 53 years, has a daughter and 3 grandchildren and is originally from Havana, Cuba.  She's lived in the United States for 40 years and would love to go back home but isn't sure if its a good idea.  She is a retired real estate broker and owns land and property in several states.  She's a confessed tree hugger and environmental hut and firmly believes in unity among all people.  She was on her way to Miami to spend a week in a time share she bought several years ago but had been too busy to use. Her eldest granddaughter called every hour on the hour until midnight to check on her.  I helped her in and out of her seat; she'd fallen 3 weeks earlier and broken 3 ribs.

We sat in front of a young man who was from New York, had a cell phone, and wasn't afraid to use it.  He talked loudly in a combination of French and Patois most of the evening and then snored the rest of the night.
The view from the windows through the Carolinas, and Georgia weren't as pictureque as the day before, and it was gloomy as it rained on and off during the day. When I arrived in Jacksonville, the sun finally appeared and I disembarked from the icy train into a 98 degree morning.  What a trip.

I was met by Ma, my sister, her kids, my kid, my niece and cousin.  We had a marvelous couple of days, and my daughter and I drove back home through Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.  Indiana never looked so good.

I love trains; other than perhaps a cruise or a bus, its one of the last ways to sit and talk and visit and explore and see the people, the many different people what make up our world.  I'm gonna do this again next year.  Can't wait!

The Reason Why...

I had an encounter the other day that I can only describe as spiritual.  The young lady I was assisting simply felt moved to tell me something I didn't necessarily want to know.

The young lady is 25,works as a home health nurse, has recently moved out of her parents' very traditional household and has (finally) begun college. She was writing an essay for one of her classes and needed help with sentence structure.  I didn't mind helping, its what I do, help.

My laptop isn't working so I was at my aunt's using hers and my brothers showed up.  I think they came just to harass me.  They don't think I should be going to school.  They think I should be looking for a husband, not going to college.  I was so distracted that I know this essay makes no sense, can you help me?

I was intrigued.  How does a person, still young, still vulnerable, living in a traditional, Jamaican household, where men sit around waiting for the women to "do" for them manage to muster the strength to walk toward the light?

Why did you move out? 
I moved out because if I didn't, I was going to kill myself, and I didn't want to die.

Can't argue with that logic.

My mother thinks I"m crazy.  When I moved out of the house, she damned me to hell.  Daddy said I'd be raped by some stalker knowing I was alone out there.  He said no man would want me because I was not living correctly.


When I told my parents I was starting college, they laughed at me. My mother said she would not help pay for it. I'm ok with that, I can pay for the classes myself.  I can do this. I must do this. If I don't, I will die.  I know I have more to give than my body to a man.  I have a mind, and I want to share it.

I'm sitting at my computer in tears.  I read her words and I wonder what moment pushed her forward.  I know a few things about her that I'd already found fascinating.  She was sickly as an infant and was never expected to walk. She's a virgin and has no problem letting men know that she intends to stay that way until her wedding night.  She love psychology and thinks, maybe, she'd like to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist. She loves her family, she just can't live with them anymore.

Its been so long since I've been to school, I know my writing is terrible.
No, it isn't, just a little muddled.  We can fix this.
Thank you.  I need this essay to speak about who I was, who I now am and who I want to become. I want my instructor to understand the reason why I am in college. I want her to know the reason why I exist.

Yeah, don't we all.  God's speed on your journey girl, God's most precious blessings to you.

And so, today, Monday, June 28, 2010, the only thing on the minds of black america is... the BET Awards.  

If you were busy doing something constructive last night and missed it (like I did), just pop into any chat room, check any message board, or even hit your remote and check the idiot box, and there it is... all the highs and lows, the complaints, the criticisms, the commentary, the jokes.  

I always ask people this question when the topic of some show on BET comes up...

folk still watch BET?  Why?

Seriously, why?  On any given day, you can turn on and either some half dressed woman is shaking her ass in the face of the camera and/or some money flashing man, or some vain attempt at social commentary is being put forth, or they're showing reruns of shows from the archives of "we sho is funny ain't we?"

Bafoonery went out with bell bottoms ladies and gentlemen.  If making this statement makes me elitist and uppity and I have "forgotten where I come from", fine; at this point, I don't think I care.  As I sat in the chat room and read the comments, it occurred to me that noone is mentioning who won what award.  Humanitarian awards, Community awards? Sports Awards"  Hello?  All anyone was talking about was "Alecia Keys' man taking, pregnant behind", "Chris Brown's wannabe comback", P Diddy being too old to be juking, and Prince looking better than all the women in the joint.

Scary ish people, scary ish.

I guess (again) Bill Cosby was right... some of us just aren't ready for prime time.... 
if the only thing that is important enough to talk about on a Monday morning, after a G8 meeting, and the continued oil spill in the Gulf and our children dying in the streets because of gun violence, or disease in our community or corruption in government is the fact the Chris Brown cried.... then we have reached rock bottom.  Our collective pain is so intense we need the drug of mindless entertainment ... without even seeing the small community value even put into that, then, just damn.

A former classmate of mine commented on this on Facebook last night; we're of like mind. Why DO people continue to support the superficial "cultural" format of BET?  It seems like every program there and even on other stations that involve blacks "being themselves" equates to clowns on crack for all those who give a damn.  And when the show fails, the immediate response is: RACISM.

Ummmm, no, not racism darling... SOME of us aren't interested in your insanity for profit game anymore.  We've risen above the notion that everything is a joke... and we're supposed to laugh ALL the time.  Some of us aren't in THAT much pain that we must soothe it with bamboozlement. 

Ok, I quit.  I'm tired.  Enough of the bashing of the "lower mentalities".  Going to read something with big words in it now.

Have a good one.

The Day After...

I saved my Father's Day thoughts for the day after for a reason... I wanted to hear what people had to say about the day, and see how it was celebrated.

I took hubby out to brunch at the same restuarant we visited last month for Mother's Day.  On Mother's Day the joint was packed, children ran around and there were balloons and bags full of gifts for mothers and grandmothers everywhere. We arrived an hour into the brunch session and there were only 2 tables occupied.  The jazz singer was warming up and the grill man was staring out of the window with a bored look on his face.

We enjoyed ourselves, ate quietly and slowly, there was no rush.  About 15 minutes before we left, couples began to come in, a couple of families, a few groups of men together.  No small children, no balloons, no small bags of gifts.  Father's Day is just not the same as Mother's Day, is it?

Later in the day, I encountered a few single mothers out with their kids.  They were being feted by the children, celebrating Father's Day with not a man in sight.  I'd forgotten how single mothers have taken it upon themselves to co-op this holiday.  I don't like it.

Ok, listen carefully.  I don't give a hot damn if your man, baby daddy, sperm donor, one night stand is/was a moron, dog, bastard, mofo, asshole; the third Sunday in June is FATHER'S DAY... not "SINGLE MOTHER DOING FATHER'S JOB DAY".  I don't think you fully appreciate what message you send to your child by not allowing them to reflect, visit, talk to, acknowledge the man that is responsible for them being here.  So what if you're d doing all the work, we do all the work anyway, if you had a man, you'd know this.  Its disrepectful to the father, damaging to the child and makes you look like an ass to celebrate Father's Day as if YOU"RE the father of your child.  Stop it.

I am so blessed as to have had my father in my life.  I am equally blessed to have the father of my children an integral part of their lives.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  Even though our children are now grown (sorta), they still make sure Daddy knows he's loved and appreciated.  Every father needs that, even if he thinks he doesn't.

I just needed to say that. I'm ok now.  You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

Two things...

thing 1:

I just read Queen Latifah's comments on social media (thank you Afrobella) and it got me to thinking about participating in life instead of examining life.  I looked over a few of my old posts and have determined that I do try to participate, observe, enjoy what's out there and not just acknowledge it and be able to say "I knew that" or "google that".  That's what life used to be about, the enjoyment... not the information gained from it.  A whole new generation of people simply know stuff, but have no idea how to enjoy any of it... this is sad, very sad.

thing 2:

(Now, here's an example of not participating in life for ya...)

Ok, I'm upset. Apparently "mah people" wanna cry foul AGAIN... instead of taking responsiblity for actions.  Short synopsis for you:

Some teens jaywalk across a street in Seattle.  A cop sees them, and calls them over to his squad car. I don't know what he said to the two ladies,(probably was gonna give them a ticket, maybe) but one of them became upset, very upset, and proceeded to get in the cops face.  Well, let's let the video pick the scene up from there, shall we?

make note that when the cop hits the girl, everyone who hasn't been videotaping now is... why isn't anyone telling the girls to cooperate (the one friend is trying, but he's not being heard)

why isn't anyone trying to pull the girls off the cop (afterall, he's trying not to fight them, he's only trying to cuff the loud one)

and (behaviorist's observation here) the reaction of the handcuffed girl at the very end is so telling... she screams out... she didn't get away with it, and she's angry... not with the cop (it was never about the cop) but with herself... for getting caught and losing control of herself.

This sort of thing happens in schools across the country all the time.  A simple request by an authority figure is made, and the child goes nuts.  Why have we taught our children to defy authority no matter what?  I read some comments on this video that shocked me. 

even if they did cooperate, he would have hit one of them, I bet.

the police are always messing with people, they didn't do anything wrong.

her cousin should have hit him back.
When will we stop playing victim?

Now, understand me, I don't condone the cop hitting the girl, but she kinda put herself in front of his fist, while trying to help her cousin; and this, after the other friend has pulled her back out of the way a couple of times. 

I'm sorry, I can't support the behavior of mah people on this one.  It was just jaywalking.  Take the damned ticket and go home, geez.

ok, so this is actually a couple of days late, but I was hustled up to a Japanese buffet in Schaumburg Friday afternoon.  It was pretty nice.  Hadn't been in Woodfield in a while so wandering around what used to be this extremely exclusive mall turned just another place to shop was interesting. 

I keep forgetting there are a lot of Japanese people in the north suburbs.  I wonder who they all work for actually.  Anyway... sitting in Todai with hubby, son and adopted son, I noticed something.  Japanese Americans work really hard to remain Japanese.  Not that this is a bad thing; I think its beautiful, I love the way older women sit and talk quietly while eating and how the children are mannerable, and how the teens express their rebellion against the establishment by dressing like white kids (the really rebellious ones were goth or hip hop, that was cute).

For a restaurant at the height of the rush, the joint was quiet. There was a baseball game on the flat screen, and the older men watched and commented.  My boys sat practicing their Japanese on each other (I think they were insulting me there at one point) and hubby made sure I enjoyed my meal (I'm the lone person in our household that doesn't fall all over herself concerning all things Japanese).  It was a nice meal.

We stopped at the other Japanese place that I do love, Mitsuwa Marketplace: a Japanese grocery store with a mini mall attached to it.  Bookstores, travel agencies, liquor store, import shop, etc.  I DO love that place.  I bought some sardines and tea.  Gotta have tea.  Oh yeah, there was a Teavana store at Woodfield!  Paradise man!!

What a lovely way to start summer vacation.  Thank you boys for taking me out, even if the traffic was hell getting home!

When Will It End?

Ok, problem number one: this is NOT a national story.  Not acceptable.

Problem number two: At the local level, its being buried (according to my sources)

At what point do we as a people, a nation, as human beings make it PERFECTLY clear that its not acceptable to behave this way?  How do we get the people who think its ok to behave this way understand that No Bubba, you can't drag people around (regardless of race) cus it gives you pleasure and then think you will get away with it.

I'm tired... read this ish people...   Black Man Dragged Ten Miles Behind Vehicle

More as it develops...

June Wow Moment

ok, as stated in a previous post on this date (I'm on a roll, don't stop me, please)  I haven't been blogging in a while.  Life has been hectic; I've been preoccupied; time has been mismanaged, but its all good.  I'm refocused on self indulgent pursuits and hopefully will be called a selfish bitch by the end of the month by at least one person that actually knows me.  I've already been called one by a total stranger... made for a very good laugh.

So, I logged onto this blog this morning and was dusting off the furniture and looking around and checking things out, getting ready for my summer run of commentary on stuff I observe when I noticed something.  I have new followers.

Wait.  I have new followers?  People read this stuff? Now, this might not seem that big a deal to some, but see, I"m kinda eccentric and most people just don't "get me" so I was happy as a pig in mud about the 3 followers I've had now the past few years.  I did a head count today and I"m up to 11!  Holy Keypad, Batman, I have a following!!!

I'm ok now...

I just wanted to welcome the nice people who have shown up on my doorstep and decided maybe this is a nice place to rest their eyes occasionally.  Also thanks to the one or two people brave enough to comment on things I say (again, most people are too shell shocked by what I say to comment, I believe), I appreciate you all.

Well, that's all I wanted to say on this topic. I'm smiling (shut up C).  Have a great Sunday!

A Moment

I know, I've been M.I.A.  Its been one of those months... or 2.  Anywho...

My baby graduated from high school yall!!!!

now, for those who deem this just something going on in my life and so what, and all dat jazz... you need to know something.  THIS ONE is gonna be different.  Not that the other one (see post on her back in june 2007) wasn't special, but THIS ONE picked up a pencil one day about 2 years ago and started drawing.  He then picked up a pen and started writing.  The graphic novel is almost complete.  Art school starts in the fall, the screen play is floating around in his head (and the head of his co conspirator)

Don't you just love it when young black men have a plan and stick to it.  

Update of the new "hanna and barbara" team later.

In Appreciation...

I was helping a student with an assignment when the principal walked in today.  He had a big bag and another student with him.  He got the classes attention and began talking about how important it was to have great teachers who love what they do and love the children they teach.  He handed me a card that was so personal I almost cried (we had a private joke between us and he mentioned it in the card)... and then he had the kids surround me and give me a standing ovation....

he filled my hand full of life savers candy (cus there's no such thing as life changers and thanked me again. The student with him took our picture and they left.

There are 103 teachers in the building I teach in.  He spent the entire afternoon doing this in every single classroom.

Its nice to be appreciated.

thanks mr. p.

A total stranger engaged me in discussion the other night.  He asked me, and I quote.

Did you attend a HBCU or a predominately white college?

Now, I am being serious when I tell you, as I told him, I've never been asked that question quite that way before.  I laughed at the notion of him asking me that and then asked him, why did you ask me where I've been to college in that particular manner?

He seemed confused at the question, I clarified and he told me,

I need to get a feel for where you are as far as your colonization is concerned?

What the FUCK??

After I stopped laughing at him, I told him where I'd done my matriculation (the man didn't know what matriculation is; btw, he's an educator, go figure) and wasn't sure if attending an HBCU versus a predominately white institution of higher learning really would have THAT great an influence on my "colonization".

Oh yes!  It does... you can become lost and brainwashed if you attend a white school!

What the FUCK??

He then proceeded to explain why it is important for black people to immerse themselves in their culture and that this can only happen in an HBCU. I respectfully disagreed.  I went into my classism is toxic routine, basically informing him that the state of one's colonization is depended on the environment one is exposed to BEFORE entering college and that it was MY observation that HBCU's were full of black kids who didn't have the vaguest idea who they were before they showed up at school and therefore spent 4+ years having all the colonization washed off them.  This, in contrast with black kids who have a vague idea of who they are before showing up at school and being "BLACK" within the confines of the "colony".

He seemed confused and really wanted to argue about it.  Unfortunately, I don't argue with people who apparently just discovered there was a colony and they were/are part of the matrix of that colony and now want to "save" everyone else from the colony.

OH, did I mention, an earlier discussion with this same man resulted in his insistence that any PROPER understanding of who you are as a black person in America HAD to include embracing everything Huey Newton stood for and that Richard Wright didn't speak for black men in America.

What the FUCK??

So this second conversation was my attempt to make sure I wasn't just tired that evening and just took his words as foolishness.  I hadn't.  Dude actually has militant tendencies and absolutely no clue what to do with them.  Damned shame actually, he seemed so... aware, there for a second.

So, anyway, concerning my "colonization".  I am, as noted on several occasions, made note of my racial stature, cultural immersion, and focus on my community.  I didn't bother telling him... for now.  He thinks he has something to give me.  I"ll let him think that... for now.  No sense in breaking his spirit right out the gate, right?

Oh well, I'll update you on HIS "colonization" as soon as I pry it out of him. (why is it, they expect you to tell ALL your bidness in the first conversation, yet don't want to give up any self revelation?  mmmmm?)

Keep on being who you are people...  the colony is watching!!


You gotta love his 3 pointer, for real doe...

You many have noticed a couple of clocks on the blog.  I have been looking for a simple one for time and date.  Then I decided to keep up with my son, so I have temporarily put a clock up to tell me what time it is in Japan.  Oh yeah, my son left for Japan yesterday morning.  Fifteen hour flight with the sun chasing him all the way.  As I write this, its Saturday night in Tokyo.and he and his small group of classmates and their sensai are probably settled in and on their way to dinner.  I know he'll have sushi, Jay loves sushi.  I'm sure he's take pictures of raw, rolled fish for us to comment on.

Jay and his friend Will have been studying Japanese their entire high school careers.  Rather fluent, I catch them insulting each other or laughing at something in their second language all the time.  This trip is something they've talked about for more than a year and they've worked hard to prepare for it. 

Jay will be studying art and animation in the fall and Will will be studying web and video game design.  They want to be animators, creating their own games and cartoons.  In addition, Jay loves to write and is about half way through his first graphic novel.  I'm sure this trip will give him ideas on how to improve what he's begun.

When I tell people this, they look at me and smile.  "Oh, how nice!" as if black boys aren't supposed to do anything with their talents.  Jay is a gifted artist, Will does things with graphic design that are quite impressive.  Why shouldn't they take their raw talent and turn it into something bigger and better? Why don't people have the same words of encouragement for black boys that they have for every other child that announces their dreams with grins on their faces? 

I stood in the north parking lot of the high school yesterday morning watching the parents of the other 4 kids (6 of them in all) pick at their clothing and reminded them to take medicine and enjoy themselves.  I told my two charges to make sure to "listen"... to absorb the culture with more than their eyes and tongues; to hear the people as they speak, to smell the aromas of the cities and towns and villages, to touch things, people, lives.  I told them to "become Japanese" if only for 9 days, because this is their opportunity to see the place they've always wanted to see...FOR THE FIRST TIME, because subsequent visits will never be quite like this one.

As this is a field study, they are all required to keep journals.  Jay will be writing, Will took his video camera and record his experience digitally.  This is his first flight, so I'm sure there will be much to be said on THAT experience alone. They are being sponsored by the school board, so they will be giving a presentation on their visit when they get home.  I will help them with the presentaion and can't wait to see all the pictures and video.  Editing it all into something they will be able to show their grandchildren one day, will be fun.  I can't wait.

I'm happy for them all.  The world is a smaller place now than when I was their age. They will be pulling out their passports and wandering around the planet so many times, I"m sure.  Great opportunities await them, and those they encounter on their journeys.  Afterall, they are ambassors too, showing the Japanese not all black kids from the U.S. wear their pants around their ankles and curse like sailors.  Our kids can be articulate and aware, willing to learn and teach.  We have dreams, goals `and hopes too, despite what media says about us.

Safe travels Jay, Will, Chris, Gabe, Dijah, Raquel and a special THANK YOU to Sensai Dawnielle for facilitating this opportunity for you!


*see link above in title*

OK, the teacher in me talking right now....

Phoebe Prince didn't have to kill herself. Any one of the adults in the school she attended who was aware of her situation could have stopped it. I'm sure they discussed it in the teacher's lounge.  I know the administrators considered the liability of confronting the "mean girls".  I want to know why none of them did anything.

The parent of one of the "mean girls" actually has the audacity to say it was "Phoebe's fault" as if its ok for children to verbally abuse each other.  It isn't.  Yes, I KNOW it happens; at some point in our childhoods, the vast majority of us did it to someone.  Someone cared enough about the abused as well as the abusers to stop us all though.  Why doesn't that happen anymore?  Why is it always someone else' fault when the worst thing possible happens? 

When I'm in my classroom or monitoring the hallways, I'm listening to the conversations, the words coming from the mouths of some children so angry, frustrated and lost that all they can do is find new ways to push the pain away by finding the "weak one" and dumping on them.  I stop them.  I talk to them.  I report them to our counselor and she intervenes, forcing the parties involved to confront each other and work out whatever real or imagined disagreement there is between them.

Bullies have self love issues people, self image, self respect, self acknowledgement issues.  They are usually raised by parents with the same sorts of issues. A parent of a child who has bullied another child who says it was the victim's fault it all started is a sad excuse for a parent. That person, along with the adults in the school with knowledge of the situation should ALL be punished (mind you, I said punished, not disciplined) for their lack of mature, adult, authoritarian response to the matter. Simple as that.

Now, the mother in me is speaking...

My son was bullied while in the 5th grade.  We transferred him from a private school to public school, partly because the private school closed, partly because it was time for him to observe the world from a different perspective.  The boy that bullied him would come to the house to visit and play.  The boy was a little rough around the edges, but we monitored them, so we were ok with it.

Until the bike disappeared. I asked where it was and I was told he's "borrowing" it.  Ok, no problem: wish you'd asked one of your parents first.  After 3 days of no bike and no kid, (ummm, he doesn't come around anymore)  my husband tracked him down in front of his house, the bike in the yard.  The mother INSISTED it was her son's bike.  Ok, no problem.  We're loving people; it was decided to let the kid have the bike.  We were blessed enough to get another one.  There was a bigger lesson to be learned for our son and yes, he learned it. 

However, emboldened by this I suppose, the boy decided he could get more.  Threatening to take lunch money, stealing his bookbag, hitting him, chasing him home from school became the new norm.  I showed up more than once at school to complain to administration. The principal claims he called in the mother (why I wasn't invited to that meeting, I'll never know) and had the teacher monitoring behavior in the classroom.  At one point, I was told to "stop babying my son, let him grow up".  What the Hell?  I persisted, even having my mother begin to pick him up from school, because even after taking a different route home, he found himself harassed.  It finally stopped... when the family moved.

I"m not sure those who don't have to force frightened children from bed, who refuse to go to school or are afraid to even play in their own yards because "he might show up", fully understand the emotional toll of bullies on children.  This isn't the first time a child has kill himself or herself because of words, actions, behaviors that demenish self worth, cause the child to lash out violently if only to give the pretense of strength and courage and want to simply disappear so that those "mean kids" will leave them alone.

*deep breath*

Citizen of the universe speaking now...

Ladies and gentlemen, verbal and physical abuse of anyone that results in death is a criminal offense, plain and simple.  Anyone who is witness to verbal assaults or is told by a child that they are being harassed and does nothing about it is an accessory to the crime before the fact.  We are NOT so self absorbed that we can't stop to save a soul.  We aren't.  I refuse to believe we are.  The deaths by gunfire at Columbine, and other schools occurred because of bullying; children like Phoebe, who become so deseparate for relief from the pain of abuse that they kill themselves are a result of bullying. 

Kids DON'T call names all the time.  Its NOT just what they do.  Angry, self loathing children want others to feel as worthless as they do.  They know how to find the ones with the weak spirits, chip away at those spirits and then stand back and play the innocent when those spirits finally crumble. The adults responsible for the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of these children are liable for crimes against the spiritual lives of those hurt. 

Its a  damned shame.  It needs to stop.  We need to quit pretending its "just the way it is".  I suppose, for some, it will take THEIR child being abused, or dying before it makes sense.


Second dumbest conversation I had this past week involved justifications by some people for why some churches have metal detectors at the front doors and why the pastors have bodyguards and are packing heat. 

"because there are some crazy people out there and the pastor wants his congregation to feel safe."

Are you FREAKIN' kidding me? FEELING UNSAFE... IN A CHURCH???

ok, wait, hold up...

I will be the first to say, I am not a big fan of organized religion. Haven't been for a while now.  THIS mentality is part of the reason I'm not a fan.  If you are afraid to step inside of a church building because someone might show up to kill you, why do you bother getting out of the bed Sunday Morning? 

I did a Google Search on the topic, just to make sure this wasn't some sort of isolated insanity, and girls and boys, its not isolated.


I went on a tear with the person that told me this little story about the big megachurch preachers and their sense of safety. I reminded this "christian" that if one has faith in God as the omnipotent, omnipresent creator of the universe and everything in it (in other words, God already knows what's gonna happen to you in your life, so why try to manipulate that), then what EXACTLY are you afraid of, inside a church?

People don't believe me when I say I sometimes lose myself in my passion for what I know is God's Word.  Its ok, I know I am a vessel and that sometimes I say things that really aren't my words, but the words of God being spoken through me.  So, when I began to "spill" all over this person, I didn't feel bad about them deciding I was nuts.

"You do realize that God put you here and that He will be the one to take you away from here right?  You do realize that you haven't an ounce of control over that AND that it really shouldn't be the focus of your daily existence, right?  You do understand that ALL things happen because God chooses for them to happen, so, if some "nut" comes into a church and shoots the place up, and you end up being one of the dead people, its because that's the way God wanted it, right?"


"Ok, so, again, why are there REALLY metal detectors and pistols inside the "house of God"?
 (it made me a little ill to ask question, I had to stop and get a drink of water.)


Ladies and gentlemen, as the biblebeaters are happy to tell you, God don't like ugly.  Perhaps people who say that, should actually consider what that means.  The church has become this boil, this cancer, this diseased monster that  acts as the unstable foundation on which everything we've decided is sacred, rests.  (the sacredness of stuff is another topic for another day.)  So much energy is invested in the "presentation" of religious fervor that the content of spiritual faith is almost nonexistent.  Does anyone hear the still small voice anymore?  If they do, do they understand what it means to heed it?

Who EXACTLY are you protecting when you have metal detectors and pistols inside the church?  Why? What is so special about that/those people that all of this is necessary? Where is your faith?  What do you truly believe to be God's Will for you and how are you playing that out when you think its ok for there to be metal detectors in a church?  What the hell are you thinking to actually believe its OK to have/need security inside a house of God?  If you think its necessary, doesn't it occur to anyone that maybe, just MAYBE the problem isn't OUTSIDE the doors of the sanctuary, but INSIDE?  HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I love God.  I KNOW Jesus Christ, His Son, is my Lord and Savior.  I know Jesus taught me that there is nothing to fear but the wrath of God when I've done wrong.  I feel safe in my belief that one day, I will complete the task set out for me on this Earth, and God will come and take me away from this looney bin.  i look forward to that day.  In the meantime,  I make it clear to people who are PLAYING with God that there is no reason to be afraid inside the one place on the planet that is SUPPOSED to be a safe haven. I make it clear that if they actually believe the noise coming out of their mouths concerning faith and God being good and a fence around them and the one who protects them, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING IN A CHURCH THAT OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T BELIEVE THAT????

Wait, what am I ranting about?  Hell, these are the same places that have ATMs in the foyer and do credit checks on members so they can make sure the tithes are right.  (blank stare)

Forgive me, I lost my mind there for a second.  I'm ok now.

One last thing...
I am reminded of the story that was going around a few years ago about the hooded men that showed up in a packed sanctuary one Sunday morning with guns and began shooting bullets into the ceiling and the majority of the congregation ran for their lives.  When the dust cleared, they removed their hoods, smiled at the few remaining, praying parishioners, turned to the pastor and said, "now you can start service, the fakers are gone".

Maybe there should be more of that.  Just saying....

Feeling... Green

I am an African American woman of above average intelligence with 2 degrees, a husband, 2 children who have life goals and a mortgage.  I am, apparently, different.

I've had people who, based on comments I've made, have determined, in their minds, that I'm "not black".  I once commented on a forum that I didn't use a lot of salt in my food, that I liked to season my food with garlic and lemon pepper and other more exotic, flavorable things and that I hadn't use Lawry's Seasoned Salt in more than 15 years.  The response to this was: "who are you, and why are you pretending to be black?"

I was shocked, sorta.  In another discussion, I commented on my son going to Japan.  This went over like a lead balloon.  I've used my rather large vocabulary on people, told them what sorts of books I like to read and what I do on weekends that doesn't involve televisions or sporting events.  I am, according to these black people, different.

I've been considering this assessment of my nature by these total strangers.  I've decided, yes, I am different.  Not in the way some of them choose to make me different; not in a "you think you're on a different level from us" sort of way, or in a "you're an uppity bitch" sort of way, but in a "well, I suppose its true, there is classism in black america" sort of way. 

There is this sense out there in cyberland amongst my people that we should all be exactly alike because we all have African blood in our veins.  Well, this would be ok, if those who believe this, actually acknowledged the African blood in their veins.  Instead, it is this rather loud, self loathing bunch that spends every opportunity presented to it, to belittle any black person that has risen above "their level". 

Take "po Tiger".  "He was never really black anyway, he never acknowledged it, I don't feel sorry for him."
or "Crazy Bill Cosby". "That N-word as forgotten where he came from; how you gonna air OUR dirty laundry (mind you, noone noticed it was dirty til he mentioned it was) for all the world to see?"
or me... "why are you always talking about going back to school and your damned house and some dumb ish you read in a book?  You must be a republican, cus you NEVER defend "our" president." (I get that one after I remind them they didn't even know where their polling place was before November 4, 2008.)

I've been called elitist, uppity, wannabewhite, conservative and fake.  I've had my intelligence questioned, my level of spiritual understanding belittled, my desire to wear my hair naturally laughed at and my marital status argued over.  I am hated on the internet.  I love it.

When I first began interacting in cyberland, I recognized that I was an individual.  I also recognized that I was raised in an environment different than most, and that I was probably exposed to things in the world that others may not have been.  I knew right up front that I was an anomaly.  The thing I've found interesting is how others have made the assumption that everyone they encounter should be just like them.  Like attracts like, I know, however, the beauty of the internet is, you can find difference and embrace it.  Unless of course, you're so dysfunctional that difference is a shock to your system.

Oh well. I'm green. Its all good.  I have, admittedly, had quite enough of being told I'm green, however.  Anyone know where I can hang out where there are other green people?  Let  me know.  I'm sick of the "black" folk now.

I've made a point of not commenting much on the health care reform issue.  Its so much more complicated than whether your mother will be allowed to die or if immigrants get medicaid.  The really scary thing is, those who consider themselves "anti-reform"  don't "see" those that are affected by the current system and will be affected by a change in the system.  Reform of the health care system in the United States is about poverty and who remains below the federal poverty line.  Its about why they get to stay there and how, even while there, they are the "bread and butter" of health insurance companies.

I ran across this article this morning... The real anti-reform cost: Two women die every day giving birth in America and it caused me to reconsider my quiet observation. Being a woman and having given birth twice in my life, I do know the cost of prenatal care and delivery.  Now, I will admit, its been more than 18 years since I last had this experience, but as I read about the cost of delivery alone in the U.S. now, I was shocked. How do women give birth without some sort of insurance? How?

Medicaid and other insurance sources are an important component in the health of our children, even before they are born.  The same segment of society that decries the notion of having an abortion appears, on the surface, to be the same segment that doesn't believe those who don't abort should be afforded assistance in the prenatal care of the fetus.  This is also the same bunch that isn't real big on sex ed in schools, and probably are scared to death to say penis and vagina in the presence of their children.  These are the people who think those who get big diseases with little names "deserve" what they've gotten because they have no self control and are pawns of satan. These people probably have health insurance, they're saintly and highly favored before God, so its all good, I suppose.

Women who become pregnant have to go through so many changes in order to even get on Medicaid that they don't bother.  Why do you have to prove you're pregnant?  Hello?  Look at me, I'm 6 months along and the kid is kicking his foot out at you!  No, its NOT a tumor!  They don't receive the education they need to eat correctly, get enough vitamins, exercise or anything else.  They give birth to underweight children with physical and mental deficiencies, who, because of these deficiencies, now qualify for Medicaid. (Ain't that some irony on a stick for ya!)  The children, in turn, if not placed in the system (it happens), end up not receiving the vaccinations, etc, they need to be healthy.

Some of the children I teach children are receipents of public health insurance.  Children currently on Medicaid, who, if they break a bone, can only get it temporarily set at the local hospital, and then, in order to use the Medicaid services, must drive to Indianapolis (2.5 hours from here) to see a doctor, get a proper diagnosis and then have the bone set.  This, of course, means, the parent must miss a day of work (hourly pay) and the child misses a day of school (they're already behind academically) At the end of it all, they lose time and money again to have the doctor at the Children's Hospital in Indianapolis say the bone is healed and remove the cast. 

The parent can't get on the insurance plan at work because s/he works less than 40 hours a week.  If they're lucky enough to work 40+ hours a week, the cost of the insurance is so much per pay that they opt out of getting it.  Afterall, that's $80 a month that can pay the water bill or gas bill or buy a new pair of uniform pants... or liquor/drugs to drown their pain and sorrow and frustrations in.

Speaking as a woman who has been fortunate enough to have health insurance and simply wouldn't know what to do without it, is emphathic to the frustrations of women without insurance who are trying to raise children without insurance. This past winter, as my daughter fought off an infection that simply wouldn't go away, we spent money on co pays and things not covered and even at one point an ambulance (that bill made me sit and stare out the window for an hour) so, yes, I KNOW what is out there for those without.

Children who become ill, break bones, have issues that require medical attention.  Women who want birth control but can't get it because it costs way too much out of pocket.  People who want to do the right thing for themselves, to lift themselves up and have what others have, yet are being treated as if they simply don't exist (until, of course, one of their kids becomes a statistic of some sort later in their lives).

Health care reform is about more than having insurance.  Its about having dignity, being able to take go to the doctor of your choice, when you need to go and know it will be paid for, because you have the insurance to pay for it.  Its about giving birth to healthy children and not having to sacrifice in other areas to keep them healthy. Its about being able to function in society the same way people who do have insurance.  Its about classism, sexism, wealth vs. poverty and control of the masses.  This is about changing the rules of the game.  Its about time, don't you think?

Ok, that was the longest title ever.  Good. 

Anyway, in case you've been blissfully unaware of my side gig and/or just don't know me at all (very possible) I make handmade jewelry.  I do this because it gives me pleasure; its an outlet for my pent up creative juices that can't be relieved by writing on this silly little blog. 

I am an eccentric.  I like being different.  I insist upon being as far away from center (sometimes left, sometimes right) as possible.  So, I make jewelry that kinda represents that.  Well, it was supposed to be stuff for me, my personal jewelry, not to be shared with the world except in having people look at it as I wear it and say stuff like "gee that's cute, where did you get it?", and "ooooo, can I borrow that next weekend?"

It started with, "I'll pay you for a necklace... just "make something"."  So I did.  She loved it.  She asked for more.  I made more.  Her friends liked it.  So I made stuff for them.  So forth and so on, etc.  Then someone suggested I sell my stuff on the internet.  So I spent a good deal of time and energy building, creating, ripping my hair out, over a website.  I finally got it right.... check it out sometime.

And now, I'm officially an internet entrepeneur. Oh happy day!  Now, I'm forced  (?) to make jewelry all the time cus people out in cyberspace like my jewelry too!  Ha! There's no forcing involved, I love making jewelry.  I find myself checking earrings on ears of total strangers to get a feel for how they were constructed, knowing I could come up with different takes on the same ole thing.  I troll second hand stores in search of vintage jewelry to pull apart and reuse.  I spend entire weekends straining my eyes over my work table.

I love making handmade jewelry!

Now, making handmade jewelry is one thing.  Wearing it is a completely different matter.  I wear my pieces or the pieces of ladies I buy from (what, I shouldn't buy from mah sistas?  yeah, right) I don't flaunt, I just dress conservatively, and then slip on the funky pair of earrings and the wildest necklace or bracelet in the inventory.  Ladies smile and look.  Men say, that's different.  People want to know where I got such an amazing sense of style (I am the only person I know who can wear a brown top, beige pants and hushpuppies and STILL look like I should be somewhere other than a classroom). 

The fine art of wearing handmade jewelry is making sure you have an audience, making sure the jewelry is what they see (even if you are too cute for real life and they keep looking at your face) and always have business cards in your pocket.

If you'd be interested in looking different (its ok, different is good, ask Kermit the Frog), holla at ya girl... I got something I think you should see.

As promised, a little more about the 2010 U.S. Census. Our copy arrived Monday afternoon and in his excitement, my husband filled it out, put it in the return envelop and took it to the post office before I even saw it.  I'm not happy about this.

With that said, I want to reiterate the importance of completing the form.  I had a conversation with a couple of ladies today who hadn't decided whether or not they would complete the form.  I pointed out how completing the census is as important if not more important than voting, as the head count determines the congressional distrcts for the next 10 years.  If they change the district boundaries, you may possibly lose representation.  Or gain.

"but I don't want people knowing my personal business."

Its not like they aren't asking stuff that is already known.  If you complete your taxes, vote, have a bank account, own a home, etc. folk already know most of you're "personal" business.

Somewhere in the distant past, black folk were told they had privacy.  We were dumb enough to believe it.  Oh well.

I tell you what...don't fill out the census.  Don't complain about fewer services from your local court system, police department, fire department, or county services,. Don't say a word about bad roads and rundown schools, etc.  Don't comment about old books in your child's classroom, teachers laid off, excurricular activities  cut off.  Say nothing about sales taxes going up and quality of services going down. 

My census form is in the mail.  It took 10 minutes to complete.  It had 10 questions, none of which were invasive.  Get yours done ladies and gentlemen. 

Thank you.

  • robins start singing...(yes!)
  • you wash the car and it gets pooped on by seagulls the moment you come out the automatic wash...
  • back up... when the damned seagulls come back...
  • its 50 degrees outside and SOME people start wearing shorts in public...
  • you wish it would stop raining...
  • the middle schoolers' sap starts rising and you're using crowbars to pull couples apart in the hallways
  • you start considering the summer roadtrips...
  • its time to "spring forward"... (if you're reading this on the 14th... that would be tonight... if not... hope you weren't late)...
  • my child calls everyday excited about coming home for spring break...
  • your other child starts counting down to graduation (sigh)...
  • jay knows exactly how many days til he leaves for Japan...
  • invitations to reunions of all sorts appear in the mail...
  • cleaning things is on my mind (cleaned window screens today peeps)...
  • I pull out the boxes of summer dresses...
  • there are a hell of a lot of fish and seafood commericals on the tv...
  • the Cadbury Bunny is back!!
  • I start thinking about when the last day of school is (june 10th, btw)
  • I make plans to put children out of my house for the summer... (what?)
  • hubby has ways to spend the tax refund ...
  • I feel like... writing, dancing, singing...
  • the sun shines ALL the time (yippie)...
  • I go Goodwill trolling for vintage jewelry...
Ahhhhh, welcome spring...

 Possibly due to the fact that I simply have grown out of the habit of watching, or maybe because I just don't give a damn about any of that stuff anymore, I stopped watching Oprah years ago.  So, every now and again, when she has a topic that piques my interest or an interview that moves me, I make a point of paying attention.  I don't watch, I can't watch anymore... it nauseates me, but, I do pay attention.

I paid attention yesterday.  Roger Ebert, fellow Chicagoan, fellow writer, movie buff extraordinaire and all around good guy was on.  The shock of seeing the photo of him jawless, literally, took a moment for me to process, and considering his inability to actually speak left me speechless, but, naturally hearing that he was using cool technology to actually "talk" to people made me glad his "voice" was still out there.

I remember way back in the day, when I was a kid and Roger and Gene Siskel were just two movie critics with the two major local papers in Chicago with this cute little show, "Sneak Peeks", on WTTW 11.  It came on late in the evening on Thursdays as I recall, and I would fall asleep next to my father as they argued about technical stuff and not so technical stuff, screenplays and actors.  It was the local show to watch at the time.

When they went big time on us (as all great voices in the world do), we were happy for them.  I wondered if the show would change, the men would change, the world would change because of the way they saw cinema.  It all did.  If Roger and Gene didn't like it, it was a flop.  If the thumbs went up, it was #1 at the boxoffice that weekend.

After Gene's death in 1999, I was convinced Roger would fade into obscurity, but was glad he didn't.  Although, like Oprah, I stopped watching all the time (I was never very good at sharing the local favs with the world), I enjoyed watching him with lovely Chaz on a red carptet somewhere.

As I read the summary of the Oprah show he was featured on, I discovered his website and greedily began reading his comments.  Such sweet nectar!  It's better than the newspaper column, better than the show, better than ever.

So what, Roger can't fuss like the grumpy, old curmungeon he really truly needs us to believe he is; so what if his vocal cords are gone and he now sounds like a computer.  His "voice", his amazing VOICE is alive and well, and he will continue to see the world and write about it as only he can.

Get well soon Roger, I love you!

Blacks in Britain by 300AD

Feb 28, 2010 12:00 AM
By Reuters
Tests on the skeleton of a rich fourth-century Roman woman found in Britain reveal she was of black African ancestry.
Experts said the discovery proved the island's multicultural origins were much earlier than thought.

Archaeologists from the University of Reading re-examined the remains of the "Ivory Bangle Lady", unearthed in a stone coffin in York in 1901.

Using new forensic techniques that included analysing her facial features, measuring her skull and evaluating what she ate, they were able to say she had both "black" and "white" ancestry and was of high social standing.

The team concluded she was most likely of North African descent.

"Multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times," said a senior lecturer at the university, Dr Hella Eckardt who led the research.


What a lovely way to end Black History Month!

After centuries of seeing the world through the eyes of people who never actually went anywhere, but assumed things were just the way they needed for them to be, I've noticed Europeans and European Americans are beginning to embrace the realities of the African influence on the world.  Little stories like the one above amuse me. 
"Guess what gang?  We found black people in Britain!"  Duh.
Yeah, stupid.  All the people in Britain were at one time, black. 
Yes, nice people, today I randomly think (rant) about evolution and how people are just... slow.

Palenotologists and anthropologists have, for quite some time now known that the oldest member of what is know known as the human race, was found in Africa.  They announced this and the immediate response was, prove it?  Which they did. quietly, concisely and without error. Thoughts on the matter have been going downhill ever since.

Historical logic states that humans are a curious sort and with that said, are very likely to move around in search of what is around them.  In addition, depending on the environment around them, they may find it necessary to move to simply survive.  Anthropology shows this happened more than 10,000 years ago.

"Lucy's" family grew and spread out, north, south, east and west.  The family, over the eons, changed, adapting to their new environments, the need and use of melanin in skin changed, the waviness of hair to protect the head evolved.  The family started to change. 

So, by the year 300AD, a Roman woman of African descent (genetically) wouldn't seem such a strange thing. Or would it? 

Probably not to 4th Century Romans. Certainly to 21st Century Global snobs.

It was at the end of the Roman Empire that things got "weird".  Before that time, people weren't distinguished by the color of their skin, but by the culture of their people.  The notion of racism really didn't exist.  Folk didn't like you because "your people slaughted my people, and as soon as we get ourselves together, we're going to return the favor."  It was all so very polite and respectful, and bloody.  Oh how times have changed.

Whenever the shock of discovering black people have some purpose in the world comes up, I am reminded of the Iranian Hostage Crisis.  If you recall, the Iranians kidnnapped a group of Americans.  They first released the women as "they have no purpose and are worth nothing to us" (I'll rant about that notion at another time) and then, to the shock of the world, the black men in the group.  American media went nuts.  Without being vulgar, they basically asked, "why do the niggas get to leave?"  Some insisted it was because, like the women, the blacks were worthless to the Iranians.  The Iranians cleared that up really fast.  They released the black men beacuse they were "our brothers, and we have no quarrel with them."

If you hadn't seen and heard it for yourself, you would probably, at this point, find that statement hilarious.  The response was just that, hilarious.  Suddenly, white folk in America had to see blacks from a global point of view (and didn't want to, naturally) and black folk in America had to catch their collective breath at the notion that someone out there actually loved us.  It was priceless.

That was 30 years ago.  Memories are short, naturally. Truth of that magnitude is hard to swallow.  Gag reflexes were strong and many didn't like the taste.

So, in the interim, the little truths about black folk, who we are, where we come from, how we've evolved, where we travelled to and what we've done for all these years, must be feed slowly, deliberately.  No more shoving it down the throats of the majority (at least in this country); they can't digest it. Spoonfeeding, the babies' tummies are still developing a taste for reality.

I love science and history, don't you?

Did I Mention?

If you are a secret follower of this blog, you know I have two children.  I've written upon occasion about my daughter, who is now a junior in college (in case you care).  I've never really said much about my son however.  Lots of reasons:  I keep forgetting he's in the house, he isn't as high maintenance as his sister was in high school, I really haven't had much to say about him, until today.

He's going to Japan in about 35 days.  We're all very excited about this. 

Just a little background info.  My second born child is 18, male, and a senior in high school.  He has been accepted to a local art school where he'll be studying animation.  He wants to work for Pixar... or put them out of business (that's a quote).  For the past 6 years, he's been studying all things Japanese: the language, the customs, the culture, the people, the politics.  He's just might apply for citizenship if we don't be careful.  Well, the one thing he's always wanted to do was visit the country.  He's finally getting his chance.

It only cost me a hell of a lot of money and a great googob of energy, but, he's going, along with his Japanese teacher (whose apparently his second mother) and 5 other students from his school. The reality of this trip hit me a couple of days ago when the passport finally arrived.

Ma, my passport is here. Look.
I look (I know what a passport is, but part of being a mother is pretending to be dumber than a bag of rocks on cue)

Nice, put it with your other papers.
I watch him as he grins and shows the picture to the half dozing cat purring fitfully under my arm and he leaves the room.  My baby is all grown up and going to Japan.  Hope he comes back.  Hope he brings me something better than a damned tee shirt.

As with our daughter, we worked hard to guide and support the dreams of "the boy".  Again, he has been a joy to raise: low maintenance, few behavioral issues, generally easy to deal with on the social level.  Hell, he might even graduate with his class (ha, he better)

He's chosen compatible friends, stayed away from the temptations of the hood, including drugs, gangs and as he puts it, smelly skanks.  He will be a talented artist and animator one day.  He loves his mother, respects his father and shows just the right amount of tolerance for his big sister.

So, as the day of emancipation draws need, you'll hear more about the phantom son of mine...I'm sure his sister will let him know I wrote this, and he'll comment on the invasion of his privacy and all that crap.  Oh well, I'm still the mama, deal with it son.


Angels in Our Midst

I made the mistake of telling someone I was thinking about taking a day off. I made this wild statement way back in January. I haven't done it yet.  I ran into the person I told the other day.  Yes, she asked if I'd taken my day off.  I had to tell the truth, the woman has lie radar.

What is it about you short people?  Yall work too hard.

So, as I stood there defending height challenged people and making my excuses for not taking a day off, it occured to me that maybe, just maybe, she had a point.  Not about the short thing, but, that I could benefit from a day off.  Every Saturday for the last 2 months has been filled with some thing to do or pretend to do, or I was comotose from the week before.  The next couple of weekends will be the same. 

I was brought up by a workaholic, I suppose some of it rubbed off on me.  I can't help it; there's always something else that needs to be done, considered, looked into, finished up.  Just before I wrote this, I was on the phone with someone who told me how I should seriously consider teaching at the college level; right after I get my Masters Degree.  He understands me.  Never stop moving; moss might start growing, and we can't have that.

Back to my angel... she's right. I need a day off.  A day to just do nothing.  A mental health day, or better yet, a weekend.  I'm overdue, yes. I used to take mental health weekends all the time; just to sleep and stare out of a hotel window and maybe write in one of my notebooks for a few hours. 

The angel in my midst has delivered the message.  Its time to stop and take a few minutes for me.  Let me add that to my list of things to do.  Ha!

thanks M....

Good Question...

the question has been batted around this month... "Is Black History Month Still Revelant?" 

I always ask, relevant to whom?  still waiting on a response to that.

Seriously... who was black history month created for, and is it still relevant to those people? I did a little research, checking biographies of Mr. Woodson, the founder of the weekly observance that eventually became Black History Month.  All I can find is that he felt it was important that "black studies" should be taught in schools and colleges.  What high schools?  What colleges? 

Now, so you know, the people asking this poignant question are black.  This in itself, fascinates me.  Assuming that Woodson's focus group was blacks, what would make black folks  honestly believe black history month has become irrelevant.... unless of course, they don't actually know any black history.  Anything is possible.

On the other hand, there are non black people of various sorts who "tolerate" this esteemed month of regiritation of all things King, X,Tubman, Douglass.  I had a white student of mine, seriously ask me... what's so damned important about Black History Month? (yes, she cursed... yes, I reprimanded her).   I told her simply, BHM is important because it is part of the history of this country, same as all the other "histories" of this country. 

Its important to understand that nothing happens in a vacuum.  Perhaps, that's why, in the minds of some, BHM has become irrelevant.  They can no longer see it as part of the big picture.  Few see how Harriet Tubman's work with the Underground Railroad was just part of her glorious life... because of her lurking around behind Confederate lines during the Civil War, she was able to be a spy, one of the few women that were able to help the Union Army.  No vacuum there.

Few get how Martin Luther King resisted the desire to become the spokesman of his people, but had preachers who came before him (including the one that stood in the pulpit at Dexter Avenue just before him) helped him see how his words could bring about change.

There are so many stories... of how the little people, us... who will never have our names in histories books, had, have and will change history in the small things we do daily.  One day a child I've taught might find a cure for a disease that has eluded doctors for decades.  That would be ME... making BHM relevant to me. 

Which begs the question... how are you making BHM relevant?  What have you done, do, or will do in the future to make history come alive?  What will you say to change the history of this country, this world?

Is Black Hsitory Month still relevant?  Only if you think you are relevant...