29 March 2007

::Bush Ally, Saudi Arabia, Calls Iraq Occupation Illegitimate

I'm sure this is quite a shock to American war cheerleaders. But no doubt, they will recover by hurling insults at the Saudis and claiming not to need their approval. Bush and the dead-enders still supporting the occupation of Iraq suffer from the White Man's Burden. By that I mean that they believe all the world, especially countries comprised of non-English speaking, non-white people, exists merely as a backdrop, in front of which they can enact their fantasies of cultural superiority and mega-machismo.

According to the same NYTimes article from Reuters wire service, the Saudis also re-proposed a plan for peace in the Middle East that requires Israel to once and for all respect the boundries of Palestine before 1967. That requirement has also been the subject of long-ignored UN Sanction 242, dating back to the 22nd of November 1967. It is my sincere hope that the Arab world will finally stand behind Palestine and ensure that the apartheid currently practiced by the Israelis ceases without delay.

Based on the slow creep of unity among South American countries (courtesy of Hugo Chavez), I suspect and hope that in the near future the US warmongers will suffer many more shocks, like the Saudis provided, as the non-white people of the world realize that not everything the U.S.A. does is beneficial for them.

The times, are they a'changing, or do the more things change the more they stay the same?

25 March 2007

::Weekend Cat Chronicles


21 March 2007

::No Commendations for Marissa

On today's episode of Tyra there was a young Latina by the name of Marissa who felt that all Black people fit the negative stereotype of a socially unacceptable personality (rude, untrustworthy, violent, criminal, etc.). Her reasoning was based on being a victim of a robbery and carjacking by Black men.

To disabuse her of this notion, Tyra found some 'successful' Black women to host a tea in one of their homes and have a hearts-to-heart chat with Ms. Marissa. After it was over they were invited back to the show to share their thoughts (that's the point at which I began watching).

For some odd reason, each of the Black women prefaced her comments by commending Marissa for her willingness to talk to them. Not only did I find it unwarranted, but it made me angry as well.

And, here's why.

Black people have to deal with people like Marissa each and every day, yet no one would think to commend us for doing so. I've personally worked with white people who thought that an enticement for me to attend a Halloween party was to excitedly inform me that they were serving fried chicken and then innocently suggest that my costume choices could be a California raisin or a basketball player (hint: I am only 5'6"). I've also worked with white people who felt compelled to tell me that "Black people can make it in this country if only they tried". Just as importantly, I've been ripped off by white people more times than I can count via white collar criminal activity like unethical and downright illegal business practices. Finally, the pièce de résistance, I was verbally and physically assaulted by a white woman in the workplace.

Do I need commendations for waking up each morning and going through another day with a smile on my face while surrounded by white people? Where are the commendations for other Black people who do the same thing after having even worse encounters with non-black people? It's just ridiculous.

Figuratively speaking, all Black people need to learn to leave trash where it lays. Step over it, walk around it, take a stick and move it out of your path, but for goodness sake leave it alone! Don't sully your hands and pick it up--try to convince people that you are a worthy human being, unlike the stereotypes that they cling to like a security blanket. It's not worth the effort because it does nothing for our collective.

In fact, the Black man's propensity to reach out to others and ignore our own (build horizontally) is a deconstructive, self-perpetuating cycle. Instead of reaching out to each other and consequently learning that stereotypes are not truisms, we fall into the trap of believing in those stereotypes and trying to distance ourselves from the group to show the world that we're a different kind of Black. That reinforces the fissures in our population and induces more individuals to look outside the group for acceptance and validation.

If we reach out to one another (build vertically) however, we would not be debased by courting favor with people who are merely masquerading as intelligent human beings, like the Marissas and the Kenneth Engs of the world.

06 February 2007

I'm watching PBS, and being that it is once again Black History Month, they are airing a special about an inventor named Percy Lavon Julian.

The guests being interviewed all say that he never allowed anyone to stop him from doing what he wanted to do. It goes without saying that intestinal fortitude is admirable. However, when that particular sentiment is repeated often enough, the unspoken message becomes clear: racism cannot stop you from succeeding.

My response is that they are wrong.

People of African descent need to recognize that even when individuals fail to hurdle the obstacles placed in their path by bigoted people, that in no way negates the fact that racism in America was and continues to be an abominable and, too often, lethal practice--it does not nullify the deleterious effects those obstacles have on a human being.

If individuals that share my skin color and African ancestry do not transform into super-humans who traverse the perilous gauntlet of racism unscathed, we should not turn around and blame them for not somehow succeeding (financially or otherwise). At the same time, we should look critically at those who are considered a success after entering into unholy alliances with those who would do our ethnicity harm (read: Condoleeza "tha' Skeeza" Rice).

I celebrate Percy Julian, and all my brethren and sistren who came before me to make my path in this country of high ideals a little smoother. Yet, I empathize and identify with other brethren and sistren who found that they were too human to psychologically survive being bludgeoned by the cudgel of racism.

I do not blame those who succumb, I honor their fight.