Friday, June 19, 2015

What It's All About

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to appreciate our relationships with each other. Nothing is promised to any of us except a choice of the action we take, and being held accountable for these actions. Why don’t we do all we can, when we can, and quit making weak excuses as to why we can’t. After all, a disregard for somebody else’s feelings, whether intended or not, takes us away from contributing to the well being of the universe we all share. 

I had an opportunity to visit my great nephew in Chicago, and found him confined to a wheelchair as a result of having been shot some months ago. He’s nineteen now, and the last time I saw him he was eight years old. It was on 35th and Prairie at an auto repair shop, and I heard him call my name. Upon asking him what he was doing there, he responded that he had asked the owner for a job, and was told to come back in a few years. Seemingly undismayed by the owner’s response, he asked if I could give him a couple of dollars. How could I refuse such an enterprising young man.

His younger sister called me recently, told me she was graduating from high school, and asked if I could attend her graduation. My schedule being what it was, I answered in the affirmative and it was from her that I learned the circumstances of her brother’s condition. 

He and two of his friends had just entered an apartment building when a gunman, looking for someone else, opened fire on all three. None of them were able to stand after being shot, but my great nephew, being at the top of the stairs, was pushed by the young man beneath him and was able to knock on the door at the next landing. A little girl answered that she could not let him in, and he told her to call 911 right before losing consciousness. He came to in the hospital hours later, and found that had it not been for his quick response, he and his two friends would have died.

Age, relationship, attitude towards, or our alleged busyness should not be the criteria for when and with whom we spend our time. Our honest appraisal of if we have time, should be the only basis for our decision. 

You see, I was blessed by merely being in the presence of my young relatives. Just by being there, I was given an opportunity to be reminded that some of my so-called ‘problems’ are minuscule when compared to those of others. I was also given a chance to see that the resilience and resourcefulness of our young people far outweighs the negativity that we bound them to. As I put my hand on my great nephew’s shoulder, I was blessed with the understanding that love was being shared, and that something as seemingly insignificant as spending a little time with someone else, is an investment in which all involved can share in the benefits that coming together can bring. 

In the words of our beloved Maya Angelou “People may forget what you said. People may forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  I heard that at the graduation I attended, and for me it served as a confirmation that we have the power to better someone’s life by merely being with them. We will always be given opportunities to spend time with one another, and our response to the request will either contribute to or take away from the universal consequences that will inevitably come about. Let’s choose wisely y’all, cause it ain’t just about him or her, you or me…it’s about us.

I’ll holla...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Are Black People Beyond Loud?

The following is a copy of the posting found near an elevator of the Irvine housing complex ironically named Equity Residential. The issue is in reference to‘Resident Noise Levels’, and it’s addressed to two parties: 1. ‘fellow residents’ and 2. ‘African-American residents.’  The first concern is a request to reduce the stereo and television volume, the second to keep conversation and music levels down. My question is why noise levels are specified on the basis of race instead of being inclusively addressed to one group, i.e. the residents. After all everyone, at one time or another, can have their stereo, television, music, and/or conversation too loud, why is the posting so racially explicit? Look at the words communicated and judge for yourself.

I took the liberty of calling the phone number listed on the notice, and asked if the company was aware of the posting. The woman I talked to said that they were aware, that she welcomed my call and that the management and police department were taking measures to find the person responsible for the act. Good luck with that I thought, and then asked her if they had made any effort to inform the public of the alleged mis communication and potential blame. She then stated that a notice had been sent out to all residents informing them that the management was not responsible, and that they were doing what they could to resolve the situation. However, no apology was indicated.

We African-Americans are all disenfranchised when it comes to housing, because regardless of our socio-economic status, whether we are in Africa or America, it’s ultimately the white man that determines where we live. Let’s face it, black people are able to live in Irvine not because Martin Luther king died for that right, but because people like Donald Bren allow us to do so. Ethics and morality dictate that one who has knowingly been a factor in causing another pain should at least apologize, but being money driven why should Donald’s people apologize to anyone that is no threat to the acquisition of billions of dollars more. We black folks are needed for labor in the newly lucrative slave trade, i.e. the prison system, but we’re totally dispensable when it comes to funding the housing market. We are perpetually reminded of the disdain for our presence, and no concerted effort is being made to make us feel that somebody, somewhere is at least tolerant of our existence.

In closing, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am neither surprised nor disillusioned with the aforementioned incident, or its potential outcome, because it only serves to confirm that we are nowhere near experiencing a post-racial environment, and that corporate entities are still insensitive to the souls of black folk. What concerns me is the lack of meaningful response from the self proclaimed white progressives, and their apparent disconnection to reality. You say you understand our pain, you support our cause, and that you want to help us. Yet you hurt us more by telling us in so many words, “Get over it.  It ain’t that serious. Don’t blame us for what one racist white person did.”  Well if you had gone through for one hour, what we have gone through for a lifetime, you’d understand why it’s more than serious…it’s killing us on a daily basis. So if you’re not going to at least talk to your people about the wrong they’re doing to mine, then don’t talk to me about letting it go. And just so you know, I’m saying that real LOUD.

I'll holla...

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Doing What We Do

I heard that, “Old men talk about what they’ve done, young men talk about what they’re doing, and fools talk about what they’re  going to do. I personally don’t consider myself young, old or a fool, and maybe that’s why I talk about all three. Another reason might be that I love to run my mouth and that 1) I want you to know what has happened in my life thus far, 2) what I’m doing with my life now, and 3) what I’m looking to do later on. Maybe it’ll help you maybe it won’t, but at least you’ll get a chance to decide whether what this old, young, or fool of a man is saying can help you in one way or another.

In regard to talking from each of the above perspectives, this is my 101st blog and 87th radio show so I’ve done a lot of talking. What I’m doing right now is writing blogs, hosting talk shows, traveling with my wife and babysitting our granddaughter. What I’m going to  do is move into another house, get some land and start manifesting the plan outlined in my earlier posting entitled “Billion Dollar Blog”

I believe that what the educator Carter G. Woodson implies in the opening statement, is that old men, young men, and fools talk a good game, but it’s what they actually do that really matters. We men have a tendency to embellish our conversations and often say that we’ve done more than we have actually done, that we’re doing more than we are really doing, and that we’re going to do more than we generally wind up doing. I take sides with Andrew Carnegie who said, “As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say, I just watch what they do.”

What it’s really all about ya’ll is simply doing what we do. You see each of us has been blessed with  something meaningful to do, and simply talking about it ain’t gonna get it done. Mr. Woodson is a renown educator, Carnegie an empire builder, and both of them have left us with legacies that speak volumes for their accomplishments. We might not reach their level of notoriety, but that does not diminish the importance of what we have been assigned to do. Be it shining shoes or singing the blues, if we don’t do what we’re supposed to do, the universe can’t respond with being all that it can be and, giving all that it’s capable of giving in return.

What is our assignment? Whatever it is that we’re doing right now as long as it’s not bringing harm to another. Doing what we do, and doing it as best we can is really all that matters. We needn’t worry about what to say cause what we do speaks for itself. It also goes without saying, that we can learn more from one’s example than we can from their conversation. So be okay with where you are, knowing that it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be, and understanding that it’s from where you are right now that  your greatness is going to come…as long as you persevere in striving to be all that you can be.

In regard to what I’ve done, what I’m doing right now, and what I’m getting ready to do…all I can say is watch my smoke cause I’m going to continue being me and I’m going to continue trying to be the best that I can be.

I’ll holla…

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