Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Beyonce': Where is the old school love?

Call me old fashioned.  As open minded as I am about some things, there are others that reflect my age, social conditioning, and unwillingness to bend so hard that stuff begins to break.

So, forgive me for saying it, I prefer that my potential girlfriend or wife wears clothes while in public space.  I appreciate the female body, and understand why people lose their minds at the sight of a beautiful woman shaking her groove thang.  I’m no prude, but I’d rather keep some things between the two of us.

I’d rather not talk nasty while others are listening. It’s no one’s business what happens after Luther and Smokey set the stage with candles burning, and an empty glass of wine to set the mood.  Some things need to be left for those grown enough to handle that type of situation.

You feel me? 

So, let me make it perfectly clear, I’m not hating on Beyoncé’ and her Boo for dragging their personal sex biz before the world to hear.  Jay-Z has every right to play games with Queen B with lines like “I'm Ike, Turner, turn up Baby no I don't play, now eat the cake, Annie Mae Said, "Eat the cake, Annie Mae!"

The last time I checked, that’s not funny, but what a couple conceives as humorous is between him and her.  Put another way, do your thang Hova, but don’t expect me to endorse that line of bull stank.

The clear references to domestic violence aside, I’m not a fan of couples broadcasting what they do, when they do, what they do. My old school ways demand a different approach to celebrating the woman I claim as my Queen.

She deserved to be wooed Jeffery Osborne style.

That you should be mine.

Anything you want

You've got to fortify my love, you fortify me,

You should be mine. Anything you want

You've got to fortify my love

Or, experience a man on his knees begging for another chance.  Sing Lenny!

I said, "You know, sometimes you get lonely

You get lonely, you get lonely"

Oh, oh, oh and I cry, I cry

Oh, oh, oh

Whatever happened to baby, I love you music, and baby, baby, please give me one more chance music? The masses seem more interested in let’s get nasty music.

I celebrate Beyoncé‘s desire to express her sexual freedom as a way to promote her version of new age feminism.  I support a woman’s right to shake her coke bottle curves like an upper cut in the face of patriarchy.  Women have every right to clutch their sexuality like a thug with sagging pants.  What’s good for the goose is good for the woman sick and tired of those double standards.

But please, baby, baby, please, don’t forget the love music.  Don’t forget men like me interested in more than a short term memory.  Talk to me about falling so deep in love that every love song makes you call her name and wish she was there to hear you say “I love you”.

Forgive me for being an old school dude in search of real love. Forgive me for getting angry when men objectify women, and desire no more than to hit it for a night. I suppose that makes me a dinosaur of sorts.  Maybe that makes me the type of man too blind to acknowledge my love affair with patriarchy.  Maybe it could be said my position proves a subconscious desire to control a woman’s vagina.  Or, maybe I’m expressing my willingness to embrace a woman for more than what she looks like when naked.

I’m an old school dude searching for old school love.  Memo to my future wife, the freaky stuff is for me and you.

I’m looking for love in all the right places.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Is Christmas for white kids?

News alert! Christmas is for white people.

Santa Claus is white and so is Jesus. It’s a fact. So, stop complaining black people.  Stick with Kwanza to express your need to be affirmed.

The news flash came from Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.  Kelly blasted a blogger for sharing the angst she felt seeing a white Santa Claus as a child and a black Santa at home.
Aisha Harris, a blogger with Slate, argued for an all-inclusive Santa due to changes in the cultural makeup of society.
“Santa is one of the first iconic figures foisted upon you: He exists as an incredibly powerful image in the imaginations of children across the country (and beyond, of course), Harris writes. “That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a  “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).”

Kelly’s response proved both a lack of sensitivity and knowledge related to the identity of the historical Jesus.

"By the way, for you kids watching at home, Santa is white. But this person is arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we're just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids," Kelly said.

Maybe it would have helped if Kelly prefaced her comments with “white kids.”  “By the way, for you white kids watching at home...”  That would make it easier for the rest of us to swallow the hyperbole she spewed like proven fact.

Kelly’s insistence in protecting the traditional American spin on the Christmas story may reflect an even deeper concern regarding the way Christianity is understood as a valuation of white privilege.  Affirming Jesus and St. Nick as white men distances white people as the esteemed race of Christianity. 

Don’t get upset white kids.  Santa and Jesus are white.  Don’t worry; you are the chosen of God.  Our white skin proves our place among the rest, and there’s nothing anyone can say to change our special place among the rest.

That’s what I read between the lines.

It’s presuppositions like these that have led to deep pondering related to the practice of Christianity within the context of white privilege.  Theologians like James Cone, Gayarud Wilmore and J. Deotis Roberts forced questions that led to the study of Black Theology. It’s why Robert E. Wood asked Must God Remain Greek? 

It’s why Katie G. Cannon, Jacquelyn Grant, and Delores Williams considered the oppression of black women to develop Womanist Theology.  Grant writes about the threefold oppression of racism, sexism and classism in White Woman's Christ Black Women's Jesus.

Put another way, black scholars maintain substantial divergence with the way Christianity is avowed as an endorsement of American culture and white privilege.  These scholars grapple with how the study of black radicalism is sacrificed in the celebration of Dr. King’s dream. Nonviolent resistance, and the love ethic, take center stage, while the grip of historical, institutionalized evils becomes a conversation related to days before this post-race era.

There’s no place to discuss race. Santa is white, and so is Jesus.  So, shut up black people!

Got that White Kids?

As for Black Kids, deal with it.  Bow to our white God! Pray that our white Jesus hears your prayers and that white Santa has time to throw a few crumbs over in your neighborhood.  The Christmas story isn’t about you, or any other race of people. 

Christmas is for white people!

It gives new meaning to dreaming of a “white Christmas”. 

Is Kelly dreaming for the ghost of Christmas past?  Does she want a Christmas with Bing Cosby singing with no black people on the set to remind her of life on the other side of the tracks?  Does she want a world devoid of black people and their issues, and reminders of thoughts of her quest for supremacy? 

Memo to FOX TV:  Christmas is for black people.  It’s also for Asian, Latino and people of mixed race.

As for Jesus, he wasn’t white. He was made white by those who fashioned him into their own image to justify their hatred for others.  Do your homework before giving lecture to children. And, please remember, black and brown children are watching

Thank God for the Black Messiah.  By the way, God is a God of the oppressed.

Homework courtesy of James Cone.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Memories like a raisin in the sun

I’ve been down this street before. 

That’s what came to mind after taking a long stroll through the neighborhood I called home before moving to Durham, NC to attend graduate school at Duke University.  The journey down memory lane played like rewind. 

Not much has changed.

The feeling of despair that ran me away has settled in like the seconds before a heart attack.  There’s a mood that strips one of their dreams and reminds them to stay in an assigned place.  That ache I felt before leaving came back. It shocked me.  The tears came after I turned right on Worley.  Each step stirred a memory of being broken by the covert racism in Columbia, MO.

Why did they force us to walk to West Jr. High School?  I moaned as flashbacks of cold days walking to school came to mind. Why? Why no bus for us?

That question stirred a deeper frustration related to the gaps that fed inferiority.  The tears poured faster and deeper as the truth emerged to take me back.

I never felt good enough.  I never felt equal to my white peers. I never, I never – the list inflated until I couldn’t take anymore.  I stopped walking, closed my eyes, inhaled, exhaled, and took another step.

What is it about Columbia that robs black people of their dreams?

Langston Hughes asked a similar question. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” Is anyone considering the significance of withering dreams?

The Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence has begun the arduous task of tackling crime in Columbia.  The 13 members have been split into groups - one to talk to people affected by violence; another to analyze police reports and court files; one to talk with nonprofits and social service agencies to measure what they are doing about crime; and the fourth to examine news site and social media accounts for information surrounding previous violent crimes.

The process of reducing crime begins with gauging what is being done.  It’s an important step that must be taken along the way.  Measuring the response of those empowered to prevent, protect and report crime is essential.  Those commissioned to serve must be held accountable when appropriate, and celebrated when successful.  

But, what about those dreams rotting in the sun?

What are the causes of crime?  Are those reasons reflective of broader societal ills, or are there cultural impediments indigenous to Columbia? If so, are we willing to go deeper than the traditional blame game to form strategies to shift that feeling that forced my feet to stop moving after considering the pain in the streets?

Some will say crime in Columbia is the result of an antagonistic police department.  Others will condemn social agencies, churches and other nonprofits. A large group will point a disparaging finger at parents.  There’s a measure of truth in each position, but what about the wilting of dreams?

It took my leaving Columbia to discern that woeful sensation that kept me walking slower than my potential.  Departing freed me from the clutch of internalized inferiority.  The deficiency of black owned and operated businesses, the absence of a who’s who list of blacks from Columbia recognized nationally, and a weak history of blacks elected to serve on the city council, reflect a deep void that withers potential dreams.

Dreams can’t thrive when power isn’t shared. Hope can’t be found when the capacity for more has no role models to lead the way.  Life can’t be found when you are limited to the welfares on your side of the street.

I’m back home after being away for 27 years.  Columbia has grown since I left, but not much has changed on the blocks that made raisins out of dreams.