Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hey folks! My 1st post in 5 years!!

Over the weekend, someone on my neighborhood listserv posted the following:
“Young kid soliciting in the hood. Just came to my house”
Like most of you, we get plenty of people going door-door, either selling something or trying to get you to sign a petition. Yet in my neighborhood, the only time anyone posts a “heads up” about it is when it’s a young black boy going door to door. I know this because I’ve been home every time these posts go up, and every time the kid in question is a black boy.
I decided I was finally going to say something about this and replied “Can I ask why is it that we only get these emails about kids soliciting in the neighborhood when the kid in question is a young black boy?”
The response I got was interesting. A number of people sent me emails thanking me for bringing it up, it’s always bothered them too. (By the way, we’re one of maybe 5 black/mixed families in our neighborhood). Then the listserv moderator said he was ending discussion because it was getting sensitive, and others piped in to say “we’re not racist”, and a whole line of discussion started about the need for permits.
I’ve been sitting here quietly steaming about this brush off and have decided that I am going to reply with the following:
It seems the point I was trying to make the other day re: solicitors wasn’t as clear as I had hoped. It had nothing to do with permits. I again ask, why are we only seeing posts when the solicitor (with or without a permit, I really don’t care) is a black boy? I’ve been asked why have I “brought up race when the original post didn’t mention the race of the kid”. The original post didn’t have to bring it up. I was home when he came to my door. He was black. I was home the past 3 times this has come up – all 3 times they were black boys. We don’t seem to receive any “heads-up” when the solicitor isn’t a black boy. Case in point – on Saturday, three car loads of Jehovah’s Witnesses parked in front of my house and began going door to door. All of the missionaries were black women, yet no “heads up” was posted. Or whenever a political canvasser comes knocking on our doors during election years. And let’s not forget when the Whitman kids are selling Christmas wreathes.
It’s as if everyone thinks that slurs and symbols are necessary/sufficient indicators of racism. Racism isn’t just a man with a mullet in a white sheet. It’s also the unspoken and the unseen actions or in-actions of a community. It’s living in a white suburb with little to no interaction with people of color. It’s talking about how good the schools in the neighborhood are, while not realizing that the schools are overwhelmingly white.
To understand where I’m coming from, I’m going to paraphrase from a talk recently given by John Mata:
You need to realize that Black people think in terms of Black people. When a black kid is shot in another part of the country, we don’t see it as something separate from us because we know that it could be our child, our sibling, or us, that is shot.
White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.
As was shown by the response to my original post, what you are affected by are attacks on your own character. To several of you, the suggestion that “people in Bannockburn are racist” is an attack on them as a racist. They are unable to differentiate their participation within a racist system from an accusation that they, individually, are a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn't exist because they don't see it.
The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You're wrong, I'm not racist at all. I don't even see any racism.” The immediate response to my post was not “that is wrong, we should do better.” No, the response is self-protection: “That’s not my fault, I didn't do anything. You are wrong.”
Racism is subtle. It’s nuanced. Racism is the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all-white Lord of the Rings cast because of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an entirely fictionalized history. Racism is when I, as a bystander, broke up a fight between 2 white parents at my daughter’s soccer game, yet was the one called by my daughter’s coach to find out what I was fighting about and asked not to come to any more games.
That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.
In a few years, I’m going to give my son “The Talk”, just like my father gave me. What’s “the Talk” you ask? It’s a portentous, culturally compulsory lecture that warns young black men about the inherent strikes against them, about the society that is built to bring them down. It is a harbinger of the inevitable, a wishful attempt at exceptionalism, passed down like an heirloom. Every black man born and raised in this country has had this talk. There are so many things I need to tell my son; so many innocuous, trite thoughts that may not make a single difference. Don't wear a hoodie. Don't try to break up a fight. Don't talk back to cops. Don't ask for help. But they're all variations of a single theme: Don't give anyone an excuse to kill you.
Black children grow up early to life in The Matrix. We're not given a choice of the red or blue pill. Most white people, never have to choose. The system was made for White people, so White people don't have to think about living in it.
But apparently, I can't point this out.
Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we're being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or– playing the race card. Or even worse, we're told that we are being racist.
But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.
That’s it, that’s all I have to say on the subject. Maybe it will get a few of you to think before posting. Maybe it won’t.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why I Haven't Blogged in Awhile

Facebook has taken me away from this blog for sometime now. Why? It's much easier to have flowing discussions on FB than here on the blog. For example, here's what I'm talking about today on FB:

My Status update - To quote Nate Silver, if Coakley blows it with an electorate that gives Obama 59% approval, that's very different than if voters are totally fed up with the Dems.

I think Im going to be a libertarian from now on. I love Obama, just because he is such an inspiration, but I am fed up with big government, tired of them being in every little bit of business. Im just fed up with Politicians.

Amen Michelle...I am going Independant

I think voters are just plain fed up. Neither party has answers! How disappointing that even though we have a Democrat in the White House, as well as Democrat Pelosi and all her minions in Congress, we're still at a stand still. I'm Republican on most counts, but I'm fairly certain no Republican would be doing any better.

Voters aren't fed up. Most voters don't even pay attention to what's going on (if they did, we'd have much higher voter turnouts). There's a very vocal minority on both wings that are getting all of the press because it sells ad revenue. Most politicians, of both parties, actually care very much about the work they do, but differ on how to best help the country. It's easy to blame politicians, but you you know what? They didn't get there by themselves. We have elections - we put them in office. If we don't like them, we have this wonderful system that allows us to vote them out of office and replace them with someone else. There's so much that actually does get done on the Federal, State and local level that most people don't hear about because it's not mentioned in the 10 second soundbites on the nightly news or the talking heads on TV don't argue over it. Go to your legislators website, read the bills they're working on, write to them to tell them what you think. But most of all, vote. (this PSA brought to you by

Me again
To qualify, voters aren't fed up with the person that "they" voted for, they're fed up with anyone who doesn't do exactly what they want them to do.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Speaking as a black man, the reaction to Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize isn't that surprising - we've faced this our whole lives. None of us has ever deserved a promotion, been accepted into a college, or been qualified for any type of accolades that we've received - there's always a more deserving person who should have gotten it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


"You are being shagged by a rare parrot"!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

And we're off!

All packed, now to get some sleep before leaving Wednesday for India. A quick flight from National to JFK, then a 14 hour flight to Delhi. Yikes!

Sunday, September 06, 2009


The Mrs. and I are leaving for India in a few days. Hopefully, we'll have plenty of 'net access so I can share our journey with anyone who's interested. Until Wednesday, Namaste!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This Makes Me Feel A Little Better

I've been concerned about the Obama administration's stance on Gay Rights, in particular their brief on the DOMA case. In reading James McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" - a great book on the Civil War, I came across the following about Lincoln.

"Nor did he go as far as many other Republicans who called for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia and repeal of the fugitive slave law."

The real firebrand at the time in the Republican party was Seward. But it's because he was such a firebrand that he wasn't able to get elected to the Presidency.

Not to different from what we're saying about Obama today. But we don't remember Lincoln as the President who was reluctant to take action on slavery. Instead, we remember him as "The Great Emancipator".

Let's give the brother some time to get things done.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Haven't posted anything in awhile. Just wanted to say how disappointed I am in the administration's brief on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Hopefully, they know what they're doing. They've proven that they're playing the long game, not the short one, but on this one, I don't know.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009


My right shoulder has been killing me for about 2 weeks now. It started when my dog, Kaleb, decided it would be fun to chase a squirrel while I was walking him. He ran off and nearly pulled my arm off. I didn't think much of it at first - I even played a game in goal the following Sunday.

This past Friday while at work - the pain suddenly became unbearable. I suffered through it and even went out for my friend Dan's birthday. Nothing like beer to fix your pain, right? Wrong. By Saturday, I couldn't lift my arm above my head and I finally saw the doctor today. Prognosis? It's my rotator cuff. It's not torn, but it is damaged. I'm looking at a month's worth of rehab now.

Good times.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Found a Blackberry

In a crowd as large as yesterday's, it was inevitable that a ton of cell phones, digital cameras, etc. would be lost. We found one yesterday in Crystal City. If anyone out there reads this and knows who's phone has the following number, leave me a message and I'll do the best I can to get it back to them.