Obama’s Warning to the Civil Rights Industrial Complex Will Go Largely Ignored

When the “First Black President” spoke to the oldest Civil Rights organization many saw this as a culmination of a “dream” and the struggle of millions of our formerly enslaved ancestors who “overcame”. Cue the orchestra for this tender moment… 

Pause.

Ok I’m over it. Utter hogwash! 

Sorry but this isn’t going to be a feel-good post about the merging of ideals within the “black community”. Excuse me while I hurl. Obama is a fence-sitter on many significant issues regarding LGBT rights depending on which way his political career may go. He’s a conflicted participant trying to hold another huge entity of dead ideals (that would be the CRIC TM WAOD) responsible for having an enforceable code of ethics. Well welcome to 2009 because we’re not in 1959, 1969 and we’re certainly not in 1999.  

First of all the “black community” is gasping its last few breaths for the collective of blacks who consider themselves part of something when joined strictly by race and a history of oppression by whites. They ignore seeking justice across the board, equality for black women and do not support LGBT rights as an whole. Just like the NAACP. Of course they’re forgetting one thing: black people are also LGBT, living in black residential neighborhoods and often are doubly oppressed. Black female LGBTs including trans women have it the worst of course. They’re raising children alone, face job discrimination as well as the extra threat of physical violence.

This is why I always discuss LGBT issues on this blog. Few blacks do because it’s “controversial” or they have to face the mighty Wall of Hypocrisy from other blacks who want to use religion as the “Shield of Ironic Condemnation” that is only reserved for those sinners. Meanwhile the behavior of the masses reflects no discipline or standards. Don’t you dare talk about their choices! Hence the 80% OOW birth rate, the lack of marriage and the perpetual joblessness amongst other things.

Khadija, blog host of Muslim Bushido broke it down on her post, The End of the Road for African-Americans, Part I about how the infrastructure in the “black community” doesn’t support ONE THING. There is no independent economy, no group accountability and no social/political governance. So tell me what exactly is the NAACP good for? It’s symbolism pure and simple. They’re not the only do-nothing organization but they’re the most readily thought-of. I don’t see them as a benign stallworth of an era that has since passed. I think their purpose is to serve as an obstruction for any real progress. There’s far too much money passing hands and zero transparency. Like BET, they are not a FRIEND TO BLACK PEOPLE!

They have a history of putting white people in charge or black men who give lots of speeches, pontificate on occasion and leave in a cloud of controversy over sexual misconduct. So far their current President Ben Jealous seems to be scandal-free (so far) but I’m not certain what he actually does. His prior work with Amnesty Int’l and career in social justice suggests he may have in fact been able to make some significant changes but with Julian Bond pulling the strings and a 64-member board of redirectionists holding the the purse I’m not expecting much. He may be infinitely qualified but he is a (token) symbol of of superficiality by a dead organization. They wanted their own bi-racial man who claims black heritage with a beautiful lawyer wife. Done and done. How juvenile can they be? 

I can’t think of one initiative in recent memory these CRIC organizations have actually done to build an infrastructure that would support a community. That’s for those still holding onto the idea there is one or one can be rebuilt. What have they done to lower the unemployment rate for blacks? They don’t teach domination tactics. They can’t get black men to accept responsibility for their children or to graduate college for goodness sake! They have got the “hand held out” beggar pose down to a tee. I wonder what the operating budget would be like if the white patronage went elsewhere? What investments do they have? I know that other blacks give money and time as well, largely African-American women doing the “save all of our people” dance – SOLO – as usual. If only they would pause, turn of the music and walk away the NAACP and others would have a whiplash-inducing about-face and suddenly find an agenda of relevance. We don’t hold them accountable so they will remain ineffective.

Now there’s word that the NAACP wants to stop focusing solely on black men feeling the butt end of white oppression and include other “people of color”. We already know they don’t do major campaigns that are for the benefit of black women. Well if those other POCs want to give money and time the way AA women do more power to them. It would give these women free time to find something else to do. If it’s just lip service forget it! Including other groups who if the shoe was on the other foot are not seeking alliances with AAs is just further proof of their insanity. They already do as little as possible. Next they’re going to open the bank for business and tell a select few to just come on in and take other people’s money. 

In fact in The End of the Road for African-Americans Part 2, Khadija discusses material from the 2006 Harvest Institute Report, where Bob Law states:

Rather than demonstrate that leadership by leading their own people to the necessary levels of self-sufficiency and competitiveness, these leaders have abandoned the critical issues facing Black people and have begun to chase an ambiguous romanticized notion of alliances with other groups without any demonstration or even an explanation as to how these alliances will actually empower Black people.  ** I had to come back to add this portion. Sometimes when ppl are in agreement it isn’t about cheering them on to gain favor but it’s synchronicity.

When the black community collapses under the bloat of its uselessness I sincerely hope these organizations: NAACP, Urban League, National Urban Network, blah blah blah are the first ones to go. Color of Change is right up there following the same failed model. Quite frankly the CRIC deserves a swift demise. As well as the Black Church. They have been a HUGE disservice to the very people they claim to be helping. Like that wanna-be organization Raising Him Alone which is another Trojan Horse of the deathstyles of the supa fly (that would be us, er other blacks) I have zero sympathy for the confused and unfocused non-leadership. 

I’d love to see some of these other orgs like National Council of  Negro Women step up to the plate. Perusing their websites and objectives they are so woefully behind the times I don’t even know where to begin. I see lots of ideas but I don’t see a radical attempt at dismantling the sources. I’m certain many will disagree with me and if you want to take up that cause of getting the CRIC to “act right” feel free to do so. We see how successful that’s been with regards to black men. I say it’s time for all people of consciousness (compassion and common sense) to just LEAVE. Let them fix their internal squabbles, power plays and apathy on their own. Then they can prove their loyalty and relevancy. Of course that isn’t going to happen and we’ll be better off just focusing on our own needs, forming alliances with those prepared and able to be fully functioning partners. 

To all the naysayers: PROVE ME WRONG! Haha. I’d love to see you try.


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P.S. I read Raymond Leon Roker’s piece in Huffington Post, NAACP vs. Gay Marriage. The timing was excellent as I was working on my response to Obama’s speech. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s also nice to see a black man defend LGBT rights and be so (fair) idealistic. Reading the comments it’s the usual yada yada yada (nonsense). What do you think? 

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The Black Community. What Black Community?

As some of you know I and another writer are guest blogging at What About Our Daughters. As the blog host of this blog I have a much smaller but loyal group of readers which I thank you. Moderating another blog requires a different skill set and I am literally flying by the seat of my pants. I quickly learned that I had to let go of “Faith’s Blogging Rules of Order” or turn off the comment feature entirely. I cross-posted my Monday conversation on single motherhood, the attitudes of black men towards black women (which is primarily about African-Americans) and what behaviors are condoned in the “black community”. I put it in quotes because many of us are operating within a dichotomy. 

I think because I presented a cross-section of pathologies at once it was the equivalent of throwing a molotov cocktail into a room. It wasn’t to destroy people but to destroy the dysfunctional mindset that’s killing us. Even as many of my readers read that blog, they also have their own. We’ve been discussing some of these specific issues for quite some time. In a way many of us are at a different points on our individual journeys but we’ve crossed similar terrain. So for me it was a lightbulb moment – which is why I wrote about it. I got some push-back here in my comment section but the majority are like-minded enough that we could discuss the sub-pathologies within the core ones. 

At WAOD that wasn’t necessarily the case. It definitely got people talking and that’s a good thing. It took me months to come to my current level of comprehension. For others it may never come. Some just wanted to be obstructionists for sport and are LUCKY for the privilege of being allowed at that forum.
  • What is the black community and what are its problems? 
  • What is being done to address them from a policy or legislative perspective and what of the choices of individuals? 
Some think it is as simple as being immersed in a multi-cultural setting where different mentalities flourish versus an all-black one. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory that being in an all-black setting in and of itself is the issue but it does help a mentality remain stagnant if your setting is full of people with pathologies. On the other hand you can be with a core group of people who don’t subscribe to harmful pathologies, still operate in a multi-cultural setting at times but prefer to spend as much time within their core group. Just like the majority of other groups prefer to remain within theirs. Now the question becomes one of determining whether your group is displaying behaviors that are in alignment with the majority of a productive society or not? As a non-white person in a society dominated by whites how are you helping to elevate the status and power dynamics within your group? You had better believe if there isn’t a collective plan for advancement your group is moving backwards – fast. Finally we must ask ourselves how are we defining ourselves? Is it by gender, religion, orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity, financial resources or other intangibles?

Those blacks that define the black community strictly by race are doing everyone a disservice. It’s regressive. This isn’t the 1950’s. Some look at it as badge that must be worn at all times. For one reason the ones that hold onto that viewpoint are often engaging in a lot of dysfunctional behavior that is tearing it down from the inside. It is they who place these unnatural burdens on other blacks to “prove” themselves with superficial displays of loyalty. Like claiming speaking correct English is “white”. How stupid is that?! They also usually enforce a code of skin shade racism against other blacks. It’s mostly men doing it to dark-skinned women. On some base level they consider themselves inferior and are trying to pump themselves up constantly. 

Black women are still being taught they are part of this “community” to hold together. It gives them nothing in return though. They are being used but see it as a sign of honor. The roles of men and women have been switched with the women doing everything. Those buying into this superwoman-not-needing-anything mindset are paying a heavy price. They are dying at an alarming rate and they are raising children alone. The majority of these women are not married or haven’t married well. No matter what anyone else says that is not normal. There’s also a group that clings to a religion totem where they also don’t examine what they believe or why. Some of those people at times focus on holding people whose lifestyles don’t match theirs as being wrong. It’s utter hypocrisy. Far too many blacks are only focused on white racism and not in seeking justice across the board. They only want to focus on discrimination from whites and not take responsibility for what they do to others. I also think there are any number of blacks that could be accepted as an “honorary” white person with all of the benefits they perceive would be bestowed upon them would sell out every black person they could. 

Others want to rip away the badge and be immersed with other cultures. That could work if people weren’t already wholly compromised about their identity. Many of us don’t know our specific ethnic and heritage legacies. I think it is something that every black person who cannot readily trace it should address – pronto! It would resolve so much of the unknown. I imagine it’s a similar feeling those who’ve been adopted feel. They want to know where they come from. That may or may not be possible but pretending it doesn’t matter has been detrimental. People hold onto to false totems of “blackness” because of this. The contributions of generations of African-Americans (AAs) in this country proves you don’t have to know the answers to these questions to succeed in influencing the course of this country. Yet things were often more cut and dry then. White people upholding supremacist practices did not readily distinguish the different intra-black ethnicities and cultural differences. They also didn’t allow for mass immigration of non-American blacks until after we got Civil Rights passed. So all of these things need to be acknowledged and respected.

A much smaller group is trying to work in concert with each other or just keep themselves and those in their immediate circles intact. It is what the black community used to be. Within that I’d say there’s another sub-group of black women (probably predominantly AA) who are advocating that regardless we need to be thinking as individuals and do what’s best for ourselves for a change. We’ve slaughtered enough sacred cows at the altar of the black community and have removed ourselves off the auction block. We want out period. We want to take our rightful place on the world stage. I think there’s a distinction to be made about the multi-cultural aspects of this. One I think may still be focused on being in a group of dissimilar people solely for that purpose. One has a power dynamic minefield to negotiate that has NOT been completed on the part of blacks. I think this is focused on behavior and sussing out those who would be our allies. Where ever we go we take our heritage, DNA and culture with us so we can mate with whomever we prefer. We want what best works for us. Now some people get stuck on the interracial aspects of this and claim we’re advocating “chasing after white men”. No one is talking about abandoning our blackness. 

That is what the other “false” black collective listed above does every day but they aren’t willing to accept that. The oppression banner is waved at every turn by organizations that depend on white patronage. They are benefitting on an individual level but cannibalizing the collective. Many still jump at the charge of any white racism directed at black males as if that is the greatest offense the world has ever seen. Yet they are ignoring all the internal problems. The crime stats prove that most black men in this country are being killed by other black men. So why isn’t that part of some major campaign? Black women are treated worse than dogs as a gender collective. I don’t need to revisit all of the reasons here but I was very clear in my Monday post what is going on and why. Some don’t want to agree on any of the points raised. That doesn’t make it any less true. Women and children have been abandoned by black men (mostly AA). That’s what is destroying the black community. Different choices other than the ones currently being made must be implemented. That’s the answer. I can’t say it will make huge dent for the collective but hopefully a few more people can take the red pill and get out of the Matrix.

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I’ve culled some of the comments from WAOD and would like to get more feedback:

I believe there are two different definitions of ‘Black community’ at work among black people (and that is if the idea of black community still remains an organizing principle for black folks because I do sometimes believe that a significant portion just live life).

The idea of ‘black community’ that holds sway for most of black people is the baseline definition, which is, ‘We as blacks continue to be born and thus continue to exist in the US etc.’ This definition or working principle requires no heightened concern about what happens after the physical existence (particularly for the men I should add).

Then there are those who feel that black community is about ‘thriving’ people, and recognize the need for purposeful organizing of resources and deliberate strategy (not just ‘topping up the black numbers’) because of a recognition that society itself is weighed against the very survival of black folks. This recognition is the key point of demarcation between the two groups, I believe, because it animates the second group towards deliberate living in a way to ensures survival and higher life quality in a hostile environment, as would not be the case if they believed for instance that ‘we have overcome’, ‘the government owes me’ etc etc.

There are also those trying to pull together these two diametrically opposed schools of thought (if you can call it that) on black community, and the compromises continue to come in form of rationalization for the first group and the changing of standards to accommodate their way of life.

So should the compromise be, in a manner of speaking, towards pulling the first group upwards or ratcheting the second downwards? Is it even possible to bring to two together, are they not fundamentally opposed?

When you apply the liberals lens to the activities of the first group, there isnt really anything wrong with single parenthood for an instance, but then (and this goes back to the key demarcating point), black people who are aware of their situation and the hostile forces arrayed against the very existence of black life, do not apply a liberal lens and liberal ideals for the life of black people.  ~~Halima

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The other Black community is headed and controlled by the CRIC (groups like NAACP), the BEE (the so-called black elites that hate most black people), and the EIC (entertainment that degrades, rap, BET, etc). They control our institutions, all propaganda, they control our national dialog, the control the rules of almost every debate about important social issues that affect MY Black community. The silence MY Black community with authoritarianism and the myth of Black unity. 

The “Two Black Americas” is always thought of in terms of class and income, but not in terms of values. No, a Chris Rock joke does not count because I know poor people who have the same value system I have in most areas.

When people would mention divestment from THE Black community in the comments section, my instant response was, wait a minute. There doesn’t need to be a withdrawal or retreat, there needs to be a cultural coup. MY Black community needs to take control of the major Black institutions and push an agenda that actually reverses the decline. ~~ Gina

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Take this study for instance:

http://www.urban.org/publications/310300.html

“There were significant associations between a mother’s education, race/ethnicity, marital status, poverty status, and age and her attitudes toward non marital childbearing. Better-educated mothers were significantly more likely to hold negative attitudes toward nonmarital childbearing than were those with limited schooling, and white and Hispanic mothers were less supportive of non-marital childbearing than were African Americans (table 1).”

So even among welfare recipients receiving the same amount of aid, the BW STILL were more supportive of non-marital childbearing than WW and HW.

SMH

This dysfunctionality has been normalized.

It’s the THINKING folks. That’s the problem. The mindset. ~~Felicia

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Men who have not had their natural disposition blunted to lead, protect, and provide don’t cop out or poop out over setbacks, competition, trials and tribulations, or warfare. Real men, who have not had their natural disposition blunted, will naturally STAND UP AND FIGHT for ANY resources or support. They will not sit back, and let others aggress their women and children.

The real deal is that men who walk away from their children blaming the mother (even if the woman is crazy) are not functioning in their natural state. Real men are territorial, and wouldn’t even leave the woman with the child: again he’d stay with her or remarry but his children would ALWAYS be with HIM. This comes from WITHIN –and only these men or other men who haven’t had their natural disposition blunted can HEAL this. 

HEALING THIS will not come about by demoralizing, denigrating, hating, shaming, blaming, neglecting, abandoning, and talking bad about in the company of the world black women and children.

What we NOW see in the black community IS MAN’S INHUMANITY—LITERALLY SPEAKING—TO WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN. ~~ Miriam

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If Wanting The Best Lives for Black Women & Girls Is "Political" or "Radical" Just Call Me Angela!

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the confused and hostile reactions expressed by those who’ve read my recent posts or follow me on various social media platforms. Some are forgetting the point of the conversation is to ensure the lives of children are not being negatively impacted unnecessarily. It’s also to remind black women that they are not and should not be taking on the role of mother, father, breadwinner and superwoman solo. You can NOT really effectively parent if you’re bone tired, emotionally drained or choosing which bill to skip to make ends meat. You will age yourself prematurely from lack of sleep, nutrition and any time for yourself. Even if you have help it’s still not the same thing as having a mate to ease your burdens and remind you of how special you are. 
I spend lots of time online and generally enjoy chatting and connecting with people. Of course it’s a public forum and though I’ve had many great conversations online here on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and other social media unless I’ve actually met you eyeball to eyeball we don’t know each other really. Sometimes you have to have a face to face to really suss people out. That may or may not be possible or necessary. Nor is that a goal of mine actually. 
We spend time online to network, open our social circles and to meet like-minded people. I’ve had people upend a lot of my confused and disordered thinking. I have felt angry, frustrated and resistant. I’ve asked questions. I’ve had to be open to work through this. I’ve drawn certain lines in the sand. It’s a process. I am very grateful for that. We all won’t see eye to eye on the same issues and may have to part ways. That’s okay because we have to live the life of our choosing. We cannot let other people dictate our philosophies. Regardless I know I always try to conduct myself in a respectful manner, but in my forum I will speak my mind as I see fit. Without apology. If the message isn’t for you then you are free to ignore me at will safe in the knowledge that your life is where you want it to be.
Yet some people don’t want to walk away. They want to get you to change your mind to their way of thinking. Why is that? It always amazes me when people disagree by selectively picking one sentence or one point while discarding the entire message. I shouldn’t be surprised. This isn’t for those who arrived at their destination point and have disembarked. This is for those still traveling who may decide to continue, change course or get off.
What I didn’t realize was that I was a radical. I mean I’m an average woman living an average life. I’ve long struggled to feel free to be myself and to find out who I am fully divested and free. I’ve been hampered by some warped set of invisible rules as well as the conditioning of people I call family. Being your own person takes a lot of effort. I’ve run far far away hoping distance and time would transform me. It can but hasn’t always happened on my schedule or the way I preferred. These experiences are apparently part of my journey. You have to try a few things for size and push back on certain ideas and ideologies. I’ve still held on to the belief that some of the things I’ve seen while on that journey of discovery didn’t mean what they do. Everything has been stripped and burned. 
I’ve taken the red pill and am out of the Matrix.
While I was inside I was often sullen and miserable and I couldn’t figure out why. No amount of religion, partying, traveling, job changes or talk could change it. I had people outside the Matrix telling me I was being negative. It was very frustrating, because it’s not like I was trying to be negative. I felt as if I was trapped by something. I thought it was white racism. I thought it was some untold childhood trauma that I’d blanked out. I thought it was living in a particular city. I thought it was looking a certain way. I knew it was something but I could never figure out what. I’ve always felt restless. Meeting really nice people always made me slightly uncomfortable. I figured it was an act and the “real” them would come out eventually. People with problems I could relate to. Content people – no way. Too scary. 
I had to have everything in my life come to a complete standstill as I’ve worked through this. I felt I was making some progress but still couldn’t put my finger on it. I started blogging because I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve kept a journal on and off since I was a child and going through some of them I found myself circling the same recurrent themes. So I’ve just been writing hoping for a breakthrough. Well I’ve had mine and more may be coming. I’m looking forward to it. 
My journey is my own. I’m sharing parts of it hoping this will help someone else. You will have your own path. I cannot convince you of anything without you going through the process yourself. If you choose to. This isn’t about me really. I think there’s a message that’s been written on my heart and I’ve been charged by a Divine Power (however you may define that) to speak on it. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the works of other bloggers. I’ve been reading a lot of literature and there’s even more content I need to learn from. It’s a journey that winds and continues. There are other women with messages on their hearts that they’ve been humble enough to share. You have to make yourself vulnerable to open up. You have no control over how people respond to that message or even if they’ll listen.
Often these discussions can be so painful that people don’t want to hear them or misinterpret them. People are so invested in clinging to their totems they’re drowning. I am not responsible for how anyone reacts to my message. All I’m responsible for is being my authentic self. I can state clearly that I have been. I try to make sure I have proper boundaries in place though. This isn’t a forum where anything goes. We are discussing serious and painful issues. I am not a therapist. 
What I am is a black woman who wants the world to be a kinder place for all the children of the world. It has been written on my heart to feel especially concerned for the welfare of little black girls. I see so many who look like they’d rather be anywhere than where they are. I’ve felt that way at times. We can’t just hope – we have to take action and be responsible for our choices. We have to learn how to make good ones though. It’s the difference between being independent and free. 
When I speak of the “black community” lie I am talking about the dysfunction that has gone unchecked. I’m talking about decaying residential areas that are unsafe. I’m talking about these unrealistic expectations on black women to do everything, fix everything and diminish themselves in every way so some insecure men feel better about themselves. I’m talking about all the time, money and energy black women give to organizations from their local church to the NAACP who do not reciprocate pound for pound. Nor are we demanding it collectively. I’m talking about the myopic view of what the community is and why it’s so stifling. I’m talking about the strict regime of a group of blacks who either a) despise other blacks  b) stress jumping through hoops of false expressions of blackness c) being tied by degrading music and entertainment and d) make no mention of attacking these dysfunctions head on. Some of these people are poor, some are poor in spirit, some belong to what they refer to as an “elite” class, some are male-identified, some are males and some like to make lots of excuses. 
It’s just the same when I discuss how a majority of black men despise black women. It’s because of their weakened position post-slavery. Guess what though? We are in a similar weakened state as well. We’ve just decided to work through it. We had to try because we are responsible for carrying new life to term. The men can’t stand even the tiniest amount of criticism. Why is upholding a false contract of superiority my responsibility? I had an acquaintance revisit an online exchange between me, her and her male friend where he referred to black women derogatorily. I felt he was being disrespectful and she let him violate my space. I responded in kind. She brought it up a week later to admonish me. I had to set her straight again that I did not owe him any apologizes and he had crossed a line. She then admitted he had a horrible attitude toward women and it wasn’t a big deal. Well how could that be when she brought it up again? My male friends don’t publicly refer to women as hoes and definitely not in my presence. We are clearly working from two different paradigms of acceptable behavior. The very idea that I demand to be treated with respect should never be questioned. People who share a common set of values don’t. My calling someone an idiot is not the great offense of modern times, but apparently it is if he’s black.
Unemployment is always used as a reason for child abandonment. If the black man had a job he’d be a father. So what of the millionaires and celebrities who behave the same way? Why don’t the whole lot of men terminate their reproductive capabilities? Why create a life and walk away? It’s an excuse. You can’t have a large group of men perpetually out of work for four decades unless there are other pathologies in existence. If you drop out of school, have an attitude and sense of entitlement you may find you have put more obstacles in your path than anyone else. It can’t all be about white racism. If it is then everyone should just take cyanide and be done with it because your life is apparently over.
For all of those unpleasantries we do have those that provide, protect, befriend and behave. They’re just lost in the sea of perpetual insanity. We have numerous examples of people who’ve taken risks as well. The irony of course is how many in the “black community” stood by and did nothing or fought other people tooth and nail for daring to have a vision. It was their vision that improved the lives of the very people who were ungrateful and trying to block blessings. Now that most of those pioneers and rabble-rousers are dead it’s all gravy. The stench of that hypocrisy leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t like revisionist history. If people are cowards they should live a coward’s life with its coward’s rewards. I was willing to take some common sense statements from a racist (in an earlier post) to prove my point about the abnormal behavior in the “black community” lie. I guess I am a radical after all.
I will leave you with this comment from another blogger who has been instrumental in assisting me on this journey. This isn’t about dissecting the choices of individuals and their lives. This is about the collective (including those left of what used to be called the black community) making a choice whether they want to see themselves rendered in a permanent underclass of haves and have-nots OR if they want to salvage what’s left with the decent people who would work for their survival and elevation. Now can somebody explain to me how this is radical, political, disruptive, presumptive, impossible, offensive and anything else other than NORMAL?

And so we call on those AA women who want to live good lives to reject having OOW births. To reject “Booty Call/Hook-Up” culture, and EVERYTHING connected to it. We call on AA women to claim their God-given right to be WIVES who are protected and provided for. To claim their God-given right to live in peace and security.

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You Wanna Know Why ACT UP! Has Been On My Mind Lately?

Many moons ago I took a marketing class for creatives where we were told to find our character in mythology. The key was to get to the core of who we were as individuals and find a way to reach a mass market that cut across nationality and various cultures. Every group has certain archetypes they can easily relate to. They may not share the specific character but they’re similar. This was an intense 6-week process where we set out in groups of five and we needed a large population to approach in person to get an assessment. The person being assessed couldn’t make direct contact. Long story short my character is the goddess that fights injustice. 

 Now I have to be honest I hesitantly agreed with the assessment because I wondered if this was part of the black woman as matriarch savior (to her detriment). I also wondered where the conditioning within the “black community” stood and if that in turn influenced me. At least I can articulate that now, but back then I wasn’t sure why I felt reluctant about adopting it. Since we had to get a sample pool of 20 people per person and complete a complicated process involving Jung and lots of mythology books I finally accepted this. Injustice does bother me as I’m sure it does many people. I wasn’t exactly gunning for Mother Theresa’s position though, but I always figured I’d do my part to try to give back to the world on some level.

 So I’ve volunteered for numerous causes. One of the first organizations I went to was ACT UP! I know living in NYC in the early 90’s had something to do with. Also some of my neighbors were very involved so it was easy. All I had to do was walk upstairs to their apartment, make some calls, go to marches and pass out flyers. It felt good to do something. 

Since reading the post Portraits in Activism: Larry Kramer at Muslim Bushido blog I’ve been thinking about those days again. Another blogger mentioned the group in the comment section yesterday. All which inspired my post from this morning. My friends were very radical. They got into police clashes and put themselves in some precarious situations at times. Of course they were mostly male and white. I was young and idealistic but I wasn’t getting arrested or beat on by cops voluntarily. So I decided flyer duty and speaking at neighborhood meetings was probably more conducive to my health and well-being. What I remember was the passion and the focus. 

 I wondered if this was what it had been like during Civil Rights. Of course I knew that was a LOT more dangerous and to compare the two would be inaccurate. I remember wondering what had happened to the passion from other people for things. I think complacency is too easy a fall-back for many. I think people like talking around issues instead of doing anything about them. I’ve been one of those people as well. We also get bogged down when we have to struggle to meet our needs. Especially if we don’t have help. This comes from doing too much alone. Which brings me back to the “black community” (as viable, reciprocal & supportive to black women and children) lie.

The 2008 election was important to many but where are a lot of them today? There should be just as many people pushing for health care and for a Main Street bailout. We have to be strategic, numerically formidable and persistent. We have to stop waiting for somebody else to step forward. If it is safe to do so we have to – of course using wisdom to assess the situation.

 As a non-white person living in a dominant white culture there is much I could find fault with. There are other abuses and misuses of power going on that have a big impact. I have to talk about all of them, not just the things that may immediately affect me. We have to try to right the cosmic imbalance and get it as balanced as possible. Of course I know things will never be equal, but many people seem stuck on railing against that. We have to move things in increments. So this is how I am doing my part. This may not be your “issue”. Find a cause and put out some effort towards the light. One pebble and one ripple becomes many and we can turn the tide.