Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thoughts About A Birthday

For me, in the last few years birthdays bring about thoughts of my mortality.  However, I am not afraid of death.  I do not wish to be younger when I look at these times, this era of human civilization which is becoming more uncivilized by the month.  I do not relish going back to when I was young.  Being black, that was no picnic.  The black child faces a loss of innocence very soon in America because of an early awareness that you are black and second rate.  This is imposed on the consciousness quickly and quietly.  We become damaged goods very early. 

Now humanity is warring with itself it appears almost everywhere, and being under an American system, a system and way of thinking that is not balanced and is hostile to the nature of what it means to be human, makes it even worse.  America should not ever be ruling this world. It is too vicious to the human spirit to be permitted to get its' influence everywhere.  It is too racist, degenerate, anti-intellectual, and hostile to be allowed to take over and get a grip on the souls of humanity.  Buying things to acquire a sense of self worth, being in debt all the time to get those things, bowing down to the dollar as god without having a real culture kills the spirit over time. 

I see killed spirits everyday on my job or when I go out shopping and see the disheveled masses.  My parents always taught me to be careful of my appearance even if I were just going out for something as ordinary as visiting a friend or going with them to the grocery store.  Their rules stuck with me. 

When I leave my home it is rare that I see a  person who cares how he or she looks.  People's spirits have been broken in this country.  Most aren't even aware of it.  Money, technology, and buying stuff we desire to have a sense of status does not make up for what a spiritual being needs.  We are not just material beings, but there is a more profound spiritual essence in us.  American life has deprogramed who we really are.  It is trying to do this with all humanity.  It is trying to root up the spiritual in humanity everywhere.   It started on black people 40 years ago, and all the world can now see what we have become.  

Now it is said that over 40% of Americans are on anti-depressants and the use covers almost all age groups including children from ages 0 to 3.   I worked in a pharmacy when I was  in graduate school back in the late 80s and even back then many people were coming in to have prescriptions filled for anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.  You have to be a strong one because American life can drive you crazy.

I turned 52 yesterday.  I feel my age and more sometimes.  I don't have the best health, but I don't think I have any life threatening illnesses.  I don't have any wrinkles.  My hands look like a young person's.  At heart I feel young and have retained a degree of innocence. 

I get e-mail updates when a young Iraqi woman named Sarah writes posts.  She mentioned that she mostly attracts people who are older than she is.  I'm the opposite.  I attract mainly those who are younger.  I try to squirm out of  being around them, but I often end up with people younger than myself and who are not Americans.  I can't seem to eradicate these people out of my life.  

At this point in my life I have heard enough and seen enough, so being around people does not bring me self validation.  I often like to be alone.  When I was younger I felt something was lacking in me because I was alone.  I got depressed about it.  I felt inadequate.  Now I have a great sense of my self-worth.  I feel that I am "royalty," so I do not hesitate if the behavior around me is bad to look down my nose at people or treat them as if they are invisible.  Even though I might be misjudged because of my skin color or gender, I do not judge anyone for these things.  I look at behavior and outlook.   I try to figure out any hidden agendas what might be a detriment to me or my people. No one can look down on me in the end, and for those who attempt to I let them know in my own subtle way that they have no right and that they have already failed.  

When I went into my fourth decade on this earth, I cried. Now I do not cry about getting older.  I don't blame myself anymore for the things American society stole from me.  I was robbed like most black women.  I was left with few options from my own group and certainly from white people.  I don't get all patriotic about America because I understand that this will never be fully my homeland.   I feel nothing when I think of America.  I am numb to it. It is about as important to me as a piece of unclean litter blown by the wind down the street.  The only affect it has is I hate what it does to people, what it transforms them into.  I will always be the child of those who were kidnapped and  whose identity erased.  I guess some will ask why do you feel this way? You aren't impoverished like a lot of black people.  You're middle class, comfortable.  It's true, but this is not a place I would have wanted to have raised children.  I would not want to see them damaged by their self-hating own group and the larger society.  Meeting the right kind of man was nearly impossible here.  Yes, I have had several marriage proposals, even a couple in the last year (not from Americans), but I turned them all down because I doubted their motives.  For other women if settling is fine, that is their problem.  It is not for me.  I have a right to the best or I'd rather be alone. 

I still hold on to what I was told one day in another country like a precious jewel.  It remains in my heart hidden.  I wear it still close to my heart like a pendant.  It may very well be true what some people told me in Botswana years ago.  I was told I look like some of the members of a tribe in Ghana who are royalty.  Some people can see more than the surface in others. They can connect beyond a certain point in time.   I can even do this sometimes. There are the seers who few, and then there are the rest who are blind or very myopic.  What those people of Botswana told me helped me to hold my head up high.  For a time after their words I was tortured by loneliness and tragedy, now I have came back to what I was meant to be. 

Yesterday I went out alone to celebrate my birthday.  I went to a Chinese buffet.  I am not afraid or ashamed to eat alone.  I walked into that restaurant with dignity, better dressed than all the Americans black and white and the Mexicans. Like most everywhere the people looked disheveled, run down.  The Chinese waitresses and one waiter were dressed better than some of the customers.  I got the waiter this time.  He was a tall Chinese man probably in his early thirties.  I'm 5'7 and a half and he was taller than me.  I think it might be the Japanese who are short.  I've only met one Japanese person.  Some of  the Chinese I've met are just as tall or taller than I am. 

Some girls' and women's self-worth all depends on whether or not they get male attention.  It does not for me.  It's a nice dessert, but I don't always need dessert.  You kind of learn to live with it in America. 

I don't try to make men into something more or less than they are.  I don't get into the debate about which gender is so bad or which is so good.  I've seen ugliness from them both, just like I've known some men and women with noble and pure spirits, who tried to be good in this world which drives people who are weak to evil.

My Chinese waiter was very kind, and I can see when a man is attracted.  He wasn't too bad looking either.  He looked like someone who should be a professor in a lecture hall instead of waiting tables in a restaurant.   In this world some of us become displaced.... 

I don't eat a whole lot when I eat.  I know my limits and refuse to stuff myself.  Yesterday was unusual.  I really love Chinese food.  I had a big appetite  for a change and ate two plates of fried rice, those wonderful green beans, spicy beef, chicken, fried potatoes with parley, a tomato, cucumber, parley and cilantro shrimp salad, two half cups of soup so spicy it made my nose run, topped off by a big spoonful of banana pudding, two pieces of cantaloupe, and a piece of honeydew melon. I took my fortune cookie and left.

When I got home I had only been there about 15 minutes when the phone rang.  I thought it might be my brother calling from his job, but instead when I looked at the caller ID I saw it was one of my Turkish ex-friends or friends.  They still consider me their friend even though I told them to get lost in November.  I'd said I had nothing in common with "you people."  2013 was not been a banner year for me.  I felt I needed a break from all except a minimal amount of people.  I was mentally and spiritually exhausted.  I needed renewal. 

I had already got an e-mail the other week from the Turkish Student Association inviting me to an afternoon lecture at the university. It was on one of those goody goody topics about world peace and people coming together. We get these all the time, but the world becomes more violent and unstable.  The professor leading the lecture shouldn't be in my town but up in DC preaching to the warmongers and bloodsuckers the need for peace and cooperation.   I unsubscribed to the e-mail once again and gave my harsh but truthful reason why.  I used to say all the time that Turks will not take no for answer, and from my experience of being around many of them for the last 10 years many don't. 

So  the call was from the Turkish friend I had told I wasn't having nothing else to do with any of them.  I was sure she would get the word out to the rest.  After not seeing any of them or saying anything for four months, I was being invited for a little get together for my birthday.  I had been praying for the last weeks that I wouldn't run into any of these people while I was out shopping.  I got nervous last week when I was out shopping for groceries. I thought I saw one of the Turkish men I know.  But it turned out to be just a regular white guy. 

When I talked to Ebru I gave no indication that I had once been angry.  I was surprised by the call.  I was also surprised how quickly I acquiesced to her invitation to come over for some Turkish tea and snacks.  She even said she would cook dinner if I liked, but I said I had already stuffed myself at China Star, so my stomach was not going to hold much else for the remainder of the day. 

For my 50th birthday the Turks gave me a surprise birthday party.  I was given everything they felt I liked including a Turkish tea pot.  I even was given a book of poetry and artwork by the poet Rumi who they refer to as Mevlana.  I know how to make Turkish tea not the coffee.  I really love the latter. 

I've long wondered why this people want me around and cling to me. They claim that they all love me.  Is love still possible in this world, I sometimes wonder?  I used to really believe in it.  How sad that I have become a skeptic. 

Yesterday on my 52nd birthday I only met with two Turkish female friends. Sezin was ill with a stomach bug, but she tried to spend some time with us.  Sometimes she'd go back to her room and sick.  Being with them brought back memories of Selcuk and Nur who lived in the same apartment complex before they moved to Buffalo, New York with their young son Burak last summer.  I was the last of their friends that they saw before they left.  They invited me over for dinner.  Selcuk had just finished defending his dissertation.  They begged me to come and visit them in Buffalo and say that we would all go over to Canada that is just next door.  We would also see Niagara Falls.  Selcuk is now an assistant professor and Nur has a position at a college as well.   I thought of them last night and rather missed them.  Their ghosts were there, and I asked about them.  I had been very angry with Ebru and all of the Turks but tea, cigara borek which is a Turkish pastry, and dessert had a way of softening me up.  She said that in Turkish culture it is difficult to stay mad at good friends.  If there is a split eventually the hope is to embrace again. 

I tried to explain what had happened to cause my loss of trust.  It was all filled with complexities because I am filled with complexities.  In the end I said that in the decade that all these Turks and other Muslims have come into my life and passed through, I have felt more like I a full human being than I ever had except when my maternal grandparents were alive and when I was in Botswana and was accepted by the Africans.  Americans black or white have never fully acknowledged my existence on the scale that these people have.  I wasn't seeking acknowledgement or attention, it came to me.  She told me the reason is because in many ways I am not the average American.  I never was because my grandparents never lost touch with what it means to be human.  They were still African in their ways because somehow they never lost touch with that what it is to be African and an people of the East. They left me with the best part of them like they left the best part of themselves with my mother. 

Is it good to forgive? Yes.  I am a Christian, and Jesus taught forgiveness.  I see how lack of forgiveness and jealously destroyed my father's family.   Is it good to trust?  Yes, but the world we live in is more dangerous and evil that it has been in world history.  But if we are to fully be alive, we have to try to trust somebody. 

Just before I was about to get up to leave my friends last night I found the fortune cookie in my purse...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The World Is Still a Madhouse and I'm Back

I didn't intend for this post to be so long, but it ended up that way.  I had a lot to say.  I feel better telling it.

The last time I posted to my blog the world was the same as now.  I think it gets worse by the month.  I believe  even madness was slower paced once.  I have no way of proving it though. I think madness used to come in new forms by the century or half century or decade or yearly or biannually, but today different forms of human neurosis appear every month if not every week.  I believe many people are no longer able or willing to stop and take a look at themselves. Many aren't coping.  They won't allow themselves to ask 'Am I a little bit out of control; why I am doing what I'm doing; does it make any sense?' 

I stop sometimes, be quiet, and just think.  I have a thick conscience so maybe it is a little easier for me to ask myself are the things I'm doing in my life of any intrinsic value?  Have I been knowingly cruel to anyone?  Who is toxic in my life and should I start avoiding them?  Am I really learning anything of benefit from these people or am I just hanging out with them so as not to be lonely?  Are the people on Facebook really my friends or since I never talk to maybe two out of over 300 people am I deluding myself and wasting time?  Should I have kept up blogging and wrote for myself instead of posting something for an audience on social media?  Is it healthy to hold on to people that make me unhappy and for whom I have little trust or respect?  

I decided to come back to blogging because I enjoyed it far more when I wrote a post then posting on social media whether Facebook or Twitter.  It felt more creative, and it was fun to express my thoughts in a long way instead of in one sentence, abbreviations, or just chunks of words. I know blogging is out of style, but I'm writing for myself.  I will post what I blog on Twitter, and people can accept my offering or not.  

I deleted, not deactivated my Facebook page on Sunday night.  It will be all gone in fourteen days.  The chains are gone, and I have such a sense of relief.  The final act of a relative made it clear to me that I was making the right decision to jettison Facebook out of my life for good.  It was a cousin I only saw once when I was girl.  I barely remember when we met.  He had come down here from New York with one of my uncles.  I think he might have been an older teenager or in his early 20s and I was much younger, still a girl, perhaps a pre-teen.  In all those years since, we had not communicated.  In fact, I had forgotten about him.  I have many cousins on my father's side of the family that I have never met.  Many of my father's people left the South years ago like many black people did to escape Jim Crow laws seeking what they believed would be a better life in the North. Some succeeded, but most did not. 

Black people tend to be blind followers.  When a few gather the courage to do something different, many others will follow if they relate to the ones who decide to make a move.  We don't give much thought or do much research to really find out whether a situation or location is suited to us on an individual level.  We go by hearsay. We do everything collectively.  Our fear to really leave the plantation has lead us to a culture of failure because many of us are anti-intellectual and easily led astray by various con artists whether they are preachers, celebrities, sport figures, one particular political party or "my president." 

Almost a month ago one of my cousins who lives here in town told me on Facebook to introduce myself to one of our cousins after I saw an old photo of my dad on the cousin's page where he had been tagged. Most of dad's people killed themselves with alcohol.  Big city life corrupted them beyond any redemption, so they self destructed.  Also before they left the South my grandparent's home was one of those early dysfunctional residences that are the norm now.  The only difference was there were more kids in the house and a father; my grandmother had a total of eighteen pregnancies, fourteen children survived.  Her husband, my grandfather, threw away his money on alcohol, gambling, and women. This is the kind home my father grew up in.  

By contrast my mother grew up in a stable home far out in the country.  Her parents were religious and kind having both black and white friends.  Both family and friends could depend on them.  My maternal grandfather had drank when he was young, but unlike my paternal grandmother who found excuses to remain with an abusive husband, my mother's mom gave my grandfather an ultimatum.  She hated alcohol even though my grandfather was never abusive or violent.  He'd go out and drink, come home and collapse.  But grandma didn't want her kids seeing that, so she threaten to take my mother and her older brother who were both small kids and leave.  Grandma was never a doormat.  Granddad never touched alcohol again.  He was good at going cold turkey like that and never returning to the garbage dump.  I remember when he stopped smoking.  I was a teenager, and he had heard from some preacher that smoking was a sin because our bodies are temples and putting everything in our bodies is not good.  Granddaddy who rolled his own cigarettes with Prince Albert tobacco and loved to chew tobacco announced he was stopping them both, and he did.  He never smoked a rolled cigarette or chewed tobacco again.  He encouraged grandma to stop dipping stuff, but it took her awhile to kick her habit.  

My father's family was stubborn, rebellious, and self destructive like way too many black people.  They have made little important progress as human beings.  They were highly materialistic and liked the "good things in life" such as big cars and nice houses, but they lacked moral strength and self control.  They tended to sink into madness, disease and self destruction.

So I introduced myself to one of my cousins who lost her mom to cancer about two years ago. Immediately I could sense our personalities were not going to mix well.  I looked at her Facebook page and comments and she seemed bitter, arrogant, and angry.  She'd post these almost whiny complains on her page.  I learned that one of her sons had been murdered at age 25 and left five children behind. I felt sorry for her.  I want to help people, but I have learned only the person can help themselves, however, they must have the will-power to renew their minds.  Most don't.  Most will drive themselves down to hell.  I feel sorry for people obsessed with changing the world or some individual.  They will 99% of the time fail. 

Well, this cousin told me she would tell another cousin about me.  This other cousin who lost her father back in December had started a family reunion page on Facebook.  Suddenly I was getting several friends requests from relatives daily.  I was delighted and wanted to connect.  I was added to the group and I started to post old family photos of our uncles, aunts, grandmother, grandfather, some of their fathers and mothers.  Many  seemed to like them, but the first cousin I talked to who'd lost her son said off hand she'd seen most of them and a grandson of my uncle that the page was dedicated to give almost one of those "meh" comments. He said he'd seen them before.  I doubted all the other cousins had, but often people only think about themselves and what they've done or seen, not anyone else.  I would post photos and explain who the people were in detail along with little  stories about the photo based on what dad or mom had told me.  My uncle's grandson had been in prison and he seemed to glorify that like some African-American males do.  He appeared to get in a sort of race with me posting photos after saying he'd seen most of mine.  I had said I would only post a few at  a time because I didn't want it to seem I was spamming her page, but my cousin who started the page said to post as often as I liked.  I noticed that when I stopped posting photos he abruptly stopped.  I just felt he didn't like me.  

Black people do not want to admit this, but many black men do not like women who are highly educated.  Street smarts are fine but book smarts are not.   It is very common for some lower class or "ghetto" blacks to feel intimidated by educated or middle class blacks.  No matter how friendly we are they are suspicious and see us as more of an enemy in some cases than whites. It's OK for whites to have certain things or to have it all, but we're not supposed to.  

There is also a jealousy factor there as well.  Many black people do not want to see others succeed.  I don't have any money.  I just have an education, and I live comfortably with my parents.  I have lived alone several times, but I prefer the non-Western way of not living alone if I can help it.  I think family is very important.  The world is a hostile place for women, and if you can get along with and live with family, it makes more sense than living alone and being a prey for all kinds of predators.  This ex-con cousin might even have more money than me.  But it was something about his attitude and the first cousin that as time went on I felt uneasy on that page.  Also I don't like arrogant people.  I see arrogance as a tool of someone who is really insecure but is putting on a show for everyone else.  These two cousins were arrogant, bragging on themselves.  I was amazed at seeing how some of the attitudes that have made it difficult for the older generation in my father's family to get along showing up in the younger generation.  My father has this similar swagger and posturing also, but at 74 he has mellowed a lot.  He is very insecure still like my cousins, but unlike them he has been heavily influenced by white culture, so he does not have the "hood" mentality I see in them.  Still the arrogance and need for affirmation by other people are in most of the people that I see on his side of the family.  When people are raised in homes where there is so much chaos or neglect they become this way.  The black class clown in school is often at heart insecure and feels uncared for at home, so he or she seeks attention at school, even if it's negative attention.  

I had become fed up with Facebook in the last year.  More and more I questioned why was I on there.  I tried to justify it by saying I had people on my list with a little influence such as "friends" who were professional and independent journalists. A few worked for PressTV and others appeared as political commentators on both PressTV and Russia Today.  I had a number of people on my friends list whom I'd attended school with.  I've known some of them since elementary school.  They are black and white, but I have almost nothing in common with them outside of the fact that we grew up in the same town.  All are older now of course, but those who were the poseurs and noise makers of middle and high school are still the same except for the usual adult accessories: a home, spouses, children, grandchildren, a job.  Most are still attached to football the way they were in high school.  Some can't let go of their favorite local bands and singers from college.  I didn't see a bit of emotional or intellectual growth.  Sure I have some favorite singers from my child- and young adulthood, but I have added many of other types of singers (most are international) and genres since then.  I see nothing except an urge to cling to the past in many of my former classmates.  I don't have all of the adult things because I was not willing to settle for less in most cases like many people do, but I have traveled, taught various age groups in three different countries, interacted with varied ethnicities and races of people, people which my classmates have probably never ever encountered; I have grown in insight and intellect, and I want to continue to grow in all that as well as morally, spiritually, and philosophically.  Many of them seem to be at a standstill.  My pastor paid me a wonderful compliment the other week when she said I was a philosopher.  I never expected that.  I have a lot more work to do on myself, everyone does, but I have changed plenty even in the last decade.  Even Muhammed Ali said sometime maybe in his rambunctious days, "A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life."

So it was doomed with my cousins really from the beginning.  Sadly, we had little or nothing in common, and two of them just did not accept me.  I believe they wanted to, but we are from different worlds that will never mingle.  They probably see me as too "white" for their tastes.  They can't open themselves to my language.  I can't quite open myself to theirs.  I have tried to relate to all kinds of people in the past.  I understand now that it is not always possible.  Sometimes relating to your own can be the hardest task.  

It so turned out that I was so tired because of several bad experiences I'd had on Facebook in the last year that I decided to close my account for good.  It had been on my mind weeks before all of these cousins had sent invitations to be friends.  No matter where your privacy settings are you are still listed somewhere on there as "maybe you know so and so," and I've seen a drop down list of people I "might know" under the friend invite icon.  I had to deal with three monsters last year that were on my friends' list.  I had long stopped commenting on pages especially if the topic was controversial, but I did make a statement the other week about a cartoon concerning Africa and whether Christianity and homosexuality are indigenous to the continent.  I am not for the persecution of gays, but I am against this Western obsession with gay and exporting it.  It has nothing to do with human rights  and freedom just like humanitarian intervention did not.  At the heart of it is population control.  I didn't touch on the part about gays, but I argued that Christianity has roots in Africa.  Christ lived there as a child in Egypt.  European monasticism was an offshoot of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of Egypt.  Ethiopia was one of the first nations to make Christianity its' official religion.  I also mentioned St. Augustine who lived in what's now Algeria and the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas in what's now Tunisia.  But then some black guy who looked at least middle aged started arguing that Christianity is a European religion brought to Africa by slave masters.  Even though he was putting out some Afrocentric arguments that were quite strange, his hatred of Christianity  and whites was blinding him to over 1000 years of Christian history that was long before the first Europeans came to Africa to trade and kidnap human cargo.  Really he was advocating without even knowing it the white Western view that history began five centuries ago and nothing previous was of any value since we weren't involved.  He trolled away with me and some Africans who agreed with me.  I was put off by him and didn't want to waste my time.  I invited him to Google all that I had written, but he only wanted to make ridiculous statements that even I had never seen written anywhere else.  I was even more disgusted when one of the Ethiopians who was a young woman born America and who had agreed with me sent a friend invitation.  I accepted it.  She stayed on my page for most of the day, but then unfriended me and changed her page so only people could message her.  I had a number of African Facebook friends in Africa, and no one had ever done anything this stupid and psychotic before. 

Facebook has become about 70% insanity and 30% sanity along with the government spying on people.  I really came to see it as a highly unappealing outlet.  I liked a lot of good pages on there pertaining to my interests in current events, art, history, literature, poetry, architecture, and cultures.  I will miss those pages, but I will not miss the banality of Turks constantly taking photos of themselves sitting at a table with food before them, people lying about someone's baby they don't really think is adorable, people seeking attention with their doomed relationships, women bragging they have the most wonderful husband in the world or the greatest kids; do they ever tell them that or is it all for grandstanding on Facebook?  I had a complete lunatic and nuisance on there who expected me to chat with him everyday for hours.  I blocked him.  I don't like life in the virtual, and he needed to get a life.  I was sick of it all, and my cousins weren't putting anything out there to make me eager to keep my account open.  I can  see black women with blonde wigs  and tattoos any time especially if I turn on the television.  My cousins have not broken the cycle of ignorance and self destruction that started as far back as my grandfather who drank and my grandmother who put up with his abuse until it killed her at a young age.  

So when I announced I was going to close my Facebook page the cousin I mentioned at the first who had only seen me once years ago and knew nothing of my life or who I really am, unfriended me.  I messaged him and politely asked why, but then I told him it didn't matter since I was ridding myself of my account anyway.  I told him to take care and God bless.  I know he got the message because when anyone sees your message on Facebook, a little check mark appears below the message.  I suppose he was too cowardly to say anything.  I have asked black guys why in the past on Facebook when they displayed certain bad and off the wall behavior and most say nothing.  For all the bluster of some of them, they are the worst cowards.      

I deleted my Facebook page late last night.  I had fallen asleep early, and after I woke up I wanted to wipe away the nagging little demon that lurked in the back of my mind.  Deactivating Facebook was not enough.  I learned how to delete it, and I did. 

You have to get all of those devils out of your life to have peace.  Some times that devil is a person or a group of people.  Sometimes it's a website like Facebook that is just a vampire and time waster anyway particularly for a person like me. 

The last time I looked the world is still a madhouse.  I'm back blogging again. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

What's In a Picture? Was Martin Luther King, Jr. Beginning to Lean Towards Africa?

Some young and more conscious African-Americans care little for Dr. King.  They appear to see him as being desperate and begging to be a member of a system that would never fully accept black people in this country.  They lean more towards Malcolm X whom I also have some respect for, but because I am anti-war and violence unless it is a very absolute last resort, I am less of a fan of him and respect Dr. King more because of his peaceful principles. It is always easier to take the more violent path.  Look at the world at the moment... 

There is a theory that the US government assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr. because he started to criticize the Vietnam War and American imperialism.  I think the theory is possible.  I also believe that any leader of an oppressed group anywhere in the world who does not agree with US policies is seen as a threat and will ultimately by liquidated.  Even if Dr. King only devoted his time to the issues of integration, he probably would have been framed and imprisoned or killed by elements within the government.  The same patterns are used over and over. They aren't very difficult to decode if people are willing to face reality and not be blindsided by propaganda, a task which is very hard for most Americans to do.  We are covered in this country by propaganda and illusions from the cradle to the grave.  Propaganda serves the purpose of welding together this very fragile and divided society which is heavily fractured along racial, class, and religious lines.  I keep seeing written online and spoken by whites the fairytale that America is more divided than ever.  This lament began with Bush and it has continued with Obama. It can't be said that everybody in America was united during slavery and Jim Crow or the Indian Wars unless the ones you're talking about were white people, and even they were not unified because of division by class and Christian sect.

But what was Dr. King doing in the following photos I have found below?  No one talks or writes much about this period when he met the leaders of newly independent African states.  Really I haven't read anything about it except what Dr. King wrote of his meeting with the first president of Algeria. I really want to research what was going on in-depth.  In the first photo I found he is with the first president of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, who was a hero in the fight to free his country from over a century of French rule.  Ahmed Ben Bella was both a Pan-Arab and Pan-Africanist.  (see my blog post about Ahmed Ben Bella)

The second photo is Dr. King with Kwame Nkrumah who was the first president of Ghana, a great intellectual, and Pan-Africanist.  Dr. Nkrumah was a hero of African independence, and many of his ideas of a united Africa were espoused by Muammar al-Gaddafi in his later years. 

The final photo is of Dr. King with the first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. Kaunda fought for the independence of his country, was an author and also a supporter of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

Seeing these three photos I have to ask did Dr. King have an inkling that integration might not work? He did say that he feared he was integrating his people into a burning house.  There are a lot of people I know who never really evolve in their lifetimes.  They stop at about age 15 or 20 in their worldview.  They halt their own growth because growing involves a lot of pain, and they are afraid.  I have gone through intense growing pains in my life, and as long as I lashed out against them I was broken. Once I permitted myself to evolve and spread my wings, I became a more contented person.  I am often not pleased about so much in life, but I understand that often what troubles us are other people, and that we spend so much time worrying about their nonsense that we can't become the humans we were meant to be.  

I believe Dr. King was spreading his wings toward our ancestral homeland because he knew that America was going to be a hard if not impossible nut to crack.  He studied history and understood what it shows us about human nature and how difficult it is for people to change their hearts.  Was he becoming a Garveyite or Pan-Africanist? Who knows.  He was killed at a young age, and there were so many possibilities.  I think he was feeling his way around and was moving beyond all the lies and fears about Africans that we are taught in America.  Perhaps he saw that with all Africans whether dark, light, and all the shades in between we are one family and truly need each other. Perhaps he saw that the only way to become a whole people again was to reclaim our African identity, something which I strongly believe. Perhaps if the American government had a hand in murdering him, they also murdered him for this as well.  There are certain groups in this society and in the government who never want us to become whole and with a sense of dignity. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Eagerly Climbing Mountains to Get to School

We take so much for granted in America.  We don't have everything we need such as a healthy and affordable food supply for everyone and some other things, but we do have a degree of freedom unlike these Palestinian children in the video.  They literally have to climb mountains and walk through the wilderness to get to school.  Their parents understand the importance of education and that their enemy can take everything else from them except their education.  This video needs to be shown in many places across America. 

The Palestinians are prisoners in their own land.  They've been boxed in, banished, walled in, chased off, bombarded, humiliated, and still they encourage their kids to go to school to learn and not to play, socialize bully, and date. 

African-Americans parents really need to see this.  Yes, we don't live in a post-racial society, but imagine if your children had to get up at 4AM and ride a donkey to a school that is two hours away. 

Schools have been renovated and rebuilt in my town almost each year for the last several years.  They have added extra centers of learning for high school students, but here the graduation rate is still only 70.1%.  For the state where I reside it is only 69%.  The school district thinks it's an achievement to be a point higher this year than the state. This is not an achievement.  Still 30% of the students are falling through the cracks, and it can't be blamed on all the teachers either. In some areas of the country which are predominately African-American the rate is only 50%. 

In some ways we have it worse than the Palestinians.  For one I seriously doubt if these children come from homes where the women are single.  Illegitimacy is rare in the Muslim world.  Depending on the country, you could pay with your life if you had a child out of wedlock.  Marriage, family, community, and if existent tribe and clan are still important. The idea of the "strong" individual alone and without support is alien to the mindset of most people in the Middle East, Africa, and many Asian cultures.

So how do we blacks in America rebuild ourselves?  It takes a home at a time working on itself and the children.  We African-Americans need to start marrying again and teaching the children that education is a foundation and ticket out of ignorance and self-destruction.  Being a rapper, singer, actor, preacher, or a ballplayer are not the only options for us.  There are so many different careers, and you don't have to be rich and in the spotlight to be happy and fulfilled. 

The Palestinians are isolated with no one to look out for them.  The Israelis sometimes come in and bulldoze schools making it very difficult for Palestinian children to go to school. 
These Palestinians in the video are prisoners in their own land, but still they are attempting to build a future for their kids by encouraging them to get an education no matter what. 
They make no excuses. 

No one can save African-Americans now.  There's few that even care. Obama doesn't care.  The "messiahs" and "Moses" of the past failed to get most of us out of bondage because the biggest bondage of all that most of us have is in our own minds.  We have to free ourselves one individual at a time.

If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more. ~ Harriet Tubman

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Rap: Black Hatred

This video showed up either on my Facebook or Twitter timeline.  I've forgotten which site that fast.   I ponder the issue of black hatred or self hatred often because in the media and out in real life I see so much evidence that many black people aren't comfortable with their own being. I see it in both black males and females.  I see self hatred as a kind of blasphemy.  To hate the features God intended a person to have is not only abnormal but an insult to God.  

Some black self hatred in America comes as a result of being severed from our homeland and true identity.  There are not many good blueprints for black people in America to go by so more and more we have been cast away into dysfunction.  As a people we have been existing in dysfunction for a very long time, but only now it is widespread. 

In this case I'm excusing this rapper's language.  He uses less profanity than most rappers including my old favorite Tupac. 

I'm also posting the piece below in italics.  I can't remember where I got it online exactly.  I saved it to my documents months ago.  There is much truth in the piece, but I disagree somewhat that Africans are in as bad a shape as we in the Diaspora here in the US especially.  Here's why. I haven't been to any countries where large populations of black people of African descent live such as Brazil and some other parts of Latin America or the Caribbean, so I can't critique, but I know African Americans very well, all of our pathologies.  I feel that many continental Africans lack self-confidence in standing up to various forms of oppression and exploitation, but one strength many have is that they still respect marriage and have a desire to be wedded and to have an intact family and community structure. Africa is not the West where the individual rules.  The clan and the tribe hasn't been erased there.  I don't believe that illegitimacy and divorce is as rampant in Africa as here.  Also many Africans value education. They don't see learning as being "white"  as some African Americans have described getting an education. Overall American culture is anti-intellectual. But too often all the shortcomings, ills, and recklessness of the society blacks in America take on with a hardy vengeance.  This all goes back to self-hatred and lack of  a true and meaningful identity.  Our history didn't begin with the nightmare and oppression of slavery in the Americas, and we haven't reached the pinnacle as a group because of President Obama.  Very very far from it.  

Therefore, I will end in a bit and allow you to ponder like I often do. 

One way we can conquer our self hatred as a people is to connect with Africans online since most of us will never get to Africa.  I've been to two African countries and have meet many Africans from various countries over the years.  My view of self began to slowly change when I set foot on the continent.  It took many many years, but I changed into more of a complete person.  Today I see myself as an African of the Diaspora.  There is no nationality, country, or continent named "black."  Black is a misnomer and too limited in scope for me.  I alienates me from my origins.  Like "American" it just isn't detailed enough for my tastes, describing the essence of who I am.  It's too new, inaccurate, and limiting.  Shame over my skin color or hair texture has nothing to do with me refusing to go solely by the description of black.  I don't have any shame over my features. But I want more. I want to identify myself with my ancestry and a particular geographic region which I relate to the most.  There is nothing wrong with that. I have a longing for this, and I will not deny my longing.  It is my right. However, "African" doesn't quite go deep enough as well for somewhere on that vast continent in a little spot among some tribe or clan is my true home.  I am a part of Africa whether north, south, east, west.  We are one, and I am proud to be who I am.  Everyone should be. 

I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Afrikan men and women in the UK -- and most certainly in places like the USA and Caribbean, and most probably in Afrika -- are 'functionally mentally ill'. By this I mean that whilst most people in this category can function effectively at a certain level, i.e. hold down a job, obey the rules and laws of society, maintain social relationships over a prolonged period time, use their cognitive skills to solve various problems, there is something fundamentally wrong or missing at the heart of their psyche. This affective gap manifests itself in a deep-seated but unrecognised sense of racial inferiority, an inability to admire the Afrikan physiological and cultural aesthetic, a lack of racial self-esteem and confidence and a profound difficulty in working effectively with other Afrikans, often induced by the inability to trust one another. This functional mental illness is one of the main reasons that most Afrikan controlled countries are economic and social basket cases. It explains the widespread use of skin bleaching agents by Afrikan women and why Afrikan women who 'go natural' with their hair often provoke such enormous and negative emotional reactions from other women who use chemicals to straighten their hair, or who wear wigs, weaves, extensions etc. It explains why Afrikans find it so hard to forgive each other and yet can forgive Caucasians in South Afrika (and other places) for their atrocities without any strong demand for justice or reparations. It explains why we are in such a mess and yet so many of us think we are 'doing well' as individuals. It explains why so many Brothers think that 'things' will help them to feel whole and never learn the lessons when they don't. It is time for a rethink. Time to get down beneath the rhetoric and the kente cloth (or Versace) and deal with the pain. Deal with the pain of being rejected by your absent father, the pain of never being hugged by your physically present but emotionally absent father, the pain of belonging to a defeated and oppressed race, the pain of having to go to your oppressor for the means to live, the pain of a lifetime of insults and accusing looks, the pain of being rejected by your women, the pain of somehow feeling less than a man. We are a group of men who have been conquered and we have failed in our single most important task, namely the protection and defence of our community. However, no matter that many battles have been lost, the war continues apace. Can we face ourselves in the mirror of our ancestors and those yet to be born and summon the will and self-belief to win? For win we must. You cannot have an honourable defeat at the hands of white supremacy. Let's do some healing and some cleansing and build a nation of men our women and children can be proud of."

Paul Ifayomi Grant
Niggers, Negroes, Black People & Afrikans

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rather a Brief Manifesto

It has been awhile, but I am here once again. 

I am better and more relaxed with taking standardized tests than when I was younger.  Saturday morning I took the certification exam for my state in early childhood, and if I passed it will be added to my middle grades and high school English certification. 

I am planning to re-enter the teaching job market here in the USA full-time.  I feel I am needed, so here I am.  I will not return idealistic like I was as a youth.  I return a realist and pragmatist, so therefore I might be able to survive this time.  I will be up against a lot, so God give me strength.  The familial decay, especially in the African American community, and the overall social degeneration that was evident when I was a young teacher, is three or four times worse now than it was when I hired for my first job as an educator.   

I am not sure if I passed the exam yesterday, but I don't think I failed either.  At my old high school, I finished all 120 multiple choice questions and four short essays in less than the allotted four hours.  Many many people were there taking exams.  I was relaxed and used the tactics for doing a standardized test I actually learned from teaching my students strategies for the TOEFL exam in Turkey five years ago. 

The first time I took a teaching certification exam near the end of my graduate studies, I passed it, but I knew few less back than about test taking I did this time.  In the past, I was a very nervous test taker.  I don't think I even studied for my first teacher's certification exam, yet I passed. 

In the last 12 months I really started to ponder how can I be of use to my people here.  I go to Walmart (don't particularly like it, but I go)  and see some of the elementary school kids I work with through substitute teaching, and some of them come up to me with hugs.  I get hugs from black, white, and Mexican kids, and I'm not even their regular teacher.   There is one little wide-eyed Mexican girl that even if she is with her mother or father at Walmart she leaves them and comes up to me with a hug.

Nowadays so many children are falling through the cracks.  It almost seems to me that a lot of people are in denial of this.  There is so much apathy and denial.  Kids aren't little birds or other baby animals who by instinct can strike out on their own early.  They need good parents and good teachers who guide them. I don't think a lot of kids get any love from their parents. The parents themselves don't really know what love is.  I don't agree that teachers should be surrogate parents, but the society we live in is forcing teachers to change diapers in early Headstart classrooms and teaching morals in first grades.  I see it in my town, and I wonder what the devil happened, but I don't have to really wonder.  I know.  

I see the society collapsing, and I know the problems are too big for me, but what is the little bit I can do right here in the place of my birth?  So I hope to come back and be a servant (teacher). 

I was also talking with my mother yesterday saying I am thinking of doing the research on how to run for mayor of my town. LOL Yeah, I'm really thinking about it.  Getting involved in politics is not my cup of tea, but what else can I do around here to help?  I am not bragging, but I'm not your typical black woman or woman in general. The people who know me are aware this is the case.  I was always different.  I will die a person who isn't afraid to be my true self. I've had a lot of experience with people of many races and various cultures.  I am a cultural hybrid, West and East, but I am more a person who leans towards the outlook of my African side and see things like an Eastern person.  What can I bring to the table here in this place? 

I'm something of a news and political junky but the stress?  The corruption?  Me mayor of this small city with a huge university and a rather exceptional public library?  But who knows?  At least I can do the research and then decide if I might take on such a challenge. 

Most of the population my small Southern city is black.  Outside in the suburbs where I live the population is more mixed.  However, the city  limits has seen some gentrification in the last few years for the renovation and building of housing and flats geared towards university students who don't want to live on campus or can't find space there.  My town has never had a black mayor to this date.  In recent years, all the mayors have been white women.

I keep asking myself what can I do, and with my sometimes not so great health, am I tough enough?  Mom in all her wisdom even said that running for mayor is very stressful.  She doesn't know what the first steps to take are, but she is right that it is a stressful proposition. 

For sure I want to bring back the idea of the public servant. The day of the leech, parasite, and mafia needs to come to an end.  But then again sometimes I just want to drown or bury myself in poetry because I really don't like the lime/lame light at all when it comes down to it.  hehehe  The lame light has led some folks to an early death...  #randoms

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Meditation: Using A Dead Man to Get Attention?

This is not a criticism of everyone, but a mediation on a few. Perhaps I'm no better than they are of whom I am writing about.  I did after all post a photo of Hugo Chavez and Muammar al-Gaddafi as my cover art on Facebook and as my header on Twitter. I posted two comments about them on Facebook, and did a few Tweets and Re-Tweets on Twitter.

Hugo Chavez lost his two year battle with cancer yesterday evening, and it wasn't a surprise to me. In 2005 I got experience with cancer when both my grandmother and her son, my uncle were diagnosed.  Grandma's was surgically removed, but my uncle's could not be because of the position of it and its' nature. (Another uncle currently has lung cancer.)  My uncle was given chemotherapy. Grandma lived several months after the surgery, but she was 93 and did like many elderly people will react after surgery. She forgot how to eat .  A feeding tube had to be inserted in her stomach.  Then she developed pneumonia and died.  The cancer killed my uncle the day after Christmas Day, and my grandmother followed him the next. She was never told her son had died because no one wanted to upset her.  My family watched them  slowly die over the year 2005.  I am experienced with cancer, and I sensed that Hugo Chavez would not survive. 

I am not a worshiper of any human being.  There are people I admire or like very much.  Most are dead though.  I see only a few living people with admirable qualities these days. They may appear to at first, but most make a slip on down the line.  It doesn't seem this era will permit people of true integrity and unselfishness to be.  Some feel that you can't be a Christian or a devout person and have compassion for others.  If you are religious you must be in the tradition of the American neo-conservative or the Muslim fundamentalist in the arena of politics. The political and social justice people of today feel that one must be an atheist or an agnostic to really have any genuine, compassionate social or political ideology.  Religious belief will  just get in the way in the real world.  They are very wrong.  But just like the old and my group built up a lot of prisons of the mind and heart the young in their twenties and thirties are doing the same thing.  Plus the young have the added disease of constantly seeking attention and notoriety.  Are they truly concerned about people and issues ,or are they using other people and the issues to self promote themselves? 

I was telling mom tonight about how some were reacting on social media about the death of Hugo Chavez.  My mother is 74. Getting a lot of attention never mattered to her.  There was no movie theater where they lived when she was growing up.  She was almost twenty when they got a television in about 1957 or1958.  My mother was pretty and still is at 74.  She never thought much about her looks.  Her group didn't seek every instance and nugget and grain in life to self promote.  Many people were private types back then and wanted to keep it that way.  There certainly wasn't the internet where anyone can easily do self promotion and appear to be important.   There was no celebrity culture like it is today. The celebrities had their place, and everyone else had theirs'.  But people back then didn't live in such a time as now with its' alienation and emptiness which we as humans continue to power and drive to a place we don't need to go.  But we are already in that place, this special prison we somehow walked into.

I look at the little kids on up to those through their 30s and a few beyond.  Due to the nature of these times there are a few even in mom's group who are powered by this need to be great and important. Usually they are the ones who can't cope with being old and probably always were the kind who were self important. 

Tonight when I told mom about the people who did blog posts in a split second, about the battle for the best cover art on Facebook and beyond containing Hugo Chavez, the repeated opinions of some and one after another going on for hours about his death, mom said about the blog posts especially, "They are like SEE how smart I am."  She laughed.  "You mean to tell me they're trying capitalize off a dead man?"  I told mom about those who behaved with class, posted a little and didn't get into a wild competition with Hugo Chavez photos, and we both felt they were being sincere and were not involved in self aggrandizement in a dead man's name. 

I am a fan of Hugo Chavez but not a fanatic.  I don't have all this gushing adulation. He was imperfect like all humans,  but I like him because he was fearless in the face of the US government's bullying and threats.  His mission was the elevation of the poor and oppressed.  He was also one of the very rare leaders who was not obviously physically black and who courageous enough to admit to having African ancestry.  That takes a lot of bravery because plenty don't want to be perceived as black or African even if the DNA is hidden somewhere.  Both Hugo Chavez and Muammar al-Gaddafi shown with goodness in several areas, and they had their flaws like any human being.  I only worship God, not men or women. The latter will betray you, ignore you, or even if they are there and loyal, one day they will ultimately pass away. 

It is not always about what we do, but how we do it and the impression we leave.  Many people crave the spotlight. Some seek attention at any and all costs. They use people, even the dead ones. There are the pseudo-analysts and experts. There are the princes and princesses of mainstream, alternative, and social media.  Do they have any human feelings for anyone outside of themselves I wonder sometimes?  

I never like it when someone is quick to call me an expert.  I don't like words like activist either because so much has been polluted by certain camps of people who go by that title.  I also don't live in a place where I can really be affective in getting across any unorthodox information to wake people up.  There's a certain mindset where I reside, and I can't get any support.   But I have honest compassion for people, and that is better, I feel than a lot of grandstanding. I write and do the best I can when I feel well.   If I can make a child happy like the one I worked with yesterday, and I was told he was a problem student, but he took to me and obeyed me as I helped him to learn leaving the class with a smiling face, I feel good.  It isn't all about me.  I praised that child, helped him, and to see his smile and hear his good-bye was enough for me.

Many of us lack humbleness.  Being humble is not weakness or being a pushover.  However, we are told that in order to succeed we must be competitive and always ready with an answer.  Never admit that you don't know or are in error.  We are told that if we have good looks and brains to use one or both to get ahead so we can be the king and queen of the hill. We are told all these things directly or indirectly in this worldwide culture, and along the way we have become selfish, obnoxious, plastic, bombastic, and ultimately less likeable because of our pride.  This is the world we live in.  To survive it I laugh about it with my mom sometimes, but deep inside I cry. 

Rest in Peace Hugo Chavez.  I am not sure what ideology I have.  It's not one thing though.   I'm also learning and observing. I used to be a Democrat. Now I'm a Pan-Africanist. Politically I lean more towards socialism somewhat and towards Orthodox Christianity faith wise.  Since your eyes were on the poor and despite the imperfections, your concern for the impoverished and oppressed showed your heart was in a good spot.  Jesus hung out mainly with the poor, though some want to say he drove a Cadillac and was living like a billionaire, but some of us don't buy that.  Some want to cut Him completely out of the picture, but  He was a threat to the establishment of his day as well, nonetheless He was perfection. 

Thanks to those in social media who handled things with class tonight and then went on about your business.  I really hope this post didn't come off as me trying to use a dead man to draw attention to myself. This is meant as merely a meditation and an observation. 

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