Tag Archives: black

Happy “I’ze Married Now!” Day to All My Black DC Gays and Lesbians

I’m straight, but i’m no hater.  I want to give a congratulations shout out to all of the gay and lesbian folks in Washington, DC who can now get married.  The Washington Post reports that couples lined up beginning at 6 a.m. at the D.C. district courthouse, vying to be among the first same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses.  Good for them. Whether it’s mixed race couples, couples from different sides of the tracks, or people who get married and everyone knows they shouldn’t…we all deserve to choose who we walk down the isle with.

When we start picking and chosing who gets what rights and who deserves what freedoms, we get onto a slippery slope.  There was a time when African Americans were not free to live where they wanted to live, marry who they loved, or just go have a burger at the local diner just because of the social norms and stereotypes that helped shape American law.  Discrimination was  the law.  Treating one group as lesser than another was the law.  I’m so glad to say that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation when it comes to marriage is no longer the law here in the District.

PS: You better make sure that marriage comes with same-sex divorce too.  I’m just saying.  LOL

Photo: Michael K. Cole & Jamil Smith Cole. The two jumped over the broom Atlanta Georgia in 2009.

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Send Mother Dear a Check: AARP Survey Says Older Blacks Hit Hard By Recession

It’s time to dig into your pockets.  Dig like you’re in a church pew (I once heard in a church…from a pastor…”We like the money that jingles, but we love the money that folds”.  Sigh)  Time to send Mommy, “Mother Dear” and “Pop Pop” a check, brothers and sisters!

Kansas City Star:  The economic recession has had a “devastating impact” on African Americans age 45 and up, according to a new survey by AARP.

The survey, which is part of AARP’s continued look at how African Americans age 45 and older are faring in this economy, found that over the last year:

— 33 percent of African Americans age 45 and older had problems paying rent or mortgage.

— 44 percent had problems paying for essential items, such as food and utilities.

— 18 percent lost a job, nearly twice the rate of the general population.

— 23 percent lost their employer-sponsored health care.

If people who are of working age are doing pretty bad, I can’t imagine how the retirees and those on Social Security are managing. I’m reminded of those heating old and electric bill subsidy commercials that come on in the winter that always have some “assumed” poor, elderly African American in them. The person is always sitting at home by an old school electric heater, wrapped up in a blanket and wearing a hat. Those commercials remind me to call and check on my mom and my grandmother. This information makes me think I should cast my net of concern a little wider this time of year. Maybe we all should.

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Question: Who is this “We” people always refer to when talking about change in the Black community?

I’m looking for WE.  You know, the “WE” that Black journalists, commentators, business people, politicians, and pundits talk about when they are interviewed on television and radio.  When they say things like…

  • We need to educate our children and take back our communities.
  • We need to harness our socioeconomic power and influence corporations.
  • We need to support “X” and “Y” legislation.
  • We need to step up and be fathers, mothers, mentors, leaders, business people, etc.

Do you know who “We” is?

In my opinion, the homogeneous black WE is a figment of the imagination.  We as African-Americans are not of one economic or social strata.  We are not all college educated or high school drop outs.  We don’t all have the Cosby family dream or come from strong single mother households.  It is this reality that is overlooked when people call on the WE.

When you call out to someone who isn’t there…they don’t hear you.  Black America is not hearing the call of some of it’s best and brightest leaders because they aren’t calling US collectively.  We are not WE…we are YOU.  You are the poor sista on welfare who is looked down upon because she needs food stamps to survive.  You are the brother who was passed along by “No child left behind” so that the graduation rates would be acceptable.  You are the child who is told they can be a great as Martin Luther King, but faces a reality in their neighborhood that says they will be lucky to secure a decent paying job after high school graduation.

When we all see our brothers and sisters as ourselves we gain the perspective that compassion and understanding brings.  Advising from a place of understanding brings context, and context makes words relevant.  You must take on the challenges, differences, issues and problems and see them on a personal level.  Seek to understand, not just provide lip service.  Then we can go from You to US.  Community.  You are then able to speak to the community at large as well as segments of the community in the ways that are most effective.  From there we can move the community to action, because as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

I don’t think that many people I hear are talking about US when they say “We need to”.  I think they are really saying that “The Talented Tenth” needs to.  They may be saying “You people” need to.  I think the appeals and advice, no matter how good and well intentioned, is falling on deaf ears.  We need action plans and road maps to the future that are formulated to appeal to our diverse community.  Black History Month is a great time to consider whether it’s time for talking or time for us to build community and effect change.

Hello, Negro family, I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

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Real Housewives of Atlanta nominated for NAACP Image Award

The blogs are a buzzing this week with news that Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” has been nominated for an NAACP Image award.   I agree with Bossip, someone should be fired.  I didn’t believe it a first.  I had to check the facts for myself on the NAACP website.  There it was:

Outstanding Reality Series

  • “American Idol 8” (FOX)
  • “America’s Next Top Model” (CW)
  • “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
  • “Extreme Makeover” (ABC)
  • “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo)

Someone please tell me this is a hoax.  Next they will be giving Kisha Cole’s momma an Image Award.  Hell, I know Mr. Brown is bound to get nominated in the “Step n’ Fetch it” category.  This tops their nomination of R. Kelly…

…well, maybe not.  Where am I?  Someone please tell me this is just a dream.

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You Can Check “Negro” on This Year’s Census. Yippee!

NPR is reporting that the US Census has slipped up and put “Negro” on the 2010 form.  You guys know that I have a special place in my heart for this word (see the title of this blog).  They claim they added it because some older African-Americans wrote it on the form in previous years.  Really?  I need to call Mother Dear and tell her not to do that.  It’s 2010.  I wonder if they actually considered adding in “colored” as well.

Census Bureau, do you really have to think about these things?  Really!?!?  DC is a few min away from their Suitland MD offices.  I might need to send a letter or something.

I’m not surprised.  I think someone may have been lashing out in a form of anti-Obama style protest.  It reminds me of when that artist put a penis in the art work of the Little Mermaid VHS cover.  Here’s the sccop from NPR.Org

http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php

Photo: From the 2010 questionaire. (Census.gov)

By Mark Memmott, NPR.org

The Census Bureau says it has included “Negro” as a way for individuals to classify their race in the 2010 Census because some older African-Americans wrote it on their forms in 2000.

But many African-Americans find it insulting.

— “It’s almost like a slap in the face,” Nikyle Fitzgerald tells WTOL in Toledo.

— “I am a little offended,” Dawud Ingram says to WCBS-TV.

— “It’s a bad vibe word,” Kevin Bishop says in the New York Daily News.

We’ve asked Census for some historical background on when the word has been used in the past. We’ll update with that information.

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Pool Boots Kids Who Might “Change the Complexion”

Somebody pinch me. Is it 2009 or 1959? I’m just wondering after reading this article. No “minorities”, huh?  From NBC in Philly:

“I heard this lady, she was like, ‘Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?’ She’s like, ‘I’m scared they might do something to my child,'” said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers’ first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

“When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool,” Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. “The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately.

The response from the club was…sad [horrible, actually]

“There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club,” John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

Atmosphere…I agree.  Complexion, that too, but he is crazy to admit it to a news outlet.  I mean, hide your racism.  Don’t you know how?

Again I say…this is NOT a post-racial America.

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I had a Black moment at the Lincoln Memorial

It’s interesting enough being a Black woman in city “formerly know as” Chocolate City.  If you live here you know it’s being rapidly gentrified.  No surprise there.  However, there is one place in the city that has never been fully “chocolatized”.  That is the National Mall.  You can thank the tourists for that.  It’s funny, I’ve talked to African Americans who were born here who have never ventured down except for school trips back in the day.

Unless Barack Obama is being elected, there is a Civil Rights march reenactment, or so other event that is highly attractive to black folk, the Mall is very vanilla. Don’t get me wrong…I love white folks too.  I’m happy about the visitors to the Mall from out of town spend here in the District and what not…blah blah.  I just find it funny that when I go to the Smithsonian museums, stroll the mall, or visit the monuments…I see a handful of black people (many of them working security in the buildings).  However I can walk 10 min in any direction (except the direction of Georgetown and George Washington U) and the city is Chocolate and balanced again.  It’s like going to Virginia.  lol

Anyway, I had a “Black moment” at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday.  I walked there from Union Station…don’t ask me why, just wanted to walk.  I saw about 6 other black people during my walk (no lie).  There were hundreds of people out there, mind you (I saw like 6 softball games, lots of people exercising, and tons of tourist groups).  I get to the top of the stairs at Lincoln Memorial and watch for 10 min to see how many people notice the “I HAVE A DREAM” engraving noting Martin Luther King’s name and the date of the march.  It notes the place on the stairs where he gave his historic speech.  Guess how many people noticed it.  2 children.

Now, to their credit it’s not as pronounced as it should be, in my opinion.  Hey, I think Obama should do something about that.

I remember when I first visited the Memorial that spot on the steps was something I looked for.  The image of King standing on those steps looking out at thousands gathered in the name of civil rights is burned into my psyche as an African American.  I wasn’t looking for that engraving, didn’t even know it was there.  I just wanted to stand in the place and look out over the reflecting pool and think about that day.   Why?  Cause I’m black, and moments like that mean a lot to me.

Maybe that’s why not many people noticed the black history upon which they stood yesterday.   Maybe I shouldn’t expect them to care, but I do.  I find that I’m having more and more of these moments in this so-called “post-racial” America.

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