Monday, November 26, 2007

Uplifting or Accusatory

This was e-mailed to me by someone who I respect in the community. It was supposedly sent by her 70 year old uncle from Tuckerman, Arkansas. Let me know what you think.

BLACK BOYS IN AMERICA ARE FACING AN UPHILL BATTLE WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESS. Traditional institutions and age-old strategies are being stretched in order to find solutions to stop this accelerating trend of hopelessness and despair. Why have we found ourselves in this place? What got us here? With 70 percent of Black children being born into single-parent households, many of us would suggest that the lack of a stable family structure has a great bearing on where we are today.
Everyone that I knew as a child had a strong home environment. While our fathers weren't perfect, they did provide us with the necessities of life - food, clothing, shelter and, most importantly, guidance. Just as important was the fact that there were grandfathers, uncles and cousins who served as father figures. So all of these Black men were always around, telling us that we could be something in life. Our entire neighborhood took an interest in our development. I both admired and feared the men in my neighborhood. We all knew that if we stepped out of line, our elders would be there to kick us back into place. There was an unwritten rule in Black neighborhoods that the men there would take care of us and make sure that we were okay. This was just the way it was.
What we have now isn't the way it has to be. As we skip into the new millennium, the state and welfare of Black boys is in peril. While there are some pockets of excellence, there are too many valleys of despair. Black boys are trapped in a culture of hopelessness. Time-honored phrases like "yes sir" and "thank you" have been replaced by "wuz up?" and "whatever." Boyish looks and charm have been replaced by acting and looking too old too soon. High expectations have soured into low or no goals. The concept of "It takes a village to raise a child" has turned into "make it the best way that you can." Ask a young Black male today to identify the late rapper Tupac Shakur and Colin Powell, my guess is that only 10 percent would recognize the first Black Secretary of State.
There is something drastically wrong with this picture. While this is the social malaise that Black boys find themselves in, we cannot allow this to be the future. Teddy Pendergrass sang in one of his many hits, "Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed, no more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead."
Individuals and groups, both Black and White, must decide to be an elixir for this problem. Any person can mentor a child. It takes only a willingness to serve. Teachers, counselors, coaches and administrators must take up the mantle of hope and design programs for Black boys as early as pre-school, so they can start school on the right leg. Mentoring groups must re-double their efforts to save Black boys from the social influences that place a higher value on designer-label over sized clothing than on schooling. Places of worship must re-direct their efforts toward strengthening Black boys and the family structure. Don't just adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, adopt the family for the entire year, tutoring the kids or exposing them to meaningful extra-curricular activities and helping the parents develop budgeting skills or job-interviewing skills - whatever they need to become self-sustaining. While partnering activities are on the rise, there ought to be more of them. Schools, cities, social service agencies and places of worship all have the ability to form alliances. Businesses also can play a major role by sponsoring programs and events. Our communities grow stronger when all of its parts are viable and valued.
Watching a generation of Black boys disappear before our eyes is not an option. Talking about the problem, while admirable, will not stop the decline. Turning our backs on it and pretending that it doesn't exist won't work either. Let's roll up our collective sleeves and do something that will help young Black boys have a bright future

I agree with the message but I can't help but feel as though this is a shot at masquerading a judgemental disconnect with young people, as a reach out to our youth. When I read it, it seemed like it was written at a distance. As if no effort was made to understand any of the people discussed. This seems like an argument for "Why I don't help these doggone young folks?". It skips the essential question of, "Why?" Why are there so many single parent homes? Why do more kids know Tupac than Colin Powell? and maybe, Just maybe; Single parent homes where both parents are involved isn't such a bad thing. Maybe It's Colin Powell's fault that the youth don't know him. Maybe the differences in lingo/slang is an age old gripe that old people have had with young people. I think an article like this can motivate people to take on the condescending missionary stance with black people or it can justify the reasons folks stay away. I'm not convinced that either outcome is a good one. But that's just my opinion though, and who the hell am I?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Blessing or The Curse

I saw this story and I had to post it, so I could get your opinions. Here it is:

Sarah Carmen, 24, says the Permanent Sexual Arousal Syndrome that she suffers from can cause her to have orgasm at any time of day.
She explained: "Anything can set me off. Even the hairdryers cause funny pulsations through my body.
"As a skin care specialist I have to use tools which vibrate a lot of the time for micro-dermabrasion and they sometimes set me off.
"I find if I'm nervous I'm less likely to get over-excited. So sometimes I try to psyche myself up and worry to control my orgasms.
"Some of my regular customers know my problem. But with new clients it's hard to explain.
"I have been in the middle of a treatment and it's happened and I've had to carry on.
"I was doing a bikini wax and you have to really concentrate and keep your hands very still, and mine go a bit wobbly when I orgasm.
"I had to pretend I had cramp in my foot and just stood there wriggling around on the spot and stifling my moans until it was over."
Sarah's friends think she is the luckiest girl ever, although her family think her behaviour is sometimes slightly odd.
She said: "The best way to describe how I am when I am with my family and I have one of my 'moments' is that I behave like Sheila from Shameless.
"I just get a bid giddy and yelp out and try to control myself. I've never sat down and explained it to my mum and dad, it's just too weird.
"They just think I get a bit hyperactive round them.
"My friends think it's great. I have more orgasms in one day than most of them will probably have in a year.
"They say to me that they feel lucky if their boyfriend makes them have one orgasm-some days I have one every ten minutes."
It has proved to be a problem for Sarah in some relationships.
She said: "I dated one guy who was very selfish and he was that way in the bedroom too. He'd just lie back and expect me to please him.
"He just figured that because I could climax without him even having to touch me, he didn't need to do anything to please me.
"I just thought that was rude and inconsiderate. It didn't last very long with him."
She has also had embarrassing moments in public. Going to noisy bars and clubs is out of the question as the vibrations send her wild.
"We have to find nice quiet bars," she explained. "I have more orgasms if I have a drink as it relaxes me so I tend to drink very little now.
"It can be a bit embarrassing if I'm tipsy and guys who don't know me talk to me, because I find it harder to hide.
"The most embarrassing thing that has happened was when I answered a market research questionnaire and had an orgasm in front of the researcher.
"She knew what was happening and looked at me like I was a weirdo. I tried to explain that I couldn't help it, but I was blushing so much I had to walk away."
Sarah has even been to a Sex Addicts' Anonymous meeting in despair over her sex drive.
She said: "At first when the problem started I just wanted to have sex all the time, I thought I was a sex addict.
"But when I looked around the room and heard the stories other people told, about how desperate they were for sex, I realised I wasn't like them.
"With me, it was a means of releasing my orgasm, but now I know I don't have to have sex to do that."
Sarah has looked into the condition and believes it may have been triggered by her taking anti-depressants.
She said: "I've found studies that say that taking anti-depressants and then stopping has an effect on the sexual organs. That is the only thing that explains what happens to me.
"But I've heard of other girls who have the same problem and it just appears out of the blue. I've spoken to my doctor about it but she wasn't a great deal of help but that's mainly because there's very little known about it and no one yet knows how to cure it."

I guess there could be worse things to suffer from; but that's just my opinion though, and who the hell am I?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chris Rock on Rap

Here is a quote from Chris Rock. I think this man is a comedic genius and a very intelligent black man.

“Music kind of sucks. Nobody’s into being a musician. Everybody’s getting their mogul on. You’ve been so infiltrated by this corporate mentality that all the time you’d spend getting great songs together, you’re busy doing nine other things that have nothing to do with art. You know how shitty Stevie Wonder’s songs would have been if he had to run a fuckin’ clothing company and a cologne line?… Rap sucks, for the most part. Not all rap, but as an art form it’s just not at its best moment. Sammy the Bull would have made a shitty album. And I don’t really have a desire to hear Warren Buffett’s album - or the new CD by Paul Allen. That’s what everybody’s aspiring to be.”

I think Chris was 100% on point, What do you think?

But that's just my opinion though, and who the hell am I?

The Gentleman Doth......

Have you ever protested anything? Have you ever participated in a march that wasn't a fundraiser? Have you ever been a part of a sit-in or a picket line? Don't you wish you had? If you are anything like me, those days when people took action against wrong doings seem like ancient history. I would love to recreate those days. Being in the midst of like-minded, motivated, passionate people would be amazing. There are so many things that I would like to protest, but I don't because I often feel like my late is full or that I wouldn't make a difference. I am now throwing down the gauntlet to all of those who read this blog. Find a cause! Find an Injustice! Find a wrong to right! Do something about it!!! Pick something that has really been getting under you skin and take a public, unflinching stand/stance against it. Whether it's "Why does organic foods cost more at the grocery store?" or "Why don't more stores carry black hair products?" or "Why doesn't Bush bring the troops home?" Plan to protest. Boycott, Sit-In, or Picket. The choice is yours. Don't be an idle, lemming-like drown anymore. Find your battle and fight it. Fight it, like your kids life depended on it. Set the example, for them and others, that you are not going to take it anymore! No cause is too small! No discomfort too trivial! Like the quote says, "Nothing is constant but change". Be active in the change in your world, don't just observe it. But that's just my opinion though, and who the hell am I?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

American Gangster

I just got back from watching American Gangster and I was thoroughly disappointed in the movie. It was too long and it didn't seem to have any climax or depth to it. It didn't tell you anything about Frank Lucas except he sold dope and got caught. The writing was horrible and the director shouldn't work again. Apparently his best days are behind him. If they didn't want to glamorize the life of Frank Lucas they should've made a documentary or steered the film to focus on the lives he ruined. More than a couple scenes of some OD'ers. With that cast, it could've been so much better. I have no fault with Denzel. He just didn't have anything to work with. The dialogue was non-existent. I mean really, he's great but even Denzel can't carry a movie with a few angry outbursts and several scenes of him staring off in deep thought. It was like they were scared to tell his story, for fear of glamorization, so they summarized his life and went straight to the consequences. It's like they forgot that movies should entertain first, and then teach the moral and/or educational lesson. Maybe the movie should've been titled, "The Demise of Frank Lucas: An American Gangster". Then you would've known what you were getting. I feel like I was tricked by the slick title, solid director, and all-star cast. The title set me up, the director let me down, and the cast did the best that they could with little or nothing to work with. I feel like I finally got a ticket to see my favorite pro team play at home, and they got beat 77-0; but that's just my opinion though, and who the hell am I?
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