Tag Archive | peace

Why Can’t We Get Along?

I love France

A lot’s been going on in the media during my hiatus but I’m going to weigh in on what’s going on in France.  Not the tragedy itself but rather the Black community’s callous response to it.  Since France was attacked by ISIS on Friday 11/13, the memes started popping up everywhere attacking Blacks who posted their condolences.  According to the angry masses, if you did so, you are a “coon” or –my favorite—a “Negropean”.  Also by doing that, we’re not being the “Kings and Queens” of our native Africa. There’s also a great deal of anger about the lack of meaningful coverage regarding the barbaric massacre in Kenya. Labels here, labels there, labels labels everywhere!

As a black person with a heart for the issues going on in our community, it should go without saying that I’m angry that the media continues to downplay the plight of blacks everywhere in the world.  But it’s beyond aggravating to me that African Americans have to prove their “Blackness” to other African Americans because they say “Pray for France”.  My question is, where is the compassion?

The beauty of my blackness means that I don’t have to put partitions around my heart.  My feelings of anguish and sorrow for another person isn’t “colored” by the color of their skin.  My heart ached for Kenya and it equally aches for France.  It equally ached for the United States on 9/11 (more so because this is home).  Did we check our “blackness” at the door on 9/11?  Did we say “Slaves entered the United States via Ellis Island, so screw New York”?  People died a horrifying death on all of these occasions. That is where my heart and thoughts are right now.

Being “enlightened” and knowing the truth of our Black History (in contrast to what we learned in school) does not mean that I am pro Black to the exclusion of all other human beings. What that means is I will speak out about issues that impact African Americans – racism/racists, educational inequality, and violence –particularly against children, etc. It also means that I will speak out and support or empathize with any form of suffering—regardless of color—period.

Racism exists everywhere in this world. France has racist people as well as Germany, England, Kenya, and a host of many more.  Find me a country that doesn’t hate blacks or any race that is not like them and I’ll move there immediately because that would be Utopia and Heaven on Earth.  The best that we can do as Blacks is continue to fight against it in our communities by putting pressure on the system that runs it–while maintaining our compassion and respect for life.  Unfortunately, its incidents like the attacks on France and Kenya that highlights the degree of separation in the Black diaspora.

Let’s put France and Kenya aside for a minute to highlight an example of that separation. What chills me right now is the thought that the people who put 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee on his knees in a Chicago alley and pumped 7 bullets into his body are still running lose (police are questioning “a person of interest”).  Someone knows who did it but they won’t “rat” them out because that is the code of twisted honor. Then, the same people complaining about Kenya’s lack of media coverage aren’t marching through the streets of Chicago, locking down traffic and demanding justice for Tyshawn. Where is the passionate anger for the gang violence that afforded us the nickname (and subsequent movie) Chiraq? Are we “coons” and “Negropeans” for committing the actual crimes or for doing nothing about it? What also disturbs me is the next time someone is gunned down by a police officer, chaos will erupt once again, someone’s name will become a hashtag, and there will still be no solution to the problems currently plaguing our community—right here in Chicago, IL, USA. The separation of our brothers and sisters is rife on a basic level.

Sadly, as these memes are going up, some people don’t realize that they are part of the problem (unbelievably, some people have said “thank you, ISIS” for attacking Paris as though the US isn’t on their radar).  They don’t truly support the black community but rather they cause separation within it.  The irony is amazing.  In the past we tried to counteract the labels put upon us during slavery by creating new (better) ones but we still use the “old” ones.

So we go from being niggers and coons to “nigga”—which is supposed to be positive (it is not).  We also went from being slaves to “Kings and Queens” – to remind us of our ancestry. But here’s the twist—blacks call us “coons” and “Negropeans” if we do/say something deemed non Black.  It’s mind boggling indeed.  But… if a white or other calls us those same labels there’s hell to pay! Did it ever occur to us that we do not need labels to define who we are?  Until we let go of the labeling, we will never truly know who we are and we will always be divided within the Black community based upon yet another label system. That, in my limited opinion, is the very nature of oppression because we spend so much time trying to convince each other how Black we really are that our community is suffering because of it.

What do we gain by spewing hatred toward France and enjoying its tragedy?  How is its history any different from the United States in terms of its treatment of slaves/blacks?  Ok, the media didn’t give Kenya enough coverage but does that mean we have to hate another suffering group of people?  I say not!

Personally, I love France.  I’ve always loved its ancient architecture, the culture, and the natural beauty of that country.  It’s on my bucket list of places I will visit in my lifetime—as too is Africa. So no, I don’t need to prove my blackness by not showing love for and compassion to France.  I’m not defined by anyone’s perception of who I am and therefore have nothing to prove. I don’t need to call myself a queen to feel like I’m a descendant of mother Africa.  We don’t need to be labeled Kings and Queens to feel a connection to our roots. We just have to know who we are.  My black is… beautiful, compassionate, loving, and… me.

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The Sounds of Silence

Music by Simon and Garfunkel

“The inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other” – Art Garfunkel

On The Issue of Race…

racismhands

This will probably not be the last time I post this particular blog because I believe it’s that important. I know that eventually there will be misconceptions about many of the stories, new clips, etc. that I post so I wanted to provide clarity for my readers:

  1. The goal is to not sweep the victims under a rug as just another news story. People are dying for no reason. They mattered because it could you or me tomorrow.
  2. The goal is to make us think about our individual roles in how we can make a difference to stop the violence as it pertains to our own close-knit circles and, what we can do to help change the tide. Let’s stop ignoring the signs we DO see.
  3. The goal is to put a spot light on law enforcement’s unnecessary violence and killing of our Black men– in terms of racial profiling.
  4. The goal is to stop denying that racism exists and acknowledge the “elephant in the room” that unfortunately, our white friends sometimes won’t admit.

That being said, this blog will NOT be a tool to tear down Blacks and paint Whites as racist.  Racism exists in this country and will probably be around beyond my lifetime.  I am a Black woman who cares about the plight of my people and who is tired of seeing anyone being brutalized and murdered.  I am a Black woman who has loving relationships with white friends.  I am a Black woman who spent 10 years of my life with—and married to—a White man.  I am a Black woman who has a Black son who has been the victim of police brutality and harassment, has been shot at, and actually shot by a child who didn’t know why he did it!  I am a woman who is Black. I am a woman who has experienced violence first hand and this blog is to say enough is enough. My logo is black, white, and red for a reason. Why?  It’s because we look different on the outside but the same red color courses through our veins.

The Civil rights act didn’t become successful until ALL people—regardless of color—stood up and said enough is enough.  This blog asks the question: is that you?

Who Will Speak

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the tears that fall without a voice–
Grieving laughter, and kisses—without heartbeats or choices?
Who will speak when anguish walks among the broken shards of yesterday–
Leaving seed that death cultivated by bullet or, one whose lodestar has violently faded?
Who will speak for Jasmine Curry, Marcel Pearson, Bruce Wright, William Allen, Tonya Gunn, Joey Henderson, Jaynisha Scheffer, Cassius White?

Who speaks now?
Who speaks now when blood indiscriminately hews burrows into the soul of the city?
The silence is a sonic boom reverberating through the pain of the fallen
For their lives were just yesterday’s news—chains broken forever rippling throughout mankind
Who speaks now?
Who will speak for Robert Cotton, Anthony Hobson, Kezon Lamb, Donald Ray, Schiquille Slater, Joel Bentley, Deandre Brown, Shaquille Ross, Corey Hudson, Shambreyh Barfield?
Hugs that will never again be felt, a helping hand that will never be shared, and a calling never to be fulfilled
Every life touches a life
Links shattered in life’s chain and their absence will never be replaced

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the nameless and faceless ones whose names escape us when the channel turns?
Who. Will. Speak for Dakari Pargo, Jimero Starling, Lafayette Walton, Michael Patton, Ronnie Amos, Alfred Barnett, Tony Ervin, Albert Glover, Eddie Jones, Sonny Ortiz, Sharon Bonds, Andre Knight?
Who will speak for them as we fluff our pillow and be thankful it wasn’t our mother, father, son, or daughter?

Who will speak for Ovadiyah Chandler, Christopher Jones, Stanley Levy, Dekarlos Scott, Taurus Williams, Demarcus Boswell, Daniel Jones, Maurice Wooden, Brandon Peterson, Louis Winn, Dewey Knox, Damian Williams, Brett Ewing, Paris Brown, LaQuisha Hickman, Nykole Loving, Kennyone Pendelton ?
Who will speak?
As the wind braces for impact as bullets rape its peace—unable to shield the lung, the artery, or the brain from penetration?
Who speaks in order to quell the anger and savagery as it claims that which is more precious than diamonds?
Who will speak for, Brian Weekly, Carnesha Fort, Alante Vallejo, Derrick Bowens, Ronald Holliman, Darrien Jordan, David M. Hernandez, Denero Appleton, Eric Kall, DeAngelo Russell, Donald Williams, Nicholas Keener, McArthur Swindle?

Who will speak?
Who will speak with action that rails against the lies that say wrong place- wrong time?
Place being where they are at a moment. Wrong place their home? Wrong place their school? Wrong place the playground? Oh no, maybe it’s the walk to the store, or sitting in a car?
Yes, wrong place is any place…
Whose wrong place? Charles D. Short’s? Betty Howard’s? Craig Mitchell’s? Malcolm Stuckey’s? Paul Pyron’s? Vincent Simmons’? Lance Stanton’s? Monte Tillman’s? Arron Feazell’s? Dashawn Johnson’s? Corteze Reed’s?

Or Time defined as “the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future. Wrong time at noon? Wrong time at 3pm? Wrong time at 11pm? 6am?
Of course, wrong time is any time…
Whose wrong time? Maurice Paschal’s? Kevin Diaz’s? Brian McKinney’s? Robert Waldon’s? Lewis Jenkins’s? Juwan Williams’? Leonard Goldman’s? Kayshaun Hall’s, Ashley Mendoza’s? Kendall Floyd’s? Charles Lee’s? Aaron Rushing’s?
As we contemplate the significance of time and place, faces are passing away. For-e-ver.

Who will speak?
As the footfalls of terror march down our streets?
Or for those whom the blotter calls reciting names as the dead man falls.

As the media portrays us as one to be mistrusted after all, we are but animals in this world.
Some sold drugs, others gang-banged, some raised hell with every breath,
There’s also the straight A students, babies, grandparents— mix them all together—it doesn’t really matter
They – like we—are ALL blood, bone, flesh and spirit. Life interrupted
No longer among us
Who will speak for Gabriel Rios, Victoria McManus, Vaughn Holeman, Cesar Nieves, Xavier Tripp, Summer Moore, William Lomax, Chasteddy Blocker, Jajuan Porter, Gerald Calhoun, William Bailey, Terrance McNeal, Jabari Davis,

Because their loss is our failure as a civilized existence
They die as we exhort “not this neighborhood”; “they deserve it”; “it’s not my problem”
As we turn our backs on a dying generation
Our children run for cover from indiscriminate munitions
That rain down upon them, etching their name as it meets its mark

Who will speak?
Who will speak for the hundreds lost in this city
As we cover our ears from the screams of the crying and dying
Who will speak for them? Rickey Hayes, Antonio Mendez, Jeromy Ellis
After their eyes glass over and consciousness forever cascades to black

The Windy City, Chi-Town- Chiraq is a new moniker spoken with irony and fear
Its violent heart pulsating in tandem with its namesake across the Atlantic
Decimating all in its wake
ChiRaq, ChiRaq, Chiraq
Who will speak?
Who will speak for the tears that fall without a voice–
Grieving laughter, and kisses—without heartbeats or choices?
They matter because we matter.
Who will speak?

Kim Rosemon Woods
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