People will read and hear what they want to. I have come to the conclusion that many people take the things that I do either too personally or too literal. In either case, that is fine. Last Year, I talked about the slow death of critical thought because I believe that people take everything at face value without thinking about anything deeper. Two Years ago, I wrote about how Everything is about Race and how there is this assumption that I point things out because I want to divide people.Why do these 2 things matter? Let me take you back about 20+ years.
I was walking with a friend of mine from school to the Bx 39 bus stop on White Plains Road in the Bronx. On the way there we were stopped but 4 guys who pretty much ignore me and focus on him. I had always been very good at being aware of my surroundings, but for some reason these particular guys came out of no where. He told me to run but I stood frozen in fear. They jumped him in front of me and amazingly, he took punches and never dropped. The entire incident was less than a minute and I believe they ran way after taking his Walkman (at least I think they did). I cant recall what happened after that but I do remember never being able to apologize enough for not helping or taking some of the beating.
This is something that I have often thought about. Would I let that happen again? How would I feel if I saw other people getting beat up. Fear has away of stopping you in your tracks (yet another topic I have written about). As I’ve gotten older and have come to discover myself through education and other life events, I have come to realize the type of person I am.
Hold that story in your mind and think about the majority of things I write on this blog. Most of which have chronicled my journey from a failed marriage to where I am right now. If you follow me on any of the Social Media outlets then you have a pretty good idea that I do have opinions about the world we live in. I do not consider them radical by any means. I feel that I generally have the same feelings as many people of color in this country when it comes to racism and oppression. I do not talk about how the “man” has me down. In fact, I talk about being able to succeed despite numerous issues that I have created for myself.
I do talk about race a lot. Ask any person of color how they think of themselves. The vast majority will say Black, Asian, Latino, etc. I am also guaranteeing that they are looking at the world and this country through the lens of their color/culture. Why wouldn’t we be? Racial incidences happen all the time but it becomes our fault for pointing it out. We are considered to be complainers when we point out that even though President Obama is getting slammed on the issues…we all know many people in the government and in this country cannot stand him because he is Black. Shit, people still wonder if he is even American! So when I say that everything has to do with race it is because it DOES.
This would also include Black people beating up on white people for no reason. See, the friend of mine that was walking with me was White and the kids who jumped him were Black. I’m not sure why they chose him over me and it could have very well been because he was a white boy. Does this make this correct, not at all. I have often criticized on THIS blog as well as other outlets how dumb Latinos and African Americans can be. We all have our issues because this country is not perfect despite what many people believe.
Which brings me to a video I posted about a show written by fellow SU alum Aaron Sorkin called The Newsroom (see video below). Jeff Daniels goes on this rant about how America is not the greatest country in the world and thus states specific reasons why. I agreed with this assessment because of all the issues that were stated about education, infant mortality rate, and incarceration. I have a right to my opinion, right? I mean, lets look at the Tea Party all the way on the right and how they say incredulous things all time but, they have a right to their opinion no matter how shitty it is.
But apparently, opinions are like assholes everyone has one and thus that old friend of mine insists that I am a bitter person that has been held down by the man. While I am not going to recount the argument that we had on my Facebook wall, I will pull out some things that have made me think about myself and what I do. I am not sure where some people think that my opinions on based on fiction or out of thin air when I read more than most people on my Facebook timeline. I will gladly post a bibliography of everything I have written to prove this. The notion that I speak about race too much is pure absurdity. White people generally do not talk about being white because they do not generally need to, unless they feel they are either being attacked or perhaps feel guilty because of their whiteness.
I love this country plain and simple. I am as American as my dad can raise me. I once had argument with my ex-wife because I would not let her raise a Puerto Rican flag on our lawn without an American Flag next to it. I understand that this friend of mine defended this country and I thank him for it…yet I wonder if he had to go through the racism my father did when he was in the Navy…oh that is right…everything is not about race. However, being called a coward because of something that happened 20 years is probably what hit me the hardest. Sure, I do not go to protests in Arizona or Florida. I have protested here in Syracuse in unison with my students…but I guess that doesn’t count. I guess the fact that I have given money to organizations who need it to fight policies does not count either.
I had to take a hard look at myself and see if I was this “coward.” No, I am not. Not mentally and not physically. Listing instances where I have jumped into situations that could have gotten me killed or seriously hurt is self absorbing because I have nothing to prove to anyone. I will however take one thing to heart and make it my own. I was called a word ninja. I have never heard of this and after talking to someone he came up with a definition. “He meant word-ninja to mean someone who hides in the shadows and fights only with words, I suspect. But I see it as a skilled wordsmith so smooth you can’t even see how he did it” (Thank you, Chris)
I am a Word Ninja.