Constant State of Rage.

Photo Dec 01, 1 07 44 PMI was saying to myself the other day that I wish that I could see a bright future that is so vividly displayed on Deep Space Nine where Captain Benjamin Sisco is captain. I was also commenting to myself (because I talk to myself quite often) that being human means to be inherently stupid, egoistical, violent, and often times self centered. No matter how much I can be angry about the world and its war on the oppressed, the inescapable and laughable fact is that we are choking ourselves with politics and needless rhetoric.

I am good at work. You can see me at work and think I’m the happiest person in the world. I do my job well. I have a good woman that I adore. I love my family and friends, who all relatively make my days in various ways. I have a good life filled with passions, dreams, and goals. But, there is a darker side of me. There is a switch that is constantly on that I have buried. It is that f*ck you very much switch.

I am in a constant state of rage. Sure, it is a low level rage that I will equate to a semi dormant volcano and every time I see some bullshit on the news I just want to scream. Black men are still getting killed with impunity, Black women are still being treated as the lowest forms of life, Muslims get blamed for just about every fear people have, the President gets disrespected by a branch of our own government, racist chants by a Fraternity, Transgendered people being targeted and killed, Michele Obama is called a monkey on Univision, and apparently apologists are the new black. That was just to name a few.

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” – James Baldwin

I cannot even begin to tackle each issue individually because I am just tired of all of this. Starbucks wants to have a conversation on race. What conversation needs to be had? What is talking going to do? That is all people do, talk. Granted, about 40% of all baristas at Starbucks are people of color and thus the intention might be good but honestly all it does is put people in a uncomfortable situation because many people are not trained to talk about something like this and nor should they have to.

What is there to talk about? Let me guess the DOJ report that states Darren Wilson was justified in killing Mike Brown? So because the forensic evidence states he was justified doesn’t mean we know what was was said to spark a teenager to commit suicide by cop. Which also means the #Blacklivesmatter cause is a lie? Perhaps no one read the second DOJ report that states Ferguson systematically targets African Americans unfairly. So let’s talk about that.

Lets talk about Rodner Figueroa. I do not believe for one second that he’s sorry for his remarks. He’s sorry he lost his job. He’s sorry is career is done. But sorry for his remarks? Nope. That is some typical shit that can fly out of the mouth of a white person who just so happens to be Latino. Name one dark skinned person you see normally on Univision? Assuming that you don’t watch that droll nonsense, I can tell you that the number is close to zero (I’m accounting for the darker Mexicans in commercials).

The thing is, I can talk about this all day. I can discuss how people are looking to apologize or looking to suggest that we as people of color need to hold hands and pray for racism to go away. I need celebrities to shut up. You made your money and now you need to save face and play the game. It is rare see the conscious Black actor with the exception of Jesse Williams.

There is a rage that is the under current in most people of color in the country and that’s why there’s this constant fear from the majority. They want prominent black folk to calm us down and remind us of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech while constantly degrading us in the media. So, if you want to talk about something let’s talk about the fact that you cannot kill an idea, this mind blowing idea the Black Lives Matter.

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Looking back at MY 2012

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path” – Morpheus

I always try to take one look back before I proceed into the future. 2012 has finally come to an end and I cannot help but be amazed of how I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I will say that as much as I wanted this to be a good year, I wasn’t so confident that it would end that way.

The first thing I decided to so was to take more risks. The truth of the matter was that at this time last year, I knew I needed to change my life before I went spiraling down in a flame of debt and foreclosure. What I learned from my woman was that taking risks shouldn’t always be that scary. After a afternoon of learning how to ice skate –without falling once, I realized that I needed to invest in myself and take those risks that may turn my life around.
At the same time I realized that this blog was becoming a venue for me to complain and talk about things I would love to do but never follow up on. I was done with that. I need to stop talking and just do. The result ultimately ended up with me having less blogs than I anticipated but, the major goals I set were completed. Yet, as a writer, I did get more exposure than I ever thought I would with being selected as blogger for the Huffington Post. Yes, I feel like I keep saying this but I still find this to be amazing.  I wrote 4 articles and acquired a great deal of fans on that site.

Although, there were some bumps along the way, my second blog for the Huffington Post received some comments that I was not excited about. Looking back at it, it wasn’t that big of a deal but, I did feel a certain way about it. I craft my words carefully (which is why I was called a Word Ninja) so that people can understand where I’m coming from. Usually, there are people who take my words to mean something entirely different (I’m still getting used to that). There was also the time in which the Huff denied a post from me. That was particularly hard to swallow, but I got over it.

I still believe that this was a banner year for racism. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won a second term, I believe we have seen so many signs of racism in the country that it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. The death of Travyon Martin really took its toll on me when it happened. I think there is a lot to be said about the gun laws in this country and while I wrote nothing about Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings…I think eyes need to opened when comes to which populations are being effected by certain laws. I think more importantly it is the perception that people have that really shows how “tolerant” we are of other people. This does not mean I have strong words for just white people….my own people can be ridiculous too.

Of course with the things that I say or do, come people who have either a difference of opinion (which is fine) or people who downright cannot deal with me. This year, I have learned to take the good with the bad. Let those fester in there thoughts while I continue to move forward. I can spend a whole blog post on the telling of stories about people and incidents that happen earlier in the year that will be completely hilarious. However, in doing so, that will make them look bad. I am determined to be the better person always. I think I have succeed in that one thing before I left Syracuse.

There were several proud moments for me this year, but nothing did it more than me getting an A in my graduate course in the spring semester. Another reason for the lack of blog posts was the simple fact that I was taking a class. The reason why this was big for me is because I never got an A in any class in my college career. I think I did pretty good on this.

My, departure from Central New York involved risks has I mention above. I was lucky enough to sell my house and get an apartment for a short amount of time. There was also so much risk in just keeping the faith and hoping that my job search would find me something. I’ll be honest, there was one point where I gave up. With my last job application submitted, I told myself that it was either now or never. If I do not get a job in NYC, I would have looked into Grad School in California. I had schools already picked out when Barnard called for the interview.

I will never forget that afternoon when I was told that I was hired. With my return imminent, I thought about all the things I would do when I got back home. But, I had to ultimately say goodbye to good friend. Yes, it was hard to say my goodbyes to colleagues, friends, and students but it was the hardest to say good bye to Rocky. I still love and miss that dog. He has remained in Syracuse with the x-wife. I still think about him everyday. Sad to say that all good things come to an end…SU will always be in my  heart.

However, I did learn that everything is truly connected. In the wake of my decision to move, my mother suffered a heart attack. This required her to have a quintuple by-pass surgery that we all were very nervous about. Of course, Columbia Presbyterian is one of the best places she could have very gone to, there is was always that horrifyingly small chance that something may go wrong. The good thing is she fully recovered which made my return even more glorious.

The rest of the year was filled with apartment hunting while being broke, Obama was re-elected, Sandy damn near destroyed lower Manhattan, my Macbook broke, and I am near obesity.

I think this was a good year. Very successful. Next year will be better. I will share a toast tonight for my friends, family, and to all of you who continue to follow me. Happy New Year! 

The Political Jokes are on US.

Maybe this is what we need…

You know, I laugh because we are indeed at a pinnacle point in our history. Well, at least in the time I have been alive. I can say that because this election is that important. I laugh because it seems like politics have become so extreme. You are either on one side or the other and those sides are so far apart that it makes it hard to really have a critical debate on things. I laugh because people can be married to the lies that are told and are not willing to hear the truth…not matter what that is.

No politician is perfect. No US President has been perfect. Each one of them had chinks in their armor. You can look at Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan, FDR, Bush(s), Clinton, and Nixon as just a few examples of what can be good or bad depending on history or party affiliation. For every good thing they do, the opposing party will give you a list of things they did horribly. In many cases, each party will talk about some of these eras being dark ones and there was a need for America “to get back on track.” Yet, for the most part, the rich remain the rich, the poor are still poor, and the middle class just remains in the middle.

I laugh because there is a joke somewhere in there. A joke that not many of us get and one I may not fully understand myself. Maybe the joke is that nothing really ever gets better perhaps everything is an ebbs and flows. Maybe the joke is that no matter how much we fight, one class of people with get taxed; the middle class or the rich and yet the poor will remain largely ignored. What is almost funny is how the liberals want to help the unfortunate and the conservatives find it unfortunate that people can’t help themselves.

The fact is most people are like sheep because no one really thinks critically anymore. They just assume that if something is said by someone in government then it must be true. If things are in History books than it must be true. There was a time when a politician lied and was proven wrong by a fact checker that this individual would lose points in the polls but we live in a bizaro world where the President is Black and his stature is always questioned. Sure, we all called George W dumb and Bill Clinton a womanizer, but there was a level of respect you gave to the position. Yet, Obama seems to get less respect than either and he is smart and a happily married man!

Sure, one can say that Bush had shoes thrown at him and we giggled, but that was not in America. I can guarantee that all us had at least seen one picture of Barak Obama as a monkey or in a noose. I dare anyone to try to defend that. Yet, that is another joke that conservatives do not get. No matter how hard you work, the color of your skin will always be a factor. I mean, I am sure you can point to Oprah Winfrey and say that she is a success, however she is just one “nigger” slur away from the rest of us.

We are indeed at an interesting time. Am I the only one who has noticed that being poor has been deemed as a burden to the rest of society? Apparently, coming across hard times quickly turns to an unwillingness to work so the they can get free healthcare and food stamps. The best part of this joke is that socialism is constantly being shouted out by people because taxing the rich (plus giving a break to the middle class) and using that money to help others is wrong. But if you use the conservative model of taxing the middle class while giving breaks to the rich to use that money to help others is the correct model!

I am quite sure there conservatives will say that the wealthy getting breaks helps big business create jobs, but the thing is I do not buy that idea because people who have money love to keep money. Yet, governmental programs have to be paid for…who is gonna pay for it? (Hint: You) Either that, or the deficit increases. Notice one really says who we owe money to (besides China).

Finally, I laugh because the joke is really on us. Most of us go through life not paying attention to the things that are happening around us. Most of us are distracted by the house/basketball wise, the jersey shores, the dancing stars, the iphone/ipads, facebook, and fantasy sports to realize that our society is getting dumber, fatter, and sicker. And while all that is happening, you have a political party that trying its hardest to restrict the elderly and the minorities the right to vote in battle ground states. Democrat and Republicans must agree that is wrong.

Maybe…just maybe, the real joke is that we are no longer a society in which race matter maybe it is all about class; about the haves and the have nots.

Devil’s Advocate

I made a joke on my Facebook status last year during election time. You could give these gifts that were shaped buttons that said “Obama ’08”. Clearly, if you could give an Obama button you could give out a McCain button. I made the joke that I would give out McCain button if I only had Republican friends. I thought about it for a moment…I really do not have any friends who are Republican!

After meeting with my Dialogue Group today, I really had to think if I do have that one person that has a completely opposite view on life. It turns out that I do not. Sure, I have co-workers that may share a difference of opinion from me, but there are just as liberal as I am. I can disagree with loved ones, but nothing too far from what I consider to be ordinary. I generally look at the landscape of my life and I don’t have that one person that I can debate with in terms of life, politics, race, or gender issues.

This isn’t an issue about being able to talk back and forth about sports either. I can go toe to toe with any Yankee or Phillies fan about The Mets. I can argue all day about how the Knicks suck or how much I cannot stand the NBA anymore. Those things are not issues that I consider to be hot topics. Those are just sports, in which any man can debate about.

I am not saying that I want to get up from this laptop and start looking for Republican friends, but I do wonder how enriched I would be by someone who does not share the same ideals that I have. Hell, would they even like me; better yet, would I like them? There can be talk all day about how we need diversity in our lives and in the lives of our children. However, we tend to stray away from people who have different ideals from us. Don’t get me wrong either, this is not an invitation from me to all the bible thumping, white supremacist, anti-everything people to start spreading their message to me.

Today, I realized the importance of having that one person in the room who has a very different opinion than everyone else. While some will see it as, that person being an asshole. I view it as a rite for that person to have his/her voice be heard. It does not matter if they agree with the majority or not. It only take one person to change the mind of many. The reason I know this is because many times, I am that one person that has to fight for students or situations that the majority sometimes forget. It helps to be the Devil’s Advocate if no one else is.

Preach on Black Man…

It is days like these that I realize that having a Black President is the greatest thing that has happened to this country. President Barack Obama’s address to congress is so polarizing. It is still going on as I write this. I am not sure when the last time we have heard such roars and applause at a presidential speech.

This man is awesome. I love the fact that finally we have a president that I can cheer for, that I can joke about without any sense of disrespect, that I can look up to. He makes me want to be a better person and a better leader. When I watch the President speak, I only hope that I can speak in public half as well as he can. Actually, he kinda reminds me of a preacher who has his congregation on the edge of their seats. They get up and applause so much, that it seems like church!

I never thought, and I guess I am still in awe, that I would see a Black man addressing the nation like this. I have seen several speeches from Barack Obama, but to still be able to inspire people is just amazing. At one point he speaks about a young black girl from Dillon, South Carolina who wrote to Congress about how bad her school is. He quotes her by saying “we are not quitters”. Michelle Obama stands up and hugs this young black (and I mean black) girl and you just want to cry.

The change that this man is making in this country will not be measured. I am not talking about the economy. I am talking about the minds and hearts of the young people in America. Obama makes me want to watch politics. This is a black man that is hot hitting home runs, or catching touchdowns, or dunking the ball. This is a black man that is not wearing a fitted, or rhyming about niggas and bitches, or smoking weed on TV. This is THE black man that is running our country. He is not hitting his woman (thank you Chris Brown). He is the man that we, as men of color, can finally look up and aspire to.

Let’s face it, Barack Obama is changing the perception of what the Black man can do. He makes all of us relevant. When I walk into meetings, i know that every person in that room will understand the I belong

One Month Down…

The last day of January and I feel that I need to reflect on how well this New Year is going for me. I gave myself a pretty lofty and broad resolution which was simply, “make myself better”. So, I think about how I spent the beginning of this year in New York City with family and friends. It was the end of a very good trip. We got back on the first Sunday of 2009, the ride was perfect, there were no issues. Then my wife gets a phone call that her aunt died. The same aunt she spent time with when we were in NYC. So began our new journey into 2009.

Of course, we had to make arrangements to go back to NYC on a very unhappy note. Which is stressful as it is, but I am the type of person who tries to plan the trip so that I know what to expect from the weather. When first went down, I planned it in such a way that coming and going, the weather was ideal. I could do that with this situation. So a trip that has taken me 4 hours, now took me 6 because of all the snow. The trip going wasn’t so bad, but there were times that it got a little scary with white out conditions. I usually take Interstate 17, which is a path of turns that goes through the wilderness of upstate New York.

We stayed in the Bronx, of course, with her grandmother who lives in the projects. This was something that was new for me because I didn’t grow up in the projects and always did my best to avoid them. While, I indeed grew up in the Bronx, I was fortunate enough to live in a house until my parents split. So the whole concept of taking a elevator that barely works while holding your breath because the urine smell can choke you is new to me. However, I am not saying my stay was bad. I believe that when you force people to live in cages, the conditions will not be favorable. I will say though, I was able to steal someone’s Internet and I was good…lol

There is something to be said about reflecting on death when the new year starts. I feel that life is put in perspective when you go to a funeral, particularly of someone that is truly loved by their family. I reflected on my grandparents and my uncle. I also thought about what I would do if someone I truly love were to pass away. It also made me realize that I am not done here on this planet. There are times when I am not sure where I am supposed to go, I do look for those paths to walk on and those bridges to cross.

A somber experience eventually changed to a excited one. We have a Black President. It will take me a while to really get used to saying that. I am still getting used to seeing Barack Obama in the White House. I have arguments with people who think that his agenda is too broad or too unrealistic and if he fails what does that mean. My point is that none of that matters to me. Why? Well because look what just his presence alone has done to us and to the rest of America. Now, when little black boys will be able to say that they can do anything and to me that is worth more than gold.

My work is my life. I love what i do. I love the students. What had been challenging is the thought of leaving where I am so that I can possibly make myself better. The job market isn’t the greatest so the possibility grows smaller by the hour. However, I have realized that when opportunity arises, one must take it. Which what makes me writing again so great. I cannot thank the people who have shown me love about this blog. I write from the heart because I am not sure of another way.

I am hoping that good things will come in the next month…