Tuesday, January 22, 2008

according to my zune

I am officially jacking this from the Diva…

The rules: you select shuffle on your iPod or iTunes Zune and plug in the songs as the answers to the questions. No cheating!

Feel free to steal this for your blog.

If someone says, “Is this okay?” what do you say?
Not Enough, Little Brother (I wish I was more assertive like this - maybe this is a hint.)

How would you describe yourself?
Realove, Musiq (Isn't that cute?)

What do you like in a guy or girl?
I Cried For You, Billie Holiday (I love that my Godsend is open with me, I love that about him!)

How do you feel today?
Astronomy (8th Light), Blackstar (Interesting... head in the clouds a little bit...)

What is your life’s purpose?
Slide, Jill Scott featuring Jeff Bradshaw (I am really feeling this, especially after my last post.)

What is your motto?
Don't Waste Your Time, SWV (I have not yet kicked my procrastination habit, but I am learning to enjoy myself more instead of wasting time worrying or acting out of fear.)

What do your friends think about you?
You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart), Dionne Warwick (Umm... I can be kinda blunt, but I certainly hope they don't want me to go to hades for it...)

What do your parents think of you?
The Real Thing, Jill Scott (Now that's the truth, Ruth. In stereo, baby.)

What do you think about very often?

Dontchange, Musiq (When I think of my Godsend this is how I feel. When I think of my own youthful spirit, this is how I feel.)

What is 2 + 2?
I'm Still In Love With You, Al Green (I'm getting a chemistry vibe from this one...)

What do you think of your ex?
Wish I Didn't Miss You, Angie Stone (Ewww. I don't miss him. I wish I never had missed him.)

What do you think of the person you like?
It's Going Down, Brown Sugar Soundtrack (*Smile* No comment.)

What is your life story?

Where Is The Love [From Oliver], Will Downing (I suppose that this is the substance of what I chase every day.)

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Nights Over Egypt, Incognito (This is so true! "She was the queen, under the moonlight...")

What do you think when you see the person you like?
Going to a Go-Go, Smokey Robinson ("Nah-nah nah-nah yeah-hay... don't you wanna go-" Most definitely! LOL!)

What will they play at your funeral?
Roots (Back to a Way of Life), Incognito (I sure do wanna be that earthy mama 'fore I di-i-i-i-ie...)

What is your hobby/interest?
Turn It Up, Kindred the Family Soul (Wrong - I am not the party starter... I'm more like the one who blends in trying to have fun without being seen.)

What is your biggest fear?
Superlady, New Edition (Interesting. Scared of being Superlady? Inability to be her?)

What is your biggest secret?
Intro, Bugz in the Attic (Awww, come on, I should've been allowed a do-over.)

What do you think of your friends?
Games People Play, Dionne Warwick (Ouch! I only think that of my associates, not my friends.)

Wow - it was like a magic eight ball: on point sometimes, way off on others. Total fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

got a map?

i still don't know what i want to be when i grow up. which is a little disturbing, 'cause i know that i am grown already. the disturbing thing isn't that i don't know what i want to do with myself, 'cause it's been my opinion for many years, that you can't expect an inexperienced young person to know what experiences they'd like to have. if they know, great. if they don't know, at some point, they'll know from experience, which is better than making an arbitrary decision that they'll stick with for the sake of being seen as responsible, or successful, or whatever. the disturbing thing is the possibility that once i figure out what i want to do with myself, i might have a hard time pursuing that path because of other stuff that i've already done. for example, it's too late for me to become a tennis champ now, at the ripe age of damn-am-i-that-close-to-30? or here's another: it's too inconvenient (read: expensive) for me to go to school to become an engineer now that i've gotten into my current amount of debt to do what i'm doing now. i guess it's good that i don't want to be either one of those things. but i do worry about how motherhood and my career may keep me from trying new things. even now, i know that they can. i had to put poetry on the side for my career about a year ago, and it ain't been the same since. might as well face it - it won't be the same. i don't know when or if i'll finish my book, do any freelancing, use my passport to go to the motherland... i hope so. i intend to. i just don't know, you know? i'm a pisces - watery, mutable, noncommittal - we're just like that. i realize now that throughout my adulthood, once weaned from the guidance of my parents, i've gone where the wind has taken me, kind of like the feather in that movie about the man who did all these extraordinary things just by kind of falling into them. it's been a wonderful life. it is still a wonderful and charmed life. i just don't know where it's going. i'm not even sure what i want from it. the question has confronted me often over the last few months - how can you have an action plan to achieve something when you don't have a goal in mind?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

today's thoughts on the candidates

Now that we've got two states' contests under our country's belt, and I've officially gone on record saying that I have not made up my mind yet, I figured I'd disclose where my head is at so far on this. This is a comment I left over at The Breaking Point.

the problem for me is that even though i understand that many folks can't help it, it seems that for other folks this is really way too much about the "female" thing and the "black" thing. honestly, i wanted obama to win last night [in NH, where he came in second to hillary], but with the hopes that hillary would remain a formidable candidate in the race so that i'd still have some time to check them both out - i want a real race, something that should show us what both are like when tested, and i didn't want obama to just walk away with this so he could have the chance to get lazy with it. i got half of what i wanted. two notes on this: i DON'T appreciate at all how the media has been calling him cocky since his iowa win, and i think that will unfairly taint folks' perception of him, especially since he is black, and to me that smacks of jim crow era "uppity" descriptions. also, i am glad obama won in iowa, otherwise hillary would be cakewalking this thing, which would keep folks from seriously considering obama, which was what she wanted going into this and i'm glad she didn't get it so easy.

i won't lie, i'm excited about a strong black candidate, much more than i am excited about a strong female candidate. but i'm not so nuts that i'm going to pick by choosing between those characteristics. unfortunately, looking at the policy points alone, their pros and cons come about even for me based on what i've found. it's going to come down to who i trust to do the job based on how they carry themselves during the race.

so far, hillary's not looking good to me with the almost-crying to get old lady votes and the claiming people double team her 'cause she's the girl (duh, it's because she was the frontrunner/biggest threat to the frontrunner, not 'cause she was a girl). i don't like that at all. (but i do think the media handled her crying thing differently than they would have if a man got quiet and had a catch in his voice). to balance this, my caveat about obama is concern for whether he can backup what he says - but then, i'm also concerned about whether hillary can do the same - for example, i think his health care plan is more doable than hers. but i wonder if her couple more years of senate experience will help her more in washington?

hey, i still need time. but please notice that i'm not thinking, do i want to go with my gender or my race? do i want to pick the more "electable" candidate? (i think they're both electable.) for me, it comes down to who i think can do the damn thing, and being both black and female, i know i can't judge competency or probability of success by either characteristic - it's too simple an analysis.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Blacks and the Democratic Hopefuls

Please take a moment to peep the commentary from two black women. I enjoy both of their blogs, and I respect both of their opinions.

The Content Black Woman's Take at Why Black Women are Angry

Sugar's Take at Sugar and Spice

Please do take a look at the comments as well! These women, both intelligent, are sitting on opposite ends of a bench. I'd love to see what could come of a conversation between them! In any case, I think that diverging commentary like this helps to really show how reasonable minds can disagree about these primaries and the candidates. I hope you enjoy their opinions.

Monday, January 07, 2008

move on it

I gave some advice the other day that I've been forced to consider for myself and I thought I'd share it.

You can't defeat your own question by asking and denying it in your own mind instead of opening your mouth and actually asking the question. No person can limit your possibilities more than you can by not trying for them.

At some point, a desire has to bring you to a point of movement - the act of actually trying.

Friday, January 04, 2008


I was at a holiday party a few weeks ago, and there I met a man who told me that he was helping with the Barack Obama campaign. He asked me what I thought about Obama, and I told him that I wasn't sure who I wanted to be president, but I hoped that Obama really had a chance. He asked what made me worried about Obama's chances. I'd heard about how Hillary Clinton was supported by many Black women, and I suspected that a WHITE woman would get more play than a BLACK man. He said that that was fair, but what about Obama's then-current standing in the Iowa polls? He assured me that Obama was a contender.

My new friend asked me: If Obama could get the votes and be a real contender, would that change my feelings about him as a candidate?

Most definitely.

Now I have to get more serious about this thing - really look at the candidates' positions. Tuning into debates gives you sound bites only. I've got to know what these candidates claim they're really about. And in all honesty, I hope that when my digging is over, I come out on Obama's side.

Because I am so proud of what happened in Iowa yesterday. So proud to see a 94% white state come out at almost 40% for a candidate who happened to be a black man. So proud to see a man who is like the many black men I know exist - intelligent, ambitious, positive - standing on a podium kissing his wife and daughters in the eye of the nation, and the world. So proud to know what an important moment it was for America, and that I was witnessing it!

Congratulations to the Senator.

I understand that many primaries lie ahead, that Clinton and Edwards each have their own shots at the nomination, and that many Americans still might not be ready... but I can't help but wonder, what if? What if more people are ready than those who aren't?

Eyes on the Prize came on late last night. (I've got to remember to buy that series.) Watching the stories of James Meredith and the black citizens of Birmingham, and the NAACP legal team... It helped to put the importance of last night into perspective for me. Sometimes change came when folks weren't ready. What if this time, people are ready for change?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Never forget.

My local news is asking its viewers whether or not the state of New Jersey should formally apologize for slavery. Most of the viewers who are responding are saying that New Jersey should not apologize. They believe that the effects of slavery are long gone, and that at some point, people should have stopped dwelling on it. Others believe that such an apology would do little for anyone living today. The news station itself is also asking the viewers: if an apology was extended, who would apologize, and who should receive the apology?

My theory is that the viewers who believe that it is too late to even think about slavery are not as concerned about the fair placement of blame as they are annoyed by the possibility that black Americans will use such an apology to continue to talk about past wrongs, using slavery as an excuse for the problems in the current state of Black America. I personally think that many people are simply tired of thinking about slavery. White folks are tired of being blamed for something that happened before anyone who is currently living was born.

My thing is, White folks don't seem to be tired of reaping the benefits of African servitude, so why should they get to be tired of hearing about the institution that made these benefits possible?

If an apology were extended, it should be extended by the government of New Jersey, not by individual white people. It should be extended to the descendants of people who were enslaved in the state of New Jersey while the government continued to permit the ownership of human beings as property, and continued to permit forced free labor which contributed to the economy and infrastructure which continue to benefit all New Jerseyans today. The point would be to acknowledge that a wrong was done, not to provide anyone with blame for something that their ancestors may not have even done, or to provide others with the right to condemn anyone else.

To what end should this be done? How would this benefit anyone, really? It is a matter of principle. It is about a government accepting responsibility for allowing human rights violations to occur under its watch. This is rather simple, but tremendously meaningful.

This is why - and this is something that some of the white detractors may not have an appreciation for: the more acquainted I am becoming with the lives of my ancestors, the more meaningful my ancestors' lives become to my own life. White people have the opportunity to go to places like Ellis Island, and ancestry websites, to find out what's in their family tree. The fortunate can go back centuries, through American history, across borders, across the Atlantic and even home to an "old country." People do this because of curiosity and because of ancestral and ethnic pride. In search of the same, many black Americans like myself, if they're fortunate, can go back only so far before they hit roadblocks in the nineteenth century - that dark period in American history where Negroes were property and listed not with the citizens, but with the chattel in the Census. Alex Haley's experience was a singularly lucky one. I don't expect to hear the origin of my bloodline from a griot in my own "old country." Frankly, I don't expect to find out which "old country" is my own.

Consequently, so far as my family may ever know, "my own" is Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina. So far as we may ever know, this is the only history - the only legacy available to our family tree. Slavery. The direct predecessor of Jim Crow, illiteracy, and back-breaking work in a racially inequitable society full of redlining, intimidation, and animosity. Additionally, I attribute the fact that it took over a century to produce college graduates in my family to slavery and its aftermath. If I were personally offered an apology from the governments of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina, that would be extremely meaningful for me, even if it did all happen before my birth. Because contrary to detractors' beliefs, it matters. It couldn't free my enslaved ancestors before their deaths, it couldn't keep Jim Crow from retarding their children's educational and financial progress, but it still matters to me, right now, in 21st century America. Along with equal opportunity policies, acknowledgments like these are bricks in the road to recovery for race relations in this country.

We cannot forget the past. We cannot shrug off its present meaning. It's not because we want to guilt anyone, but it's because of honor for our ancestors that the history of slavery will remain alive. We cannot remember the fighting against slavery to taxes by teaching about and commemorating the Boston Tea Party, but on the other hand, forget about the Virginia Iron Manacles because it makes some whites uncomfortable.

The fact that the slaves and slaveholders are dead doesn't make the apology moot - it just makes it overdue. Today's governments were in existence at the time of slavery, and they are a suitable apologist. If New Jersey decided to extend an apology, I would approve of the gesture.