Saturday, November 22, 2008

A reflection of self

Today, I was on LA's Skid Row.
It is the rock bottom of LA.. the underbelly.
I was there as the radio station participated in a mass thanksgiving feeding. We fed over four thousand people in front of the Union Rescue Mission does. It is an awesome experience. Because I have to bring the setup, we were on site at 5:30 am. That time of night when elements of humanity were completing thier overnight ravages... There were boxes, poor people, prostitutes, druggies, shady characters, people sleeping in boxes, tents, and some folk did not have any shelter at all they just had the cold concrete and a blanket.

As I took the scene in, I could not help but think how close I could be to their situation. It is a very real possibility especially in these days and time. I could lose my place. I could lose my job. I could get ill and be unable to work. Anything could lead me to skid row.

In the end, I just thank God for the blessing of a sound mind. A Roof over my head. A job - no, a career. I remember and acknowledge. It could be me out there....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Against Gay Marriage. Why does that make me a bigot?

ok. I have been working and working on my tolerance. I am solidly heterosexual and being a man of the community and most importantly, a man of God, I have realized that the gay and lesbian community is a potent segment of the population and that they have just as much right to live among us as I do. I refrain from the gay jokes and slurs. I have come to learn that certain terms we used in the past to describe gays are hurtful. But at the end of the day, I do not consume my thinking about how I will treat or consider the homosexual. I just am not thinking about it that much.
That said, as a solidly heterosexual man, I do not have any interest in the gay lifestyle. Actually, I am among those who believe it is morally wrong. That said, I cannot judge. Those that quote scrupture when debating the morality of homosexuality often quote Romans 1:26-27 which quite vividly describes homosexuality as a result of sinful and dishonorable lifestyles. However; if one reads the earlier verses starting particularly at verse 18, they would see that this scripture also describes how EVERYBODY is GUILTY of dishonoring him. Idolators, the greedy, the dishonest, the wicked. Once people gave up on God according to this scripture, they were given up to thier own desires says the Bible. Homosexuality is one of the products of this...... My people who quote this scripture, however; do not connect the dots of this scripture with Romans 2:1 which says When you judge others, you condemn yourselves. It is for this reason that I cannot judge.

Now, as a man, I cannot prescribe to the homosexual lifestyle. I cannot judge. I will not judge. I have worked and prayed on this for me especially since in my industry there are so many homosexual people doing business, sometimes even people who I have to get business from. And so I have to work on my personal feelings and judgements. I have to work on my tolerance. But in my innermost being... I ain't wit it!!!!

With the election of 2008, an issue that is very prominent is Proposition 8. This measure begged the question as to whether the State of California should prohibit same sex marriage. A yes vote would suport the prohibition and no would support gay rights. There was much advertising about this issue. Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP voiced the spots that urged people to vote no on 8. She said we must stop discrimination at all costs. Those who would have you vote yes, built thier case on fear, suggesting that the education system is already teaching same sex marriage in our schools. The proposition was a no brainer to me. I voted yes. Prohibit this action. The law passed and now California prohibits gay marriage. This passage has sent hundreds of thousands of gay people to the streets in protest. I have been called a bigot, discriminatory, prejudiced.

I don't want to be any of those things. I want to love everybody even my gay brothers and sisters. But I cannot agree and there is really nothing you can tell me that will make me say that the homosexual lifestyle is right. And so you gotta reason that if I don;t agree with the homosexual lifestyle you KNOW I am not in agreement with gay marriage. MARRIAGE!!???
But again, I cannot judge. And so I say... Do what you do. Who you sleep with and how y'all sleep together is really none of my business. If that makes you happy and content in life then by all means go for it. I won't judge you for it is up to the Most High to tell you if this is right in his eyes. That said, don't ask me the question on a ballot. Don't ask me to vote on it - I am voting against it every time.

Now that I have cast my vote and made my opinion clear.. I also realize that this is a hard choice. I feel for the gay people who have lived together for years and years, as if they were married. One of them gets gravely ill or one of life's mishaps comes upon them. Then the mate cannot make arrangements, they cannot support in the traditional way that a mate has to support. If, God forbid, one of them passes away then some distant cousin gets more rights to the estate or the hard tasks of final disposition than does that person who shared thier life with thier loved one. I mean this is a hard place to be in... and I just don't have the answer.

I do know that, this is not a civil rights issue. I take offence when the gay folk parallel the homosexual experience in America with the Civil Rights movement in America. For the simple fact that the gay person can hide who they are... I nor my forefathers can hide the color of thier skin.... The question of gay rights and particularly gay marriage is a moral issue.

No, I don't agree with the gay lifestyle. But I am not thinking about them enough to be called a bigot. My spirituality and moral values I try to live by do not condone homosexuality. But those same tenets do not allow me to judge. It is that same compassion within those spiritual and moral tenets that provoke me to consider the dilemma those gay and lesbian human beings are in when they have spent a lifetime together but cannot manage final disposition or make decisions when illness strikes. I just don't know what to say about that. It is an unfortunate situation.

At the end of the day, if you ask me to vote on it..... I''m going to vote against it everytime.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama: Cultural Revolution

I, like millions in the world, am extremely happy that Barack Obama has been elected to the office of the President of the United States. As a child of the Civil Rights Movement, I definitely feel vindication for the generations of oppression wielded against my people in this land called America. I mean, the image of a black man as the most powerful man in the world, leader of the free world, the vanguard for democracy- a black family as the First Family - a solid intact black family, as opposed to the broken families portrayed on the recent CNN special called Black in America, these images are astounding to me from my generation's perspective. These images are revolutionary.

Now while my heart yearned to support the black man, I did not want that to be my solitary reason for casting my vote. As with every election I wanted my political views to align with my chosen candidate. And with Barack, he was speaking to my heart. He is the right man for the job for such a time as this.

While Obama's victory delivers hope to the vestiges of Washington politics, and indeed the world stage, his victory also signals a cultural revolution within Black American Society. For the first time, little boys and girls can see someone who looks like them in the role of President of the United States. There is louder truth to the words that "you can do anything"... The image of a loving father, loyal husband married to a black woman resounds louder than ever. This is contrary to the images we normally see of us. Broken home. Irresponsible, weak male figure, smart-ass, neck rolling woman.

The Obamas are the catalyst for a cultural revolution among African Americans. For the male, finally we see an educated, qualified brotha ready to take the reins of the most powerful nation on earth. For the female, we finally see an educated, woman who's not engaged in the smart ass one liners, the mistrust of her man, the public emasculation... Alison Samuels, a writer for Newsweek Magazine said it best "As the First Lady, she will have the world's attention. And that means that for the first time people will have a chance to get up close and personal with the type of African-American woman they so rarely see." (What Michelle Obama can teach us about Black Women)

Nonetheless, I am concerned that a lot of sistas just will not get it. I overheard a conversation the other day among four black women. All of these women are gainfully employed, mostly educated and seemingly grounded. But the conversation surrounded thier assumption that Michelle Obama had cut her eyes and rolled her neck at something that Barack had said. All this attitude emanating while she sat on the dais as her husband spoke to the masses of the people. "Girl you know she runnin that house, did you see how she cut her eyes?? She can cut them with the best of them" "She looked at him like I do my man... wait till we get home, you gonna get it..." I promise this was the essence of the conversation. They went on and on how they control thier men and he better not get out of line cause they are right there to check him.

I was incredulous that women actually think this. And particularly that they thought Michelle Obama was actually cutting her eyes at Barack. And even if she did not approve of what was being said, I believe that Michelle has more grace and poise than to show out in public. The cutting of eyes and neck rolling once again emasculates the male and a lot of black women are experts at this. I remember reading an interview of Dexter King, the son of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was asked about his marriage plans and he described how his bride needed to be the type of woman who could exhibit the poise to not chastise in public. I started thinking about the powerful men I have significant contact with. I have never seen thier wives neck roll, cut eyes or any of that foolishness in public. Actually, I know of women who are experts at maintaining grace, poise and excellence so as not to embarass or take away the masculinity of thier men in public. So why did these sistas think it was proper to do so. More importantly, why did they think Michelle was doing this to the President of the United States???

As we view the images of the Barack Obama Family, we will learn lessons of grace, poise and respect for one another. Men will see the image of a black man who is responsible, strong, super-intelligent and damn good at his job, who is at the same time a wonderful and loving husband, excellent adoring father to his children. An excellent role model for black men. Women will see a loving wife, dedicated to her family, but at the same time educated and accomplished in her own right. Not a bitter, angry black woman with little or no respect for the man even though she married him.

Our children will see an intact, loving family - occupying the White House as the nation's first family. And these images will result in our people working the more to stay married, treat one another with respect, do better in school and working to preserve the family. For family values remains the anchor, the foundation to complete liberation and move us to even greater participation in this great and free society known as the United States of America.