Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013
His question was related to if we would attribute the differences in the African American community to a generational shift. Travis politely explained that he wasn't listening to our conversation and proceeded to refer to specific examples of generational experiences that both Stan and I discussed- second observation. Let me say that I was so grateful that this was an experience I shared with Stan. Though Travis eventually got around to asking the Trayvon Martin question ("Do you think that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman?") and a President Obama question (third observation), I welcomed the conversation that ensued from Travis' ear hustling. It provided an often avoided opportunity to discuss race and class across gender, race, and class bodies. I'm not making assumptions about Travis here- he shared that he went to school in Virginia and Nashville and is currently studying for the bar. He offered Charles Murray's Coming Apart for insights into White class beliefs. I also noticed that Travis was limited in what information he offered unless he was solicited. I inquired about the type of law he was pursuing, he shared tax law to start and offered a great self-diffusing comment about tax law killing cocktail conversations. The three of us continued on about race, class, and systems and legal gun ownership. It was a conversation.
I won't wax poetic. I will say that I hope to meet more White folks that are willing to engage in an open conversation where my (and Stan's) differences are not threatening and we can see each other clearly. As Stan informed Travis, " I don't want you to be colorblind. This (pointing to his skin) is who I am."
Travis, if you read this, keep ear hustling and engaging folks that don't look like you and yours in conversation. I'd actually appreciate some honesty about the ear hustling, as in, "Excuse me, I was listening to your conversation and found some things you said interesting and in my circle I don't get the chance to talk with African American people." Just don't be offended if they don't invite you in. Sometimes when a Standupbrothah and a Standupsistah are engrossed in a conversation in a public space, you may not be included. Unapologetically.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Monday, September 17, 2012
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Cancel all of that hoopla and hype because the “Black kids from the Black school” were not having any of it. They were ready to go home before they even got off the bus. Being greeted with happy cheers of “welcome and we’re so glad that you’re here, and you are the ones we’ve been waiting for” fell on deaf ears and stone cold hearts. Too much undefined happiness, must be a set up. End Scene.
Fast forward to the gym where Adventure Works staff were waiting with additional cheers and quirky challenge ropes courses, and you know it, might as well fade to black, literally. Attitudes began to morph. Students started speaking up that this wasn’t what they had signed up for. Strange folks telling them what do and why they couldn’t stay in the cabin with their girlfriend/boyfriend. One male student said his girlfriend brought him so they could get away and not be bothered. Hold up, wait a minute. Camera one zoom in, you mean this is not a couple’s retreat? Hold it. End Scene.
Fast forward to activities after dinner, and conversations about contraband and who would not be sleeping with whom. Second plot begins to unfold. This camp was different. Students were leading the activities and adults were apologizing for rushing and not doing introductions. You mean you want to know what I think about what you just said and you’re not going to get an attitude when I say that I don’t want to be here? In fact, you offer to take me home but ask that I tell you what you could do differently to make me feel comfortable with all of this leadership stuff? And you’re not going to tell the principal that I had an attitude with you? Well, maybe I don’t really want to go home. Maybe I can wait til the morning to see what all of this is really about. And you really won’t be mad if I want to go home in the morning? Hmm, pause. Wait for it. Camera two pan the crowd to see who’s buying this crap. Oh, my friends are going stay. Well, why we gotta play these games? Oh, you want me to figure out what we can do to get to know one another? Well, I don’t mind playing the games but this is not my idea of leadership. End Scene.
Students to the cabins. Adult staff patrol the camp site. All. Night. Long. Yes, all night long. Cue rest of the weekend. Fun and empowerment was had by all.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Maybe it's the end of the year blues or the climate change but I'm feeling very "now you see me, now you don't" these days. My mind and spirit are taking hits more frequently as I work to be whole and seen for all of my complex selves. I can no longer ignore or make excuses when folks attempt to erase some aspect of my identity in conversation or practice. I am so over whitefolks insisting that I'm angry when actually my feelings are hurt or I'm bored with the conversation, coloredfolks assuming I'm post-racial because I work for a white-led agency and therefore less committed, queerfolks demanding that I show up and show out for any cause, and nonvotingfolks accusing me of selling out because I removed my child from the local public school system. Damn, how many masters can one sistah serve? The last time I checked (and I check often), not one of you so called revolutionaries nursed me through a migraine or called to make me laugh or offered to go on 3 mile walk. I ask myself why do I keep fooling with you? You don't feed or sustain me. You don't inspire me to write. Some of you don't even believe in the healing properties of dark chocolate. So, we decided it was time. Me, myself, and I are calling a moratorium on you. There, I said it outloud or wrote it down. I am giving myself permission to place ME on the priority list or Angel tree or whatever calls attention to the most at-risk and marginalized at this time of the year. I am most at-risk of losing my sanity while worrying about your acceptance and denying my complex desire to be whole. I'm running back to the center of my collective selves from your super-imposed margins and I will not be sorry for leaving you wherever you are on your journey. This is my crossroad and I choose the ones that lead to me. Blackberry wine at 6pm.