#RaceTogether – Damnit, Man!

Last week, a thumbnail for a featured YouTube video caught my eye. It was a picture of Hip Hop DJ/Vlogger Jay Smooth from Ill Doctrine and he had “the face”. I don’t know what else to call his facial expression but I promise you, if you have ever had to give someone “the face”, then you know what I mean.

The headline below the picture told the story of “the face”. It read, “Nancy Giles Awkwardly Assumes Black Radio Host is White (Video)”. I hear myself let out that audible sound that is half outrage and half exhaustion. It is the “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Damnit, Man!”

The incident in the video as well as the subject being discussed (Starbuck’s #RaceTogether campaign) were definitely worth of a post, but I did not feel I was the one to do it. Writer friend, Wendy Grossman is my objective source for asking the tough questions (without the undertones of ‘Damnit, Man!’ that kept popping up in my head). To read her post, click her site’s banner below. Comment and let her know what you think.

Wendy Jane's Soul Shake

To Race Together Or Not, That Is The Question..Or Is Knowing Who You Are Talking To The First Question?

I appreciate what Starbucks is trying to do. I mean, at least they are doing SOMETHING! I can’t think of a single corporation who has even broached the subject – so kudos to you! But I don’t that this is the solution to starting a dialogue. I have visited Starbucks a few times. (Okay, more than a few, don’t judge me!) I seldom see people of color (not just Black Americans, but any ethnic group) in the restaurants. If I pick up my “Mucho Grande Deliciousness” from the counter and discover #RaceTogether on the side of my cup, I’m not going up to some random and starting that type of dialogue. For the record, I also would not walk up to a stranger and ask them to give me their candid views on money, politics, religion, same-sex marriage, etc.

As for penning a post to speak directly to Nancy Giles, I think Jay Smooth took care of that when he created this video. Take a look.

#TWB – Traveling While Black

It is rare that I am hooked by a title. Too often a brilliant title will hang its hat over a movie, book, article, or post that leaves me wanting to invoice the author for wasting my time. But this was different. The title read, “Traveling While Black: What You Need to Know“.

How could I NOT read it? Clearly, being black, this is information I need to know! It says so right in the title! (Oh snap! It’s true! There IS a black code. I knew it!)

I kid. I kid. Be at ease all my non-black brothers and sisters. There is no (formal) “black code” but there is a very unique, interesting, and often amazing experience in your life when you are afforded to be born within brown skin.

As a frequent traveler, the auhtor’s experience is far more extensive than my own but I found myself nodding my head as I read her words. Her experience in South Africa reminded me of my experience in London almost 20 years ago. I don’t know if anyone ever stared at me. I was too busy seeing what there was to see.

What I do remember is people who were warm, welcoming, and gracious. People stopped me on the street to talk to me. They changed their plans to join me on my adventure. They took me to dinner or to a show. They were engaged and excited about my exploration of their city.

I don’t think that would happen in New York City… but then again, I don’t know that I would be open to being hosted by random strangers in NYC. So is the experience unique to the environment or do we become unique as we are experiencing it?

Take a look at Brittany Jones Cooper’s Travel Blog on Yahoo News and decide for yourself.

I Still Hold Self Evident Truths

Eleven score and 18 years ago… our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. On Saturday, August 9th 2014 an unarmed, free citizen of these United States of America was shot and killed a law enforcement officer.

The victim’s age is irrelevant. The victim’s gender is irrelevant. The victim’s race is irrelevant. The victim’s attire is irrelevant.

The victim was a human being.

The victim was alive.

The victim is dead.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. And so I have come to this hallowed moment in time to remind America and its free citizens of these vital truths:

There is no “them”. There is only US.
We live together or we die at our own hands.

There is no privilege to entitle us to ignorance. The luxury to look away is one we cannot afford. The cost of our freedom has already been paid by the hundreds of thousands of lives laid down in sacrifice to defend the words, “land of the free, home of the brave.”

Shall the future call us a generation that was self consumed? Will they say we all died from the cancer of apathy? Will our children and their children and their children’s children know us only as the ones who let freedom perish from the earth? 

Look into the eyes of your own children and know that we are writing the history of tomorrow. We are preparing an inheritance for them. We are staging their future on this very day. What is the legacy we shall leave?