Rumination: That’s what this post is about

So how long has it been since I visited or even wrote a blog post for this “personal” wordpress blog of mine…forever. Why? Because it has been the hardest semester of my educational career. By that I mean the hardest semester of kindergarten (yeah that counts too), elementary, junior high, high school and college. I’m not even sure I can maintain my stellar GPA (yep it’s pretty stellar if I can say so myself) but we’ll leave that to God. I have this sudden need to ponder and wonder  so I just thought I’d put that into writing.

Life is so tricky. Ever had the feeling you’re not as great as people think you are? That’s how I feel…lately. People around me are so sure of my imminent success and greatness. I personally don’t know about all that. This past four months led me to taste the bitter, inundating taste of failure and it makes me wonder just how “great” I’m supposedly supposed to be.  It also makes me wonder just how resilient I can or should be.

There’s a quote–at least I think it’s a quote. It goes somewhere in the line of success is not measured by how many times you fall but how many times you get up and continue even after the fall. That’s what I’m now doing. Falling and falling over and over. But I keep getting up over and over and over. As I do I wonder, ponder and search for that thing strangers and acquaintances alike see in me to make them profess an impending greatness. Only God knows. Only God can tell and I believe He’s the reason I keep getting up.

On a side note, amidst all the falling and getting ups, I’m looking forward to December! I hear _____ bells…

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Guilty, No Matter What…

What does the Michael Jackson and Casey Anthony trial have in common? The public tried them and found them guilty way before the justice system had the opportunity to do so.

When Michael Jackson underwent trial for child molestation, many people were convinced of his guilt. They were so sure of it that they expected an automatic guilty verdict. The same goes with the Casey Anthony case. It’s the reason behind the backlash over her release. Casey Anthony was released at night and her whereabouts are now unknown because publicizing it might  put her safety in jeopardy.

Now I’m not saying she’s innocent, but I am certainly not saying she’s guilty. Just like the Michael Jackson case, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove the latter. Still people have held on to the belief that she in fact murdered her daughter. A huge discussion occurred at my work place after the “not guilty” verdict. My coworkers were seething in anger and shock while I stood there, watching them, thinking to myself: “Really people? Really?”

“Innocent until proven guilty”–that’s the saying. That’s what we’re supposed to believe about every person who is tried for any crime. Apparently, that saying doesn’t hold much power anymore. Maybe it’s time to change it to “guilty until proven innocent.” Actually, “guilty, no matter what” makes more sense because we all know that once the public has deemed you as guilty, that’s what you are and that ‘s what you will continue to be.


Our Futile Pursuit of Happiness

I’M BACK! It has been about two months since I updated my blog. What a disgrace. Anyway, I’m ready for some pondering and wondering.

As an English Literature major, I’ve read numerous novels and one that I find super interesting is Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser.  The novel introduces Carrie, a young woman who yearns for fame and wealth. She moves to the city to live with her sister and brother-in-law whose meager lifestyle is anything but extravagant. Longing for something more and unhappy with her condition, she  falls into the hands of a casanova by the name of Drouet, who promises to shower her with fine clothes and jewelry. Despite her initial apprehension, she leaves her sister and moves into an apartment with him but even with her new life, she is still unhappy. After Drouet introduces her to his refined friend Hurstwood, the latter, who’s old enough to be her father, begins an affair with her. He confesses his love for her, a love which in reality is an infatuation with her youthfulness. Life subsequently happens when Carrie discovers he is married and has two children.

I interpreted the novel as a perfect paradigm of our society. Everybody is out to attain the best in life because everybody believes that living in mansions, driving fast cars and indulging in expensive habits constitute happiness. For Carrie happiness is in elegant dresses and houses, for Drouet happiness is in being a wealthy member of society and in the ability to conquer beautiful women, and for Hurstwood happiness lies in wealth as well as youthfulness. The society in the novel is built on one belief: money.

Imagine bees in a beehive. It is in this beehive that bees live, survive and raise their young. They are a community working toward the betterment of each other and there is a constant sense of togetherness. Now imagine our human hives. Our houses and apartments have become our place of refuge from the community. Rarely do we work together, instead we work against each other quarreling, fighting and hurting those we love all in the name of searching for life’s ultimate price: money.  And always, buried deep in the steadfast beats of our hearts, is the impelling goal  to possess that green paper which promises to buy us happiness. What we don’t understand until it’s too late is happiness cannot be bought or sold.

Carrie’s materialistic dream becomes a reality; she garners fame and fortune as an actress. But in the end, she learns that the happiness she once believed was feasible through money and fame is still far from reach. In the end, she is rich, lonely and unhappy.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”                                  ~   Frederick Keonig


The Big Ticket Issue

Race. That’s the word. What does your race say about you? That’s the question. When it comes to discussing race issues, nobody is honest. We claim that the color of a person’s skin does not affect our opinion about that person, but this is clearly not the case. These two videos from ABC’s Primetime: What Would You Do are affirmations of this. The first scenario depicts a white teenager stealing a bike. Onlookers notice it, still very few call the police, but when a black boy does the same numerous 911 calls are made. In the second video, white teenage boys are shown vandalizing a car in a white neighborhood. While this is an obvious crime only three people call the police: one person calls to report the crime while two others call to report seeing two black boys asleep in a car. When the white teenage boys are switched with black teenage boys, phone calls are immediately made to police.

This shows how much race is and continues to be an issue in society. First there’s race, then stereotype, then prejudice. Stereotypes can and are sometimes amusing, but once a person acts upon it he/she becomes prejudiced against the victim. Blacks are often associated with crime, and the bystanders in these videos are living proof that this notion is still alive, and it will live on until society is honest about race issues.

People tend to evade the issue of race by proclaiming that they don’t see it; they claim that a person’s skin is irrelevant, that all they see is the person in question. Why? Because it makes them uncomfortable? I’ve always asserted that there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing race. Race is a symbol that tells a story–it tells the story of a person’s culture, heritage and ancestors; it denotes uniqueness and if people can’t see race then they can’t fully appreciate the beauty that is diversity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with noticing a person’s race. Go ahead, notice it but also notice the person within. Get to know people before basing a judgement on the pigmentation of their skin.


The Journey

Courtesy of magicalherbology.com

It begins with a dream that flows
through your mind like a waterfall. You hold it close
to your heart, praying for the day you’ll swim
in its cool waters. You wait
silently like a child waits for his
mother after school, but finally
you decide to find your way home. Soon you notice that the
street you’re on is closed and under construction
so you turn around, aimlessly searching for a detour.
You know you’re sitting in limbo.
You know there’s a chance that your dream might be
just that: a dream. Still you trudge on, hoping for the
day when you you’ll arrive at that door, nudge it open and
discover the dream waiting inside.


Fleeting Lives

courtesy of FreeFoto.com

Life is here for one moment and gone the next: it’s fleeting. I saw a little dog die on the street today; I’m not sure what breed it was, but I watched it lose it’s precious life. I was sitting in my car waiting at the stop light on Broadway and McLintock, going east, when I spotted a little brown furry dog in the middle of a four way street. At first I cooed and marveled at its cuteness, then I wondered what it was doing there and why its owner had allowed it to wonder off. Just then the arrow gave off a green light, signaling to the drivers waiting to turn left that it was their turn. It was at that moment that I realized that the little dog was in danger. I breathed a sigh of relief when the car on the left narrowly missed it then gasped  when the car on the right trampled it. I looked on as its light brown tail wagged twice then seized. My fingers, by instinct, moved to my face and wiped the tears that had found their way down my cheeks.

Somehow that poor little creature represents life and its misery. We’re that dog–we are these tiny beings roaming aimlessly in a big and unpredictable world. Everyday we carry heavy loads on our shoulders, hoping that these loads will pay off in the long run,  dreaming dreams about success and happiness, dreaming dreams about a beautiful future, but the truth is that we have no control over anything. One moment everything looks like it’s going to work out for the good and the next it all comes crashing down. None of us knows tomorrow because in this life one moment we breath and the next we breath no more–in this life everything is transitory.


Blackness

courtesy of eatdrinkbetter.com

What is being black? Today’s media answers that question in a variety of ways, but these ways are mostly negative. According to the media, to be a black girl/woman means that you’re either ghetto, or on welfare; you’re most likely the mother of two or more fatherless children, or you’re on drugs; you’re sexually promiscuous, you obnoxiously roll your head whenever you speak to others and, above all, you have an attitude. To be a black boy/man means that you’re a thug/gangster, you absolutely love rap music, you’re the father of many children whom you don’t visit, you’re irresponsible, you’re a drug addict and you’re aggressive. These are the media’s definition of blackness and, because we spend a great amount of time glued to various media forms, it is not surprising that many people actually learn to view blacks according to these stereotypes.

Unfortunately, it appears that a significant number of blacks actually believe these stereotypical ideals. For example, BET, Black Entertainment Television, constantly airs shows that depict blacks in the most deplorable manner. While controversy does well in the entertainment business, it does not benefit the black community to showcase episodes of capricious youths making a fool of themselves. This has created a situation where being ghetto appears to be the ideal; any behavior that goes against this ideal is automatically labeled as “white.” During Barack Obama’s presidential race, some blacks accused him of “acting white,” but the phrase “acting white,” is impossible to decipher. When a black person accuses another of “acting white” he/she implies that it is inconceivable to have blacks who are intelligent. If speaking Standard English, getting good grades or having a successful career is considered “acting white” then what is “acting black”?

For some reason fleeting fame and wealth rather than education have now come to define success. Because rappers, singers and athletes are revered by adults, children grow up idolizing them as well. They aspire to be the next lil Wayne, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Reggie Bush, but what about doctors, lawyers and educators? What about Daniel Hale Williams, Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes, or Maya Angelou? They should be idolized as well. There is clearly not enough room for everyone in the music or sports industry so it’s imperative that these children understand that there are other important career paths for them to pursue.

The truth is that there is no such thing as “acting white” or even “acting black”; there is conducting oneself with poise and dignity at all times. Saying isn’t instead of ain’t or you all instead of y’all is not called “acting white,” it’s called speaking proper English. It’s obvious that intellect does not belong to one specific race; it’s present in different people who are of different colors and different cultures. Since the colonial years, blacks have been portrayed as ignorant, superstitious, lazy and violent–the list of negative stereotypes is literally endless. The time is now–now is when blacks need to show that they are indeed acute; now is the time for us to let the world know that we can be and that we are indeed the epitome of honorable.