Broken Record

When there is pain and suffering a trilogy of tunes always sweeps through my mental playlist.  I wonder if Marvin and Teddy knew how impactful these songs would be decades after their initial release.  Timing is relative; I think we would all love the prices shown at the minute mark in the first video right about now!

Love/Hate Relationships

‘Love’ and ‘Hate’ are four letter words.  Some would say that ‘Hate’ is one of the ugliest four letter words in our vocabulary.  There are numerous non-four letter words or phrases for expressing hate:

  • dislike
  • not a fan
  • not fond of
  • no love lost
  • detest
  • abhor
  • despise
  • cannot stand

One of my all-time favorites expressions was sounded off by Miss Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles:

I loathe the bus!

You can always count on classic cinematic moments to provide memorable dialogue or dynamic characters to capture your feelings in a clever way.

Actor Bill Nunn played Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s 1989 Do The Right Thing.  He shares the story of right hand, left hand; the story of good and evil.  It would be nice to get that left hand on the ropes right about now and have it K.O.’d by love.  It would be nice to have the power of the right hand lift up the consciousness of the human race and ensure the right thing is done.  It would be nice, right?

Wanted: One Golden Lasso Ring

This is one of my favorite pictures of my baby cousin, Heather and me.  Yes, my hair is a hot mess and I am rockin’ my beloved Grease t-shirt, which I eventually made into a pillow!  We are proudly posing in front of the Wonder Woman mural my uncle painted on Heather’s bedroom wall.  I love how the three of us are color coordinated and actually my hair sort of resembles that of the mural version of this rock star shero.  Anyway, my uncle thought it was important for her to have a strong role model to look up to.  And wouldn’t you know it – my cousin has grown up to be her own real life Wonder Woman.  I am so proud of her!

To my surprise one day I met the real Wonder Woman. The summer after I graduated from college in 1992, I was working as a receptionist for the new sports radio station in the DC area called WTEM-AM, Sports Radio 570.  I was stunned when the door swung open and there was Lynda Carter standing before me.  Not only was I confused as to why she was at a sports radio station, but also her scent was so intoxicating I was taken aback.   It was Diana Prince in the flesh, and she was just as nice and lovely as she appeared on-screen.  We chatted for a while before she headed back to the studio for her interview about a tennis tournament she and her husband were hosting that coming weekend.  It’s rare when I am in the presence of entertainers that I get star struck, but she caught me off guard.  Secretly in my head I wanted to ask her to spin around, but how silly would have that been.

I knew at some point I wanted to blog about my encounter with Wonder Woman, and with the latest news events I was compelled to tie this memory in with the Trayvon Martin case.  I know I have been posting non-stop about Trayvon, but more than likely I will continue to do so off and on until justice is served.  With all the crazy tales coming from the George Zimmerman camp it’s becoming more and more insane to hear what’s being reported.  We want justice and the truth.  Who better to get it?  Wonder Woman.  We need her Lasso of Truth.  That special golden lasso forces her captives to obey and tell the truth.  If I could summon Diana Prince to spin into Wonder Woman, jump into her invisible plane and head to Florida with her Lasso of Truth I would do it in a heartbeat.  And in a heartbeat I bet George Zimmerman would be behind bars faster than you can sing and jam to the show’s theme song:

Raindrops on Roses

…and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

I am turning a page today and thinking of things that make me happy.

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A Rite of Passage

Thirteen years ago I held my friends’ first born Christopher for the first time.  Yesterday I experienced another first.  That baby boy became a bar mitzvah.  I admit I am not learned in Jewish culture so I was excited to attend the ceremony to celebrate this accomplishment plus witness the tradition.  I didn’t even know it was proper to say, “he became a bar mitzvah” instead of saying, “he is having a bar mitzvah” until now.  I was so proud of Christopher as he read from the Torah and made his required speech, which traditionally begins with the phrase “today I am a man.”  I got a bit choked up to hear this child say these words knowing he is growing up and making his rite of passage into Jewish adulthood.

My emotions ran extra deep during the ceremony because I see this young man as another Trayvon Martin.  I have watched Christopher grow up to be a smart, responsible, loving young man who has the whole world ahead of him.  I shared a picture of him in a post a couple of days ago when I discussed the challenges of my friends who are raising young Black boys.   My friends have done an outstanding job.  Christopher is a prime example of multiculturalism.  In his short life, he has experienced more things and people from various backgrounds then I have in my four decades on this earth.

I felt a sense of hope and promise as I left the synagogue.  We have no guarantees how the outside world will perceive him or treat him.  But after a week of frustration and sadness over Trayvon, I had a few hours of joy for Christopher and his potential.  Let’s keep him and all the Trayvons in our prayers.

Universal Rhetoric

I am tired of the one-sided conversation.  I am tired of hearing about The Talk that African-American parents have to have with their sons on how to behave in public.  Don’t get me wrong – I believe The Talk is important, but it’s important for every child. Male. Female. Black. White. Brown. Yellow, Pink. Interracial.  It would appear from the response of some non-African-Americans that The Talk is something foreign to them; they had no idea this was a necessary tool in raising young Black boys.  I find that somewhat odd because since the age of slavery it has been documented in books, movies and in the news, that Blacks have always been forced to walk through the world on eggshells, and had to know how to respond to the likes of:

Are you eyein’ me boy?

Don’t talk back to me nigger!

OK.  For arguments sake let’s just say having The Talk was an unknown fact, but now it’s known and it can’t be ignored now that the lesson has been shared on multiple newscasts on multiple news outlets for the past several days.  But let’s get real here.  Our issues on race relations will never get healed if we only focus on one side of the coin.  Why are Black families holding the burden on how they need to act in the world?  Where are the discussions about how non-Blacks should be conducting themselves in public and how they should be polite, respect authority and show kindness to their fellow-man?  Trayvon Martin and countless numbers of young Black men conduct themselves as law-abiding citizens everyday based on the lessons they learned from their family, but all of that is for nothing when someone else has a different agenda – a different perception.

Education has to set precedence.  In grasping for minor solutions to this major problem I’ve mentioned to some friends that it is time to implement new curriculum in our school systems. Diversity and cultural sensitivity courses should be standardized curriculum beginning in grade school, so the awareness and discussions can begin early. I’m not using calculus in my everyday life, but cultural awareness is used on a daily basis.

If cultural awareness and understanding were second nature for the entire human race there would be less opportunity for someone like Geraldo Rivera to make careless remarks about blaming the hoodie Trayvon Martin was wearing for his death.  Should Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Bieber fear for their lives because they wear hoodies and baggy or low riding pants?

If cultural awareness and understanding were second nature then all the news outlets and their anchors would want to put the same amount of time and energy behind the injustice of all the men and women, boys and girls that go missing or are murdered.  Is Nancy Grace on vacation, or has she shown her true colors by not caring for the well-being of people of color?

Twenty years ago after the Los Angeles riots in 1992 Rodney King pleaded with the world by saying, “Can’t we all get along?” Such a simple phrase that seems so easy to put into action.

Let’s start talking, and not just with people who look like you and are like-minded.  We need to start talking with friends, colleagues and acquaintances who may have different life experience.  We need to learn and educate one another. What do we have to lose by doing this, that we haven’t lost already?