Where is the hope and the change?

Like millions of other Americans, during the last presidential campaign, I got swept up in the tide of believing that yes we could make change in this country. I believe I have shared before I was not initially gung-ho about Barack Obama, in fact I was way more into John Edwards who I felt really had a better sense of caring about the working men and women in this country. Of course we know ole Johnnie had to drop out and turns out he would have had way too much on his plate to effectively govern this country, seeing as how his life vaguely resembles a character you would find on the Maury Povich Show…

So I started to take a look at candidate Obama and figured hey this could be the guy. I truly liked the fact he had been a community organizer, having started my switch to the non-profit world eons ago as a community organizer, I know its good work that really creates change if you work hard at it. I was also reminded by my son who fell in love with Obama early on of how quick he had risen. Back in 2004, we were in Chicago when Obama was running for the Senate and both recalled how we had read about him when we were in town.

I grew to like Obama so much last year that I financially supported his campaign, granted my few dollars were a drop in the bucket but after the years of the Bush regime, I wanted to believe in him. Which brings me to my point today…now I know many folks especially Black folks will say don’t judge him, he had a mess to clean up, give him time. I agree lets give him time, my problem is in the work world generally by the time you have been on a job over 6 months, your employer expects to have a sense of who you are as an employee.

Well President Obama has been on the job long enough for me to wonder what the hell is going on? Right now as I type this I understand the President and First Lady are off trying to bring the Olympics to our hometown, Chicago. Um…is that really a good idea?

This past week back in my hometown a young man was savagely killed just down the street from his school, he was a decent kid from what I have read, reports are that he was an honor roll student who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it’s because my son is 17 but this story really touched a nerve in me, even good kids will do dumb shit and being in the midst of a gang fight trying to see what is going on is the type of thing kids do especially in urban areas.

The thing is this is not the first time this year that a kid has gotten killed in Chicago near their school, hell this shit is an epidemic and now thanks to technology we can watch a life being snuffed out and get so desensitized to it that we do nothing.

Now it’s my understanding that President Obama is throwing around the idea that making the school year longer will actually help our kids, maybe it will for a few but considering that kids already spend most of their time in school or working on school work. I see this as a bad idea. I most certainly am not sold on the idea that increasing school days will help our inner city youth. Instead they will leave school at 5pm even more frustrated and I see violence increasing. I admit there is a lot more to the talk of increasing the time spent in school but I see it as a bad idea.

Pretty much the same way I have not cared for Obama’s pep speeches he seems to like to give when talking to predominantly Black audiences, after all, we all feed our kids fried chicken in the morning…talks like these sound good and yes people need to take more responsiblity for themselves but maybe we need to address the societal barriers that create dysfunctional families. If he thinks folks should eat better, maybe we need less junk food places in the hood. Maybe there needs to be more Whole Foods and less bodegas where you can’t even find fresh produce. He spent time on the south-side of Chicago and he knows as I do that in many parts of the south side of Chicago and urban areas across this land that fried chicken is a lot more accessible than a baked chicken. Shit, the ole corner store in my Granny’s area didn’t even sell whole chickens.

My pont of this rant is that we need more than speeches that sound good, we need actual change and sorry but knowing what is happening back home. I think Chicago needs to spend the money that would be spent hosting the Olympics to go towards funding programs that could help actual people. If he cares so much about the hometown then create some change that will better everyone rather than making Mayor Daley feel good.

While we are at, what about real healthcare reform? I just spoke with a professional colleague whose partner had bypass surgery recently and the bill they got, mind you these folks are retired military with damn good insurance was for thirty two thousand dollars after insurance! After insurance! Yet more and more people are facing bills like that, yet what will probably come to pass for health insurance reform in this country is likely to be nothing more than a band aid solution.

Look, I haven’t given up entirely on the President yet but I will say if he was one of my employees, we would be sitting down discussing whether or not he needs help to do his job because so far things are a tad off track.

That’s right…I am a Black Girl in Maine

Its been a strange day. Today was the last day of girl child attending the program she has been in since she was 13 months old. When she started at the center, over 3 years ago I was teaching part-time and after having spent the first 13 months at home being a very attached parent, to say I was nervous about putting her in daycare was an understatement. Yet very quickly the lovely staff at the center became like extended members of our family, for months they held her while she fell asleep, dealt with cloth diapers, and never once seemed put off with my overbearing ways.

Needless to say in recent weeks it was one of the hardest decisions we made when we had to face the reality that our finances could no longer support girl child staying in their wonderful preschool program. Actually last year we couldn’t afford it but sacrified everything to keep her there in hopes that our work situations would pick up, instead after landing my position last fall, things got worse. A month ago it hit me that we could not continue to live so close to the bone. Yet for the past several weeks, I kept hoping somehow things would work out, that someone would contact either I or the Spousal Unit for a contract position but it didn’t happen.

So we awoke this morning once again reminding girl child that today was her last day, we sent notes to her closet buddies and hope that they take us up on our offer to have some playdates. Truly a sad moment though we may be able to volunteer a few times a month and girl child will be able to go and play with her friends. What is unique about this center is that for being located in Maine which is a really white state, there were other children of color there. In fact her class was about 40% non-white and her closet friend is also biracial. Due to the make up of the school, I have been insulated from the reality of how white Maine is and how that might impact girl child but tonight well…we got the wake up call.

After saying our good-byes this afternoon, we had to rush off to the open house at the new and affordable preschool she will be attending. The new preschool is actually affiliated with the daycare/preschool she has been attending since they are both part of the YMCA but the daycare is a full-time program that runs full days whereas the preschool is only a few hours a week and they are in separate locations. Demographically the folks who send their kids to the full-time program either work or are in school whereas the new program is generally kids who have never been in a program.

So we (that would be me, girl child and Spousal Unit) roll up to the open house, walk in and well lets just say it was um…interesting. Every kid and corresponding parental unit was white, ok its Maine, that’s not the end of the world I say to myself.

Well as I noticed parents glancing at us and not making eye contact I started to get a tad uncomfortable but what really has me writing a rare second post in a day is the fact that girl child being the outgoing character that she is walked over to another girl and started playing, the little girl looked tentative but the child’s Mama looked bothered. She actually at one point grabbed her kid and when I started talking to her looked like she really did not want to respond to me.

Thankfully girl child was oblivious and the woman did eventually allow her child to play with mine, but that scene has me disturbed to my core. As my child went to wander and play some more, I noticed the looks of the kids and parents and it took everything for me to not cry…the Spousal Unit saw the look on my face, the one that generally means I am about to lose my cool and get gutter. Thankfully I did not, instead I brushed it off and put on my best damn snooty voice and held my head high but tonight as I write this the tears fall. They fall as I remember every miserable fucking year I spent as the only Black kid in the class, that was hard enough but at least I went home and saw Black folks.

I cry tonight wondering about our future and how long we will be here, truth is unloading this house would take an act of God so leaving is not an option. It’s funny because tonight I am reminded that Maine is a really white place yet whiteness has so many levels. I generally operate in that space here where I am surrounded by more liberal open types who embrace diversity which while at times as its drawbacks, it generally means folks who if they have beef with me, it’s because I am an asshole and not because I am Black. On the flip side are those who have less exposure to folks from different backgrounds and like tonight it shows.

So I have no idea what the future holds though girl child was oblivious which is a blessing and wants to go back and I have cautiously agreed to try it next week while we explore our options. But tonight I am reminded that I am a Black Girl in Maine raising a Black girl and at times it’s a lonely road.

The evil one, so they believe

I have been staying away from any hardcore discussion of politics since there are so many bloggers that handle it far better than I am capable of…but with the midnight resignation of Van Jones ( ex-green czar) and the hoopla surrounding President Obama’s speech planned for today to the nation’s schoolchildren. I felt it was time to say something.

First off, I have spent the past several days laid up in bed praying what I had was a bad cold and not a raging case of H1N1 which meant I have had a lot of time to watch tv. Kids, Glen Beck is one crazy motherfucker. I actually rented a video of his and tried to watch it, um…anyone who watches that man on a regular basis and believes him is a few brews short of a six pack. (I know rude as hell, but I have to call it like I see it) Personally I see Beck as an entertainer who would switch sides if it meant more pesos in his pocket, he is a stone cold loon and he admits he doesn’t really consider himself a journalist. He is just a loud-mouth ignoramus.

That said, he is as vicious as a pit bull and as fellow bloggers were reporting he scored a victory this round with the resignation of Van Jones. (feel free to Google if you want back story, too tired to get into it)Though I will say this, um,  Mr. President how come I feel there is a pattern you are developing of throwing folks especially Black folks under the bus? Just a question.

Now to the meat and potatoes, as you probably know by now, Obama is planning a speech to the nation’s school children. A nice stay in school, work hard type of message; this sort of thing has been done before by other presidents and while yeah, there may have been a few Democrats screaming it was a waste of tax payer dollars back when a Republican president was doing it, the outrage was nothing like what we are seeing now.

Oh no! I have watched the news, read the blogs and man oh man, there are some folks who really feel that we are gearing up to live under a socialist regime and that Obama will be subliminally sending messages to the kids via this speech. Um, who really drank the kool-aid? Yet when we take a look at the folks yelling and screaming about Obama and his socialist ways, I have noticed an interesting thing except for a few delusional Blacks that are probably hired, most of the folks yelling are white, they tend to look either very Christian or very working class and are quick to say racism is not an issue.

As my Granny used to say, youse a lie! Look Black folks know though our more liberal white brethren try not to admit it but all this talk of socialism is just a smoke screen. Fact is Obama could be less government more business, free Nascar passes to folks and you know what? People would still hate him, you know why? Because he is Black, technically he is only half Black but in America  we still have that unofficial one drop rule and you are Black so in this case he is pretty damn Black. 

The bottom line is Fox News, Glen Beck and all the crazies out there are exploiting working class white folks fear of the unknown..aka the Black man. Guess what? Its working too, these folks are riled the fuck up and I swear any moment I expect RAHOWAto break out because the real truth is the birthers and the townhall nuts fear change by a Black man. In many cases we are looking at folks old enough to remember when all a Black man could do was shine their shoes and now he is the damn president of the United States. Mind blowing I guess, if you are mind is that small.

So I say, quit lying and stop misusing words like socialism, believe me Obama is hardly radical in fact if I had it my way you would indeed feel a touch of real socialism but in this country that will never happen.