It is what I say it is.. got that?

Here I am a peaceful subject, so peaceful that I don’t spank my little one when she is acting up and believe me as a former spanker who got spanked there are days that the peaceful more gentle route really starts to grate on a Mama’s nerves. However I am not talking about the little one, though she did work me nerves this weekend.

Nope, I am talking about the lens through which white folks and Black folks see the world and how sometimes I swear white folks deliberately choose to slip on their white privilege lens thus making me want to slap the shit out of them.

I have had several exchanges lately where as a Black woman it felt clear I was getting stank attitudes because I was Black, specifically the family went out to dinner and at the next table was a group of young white men late teens to early 20’s I’d say. Well while getting my eat on, I sensed someone looking at me and look up and low and behold, the table of young white men is giving a sista the evil eye. I heard one of them mutter something about Obama, all the while looking at me like what the fuck am I doing in their line of vision.

Well a sista wasn’t having that, so I decided to engage back with the staring until the head ignoramous decided to finish his food. All the time while staring at him, I was also reaching towards my father in laws bottle of beer because had the little redneck bastards decided to get uppity, I was prepared to tell the spousal unit to scoop up mini-me while I broke that bottle on the table and went for the bastard’s neck.  Yep, that’s how I roll. I am too old to play games and will fuck up anyone who endangers or threatens me or my family.

Anyhow, I shared this story with someone recently and was asked how did I know the young men were racist? Truthfully, being asked that question pissed me off almost as much as the table full of young Republicans or maybe they were all a bunch of Levi “redneck” wanna bees. See, its shit like that, that makes me think the only white person who avoids pissing me off on the regular is the spousal unit. Now I know it was an innocent question, but why do Black folks have to justify that we “know” its racism. Somethings are a matter of reception as much as perception, if I receive it as racism and it feels like racism then guess what for me its racism. The thing is not all racism is upfront and nasty sometimes its light and subtle but generally most folks of color know racism when they encounter it, and after 35 years on this planet, I can tell the difference between a casual stare versus a hostile one that says the person staring would like to do me harm.

Ya know somtimes I want to just share a story and not have to justify or explain, if I say I felt it was a racial issue guess what just listen to me.. kinda like with kids sometimes its because I said so, no other explanation needed. Got it?

Checking out early.. we don’t live long

Its starting to feel like every time I go on-line, I am hearing about another Black person dying, generally someone who is in the prime of life. In the past week and a half, both Issac Hayes and Bernie Mac died, within a day of each other. Today, I saw a report that LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of the Dave Matthews Band had died, he was only in his 40’s. Then a few hours later I saw a report that Stephanie Tubbs-Jones congresswoman from Ohio had died after suffering a brain aneurysm and she too was fairly young, only in her 50’s. I must admit I am wondering who next?

Then again, I don’t have to look far to see folks dying young, my own beloved Mama, died 4 days after turning 50 from a 8 month battle with cancer; her dad, my Paw-Paw was barely in his 50’s when he died. Thankfully there are some folks in my bloodline who live to old age but I must admit the older I get, I do wonder if I will live long since statistically the odds in my family favor checking out early, which is a damn shame since this is one instance I want to run on CP (that’s colored people time for readers not familiar with that term)  time, not regular time.

All jokes aside though, statistically on average Blacks die earlier than whites and while we know there are reasons for it as far as the inequities in the healthcare system, even when factoring for socio-economics, middle class Blacks still die earlier so its not just po folks with no money to see a doctor. Even when we have the resources our illnesses are detected later, a year ago Mother Jones magazine did a piece on this where the author, a Black man spoke of his own father dying in his 50’s and he was a physician. Shit, that’s scary when you think about it… you mean Black doctors don’t even live long?

Now we all know about the dangers to the young, especially  young Black men, but the folks dying young that truly trouble me are folks 35 and up who I don’t expect to die young. I find myself wondering what can I do? What can we do to stop Black folks from dying early, personally I do try to watch what I eat, thanks to the internet while I am by no means a doctor, I can read up on things. Truthfully though I must confess I have one bad habit I struggle with and that’s smoking. For the past decade I have wrestled with quitting, I have gone anywhere from 1-3 years where I quit but then something triggers me and I fall off the wagon. Right now I am off the wagon, but thankfully I smoke less than I ever have before in part because I don’t smoke in the house, car or around the kids which doesn’t leave too many places to grab a butt. I recently had my annual physical and everything came back good, in fact I was bothered by how surprised the doctor seemed that my blood-work was good… damn, Black folks in good health can’t be that rare? Then again, I know if I don’t quit smoking for good that may not always be the case.

I sometimes wonder is it the food today that has us all fucked up? Seriously, what is it that keeps us unhealthy? I guess I got no answers on this but I say join me in commiting to good health, for me that will entail quitting the butts once and for all and truthfully I can stand to increase my activity level a tad more. I am not sedentary but I would like to be more active.

After all when it comes to reaching the end of this game called life, this is one time being late to the game is better than being early.

Working while Black- Racism in America

Today I have a guest post from my little brother, he is the type of brotha you don’t see mentioned in the media too often since the media would love to have us think that all our brothas are locked up or on parole and jobless. Anyway my lil brotha is working hard in a predominantly white field and today some shit hit the fan and this post is a message he sent to a few of us to keep from cracking his bosses neck.

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In light of Barack Obama’s presidential run, there are those that think that racism has finally taken it’s last dance. For those that say that.. i say stop sniffing crystallized piss pellets.

My other career is architecture for those that dont know (yes Black people can do more than lay bricks, we can lay the plans:) I have been in this career since 16 when i got my first gig on my own by looking up firms in the phone book. I have wanted to be an architect since 13.

Since then I have dealt with things that most folks would cringe if they knew, but it’s the nature of the beast. This profession I have a love/hate relationship with has maybe 2300 LICENSED Black architects in THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES!
(FYI 10% ARE WOMEN, IE 230) So indeed this is a league of it’s own
My goal is to get licensed, but it just seems that maybe im too damn uppity for my own good

Case in point
I have a boss at my current spot. He’s admitted being a “former” racist. I admire him for his brevity but for some reason former is not as past as I thought
Of late we have been going at it like Israelis and Palestinians over the Gaza Strip.

Now, as an intern architect, which is my professional designation (LONG STORY) i work under him to help him get the drawings done and so on and so forth.. This guy admitted to me that hes NEVER had anyone work under him before and he wanted it to be a good experience.. fine I have a management background as well, so i figured i could help him manage and he help me become a better architect.
SWEET!
HOWEVER, he is NOT licensed, just been around longer than me, but still by professsional designation a intern architect as well

He has a way of saying some underhanded subtle shit that well makes the Samuel L Jackson come out of the most Robert Townsend of men.

I.E. 2 Days go.. im eating lunch in the office (Which is VERY RARE FOR ME, CUZ ON LUNCH I LIKE TO GET AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE) i am reading a book about my fraternity… He walks in and says (OH WOW, YOU CAN REAAD!!!)
Now Black folks and other in myspace land.. i know what you are thinking.. He lost his rabbit ass mind.. indeed. I just shot him the Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction look, and he left.

YESTERDAY
I get a text from cnn.com about the Arkansas Democratic Chairman who was shot and killed.. I tell him in the midst of our bosses and he goes and i quote “What he killed in a drive-by?” Now.. some way say Nizm.. ur being too damn sensitive.. and i’ll by that for a dollar.. HOWEVER given that even though this guy must have watched Banging in Little Rock it was quite assumptive that just he got SHOT it had to be a BLACK person by ANOTHER BLACK person
last i checked it was not BLACK folks who run the NRA 🙂 (That was my BOONDOCKS moment scuse me)

Now my boss i think is also spazzing cuz I am gonna finish my Masters by years end. At the moment he’s the only one in the office with a Masters to my knowledge.
And part of me wonders does that bother him. Yeah im young, Black, educated and ambitious.. and NO I dont want to work under ANYONE.
I get the feeling im stepping out of his comfort zone

So today
i get there.. mind you i been doing 12 hour days all week. and i get yelled at cuz CTA (that’s public transit in Chi-town)  fucks me.. and he then met the N guy
yes i snapped on him. I went quite belligerent and then he tucked his tail tween his legs rushing off for a meeting
Now granted my language was quite profane.. but I dont take well to a white man calling me on my cell phone telling me to get ASS here cuz you got work to do, BEFORE the time im supposed to come in. I am doing the work HE fucked up.

But as far as doing anything right.. of course not
No credit where credit is due
and it comes with being Black in this profession

However there comes a time as a man, that enough is enough
I stand on the shoulders of the men before me in this profession and I strive to go further, however, though I do subscribe to the tenets of the BROTHER Martin Luther King.. I can get quite Malcolm X when necessary

psuedo liberals indeed run rampant.

SO I end by saying this.
Being a Black educated man in 2008 is more dangerous then ANY mission in the military
and we are few and far between
For those that I share this rare air with, my prayers are with you Brethen
For those that dont understand.. listen and learn
RACISM IS ALIVE IN WELL IN 2008!!!