21 February 2009

Hot Topics...

I hope the women of THE VIEW will excuse me for borrowing their tagline, but I just have to sound off on a few issues that have had everyone talking all week long. These are just MY opinions - you can agree or disagree - I will not take offense one way or the other. Ok, here we go:

CHRIS AND RIHANNA: First, can I just say this: There's three sides to this story - his side, her side and the truth, which we as the public will probably never ever know in full. Stop weighing in about what should happen to him or what she should do or how justice should be served. All the facts aren't out there yet. And while I FIRMLY believe that there is NEVER a reason that a man should lay his hands on any woman, I also know that in relationships, people (male and female) know just what buttons to push that can make the other person lose their mind. So, stop and pray for BOTH of them. Having lived in a situation of domestic violence as I grew up, let me tell you - both the abuser and the abused are victims and in need of counseling, prayer and support. Fortunately, both Chris and Rihanna are young and can bounce back from this incident - with counseling, love, support and prayers.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I don't understand why people don't "get" what Mr. Holder was saying when he said that America is a "nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations in this country. He's speaking the truth, people. I guess if you are not a person of color, you don't understand it. Lou Dobbs on CNN, while reporting this story, made the comment, "What is he talking about? We just elected our first African-American President." - and I about came off the couch. While that was indeed a historic and wonderful moment in our country's history, it doesn't change the fact that while our workplaces may be intergrated, we are still socially segregated. I had a long discussion with a Jewish attorney friend of mine who I greatly respect and he told me that he thinks that maybe, after working around White folks all day, Black folks don't just want to socialize with them too. They'd rather be "around their own people." He went on to say, it was probably the same for White folks as well. And I think I agree with him.

There are subjects that we don't touch as we cross racial or cultural lines. We don't discuss that most African-Americans still live in urban areas that are in need of infrastructure and police protection and other basic amenities -while most White Americans live in the suburbs where those problems are not so prevalent. CNN reported that 56% of White Americans admitted that they feel "uncomfortable" when "too many African-Americans" move into their neighborhoods and will usually pack up and move when the discomfort becomes too much while less than 50% of African-Americans said that they felt similarly. And there are other subtle things that are done as well: a report I saw on CNN recently about people whose homes were being foreclosed on focused on African-American homeowners, while the report about people who were upset about how the bailout for homeowners is not fair to those of us paying our mortgages on time interviewed several White Americans and only ONE African-American. Doesn't this send a subtle message that Black Americans are the ones who aren't paying their mortgages and the "good White folk" are the ones who have to bail them out? I think it does - but when I said that in mixed company, the reaction I got almost made me want to take back what I said.

(For the record, I not only pay my mortgage on my home and my timeshare on time every month (Praise God!), I am making additional payments to the principle because that is what I was told 1 years ago was the right and responsible thing to do in order to pay off my mortgage quicker and own my home sooner.)

I just think we need to pull our heads out from the sand and recognize that just because we may have friends across the racial and cultural lines doesn't mean that we don't have a long way to go when it comes to fully healing the breaches in our society.

And last, but not least: THE NEW YORK POST CARTOON: First, yes, the cartoon was offensive, but I truly believe that the uproar and media hype about the cartoon afterwards was a little over the top. I cannot tell you how much time I "wasted" this week talking about a cartoon that when I initially saw it, I went, "ooo, that wasn't nice" and then moved on with my day. It wasn't until I started getting all the emails about boycotting the Post and calling for the firing of Sean Delonas (who just became a footnote in history by the way) and the editorial staff that allowed the cartoon to print, that I realized that other people were much more affected and impacted than I was. Whatever happened to "freedom of the press" and "freedom of speech". Yes, the cartoon was in poor taste, but so are a lot of things that go on in this society, and we ain't protesting all those issues. I think people over-reacted just a little. I mean, what good is my boycotting the Post going to do when I live in Atlanta, GA and don't buy, subscribe or even read the Post online? Nada. Should we let the editors know that we don't agree with their running of the cartoon? If it means that much to you, yes you should. Should someone get fired over it? No. They'll just move to another newspaper and do the same thing there, possibly.

So, why did I post John Legend's OPEN LETTER TO THE POST on my Facebook page? Because I thought his response was well thought out, well written and made some important points. And for those who read the cartoon to be a direct attack against our new President, here is the most important thing John Legend said, which I think is a perfect response: "Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incidiary images and rhetoric." And there you go.

Ok, this turned out to be a much longer post than I expected, but that's what happens when you have "hot topics" to discuss.
Be blessed.

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