Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It Would Be Funny, If It Weren’t Real

Anytime someone starts with a disclaimer, you know it’s serious business.  So let me just say that I love people.  I really do.  People and baby animals.  Grown animals?  Not so much.  And although I do prefer baby humans, I actually love grown people too.  So this is truly coming from a place of love.  Believe that. 

Out of the 7 billion people in the world, there are just two people that I do not like.  Hate is a strong word; and I don’t actually know them well enough to hate them; but I don’t like them.  Donald Trump and Kanye West.  Don’t ask why.  Maybe they are just too obnoxious.  And I don’t usually dislike people for no reason, but I guess it just couldn’t be helped.  With the same intensity that I dislike Donald Trump, I love Michelle Obama.  And don’t even say that if I met them, I’d be surprised to know that my feelings could change.

I guarantee you that if I met the both of them today, I would come away with the same feelings.  I cannot image meeting The Donald and leaving with the feeling of, “you know, he is much nicer in person”.  I can bet my life on that one.  Kanye West would probably get away with that; but if Kim happens to tag along and happens to open her mouth, then I would just have to throw him back in the Donald category.

So when I say that I am just giving some tough love, please believe it.  I love people, but people are so stupid.  Of course not all of us; but way too many of us are just too stupid.  The other day I was looking at the news and a 32 year old woman was so impatient to let her friends know how happy the “Happy” song made her, that she updated her facebook status with that exact sentiment, coupled with some selfies, while driving on the freeway.  THE FREEWAY!!!  A second later, she got in an accident and unfortunately died.

I admit it; I am guilty of possessing some dark humor; so I almost chuckled.  Okay, maybe I did for a nanosecond.  Of course it’s not funny.  It’s is way more serious than a heart attack.  But, admit it, if this were a comedy or an animated show, you would laugh.  Girlfriend was 32, not 17.  Seriously, how many times do we have to hear that driving is serious business and distracted drivers cause more accidents than drunk drivers?

I don’t text and drive.  The main reason is because I recently learned to text, so I can barely text and text, much less text and drive.  And I already drive like a maniac, so why should I add any more excitement to that?  Yeah, even the other day, my wonderful daughter, aka The Traitor, dissed me.  My husband was driving like a lunatic which upset me, as usual.  So I commented that he is always criticizing my driving, and he is driving like that.  She chimed in, “Daddy drives crazy when he wants to; but you drive crazy all the time.”  Really?  Really!

Senseless deaths always upset me.  Over the weekend, another 32 year old died senselessly.  Leonore Draper, an anti-violence activist, was gunned down in front of her home, after leaving an anti-violence event.  I’m not a huge animal lover, but I do get why they prefer animals to people.  People can be so dumb!

I do commend Leonore for doing this work because I will not do it!  I love people, and because I do, I wish the best for them; but seriously, too many of them just have to be left to their own devices.  They do not want any good!  Only heroes die young, and I still have another 59 years to go.  So, Miss Draper and her loved ones are in my thoughts; but, as for me, I can’t.

Life is difficult enough as it is, without our adding to the ridiculous.  I’m amazed at what people get up in arms about.  Now today’s distraction du jour is Donald Sterling.  Raise your hand if you ever heard of Donald Sterling before a few days ago.  Exactly!  None of you ever heard of that idiot, so why are you allowing him to get into your head?

Occasionally, I do some research for my posts, and I just looked up The Donald II on Wikipedia.  He is a rich Republican.  His birth name was Donald Tokowitz.  He was born to Jewish immigrants (some self-hate right there, if you ask me).  He changed his name as an adult.  In 1999, his then 19 year old son shot his friend over an argument from a TV show, and Pops got the case dropped by intimidating the detective. 

I didn’t need to read all of that and more about Mr. Tokowitz to figure out what kind of person he is.  I see these people all the time.  They will come, and they will go.  So I will not be joining forces with the NBA players to protest against this idiot.  He is just a small slice of a bigger problem.  Paying hundreds of dollars to watch the Clippers and any other professional team play one game is more of an insult than what he said to his Black Mexican girlfriend. 

Again, the fact that this idiot has so many Black talented men working for him, helping him to exponentially increase his wealth, and he has so much hatred for them is ironically comical.  Life is too short for me to focus on the negative; too short for me to waste precious moments on nonsense.  The only person that can help a person filled with such self-loathe is that person himself.  My job is to spread as much positivity and love because perspectively speaking, it takes people like me and you to balance the stupid people in this world!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Positive to Counter the Negative

That is how my friend KD always captions an inspirational picture or story about a Black youth on facebook.  Actually, his name is Kady, but since I just found that out last year, I’m not about to stop calling him KD, after nearly 30 years.  Plus, they sound the same. 

At any rate, I would be remiss if I didn’t blog about this topic.  Education is one of the most important values in my life, and if nothing else, I hope to instill the value of a good education to my children.  It is definitely one of the surest ways to get out of poverty.  And come on, learning is fun.

So, in the past few weeks, there have been not one, not two, not three, but four young Black men who were accepted to multiple Ivy League colleges or received multiple scholarships.  But it wasn’t just their academic statuses; these young men were athletically and musically talented.

First I heard about Avery Coffey, who applied and was accepted to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown.  His GPA is 4.3, and he was raised by a single parent in one of the worst neighborhoods in Washington, DC.  He attends a small school, with a no cell phone policy.  As I Googled him so I could share the story with my children, I ran across the story of 18 year old Chad Thomas, who received 150 scholarships for his ability to play football and nine musical instruments.  Thomas chose to stay in Miami and will attend the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music because if he had a choice, music would supersede football.

That was pretty impressive, until I heard about Kwasi Enin, who applied to all eight of the Ivy League colleges and was accepted to all eight.  So along with those five that Coffey was accepted to, Enin also applied to Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth.  Enin, whose strict parents hail from Ghana, is a first-generation American and ranks 11 of 647 in his Long Island class.  He scored 2250 on his SAT ……out of a 2400.  Oh, he also applied to and was accepted by three state universities and Duke.

And you know what happens when a shark attacks someone in Australia?  The next day, a shark attacks someone in Hawaii, and the next week, someone in California gets attacked by a shark.  So I am not sure why I was surprised when I heard about Akintunde Ahmad.  Like Coffey and Enin, he is 17 years old.  He scored 2100 on his SAT and has a 5.0 GPA.  But the thing with Ahmad is that he doesn’t look like your typical 17 year old brainiac.  He is 6’1” with dreads and refers to himself as a “street dude” and lives in Oakland, CA.  Some of the schools he was accepted to are Yale, Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA and Howard.  As if his stellar academic records weren’t enough, Ahmad plays three musical instruments and is a star athlete on his high school’s baseball team.

I think the reason why the accomplishments of these four guys garnished so much media attention is because there is always haste in the media to depict news of young Black men very negatively.  If one is too lazy, too bigoted or both, one would definitely think that most Black youths are pot heads, gangsters and high school dropouts, among other things.  However, someone like me, and many of my family and friends, although quite impressed are not surprised.  My oldest nephew was an academic success, but also played the piano, performed in his school’s plays and musicals, painted and sketched and actually played tennis quite well.  And I have no reason to expect that my three children would not be successful in their endeavors, although I’m realistic enough not to expect 5.0 GPAs or acceptances from all eight Ivy League schools.  But I certainly won’t raise any slackers; that’s for sure.

When The Cosby Show premiered in 1984, critics complained that the show was unrealistic.  After all, how can the husband be a doctor, the wife be a lawyer and the children be well mannered, sophisticated, well-spoken and BLACK?  They just could not reconcile that with what they see on TV.  For hundreds of years, Black people have been academically successful, but their achievements just have gone unrecognized, for most part.  Google Black inventors, and you’ll be amazed to see the vast array of ideas implemented that are making all of our lives easier at the present moment.  It would be nice if our achievements were displayed over the media as often as our crimes and mishaps, but I guess it just wouldn’t sell.  After all, if Black people were seen just like your typical American, who would the boogie man be? 

I shouldn’t have a favorite, but Akintunde is it.  Avery and Kwasi have that clean cut look that doesn’t surprise anyone that they are highly intelligent.  Chad has that look that doesn’t surprise me that he’s great at football.  But Akintunde looks like your typical kid.  The fact that he keeps a photo of his GPA on his cell phone to show skeptics, tells me that like the average kid, his cell phone is never too far from him.  The fact that he mentioned in an interview that his brother invited him to a party one night but because he had to finish an essay he couldn’t attend, only to find out that his brother and a couple other guys were shot, tells me that like the average kid, he waited until the last minute to do his homework.  He lives with both of his parents, not a struggling single mother.  Again, that tells me how average his life is, because although the single mother is highlighted all over the media, more kids than not actually live in a household with a father.  Lastly, he plays musical instruments and likes sports.  It doesn’t get any more average than that!

President Obama once said, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon (Martin).”  Well, I have two sons, and perspectively speaking, I hope that in a few years they look like Akintunde!