Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Soft Bigotry of Still Low Expectations

So Bill O'Reilly was surprised to discover that a place like Sylvia's in Harlem was a good solid upstanding normal restaurant. In an attempt to pay the establishment and its owners a compliment, O'Reilly let it be known that there are still mountains for black folks to climb (in his mind). Apparently, he was surprised by the audience and performers at an Anita Baker concert. I wonder if he thought that the band would be throwing back 40s, and Anita would be popping that booty.

It still amazes me that people still believe the worst about African Americans first, and then try to give surprised when hit with the realities that we bring to the table. Now don't get me wrong, if Flavor Flav and New York New York are your primary cultural references to contemporary African Americans, and you are juxtaposing those images with say Martin Luther King, Jr and Mahalia Jackson, then I can understand the disconnect. However, too many people who think this way work with black folks on a daily basis. They see with eyes wide open (or is it really eyes wide shut?) run of the mill, hard working black folks. But, so many (and I am certainly not referring only to white folks) people are quick to judge black folks uncharitably, and they are quite comfortable in their judgments.

It should come as no surprise that a phenomenon like "The Cosby Show" was almost alien to so many people. I nearly cried seeing the lives of people I knew and grew up with on television every Thursday. I loved the subtle message that "The Cosby Show" put forth. What black person can say that their appreciation of jazz didn't go up by the conclusion of the series? Who didn't feel validated in some way by that show? How many folks wanted to be Huxtables? I am smiling now, as I think about some of my favorite episodes and lines (Claire to Denise: "So you can take your money and go discover America."). How many people opted to check out HBCUs as a result of "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World?" Yet, the Huxtables were seen as an anomaly in the African American world. They were not seen as believable. Someone like O'Reilly would not see them as "really" black.

I am tired of hearing the pronouncements of folks who simply need to get out more. I am tired of black folks being viewed as cultural aliens within a culture that we helped to shape. And I am tired of the likes of Bill O'Reilly thinking that they know who black folks are and what black folks represent. Please.

An Iran without Gays

Only in the mind of someone whose chair is not quite under the table would come the pronouncement that there are no gays in Iran. As I am sure many others have surmised, it is only because Ahmadinejad's regime has made every effort to kill each alleged gay person it can find. If revolution ever comes to Iran again, I hope that the Iranian gay community will be leading the charge.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Autumnal Dreams

Words cannot express the joy I feel when the summer recedes and autumn emerges. My mood changes dramatically (for the better). I automatically think of Suzanne Vega tunes and neo-soul songs. I can see myself in that new sweater I have been dying to be seen wearing. I long for walking under a canopy of trees as the leaves part from branches descending upon me; I love the smile that I have on my face then. It is a crisp and vibrant season, and it reflects my personality best. Change is coming, and I embrace it with open arms.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I thought I could avoid talking about the situation with Senator Larry Craig, but it just isn't going to happen. I have to admit that I feel sorry for the man. It must be incredibly difficult to shroud one's feelings so thoroughly that one must resort to clandestine and furtive meetings with men in order to express what should be natural. It must have been painful for him to wrestle with the notion of what to do, when he was arrested. Do I fight this, and let the press have at me? Or do I attempt to sweep this under the rug and pray that no one finds out?

As the momentum of the story grew over the course of last week, I found myself bothered with all of the snickering that was going on. The maturity levels of various pundits were revealed to be as low as anyone could have guessed. It was also incredible to see how unified the GOP was in insisting that Craig resign from his seat. I am confident that no straight GOP pol would have suffered a similar fate (all we have to do is recall the story of Senator Vitter and the DC madam).

I hope that Craig is able to work this out, and I hope that his family will be prepared to handle themselves when he tells his truth.