Saturday, April 11, 2009

Have you ever met someone and wondered whether they were racist or just plain stupid? My husband and I went to happy hour after work yesterday to chill out and have a few drinks. There was a guy sitting at the bar alone and we took the two seats next to him. I could tell he was a talker.

So, we order our drinks and he immediately starts up a conversation. It was going okay and then he started talking about selfish athletes that keep getting into trouble and how the "poor kids" who are looking up to them suffer. He said "those kids" suffer enough and they don't need their heroes letting them down. He considered their heroes to be rappers and athletes and thought it was disgusting how they all wanted to be "gangsta."

I told him that white kids buy way more rap music than black kids and they definitely bought into the "gangsta" image even though they probably have all the advantages that you'd think would lead them to knowing better. I also let him know that every black child does not want to be a "gangsta" or professional athlete and black people do raise their children. I was too amused with him to be pissed off.

He shuts up and the conversation goes to the terrible New York Knicks. We talked about the Knicks of old and how we knew their time had come and gone. He looks at my husband and says "You know what we call the Knicks?" He touches his arm and says, "Don't be offended." Now, whenever someone says that you know they're about to say something offensive. I braced myself and looked at my husband. Before he told us his Knickname, he asked that no offense be taken again.

All I heard was Niggas blah, blah, blah. I didn't hear the rest of what he said. It was as if time stood still. I immediately looked at my husband's hands to see if they had formed fists. My husband is not one to ask questions or start a debate over a situation. He will just bust your ass. He was surprisingly calm. Even though I was heated, I bounced off of his calmness and looked at the guy like he was an idiot. From that moment on, he no longer existed. I must say I was very proud of my husband for not knocking him out.

He continued to try and hold a conversation with us. I basically either ignored him or looked at him like he was stupid. My husband actually talked to him. I was amazed. He started talking about "this black guy" he was friends with that my husband reminded him of. The guy was big and muscular like my husband and he used to "gang bang," but he turned his life around and became an evangelist. He thought it was funny that this big guy was preaching. My husband told him he should attend some of his services because he obviously had a lot to learn. He laughed, but my husband looked at him with the most serious, scary, face that he got up and went outside. He didn't know how lucky he was.

We didn't really talk about him when he left. He wasn't worth the words. It was more important to enjoy each other's company. That was the reason we were there. We'd both had a tiring week and wanted to unwind. He came back and tried to talk to us, but eventually realized that the moment had passed. He said something about hoping we weren't offended by what he said because he didn't mean any harm. I told him he should think about what he says before speaking because he could get himself hurt one day. My husband gave him another deadly stare, I turned my head and watched the Yankee game, and he left.

I eventually asked my husband how he felt about what happened and he said it was clear from some of the things he said that he was use to being around black people who let him say whatever he wanted. He didn't necessarily think he was racist as much as he was ignorant. I'm still not sure. I was just glad he left, even though he wasn't ready to go.

So fellow bloggers, what do you think? Racist? Stupid? Ignorant? A combination of them all? I'd love to get your opinions on this one.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ode to Blog Killa

I've been thinking a lot about this and that lately and trying to figure things out. My life hasn't been perfect by any means. I have been through some things, and i'm sure put people through things. No one is perfect, at least I know i'm not.

I know that I have changed and still have a lot of growing to do. I decided to look back through my old posts to see if the growth showed in my words. As I was reading through, I came across a few anonymous comments from someone who named themselves, "Blog Killa." After a little bit of consideration, i'm pretty sure I figured out who it was.

I started this blog as a means of self expression. I know that I am not always the easiest person to get along with. I'm aware of the fact that most people cannot handle certain parts of my personality that may not be all sunshine and light. I get that, I own that, and i'm fine with that. What I am not fine with is someone making negative comments on my blog anonymously. I cannot stand that.

We all have things that we need to work through. I don't know anyone who was raised in a perfect home, lived in a perfect neighborhood, went to the perfect schools, and had the perfect parents. I guess those people exist, but I don't know any of them. We do the best we can with the tools we are given and live our lives to the best of our abilities. Hopefully, we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.

I've noticed that all the soul searching I have been doing has opened my eyes to a lot of things, but closed my heart as well. I'm beginning to see a lot of people, places, and things for what they are. Sometimes the things I see hurt my feelings, other times they make me angry, and there are times when they make me stronger. I'm trying to learn how to work through all the emotions I find myself going through and it's not very easy, but then again life isn't easy.

The learning never ends. Sometimes you do the best you can and think you did a pretty good job and find out that you were totally wrong. Then again, there are times when you think you did terribly and find out it was just the opposite. You never know. You can't be all things to all people. I guess the only thing you can do is be true to yourself. I've had a hard time with that in the past because I felt like I didn't know who my true self was. I'm getting there, but i'm still searching for all that is me.

Blogging is so crazy. I intended this post to go in one direction and it seems to have taken off in another. It's all good. These are my thoughts...

Anyway, you're in my prayers "Blog Killa." Maybe the day will come when you are able to work up the courage not to be anonymous.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I Get it From My Daddy

I was talking to my friend this morning and came to a realization of something that was long forgotten. One of our co-workers recently lost her mother and we were talking about how down she looks. I definitely understand how she is feeling. When my father passed, it felt like I would never be whole again because a very important piece of me was lost.

We were sharing stories of loss when I realized something that I can't believe I never thought of before. I get my love of writing from my father. He was a very creative person. He moved to Schenectady, New York in the late eighties and decided to go back to school and major in photography. Once that camera was in his hand, he turned into another person. He would take so many pictures when he visited that we would all start to complain. The finished product would always change our minds. He took some great pictures.

My father would also cut out photos of people he admired, research their lives and make photo albums. They were amazing. I learned a lot about our people looking through those books. I would always tease him because he was so militant, but it was actually one of the things I loved most about him. I would love to hear what he thinks about the state of the world we live in today.

His spirit was so creative. I am the writer I am today because his blood runs through my veins. He taught me so much. I stopped looking at his photo albums. It hurt too much. My dad was one of the smartest people I have ever met, but he had issues that kept him from realizing his potential. It's no big deal. We all have our stuff. I just seem to find myself wondering what if. Even though I know what he could have been, I am still extremely proud of the person he was.

Not a day goes by that I don't see something on the news, or debate a topic with someone, and wonder what my father would have to say. He was a Knick fan and I know he would be so upset to see what has become of the team. He would be livid. I can hear him screaming and see the look of disgust on his face. He took his sports very seriously. That's why i'm such a sport fanatic. We would stay on the phone for hours talking about the NFL, NBA, MLB, and any other initial we could think of.

I really miss my father. He's been gone for ten years. I feel his presence all the time. We still talk. The conversation may seem one-sided, but I know he's responding. He still helps me make life decisions. When i'm stuck at a crossroad and feel unsure, I wonder what my father would tell me. I try to figure out what his advice would be, or what decision would make him proud. I guess i'll always be a daddy's girl.

So, when people are shocked that a woman knows so much about sports, or someone is complimenting me on something I have written, I'll thank them and say, "I get it from my daddy."