Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bill Cosby, Ferguson Riots, and all that

I was not going to write a blog post about any of these news items. I kept telling myself in my head, "Curb your opinion on these; just watch and wait." But then, I shared a chart the other day about the simple fact, taken from National Review, that a Black person is more likely to be killed by another Black person than by any White cop. Then a woman from my church told me, "I can't believe we go to the same church and worship the same God." She then unfriended me. I sent her a private message to tell her how hurtful her public comments were, and I asked her to apologize, but she refused.  For more information about this chart and her comments, visit, and download the file.

Now let's get down to business and play a little game called Bombshells, or as George Lopez would say it: "In the suburbs, it's called, 'You might want to sit down for this; it's a shocker.' In the hood, it's called, 'Oh, no you didn't!'"

I find the sexual assault cases against Bill Cosby and the Michael Brown affair/riots to be so intertwined, it is ridiculous. First, Michael Brown and the Ferguson riots. Do I believe Brown was wrongfully shot? Yes. According to witnesses, he was being shot at as he ran from Officer Wilson, and then he was shot when he turned around and put his hands in the air. First, even though I am not a police officer, I know that a person with no signs of a weapon is not a danger to the officer, so Wilson should have pursued him on foot and/or used a Taser. Second, the millisecond a suspect puts their hands in the air, there is no reason to shoot anymore, but it was Wilson's responsibility to direct him  onto the ground and to make no sudden moves. So, Brown was wrongfully shot. Keep this in mind in the next paragraphs.

Now, let's take a good look at the man whose name has been invoked during the Ferguson riots. Right before he was shot, there was filmed footage of him  stealing cigars. When the store owner tried to stop him, Brown shoved him away, and then loomed towards him in a threatening manner when he still pursued. Comparing Brown's build to that of the store owner, of course that store owner was not going to pursue him further. And then, even the witnesses noticed that there was a struggle after the Wilson told Brown to get off the streets, but he would not comply.

So, I see three things wrong with this picture. First, as we learned in kindergarten, stealing is wrong. For Brown to steal something as trivial and needless as cigars, he was obviously looking for trouble. Second, when Wilson told Brown to get off the street, he should have complied instead of talking back. Third, Brown should never, EVER have put himself in a position where he would "struggle" with any police officer. No reasonable person puts their hands on or runs from an officer. I was told at an early age to respect the police and obey the law. Plus, I was told to remember who I am: a Black person in a country that has historically and deliberately marginalized Black people. As such, I was to be polite and cooperative with any police officer at all times, but remember names and badge numbers if an officer had gotten out of line. To do anything else would be to give a police officer all the reason he or she would need to remove me from this world or at least batter me, and it would be my word against his or hers.  After all, when it comes to eradicating racism and discrimination in this country, the police force is one of the final frontiers. While many officers are good and true to their work, on some deserted road, there are only two witnesses: you and the officer.  When you are uncooperative with the police, you discredit yourself. If someone had taught Brown these things, maybe he would still be alive. Perhaps the reason why the jury decided not to indict Wilson is because they could only see Brown's danger to society and not Wilson's abuse of power.

Now for the rioters. There is nothing dumber and more counterproductive than burning down your own communities and stealing from your own people. As news reports have shown, many of the businesses looted and destroyed are Black owned. How cowardly can you get? I am against rioting and the violence it brings, but if these rioters had any courage, they would have left businesses in their communities alone, and they would have organized and methodically attacked the Ferguson police station or even the dissenting jurors. That is where the logic is missing, and this is what makes the rioting cowardly. While people insist that rioting is a demand for justice, all it does is make people justify the jury's decision.

And if you are going to riot over the manslaughter (or murder; I am still on the fence on what to call it), why are you going to commit violence and destruction over someone who shoplifts and provokes the police? Why is he your cause célèbre? Why not save your anger for an upstanding Black citizen who cooperates with police and is still abused? This is tragically similar to the Rodney King case. All the public saw in the video was Rodney King being beaten by four cops. No one remembers that King attacked the officers first. No one remembers that he was pulled over for reckless driving and DUI and that he was arrested again, for the same reasons, 2 weeks later.

Whenever I see the protests of police brutality on television, and when I see Blacks, Latinos, and liberal Whites protest killings of Black men by the police or by seemingly racist non-Blacks, I cannot help but wonder why these same people are not equally outraged by the dozens of Blacks being murdered by other Blacks in every major city in this country. Why does one Black man mean more to you than thousands of other Black men? What, is it easier to point to one White person with a gun than a multitude of problems degrading the Black community? But then, no one wants to talk about that. People are so busy being victicrats that they cannot deal with their own problems, and if any well-meaning person tries to bring this up, they are called racist, race traitors, or gay. (Yes, gay. Very mature.)

You are probably wondering when the heck I am going to get to Bill Cosby. The very things I am saying are but a mere echo of Bill Cosby's words as he states them in public or writes them so eloquently in his book "Come on, People." Many Black people are threatened by him and have tried to shut him up. When this did not work, and this is my theory, they paid women to accuse him of kidnapping, drugging, and sexual assault. I find it very convenient that, after "airing [Black] dirty laundry in public" for the umpteenth time, women are suddenly coming out of corners to make allegations against him that are almost 30 years old. While I have always been a strong advocate for victims of violent crimes, I stand by Cosby this time. I believe that he is completely innocent, no matter what my former classmate comedian, Hannibal Buress, says. I believe that this is nothing but a setup to silence and destroy Cosby for speaking the truth about problems in my community. The fact is, whenever there is a successful Black man, there will always be a person waiting for the opportunity to destroy him, whether it be Sambo from Uncle Tom's Cabin or Fannie Taylor from the Rosewood Massacre. With this is mind, if those women really were raped, why did it take them so long to come forward? I am sorry, but history and the media have proven that when a woman, especially one of European descent (sorry, but it is true), comes forward and accuses any Black man of a sexually-based offense, the public and the media immediately takes the side of the woman, and his entire career and life is kaput even before he is arrested. This is why I am convinced that Cosby is innocent. If those women came forward in the 1980s, the law would have thrown the book at him. Until solid evidence proves otherwise, I will stand by Cosby, though the heavens fall.

What is happening to Cosby and what happened to me with that former friend from church shows what happens when a Black man loves his people too much to keep the truth from them.  They are ostracized and condemned by their own. They are called Uncle Toms, Oreos, or house n*ggers, This is because the Ferguson rioters and those who hate to hear a Black person show tough love has a field slave mentality. Take a moment to look at the life of a field slave: he is forced to work from sunrise to sunset for the master, he is beaten for not working fast enough or because the overseer is bored, he sees his sister dragged into the woods by the master's son only to return no longer a virgin, and he feels inferior deep down inside. When the master decides to fire an abusive overseer or give a devoted slave a ham, he refuses to see the good in everyone. When a house slave who walks with dignity decides to spend time with his people, the field slave mocks him for having what he wants. When a field slave is punished for beating another field slave, all of the other field slaves either isolate him or beat him further, telling him "snitches get stitches."

The field slave, weary from his plight, can only see hatred for all things White and pain for their persecution. Because of this, another field slave who hates and feels pain too can do no wrong. Even when the evidence against a Black criminal is too strong, the field slaves stick together--even when they are wrong--and anyone who exposes their hypocrisies can just go to hell. Sadly, even though slavery legally ended in 1865, there are too many field slaves today lettting their emotions rule over them, while there have been slaves living free even before the Emancipation Proclamation. It does not matter if a document declares a person free and the chains have been removed from their wrists. Scripture teaches, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." In other words, if a people still think like slaves, they are slaves.

While they think they are protecting themselves, they are really destroying themselves and bringing shame on the whole Black community. At the rate we are going, there will be a time when true and overt racism will return, and even the most reasonable non-Black will turn his back on us. When this happens, Blacks and other minorities with vocal victicrats will find themselves suffering the same Holocaust the Jews did in World War II. Like it was for them, there will not be enough people to save us. People, this really scares me. I am scared for myself and for my people. Angry Blacks and guilt-driven Whites will unfriend me on Facebook for this, but Black people are our own worst enemy. This does not have to be. As Tulsa, Rosewood, The Harlem Renaissance, Pill Hill, and so many movements and communities have proven, Black people have remarkable power to provide for themselves and beautify themselves to the envy of groups. We have done it before, and we can do it again. All we need to do is stop playing the race card and take Black on Black crime more seriously. Statistics have repeatedly proven that, while there are plenty of trigger-happy cops out there (which is why I approve of requiring police to wear camcorders), if Officer Wilson were out of the picture, he would have been if far more danger of being killed by another Black person--particularly one of those rioting in his name.

Now, who is the bigger "race-traitor": those who expose problems in the Black community to save the souls of Black people, or those who denigrate those who speak the truth to save the hides of Black people?

For more information about Michael Brown and the Ferguson Riots, visit'

For information about the Cosby allegations, visit

To learn about Cosby's book, go to

While you are at it, learn more about Larry Elder's book:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Being Thankful

On the way home from church today, I listened to a broadcast from Moody Radio. The pastor I listened to said, "Gratefulness is not an emotion--it is an action. True gratefulness is obedience to God." To take this further, those who are grateful for everything God has given them do not hesitate to show charity to others--even when the recipient is unworthy. Grateful Christians observe the Sabbath and do not allow errands, extra sleep, golf, the football game, or brunch with the girls to be more important than going to church and meditating on God's goodness. (For those who find church boring, don't go for the fun of it; go to listen to the Word and in obedience to God). Moreover, grateful Christians depend on Christ to be the only source of salvation and do not try to rewrite Scripture to justify their own indulgence.

Today, as I sat in church, I noticed that the pews were only half full. Where were the other Christians? Still asleep, even though it is God that allows them to wake up when they are ready? Cooking the Thanksgiving Dinner, even though it was God's providence that allowed them to have such an abundance of food? Or, were they getting ready for one America's most common idols: football? The fact that so few people thought to attend church today at my congregation and all over the country is proof that America is increasingly becoming godless, as they are putting their own personal interests against serving God. We have so many blessings, yet we are no longer grateful. We forget to thank God for the things we have. We prefer our individuality over obedience to our Creator. We complain over the little things; we lament there is no meat when there are more than enough vegetables to satisfy our appetites. I keep repeating what my mother told me once because it is true: "If you cannot thank God for what you have, why should He give you more?" This is become obvious with the moral and social decay that is plaguing our country.

Sadly, too many of us refuse to repent. As proof of this, there are those who call themselves Christians who will read this rant and call me intolerant, a religious fanatic, or that I am "entitled to my own opinion." Well, to be blunt, it is the "religious fanatics" who try hard to follow Christ's heart, and they will never surrender their salvation for what the world can provide. After all, the things that the world can give will perish and will lead me to everlasting damnation, but what Christ gives me is eternal and is for my own good. Only Christ could die to wash away my sins, and only He can give me everlasting forgiveness and life. For this, I am compelled and pleased to show Him my gratitude for the rest of my life. How about you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Person, Not a Token

Token, from South Park

Allow me to tell you a true story. 

An African-American woman and a man of European descent fall in love with each other. After a year or so of dating, they get married and move to another state. Then the trouble begins. She begins to notice that her husband takes offense to the neighborhoods she frequents and the friends she chooses. Whenever there are family gatherings on her side, he refused to attend. Then one day, it finally made sense to her. The neighborhoods she went to were safe and characteristic. The friends she chose were respectable and warm, and her family was loving and treated him well. The problem is, they were all Black, and to her horror, she realized that, while he loved her, he disliked Black people. Maybe it was her charisma or her sophistication, but she realized what many educated, open Blacks with White friends are often forced to realize; she was his Token Black--an exception to the rule, if you will. This realization damaged her deeply. After all, as she is a dignified Black woman, to dislike her people is to not truly love or respect her. Needless to say, she divorced him.

While this is an extreme example, it demonstrates the attitudes some people harbor against Blacks, whether they mean to or not. On the one hand, many people treat Blacks like mascots, and they try to "act Black" in order to be cool. Then there are all of the others who, out of misunderstanding or just plain racism, dislike or hate Blacks, yet like some individual Blacks. Either these are friends or celebrities. In fact, even some of the most bigoted people have that one decent Black. They live next to them and talk football over the fence. They work with them, hire them, invite (and parade) them to (at) barbecues, they adopt them, date them, and, as the illustration suggests, even marry them. Even the White supremacist David Duke reminisced of his childhood mammy (Black maid). Somehow, they are magically able to separate a person from his or her own people because they cannot find it in their hearts (or brains) to dislike him or her as well.

I reflect on my own experiences being both the mascot and the decent Black. A lot of this comes from a history and childhood of ethnic confusion and shame. Everyone kept telling me to be proud to be African-American, but I looked around me and could not find any reasons to be proud. I remember when I was 8 years old and had just learned about Dr. Martin Luther King. After school, when I was on the bus on my way home, I saw graffiti and litter all over Black neighborhoods. I saw Black guys sloppily dressed, Black women scantily dressed, and people fighting and throwing bottles at each other. On my block, I saw plenty of hardworking mothers and devoted grandmothers, but very few fathers. I remember saying, "So, Dr. King gave us freedom, and look at what we are doing with it." I guess that is where my ethnic shame began. It perpetuated in high school when I noticed that the boys who always bullied me were Black, while, for the most part, the White students either befriended me or left me alone. As a result, I kept my distance from Blacks, and most of my friends were White. 

When I befriended Whites and was in the White crowd, I have experienced many things and asked many questions--questions that I did not mind but would probably offend the average Black person. I have been asked why I don't act or talk "Black", A few people even thought I was English! Then, there have been those who asked for my opinion--as a Black person. Really, if I really spoke for most Blacks, then Blacks are against affirmative action and believed that OJ Simpson was guilty.Then there are those who have been inclined to vent about their experiences with me about other Blacks or, reversely, try to talk "Black" around me. Case in point, there was a fellow who went to my church who kept calling me "bro," and he really pursued me as a friend. Then, in mixed company, he insinuated that Whites were the superior race because they invented the wheel. Finally, there was a time in college when I wrote an article reprimanding Black students for playing the race card about a certain issue. For as many Black students coming to tongue lash me, there were White students coming over to applaud me. Most of these students I had never seen or talked to before. Those same White students did not sit down next to me at lunch. They did not invite me for coffee after school, and they did not invite me to their parties. In fact, in all of my years of high school, there was only one person who ever invited me to a party--a Black girl. 

Even though all the signs were there, I still did not pay attention because I wanted to convince myself that racism was only experienced by Black who did not respect themselves. The only times I began to realize that there was a problem were when I befriended a Jewish classmate named Jess, and when I looked for work after getting my MSW. She was all buddy-buddy with me for a while, but then, even when I visited her in the hospital, she kept cancelling meeting times and never invited me to see her non class friends. This is the same pattern I have noticed since I began college; a person talks about how great or interesting I am, they then play with me for a while, only to throw me away once they have proven to the world how "tolerant" they are or when they realize they cannot mold me into their image. This is why I have decided to never again let myself get too close to any friends. And then there was finding work. Ever since I started grad school, all I heard was how there was a great need for male, minority social workers. Well, someone forgot to tell the employers, because once I graduated from a top social work college, summa cum laude, White female classmates who worked only half as hard as I did were getting jobs much faster than me. Social Workers, dear friends, often brag that they belong to a field that is liberal and celebrates diversity. Why, then, did it take 14 interviews to get the job I have now, while the aforementioned classmates only had 3 or 4 interviews?

If there are any White people who have not become too offended yet, let me just say that I have known many Whites who have been genuine and respectful, and I thank all of you for that. As my mother has drilled into my head a million times, there is good and bad wherever you go. For those who are not sure if the few Black friends they have are token friends, ask yourselves these questions:

1. Would you be embarrassed to introduce these friends to your family?
2. Do you only talk to them when other Whites (in general) are not watching?
3. If it is safe, would you be comfortable socializing in your friend's neighborhood regularly?
4. Do you talk negatively or mockingly about Blacks, Black culture, or Black neighborhoods--to your friend or behind his or her back?
5. Do you often try to speak Ebonics or wear stereotypical "urban" clothing around your Black friends?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have token friends, and you may be struggling with racist tendencies. No one is perfect, and it is only human for people to place beneath them things they do not understand. I would strongly advise you to become educated about African-American history, culture, and social problems. Then, I would suggest that you consider the problems of your own cultures and the skeletons in your own ethnic closets. We all have the same desires and fears, and we all want to be happy and feel safe. Like most cultures around the world, African Americans cherish community. We love to eat, sing, dance, go to church, and share passions. We have traditions and value lineage. Yes, we have our problems, but before you dwell on our problems, just think of the stereotypes about your own people. How would you feel if someone made a mascot out of you or love you yet denigrate your people? Think about that, and you will know how I feel. Each ethnicity is a snapshot of beauty; why can't we stand together and create a collage?

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Dictionary of My Common Phrases

(To compare what I say with what I really mean)


1. Okay
2. I don't agree with you, but either I don't feel like arguing with you, I doubt you will fight fair, or I just want you to be quiet. Often followed by the person's name.

"I'm tired."

1. Give me time and space.

"I'm very tired."

1. Leave me alone…please.

I'm exhausted

(Refer to "I'm very tired.")


1. Shock or surprise


1. Dismay


1. Frustrated


1. Probably yes.

"We'll see…"

1. Probably no
2. It's not up to me.

"Just a minute." (often accompanied with an erect pointer finger)

1. I need more time to do something.
2. I am trying to think, and your chatter is disturbing my thought process.
3. I can listen or I can do a task I am supposed to do, but I cannot do both. Take your pick. Task it is!


1. (If enthusiastic) Welcoming a given suggestion.
2. (If not enthusiastic) I don't believe you, but I would rather placate you than invite a long, exhausting discussion.

"I'm fine."

1. I really am fine.
2. I am not fine, but I don't feel like talking about it or I don't want to tell you what's wrong.
3. I don't know how I feel. Give me time and space to figure it out.

"I said I'm fine!"

1. You keep asking me what's wrong or if I am fine, and I am starting to get ticked off. Keep asking questions, and if I was fine, I will not longer be; if I were not fine, I will be worse.


1. I will not discuss this further.
2. You are getting on my nerves.

"Lord, have mercy!"

1. (Lighter tone) I am suspecting a weird or mildly unpleasant occurrence.
2. (Intense tone) Very displeased; ready to punch a wall.

"You eat with that mouth?"

1. You have a filthy mouth; I hate vulgar language.

"That's all right."

1. I am content or impressed with something said, done, or planned.

"I know what time it is!"

1. I am being playful with your feigned adversity.
2. You have said or done something I disapprove of, but I am accepting it.

"That's enough."

1. I am starting to lose my patience with you. You would be wise to close your mouth and walk away.

Excuse me?

1. I did not hear you clearly.
2. You just said something ignorant or hurtful, and I am both encouraging you to make amends and challenging you to repeat what you said so that I can give you what for.

"I wish you would…"

1. You are about to say or do something uncouth, and I am informing you that I am wise to you. I am also encouraging you to change your course of action to prevent a proverbial thrashing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Forest Park: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Since I first moved to Forest Park on February 27, 2010, I have gathered many memories of my beloved town. However, as of this Saturday, I will no longer be a resident.  By the end of that day, I will be a Bridgeviewian. While leaving Forest Park will be sad, the neighborhood and apartment to whence I am moving will be worth it. 

These are the things about Forest Park I will miss the most:

·         Walking to church on Sundays.
·         Strolling down Madison Street on a summer day.
·         The fountain at Constitution Court.
·         LOUIE'S GRILL!!!!!!!
·         St. Patrick's Day Parade. Eirinn go bragh!
·         Being able to Facebook message the mayor, and expecting a response.
·         What used to be Molly Malone's--when it was run by Sandra and Margaret.
·         BROWN COW!!!!!!!
·         FAT DUCK!!!!!!!
·         The serenity of Circle Avenue.
·         In-law houses.
·         The fries at Parky's
·         COUNTER COFFEE!!!!!!! (Even though Team Blonde never responded to my email about starting a Poetry Night)
·         Walking down the street and waving to people I know (mostly from my church)
·         Ethnic diversity--and many multi-ethnic families.
·         Viewing the St. John steeple from my living room.
·         FOREST PARK REVIEW!!!!!!!
·         The fact that it truly is a place with big city access, yet small-town charm.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, time to list the things about Forest Park I will NOT miss:

·         Litter on Des Plaines Avenue and sometimes on Madison Street.
·         The unsavory mudslinging of people like Marty S. when he was trying to cheapen our town by bringing machine gambling into it. (
·         Uncivilized hoodrats from South Maywood and the West Side of Chicago ruining our town with their marijuana smoking, blasting music at midnight, and yelling at each other in their slurred, nasal, and often screeching voices, as if they need the entire world to know that Shaquata has a new weave or Marquell is not taking care of his responsibilities. Forest Park used to be a nicer, quieter town. But hey, no matter where good Black people go and place roots, the hoodrats always follow to ruin everything. Such people, I am sorry to say, justify White Flight. For these reasons, no matter how much I love Black people and enjoy being Black, I will no longer, if I can help it, live in a town or neighborhood that is more than 15% Black. That is because, the more Blacks live in an area, unless they are solidly middle or upper class, the more problems we will have with the ignorant ones without home training. Again, I love Black people to death, but I wish we could find a way to contain the hoodrats in the slums they have created for themselves until they can learn to behave. Booker  T. Washington was right. But I digress.
·         The declining ability of Forest Park police to keep the aforementioned hoodrats in line. Seriously, whatever happened to the iron fist? Case in point, where we live, there are two women who are associated with each other somehow. One person lives on the first floor, and the other one lives on the third floor, next to us. They have loud parties all the time, and they cannot use their inside voices. And at the middle of the night! I know hoodrats don't read, but can they at least read their leases?! The way they talk, it is as if they are trying to communicate between mountains. I have called the police a multitude of times.  They come out, they tell the individuals to be quiet, and then they leave. They are quiet for a while, but then they are loud again. They never learn! I went to file a report against my neighbor, but the officer suggested that it would be better if  I just kept calling the police when they disturb the police as this would force the property manager to take action or pay a fine. I kept doing this, but nothing changed. The closest thing they received to a reprimand was an officer saying, "Don't make me come back out here!" After all the complaints against them, they should have gotten tickets, but this never happened.  To make things worse, there was a particular officer who did not take me or his job seriously. If you want his name, send me a private message, but all I will say is that he looks like the late Paul Winnfield. The first time he came out, even though I have always tried to remain anonymous as hoodrats can be vindictive, he knocked on my door because "[he] could not hear anything." When the noise returned, he knocked on my noisy neighbor's door, and he asked her if he could come in. Soon, I heard them laughing. The second time, and the last time I called the police on anyone in the building, he knocked on my door again--for the same reason. Aren't the police supposed to get their hearing checked regularly? This time, the neighbor opened the door, and she finally knew that I had been reporting her. If anything happened to me or my property, it would have been this officer's fault. Perhaps he should take lessons on being discreet. After that, there were at least two other times when my neighbors have been loud, but I did not call the police. Why? Because I no longer trust Forest Park Police.
·         The town's inability to protect its residents from the unsavory practices of building owners. Two things have happened to prove this. First, there was a time when the building owner next to my Circle Avenue three-flat decided to redo the roof. He did not warn his neighbors of the work being done, and I had gotten a call from a neighbor, when I was getting ready for work, that the roofers were throwing damaged tile into the dumpster, but it was landing on my car. When I got out there, there was soot tile, and scratches all over my car! The workers did not even apologized; they just snickered. With the help of my landlord,  I was able to get the scratches out and my car cleaned. Then, in late October, my current property manager gave the residents of my complex only about 14 hours' notice to move our cars out of the spots that we pay for so that M&J Asphalt could pave new asphalt. He told me that they gave him the same amount of notice and that he would have to wait a month if he did not consent. Still, it was his duty to say, "This is unfair to my residents; we will take our business elsewhere." Instead, he just tells us that any cars left after 8AM the next day will be towed at owner's expense. But then at 7:25, I am told that these workers decided to start early, and I had 10 minutes to move my car. The work was supposed to take 2.5 days, but it ended up being a week because the workers did not come when they were supposed to and they did not, according to the property manager, answer their phones or return his messages. What kind of company is this? But getting back to the property manager, I could have been on vacation, only to find my car gone and needing to pay up to $1,000 to get it back--at no fault of my own. I complained to the mayor and village workers about this, and they told me that, while what happened was wrong, nothing could be done since there are no laws to force building owners to give sufficient notice to ascertain that the tenant's rights and property are protected. Why the heck not? I hate to say this, but we are in an age where we cannot depend on people to be civil and considerate. We need laws to protect the people. If there was a law on Forest Park's or Illinois' books, that building owner would have been required to warn me to move my car, with my landlord's permission, or pay a fine. My property manager would have been forced to either say no to M&J Asphalt or pay a fine. Laws that protect the people instill order and curb vigilantism.

If I have not lost you with all of my negative experiences, let me just say that my positive experiences outweigh them all. Leaving Forest Park has been and will be very hard for me, yet I will still be around on a regular basis as I intend to keep going to church at St. John.

In closing, my feelings about Forest Park are best summarized in what I hope will become the town song:

As I walk along old Madison Street
Or linger on the Grove
The beauty of this blessed town
Shines like a radiant trove

O Forest Park, O Forest Park
The place where I belong
Forever will you be my joy
Forever be my song

Your charming diners, cozy pubs
Boutiques and antique stores
But most of all, your friendly people
Fill my heart galore!

It matters not the winds of change
Nor whither I may roam
I’ll always love you, Forest Park
You’ll always be my home!

So long, Forest Park!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ten things you should never say to a Black man.

(Disclaimer: When I say Black, I mean those whose ancestors were brought to the USA to be slaves.)

You probably saw it coming since I declared my love and allegiance for my people. There are things I see on television or hear in mixed company that occasionally make me angry. I have especially heard some things during a time when I was the token or "good" Negro. There are some things that some people, not necessarily White, say that they don't know are offensive, but we brothers are offended by them all the same.

Here they are:

1. "Your mother is--"

Unless you are riding a person in the locker room, or on the front porch, or unless you are about to pay a complement, NEVER talk about a Black man's mother. His mother may be sweeter than peach cobbler, or maybe she always gave him the belt or even the 'stention cord, but no one gets a Black man's loyalty more than his mother. Insult her, and a civilized Black man will distance himself from you. A less civilized one will give you a new face, and the worst will bust a cap in your--

2. "Why can't you just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and make something of yourselves? We did, and we made it."

This statement usually comes from a person whose ancestors came from Southern, Central, or Eastern Europe. Some of these same people have a history of discrimination as well. Nevertheless, their oppression was nothing compared to what we experience. In fact, and I may be stepping on toes, but the discrimination these people faced can be equated to college hazing--some suffering a person must experience for a period before they can be accepted into the group. These individuals may have been dark, non-Protestant, and spoke a non-Teutonic language, but they were European and had a potential to become White or at least near-White. In fact, a few people of these groups have committed discrimination, and even hate crimes, to distance themselves from Blacks or to prove how White they are. No matter what a Black man does, he can never be considered anywhere close to White. Because of this, a Black man must work extra hard, be extra moral, and speak extra eloquently in order to get somewhere in America. Frederick O'Neal says it best in the movie Take a Giant Step: "A colored boy must be better than anyone else just to wind up as good as anyone else."

3. "What's up, nigga!"

Unless you are also a Black man, this statement will definitely offend a Black man.  In fact, you may be darker than Wesley Snipes, and some Blacks will still be angered by this statement. The same with any comment pertaining to dark color. It does not matter if you end the word with an a; we will respond the same way as if it ended with an r. There is nothing positive about this word--no matter who says it and why. Just don't say it.

4. "It's okay--My best friend/spouse/neighbor is Black."

This is sometimes related to the third taboo. First, you might or might not be down, but you don't have it like that. Second, how would they feel about what you are saying? Unless they are spineless or content being tokens, they would be just offended as me. You don't have to be down for us to like you. In fact, when you try too hard, you come across as patronizing or even mocking. Just be yourself.

5. "He had to have done something."

This is typically said when a Black man has been beaten or shot by a cop or civilian, but it is very insensitive. Believe it or not, there are racist cops out there who will attack or murder a Black man with little thought, no matter how obliging he may be or how respected he is. Remember how Dr. Henry Louis Gates was arrested and accused of breaking into his own home? This is why all Black men become nervous, even scared, when they are pulled over by cops. They never know if they will be confronted by a good cop or a Klansman in blue. And let's not forget the cop who broke a window over children and tasered a Black man who was not even resisting.

6. "As a Black person, what do you think of…"

Oh, so since I am Black,  I represent all of my people, and we all think the same? This is the no different than saying we look the same. Newsflash: we are individuals, and we have our own beliefs. Believe it or not, there are Black Republicans, Blacks who hate hip hop and soul music, and Blacks who thought Ojay Simpson was guilty. How would you feel if I said, "As a White person…" or "As an Asian person…"?

7. "That's so ghetto."

This comment is more elitist than it is racist. Ironically, celebrities have tried to snuff out the statement , "That's so gay," but "That's so ghetto" is untouched. What makes it so offensive is that it is often said by one who does not know what it is truly like to be so poor that you are forced to live in the slums. They have never been hassled by cops just for walking down the streets. They have never been humiliated enough to be forced to use food stamps. They never have been forced to choose between paying the light bill and paying the rent. They never found thrift store clothes to be a luxury. And, they can take evening walks without having to worry about being robbed, raped, or shot. Typically, they use this phrase to talk about things that are below their standards. The sad fact is, in the 21st Century, Blacks and Latinos are the people who are most likely to live in "ghettoes," so when you call something ghetto, you are latently, unintentional as it may be, stating that Blacks and Latinos are below your standards. So, you heard a Black person use the phrase too? Well, if they grew up in or around depressed urban areas, they have it like that. You don't.

8. "Why are you so sensitive? You are making something out of nothing."

It's nothing to you because you don't go through what we do. Maybe we are so sensitive because the rest of the world is so insensitive. What would happen to you if you sassed a cop? How many interviews does it take for you to get a job? When you do get the job, how confident are you that you had gotten it because of your potential and abilities and not the color of your skin? When do women hold onto their purses when you join them in the elevator? How much do people condemn your anger, as justified as it may be? I was warned once to never lose my temper in front of White people because even justified anger can be used against me in ludicrous ways. If I yell, I am considered a threat. Until you have lived a Black man's life for one week, you will never understand our fears and anxieties. A sociology professor of mine once took all of the White students in the hall and asked them how much money would it take for them to agree to become Black. While one person said, "I'll do it for free," others have asked for millions or billions of dollars, and there were those who said, "Not for all the money in the world." This should tell you something.

9. "You are a man; you have privilege over women."

Hello? Have you been freaking listening? Our being men almost never means anything, and to say this will really work a Black man up. Except for those who are rich, there is not one Black man who has privilege over women--even Black women. All women are more likely to be hired at a job than Black men. They are more likely to be respected, promoted, and supported. They are less likely to be shot by cops, and they can do the exact same crime as a Black man, but they will always get the lighter sentences. The only jobs Black men have privilege over women are those dealing with security or brawn. Besides, how many women, besides Black women, have been kidnapped and brought to this country as slaves or have been subjected to hate crimes? How many hate groups have been created to control and kill women? The fact is, all women have privilege over Black men in this country. Always have, and probably always will.

10. "Why don't you talk/act Black?"

This is often directed towards educated or affluent Black men. While the people who say these things usually don't mean any harm, it is an offensive stereotype that suggests that we are all the same, which brings us back to taboo six. It is very simple: a Black man who wants to get anywhere in America speaks proper English, dresses appropriately, and behaves with self-respect and common sense. While I often use Black expressions, I have no use for Ebonics and filthy language; these are for those who love being ignorant. Plus, it is those who behave the stereotypes who make things difficult for other Blacks. Attaching an ethnicity to a behavior puts everyone in corners, which kills chances for harmony and dialogue.

And now you know. People who know better should do better. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Conversation with God

A troubled young man has a desperate conversation with God one day.

“Lord,” he says, “If I ask for one thing, surely something a God as omnipotent as You can provide, will You give it to me?”

God answered, “It depends on whether it is good for you and matches My plan for your life.”

“Well,” began the young man, “I was wondering if You could give me a billion dollars.”

“For what purpose would you need this money?” asked God.

“I could use it to help me get so many important things I need in my life.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I could use it to buy a house. A really nice one. With a Bentley in the driveway.”

“My son,” answered God, “You say you need a house and a car, yet you already have them. Are you not grateful for things I have already given you?.”

“All right, never mind those things,” said the man. “But I could use the money for respect.”

“Respect?” teased God. “You can buy respect?”

“Of course,” answered the man. “Everyone knows that money is power. The man with the money has the power and the answers. It’s just like the Golden Rule: ‘Whoever has the gold makes the rules.’”

“Wrong!” reprimanded God. “I make the rules, and the rules anyone else makes must not contradict My 10 ‘Rules’. Besides, the true Golden Rule is this: ‘Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.’ You cannot buy respect, but you can earn it by treating others the way you want to be treated, by serving humanity more than yourself, and by giving more than asking.  This is how you gain respect. Those who think money will buy respect only get fear and false admiration.”

“Okay, I understand,” answered the man. “Now it is time to get serious. I am always lonely, and I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. If I had a billion dollars, I’d have a large host of friends and a wonderful wife. Even if I didn't have the fancy house, the flashy car, and even if some people did not respect me, I could still be happy.”

God looked down on this young man with pity. “My son,” He gently chided, “I understand your pain, truly I do. Nevertheless, there have been multitudes that have, for thousands of years, used money to buy friends and even spouses. These same people, who were the richest of the rich, were often the loneliest of the lonely. The people they thought were friends exploited them for their wealth, yet did not help them in time of need. Think about this: if you gained friends with money, what happens if the money runs out? Will not they, too? A true friend will stay with you whether you are rich or poor. As for a wife, if she is truly wonderful, she will love you and be devoted to you for richer or poorer. She will honor you and stay true to her vows. If a woman only marries you for your money, it will be not be out of love and compatibility but out of convenience and a lust for wealth. Such a godless union would be an abomination to Me.”

The man, knowing he could not debate with God, sighed deeply. “Okay, I see what You mean, Lord. Still, if I have not fully exhausted your patience, I just have one more thing to say.”

“Go ahead,” replied God.

“Here’s the deal,” began the young man. “I live in America. Everything costs money. To eat or have shelter, or even to have running water, it costs money. If I had a billion dollars, I would never have to worry about where my next meal would come from, I would never have to worry about losing my job, having my house foreclosed, and living on the street. If I need medicine or surgery, I would not have to worry about insurance denying me coverage, and even though I can’t live forever, I would have the best medical care there is. I would have a long, carefree life. Is that too much to ask, Lord?”

“’My grace is sufficient for you,’” answered God. You say you want to never have to worry about food or shelter, but I say to you, ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. Look at the birds of the air. They do not plant or harvest, yet I take care of them, and you are worth more than they.’ You want a long life? Well, I sent My Son to die for your sins so that you could not only have a long life, but an eternal one. Therefore, ‘seek first My Kingdom, and all of these things will be given to you. For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”

The young man was astonished. “Here I am longing to be rich when I was rich all along. Please forgive me for my thoughtless complaints. Thank You for all You have given me.”

“You are welcome, My son,” answered God. “Go in peace.”

The man went away silently, no longer troubled, but in amazement of the fact that he has more riches than he can count.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Got some spare change, man?"

That is a very common phrase people who live in the city and its nearby suburbs hear on a regular basis. Whether you are in your car, crossing the street, or about to enter your favorite café, one is bound to have a meagerly-clad fellow or woman approach you, hold out a cup, and ask, "May I please have some change so I can get something to eat?"Maybe she is sitting on the ground holding a sign that says, "Hungry. Help," or, maybe he is standing, flashing a sign that says, "I'm like Obama; I just want change," (true story, and I have the picture to prove it.)

When such a person presents him or herself, people like you and me are likely to wonder the following:

"Why can't he find a job?"

"There are shelters and charities; why can't she get help there?"

"I wish this filthy creep would get away from me; if I give him money, I will be funding his alcohol or drug habit."

Trust me, I used to think the same things myself, and I thought it was silly to give some "bum" any of my hard-earned money.  There was a time I had tickets to the circus, and I decided to treat my cousin Putty and her daughter. Afterwards, when we were looking for her car to leave, a homeless man approached us and asked for change. Without hesitating, Putty reached in her pocket and gave the grateful man some money.  I told her that she shouldn't have given him anything as he were likely to use the money to buy alcohol. Putty put me right in my place. "That's between him and God!" she admonished. That humbled me, and I was silent throughout the ride home. I gave it thought, and I knew she was right.

Yet in all my blessings, I never even remotely understood what it is like to depend on the charity of strangers for a mere meal. The closest I ever came was when I was laid off in the summer of 2004--during the first of two horrible recessions of this millennium. I had graduated from college magna cum laude and was a member of an honor society--yet in all my applications and interviews, I could not get a full time job. And then, I was laid off. During that time, I depended on my savings and almost forgot the taste of meat because I had to live off of rice, potatoes, and pasta. I worried that I would find myself on the street, just like the people I had shunned. God be praised, I was reinstated to my job.

 Thus, to answer the question of homeless people finding jobs, let me just say that it is not easy for anyone, but it is worse for a person who grew up poor and without knowledge of resources. Then I became a social worker, and I met my clients, most of whom are unfit for work. When you have a psychiatric, developmental, and/or physical disability,  it is very difficult to earn a decent living, and for those who complain of the money they get from the government, a person who never worked in their lives can expect to receive as little as $721 a month. For Supplemental Security Income, that is the lowest amount each month  Social Security can give a person. If that person never worked, they do not qualify for Social Security Retirement or Supplemental Security Disability Income, so that $721 a month is many people with disabilities have coming to them. That's $8,652 a year. Can you live off of that? These people are forced to every day because, while many people with disabilities want to work, they are either too sick or impaired to work, or employers are not willing to take a chance on them.  For these reasons, many of my clients have a history of homelessness. The sad fact is that a great deal of people who are homeless have some sort of disability--usually a mental illness. Because of this, they do not know of the resources available to them, which means that they are not going to pantries and soup kitchens, and they are not allowed to stay in shelters because they are either unsafe or are unable to behave in an orderly manner and are turned away.  As for housing, unless they can find a group home or subsidized apartment building that caters to people with mental illness, they will find themselves waitlisted for 8-10 years to get on Section 8.

There are those who beg for money who are not even homeless. They have SSI checks and live in transient hotels, yet such hotels in Chicago can cost between $400 and $500 a month--just for a room. They are not even served meals, and up to 12 people are forced to share one washroom. That means, such people are only left with $200 or so for food, medications, and personal items. Therefore, panhandling supplements their income and keeps them from starving.  

If they are not disabled, they are ex-cons. Don't kid yourselves; the majority of people in prison are not there for violent crimes and were never a danger to society. They were imprisoned for drug possession, and they were not caught with enough to be considered dealers. Such people are released from prison and are told to stay out of trouble, yet when they try to get work to start a new life, the employers see that they were convicted of crimes and denied them jobs without asking follow-up questions. As a result, they eventually find themselves on the street as well.

Therefore, because of the political and socioeconomic climate of this country, the disabled find themselves unloved, and the ex-cons find themselves unforgiven--even though they paid their debts to society. Sure, if you give a panhandler money, some will indeed buy a 40 ounce of beer or a dime bag of crack with it, but most of them will buy a burger at McDonalds to nourish themselves or a cup of coffee to relieve themselves from the Chicago winter cold. Do not let a few bad apples make you abandon the whole tree.

I learned my lesson, and I try to keep a few extra dollars available to give to a person  who needs it. (In fact, the money I give comes from a penalty jar at home in which I drop a dollar every time I say a naughty word) If I have the money on me, and the panhandler is not smoking, drinking, obviously high or drunk, disorderly, or accosting, I will give them the money. There are those, by the way, who may appear under the influence, but this is merely a part of their illness. Even if the person I help will use the money to feed a habit, as my cousin would say, "That's between him (or her) and God."  Nevertheless, I always remind myself to give what I can because it is my Christian duty, as Jesus Christ says, "Whatever you do onto the least of these, you do onto me." Hence, when you look into the eyes of a needy person, you see Christ. Remember that when you see that person on the street begging for change. If anything, remember that that same person could easily be you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Seeing through another person's eyes

This post is in regards to the previous one about my ex-friend Charlie. No, I am not still brooding over what he did to me; instead, the situation has afforded me another moment of clarity. Allow me to tell you a story. Charlie was a chaplain for a local Christian organization I know. The organization needed official clergy to lead certain projects and to serve as an advisor. As Charlie had only been retired for a year, he did not want to permanently commit himself to another full time job. Therefore, he agreed to the job on a temporary basis, and he saw the organization transition from a precarious situation into its golden age.

As Charlie was dying to return to retirement, he cooperated with the hiring process with great humility. Then the organization found a dynamic chaplain with many ideas and talents. We can call him Mike.  They also loved Charlie, as he helped the organization get back on its feet and instilled hope and encouragement to its clients and to those in their community. Because of this, and also because they found themselves with a surplus in funding, they decided to create a part-time chaplain position for him. He almost accepted, but then, when he met with the new senior chaplain, he asked him a question related to a hot-button moral issue in today's society, a question on which the LCMS, with whom this organization, as well as Charlie and Mike, is affiliated, has taken an official stand. Ever true to the LCMS, Mike gave the appropriate LCMS answer. This did not satisfy Charlie, who began to chase after him and grill him further.

When Mike had finally gotten tired and challenged him to determine if his heart is truly with the denomination to which the organization is affiliated, Charlie quit, declaring that he could not work under such an intolerant man. As I volunteered my time to this organization, I was ready to quit too and follow him to his next opportunity, but Charlie would not allow it. He said that he could not stand between me and something I enjoy. Still, Charlie would berate Mike to me every chance I got. He told me to be careful, or Mike would drive me away too. Because of all that happened, I used to resent Mike because I felt he drove my best friend away. Also, I started to see him as a cruel Inquisitor. Hence, I saw in him exactly what Charlie saw in him. I found myself growing increasingly unhappy where I was volunteering. When I left what is now my church again, I had to leave the organization too. When I did, Charlie tried to hide his pleasure. He would then retrieve Mike's convention speeches and chapel homilies from the organization's website, and, while playing them for me, would mock Mike's speech patterns and the words he would say. He would then say that he did not recognize Mike as a minister. Since I would have trusted Charlie with my life, I shamefully agreed with him wholeheartedly. When he laughed at Mike, I laughed. When he scorned Mike, I scorned. Whenever he spoke badly against pastors in line with LCMS values, even though he still had an LCMS collar, I was on his side--because I trusted him dearly!

Then, Charlie and I had our falling out. When he would ignore my emails about returning to St. John, and begin volunteering at the organization again, I started to doubt I had dealt with Mike fairly. When Charlie claimed that we became too close and again judged my dedication to the Absolute Truth, I became shattered. Then, as I pulled myself together, I realized that Mike was not the scorch-and-burn oaf that Charlie made him out to be. He is instead a brilliant, loving leader who wants to reach out to people and help them let Christ save them from the wiles of today's decadent culture. He stands for truth, which is more than I can say for the worldly Charlie, who thinks the Church should placate today's corrupt culture. One thing he needs to learn is that a Christian denomination is like a club. By joining a club, you agree to its rules and customs. If you don't agree with the rules, either ask God to change your heart, reconcile your disagreements, or leave. If you criticize people in the club who obey the rules to the best of their ability, simply because you disagree with the rules, you do not belong in the club.

Charlie simply, by his attitude towards Mike and people like him, does not belong in the LCMS. His true home is ELCA. Unless he can change his heart or make peace with the differences, he would be wise to change denominations before he is put in a situation where he is asked to leave. As for Mike, I judged him falsely, and for that I am terribly sorry.

Far be it for me to ever look at a person through another person's eyes. This is because I will give no one my full trust again. No one. Malcolm X said that he never trusts anyone completely but by percentage. For each person, from now on, that percentage will first start with the bare minimum I absolutely need to trust someone. For someone I just met at a party or on the street, that percentage is 0%. For someone I work with or must collaborate with for a period, 15%. For an acquaintance that I have known for some time, 30%. For someone I love deeply, like my wife or mother, the minimum percentage that I must trust them is 50%. These are the bare minimum percentages for which I must trust a specific person. If my trust for that person drops below these percentages, there is a problem. Tacked onto these are percentages of trust that people have earned. For instance, if I have a coworker with whom I share a good relationship, their earned trust could be 50%, pushing their total trust by me to 65%. This earned trust depends on affirmative answers to the following questions:

1. Do they respect my boundaries?
2. Do they respect my feelings?
3. Do they accept my capabilities?
4. Do they resist having double standards?
5. Have they never betrayed me?
6. Are they willing to make promises?
7. Do they keep promises they made and never entertain or question their promises?
8. Do they give as much as they ask for?
9. When confronted with a wrong committed against another, do they apologize and not make excuses?

The more affirmative answers to these questions, the more trust they will earn.   This means, a person may have 75% trust today but only 40% tomorrow--it all depends on a person's actions, and how they make amends. No matter what, only one Person will have trust over 90%--Jesus Christ. As for everyone else, I will try to trust, but I will be watching. This is because, as a minister can betray me, anyone is capable of betraying me at any beneficial or thoughtless moment. This may seem sad or harsh, but it is the truth.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another one bites the dust--friendship, that is.

Well, it happened again. I have said goodbye to yet another person I thought was a friend. This was someone I loved dearly and would have done anything for. Heck, I would have followed him to the gates of Hell (and then pull him back of course). But, none of this mattered to him. Eight years, down the drain!

(Sidebar: If you have been following my posts on Facebook, please don't think I am dragging this on; I am just talking it out.)

For some reason, I just cannot keep friends. Things start out well at first; we would be bosom buddies always talking and hanging out. Then, promises are broken. Then, the person is flaky. Then, I try to call them out on their flakiness or distance only for them to put a guilt trip on me. Then, they stop calling. Then, I wash my hands of the friendship and move on.

I used to think that it was me that caused people to abandon me. Sure, I could have outlandish ideas and can be quite emotional. I occasionally would worry that I would wear out the person I was friends with. In retrospect, prayer, and a pep talk from my lovely wife, I realized that the issue was not necessarily with me. I have almost always been good to my friends. I call them (even though I hate telephones), I write to them, I arrange gatherings to hang out with them, I celebrate with them when things are going well, I mourn with them when they are struggling, and I try to help them as much as I could When a friend was having financial problems, I gave (not lent) money to them. I have even done things I knew were wrong in order to help them. In high school, a friend of mine was struggling with her Grammar class, and I let her cheat from my test paper. Not proud of it, but I did it. All I ever asked from my friends was loyalty, devotion, and respect. I once told someone that if a friend would give me 40% of what I give them, I would be happy. The issue with me is, I keep picking the wrong people to be friends. It is often said that a girl who is abused by her father becomes a woman who only date and marry men who are just like their father. In my case, I seem to befriend people who are just like select members of my family. What most of these ex-friends have in common is that they eventually treat me like some kind of primate. They will put me on a pedestal at first, but then they will only play with me when they are bored and their true friends are not around. They will then try to put me in a costume and make it their mission to get me to think the way they feel I should think, rebuking me when I do not. When they finally realize I am a man and not a monkey, they back away.

With this ex-friend, we will call him Charlie, I thought it was different. I knew him for eight years, and we hung out together relatively often, going to each other's houses, going out for a beer, bike riding, and dining. I never thought I would say goodbye to him unless we were putting the other in the grave. I really loved him, and I told him that he was the best friend I had ever known, and he accepted this. I felt comfortable with him because he was a minister. Then this week, he told me that he felt that we had become too close and that our relationship never should have transposed from minister-layperson. He tells me this after 8 fricking years and all that we had been through together! Actually, I am proud of how I responded to his bullcrap; instead of pleading or crying like a punk, I mustered the courage, after hearing him out, to stand up and walk out the door--reserving my dignity.

A little background to this: almost a month ago, I became unhappy with my former church and decided to return to my old church. While he kept saying that the decision was mine, I knew he was displeased with my decision--even though he is not the pastor or have full membership with either of these churches. I tried to explain to him why I needed to leave, but instead of even trying to understand, he just said that I was being legalistic. When I called him on this and that I needed to be validated by friends, he said that a true friend tells the truth. Yes, but a true friend tries to understand first! He then said that the subject was closed, and he did not respond to my emails for weeks. When we met on Monday, he recapped what we were discussing and his opinions on it. When he paused and, shocked, I tried to speak, he picked up where he left off. After concluding, basically, that we should return to a minister-layperson basis, he then tried to change the subject with something lighter, such as whether the wife and I were planning to move.

Two things, beside the dagger in my heart, stuck out from that conversation. First, while he did not use the word "legalistic," he insinuated it to me yet again. Basically, for the years I knew him, every time I said something he disagreed with, he called me legalistic. He barely even asked follow up questions; he just called me legalistic. So quick to judge someone you disagree with! The word legalistic seems to be a term liberal Christians use to reprimand Bible-believing Christian. Year after year of being called this, I start to cringe when I hear it. In fact, legalistic is now a taboo word for me. Use it in my presence, and you will incur my wrath! (Sort of kidding) Another thing: he often accused me of not celebrating my faith and the freedom the Gospel brings. What?! Maybe I don't talk about it the way people do, but I certainly write about it--in my poems and hymns! I celebrate it by defending it from those who are nauseated by it. For him to know for so many years and still tell me that I do not celebrate my faith tells me that he wasn't paying attention and that he sees only what he wants to see!

It is now crystal clear to me that Charlie never wanted to be my friend; instead, it seems that I was nothing more to him than his project. He wanted to persuade me to be the type to lose trust for the superiority of Scripture in order to accept his ideas, and he must have been thrilled to see me disassociate from a man he loathes--a man whose principles, seemingly, are very similar to mine. Yet, when I told Charlie that I was my own person and to accept me as I have accepted him, he knew that his mission failed, and he told me that we were too close. If we were closer than he would have preferred, it is his own fault. I never asked to go to his house--he invited me. In fact, half of the things we did together were initiated by him. Then, when I will not think like him, he throws away 8 years of friendship? My love and loyalty meant nothing to him? Actually, this is not the first time a person tried to make me their mission, only to bail out when I discarded the bait. I am no one's project! I am a man who wants to be friends to people! If I feel I cannot accept a person for who they are, I never get too serious with them.

If I learned anything from this ordeal, it is this: no matter what a person's station is in their life, I will never accept a friendship with them at face value. I will be extra cautious with whom I allow into my heart. Plus, I will only befriend those who can give as much as they take. I will not be shaken again! I will implement the zero tolerance rule with my friends. If someone crosses the line or loses interest in the friendship, I will reach out to them and try patience. But, if they are relentless, that's it!

As for Charlie, he may have wounded my heart, but he did not destroy it. I will let no one destroy me, and those who try to are beneath me! Like Antaeus, the more I am pushed to the ground, the stronger I will become. All of us, especially I, will be judged at the Great White Throne. God will recall this incident, and Charlie will have to explain himself before he enters the Kingdom of Heaven. For now, I just hope that what he gets will be of greater value than what he gave up.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A tribute to my mother

When people put me down, Mom showed me how to look up.
When people, even relatives, insulted and exploited me, Mom came to my defense and put dissenters in their place.
When I couldn't believe in myself, Mom always believed in me.
When I could trust no one, I could always depend on Mom.
When people earned my hate, Mom reminded me that children of God are supposed to love and forgive.
When people sugarcoated things so I could not understand, she was always blunt and direct. Sure it made me angry sometimes, but I always appreciated it.
When I was punished for not going with the crowd, she reminded me of the great things people accomplish by thinking for themselves.
She is one of the very few people who truly get me--and tolerate me.
She is my mother, and I love her dearly. Besides Holy Mother Church, she is the only woman who could give my wife a run for her money (sorry, Agaliha, but you know what time it is  )
I once told her that, if I must pass on one day, I would rather go before her. I still mean that. Without Mom, I would be nothing.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Not getting enough people to accept you? Try bullying!

This is exactly what is going on in this country in the past few years. Because of political correctness, people who perceive themselves to be oppressed groups are given the license to destroy the lives of others simply because they disagree with their beliefs. Don't believe me? Just consider the following facts:

In 2012, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chik-Fil-A, when asked, stated that his Christian beliefs would not allow him to support same-sex marriage. In response, gay rights groups starting getting hot and bothered, planning to boycott Mr. Cathy's restaurants. Rey Colon, an alderman of Chicago (who does nothing for his ward), threatened to violate a city law by blocking the impending building of a Chik-Fil-A in his ward. Of course, he could not stop this work from happening.

This year, Brendan Eich, co-founder and CEO of Mozilla Firefox, was forced to resign because he gave $1000 of his own money to fund the campaign for California's Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. Well, after that Proposition was thrown out, LGBT groups turned on Eich and started creating havoc because he donated money towards his personal cause. As icing on the cake, Sam Yagan of OkCupid was obnoxious and childish enough to block Mozilla Firefox users from OkCupid, giving them instead a message as to what Eich did. I can't believe I found my wife on that site.

Also this year, Mayor de Blasio, boycott New York City's (yes, his own city's) St. Patrick's Day parade, and Guinness, Sam Adams, and Heineken dropped their endorsements of the parade at the exact last minute. Why? Because the organizers of the parade did not allow gay rights and pride floats. Why is this such a big deal? Do they allow African-American pride floats? Do they allow people to march with signs for rights for short people or rights for women? This is about one specific culture--not gender or sexuality. We listen to all of these issues all year around on television, the radio, the newspapers, on the street, at work, and at school. Parades are a time for people to relax and have fun. St. Patrick's Day is a day for Irish pride and to celebrate the conversion to Christianity in Ireland. For anything other than this to be brought to the table is ludicrous.

Next, Donald Sterling made a private conversation on his private phone, in the privacy of his own home, expressing his distaste that his prostitute-on-retainer posed with Magic Johnson in an Instagram, and he told her not to bring blacks to his games. The POR recorded Sterling and sent the audio clip to the press. As a result, he had to pay a $2.5 million fine, is banned for life from all Clipper events, and will be forced to sell his ownership of the Clippers. So many African Americans cheered this decision, and a relative of mine called me disillusioned because I said that Sterling was the real victim for having a private conversation leaked to the press.

And finally, the big news since yesterday, David and Jason Benhan had their reality Flip It Forward cancelled from HGTV because they were outspokenly against same-sex marriage and abortion--thanks to a report given by the Right Wing Watch, or what they should more accurately be called, the Left Wing Nazis.

So, what we have here in nearly all of these cases, innocent people are being humiliated and destroyed--simply because their beliefs differ from those who are politically correct or those who benefit from expressing how oppressed they are.

I just have a few questions: Did Sterling, Eich, Cathy, the Benhan brothers, or the parade organization deny housing to gay people? Jobs? Are they members of hate groups? (By hate groups, I mean groups that deliberately talk about people as subhuman and joke about killing or enslaving people). Did these men even make a threat of violence against the African American and gay communities? No, right? Then why do you want to take away their livelihood? Why do you want to demonize them and make them lose face? If you think you are gaining acceptance, you are wrong. You are just making people hate you even more, and any concessions people give you will be because they are afraid of you. But if you look all over the internet in North America and Europe, that fear is starting to wear off (Who knows? Maybe the person who kowtows to you the most is spewing the most hatred against you online--anonymously). And when fear of a person who benefits from said fear wears off, hate and resentment are next. Don't believe me? Why is Tea Party membership growing?

Now, let's look at this from a practical perspective--one that I learned in high school: no one has to accept you. Did you just read that? NO ONE HAS TO ACCEPT YOU!!! A basic right endowed to us by God is free will. We can accept and reject anyone we want, and to punish people into accepting you is impractical for five reasons.

1. It is just childish. For watchdog groups to focus their energy tracking money people give to political campaigns and tracking and attacking those who are bold enough to express their personal beliefs is a travesty. If they put that much hot air in the economy, maybe we could get our national surplus back. They could find those 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped. Get my drift?

2. It is unhealthy. Think about it; can you spend all that rage against those who don't approve of your culture, DNA, or lifestyle day after day and still be happy? Can anyone be happy spending so much time looking for and destroying those who disagree with you?

3. It will not change the hearts of those who disagree with you. Sure, most will be careful what they say around certain people, but online or when they are in the company of similar thinkers, you can well believe that they will call outrageous or unmanly actions "gay" and they will joke about the three things a black man cannot get (a black eye, a fat lip, and a job). It is like my mother used to tell me: "You can stop someone from calling you a n*gger, but you cannot stop them from thinking of you as one."

4. Related to #3, it will only create more enemies. After all, when you harass a group of people for their beliefs long enough, all it does is make your group a thorn in their side--a thorn they will want to remove any way possible. Plus, you turn those you have ruined into heroes and poster children for a movement of real intolerance. History has shown us that when an era becomes so liberal that liberalism becomes a contradiction in terms, people become sick of it and the havoc is causes them. This is why I predict that, in 20 years, the mainstream will become so fed up with the PC police wrecking this country that they will elect any madman they can find to end it. When that happens, America will be flung into a Holocaust, in which the main targets of the regime will be the victicrats and their unwilling affiliates. When that day comes, the main ringleaders will be finished. Then what will become of the "progress" you have worked for? And if you don't believe me about the coming Holocaust, let me remind you that, in politics and social mores, the German Weimar Republic was practically identical to the way America, Canada, and parts of Europe are now--before Hitler came to power.

5. It neglects the fact that everyone has some "bigotry" in them, and that their bigotry shines when they are anonymous or in private. Yes, African Americans can be bigots. Just look at Khalid Mohammed, Louis Farrakhan, and Abasi Malone are racist against Whites, Jews, Mexicans, Asians, etc. And as for gay people, yes, even they can be bigoted at times. Don't believe me? Did you know that the lesbian poet, Gertude Stein, was a Social Darwinist? Did you know that Willie O'Keefe, the gay man associated with the group that opposed JFK, and was in prison for male prostitution, hated Blacks? Mike Jeffries, a gay man who is the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, has a problem with Blacks, Latinos, fat people, and anyone he deems unattractive? And let's not forget one more thing; those who cheered when Cathy, and the Benham brothers were denounced and humiliated are bigoted against Evangelical Christians. There, I said it. I will say it again: THEY ARE BIGOTED AGAINST EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS!!! Open your dictionary. Look up bigot. Does it not say that a bigot is a person who hates or blatantly refuses to tolerate a person or a group of people for who they are, what they are, or what they stand for? When you target and disenfranchise a person because they are standing for what they believe in, you are a bigot. Eich, Cathy, and the Benham's are not bigots. They disenfranchised no one. Eich and Cathy did not investigate and fire people who worked for them who might belong to the LGBT community. The Benham brothers are not Nazis or Klansmen.

All this being said, it does not matter who or what you are; there will be those who will disagree with you or just not accept you. Still, why let it bother you? Why stoop to the level you have ascribed to them? There are people who do not accept me for being predominantly African American, just like there are those who will not accept me for admitted I have mixed blood. So what? As long as they don't try to stab me or keep me from working or living my life, they can reject me all they want.  I am married to a White woman. Some people will not accept our union as being valid. I don't care! Why? Because I know that our marriage is valid because we were married in the House of God and according to His Standards. I also know that this is the woman God has chosen for me. Even if the whole world opposed us, I am not going to even try taking on the world because I know that it will only exhaust me, and I will not win. Besides, while I do not know the hearts of the men I have mentioned, it is very possible that, while they do not accept or agree with some factors of the LGBT community, they can still accept an individual person who is gay. There are things about my wife that I disagree with, and vice versa, yet we can still accept and love each other as husband and wife--and we do. Therefore, if a person does not accept you, do not try to punish them with your proverbial fist; instead, try to win them with your love. For this, be fair, and do not dehumanize those who disagree with you. I might step on toes here, but for a gay person to go after an Evangelical Christian for decrying same-sex marriage is like an Israeli soldier who survived the Holocaust shooting a Palestinian for refusing to recognize the State of Israel. It is like Gandhi said: "You must be change you wish to see in the world." In other words, if you want acceptance, ACCEPT. If you want tolerance, TOLERATE. If you want respect, RESPECT. And if you want love, LOVE. Live and let live. It's as simple as that.

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