Annually, those of us who care about such
things beyond the gates of Black History Month either ask ourselves
quietly or discuss the question with our intimates: Has “The Dream” been
fulfilled and how much farther, Brother Martin, ‘til we reach the
promised land here on Earth?
In the herd there are so
many students who come to college who’ve absolutely no business there;
they’re no more prepared for the intellectual rigor, the dicey social
matrix and the expectation of talent in their respective disciplines
than an average junior high school student, and no one’s had that
come-to-Jesus conversation with them until maybe well into their third
When that summer was over we got our black asses on the bus. We expected the worst. We rode the bus stiff-backed, ready for all-out race war. We weren’t comforted by our white bus driver’s choice of WEBN on the radio.
If only politicians were cicadas. At least we’d have a longer cycle of silence before the commencement of incessant droning and that annoying buzzing about. The only difference is cicadas, while butt-ugly, die after they mate.
So I could’ve married my cousin, Marc,
when I was 13 in Tennessee and we could now be 35 years into Ohio-based
bliss but, so far, I cannot marry my partner anywhere else and legally
leave her any of my crap in Ohio? SMH. And this is what the Obergefell/Arthur family is upset about.
I talked to my kids about Trayvon Martin,
the flaws and intricacies of the American judicial system, about racial
profiling and about how the smallest of bad choices can keep them from
coming home at the end of the day.
We’re all, most of us, anyway, waiting together for 93-year-old Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela to go. But, really? How much can one man bear? How much beating? How much ostracization? How many lies? How much defamation, alienation and starvation?
I have noticed during more than 25 years
of paying attention to it that many gays and lesbians of color in this
still greatly segregated city further segregate ourselves because
sometimes we feel pressure to choose
between our selves of color and our same-sex-loving selves.
There was this woman with a deep, slow
drawl spoken in something between a rasp and a whisper who had a
lightning bolt inked high on her right cheekbone not as thuggery, irony
or defiance but as a simple, stunning marker adding to the mystique of a
woman easily mistaken in her era-defying androgyny for a man.
Sixteen months ago in a gated Sanford,
Fla., community patrolled by a zealous, jittery and armed volunteer
neighborhood watchman who felt threatened by the mere presence of an
“unfamiliar” black kid walking alone, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died on a sidewalk of a single
gunshot to the chest.
And even in the vestiges of his boyhood
in his overtures toward independence, he does what all our children,
grandchildren, nieces and nephews among him do. He is looking for his family. Even when he is letting go, he is holding on.
It all started, as it always does, with fried chicken. Offenders reducing a black man’s identity
to a deflated stereotype — especially one boiling down to food — have
usually felt like the oppressed in their own lives because they are
losers on some level; they cannot quite reach that elusive gold ring of
I’m sick of the Tailhook nature of
navigating daily life when people are so blithely rude they let doors
slam in the faces of the people behind them, they jostle and slam into
others without so much as an “excuse me,” so by the time I retreat back
to home base I feel like an abused slab of dough.