At the end of past spring classes I’d
spend weeks in a thick-headed fog, obsessing over the state of America’s
education system; I was confused by our simultaneous political
demonization of China and our dependence on Chinese students to grow and
improve our science and technology departments.Wow, I used to think. Then in spring 2009 — after three years of teaching it — I realized how piously I had been thinking.
The only movie I can clearly recall seeing on the West Side screen is Lady Sings the Blues in 1972. My parents were finally splitting up the
same year that movie came out and I took to the darkness in movie
theaters from that point on as my own private Idaho of insular thinking,
mourning and disappearance. Darkness: visible.
I’d pay to see a lineup of all
the children and grandchildren of right-wingers — especially those
directly responsible for legally shoving their definitions of “family”
down all our throats — all come out publicly in a public square. I bet there are a shit-ton of ’em.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Black Pearl Sings!
is a play come as a warning shot foretelling the modern-day recording
industry (such as it is) and its sad history of theft by corporate
henchmen. More obviously and tellingly, the play is
also a dance of race relations, race politics and the sometimes
heartbreaking history of relationships between black and white women.
What work ethic I have — especially the stamina and energy to plow through until the end — I got from her. Our mother never stopped. My three blood siblings and the four stepchildren she raised can all attest to the fact that she never stopped parenting us.
LaSalle High School is in denial about its drug problem. Anytime students stupidly decide to
trick an armed drug dealer with counterfeit money, all kinds of
socioeconomic and chemical problems are in play beyond the pranksterism
and tomfoolery of bored white teenage boys.
Every single time Carol and Clyde or Rob
and Cammy blankly read the teleprompter, telling us of yet another
black-on-black murder, then move to the weather or traffic, I sit
quietly devastated. I am not ashamed to tell you that sometimes I cry.
Though Norwood is merely five miles north
of downtown’s city center, it may as well be smack dab in another time
and another place with its barely-there lane lines, its
shameful-but-glaring classism and racism for a city its size and its
perpetually broke and broke-down demeanor.
We can wake up and be poor,
under-educated and -employed, invisible during the “conversation” around
representation in the rarified air in corporations, education, sports
management and ownership. Meantime, we’re constantly being objectified.