Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wild Fire

I am reading the newest book by Nelson DeMille called Wild Fire. I really enjoy his books for a variety of reasons. I initially became hooked with one of his earlier books titled Night Fall. Even though a slower read, it was food for thought in the area of politics and government organizations. Wild Fire is a brilliant read about an ATTF detective and his special agent wife who are hot on the trail of an extremely right wing social group of businessman/former US soldiers who have their own ideas about how to end the reign of terror by certain Islamic Groups.

This book made me remember the anxiety that I acquired in my younger years around Russians in grade school. Of course at the time I didn't realize that my nervousness around them was a direct result of negative media attention due to the Cold War and all the talk back in the 80's about Russians possessing nuclear weapons. Some over-zealous anchor had me convinced that I needed to be extremely fearful of these people who were the first foreign faces of doom to my family and country that I had been exposed to. I don't at all mean to make it sound as if the fear was not warranted. The threat was real. As far as we as a country knew, we were in danger of being nuked. A term that has come to mean so much more than "microwaved".

It dawned on me halfway through this book that the same thing may be happening to a new generation as a result of 9/11. Although nothing physically happened during the Cold War, the fear that these threats invoke is real whether the danger has been manifested or not. Whether tragedy concludes or escapes, the fear is present regardless.

As the author made jokes about the inhabitants of "sandland", and expressed a certain disdain for their culture and beliefs, I wondered if it was ever possible for us to rid ourselves of prejudice with such strong indication from our media and society that these fears are not only accepted, but expected.

It seems every generation has a new face of fear. Our government officials, in an effort to keep us safe I'm sure, have allowed the American people to grow suspicious of anyone who doesn't look "American" by birth. And although "American" has grown to incorporate a lot of ethnic backgrounds, we are now refusing to accept those of Middle Eastern descent.
Christ teaches us to love one another. Point Blank. The Bible doesn't include a passage stating that you can choose NOT to love those whom you BELIEVE may cause you harm due to crimes that people of their same origin have committed. If LOVE was conditional that way, no race, or human for that matter would qualify.

I am not saying not to be careful of those that we believe may cause us harm, I am saying, that we should give all people the same respect. That skin color should not be an excuse to ignore, belittle or avoid. As African Americans many of us know what it is like to be expected to be something, or not, because of the color of our skin. Not smart, a good athlete, someone who can't speak articulately or write eloquently. We have all been stereotyped, no matter what color. Whether the stereotype suggest that we be ignorant or dangerous simply by outer appearance, it is usually inaccurate. They help to mislead others into judging us or believing that we are something that we have not PROVEN ourselves to be.

So let's choose to love by proving to our politicians, media and most importantly children that we refuse to fear or judge someone based solely on the color of their skin. I am in NO WAY belittling September 11th and those who lost their lives in that tragic event. I am simply stating that it would have been a tragedy regardless of whether the monsters were Black, White, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. A crime is a crime. Every race commits them and during certain periods of history some people of some races more than others.

I am also in no way suggesting that our officials should not use EVERY METHOD POSSIBLE to keep us safe, just mentioning that by keeping tabs of what race commits the most crimes against humanity we doom ourselves to fear one another indefinitely.

So for those of us who have an understanding of what LOVE should be, let us be an example through our everyday living that we can inter racially coexist. Not an easy task, but one that I hope will be accomplished in my lifetime.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Insanity

I've heard now on more than one occasion that the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome. And while I see how that makes perfect sense I at times believe that this goes directly against the age old...if at first you dont succeed try, try again. Something I was spoon fed in school at home and in church.

Maybe I shouldn't be confused by these contradictory statements. Becoming an adult has meant practicing and deciphering when these simple truths should take precedence in my life. I should know as a grown woman when I should give something a little more effort and when I need to learn to let go. I'll be the first to admit however, that this is a lesson that I not only struggle with, but sometimes dread. I have come to appreciate constants in my life. My career, my core group of friends, my love. However, it has become imperative for me to learn that change is not only necessary, it is required.

In order to grow into the woman that I know God wants me to be, I have to allow myself to change. And the relationships that I make constant need to be with people who allow me to be someone who has the flexibility to grow. I don't mean that the core of you should change, but actions, behaviors, people and places are all quite naturally and sometimes easily outgrown. We hold on to these things and try to make them constants instead of accepting that they may not be ours to keep.

So while I do believe it imperative to never give up on your loved ones or your dreams, know when you are driving yourself insane. Don't be afraid to be the part of the equation that changes. You may be surprised at how tweeking something as small as your own attitude can result in exactly the outcome you were aiming for.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Family... Immediate or Not... is Still Family

I think this is a pretty strange first blog to have. I know people normally start with an overview like "this is my first time blogging..." or "I dont usually do this but thought it might be fun...". All things considered, I figured the easiest way to jump into this blogging thing was to frankly write exactly what was on my mind. I have been inspired by a friend of mine that I havent seen in a very long time and I decided the easiest way to share my thoughts....is to share my thoughts. So here goes....

I chose family today as a topic because it's a touchy one for me. I'm not talking about the family that you choose yourself, I'm talking about the ones that you stay away from on purpose and then talk to for a couple of months...and then stay away from again cause they made you mad... Yeah those people...

While "myspacing" recently, (don't you love how that's become a verb), I got an interesting message from a cousin that I havent seen or talked to since I was a kid. Actually we've only met once in our entire lives. But the message explained that she would be surprised if I remembered her (but we live states away and never really knew one another). She had already reached out to some of my other cousins that live less than 15 minutes away from me and truthfully knew more about whats been going on in their lives than I did. She asked me for information about other family members and seemed excited to be in touch. As I responded back to her I was really impressed and happy that she reached out to me, it made me remember that I have the same blood running through my veins with more people than just mom, dad, brothers and grandma. I have connections with family that I dont often see or think about. And I thought what a tragedy it would be to let any more of our lives go by and not share with each other what we have learned and loved.

I have always been unfortunately quick to say that I'm not very close with a lot of the members of my family. But my cousin from South Carolina made me realize that firstly, I have more family members than the ones I'm not close with, and secondly, if we're not close I may be a part of that problem.

So to the family that I don't see as often as I should and the family that I dont necessarily get along with, we're still family. Whether we like it or not. So I love you all very much, whether you want to hear it or not. It is very much true. Some family members may find it more amicable to speak through email than to actually visit. But regardless, we are family and we'll always be.

So Uncle William, thanks for coming by .... you know just to stop by. You made me feel special and loved.
And Aaron, regardless of what we have been through, I am your sister and I love you and your family. And I'll do whatever I need to do to make it right. I was wrong.
Dad, thanks for being my Dad. Whether you knew how to or not. We dont come with instructions and I love you for always loving me.
Alexandria, whether we speak or not, I'm still your sister and you cant stop me from loving you.
Aunt Doris, thank you for calling to pray with me. No matter where I am or what I'm doing I gladly stop to hear you admonish me with love. You make me remeber that God doesn't stop loving me when I mess up.

And Granny, no words can ever express how much you mean to me. You have done more for me, than I think I've done for myself and I love you. I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I love you and dont give up on me...cause one day I'm gonna hit it really BIG, and you're gonna live your older years like Oprah!!!! Ok, well maybe not that big...but you get what I'm saying.

So .... Jordana this is dedicated to you, I love you and thank you for making me remember the importance of family ..... Near and Far.