Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WHAT IS YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS?

WHAT IS YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS...?

What is your contribution toward this massive thing called, "The Struggle?" These movements of ours, what part do you play? I thought about this question this morning after watching a video clip of a monologue from the TV show 'Scandal.' The monologue is that of actress, Khandi Alexander who plays "Moma Pope,' the mom of Olivia Pope.

In the clip, Alexander brilliantly and poignantly articulates the burden and struggle of all black women - albeit in her own sinister way. The nearly two minute clip got me thinking about the show's Producer and Director, Shonda Rhimes. I also thought about the brilliant, Ava Duvernay and the host of other African American movie, television and stage play directors, producers and writers.

I got to thinking about the role each of these famous and not so famous people are playing in this thing called, "the Struggle." You see, we might not see them protesting on the streets or leading a march. We may not see them holding up placards or standing unmoved in front of a police officer during a demonstration. No, their contribution and I dare say, protest is of a different kind. It's a more subtlety brilliant protest that requires you to mull, ponder and think.

You see, they've stormed the board rooms of television networks and forced America to see and hear our struggle in a more profound and visceral way. I mean, what better way to grab your attention than to force you to swallow the despair and pain of our struggle when you're in front of your television or sitting in a theater? Rhimes and Duvernay's Directorial and writing skills is just as, if not more effective than any other strategy we employ to highlight our struggle.

Their Civil Rights is the brilliance they bring to television and to the big screen. Part of my Civil Rights now is what I try to do on radio with my Public Affairs show - giving folks a platform to voice their concerns, tout their efforts and share their talents. And as everyone knows, when I address an issue, my passion and articulation will pierce through the cursory and shallow thinking of anyone that dares to rival me in debate.

In the past, I thought Civil Rights contributions were limited to marching and protesting in the streets. Something I've done for many years during what I call my activist years. 

But what Rhimes, Duvernay and countless others have demonstrated, our approach to the issues that beleaguer our community is not one dimensional, monolithic or singular, it requires a multifaceted approach - hitting the issues from varying angles with a velocity that our oppressors will never see coming.

So, what is your Civil Rights? What is your contribution to this massive thing called, "The Struggle?"

Monday, May 22, 2017

Don't tolerate bigotry

HEAR ME CLEARLY...

White bigots have become increasingly emboldened to express their hatred, prejudice and racism in more overt ways. There is no more subtlety or veiled swipes couched in political argument. No, these white bigots are comfortable in their racialized expressions. Why? Well if you think it's merely because of Donald Trump, you've missed the point.

First, this bigotry has ALWAYS been there. Unfortunately, it's part of the fabric of this country. Trump intentionally aided these twisted feelings to emerge from beneath the surface. The more important reason we're seeing this ugliness emerge in the light of day is because WE have been convinced NOT to meet this bigotry - both verbal and physical - with equally aggressive force. What do I mean? Here's what I mean.

HERETOFORE: If you're confronted by a rabid white bigot, you're NOT obligated to stand idle and either be verbally or physically assaulted. If a bigot hurls racial insults at you, don't walk away, be dismissive or worse - video record them in hopes of shaming them via social media, open the vault of your own insults and fire back.

If a white bigot spits at you, draw a deep breath from the diaphragm and let the phlegm from your nose and gut fly with unparalleled velocity. If there's a physical threat, meet that threat with a superior aggression. You are NOT obligated to be assaulted or be insulted. Don't be convinced that responding in kind somehow brings you to "their level." To hell with that nonsense. You have a right to defend yourself and that of your family.

Additionally, the reason this stuff continues to happen is because bigots have been convinced that the only consequence to their bigotry is you walking away singing old Civil Rights songs. It's time family, that we erase that assumption and image from their mind.

So, the next time you or your family are enjoying dinner at a restaurant and some white bigot(s) decide to infringe on your peace, meet that aggression with superior force. Don't allow free reign to bigots. You're NOT obligated to be a victim. WE ARE NOT OUR GRANDPARENTS GENERATION.

Last point. Take FULL ADVANTAGE  of your Second Amendment rights. I have and do. Your safety and that of your family is YOUR responsibility.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE...

It's ok to still cry. It's ok to still feel pain. It's ok to still feel a little lost. It's ok to wrap yourself in a blanket, stare out the window and look to the sky and ask why. It's ok to be human. It's ok. Moving on is hard. And to ask you to move from this deep sense of loss when you might not be ready is perhaps unfair.

For a long time, I struggled with determining when someone should be "ready" to move on. To be honest, the answer isn't clear to me. Is it a month or two? Can you move on after a year or two? Does it it get better after year three? It's hard to say. Why? Because deep in the recesses of our heart, there's a connection that can't ever be severed. And surprisingly, that's where I found revelation.

You see, the gulf between life and death is so vast that our physical body can't and will never make that journey. It's only our spirit, soul and consciousness that can make the journey. But there's something else, something more profound and more comforting that journeys between death and life. It's LOVE. Yes, our love is not bound by space or time. Love is not confined to any dimension. Nor can love be contained to what we know as life.

Love indeed travels the vast distance between life and what we consider death. I know, this isn't taught in bible study. But it's a reality that has comforted me for many years. See, to date there has been no greater loss for me than my grandmother. Yet, her love touches and shadows me all the time. I still feel her presence - especially during the toughest moments of my life.

Sure, the love I have for my late aunts, uncle and cousins are still very much part of me. Yes, I too feel their love, but it's my grandmother's love that often journeys back to provide the comfort I need. I've been asked on occasion if I believe in Angels. The short answer is yes. But it's the complexity of how love can travel through space and time and dimension and between life  and death that's more intriguing to me. I believe it to be so. Why? Because if you can feel and sense GOD'S love, I believe that our CREATOR extended that courtesy to our loved ones.

So please take comfort in knowing that the person(s) that you loved is still very much part of your life. And every moment that you cry; when you smile during a memorable moment about them; when you want to just reach out and touch them, it IS THEM reminding you that they are with you. It's THEIR love that is touching and comforting you at that very moment. Be blessed

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Black Community is...

THE BLACK COMMUNITY IS...

its own worst enemy. WE ARE THE PROBLEM. We ALLOW the elites and the money grubbers and the political and social hucksters to exploit our ignorance and vulnerabilities.

We ALLOW schisters from nearly every industry - including media, music and entertainment to build vast empires off the misery and pain that beleaguer our community. While the "elites" of our community rub elbows at banquets and parties and class social gatherings - congratulating each other for what they are doing for the poor ole black folks, they're stuffing their pockets and filling their coffers and jettisoning back to their black community-made ivy towers.

They party while you labor. They celebrate while you barely make ends meet. Pick an industry and I'll show you a huckster. And while their intentions were great 20, 30 and 40 years ago, that good life; the money, stature and prestige built from the siphoning of hard earned dollars - has shielded them from their own arrogance and greed.

This is evident in how they leverage  our community's pain with their own self interests. It can be seen in how their disbursements and investments are filtered through cynical structures, entities and the hands of people whose interest in our community is cursory and shallow. It's all a game. It's nothing more than a con.

And the OTHER extreme: the thugs and predators that lurk in the shadows or in plain site. The knuckleheads and chicken-(expletive) gang members that are destroying the quality of life of our communities. They wreck violence while we sit idle or react momentarily and then return to mental apathy.

WE are at fault. Why? Because when white police unjustifiablely snatch the life of one of our own, clarion calls are bellowed, the streets are filled and contained anger, rage and protests are headline news - for two weeks. But when thugs are shooting at funerals or on street corners or engaged in drive by killings our tisses and utterances barely registers. We are both a cash register and dumping ground. We are both victims and willing participants of our own exploitation. Indeed, we are the CONTRADICTION. We are the HYPOCRISY.

And as much as I appreciate the Post Slavery and Willie Lynch "syndromes"  diagnosis I can't help but think the time honored tradition of distinguishing right from wrong has been intentionally abdicated. I'll end where I began: The Black Community is its own worst enemy. WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SINCERITY

I'VE HELD MY PEACE LONG ENOUGH...

The one characteristic and virtue that I attach great value to is SINCERITY. When we were first taught the construction of a letter, it was wholly important to always conclude with the word, SINCERELY and of course your signature.

Sincerely at the end of a letter indicates that you are being honest, forthcoming and genuine. Part of the dictionary's definition of SINCERELY, SINCERITY or SINCERE is to be "free of deceit." And as you're aware, deceit is both loaded and powerful. But that's where I'm headed in this post.

Like all of you, I have many interactions - some of  which include people that feign sincerity, but in the deep recesses of the heart, there's a deceit and cynical phoniness that spills from the mouth. It's often difficult to immediately discern if a person is deceitful or insincere - partly because the smiles, pat on the back and patronization obscures a person's true intent.

At the end of the day, INSINCERITY will become evident - an unkept promise, a bevy of excuses, elusive explanations or just the plain old time-honored tradition of lying.

If there's one thing or characteristic virtually everyone agrees on about Ron Holland is that I'm genuine and sincere. Sure, I've fallen short, I'm human. But for the most part, I give ALL of me without hesitation or reservation. It's who I am. It's how GOD made me. It's one of my gifts. But it's this trusting and sincere nature of mine that has tolerated the insincerity of other people - for far too long.

Indeed, I've made excuses for other people's inability to keep a commitment or promise. I've allowed the insincerity of other people to go unchallenged to maintain "friendships." And ultimately, by not checking people immediately, the habit of being insincere is allowed to grow unabated.

My wife often reminds me to guard my heart against  people, places and entities that will eventually disappoint me.  I usually listen to her wise words, but in the instances where I give people the benefit of doubt, I fall short in this area. So today I've decided to develop a severe aversion to people who are not authentic or sincere.

HERETOFORE: When interacting with Ron Holland,

1). DON'T MAKE PROMISES YOU WON'T KEEP!

2). IF YOU'RE NOT TRULY SINCERE, DON'T OPEN YOUR MOUTH!

3). KEEP YOUR EXCUSES!

4). IF YOU'RE NOT SERIOUS SAY SO AND MOVE ON!

5). IF YOU'RE LYING, IT'S BEST TO SHUT UP!

I've arrived at a point now where I'm just going to start calling folks out - privately and publicly - and let the chips fall where they may.

IF JESUS HAS RISEN

IF JESUS HAS RISEN, WHERE IS HE RIGHT NOW?

IF JESUS HAS RISEN, WHERE IS HIS BODY?

IF JESUS HAS RISEN,  WHY ISN'T HE ON CNN and MSNBC?

In a world of conflict, turmoil, war; famine, hate, strife and bitter divisons, where is this Jesus that has risen "today?"

WELL, I'M GLAD YOU ASKED...

You see, as a Christian, I don't look for a physical manifestation of Jesus ie, his body or corpse. Therefore, waiting to see him on CNN or hovering above the Atlantic Ocean commanding in a thunderous voice for world conflict to end is cynical and silly.

The Jesus that was stripped, beaten and nailed to a cross by Roman thugs and their religious conspirators left us with an idea:

"Love the the Lord your God with all your heart and with all soul and with all your mind..."

"Love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another..."

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven...

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth..."

You see, Jesus also left us with a mission and a mandate, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations..." In today's vernacular: Yo, yall get up and go teach...

For me family, the resurrection is more than a physical disruption of the laws of nature. Jesus' conquering of death is a tenet of faith for all believers, but it's his ideas and mandate that breaks through space, time and dimension.

A truly risen Christ dwells in the heart of a gentle soul that intentionally and purposefully spreads the good news of his love for ALL of humanity.

A truly risen Christ penetrates our stubborn nature and commands us to do and be better.

A truly risen Christ rejects bigotry and prejudice and hate and the insatiable desire of vanity, materialsim, rancor, conflict and strife.

  A truly risen Christ shreds the fanfare of holidays and observances and feasts and requires us to do HIS work.

So don't look for Jesus at an empty tomb or on CNN or in the clouds or in the image on a piece of toast, look for him in your heart and in your actions.

And as Jesus beautifully proclaimed: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." My soul leaps because it's that Christ, that has risen - in my heart.

If YOU want to see a risen Jesus, be and act like a decent human being and manifest the love he shares for ALL of humanity.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

THE FAULT IS YOURS AND OURS

GOD should never be blamed for the craven and despicable behaviors of humanity. Nor should GOD be beseeched or required to clean up the awful mess left in Man's wake.

Waiting for GOD to peel back the ceiling of the Universe and rid our world of evil and the self-inflicted wounds caused by our own hands is both folly and cowardly.

It's humanity's responsibility to cleanse this world of conflict, greed, famine; exploitive governments and politicians; political and social oppression and the moral depravity that beleaguer every continent on Earth.

Yes, GOD has granted humanity "free will" to make the awful choices that has hurled our world in perpetual conflict. But it is that same free will that can end the rancor and despair. The world and indeed our planet is and can be a beautiful place.

We're blessed with thousands of different cultures, hundreds of different languages; an abundance of resources and a genuine love for life.  But I'm afraid that it's our lusts - which manifests its way in so many areas of our existence - that decays and spoils our moral and social clarity. Unfortunately, we simply lack the will to seriously try to make our world a beautiful place equally for ALL of humanity. This is OUR fault and problem. We shoulder the blame for all that befalls humanity.