This is Me

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Monday, January 21, 2008

My Responsibility.....

The company I work for is a small one and doesn't give its employees all federal holidays.

Martin Luther King, Jr. day is a trade-off. You can either get that day or the day after Thanksgiving. (This never has made sense to me, especially since the day after Thanksgiving ISN'T a holiday. Never has been.)

My aunt also works for a company that doesn't give its employees the MLK Holiday off, so she uses a vacation day and takes it anyway. I decided to do that as well when I got a job.

Since graduation, I've worked at the same company for almost three years. I've used vacation time and taken MLK Day off the past two, but when the time came to decide this year, I thought..... "Do I really want to use one of my FEW vacation days?" (I only have 4 to last me through the next 4 months.) I might want to take a much-needed rest come March or April.

Plus, I haven't participated in any MLK day events in the past two years.

When I was in college I marched with my sorority, and in grad school I went to the parade. But after getting a job, the first year I used the day to clean up since I was working two jobs and never had time to do anything. The second year a friend and I watched Black history documentaries all day. (I wasn't out marching, but I was learning.)

Although I hadn't participated in any marches since school, I still felt, as a Black person, I should take the day off just on principal. I mean, how dare my company not acknowledge this great man and all he did for America? He died so that I could be "free" (sounds dramatic, I know, but it's true) and everyone could have equal opportunities in all areas.

My white colleagues conduct business as usual like the day isn't important, which pisses me off and makes me want to "throw my fist in the air."

Shouldn't taking a vacation day show my appreciation for the holiday and what it represents? Shouldn't using my own time to take a day that we don't get represent a stand in my majority-white office?

It's my responsibility as a Black person, right?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. My "responsibility" can also go the other way.

You could say it's my responsibility as a Black person to recognize this holiday by appreciating my job and my role as a supervisor.

Now I'm not going to put "Supervisor of white people" on my resume, but having white (and males at that) report to me, as a woman and African-American, is a big deal.

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life selflessly so that I could be able to work wherever I wanted and hold the position of "boss."

So I sit here at work on this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, forever grateful for what he and others did for me and our people.

I may not be outside marching or listening to a speaker at a church service, but, as a "boss" handling business I might not have had if it had not been for MLK and my ancestors, I am demonstrating in my own way.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Because of the History of this Country.....

"In order to take him on, they should lynch him in a back alley."

-- Kelly Tilghman, PGA Tour anchor, Golf Channel. Said in reference to Tiger Woods, who is of African decent.

After slavery was made illegal, white Southerners felt the need to come up with another way to control Blacks.

Enter the Ku Klux Klan.

To keep "order," the Klan hung Blacks from trees with nooses. Killed people without repercussions. A Black man hanging from a tree was a sign that they "ran" things. Signs like these occurred continuously for decades.

Fast forward to 2008.

Blacks and whites can use the same restrooms. Eat at the same lunch counters. Intermarry.

People today don't know anyone who was an ex-slave or anyone who had his or her life taken away by a noose.

Racism has become institutional and covert. Methodical and hard to prove.

It's not "I refuse to hire Black people." It is now "I don't think he will be a right fit for the company."

Because it's not in the open, we've become complacent. Comfortable.

So comfortable that people are willing to let a comment like "lynch him in a back alley" slide because it was "taken out of context."

She and Tiger joke around all the time. She didn't mean anything by it, right?

What kind of person uses the word "lynch" in every day discussions?

What kind of person lets the word "lynch" roll so easily off her tongue like it's no big deal?

The kind of person, perhaps, who is surrounded by like-minded individuals who also use the word as commonly as the word "Monday."

Is she a racist?

Well, imo, a racist is someone who knows he or she hates a particular race.

She and people who think her comment was taken out of context are probably people who think racism doesn't exist because we have Black CEOs and the like. They don't hate Black people. They just have either forgotten or chosen not to learn the history of this country.

I know there are some Blacks, including Tiger, who weren't offended by the comment. I couldn't care less about their ignorance.

I was offended so I'm here to school you.

You cannot talk about nooses and lynching someone and think it's okay.

Hundreds of our people died hanging from a tree. Hundreds of our FAMILY members.

Just because we may not know those family members does not make the brutality any less vicious.

Because of the HISTORY of this country (not Black history, but OUR history), there are certain things you cannot say or do in reference to Black people.

Because of the HISTORY of this country....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Am So Over It

Last night a friend and I were talking about the inconsistent men in our lives. You know the type. He calls every day for two weeks and then you don't hear from him at all for another two, then he calls out of the blue like he hasn't just ignored you for a month. You know - the guy who says "I'm interested" but as soon as you admit you are interested in him, too, he pulls back and you wonder what happened.

I brought up the guy I was interested in first and then she started talking about hers. While she was talking I physically got tired. It actually physically wears me out to discuss men.

We are 30. Why are we still dealing with men who still playing those childish games?!?!?!

We were sitting on the phone talking about the same sh*t, different guy 5 years ago. Even 10. Why are we still talking about it?

Exactly. WHY ARE WE still talking about it?

No, not the men themselves, but the actual conversation.

Why are we still wasting our time having this same conversation? It won't change the situation and it won't change men, so I'm going to stop dealing with them.

Yeah, I'm by myself and I don't do anything on the weekends, but I'm still going to be at home on the weekends whether I am complaining about some dude or not.

I mean, not having a man is all society talks about!

Why are so many women still single in their 30s? Why don't men call? Why is the thrill of the chase so important to them? Why? Why? Why?

There are countless books, magazine articles, and blogs written about the subject, not to mention the masses of women who ask psychic Sylvia Brown on the Montel Williams Show every Wednesday when they're going to get married.

Having that "Why won't he act right?" conversation makes me TIRED, so I'm going to stop having it. And I'm going to stop continuing it as well, so if you want to complain about a dude, call someone else.

I'm through with this conversation.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Skee Wee My Sorors!

As a lovely lady of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., I just wanted to mark this historic day 1.9.0.8 January (1) 9th (9), 2008 (08).

I'm pretty on my left. I'm pretty on my right!
I'm so darn pretty I can't sleep at night!

SKEE WEE!!!!!!!!!!!

To learn about my illustrious sorority, visit www.aka1908.org.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's Party Time!

About two months ago I started receiving email blasts advertising New Year's Eve parties, so I decided to ask my three single friends (note the small number of single friends - b/c everyone has somebody except me) to go to one and each one of them said, "I can't. I'll be in church."

Oooooookay.

Church. Well, if that's what you want to do.

Now I'm sure all of you are now thinking that I'm an atheist or at least a heathen, but I am the total opposite. I praise the Lord EVERYDAY for all His blessings. I love my church and am there almost every Sunday, including Bible study during the week. I read the Bible on my own and am happy that my relationship with the Lord has grown so much.

But that doesn't mean I want to be in church on New Year's Eve.

I want to be at a party in a fabulous dress with a glass of champagne in one hand, getting my groove on to all the hot music from the entire year until the countdown, at which time I'll scream "Happy New Year!" at the top of my lungs and have confetti thrown on me.

I've never been to a New Year's Eve party before and don't go out much on weekends, so I was looking forward to dancing my tail off.

But since they all said they couldn't go, I figured I'd try the church thing too. I'd never been to a Watch Night service before either and I wanted to see what it was like since people go every year. As I said before, I love my church, so I wasn't too disappointed.

I enter the city auditorium to the sound of my church's BOMB choir around 10 pm. They sing until 11, a guest singer performs until 11:20, and then my pastor gets up for the lesson. I get out my Bible and notebook to prepare for the message.

I'm taking notes and listening to what he has to say (08 is the year of an overflow of blessings, which is something I'm waiting for) but after a while I notice people walking out. I look at my watch.

Hmmmm. It's 12:05.

And the pastor's still talking.

We've lived to see a BRAND NEW year (which, imo, should be a major celebration) and yet no one seems to know that it's after midnight.

So..... that's it? No countdown? No screams of "Hallelujah!" and "Thank you, Jesus!" when the clock strikes twelve? No people dressed up as angels on cords flying through the air???

I was expecting a major production. This was like a regular service on Sunday.

When I told people I wanted to go to a party they acted like I was a murderer for not wanting to be at church.

Me: "I thought about going to a party for New Year's Eve."
Them: "You're not going to go to church? Hmmmm....."

(Really? When are people going to get over that? Living at church is not a requirement of being a Christian so stop with the "concerned looks" when I say I'd rather not go to church at 11, stay until 1, eat lunch in the church basement, and then stay from 3 to 5 for the afternoon service. Stop the madness!)

I didn't have any plans and would have rather not been in the house by myself during the countdown, so I went to church to experience a Watch Night Service.

Now I've experienced one.

And next year.... I want to be at a party.