I ,Too, Sing America – The Good Ole Days

I too sing America

I looked in the mirror this morning and noticed that my nose is still broad, my lips are thick, and my skin is still brown (and about to get positively black now that the heat has returned to Georgia); I was thinking about having a nickel for every time I hear someone wishing for the good old days and returning our country to what our forefathers dreamed of , or some such.  I remember the good old days just fine thank you and I like our present days much mo’ better, imperfect as they may be.

I don’t want my kids or my grandkids to be afraid to even drive through certain neighborhoods because they could be mistaken for black people who had come there to start trouble.  When my husband was on tour with El Pus they stayed in some really nice hotels – back in the good old days they would have had to stay at people’s houses or sleep in the car just because they were “colored” .

Back in the old country,  I  lived in a town I lived in a town where bauxite was mined for the Reynolds company. Their executives were all southern whites ( I assume) and they lived on “the hill” where black people could not go unless they were housekeepers, gardeners etc. If a piece of fruit fell on the ground and you picked it up you would be accused of stealing and jailed. When they shopped at the town’s only grocery store, the local “coloreds” were not allowed to shop that day (at least they were nice enough to designate a day for this).  They were OK with us dying in the mines and getting mangled by the equipment though (worker’s comp, disability, pension – all that socialist claptrap, not here man).

When our forefathers wrote the Constitution the certainly weren’t thinking about the rights and freedoms of my husband’s ancestors – neither Cherokee nor African. As a matter of fact, they weren’t thinking about their slaves at all, after all slaves weren’t actually human or anything like that. Giving consideration to slaves would have been like writing provisions into the Constitution for their horses! That would have been Ridiculous, right?

Back in the good old days I most certainly would not have moved TO the South FROM the North. That would have been something like suicide or genocide or some kinda ‘cide.  But don’t get me wrong, the North wasn’t always no crystal stair either. My Mom wanted us to have a house so she moved us to East Flatbush – 3rd Black family in the neighborhood. I heard the word jigaboo more than once, and not in a nice way either (is there a nice way to call someone a jigaboo?) We couldn’t always go play at the neighborhood park, and I remember cowering with Dianne and Cathy in her foyer because Big Rocco and Little Rocco were coming down the street and they would have beat my ass for being Black and beat her and Cathy’s asses for hanging out with ‘niggers’.

What I know is that the world is not now, nor has it ever been, perfect. But it is moving towards perfection every day and in every way. When we try to hold on to the past or roll it back like Walmart rolls back prices, we are actually retarding the progress of the entire world.

So I’m asking you nicely to quit throwing all those prayers out there for a return to “the country of our forefathers”, that is of course unless….OH, I see.

I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

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Have Peace | Cause it’s the Same Old Song

UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd B...
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My friend Chiedza is a very talented (like Prince is talented) singer/songwriter/musician. His music rocks, but his live show with backup band rocks even harder. Back when everyone else was saying “Peace” or “Peace Out”  to end a conversation, Chiedza used to say instead  “Have Peace”.  It just seemed more heartfelt and sincere to me.

What’s stealing your peace these days? There are the obvious things I am sure: unemployment,  debt, the economy. I hear tell that America is going down (heard it at my own kitchen table, so I guess it must be true); some folks think it’s the end of the world and we are heading into Armageddon or the Rapture or whatever they think happens at the end.

Slow down people. You know when I first came to America there was a lot of talk about the end of the world then too.  Lemme give you the problems and the playlist from my youth:

  1. The country was in the middle of a war overseas that no one wanted (“Bring The Boys Home” by Freda Payne,”War”  by Edwin Starr, the saddest of all “The Green Green Grass of Home” by Porter Wagoner(?))
  2. Air pollution and species extinction had people worried about “the ecology” (“Mercy, Mercy me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye). In 1970 my teacher told me that we would be wearing gas masks by the time I grew up, I believed her.
  3. Soldiers were coming back from Ira.. I mean Vietnam strung out on dope , and a lot of the peeps here at home weren’t feeling so good themselves (we lost Janis, Jimi and a host of others – I’m feeling Don Mclean’s “American Pie” here)
  4. We were living in New York and the economy wasn’t doing too well, I remember those days as “dark days” in the city that never sleeps
  5. Women were burning their bras and speaking out for the right to work outside the home, equal pay etc (“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy)
  6. Negros/Blacks (we weren’t quite sure yet ) had made significant gains during the sixties but there was still a lot of ground to cover (“What’s Going On” b y Marvin Gaye)

And I told you all that to say: “Why is every generation conceited enough to believe that the world is going to end on their watch? “

This country has survived a revolution, a civil war,  world wars,  minor skirmishes overseas, minor skirmishes right here at home, our treatment of Native Americans, slavery, the Great Depression, Prohibition,  Brown vs the Board of  Education, Selma, November 22 1963,  April 4th 1968, June 5th 1968, the Watts riots, the Detroit riots, the  Chicago 7, the Manson Family, Watergate, Oklahoma City, 2001… I could, heck I probably should go on  because I  can’t believe the absolute lack of faith that I am seeing all around me.

Let me ask you again, what’s stealing your peace? Is it indecision about what to do next,  fear of what the future holds,  doubts about your ability to safely navigate these treacherous times?

My advice to you

  • Listen to the still small voice and  not the voices on the radio, TV, or across the kitchen table.
  • Stay away from negative people, negative conversation, and negative thoughts.
  • If you have to stop watching the news for a while, do it, you’ll be shocked at how this improves your outlook.
  • Most importantly have faith – after all God didn’t bring you this far to leave you where you are

Remember that your thoughts and words work together to create your reality ; so get your mind right and … Have Peace.

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Bush Farewell Speech: Hell Freezes Over

Hell Freezes Over By Denise Lee Porter 1/15/2009

Barack Obama's inauguration day might be coldest in history

It’s OK to start a fight based on a lie
And send our children off to war to die
It’s OK to kill abortion doctors to protect the unborn
Is it only me that sees that as an oxymoron?

History will remember the Bush years and how he spent them
While the banks clamor for more of the money we lent them
Our jobs disappear and we find it hard to cope
What to do but cling to Barack’s message of hope?

A Black President will happen on a cold day in hell
At least that’s the story we all used to tell
Across the country we watch as the temperatures fall
Ha, I guess Hell did freeze over after all

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