Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Familiar Face

I was sitting on a bench under a tree with my laptop, trying to get some preliminary research done for my first Spanish Lit. class, when she walked by. She did a double take, stopped, turned around, and came up to me. She smiled warmly. I smiled back.

"Queens, right?" she asked.

I was puzzled at first. Then I laughed and shook my head. "No."

Now she looked puzzled, "You never went to The Queens School?" (why do Queens students always say it like that -the Queens school- like going there makes them royalty?)

I shook my head. Nope. I've never even been on the campus.

She said an embarassed sorry and started to walk away. I kinda felt bad (like I shoulda gone to Queens), and shouted after her, "If it's any consolation, this happens all the time."

And it does. Almost every.single.day. Maybe it's my resplendent come-hither-and-talk-to-me smile, maybe it's the homely aura that surrounds me, maybe it's my propensity to smile and wave at random people whether or not I know them... but there's something about me that makes people -lots of people- think they've seen me before, and feel like they just know me from somewhere.

When I first came to UWI, I thought it was funny. But as the years wore on, it got annoying, then frustrating, then, (after I met a coupla these people) disturbing; then the whole thing just became amusing. Everybody seems to know somebody who looks exactly like me.

So I've come to the (somewhat sad) conclusion that my unique face may not be so unique after all. I have a familiar face. And I guess I'll just have to live with it.

Either that, or I could convince myself that all these people want to talk to me and just don't know how else to strike up a convo :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Obama Conspiracy

I had an interesting debate on Facebook that really got me thinking:
1.Is a conspiracy to control the black race (ie Afro-Americans) through a black President plausible?
2.Will Afro-Americans blindly accept anything Obama offers them simply because he is black?
3.Does the mere fact that I would ask these questions seem like an attempt to somehow undermine Obama's achievement or underestimate the black race?

I copied and pasted the main arguments of the debate below for your perusal. (I was going to edit the statements to make it shorter, but I relented, lest I compromise the integrity of any of the other speakers' points):

Sheldon's status:I WONDER IF OBAMA IS A PUPPET!!! USED TO CONTROL THE BLACK RACE WHEN WE START GET TOO POWERFUL.

Kimmi: sheldon as uncanny as dat sounds it actually makes sense...

Ruthibelle: But who says Obama can control the black race?? And why would you make a man President of your country so you can control a race??? Does that really make sense to you?? Let's make him President, so we can control his race. never mind this very act of making him President is going to inspire, empower and motivate that same race more than anything else you could ever do at this moment... I don't think so!

sheldon: WHERE DO U THINK THE "BULK" OF THE POWER IS... WITH THE HARD WORKN AND MILITANT BLACK PEOPLE WHO NOW ARE SOMEWHAT TRYN TO MOVE TOGETHER AND IF U PUT UP A WHITE MAN TO RUN THINGS HE WILL BE IGNORED. BUT OBAMA IS THE PERSON WE ALL WOULD LOOK UP TO AND LISTN. THE MARTIN LUTHER KING AND MALCOM X OF THIS ERA AND WHO EVER CONTROL HIM WOULD NOW CONTROL BLACK PEOPLE AND WHITE PEOPLE CAZ THEM NUH WAA LOOK RACIST BY OPPOSING HIM!!!

Ruthibelle: Looking up to and admiring someon eis different from allowing that person to control you... It might seem like Obama is in control of the majority of the American population now because of the significance of his most recent achievement. But he IS still just a President. And like any other President, he will be subject to close and serious scrutiny from a people who eventually want to see their lives get better. When the novelty of the situation wears off, and the euphoria dies down, then Americans, and the entire world, will be taking a long hard look at Obama and closely analysing his every move. I strongly doubt that they will just wilfully surrender themselves to be controlled and blindly 'led' like sheep to the slaughter by Obama, especially after the ordeal they have just experienced with the Bush administration, and the hard lessons they have had to learn about not believing any and everything placed before them without at least a little critical thought...

I'm not arguing the motives of the people in power: whether or not their intentions are good or bad, and whether or not Obama is being 'controlled' by some larger entity... The crux of the matter, the axle on which this entire argument spins, is whether or not the 'hard working and militant' American black population, which you say carries the bulk of the power, will really allow a President -any President- to 'control' them and slowly silence them. I honestly don't think so. I don't think that a people with a history as gruelling and hard as the African American people will just blindly go wherever they are led by anyone, even someone as eloquent and seemingly spotless as Barack Obama. So whether or not Barack is a puppet that was created with the intention of controlling the black race because we are getting too powerful, you cannot discount the free will of a people whom, I believe, will, refuse to be controlled any day in any way by anyone!! Even their beloved first black President

Sheldon: aah hear me out barack has the hero effect going for him he is seen as a 21's century robin hood by most. honestly no matter what he does to the black man it couldnt be any worse than bush. plus to the average white man they cant be against him caz they dont want to be accused of being racist. no matter what he does obama cant fall off his pedestal. plus no matter how bad things get we will never say, " the white men make better presidents" or as much as say he has failed. dont get me wrong though im all 4 him i just wonder if he is being used. America has a hidden agenda 4 every thing they do.

Ruthibelle: hehe! I could tell you a coupla conspiracies I've heard of that sound feasible enough... but prudence forbid... I hear what you're saying, though, and I understand where you're coming from. Whites, including white racists, are really in a spot. They can't criticise Obama without sound arguments and nuff nuff evidence, that's for sure. Or else the entire black community going eat they supper- you're right about that!!

And right now it would sem that Obama can do no wrong - especially in the eyes of the black population. But if Obama turns out to be a very bad President, he will be more scandalous than George W. Bush!! And the effects will be far more devastating simply because he rode in on such a high tide. The higher up you go, the more precarious the fall. And he is veery high up!!!

Remember also that human instinct is not to defend race first. Our instinct is to defend and protect SELF- irrespective of race or any of that stuff. If Obama's presidency goes horrible wrong, his own race will criticise him worst than the rest of the world because they would have been most disappointed. I don't think majority will try to defend him. they will probably be most ready to rip him to shreds for letting them down. And media critics have no mercy. Black President or no, as long as the evidence is there to support the argument, they will rip him to shreds too, especially because of what lofty heights of greatness he has already achieved.

Sheldon: ruth- take this scenario and try to see where im coming from when i make the statement that obama is protected by the love of the black race. if u have a business and you place your mother in full control. no matter how poorly your mother handles the affairs of the company you may never be able to say "MOM YOUR FIRED, YOU ARE DESTROYING MY BUSINESS" we would rather give her less responsibilities than face the fact that she needs to leave. similarly obama holds such a place in our hearts and no mater how detrimental his decisions are 4 us we will be blinded by the euphoria entrenched in a black president. he is an untouchable person 4 his critics and no matter who he is instructed by we will give each and every desision our signiture of approval.

Ruthibelle: Aha! My disagreement comes from two places:
1. I dont think the euphoria will last as long as you think it will. Four years. People will go back to daily life and eventually start seeing him as just the president. When teh wear adn tear of daily life sets in, the novelty will wear off- trust me on this. At that point, they will have little or no mercy for him if he is fouling up.

2. This illusion of Obama being the untouchable golden boy is just that: an illusion. Yesterday the focus was on history being made, hearts being warmed, yada ya... today the hard work begins, and the focus will be on him making the tough decisions. The scrutiny now begins, and woe be unto him if he messes up. They will- I promise you- they will, eat him alive. They won't jsut take whatever decisions he lays at their feet. They will slaughter him if he disappoints. That is why he better deliver.

Carla: sheldon...you are my cousin and i love you but that comment is ridiculous. coming from someone who lives in the states and sees the foolishness that goes on here on a daily basis, it is a breath of fresh air for me to see someone of color in the "white house". you don't live here so you don't know what people of color go through to try to be successful in this country. you were born and raised in jamaica. a country that has a handful of white prime ministers. you know what it is to have someone of your skin color represented in office. the issues in jamaica are socio-economical....not racial. here in america, you could have a doctorate degree, years of experience and accolades and still get passed up for a job because of your color!!!so please don't try to belittle the wonderful piece of history that took place yesterday.

Sheldon: shelly dont missunderstand me i am also proud of him and i acknowledge the significance of his acheivements. and what it means for america but the root of my argument was wether or not he was following orders from a higher power and what implications this would have for america and by extension african americans. yes his acheivements will motivate the black race and make an atempt to acheive racial equality. he stands ass a rolemodle to every black man and will show the world the stupidity behind racism.

on another note though if he is being "controled" and his strings being pulled so to speak we may be in for more of the same or maybe even worse conditions. if he is being used as a sacrificial lamb then what do we do and what message will be sent to the black race, who look to him as their savior from racial oppression. if after 4 years obama is viewed as the worse president ever. it is highly likely that the professional world and the general society will be against black leaders

Sheldon: don't get me wrong it was a risk worth taking, but for all things we should look at both the positives and negatives of all things. i made started to think about the possible negative implications of this achievement and thats what i wished most persons took the time out to ponder on.

Carla: understood. but do you see that you asking if he is a "puppet" overshadows all of his personal and professional accomplishments? yes there are negatives to him being in office. there is a pro and a con to everything. my issue is the con that you came up with my dear. you asking if he is a puppet demeans what all of the people who fought and struggled through the civil rights movement had to deal with. like i said before i understand your point. i am just disappointed that when a black man in america achieves what seemed like the impossible, you, who live and study in jamaica, see it as a conspiracy.

So, what say you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Inauguration


Something inside me stirs
I feel a sudden need to dream
Vita est non quis is videor
Life is no longer what it seemed

A dormant glint in human eyes
Abandons sleep and comes alive

Hope, within one man's eyes
Moves mountains, transcends time
Travels through a space vacuum
To room
Inside my heart

theJamaicanview.of.theInauguration
how come one man.can awaken dead dreams.in a broken nation.

today.americans walk on air.collectively.soaring over fear. fear.the forgotten foe.that nips with cold at human souls.

the look on his face.as he walks.to take his seat.among vips. a man about to face his death.his burial.his resurrection. this feels.like the rebirth of a nation.

aretha's bow is brighter than her voice.but. the euphoria of the moment alone.carried the voice that left overwhelmed lips.in shaky, shrill tones. and landed it on hopeful ears.in perfect pitches.echoing dreams.inspiring hearts.

joe biden looked sunburnt.his eyes are mere slits.that smile on the final line.that subtle curve of the lips.so help me God.help him God.

he turned to look up at the musicians.and caught a glimpse of her.his eyes settled where they lay.the music was probably lost on him after that.such loving eyes.wow.

her gloved hand.reaching out.touching his shoulder.that small squeeze.the resulting smile.such loving eyes.wow.

then he got up.silence.the stutter in the oath. then the smile.both smiles.get it right, dammit.we all want this.get it right.now!

and then.the speech: humbled... grateful... mindful... for us.for us.for us... our power alone cannot protect us... but we will do the best can.yes we can.

wow.i'm happy to the 44th power.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Greatest Day In Black History

A fellow blogger, Black African Princess (BAP) titled her post on Barack Obama's election win, 'the greatest day in black history'. I disagreed.

I'm sure many will be hailing the inauguration of America's first black President as, without a doubt, the greatest day in black history. Again, I am wont to disagree.

While it is a fantastically humongous and absolutely important, irreplaceable and unforgettable (not to mention heart-warming, tear-jerking, and just monumental) achievement in black ('American') history... I don't think it is the greatest day in black history.

But that begs the question: what was the greatest day in black history? Was it the day Martin Luther King was born? Was it the day black Caribbean slaves were freed? Was it the day apartheid was outlawed in South Africa? What was the greatest day in black history???

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the greatest day in black history probably happened too long ago for any of us to remember... maybe the greatest day in black history was the very first day an oppressed black man/woman realised that he/she could and should be free. Maybe the day the seed of a thought of equality was planted in a black mind was the day life really began for the black race...

But then, once upon a long-gone time, before slavery and every other form of discrimnation, we were happy, free people. Maybe those were the greatest days in black history- a time when no knowledge of any racial hardships or injustices existed at all... no slavery to overcome, no mental barriers to break down because there were none...

Maybe the greatest day in black history is today, and tomorrow, and every new day that brings with it the hope of advancement and an even brighter future... Maybe the answer varies depending on location, age, and personal values...

I don't have the answer, but the historic times we live in certainly provoke the question: we've come so far as a race, what should we tote as the greatest day in our history??

One thing for certain is that Barack Obama's inauguration is one of the greatest days in black history. About that, there is no question.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Failing Memory

My memory is not as super-sharp as it used to be. And this is not sitting very well with me at all! What sparked this latest bout of self-searching and self-critique? TVJ's Schools' Challenge Quiz!

I used to be able to answer a decent amount of questions from that competition in any category. I could even solve the occasional math problem. But now, I can barely answer four or five questions on the entire show! I'll sit there, and know that at some point in my former brilliant life, I knew the answer, but now I've lost the information. I just don't remember.

It annoys the heck out of me to not remember stuff about Biology, Chemistry, Physics and the like. I'm too young to have memory lapses. I'm too young to be forgetting so many things already!!

It just sucks to know that I knew the answers but don't anymore, even if I left high school and stopped actively studying those subjects over four years ago... it doesn't matter!! I'm not supposed to forget! I'm never supposed to forget! Once I learn it, it should stick with me forever! Forever, dammit!

And to add insult to injury, my daddy has the memory of a high-speed computer... he doesn't forget anything! Especially world history. He can give you names, dates, countries, timelines, the works... and he doesn't study these things intensely, he just casually reads. So why is he, in his late 40s, able to clearly remember stuff he read at 25, and, I, in my early 20s, can't remember stuff I learnt in my late teens? It's not fair!! Why did I have to inherit the broad nose instead of that amazing memory?

*SMH* It's not fair, I tell you, it's not fair!! I want my memory back, or at least the memory I was supposed to inherit from my father!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Blog Open Notice 2009

As abruptly as I left
I return.
With no explanation.
Don't ask.

I prefer life to lifeless anyday. The days of your life you have left: treasure, appreciate and enjoy them... The people in your life that you love: let them know... The passions in your life that keep you happy: indulge and over-indulge... Happy new year to one and all

And on that note, I welcome myself back to blogland.