.

Update: Brand NEW Posts Coming Soon!!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why Poor People Shouldn’t Have Children: Part 2--My Story

If you can’t afford kids keep your legs closed, zip your pants, or invest in good contraception! That was the moral of Part 1 of this post. Now I feel it’s only fair that I share my story. I grew up in West Baltimore City. For those of you who know anything about that area I shouldn’t even have to go into any details. For those of you who are naively unaware I will continue. It is an area, like most of the Baltimore ghetto, beset with drugs, crimes, poverty, and all manner of bad stuff. It is not pretty. There are no picket fences. No front yards and few trees. It’s pretty much just a cement jungle with broken glass on the pavement and syringes on the ground.

If you walk by you’ll see people on the steps of their row houses braiding hair, playing their music loudly, drinking 40s, smoking blunts, gambling etc. You’ll see folk walking by swearing on their chirp phones. You’ll see kids disheveled and dirty, playing in the street unsupervised. These same kids will often be calling each other (insert obscenity here). You’ll see the check cashing places, the liquor stores, and the lottery kiosks. You’ll see Korean owned businesses and restaurants, drug deals, and signs that read “we accept independence cards here.” See I know first hand how ugly poverty is. I spent 16 years of my life in West Baltimore neighborhoods. I spent 16 years of my life on welfare. I could tell you stories of not having heat in the house during blizzards and subzero temperatures. I could tell you stories about how an abandoned house three doors down from mine was used to (ahem) make drugs and how one day they almost burned my house down when those chemical caught fire. Or how an eight-year-old little boy was killed across the street from my house, or how we lived in fear that the government would take our subsidized housing away or that the food stamps would be cut. I could tell you stories of drunks cursing each other out in the street and going to bed with helicopter flying over my head. I can tell you about how now, almost seven years later, I still drop to the floor when I hear a loud sound. Does that seem like a nice place to raise a child? Oh and I was one of the lucky ones. I was one of the richest poor kids in my neighborhood and this was my experience!

Growing up I didn’t know any one who graduated college. No one in my family had a career—something for me to aspire to. I never took dance lessons or went to camp. I was 21 years old before I made it to Disney World; I was an adult before I traveled outside of the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia area. When I had difficulty in school I could never afford a tutor to help me. I never took a family vacation. I never got on an airplane or traveled outside of the country. My experience was limited to the poisonous environment in which I grew up. I remember the first time I went to a casual dinning restaurant like the ones I frequent now. I was a teenager and I thought that I was eating at a “fancy restaurant.” I never had a dishwasher and until I was practically grown we hung our clothes outside to dry or on ropes that hung across the hallway. What the heck was a dryer? I didn’t get one of those until I was 15. I didn’t have a computer until I was 14 and that was a used one. The things that I now take advantage of, like driving in a decent car, and having a checking and savings account instead of relying on money orders and check cashing places, are things that I couldn’t even fathom when I was younger. Some of my friends who themselves are privileged can’t believe that I hadn’t done certain things before (swimming/mini golf—the list is pretty long). I just smile. You can’t do something or even want to do something you were never exposed to.

I remember all these things too well and I’m not ashamed. I’m not ashamed to tell people where I am from, but I am ashamed of some of the garbage that I’ve seen. I’ve since graduated from college; magna cum laude I might add, with a ton of graduate research under my belt! As I write this I’m planning to go back to school to earn an advanced degree. I’ve been truly blessed. Yet, I realized that even my minor successes were not earned without tons of grief and struggle: unnecessary grief and struggle that had a lot to do with my earlier socio-economic status. I don’t write things like “poor people shouldn’t have children” because I am some middle class snob who’s forgotten where she came from. I don’t write such posts because I am sitting in my nice house, in my nice neighborhood blissfully unaware. To the contrary, I frequently go to the hood because that’s where the majority of my family still resides.

I write things like this because I AM aware. Because I know the statistics. Because I’ve seen the ugly. Because poor is a horrible state to grow up in. Because unlike adults, children don’t get to choose their standard of living. Because it’s dreadfully unfair to bring a child into the world with nothing to offer him—not a college fund or savings--nothing but more poverty and struggle! I’m not quixotic. I don’t believe poverty is ever going to be alleviated, even though I do believe that no one should be poor in a nation such as ours. Yet we have to play the cards we are dealt.

I am still poor, or BROKE might be the better term to use. I make a meager eight bucks and hour skewering fruit and answering phones. I live at home, because I can’t afford to move out. Sometimes I can’t even afford groceries! (I swear I had more money when I was in college, but I’ll talk more about that later). Other times I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to pay the few bills that I have acquired. So would I have a child now? I’m almost tempted to swear to underscore my point. NO WAY! I can barely take care of my cat! And that is my point. We need commercials, music videos, non-profit organizations, government programs dedicated to telling people that having a child is a big responsibility and it takes planning—particularly financial planning! It seems obvious, but we live in a world where people screw around without regard for consequence.

I half wish the government would go back to sterilizing folk or at least implement mandatory contraception (I’ll talk more about government regulated pregnancies in future posts). Maybe we would be a better society if we had to be licensed to have children, just liked we are licensed to have a car—and that such a privilege could be revoked. Or perhaps my ideas are a little too extreme for the more sensitive of you who read my blog. But something should be done! And so I end this post just like I began it, saying emphatically and unapologetically that if you can’t afford to have children (i.e. provide them with a good standard of living) you should keep it in your pants, or shut your legs, or otherwise invest in good contraception! Yeah I said it!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The IRack

I've been way too serious lately. In less than a month of blogging I’ve talked about such serious topics as Pepsi vs. Coke, interracial dating, the black male shortage and disappointment, poverty in the US, purposeful living, sex and contraception blah blah blah. So before I continue my diatribe on such topics as poverty, sexism, abortion, discrimination I thought a little satire was in order. This clip is a humorous one that echoes my sentiments on the war in Iraq (and I’m just too lazy right now to write a long political piece on the war and its implications so this will have to suffice). I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope you do to. Stay tuned for my startling conclusion on "Why poor people shouldn't have children" that will be posted tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Poor People Shouldn’t Have Children: Part 1

First let me take a minute to put on my heavy boots because I’m about to step on some toes again! Okay they’re on and I’m stomping so watch your feet! My only disclaimer is that I myself was (still am sorta) poor and many of my family members live near or below the poverty line. I know poor.

Let us first consider some statistics. Statistics tell us that persons under the age of 18 are more likely to be impoverished. “In 2001 the poverty rate for minors in the United States was the highest in the industrialized world, with 14.8% of all minors and 30% of African American minors living below the poverty threshold. Additionally, the standard of living for those in the bottom 10% was lower in the U.S. than in any other developed nation except the United Kingdom, which had the lowest standard of living for impoverished children. In 2006, the poverty rate for minors in the United States was 21.9% -the highest child poverty rate in the developed world.”*

It’s awful that fresh from the uterus—before a child takes his first cry--he is at a horrible disadvantage. Having done nothing to merit his circumstance, such a child begins his life at a negative. What’s more, in a third world country I could understand why so many children are born into poverty—these people don’t have access to prophylactics, contraception or even abortions that we take for granted of here in this rich nation. We have all these pills and devices and folk who are not mature enough or economically sound enough are multiplying like rabbits! Consequently, poverty doesn’t go away, it just continues to the next generation and the next…

So who’s responsible for the aforementioned poverty levels? Our society certainly must take its share of the blame. We live in nation where a person of little talent can sing and dance very badly, we label such an antic entertainment, and we allow them to make millions of dollars. We live in a nation where a person can read lines off of a teleprompter, swear, and pretend to dodge bullets or whatever and we label him an actor and thus give him millions of dollars. We live in a nation where a person can pose nicely, take pretty pictures, or throw a ball across a field or in a hoop and he is rewarded for such “skill” with—you guessed it—millions of dollars. Sure the statistics of this happening are astronomical and I am talking about only a minority of people, but the fact that such people can have 17 houses, while other people perform backbreaking labor and barely earn minimum wage is preposterous! Society is NOT fair. It never has been and it never will be—though I certainly don’t advocate that we stop striving for fairness.

That said, we have to find a way to work within an unfair society. It’s a brutal reality. So why bring children into it in the first place (more about that in future posts) especially when you don’t have anything to give him but more poverty. It is, as one writer puts it, an inheritance of loss. Moreover, it is morally and socially irresponsible to bring a child into this world without the financial capacity to take care of it. It should be every parents desire to give a child a standard of living at least slightly better than the one he had. It should be, but it isn’t. Exacerbating the matter, many people believe that the government was designed to take care of their children. Yeah, I went there!

What’s going on? Economically, prices are skyrocketing, jobs and careers are uncertain and it seems everybody is in debt. Even college-educated people are subjected to menial jobs and subsequent low wages because competitive ones have become, well, inexorably more competitive. It is for those reasons that I believe that children should be planned. They should come after and only after the parents are married and in a financial position to support them. So many people today are participating in premarital sex and then calling it an “accident” when they get pregnant. There should be no “accident” kids! If you are having sex without contraception than it wasn’t an accident! The best situation for the child is one in which he has two parents who are legally and spiritually bound together—that’s two incomes. Statistics show us that the number of income earners largely affects household income. That seems pretty self-evident to me. Perhaps it’s not so for many people. Getting pregnant without first considering the quality of life of the child is selfishness that borders on narcissism. What real parent doesn’t put the needs of his child before his own and a child needs to be provided for and nurtured. That costs money. How much? Well according to the US Department of Agriculture $270,000 from birth to age 17. And that number doesn’t even include extra’s like college tuition.**

Now I’m not saying you have to be Bill Gates in order to have a child. Nor am I implying that a financially established person can’t experience a dry period. What I am saying is people should strive to insure a good quality of life for their child and that costs money. This is a capitalists system—we have to work within it even when it’s not fair! I don’t believe all poor people are lazy, immoral slackers. Many are not, but just because it’s not your fault that you are poor doesn’t mean you should bring another life in this world to suffer poverty with you. One should strive to legally attain economic stability. This is not in any way easy, especially if you were born poor yourself, but it is necessary.

Once more I am dismayed by what I am seeing. I see so many women with 4 and 5 different kids by different dads and no way of taking care of them, accept through welfare. Inevitably, these kids will then grow up to have kids by different moms and dads and their kids and theirs, most being supported by taxpayers’ dollars. I shudder to even mention how many of these poor children are born to teenage mothers or how many of these children will grow to be adults that fall into a life of crime. Or how many will be the victims of it. I shudder to think how many of these children will be born without a father. How many will grow up to become substance abusers. I shudder when I think about the difficult life, particularly the educational and health disparities that these children will fall victim to. I shudder to think how many of these children won’t live to grow up at all. All because their parents were too selfish to plan appropriately.

Yes, I believe in social responsibility and I mentioned that society is to blame for its role in poverty—consider inadequate jobs, a shockingly impossible minimum wage, and institutional racism--but I also believe in personal responsibly. Lets consider that two strong correlates of poverty are lack of educational attainment and skill and substance abuse. Many people living in the hood are fifth and sixth generation poor people. I know I was. I can’t even tell you how far the poor goes back in my own family. So the cycle repeats over and over and over again unendingly. People are responsible for their own plight. Actions have consequences. Ultimately, we are what we make ourselves to be….

The other day I spoke with a young unmarried mother of a one-year-old. She still lives at home, is not in college, and has no job prospects. She's not a bad peron. To the contrary, she is attractive, smart, and good-natured. “What do you plan to do with your life, especially since you have this young child?” I asked. She looked down at the ground, confused and unsure. Then she shrugged. “I don’t know,” she answered honestly. I could only sympathize with how difficult it’s going to be for her and her baby. I sighed, exasperated.


*Thus saith the awesome wikipedia. Check it out for yourself.
**See http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/CollegeandFamily/Raisekids/P37245.asp
for more information

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Mad That You Feel


What do you do with the mad that you feel? Mr. Rogers wrote a well-known children’s rhyme by that same title. Yet the answer to this seemingly simple question can speak volumes about your character and spirituality. I don’t believe anger is wrong but what we do with it shapes who we are. I feel inclined to mention that I’m not about to use this space to spout off platitudes, in fact this post will show you that I’m dead wrong!

This week I experienced an altercation at work. For legal reasons I can’t get into all the details but I can give you the short version. There is a promotion coming up and of those interested in the position I am the most qualified. I say that because it’s true, and not because I have delusions of superiority. The competitors decided that the only way they could “win” was to play dirty. And so a systematic and strategic character assault ensued. I’m talking about sabotage! So what should a Christian do when the world attacks? You guessed it, yell, swear, and attack back full force! Well, maybe that’s not what was supposed to happen, but that is certainly what transpired. I mean I was livid. I don’t take defamation of character lightly. After all I was the one in the right. I hadn’t initiated the exchange, and everything I so angrily spewed was absolute truth. Ha! I was just defending myself.

WRONG! Rage is blinding. Combine that with advice from my crazy black family (I’m talking the hood ones and the not-so hood ones) and you have a recipe for meticulously executed revenge. I mean these (fill in any inappropriate term you prefer here) must pay!

Wrong. So Wrong! And I know it is. But why do I feel this way? I know better. I know I should turn the other cheek and let God deal with this issue. But I am justifiably incensed! This is the war I have been fighting all week and in all honesty, though I loved to, I can’t tell you that I somehow have peace with everything, that my anger has subsided and that I’m trusting God with everything. What I can tell you is that I now have better clarity. I can tell you that through God’s strength I have been able to keep my mouth closed and not add fuel to their fire. Just thinking about how I misrepresented God by swearing and loosing my cool, makes me want to reconsider my approach the next time something like this happens (though I pray there won’t be a next time). I do feel quite ashamed, not at the behavior of those who conspired against me, but of my response to them. At the end of the day they are not Christians. They are not walking around calling themselves Christ-like. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it does put mine into perspective.

I pray for serenity for the next few days. I pray for the establishment I work for and for my employer who was put in the uncomfortable position of trying to reconcile this madness. And maybe, maybe God will help me to grow enough to pray for those who incited this conflict against me…

So what should I do with the mad that I feel? I don’t think Mr. Rogers has a resolution for this one.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crystal Under Fire: An Exclusive Interview with Self



When I caught up with the soon-to-be infamous blogger to conduct this interview, she was in the kitchen preparing lasagna for dinner. There she stood wearing a simple pink camisole and black slacks, her hair corn rolled, her feet in socks. She stood quietly waiting for the water to boil. But tonight lasagna won’t be the only thing facing the heat. I have some tough questions to ask her as she stands stirring the lasagna in, sounding as casual as she appears. For those of you who are new to the site, last week Crystal wrote a blog entitled “Letter to The Black Man”, in which she accused African American men of murdering the black family. This particular post generated a lot of discussion on Facebook and is the inspiration of this interview.

Self: So let me start by saying that I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today.

Crystal: It’s always a pleasure. I like spending time with you. We live in a world where most people are afraid to spend time with self. We are afraid to ask ourselves the hard questions and introspect.

Self: A lot of people reading this probably think I’m going to be easy on you.

Crystal: Well I believe that self is often our harshest critic. And I believe that I must always be true to you, even more so than I am to others, because at the end of the day I have to face you.

Self: Well said. I must say that I was with you the day that you wrote your most contentions blog to date “Letter to The Black Man.”

Crystal: (chuckles) Well I’ve only written three blogs!

Self: That may be the case, but you brought up some controversial points. In that particular post you stated that you hate black men. What’s that all about?

Crystal: Well if you are expecting an apology you won’t find one here. Nor am I here to defend myself. I just want to clarify some things. I mean black men are guilty of all those things I’ve accused them of. They are guilty of killing each other, of abandoning their women and children, and of putting down the black woman all of which amounts to genocide against the black family.

Self: Those are strong statements, but many people would argue that you can find these behaviors throughout society. They aren’t specific to just black men.

Crystal: They are when you consider the statistics. When you consider that these things don’t just exist but that they are pervasive in our community. Besides I don’t really care about what everybody else is doing. I do believe that as a society we have a long way to go and that we all need to get back to strong families, but I am not white, or Latino, or Asian. I am black and therefore [I am] most concerned first and foremost about what’s going on in our community.

Self: So are you saying that ALL black men are lecherous and indifferent and neglectful? Do you believe that ALL black men have little African self-consciousness and racial identity?

Crystal: Not at all.

Self: I’m confused.

Crystal: I acknowledge that there are some men who strive to go against their stereotype and that they aren’t all married to white women, but let’s keep it real! There are so many who insist on perpetuating these reprehensible behaviors. There are enough men not taking care of business to make me and others concerned about the future of the black family and ultimately black society as a whole. I can’t sit back and pretend these behaviors don’t exist.

Self: Is that why you wrote Letter to The Black Man? As a call to action?

Crystal: Yes. In a way. I’d also like to clear something up if you don’t mind. I didn’t write that article in the first person. I took on the persona of Everywomen talking to Everyman. I wrote it from the perspective of things I, and other women, have seen and heard and experienced. I became them and wrote it to all black men based on our collective experiences with them and the statistics on black men. So they aren’t all just my opinions or things that I have pulled out of the sky. I am acknowledging the black woman’s collective frustration with the black man. Another thing I feel inclined to mention is that I love some black men. I love my father, my brother my cousin and my family members and friends, BUT that’s not to say that I am blind to some of their questionable behaviors nor am I excusing the black woman for her part in some of our madness. I’ll speak more about her in other blogs.

Self: I have to ask this because it’s pretty well known that you are Christian and Christians are supposed to love one another. Yet you use the word “hate” about 12 times in that post. What’s that about, especially in light of that fact that the prior post was all about God’s divine purpose for our lives? There seems to be some disconnect.

Crystal: Your certainly not pulling any punches

Self: I’m just doing my job, keeping you in check.

Crystal: Well like you said I am a Christian, but I’m not blind or naive. See that’s another thing people mix up. They believe that hate is the absence of love. But I believe that love and hate are two sides of the same coin. The opposite of love is indifference. So if I were to just sit back and watch us as a people go straight to hell, than that wouldn’t be loving. Love is corrective. I love black, I love being black. I’m very proud of that. But I don’t like what I’m seeing or reading. I don’t like what’s happening. I (here’s that word again) HATE what’s going on and I want to see a change. As for my prior post, that was unrelated to this post. I write about what I feel, or experience. It’s a blog, its’ called Crystal’s random blog for crying out loud. Not everything I post is going to be related.

Self: You come down hard on interracial relationships and yet some of the people you are closest to are products of such relationships.

Crystal: Correction. I come down hard on black men intentionally SEEKING white women. If I recall that’s the word I used in the post—SEEKING. I don’t see any thing wrong with love. It doesn’t have a color. But it becomes wrong when one person puts down his own race to put another race on a pedestal. It becomes wrong to not want a black wife because you stereotype all black women.

Self: That’s fair, but many of your friends on facebook and myspace where you heavily promote your blog are white. Do you feel you are alienating them when you write post like “Letter to The Black Man”? Do you feel that you are “airing dirty laundry” or parading our community’s problems in front of white people.

Crystal: How did I know you were going to ask that? (pauses)Well first of all my blog is not just a black blog. It’s open to anybody who wants to read it, regardless of whether they agree with me—I just want people to see things from my perspective—which happens to be a black perspective. As for airing dirty laundry—haven’t we gotten passed that? That’s just a huge cop out!! I mean don’t’ we need to drop the fa├žade and be honest with each other instead of being indifferent---or pretending this garbage doesn’t exist and that black men aren’t culpable. White people are not without their share of problems—don’t get me wrong. But we as a people need to pull the masks off and address the issues.

Self: In the comment you got on your last blog, you were compared to Reverend Jesse Peterson who states in much of his writing that black people as a whole are lazy, immoral, and in need of white supervision. He even goes on to say that without such supervision we would “turn American into a ghetto in 10 years.”

Crystal: I was going to delete that comment. Especially because I don’t like anonymous posts. I’m like speak your peace, but don’t be too punk to say “yeah I said it”. I kept it up to make the point that I am open to various perspectives and that I acknowledge that many will be different than my own. In terms of Irreverent Peterson—the same man who speaks against black leaders like Jesse Jackson—I think he’s nothing more than an Uncle Tom. He’s a danger to the black community. His comments are destructive.

Self: But many would argue that yours are as well.

Crystal: (chuckling) Let them. That’s fine.

Self: Is it just black men that you have a problem with or men in general.

Crystal: Didn’t you ask me that before? I think that men have their share of problems. Men as a whole are going to have to stand before God and answer for their behavior. It’s deplorable The sexism. The misogyny. As a whole I don’t like men [’s behavior]. But I must say again that my primary concern is for the black race, at the end of the day I’m not white.

Self: Are you sure you’re not just some bitter, single black woman mad cuz you don’t have a man?

Crystal: Hardly! I’m single because I have chosen to be single. I refuse to participate in some of the madness that exist. I think as a society we need to improve our gender relations and I’m not trying to end up screwed over. So for now I like single.

Self: So what’s next for you?

Crystal: Well I intend to keep doing what I’m doing. My interest in writing has been rekindled so to speak. I’ll continue to write and speak the truth unapologetically. I also want to advertise the blog more. I hope to generate more readers and subscribers. I hope that this blog will help me to become a serious writer. Um I’m also planning in the distant future to include my very own podcast, some video footage, and some real interviews, but I’m just getting started now.

Self: What can we expect to read from you in the future?

Crystal: Well not everything I write is going be as controversial or serious or even about race—unless you mean the human race. Many things will be light-hearted and funny. I intend to infuse some of my sarcasm and brilliant cynicism in my post. I am planning a post on catcallers, the quarter life crisis, rap music, morality, some stuff on gender relations, and some poetry and short stories--just for the heck of it. A lot of stuff will be really random—a lot from just my day-to-day experience. And as always I will be writing about God and spiritual matters and how He’s inspiring me in my life.

Self: I certainly look forward to it. You know a lot of people are going to think you’ve lost your mind by even participating in this tongue-in-cheek interview with me. Some might just think you’ve gone skitzo or that this is just some perverse act of narcissism.

Crystal: (chuckling) Let them. That’s fine.

Self: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. It has been insightful It’s always a pleasure and I look forward to many more interviews in the future.

Crystal: Thank you. You never know what might happen on this random blog in the future! Love ya.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Letter to The Black Man

Dear Mr. Black man,

I hate you. You murdered my family. Instead of putting a gun to their heads you chose an arsenal of apathy, disregard and unfiltered selfishness to assassinate them. Do you remember them? No, of course not. You were too busy being a stereotype to notice. The sad part is that we come from the same family.  I know, I’m just another uptight, irascible black woman bringing down the black man. I’m know, I’m being too hard on a brotha. Sure, put the blame on me since you won’t step up to the plate and take personal responsibility. Yeah, I said it. I’m not scared! I don’t care about airing dirty laundry— laundry that you sullied.

Don’t you want to know how you murdered the black family? Well for starters you began having children by several “baby mama’s” and then refused to take care of them. Those children—YOUR offspring-- are forced to grow up without a father. You couldn’t save yourself to marry that one special queen God designed for you. You had to have them all. Look what your lecherous behavior has cost us. Did you ever think about the consequences of your actions? I shudder to mention all those abortions you convinced your other girlfriends to have all because you didn’t feel like taking care of the children you enjoyed making. You started treating yourself like a buck—some kind of animal screwing around with so many women without any commitment. Then you met a woman who loved you and in return for her love you left her the STDs that you got from your life of unbridled lust and promiscuity. But of course a real man is defined by his conquests. So just how many women have you screwed....over?

You are the reason for our disgrace. You are the statistics that are stacked against our people. You’ve done things to our race that white people couldn’t begin to. You live up to the term 'nigger' and I’m tired of defending you. I’m tired of blaming the media and racism for everything that you aren’t. I’m tired of making excuses for your behavior, while you act like everything this society says we are.

I’m not through yet. You started off being allergic to clean living. You refused to get an education, because of the “easy and fast” money in the street. After all you can make more killing your brothers and sisters with dope, than you can in school. Then when all the hustle caught up with you, you were thrown into prison. Congratulations, now you have added having the highest incarceration of any other race to your repertoire. You must be so proud. Do you even remember all the crimes you committed? The brothers in the street you beat up or even killed for looking at you the wrong way. I know—I know you were just trying to get respect right? See you believe respect and fear are the same thing. How can you beat your brother like we were beaten in the days of slavery? How could you take the life of someone who looks like you? And all over…NOTHING! Or maybe you didn’t do it. But your boy did and you continued to hang with him. Stick by your homeboy no matter what, right?

Perhaps you haven’t done all of the above, but you listen to music that glamorizes it. Regardless of whether you purchased it, you still blare it in you car, memorizing its message, internalizing its insidious lyrics. To you and your music I’m just a B****. How can you call women that when they brought you into existence? I wanted great things for you. I raised you all by myself when your father left. Yet your music says I’m just a whore. You rob me. You rape me. You produce filth and dare to call it music. You set such horrible examples.

Speaking of examples, I remember all the time you spent putting together that demo tape thinking you gonna become a top selling (so called) artist. Or all the times you spent on the court practicing to be the next Jordan. Or all the time on the field, instead of in the books because you thought you were going to play for the NFL. When I approached you about it to try to encourage you, you told me there weren’t any good black examples. You believed the lie that the only way a black man can have money legally is if he is a sports player or entertainer. I challenged you to be the example that you are seeking and you laughed at me.

When I see you in college (congrats for making it even if it wasn’t based on your academic merit but on your sports abilities) you’re not studying. You’re smoking blunts on the bridge of OUR college with your boys. You’re clubbing and partying and rapping. You’re never apart of the prestigious honor societies. I never see you in those meetings. I can’t recall seeing you at the science conference, or the college’s mentor’s club. And your grades are deplorable! You chill all day in the student union and then you drop out because school is too hard. Because you just won’t try harder. Because your expecting people to just give you what you refuse to work for.

So you say, “I’m not like that.” I’ve graduated with dignity. I am a doctor or lawyer or engineer. But when you actually accomplish something that goes against your stereotype you brag and you get a big ego and you suddenly become too good for me--too good for us. You go out and seek a white wife. It is with her that you share all of your assets. It is she who mothers the children that will carry on your legacy--a legacy separate from mine. And those children will grow up to give up on us too. They will have no black identity. They won’t know of our history or heritage, because you didn't (couldn't) teach them. They will also marry white and their children, and their children, until our race is obliterated.

As for the black woman, we are tired of waiting for you. We become victims of the black man shortage that your unchecked behavior has caused. )You benefit from our pain like some kind of parasite. You have forced us to choose between a lifetime of loneliness or marriage outside of the race. Oh don’t say we don’t wait for you to clean up your act. We waited to love you. To marry you and only you. To be true to you and raise your legacy. But you hate us. You say we are goldiggers or that we are impossible to please. You say that your white woman status symbol is better than we are. Only she can understand your plight even though her ancestors are responsible for it. Thus you commit racism against your own people—your own women. You leave us disillusioned, hurt, vulnerable, and angry and you take no responsibility for it.

I hate you. I hate you for hating me and putting me down and being ashamed of me. I hate you for exploiting me. I hate you for what you have become and for what you have not become. I hate you for living up to what this society expects of you. I hate you for lying, deceiving, cheating, and hustling. I hate you for your promiscuity, violence, suicide, and homosexuality. I hate you for your misogyny. I hate you for your lack of conscience. I hate you for your lack of spirituality. I hate you for your indifference. And even if I could somehow forgive you for these betrayals, I hate you most of all for murdering my family. You murder OUR family. You murder us!


Sincerely,
The black woman

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Purpose


Do we have a purpose? It is increasingly difficult to find meaning and purpose in a world that seems as if it is going to hell in a hand basket. We live in a world where it’s not frowned upon for fourteen year olds to have children, gay is the new black, a buffoon like Bush can be president, adultery and fornication are common place, materialism flourishes, violence is cool, and scandal is ubiquitous. I could continue to go on and on, but those things are not the purpose of this post. Yes, even this post has purpose.

The big question is do human beings really have purpose even amongst the chaos that we call everyday life? Is there some larger reason for our short existences beyond our jobs, titles, struggles and shortcomings? Do the evolutionists have it right that life just evolved randomly without any real meaning, symbolic or literal, behind it? If this idea is true we are forced to consider its implications: that we live and we die and that’s it! It suggests that our purpose is only to die so that the next generation can evolve and then die. There is no heaven, no hell, no morality—no distinction between good and bad. That sounds brutally nihilistic. I cannot accept that.

It would be hypocritical for me to continue this post as if I too don’t struggle to find meaning and purpose in my life. When I was in college my purpose was to be a good student and graduate. When I took a job at a non-profit my purpose was to do what the white people wanted me to do in order to get paid. Now I dip strawberries for a living. My life is free from accolades, conferences, intellectual pursuits, extracurricular activities and the proverbial rat race. It is free of all the things that previously drove me…to what, I ask emphatically? As I write this post, I am just inches away from the stand that holds all of my awards. There are trophies, plaques, and medallions that I have amassed: things that once meant so much to me, but that now seem to exist solely so that I can have something to dust off. Even the B.S. degree that I worked so hard for (it cost me insomnia, 2 visits to the hospital for stress related issues, lost of good social opportunities, and a large potion of my sanity) now seems worth less. The promised doors that it was supposed to open have now slammed shut; the honor that it was supposed to bring was short lived. Alas I dip strawberries, but I reflect on these things as I skewer the delicious red berries and gently submerge them in chocolate, twirl them and freeze them only to repeat the meaningless process over and over again. Yes, even strawberries have purpose.

Yesterday I attended an annual church function where all of the churches in my conference get together to worship and fellowship and do whatever else church folk do. Ironically (or maybe perhaps not so ironically) one of the ministers there talked about this issue of purpose. His message was simple, yet meaningful and beautiful, and hope-inspiring. Though I am not gifted enough a writer to fully capture the essence of his message in this brief post, I can tell you that his conclusion was that our purpose—the purpose of the entire human race—is to glorify God* . That resonated with me. It was simple and profound. It is our ultimate purpose. It is the reason we were so lovingly created—not thrown together by some astronomically improbable chance. So in our struggles, our defeats, our successes, our careers, our relationships, our silence, our disillusionment, and even our strawberry dipping we are to live for God’s glory. I began this post with a question, one that has been overwhelming me for months or perhaps years. One that has caused me bouts of depression, weeks of exasperation, and what felt like insurmountable anxiety. I can feel those weights began to lift and hope’s light penetrate the darkness upon discovering the answer is a resounding yes.



* Not that I didn't already know this. I am a Christian. We hear stuff like that all the time, but that this was the first time it ever really began to mean something to me on a deeper level.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hello World!


So here it is world: my first real blog! I’ve posted crap on Facebook and Myspace, but it’s not the same as actually starting my own blog. I have lots of opinions. I have opinions on my opinions and now I have a forum in which to articulate them. So a little about me; I am obsessed with socio-political issues especially things concerning race, gender, and socioeconomics and how these things intersect and influence society at large. As student of psychology, I am also obsessed with demographics and statistics and human behavior (duh). That said, much of what I have to talk about will probably fall into one or all of those categories. Another thing about me is that I’m pretty random and sometimes I will post stuff that I just pulled out of the sky. So you may see a post entitled “ode to Krispy Kreme donuts” or “top ten reasons to try to take over the world."

Why did I start this blog? Well apart from the obvious, I am a pseudo journalist. Perhaps one day I’ll become a real one, but for now I have my blog. Another reason I started it was because I got tired of reading everybody else’s. Don’t get me wrong I will continue to read and comment on what others are saying, but I created my own blog because there is a discourse taking place online. There are opinions ranging from the 2008 presidential election to which is better coke or pepsi (I say coke, but what do I know). I believe I have a voice. I want to contribute to that discourse, and bring my own brand of "Crys-Ness" to the table. I look forward to spending some time with you and getting your feedback.

Many Blessings,
Crystal Clear