Taking myself and my writing a bit more seriously.
Please check out my new blog, same me, better writing.
Taking myself and my writing a bit more seriously.
Please check out my new blog, same me, better writing.
Hold your applause, please.
My parents instilled a number of sayings in me that pretty much function as my life manual: don’t lend what you can’t lose, smart people learn from their mistakes while wise people learn from the mistakes of others, you don’t pack a plate until everyone eats – that sort of thing. One that has stuck out, especially in my teaching career is that you don’t reward someone for doing what they are supposed to do.
But that’s exactly what’s happened with Officer Jessee Kidder of New Richmond, Ohio. He was facing a belligerent man, Michael Wilcox, who had just murdered his fiance and best friend. People are applauding Officer Kidder for displaying restraint in a situation where he had what our police call a justifiable reason for killing. Wilcox had committed murder, was aggressive, refused to take his hands out of his pockets and was a general threat to Officer Kidder. Yes, Officer Kidder gets a nod from me for risking his life in hopes of avoiding an even worse scenario. Yes, if I had been in his shoes I may have shot Wilcox and thought of the consequences later. But I don’t get two things: that we are happy he didn’t kill anyone, and that we are comparing this situation to that of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Darren Wilson, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Michael Slager.
We are a Christian nation. I’m not a Christian, but our country was built on those morals and standards that guide Christians all over the world. One of those morals is, in fact, a commandment – to not commit murder, under any circumstance. How are we simply excited that Kidder didn’t kill Wilcox? Is this really that comforting? And what does that say about our belief in the officer’s right to possess a license to kill? I believe we’re mostly celebratory that he didn’t kill someone because, as of late, police officers are being scrutinized and criticized – sometimes unfairly, sometimes not – because of the killings of so many black….
But that’s just it. Michael Wilcox just so happens to be white. No, I cannot say that if Wilcox had been black the officer would’ve reacted differently. I can’t. And I can’t say Kidder is or isn’t a cool headed and reasonable guy, because I don’t know. But what I do know is that this comparison is laughable. People are protesting and enraged at what many agree to be a blatant disregard for the lives of African-Americans, and to pacify the masses you mention that – hold your horses – a cop managed to not kill a white man. We saw this with Sandon Sierdan (tried to rob Walmart, also attempted to take a deputy’s weapon), with James Holmes (the batman movie theater guy), and with numerous others. A white, violent criminal is taken into custody while his black counterparts – often unarmed – are killed on the scene.
The truth is, even if Wilcox was black what do you expect us as a nation to feel? Happy that one in dozens is allowed to live another day while there are many, many others who aren’t given the same humanitarian treatment? Please. And I am tired of people pretending like anyone who calls out racism is a delusional militant. The first step in the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Go on, America, admit that shit.
I have seen and heard quite a surprising amount of people say that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is racist. and “stupid”, because “all lives matter”. (Note: at a peaceful protest I attended we did chant “Black Lives Matter..ALL lives matter)
Really quick, what are the numbers of Asians killed in hate crimes? Homosexuals killed by the cops (AND THEN the cops aren’t charged or even stripped of their position)? White kids killed by older non-white men (AND AGAIN the men not charged or stripped of their social position?)
I’m not saying these things don’t happen. Unfortunately I’m sure that they have. And it’s not pleasing to me to know that “we all suffer together”. That shit hurts, too. But the amount of murders of black people – men in particular – that have gone unpunished simply because the victim was black and murderer wasn’t is exponentially larger than any other screwed up situation. The truth is, in most countries the darker the people, the harsher their treatments and existence. Here in America, the African-American man has been treated as if his life is worthless. He gets suspended from school more than other children who have the same behavioral issues, gets more prison time for selling the same amount of weed, and when he’s killed gets no justice for the same atrocity that would have rocked entire cities. Until now. And now that the country is FINALLY in an uproar about the unfairness of these crimes, we call those who tell us that black lives matter racist.
Would it help if we added a “too”, then? Black lives matter, too? I can dig that. And it definitely means what we need it to mean.
Understand that saying “Back Lives Matter” isn’t racist, it’s a reminder. One that our country has needed for 400 years now.
Every once in a while a person walks into your life that just fits. You don’t have to try and find something that you have in common, there’s simply a series of “oh my GOD!, ME TOO!”‘s. that leaves you feeling a little less anxious in their presence.
I have been lucky enough to get one of those recently.
As it turns out, Jess is the sister of my boyfriend’s bestest bud in the world. And because of that we’d end up seeing each other a few times a year. She was always way cool, and super cordial, and we’d share a laugh or two but at the end of the night we’d say goodbye and wouldn’t see each other again for months.
And then books. She said she liked books. And her kids ALSO liked books. And she had good taste in books.
The silent anti-social girl with her nose in a novel inside my soul held her breath.
Could it be? Was there an adult who liked literature the way I did but wasn’t snobbish about it? Who spent equal parts time browsing both Pintrest and Target? And it goes way beyond what we have in common but what I respect about the woman she is:
She works her ass off. – One of the reasons she and I hardly saw each other early on.
She raises good little people to be good big people. – As a teacher (not yet a mommy) I can appreciate the values she instills in her kids. She treats them fairly, and allows them to assess situations and make their own decisions, but she’s not a friend, she’s mommy. And no, mommy will not take you acting an ass.
She’s part of a kick-ass duo – Her and her husband are the coolest freakin pair walking. Beyonce and Jay-Z have nothing on the teamwork I’ve seen from them. Between two people who work full-time and who manage to make time for their kids, family, extended family and friends, they also find time to bake cakes and bar-b-que, and manage to still be down to earth.
She’s a woman first, a lady second – Too many people worry about the wrong things. Etiquette should always take a back seat to common sense. And she’s one of few people who know this. It’s not enough to be politically correct, what matters is to be politically fair. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind about today’s issues and she’s adamant about making this world a better place, for everyone, everywhere. She doesn’t hide her opinion to make sure she keeps all of her social media followers. So I think that women deserve equal rights, UNFRIEND ME BITCH!
She’s informed – and she’s fair. we’ve spoken on some issues in our society today and though she may feel strongly she isn’t basing those feelings off of thin air. like I said, she reads, she listens, she observes all before forming an opinion. And she’s open to new information.
She’s just plain ole cool – as hell. Between her, her husband and my love I never feel down. EVER. I never feel like what I stress over is a big deal. And for that, above all else, I am thankful.
So, Jess, thank you for all that you do, and all that good stuff that I hope rubs off on me. You are unbelievably amaze-balls whether it’s your intellect, your beauty, your spirit (or your cooking lol).
I LOVE YOU
You’s the bee’s knee’s.
They say the world is what you make it.
What you think is what you become.
But that’s bullshit
Because i never thought id become your past.
I never thought the elements would stale
That buildings would overflow with foliage
And the horseman would peek over a cloud
And reach down to eradicate us
Nestled on the wall in a small courtyard in Wynwood lies the entrance to O Cinema. Passing the adorably artsy open space of a couple picnic tables walls covered in surrealist art – see exhibits A and C – my boyfriend and I were not sure if we were going the right way. We stood, awkwardly between the might-be-locked-can’t-possibly-be-the-entrance door facing us and the hippie-meets-hipster couple to our right. After a beat or two of uncertainty we asked them to confirm that we were, in fact, about to enter the theater the correct way. And true to Wynwood style the man smiled warmly and said, “Yeah man, you got it.”
We entered into a small foyer and were asked if we were there for the exhibit or the movie. What? I thought, There’s art here? Then I kicked myself. Of course, this is Wynwood. We turned a couple of corners, ducked under a red divider that led into near pitch blackness, handed a man our tickets and settled in for our viewing of Wrinkles.
O Cinema is by no means grand. The theater isn’t state of the art and one’s footsteps are much, much louder than in a typical theater. But it feels, in the best way possible, like watching a movie at home. It may be that O Cinema features indie films which draw a crowd that has more respect for the art. It may be that it was a Thursday night and wilder folks were busy with weekly routines, saving their strength for the weekend. Whatever it was, the want to ask people to stop kicking your chair, or to dim their phone screens or to just be quiet, was nonexistent.
Wrinkles, for its part, was not what I’d expected it to be. I’d thought it would be an adventure. More comedy than drama with old folks escaping a nursing home and killing aliens. There was an escape, and there were aliens. But the presence of each was to bring to light what we face as we approach our last years, how our mentality can shift and how we cannot control our inevitable mental deterioration. In the film we follow an elderly man and his adventures in a nursing home with his friends. Naturally the film gives the audience the same emotions one will encounter when visiting a real life nursing home: awe at the adventures some people are able to go one in one lifetime, but a sense of melancholy because, in the end, the nursing home is where someone looses their life nearly every single day.
Kyle, my boyfriend, stayed awake. He said he thought the movie was horribly boring, but he did stay awake, which is more than I can say he’d done for Taken 2. Or 47 Ronin. Or The Hobbit. I thought the movie was incredibly touching and immensely eye-opening. If we’re lucky we will reach their age, but if this film taught me anything it’s that I will try and be there for my parents as they age. I won’t give away anymore than I already have, and I apologize if I’ve ruined it for you. Watch it anyway. Visually it’s one of the best animated films out there and the cast of characters is top notch.
When we left we marked the chalkboard painted wall with our signatures, as all the patrons are invited to do upon leaving. His the Arabic “humility” and mine a princess flying a kite. We stopped to appreciate the art pieces in the cozy lobby. There were cookies on the counter baked by Somebody’s Mom – the company name – and each of the staff said goodnight as if we were friends leaving after a party. Both of us quite content in our date night choice. Well, both of us content with O Cinema and one of us with Wrinkles.
Overall, it was a good night and a Miami gem. I can’t wait to go back. But I think I’ll let Kyle choose the next film.
The 4th of July, like any national holiday, had been something of little significance in my household growing up. Which struck me as odd considering my father served as a soldier in the army. As I got older I understood why my parents had a love-hate relationship with the U.S.
As minorities both my mother and my father have experienced horrific displays of racism. Racially profiled, experience in “separate–but-equal” schools and general denial of services have made America’s race issue quite tangible for my father. My mother has also faced the racist monster from both blacks and whites, and now, in the blooming culture of Miami, hispanics.
Native Americans were killed off, Blacks were enslaved, Asians used and when doubted put into holding camps, and Hispanics, Jews, Italians, Irish and people from the Middle East have all endured the ugliness of America. But there is beauty, isn’t there?
In Miami alone we are blessed with seeing the beauty of Jewish families walking to Temple on Saturdays. Our friends discuss what they give up for Lint and Ramadan. Calle Ocho and Carnival bring us color and culture from the Caribbean. We are lucky, luckier than we realize for the diversity of our great nation. We have had some troubled times. Our history is full of blood and hate. But there is also love, the everlasting hunger for freedom, justice and equality. That is what makes America. And although we’ve endured near hell, we’re a family and those wounds are tended to with love. No, we are not perfect. We eat junk, stress out, and too often lose track of what’s important. But we also forgive, fight, and forge.
I like to think that we are in this together. Farmers and soldiers, artists and scientists. All sexes, races, religions. And we all came here – one way or another- for a purpose. Nobody’s born perfect, not even a country. We’re still young and have a lifetime ahead of us. Where we are now is not the promised land, but we came together, we taught each other right from wrong and we are learning, everyday we are learning to be better for ourselves and each other.
Happy Birthday America !!!!!
I do believe many people are sadly mistaken as to the origin of the story of Noah. As it turns out, the story of the flood is not a Christian, Jewish, or even a monotheistic story. Digging around a bit you will find that a vast number of societies have some form of a flood story. The oldest, as far as I know, is the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh where he meets Utnapishtim, a man who was told to build a huge boat to prepare for one of the Gods’ cleansing of the Earth by rain and flood. Utnapishtim and his family survived the flood and were given word by nothing other than a bird that it was time to recuperate.
Based on the fact that so many different cultures have the story, coupled with the scientific evidence of a disastrous flood that may have led people in the region to believe the entire world was flooding, I believe the Flood actually happened.
Still, I am bothered by people’s vilification of Darren Aronofsky. Because he is an atheist, and the movie doesn’t match up exactly with the bible they are treating him as if he has attacked all of Christendom. Remember folks, the story of the flood is not a Christian story. Not originally, anyway. In his own way, as The Washington Post says, Aronofsky is “making one of history’s most enduring and universal myths his very own.” Isn’t that what the Judeo-Christian texts did anyway? I for one appreciate this ambitious retelling, and instead of putting Mr. Aronofsky on the cross and accusing his non-religious character as one out to destroy the story we should thank him for keeping this one alive and well.