Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Just Can't Figure It Out

On a personal level I am not experiencing any real problems at the moment that I can speak of. On a broader scale I am pretty melancholy. I don’t pretend to be anything but some random. I am just one small voice in a very large scheme of things. I try not to be overly pessimistic because like I said before, you have to have some hope to keep going. I'm not writing this for anyone or to inspire anything. I just have to get it off my chest.

I ride through my city and look at the buildings leaning and the blocks full of abandoned homes. The last two weeks I have saw the faces of two babies murdered by their fathers and one elderly woman killed by her son. I read a piece by Jarvis DeBerry that made me realize that I and almost every black person I know has become desensitized to the death of young black men as long as someone doesn’t tell us he was not a thug and I am trying to deal with that revelation and change it. If someone shot me would the news take the time to let the public know that I wasn’t a dealer on the corner and if they didn’t how empty that would make my parents feel to know the taking of their son’s life was placed behind the Winn Dixie sales paper in the metro section. Someone I know had her rear windshield shot out by a stray bullet on her lunch break. I could tell a few more strories but people would think I am lying for dramatic effect. I have this sad ritual I do whenever things feel like they are getting to rough in New Orleans. I browse news sites from other cities just to make sure it’s not some defective strain in our DNA that makes us overly crazy. Every time I do that I find stories from other cities that double the despair I already have from my local shit.

There is rioting in the city of Oakland because the police killed a young man. The same thing happened here only everyone is too beat down emotionally to get that angry anymore. I saw two police officers get physical with a pregnant woman that lives across the street from my daughter's school. They put her handcuffs behind her back when she wouldn't calm down after fussing with her boyfriend. I would play the race card except that the two officers were black and one of them was a woman. I also know two mothers who can no longer send their kids to public school because the other black kids want to harm them for not being crazy like they are. I know another one that has to meet her son at the school bus pickup spot to keep him from getting ambushed. I asked her why would all those kids want to her son and her response was “Cliff, I don’t know. They all say he thinks he’s too much.” You can’t even be a confident and respectful kid in the hood anymore.

Maybe this is just me being low in spirit at the moment but we have this inauguration next Tuesday and there will be millions of black people with tears in their eyes. Who knows, I may have them to that day. Up until that day and every day after I am going to be wondering why I don’t see evidence of this new found hope in the folks that are suffering. It seems to me like the people who are inspired do bigger things by Barack Obama were already on the right track anyway. There are some sad things happening and I don’t think the affected are in any condition to just get motivated by a speech and a slogan on a t-shirt. We either have to lock them up to protect everyone else, take all the babies away from them or get some serious policy changes to get the funding to help them out. It’s too bad we made it okay that no one asked candidate Obama about these kinds of policies when he was running so we wouldn’t scare some white voters.

I wish I had the tunnel vision it takes to judge the condition of the world on my own personal condition or just rich and successful black people. I would go home and watch my 55 inch flat screen, watch The Housewives of Atlanta, sip on a glass of cognac and call the bank to hear that after paying all the bills that were do there is still a positive balance. If I could block the reality out like that I would be good; but I am trying to always improve myself as a man. Yesterday someone shot a beautiful teenage girl and no one knows why. If the size of my television or debating how the Obama’s should decorate the White House helps me get over that soon then I have not progressed as far as I think. I might as well spend the money I was saving to buy books for my daughter at the strip club tonight. I can't do that. You have to keep trying to get things right because when we figure it out life is going to be so damn sweet! I guess I will try again next week.


Anonymous said...

The remnant is the term Whittle found for the core of good people trying to make sense, and do right in difficult situations. Sample the essay? I found it moving, enough so that I can Google and get back to it anytime I need.

Delta said...

The melancholy comes and goes for everyone at times, but you have the right plan in "try again next week." There are lots of trite phrases, but the fact that you try to live an honorable, honest life and do the best you can, and question things that don't make sense are more real than anything else.

You don't have to seek out news from other cities to cheer yourself up. You can simply look at your daughter and know that you are passing on your own values to her, and doing your best to raise at least one member of the next generation who understands respect for one's self, and won't put up with the playas, and who will in turn raise members of the next generation with the same ideals. You can't save them all, but it sounds like you're doing a damn good job of saving the one you have and passing it on.

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