Monday, April 28, 2014

Donald Sterling: A Reminder For Us To Start With The Man In The Mirror.

So this Donald Sterling thing has brought about some very interesting conversation within my circle this weekend. Many things came up in the conversation and varying views were discussed but here's something that was agreed upon - we as people have become far too casual about things that we shouldn't be casual about. I wrote a poem about my time seeing jay-Z in concert earlier this year ("Jigga What") & on his hit about visiting Paris ("Ni**as in Paris") poetically outlining some my views. There was one incident that really helped to encapsulate something for me. Standing at one of Jay's shows I was surrounded by white faces. The only black person I could see (literally) was the person I arrived with. I am not small - almost 6'4" and 220lbs and my Brother is bigger than I. We were standing among a group of young men & when the parts of the song that required the chanting of the "N" word came on the young men around us did so jubilantly and with no thought or fear. I should mention, for effect, that they were significantly smaller than the both of us.
Flashback to my time in college. I rolled into a party where I was the minority and the song "Juicy" was playing. If You are familiar with the track You know the part of the unedited version where Biggie calls out "and if You don't know now You know..." well that was playing as I walked in and through the party. It was funny at the time for me to notice the non black guys notice me and quickly edit the way they sung that line and other, umm controversial, lines.
Times have changed. No doubt we've come a long way as people (all people) from the times where my 102 year old Grandma has told me about but we've still got a ways to go. And becoming casual about certain things now will not help. Nor will pretending that we are 'past it'. I'm not preaching 'pro black' by any means, nor am I against comedy, music or anything that plays on stereotypes for laughs, to evoke thought etc... I am saying that we need to begin to think more for ourselves. I am saying that we need to question what we see on t.v. and in the movies as well as what we hear on the radio. I'm saying that we need to apply some discernment to thinking that we are embedding into things that we are accepting as 'okay'.
To me it isn't ever okay to call someone names like "fat", "ugly", "stupid" even if they do call themselves that on a regular basis. That being said I must ask myself that if I am always using a certain word to describe myself do I give other people permission to do the same? The responsibility to change comes from everyone but it must start with one person. As Michael so beautifully sung:

"I'm Starting With Me 
I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself 
And Then Make A Change."

My aim each day is to be the positive change in my world that I want to see by being the positive change in my world I need to be. Cause, as cliche as it is, change around me must start with me.
And You.


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