From the Archives: Sandcastles

From the Archives: Sandcastles

I published this on 6/6/2007.  Hope it speaks to someone today.

“All the things I had toiled for… I must leave… to the one who comes after me.” Ecclesiastes 2:18 NIV

Max Lucado writes: “A little boy is on the beach. He packs the sand with plastic shovels into a bright red bucket. Then he upends the bucket, and a sandcastle is created.

“A man is in the office. He shoves papers into stacks and delegates assignments. Numbers are juggled, contracts are signed, and a profit is made.

“Two builders–two castles. They see nothing and make something. And for both the tide will rise, and the end will come. Yet that’s where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as dusk approaches. As the waves near, the wise child begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great breaker finally crashes upon his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand and goes home. The grown-up, however, is not so wise. As the wave of years collapses on his castle, he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument he protected. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering, he scowls at the incoming tide. ‘It’s my castle,’ he defies. The ocean need not resond. Both know to whom the sand belongs… and I don’t know much about sandcastles. But children do. Watch them and learn. Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take–applaud. Salute the process of life, then take your Father’s hand and go home.”

What He said to me:
1. It’s so funny how the Lord speaks to me sometimes. I would have thought he would use something like this to talk about my goals and career dreams, but for me, it was all about my dreams of having my own family one day. Crazy, huh? One thing I do when I’ve experienced pain is close myself off for long periods of time, scared to try again. But oh my, I can’t do that. I have to go ahead and build relationships with the people (men and women) the Lord puts in my path, and I have to be ready for tide. And if a tide comes, I need to appreciate all the good times and the lessons learned and let go and say bye. There’s always a war going on inside me as far as relationships go. I KNOW the Lord puts people in my path sometimes to teach me something in particular and sometimes I’m supposed to teach them something or get them through or lead them to some situation. But that doesn’t mean I like it that way. I’m such an extreme person, and I don’t know (it’s something I pray about) if that’s something I need to work on not being. When I think something–a relationship, a project, whatever–is worth it, I throw myself into it. I guess that could be a good thing if I just learned how to manage saying bye at the end.

So just like with the message last night–I need to help people achieve their dreams as I’m on the road to achieving mine. And I need to stay connected to God so that I will be able to get ready for tides. Especially with my hardheaded butt. I think half the reason I experience pain like I do is that I get so head- or heart-strong and I won’t let go when it’s time so the Lord has to eject them. But the Lord knows my dreams, especially that one, and he’ll give me what I want and need in his time, which is the perfect time.

<<::update::7/28/2010::>> So when I read the allegory this time, 3 years later, I did think about my career and where I’m headed.  I wonder about the revolution that I start in my dreams–will I ever fulfill all my dreams?  Will I actually make a substantial impact on the black community?  Lucky me, I know I will trust my instinct when I’m led to make my next moves.  I still wonder if as I get older, will I ever be like the man, holding on to something that’s out of my reach and out of my control.  And of course, I read my response from 2007, and funny how we grow over time.  I still don’t give any ole Joe Blow a chance, but I step out there and try, even knowing that if it doesn’t work out my poor lil feelings may be pummeled.  Right now, I’m in limbo, and not really trying but I’m not not trying either.  I’m just being.  And I’m cool with that.  🙂

2. I was led to share this with a bunch of people. Some I talk to regularly, some I never talk to, some I don’t want to talk to, some I probably need to talk to in order to resolve something even if I don’t know what the something is, some that an issue has recently been “resolved” but I haven’t necessarily strived to rebuild, and some who I guess maybe just needed to read this? I dunno. But as each person popped in my head, I entered their address. Who knows what kinda responses I get? I’ll definitely have to stay prayed up before I respond to anything that I get. Heck, I may not get anything. 🙂 And that would be cool too!

<<::update::7/28/2010::>> I guess this still applies because when I read this post, my first thought was to share!

And just because the name has “Sandcastle” in it and because I like this song, I’m including a lil music!

A Wrap-Up of the Sherrod Saga

A Wrap-Up of the Sherrod Saga

Keith Olbermann says plenty in this passionate, eloquent commentary.  I really can’t think of much more to add.  Enjoy.

Also, MSNBC has posted this interesting conversation about the vilification of black women and the differences between “types” of racism.

Lastly, Cynthia McKinney has added another layer to this saga.!/note.php?note_id=406955706138&id=127636853311&ref=mf

When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong… Or did it?

When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong… Or did it?

So yesterday, when the clip of Shirley Sherrod came out, I was so disappointed in her.  Here’s the clip.

Why would she set herself up like that, I said.  There is a such thing as oversharing, ma’am!  Why would you make a public speech and a tell a story about how you didn’t give someone your best because he wasn’t black.  Whether you think it’s personally acceptable or not, you know it goes against work ethics.  Further, you know that as a black woman in America, you can’t go around revealing that you’ve done stuff like that.  What did you expect?!

I ranted, and I cosigned to other rants about the lack of professionalism.

Then, I got an email from Color of Change and decided to watch the entire video.

QUITE a different story.  Ms. Sherrod’s actual point was that through a real-world scenario she learned that racism is not the only problem that plagues this country–classism is pervasive as well and has to be overcome.  Ms. Sherrod’s story is about how the first time she had to help a white farmer save his farm, she wasn’t too enthused.  She was thinking, I don’t have to do much because I can just take him to “his own kind” and they’ll take care of him. She soon found out, though, that “his own kind” didn’t give a cat’s patootie about this poor farmer, even cheating him out of his money while not doing the legal work “his own kind” was being paid to do.  Ms. Sherrod stepped back in and used all of her resources to keep this man’s farm off the auction block.  The story is about overcoming one perceived reality and learning just how important her job was in the lives of these rural stakeholders.  She is reminding us that sometimes we have to get past “color” and recognize the “oppressed” and help them, a point that I think most of us would appreciate.

So why didn’t we know that yesterday?  Why were we misled by even the NAACP on her comments?  Why did the White House even fully back the Agriculture Secretary’s decision to ask for and accept Ms. Sherrod’s resignation?

I’ll tell you why.  Because the media has power that is unimaginable and because people do not do their due diligence, even when they hold someone else’s future in their hands.

I’m disappointed in myself.  I am.  I KNOW better than to take someone’s word for it (even the NAACP, unfortunately) without doing my own research to come up with my opinion.  I am fully aware of how people’s words can be manipulated to suit agendas.

I am also disappointed in the NAACP, who definitely should not have taken someone else’s clip and made statements against Ms. Sherrod in the media.  She was speaking before an NAACP local chapter’s banquet, for goodness sake!! It’s THEIR tape ultimately.  It’s not enough to me that today they rescinded their statements.  They should have reviewed the video in the first place and stood up for this woman and the speech that was presented.  Do they not have faith in their own organization that they aren’t confident that they wouldn’t have asked her to speak if she weren’t going to give an inspiring and educational message (as she did)?  The ball was definitely dropped.

I am also disappointed in Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for taking the clip and running with it.  As her superior, he has access to her record and should have given her the benefit of the doubt long enough to review the whole tape. Actually, even if he didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt, he should have reviewed the whole tape.  I mean really.  Do you really request someone’s resignation without all the facts?  Especially if she was asserting to him that the clip was taken out of context.

I am, in addition, disappointed in the White House for fully supporting Vilsack’s decision without watching the whole video.  It didn’t dawn on anyone that maybe Ms. Sherrod wasn’t blowing smoke and that the clip could have blown out of proportion?  Or are they just willy nilly handing over support to any government agency head that needs it?

Who am I not disappointed in?  The right-wing manipulators who saw a prime opportunity and took advantage of it.  They have been battling these Tea Party issues, and they saw an opening to use the media and coerce everyone into thinking about something else for awhile.  They succeeded.  Even if just for a day.

This is a lesson to us all that we should wait until we have full (or close to full) information before jumping up on a soapbox and/or a bandwagon and condemning people.  We should wait until we have enough details to really determine what has happened, especially if we have power and influence.

Watch the video.  If you agree with me that Ms. Sherrod should be reinstated in her position, please visit this link, and make your voice heard.

<<< ::Update:: >>>

Since, the following articles and videos have hit the net.  Tell em, Ms. Sherrod.

Re: “the bittersweet” feelings she has, I feel her.  I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t accept the position if it’s offered back.  As my mom told me earlier: Damage control is a bitch, ain’t it?

Boo @ Roland.  Why is he not even letting her talk?  You didn’t listen to her yesterday (as many of us didn’t), and you still aren’t today!  Sir, apologize for jumping to conclusions and then make whatever point you were trying to make.  Someone on Twitter said that she still overshared, and I don’t agree.  That clip didn’t even almost include her entire story (beyond the entire speech).  How do you tell someone how to get past racism if you can’t present a personal experience that ended in her getting past it and helping someone she never would have considered just as vigorously as she would have those she was in the position to help.  Big picture here, folks.  We’re not talking about someone who evolved over a long period of time, who mistreated a white farmer or two and then saw the error of her ways.  When she first MET the white farmer, she sized him up but even then, she didn’t deny him help–she sent him to someone she believed would help him.  When that help didn’t come, she evolved and came to learn that people don’t always just care about color–they care about who has and who doesn’t, and she helped him.  Now, if lil ole me got that from her speech, I don’t get why it’s so difficult to get.  I mean, I know I may be smarter than the average bear, but geez.  I would expect a little more from Mr. Martin.

The following video after the Roland Martin one is a little disconcerting too.  I appreciate that she is finally heard and that the farmers involved are heard, but the interviewer clearly still hasn’t watched the video!!

Soon after, the Rev. Al Sharpton said black leaders should refrain from calling on the administration to apologize, saying that creates the impression that black leadership is fractured. “We are only greasing the rails for the right wing to run a train through our ambitions and goals for having civil and human rights in this country,” Sharpton said.

Al, I’m usually with you, but seriously?  If the administration had the wherewithal to make a statement backing the gross overreaction by Vilsack, then it had the responsibility to apologize after finding out the whole thing was a ploy to counter racism claims and not even substantiated.  C’mon, Al.

In political matters, we HAVE to do better at showing up prepared for battle and not being bullied into battle before you’ve had a chance to know what you’re fighting about.  Why was responding to the Tea Party and FOX News guy more important than understanding the situation itself?

And there it is.

<<< ::Another update:: >>>

Breaking news: USDA boss says sorry, offers Sherrod civil rights job

<<< ::Newest update:: >>>

Here’s NPR’s report.

My Kinda Weekend

My Kinda Weekend

This is what weekends are made of.  I’ve been on a cultural excursion all weekend!  I’ll be back later to talk about them all, but here’s a taste.

It’s National Black Arts Festival week, and I took part of some awesome offerings.  Friday, I attended the screening of Soundtrack of a Revolution, which is a documentary that highlights how music played such an important role in the Civil Rights Movement.  Here’s a trailer.

After that, I rushed over to the Symphony Hall to see the To Curtis with Love tribute concert for Curtis Mayfield.  My favorite Curtis Mayfield song, “Makings of You” was performed by Dionne Farris.  My favorite undergroundish artists, Joi and Van Hunt, were there, along with Frank McComb, the Impressions, and Eddie Levert.  It was a great time.

Yesterday, I went to see The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which I really enjoyed. Then I went back to the Rialto to view 41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers.  Man, it was really a wonderful, captivating documentary.  I have always admired certain aspects of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and I’ve looked up to some of its leaders, but I never even knew about Bunchy Carter, who was a really impressive man.  The documentary took us from the beginnings of the Southern Cali chapter of the Black Panthers to the disbanding of it. Here’s the trailer.

After the documentary, I was able to listen to a panel discussion featuring Chuck D, Kathleen Cleaver, Wayne Pharr, the producers of the documentary, and a couple of US organization representatives.  My favorite quotes of the night were from Chuck D:

“If you don’t identify your enemy, how the hell are you gonna fight?”

“Racism comes out every year like a new model car. We have to recognize it and know how to respond.”

So much more to read, research, and consider.  I’m so happy I was able to participate in this event.  My favorite quote in the documentary was

“If you want to be a revolutionary, you have to study revolution.”

Today (and on Thursday as well), I am volunteering for I Dream, a musical production about the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the weekend comes to a close, I appreciate all the mind-expanding, thought-provoking activities I have access to.  Didn’t I just say the other day how awesome my life is?  Happy Sunday, people.