I was really hesitant to share this story, because it includes a lot of personal details, and also... it was just an embarrassing incident that I would rather pretend never happened. But that is selfish and it makes the incident about me, and ignores that this is a symptom of a bigger problem. Transparency is an important step in recognizing patterns, trends and finding solutions.
A few years ago, my friend marked her 32nd birthday by crying all the way through it. Not because she was worried about aging, or because she didn't feel like she'd accomplished enough or even because she was having an Eat Pray Love moment. It's because she spent most of the day responding to texts or calls that sounded like this, "Happy Birthday girl! So... did he propose??!" It probably didn't help that leading up to her birthday, various family members and friends had asked her if she was expecting a ring.
I know I haven't blogged in quite some time. Please forgive me, but I'm a full time student who also works full time. When I do get a free moment, I usually end up rewatching episodes of Girls trying to catch up on some reading. Nevertheless, you people have inspired me. You people, yes... you, the American people have inspired me to issue an important memo about things we all do that we all hate. Sometimes you don't realize that these things are annoying until it's your birthday and no one wants to come to your party. (But you can cry if you want to; I would cry too if it happened to me).
Ah. I love the South. The sizzle of hot, juicy yet crispy fatback in a cast iron skillet is one of my favorite sounds and always reminds me of South Carolina. Since my grandmother's passing, I haven't had any, and I can't bring myself to ask for it in these hipster California grocery stores. Soul food isn't all I miss about living in the South. It's also the traditional style of Southern Baptist churches. My home church had a strong, vibrant membership but was small enough that if I wasn't there, it was noticed. The hymns I sang there and the motherly love I received was enough to have me humming joyously on my way home.
I am an idealist. I believe that people typically have the best of intentions. Moreover, I usually fail to follow Oprah’s oft quoted advice that has almost become cliché: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” I'm a second chancer.
So when the NRA announced that they were delivering a press conference, breaking their weeklong silence, I saw a glass half full. I expected that twenty six coffins, particularly, the twenty smaller ones, had inspired an epiphany.
In the past few weeks, I've had heated debates about words that many deem offensive ranging from the N Word to female (versus woman). One argument that continues to rear it's illogical head is, "Words only have the power that you give them." For example, in Decoded, when speaking about "nigger", Jay-Z says,
The average person would probably tell you that they know proper protocol for dining out. Tip 18%, no elbows on the table, napkin in your lap, and you're all set right? That's a great start. However, as a former host and server, I can tell you... you think you know, but you have no idea. (Well maybe you do, in which case, just nod along as you continue to read.) The following are a few tips that make the dining experience more pleasurable for you, and for the staff (which in turn... again, makes it more pleasurable for you.)
Today's post was not written by me, however, I found it extremely insightful, albeit chilling in its ability to shed light on what dictionary.com describes as "probably the most offensive word in the English language." Please read and share your thoughts on the post. If you don't mind, also share your thoughts on the N word. Do you use it?
I think my friends over at VerySmartBrothas.com provided a great service for the world when they wrote, "The verysmartguide to 21st century chivalry." Most men stillopen doors without a second thought. (I always find it charming, when guys have a low-key anxiety attack when you're walking on the outside and physically move you to the inside of the sidewalk.)
But some men are grudgingly chivalrous. A friend of mine has asked me at least twice, "What is the female equivalent to men's chivalry? What do you all do that warrants our gentlemanly behavior?"
Last week, the Washington Express' front cover was of a Islam extremist in Pakistani at a rally in support of the anti-blasphemy laws. These laws were recently under fire because a Christian woman, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for "allegedly assaulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad." Soon after the rally, a Pakistani governor, who supported overturning the anti-blasphemy laws, Salman Taseer was assassinated by a member of his own security for his "liberal" philosophies. In a sappy, patriotic moment, I BBM'ed a friend and said, "I'm so glad I'm an American... where I can be Christian without worry of a death sentence."
I'm willing to admit that, in the past, my jocular attitude about Kwanzaa was insensitive. I apologized then and I'm doing it again, publicly. Sorry! I remember learning about it in Sunday School as a child, and wondering why we didn't celebrate it at home. But then, I learned that my family wasn't an anomaly; most African-Americans don't celebrate Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday. Are we shunning a holiday created specifically for us in favor of Western traditions and holidays that were created without our unique cultural needs in mind? I say, no, and before you crucify me, here's why.
When unemployment is at 9.7% in the United States, it may seem insensitive to criticize a 1st World Problem like "Poor Office Etiquette," but the reality is... folks in Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers suits have given me more trouble than rowdy 6th graders and rude restaurant guests. (I've also been a teacher and server.) I did an extremely unscientific poll on Facebook and Twitter, and it's clear... this is a problem across America. Maybe you, YES YOU, are doing something extremely annoying, and you don't even realize that your incessant tapping of your pen is analogous to Chinese Water Torture.