Archive for the Life Category

Dear Son,

| July 14th, 2013

I write this, on this night of July 13th, 2013. A night in which we see that a killer of a young black man walks free. Now, I will not speculate on that final question; what circumstances lead immediately to when that man fire that shot. Unfortunately, that is the fulcrum of this case. I will state that this is a case where a young, black man, was walking home alone, and was stalked by a man who thought that he did not belong. Something happened, and that young man died.

Now, as I stated before, this is 2013, and I don’t know what is more shameful: The fact that I believe that your light skin will spare you much what I am about write, or the fact that I feel some relief in that. I’m reminded of those old 7th ward ladies sitting in their kitchens or on their porches, examining every newborn creole like some venerable Spartans. “This one can pass,” or “That one is too dark!” checking behind the ears for color. I feel that, tonight, I am no better than them.

I can tell you of my experiences. Now, aside from my skin color, a pleasant caramel so I’m told, or my size, no one would mistake me for being dangerous or dis-earnest. Still, I have been stopped more than once by police for the color of my skin. Each time, I place my wallet on my seat, I place my hands on the wheel. “Yes officer, I was driving too fast.” or “No officer, I don’t know why you stopped me.” Calm, never angry. “Yes officer, I will step out of the vehicle.” or “No officer, you may not search my vehicle without a warrant.” My brother, your uncle, always told my wise words for dealing with the police: “You have rights, they have guns.”

I don’t know if Treyvon Martin was doomed that night once George Zimmerman made his choice to follow him, or if his anger sealed his fate. Always remember that people will fear you for the color of you skin. That fear makes your anger powerful. Unfortunately, that power more dangerous to you than to anyone else. Don’t be angry.

Three words that are the most shameful to write: Don’t be angry. You have the right to be angry. You should be angry. The world is unfair, and cruel; and by virtue of what, seven alleles, so much of your fate is written on your skin.

Don’t be angry. At least, not physically, not reactively. Be patient, be effective. Live well. Channel whatever dark intent in your life into making this world a better place.

My son, I hope that the world is a better place as you grow into it. My fear is that it won’t be.

Perhaps you will be spared the humiliation, and trepidation, and seething hatred of this superficial society that we find ourselves. Perhaps you’ll never have to worry about sharing the fate of a boy killed ten days before you were born.

Or perhaps you’ll have to face a world darker than the color of your skin.

Just know that I love you, and I know what you’re going through, and that it’s not ok, but it is what it is.

Your father,

A Box

| February 8th, 2013

I feel, sometimes, that being religious is like claiming to live in a box so vast, you cannot know the sides, yet insisting the box is blue. And becoming enraged at, and fearful of, those who claim that the box is red. There are words on the side of the box, perfect words someone once read. Laws, and the names of all things within it. Someone once read the words, and told someone else, and he or she told others; on and on, I suppose some words being forgotten, some being mangled, some twisted. But, it’s by these imperfect words we must live. It is with these words that we must shield ourselves against the words of others. One day you’ll see the edge, or perhaps beyond it. But not today.

I don’t claim to be a philosopher or a poet. I am not one of faith or spirituality. However, I know that the religious impulse is a question we all must answer for ourselves. Some answer it with the god of their fathers. Some with the god of their love. Some seek comfort in one of the myriad and ancient forms of cosmic justice. Some in beliefs as fresh as the autumnal harvest. Some believe in nothing beyond the physical. Some believe in the mystery of not knowing. Some believe what their TVs or radios or computers shout at them each day. Some believe in many of these things, conflict as they may. Some believe in none of them.

All of us live together, not within some infinite box, but in a finite world, in a finite time. Here, now, together. All of us strive for greater truths, greater knowledge. All of us seek something beyond. That persuit is what is humanity.

And despite where we look for these answers. We must occasionally look to each other. We must understand, at least, that we are a few decisions and circumstances away from being another.

We have little time, and little sway on this world. We all come to it, and leave it. We all spend too much time working, or playing, or helping, or warring, loving, or hating, or thinking, or dreaming. We all worry about that which we adore, and fear that which we do not know. We are human, flawed, cruel, exceptional, amazed.

I may not know you, but I know what you are. I know you are here. I know how you came to be, and that you will, one day, draw one last breath. That is the power of our shared humanity. That is the common understanding on which we can relate. Let’s not forget this gift, not ever.

And perhaps, together, we can be beyond “a box.”

Uptown AoD

| January 11th, 2009

Uptown Army of Darkness showing

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