you cannot wear a hoodie.
you cannot sell cigarettes.
you cannot play music in your car with your friends
while reveling in the culture you created.
you cannot play with fake guns.
you cannot sell CDs.
you cannot ask “why am I being pulled over?”
you cannot ask for help after a car accident.
you cannot walk down the street with your best friend
weeks shy of starting college.
you cannot go to your bachelor party.
you cannot pray in church.
you cannot sleep on your grandma’s couch.
you cannot put your hands up.
you cannot breathe.
you cannot be you…beautiful boy. beautiful girl.
you cannot be, you cannot be.
So. Yeah. Today. This week. This century. This life. Wow. This is probably going to be a long post, so you may want to go ahead and skip over this. Some of you will read it and I thank you for giving my thoughts a little bit of your time. In the past week, a Southern, conservative Republican Governor said that the battle flag of the Northern Virginia Army should no longer fly in front of the South Carolina State House. I never imagined that would happen. But sweet hell, it took nine people to be killed after a Bible study for it to happen. ‘Confederate’ flags are being removed from flagpoles and store shelves. Y’all, this is–as my Joey B. would say–a big f*cking deal. And then yesterday? The Supreme Court decreed that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t going anywhere. This directly impacts me and it’s so reassuring. There are so many of you that can breathe easier, literally and figuratively, because of that decision. And then came this morning… I couldn’t help but think of Chance Pennington after learning of the news. Chance was the first openly gay person I actually came to know. There were surely folks I went to school with that were gay, but in the 1980s, they were in the closet. Even at Ohio State, I didn’t know anyone who was out. And then I transferred to the college my parents went to, Morehead State University, and in the hills of eastern Kentucky I met Chance. I’ll never know the struggles he had, but I’m glad l learned so much from his mere presence in my life. It wasn’t until I learned about the drive-thru wedding chapels in Las Vegas that I really started to understand my straight privilege. I can be married in a drive-thru. A drive-thru. How’s that for the sanctity of traditional marriage? Now, anyone can get married in a drive-thru. 😉 My facebook feed has been so colorful today and I’ve cried so many happy tears. At this moment, I believe the world isn’t totally screwed up. You know it won’t last long with me, this positivity. But for now, it’s real. As they sang “It is Well with My Soul” in Charleston today, I know that so many hearts and souls are well and full and happy. “Now we see as in a mirror, in an allegory, but then face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I shall know as I am known. For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.” (1 Corinthians 12-13) Love is a really big deal.
I have been thinking about Ta-Nehisi Coates‘s op-ed in The New York Times ever since it was published. I’ve discussed it in my classes and plan on using it, permanently, in my Intercultural Communication courses. Do yourself a favor and read his piece. He provides one of the most compelling, self-reflexive questions we can ask ourselves– If a person is prejudiced, is s/he still a good person? I continue to carry his words with me on my imperfect journey through this world. In sum, “The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion.”
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much higher consideration.” Abraham Lincoln, message to Congress, December 3, 1861
‘Tis the season for new Super Bowl commercials. This year’s commercials are rumored to cost $3,000,000 for a 30-second spot. We’ll see if any this year can compete with some of these from the past. Go Packers!
Have you ever wondered what life is really like at The White House? Now, thanks to Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza and a suggestion, over a year ago, we don’t have to wonder any longer. Today marks the one year anniversary of The Photo of the Day. Souza, himself chose his top 10 favorites of the past year. I’ve included two of my favorites below. The first is of the President and First Lady as they journeyed in Panama City Beach, Florida. The second features the President greeting a youngster at The White House. For more White House photos, be sure to follow their Flickr page as well.