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Category Archives: Stereotypes

Purpose Driven Life – Day Four

Purpose Driven Life – Day Four

Day Four! The topic for today is “Made to Last Forever.”

This chapter is short but has a few passages that are helpful. It is interesting because I grew up in the church and I know a lot of church lingo, mannerisms and customs. As a young teen, I accepted Christ but even in that I was more going through the motions and was just glad that I did what I needed to do to get to heaven. However, I never though much about what I would do in heaven once I got there or even thought about how I will be in heaven for billions of years compared to my hopefully long number of decades on earth. I actually wrote recently about heaven here on this blog.

This chapter is making me think about my goals and desires for how to give back to this earth in a different way. I have always been big on making this world better than how it was when I got here but I don’t think I have thought about how that desire affects what goes on in heaven and my placement there. It’s kinda nice to think that my contributions will have a larger effect than I imagined.

There are so many passages I could share from this chapter and really the whole book but between holding your attention and concerns about copyright I can only share so much. It was a hard decision but this is the OjO passage of chapter four:

If your time on earth were all there is to your life, I would suggest you start living it up immediately. You could forget being good and ethical, and you wouldn’t have to worry about any consequences of your actions. You could indulge yourself in total self-centeredness because your actions would have no long-term repercussions. But–and this makes all the difference–death is not the end of you! Death is not your termination, but your transition into eternity, so there are eternal consequences to everything you do on earth. Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

Wow vibrations in eternity! That makes me think and may freak me out a bit in a day or two but I’m praying I move beyond that and get back to my original interpretation of that sentence which I shared about about enjoying the even longer term benefits of my work here on earth.

The question to consider for chapter four is, “Since I was made to last forever, what is the one thing I should stop doing and the one thing I should start doing today?” Part of my answer is:

The one thing I should stop doing is hiding and minimizing my talents and skills. The one thing I should start doing is working on the thing that I think God planted in me to do. On the first thing, I find myself hiding and minimizing myself based on fear. Growing up in the suburbs as a black girl was not easy. My blackness was questioned, almost all the time, and then add to that that I was smart and well it was hard. Boys did not want to date me because between being the smart black girl I was the virgin girl and my dad was well known in the community so boys just left me alone more often than not. I STILL remember the day a family friend, who I was interested in, said to me, “I can’t date you. Your dad is like a father to me.” :{ I think a reaction to this/my coping mechanism was hiding and minimizing myself to be more “normal.”

I close there…”see” you tomorrow 🙂

-DNMP

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What I Learned From Oscars Tweet Coverage: Actions Speak Louder!

So I am trying to write a paper that I should have started a month ago but I am also checking my Twitter feed periodically.

What I have learned tonight via Twitter is that Precious/Mo’Nique won some Oscars tonight. I also have read a series of complaints about the film winning surrounding these victories perpetuating stereotypes about Black people and or women. I do not disagree with most of these complaints and I did re-tweet some of them. I also acknowledge that when Denzel Washington and Hallie Berry won Oscars a few years back I was VERY irritated for the same reasoning. How Denzel did not win for some of his other performances where he played characters that uplifted Black people i.e. Malcolm X (love him or hate him he did help wake up Black America to action against decades of discrimination and self hate) but won for being a corrupt cop highlights SO much of what is wrong with Hollywood. Additionally, the same can be said of Ms. Berry, she won for playing a strung out, deadbeat mother who was “hoish” in some of her actions and choices (I take full acknowledgment of the controversy of the term “ho” but I do have a paper to get back to so…just know that “ho” helps perpetuate the stereotype that women are to act angelic and not express their sexuality openly and men are free to put it where they can fit it whenever they can fit it. Take a feminism or sexuality course to dig into that!).

So moving from the controversy over films like Precious, Training Day, Monster’s Ball with a splash of all the push back I have read over the last year over Tyler Perry’s films and TV/TBS takeover, this is what I am reminded of this evening – the old adage “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”

Sounds simple and it is easier said than done (no pun intended) but if you did not like what you saw this evening at the Oscars or in previous Oscar years don’t just tweet about it – do something about it. Some suggestions include:

  1. Find out your gift and then work it (related to film or not).
  2. Support independent films (most of the good cinematography that does not perpetuate negative stereotypes about people especially black and brown people will not show up at the megaplex).
  3. Make a film or support an organization that encourages historically marginalized groups to do so (check out Black Girls Rock or Reel Girls)
  4. Get into the industry or support those with such gifts to do so (The Oscars are decided by a committee/The Academy. The more diverse this body becomes the better  the nominations and the higher the probability that films like the ones listed above will not win).
  5. Stop supporting “garbage” however you define it. Now this is where the idea of Catch 22 comes in because on some level some may feel that its best to support something so that something does not turn into nothing. Some “garbage” I no longer support is mainstream hip-hop music, the Big 6 mainstream media (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC)  and BET or Black Exploitation Television as I like to call it. I like to plug TV One, NOW on PBS, Grit TV and Democracy Now as much as I can as to date these programs do a better job of representing Black America (US) or the news than the programs I now boycott).
  6. Educate someone/share with someone one of the above actions. Now, do so with the spirit of love and openness and not with a spirit of superiority or as a lecture. Dale Carnage said it best, “criticism puts people on the defensive,” so share with a smile. An example of this is share a link to an interesting news story like this one: Hundreds of Thousands Take Part in National Day of Action to Defend Public Education)

The six items above should get the ball rolling. Do you have other suggestions? What is the “garbage” you no longer support?

Finally, my hope is that this wave of dissatisfaction with the status-quo of Hollywood and the films by people of color that get mainstream recognition turns into something more fruitful than a great tweet or a trending topic. Now, back to that paper I’m supposed to be writing…

 

When your house is no longer your home…

The holidays are a great time to be with family, reminisce and have your favorite fatting food! But recently I have acknowledged that the holidays are also a time to see how just how far you have come. For example, last year, I realized that the house I grew up in is no longer my home. Don’t get me wrong-I love my house and my room is still my room not my mom’s new office-studio but it is not my home which is why this is titled, “When your house is no longer your home…”

Last Christmas I came “home” from the Dominican Republic and after four months I was SOOO ready to come back to the States so that I could make some local phone calls, get a fast home internet connection and speak English to more than two people. However what I found once in the States is that making those phone calls, getting that fast home internet connection and speaking English was well…over rated. I also discovered that I was lost- I didn’t recognize the music on the radio, I found myself craving verdes and maduros and that it was hard to express myself completely in English. Part of these feelings were a classic case of the “grass is greener on the other side,” but part of these feelings were me, me realizing that after four months Calle Proyecto Numero 37, El Portal, Kilómetro Siete y medio had become my home. After the holidays, my arrival to the Dominican Republic was like a homecoming. I was never so happy to see Dominicans. Even in the U.S. airports I just knew when I was approaching my gate because the dominicanisms became more and more apparent: the LARGE boxes to bring back to primos and hijos, women wearing four inch heals and even the baseball debates- How about those Yankees? Once I landed en La República it was a sigh of relief: I recognized the ads on the walls, the actions of the people around me and even better I could sing along to the songs on the radio!

This year I have come “home” from Seattle once again after about four months of living there and once again I find myself having the same feelings that I had last year…that this house I grew up in is no longer my home. I mean the house looks great, my parents have completely redecorated the place, but I find myself missing the First Avenue Bridge, vegan cookies & sweets, even that nasty I-5 and being able to recycle.

In two days my family and friends will be coming together to celebrate the birth of Christ through food, fellowship and favors. Christmas is always a time to appreciate all that you have and all those that you have in your life-the gifts are a nice touch- but I have come to realize that the best gift the Lord gives me for Christmas is realizing that where I am is not as bad as I thought even though I am away from family and friends and find it hard to relate to those around. With this gift He also shows me I have become apart of wherever I am and wherever I live and to me that is a wonderful gift-to realize that my house is my home and I am talking about the place where I pay rent 😉