Monday, December 28, 2009

Unfulfilled Sacrifice

Last year on December 31 I made a promise to sacrifice more in 2009. I started the commitment by pledging to institute a monthly sacrifice. Whatever I decided to ‘go without or literally prevent myself from craving’ it had to be rebellious in nature. Meaning the sacrifice had to be boldly deviant.
January was my cautious initiation so I decided to stand in solidarity with a forgotten people. At the time the Israeli government was brutally strong-arming the Palestinians. Typical behavior from the brute of the Middle East and definitely quintessential for the United States government to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israelis.

Here is a brief description of my February deviance:

I limited my food purchases to the grocery store. Vowing to spend only $120 for the entire month. By mid-month I had spent $118. Since I depleted my food funding prior to the 28th, I ate small compartmentalized suppers that were given to me from a friend whose mother received an influx of Meals on Wheels frozen dinners.

I must say that February was much more difficult for me than not talking for 12 hours.

March came and went. April flew by. May, June and July did not exist.

You have any idea where I am going with this? Well, my sacrifices became irrelevant/non-existent. Like many of us I eluded my commitment. But, in my limited defense I did spend 2009 trying my best to give more – and I did: monetary donations, volunteered, provided manual labor for free, and a few other ‘pay it forwards’. After my failure to be strictly bold in my sacrifices I decided to be unrelenting with my personal writing disclosures. So much so I unintentionally offended a life long friend with this effort. An effort I would passionately do again if I needed to…because at that literary moment I was representing truth – not malice. However, next time I will certainly use more discretion for the sake of those who did not ‘disown’ me!

Unmatched Sacrifice

There was nothing I did this year that compares to the man featured below. Not only was his sacrifice remarkable it displays selflessness and a courageous love. A love that humans rarely share with one another. A love that would surely change the landscape of the world.
I honor this man. I praise him. I hope one day I will be brave as him…before I terminate.
We are running out of time, People!

“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love is by far, the truest type of love.”

The Black Rebel sharing. Hoping you will read, reflect, and reveal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Derrion Albert’s life was brutally taken by the brutality that lives in the depths of the black community – but ultimately he is the latest Sacrificial Lamb offered up for no reason at all.

The Beating

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/#33063688

http://news.aol.com/article/derrion-alberts-beating-death-captured/690024?icid=mainmaindl1link1http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Fderrion-alberts-beating-death-captured%2F690024

Open Letter from NAS

http://globalgrind.com/content/1020340/Open-Letter-To-Young-Warriors-In-Chicago/

The Black Rebel's Say

I began to formulate my thoughts yesterday after seeing the disturbing video. Video images that honestly forced me to think:

‘What are these savages thinking/doing?’

I referred to the black boys featured in the video as what I think of when thinking about untrained, short-fused, uncontrollable mammals: SAVAGES.

I later scrolled down the AOL web page to read the comments. Not surprisingly, I was able to determine which responses were posted from non-black folk and black folk.

Guess what?

I claim that I was able to distinguish – but the word ‘savage’ was used quite a bit in the countless comments. So perhaps, I was not able to make the determination as I thought?

In my BLACK mind the behavior was beast-like. It had a tone of savagery. Considering that my first thought inclination was SAVAGE, am I a hater of black people?

If there is a white person reading this or who read the comments I read repeatedly – and referred to those black boys as savages while viewing the video clip please do not ‘adjust’ your thinking or opinion.

Why?

You (white person) are right (with me, a BLACK man) the behavior was brutally animalistic. You are not racist for thinking this. I, myself, was wrong in my assumptions of labeling: “A white man left that comment.”

I should have concluded:

A logically person made that comment. He/she just decided to use terminology that describes behavior that has been connected (well deserved in many cases) to black people for centuries.

We hate ourselves. Fail to do anything about it. Watch our children kill themselves. But, then we have the audacity to yell/riot/protest when a white man slaps a black woman.

Shared by The Black Rebel.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Prepared to Quit on Black Folk

For me to quit on black people means that I have grown completely tired of our excuses and repulsed by our justifications for our condition. It also means that I am sacrificing my Fight the Power mentality. Removing it from my thought process completely so that I can have some Peace.

After all these years of standing in the Pro Blackness of American discourse I have decided to sacrifice what my soul pushes in the forefront of my ideology so that I can finally sleep.

I am here at this place. This moment. Like so many: Tired and Defeated. Taken down by my brothers and sisters; and not beat-up by the White Power Structure. It is us (the black man and woman) who has lost a fighter. A soldier.

If only we could have collectively moved in that direction of taking responsibility. As our ancestors did.

Warren Balentine, Radio Talk Show Host, said today:

"I will no long jump down the white man's neck when there is a so called injustice perpetrated on black people...I certainly understand that there are countless injustices that black men and women face. I am tired of us getting all excited when a white person does something to us - but yet we do nothing when we continue with the injustices we inflict on each other...Where are the marches when we kill each other?

So many have taken this stance before. And, the subject matter is a continuous pathetic conversation. Actually, I am tired of writing and talking about it because no matter what is said we do not do anything to better our situations...collectively.

Warren also continued with this:

"In one zip code area in Chicago that has nothing but black people as residents the lottery totals (ticket purchases) for a year was 24 million dollars!" This is the same area that has record foreclosure rates and high unemployment. With the money spent on tickets countless homes could have been saved and there could have been job training programs implemented."

Winning the lottery is our means of escape...?

What say you?

The Black Rebel is putting on his black face. Ready and willing to be what I am not.

-The Black Rebel

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LIFE...We AIN'T LIVING

This commentary may not 'belong' on this site...but I thought it would be a good entry considering the last sentence 'fits' The Black Rebel.

Embrace life. What do you do that's fun? Time is running out. We are dying.

I am so sick and tired of human beings living without LIVING. Please live. If not, ya going to be buried without TRULY enjoying a life that is believed by many to be given to you by a Divine Creation. Don't disappoint this Creator.

Last evening, I came home to discover that my lights were shut off. I forgot to pay the bill. No shyt! (By the way, I ran out of gas earlier yesterday morning. Did not faze me at all. Was too lazy to stop by the 'filling station' the evening before.)
I was telling a friend about this occurrence, and she was in STRESS mode: What ya gonna do? Where ya gonna sleep? What ya gonna eat?

I responded with: "Chill, I am fine." Not for one minute did I get flustered. I was cool with it. H*ll, what could I do anyway at 7pm?

Then today I got from a friend: "Why aren't you bothered by this? Shouldn't you be?"

My response:"

I have went 8 weeks without electricity before. I have traveled to countries where the power is frequently turned off by the government. Many live without running water and electricity around the world. But, we need our 'lights on' so that we can watch DUMB AZZ reality television shows."

Guess what?

Bill was paid hours ago, and there is NO SIGN of Georgia Power as of yet. Am I concerned? H*ll, no! Don't care if they come tonight or next week. Can care less!

We need to get a da*m life. Let's try to live it in the DARK. We already are if we gotta have 'lights'.

I was not made for America!
The Black Rebel

Friday, June 26, 2009

Iran, Iran, Iran...

I have been thinking about what I can do to display my support for the brave rebellion that’s playing out in Iran. Should I go on a hunger strike? Shall I join the protesting Iranian Americans here in Atlanta as they march up and down Marietta Street? Should I tape to my Jeep a sign that reads:

http://www.hopoi.org/conference/protest%20iran.jpg.

Then I began to think about what I could title this commentary. By now, you are aware what I have come up with. Depending on the way one pronounces Iran, it can actually leave your lips like this: I ran. Think about that. Now, say, ‘I ran.’ Yes, you (the American) and I have ran. We have ran/run away from what is important.

JUSTICE is the vehicle many of our ancestors have taken in spite of their social economic status. Both, the well-to-do and poor marched with each other in protest way back when… They fought for what was/is right. They stood for something. So unlike the Michael Jordon’s of the United States. These men and women were/are the Muhammad Ali’s of the WORLD. Ali with all his glory is quoted as saying, “In my successes nothing was more pleasing and rewarding than getting stripped of the World Boxing Championship Title.” When I read this in one of the countless books I have about this Humanitarian Icon I stopped, and said to myself, “Muhammad Ali is a man many can and will NEVER be.”

I began to timidly reevaluate that declaration over the past two weeks. Seeing the video footage of courageous men and women taking to the streets with no fear of dreadful retaliation has me questioning:

Are these Iranians the Muhammad Ali’s of Iran?

Or, is this an exaggeration?

A comparison of this caliber definitely means that I believe a Rebellious Sacrifice was made by the suspected twenty men/women killed by the Iranian Police Force.

They paid the price for freedom: Death.

Ali was not killed. Nothing of substance, according to him, was even taken away from him. But, life has been surrendered 20 times over in Iran. Thousands of people have been beaten and jailed for wanting something that should be a human right.

Justice

Something many are dying to attain while others (Americans) eat sushi, practice Kathak, drink sake, and smoke flavored tobacco with a hookah. Isn’t it ironic that we (America’s Americans) imperialistically sample from other cultures – but NEVER reestablish what we claim we stand for: Justice? No, we would rather say: I RAN and do this: RUN. Run away from what is important.

ALLAH AKBAR (God is Great)

-The Black Rebel

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Below is a report I completed for work: http://ging.org/. Currently, I am a Program Manager with Goodwill of North Georgia. On May 9, 2009 I help facilitate a service activity. The details are listed below. Before you start reading I want you to know that I had an opportunity to go home for Mother’s Day 2009. I chose to stay for the event detailed in the summary below.

This month’s Rebellious Sacrifice installation is the decision I made to miss out on seeing my momma.

Report:

The Harvard Alumni Service Activity Day went extremely well! We had eight alums and twelve young adults to participate. The young adults displayed a 'tough' disposition in the beginning - but throughout the small group time that exterior began to fade. They opened up and the alumni were able to be productive with the personal time that was later presented. Several topics were addressed. Benin Dakar, AmeriCorps Member, talked about our program and what we do with AmeriCorps Members and Ralfiel Worthem, Career Center Facilitator, in his commanding and inspiring way, gave a brief orientation of the services offered by the career center. However, the main focus became resume writing and "what you want to do with your life" chatter. The program was closed with a tasty lunch (from Lattetude Coffee Lounge and Bistro http://www.lattetudebistro.com/) and an extremely motivating speech that was delivered by one of the alumni.

Eye Openers

*The group from ChrisKids, (http://www.chriskids.org/) was surprised by the diversity of the Harvard alumni. While I was sitting with them and as the alums returned from the store tour (lead by the Store Manager), I mentioned to the young people that the volunteers have arrived. James from ChrisKids (a participant) said/asked, "They are from Harvard? They don't look like they went to an Ivy League school." He was amazed by the diversity that was represented among the alums. That in itself was a 'break through'.

*One of the young men from the group shared his story with me:

Born in West Virginia. Was removed from his father's custody at the age of 3 because his father shot and killed the mother (on a Thanksgiving Day) in front of him. He was later adopted. Moved to Georgia with his new family. Was kicked out the new home at the age of 11. He was homeless for two weeks. Was later "found" by Social Services of Georgia. Now, he is a member of the ChrisKids program. He loves to work with his hands. Mentioned that those "who work behind desk are not tough". He wants a construction job. I encouraged him to seek our services. He promised he would come in next week. I plan to meet him.

Final Eye Opener

One customer who came in to use the computer services this morning overheard me indicate that lunch was ready. He asked, "May I have some." I told him if any was left I would come get him. Some food was remaining. I went out to get him. He joined the group and ate lunch. Afterwards, when everyone was gone, he told me: "I am a former employee of AIG. I lost my job. I am trying to find work. You offering me some pasta salad was nice... (he began to cry) I am sorry. I can't stop choking up. But, thank you for the lunch. I had not eaten in two days."

Well, those who now me, know that the Saturday morning before Mother’s Day 2009 was quite emotional. But, I am so thankful that I am in a position to have my Eyes Opened every day.

*The sacrificed made was well worth it, and I am sure momma would rather I do His work.

-The Black Rebel

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Refusing so that Others May Have

You may have read the story or someone may have told you about a generous man who randomly gave several janitors $100.

When I overheard this story in the background while cooking some Spam and eggs I smiled. I could believe it because their are still people out there who care about their fellow man/woman and who are serious about honoring those we may fail to acknowledge during our busy days of working for someone else.

They (The Compssioniate Givers) may be limited in number according to news reports/bloggers - but we are aware people can be moved to do good/sacrifice. And, bad...of course. Nonetheless, I have a question for you this week.

Would you take a pay cut or refuse a promotion to save fellow employees' jobs? (What would be your sincere motivation?)

Are you willing?

-The Black Rebel

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Going Without the Usual

I have decided to take on another challenge that supports my effort to be associated with or be the lead on a sacrificial project. If you recall in January I spent a day in silence and avoided eating for 16 hours in support of the Palestinians during the most recent Middle East conflict.

For the month of February I have elected to limit myself to purchasing food in a grocery store, and only spending $120 for the entire month on the food that I buy. At present, I have spent $118.50. In the event I deplete my food funding prior to the 28th, I will eat frozen dinners that were given to me from a friend whose mother received an influx of Meals on Wheels dinners.

You may be saying to yourself, ‘that will not be too difficult for The Black Rebel.’ It will because I spend on the average $220 a month on food. This food may come from a restaurant, it may be in the form of a latte or smoothie, or it may be from my weekly stop at a fast food joint for French fries. This month none of that will occur!

Why am I doing this?

To once again go back to my roots. I remember my mother giving me food stamps to buy items at the local supermarket. I was so embarrassed. Now, I want to relive part of that experience: having to budget monies for food to the last penny. I also want to empathize with those Americans today who have to go without eating at times so that their children can eat and become one with those folk who have to eat terribly unhealthy because in the United States healthy food is more expensive. Such a travesty!

I take part in activities/challenges like this so that I can ‘go without’. Feel what it will be like to be in someone less fortunate shoes. To remind myself and fellow Americans that our priorities may not be align with what is morally RIGHT. A perfect example of priorities out of place was seen during the Super Bowl production (if you watched that marvelous game). The commercials that we look forward to tell the American story: Greed, sex, and more greed.

As the picture above suggest, America is more interested in using corn to save money on oil than feeding the millions of hungry people right here in the United States and beyond our shores.

Source of my inspiration:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/02/02/food.stamps.economy/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

-The Black Rebel

A Day of Protest: What Difference did it Make?

When I applied for the Peace Corps my uncle Jerry asked me, “What are you doing? Stay home and do some good. Do you really think you are going to make a difference?” At that very moment, I felt deflated. All the motivation to do something sacrificially worthwhile quickly left my body. I was somewhat in agreement with his skepticism because I knew what he was implying; and I also believed his blunt hint: ‘No change will come as a result of your two year sacrifice.’

I could have allowed Uncle Jerry to discourage me from facing the challenge and the disappointment – but nothing could penetrate my straight out of college idealism. Not even known defeat…or was it accurate pessimism? Either way, I was ready to conquer and change the world. Ready like I was this past Friday. Embolden to be one in solidarity with the Palestinians. But, filled with anxiety when and if I faced a critic and/or Israel sympathizer.
While I did not sacrifice too much, I did have to endure the looks and the whispers. Initially, I could not determine if the people who wanted to notice me were quietly cheering me on or if they were disgusted with my declaration: Israel is Dead Wrong, and Our Leaders are Cowards. With this wrapped around my head and pasted to my chest, I assumed the Che Guevera t-shirt intimidated several too. Being big and black was a factor also. Not too many people are bold enough to question a brotha of my physical stature.

Thankfully, the majority of the people who approached me at Perimeter Mall were black. Actually, black females. The brothas looked at me as if: ‘What is this jackass doing? While the white females had that look of intrigue and attraction. Most of the fellas know that look: Is ‘it’ really that big? The black women did not have their minds in my pants. They stopped by my food court lunch table that soon became my lunch domain because when I sat down the white folk, men mostly, got gone. No questions. Only looks of condemnation. Did not bother me at all! I had the space to myself which meant that I was in control. I was holding court. Stating and declaring my purpose, my mission for the day: Bring attention to the Israel-Gaza conflict by representing and supporting the now dead 600 plus men, women, and children of Gaza.

After I left the mall, it was time to hit a bookstore. There, I was able to engage several people on both sides of the issue. Of course, my barrier was the inability to talk. Nonetheless, I was able to justify my political two-point stance with a writing pad and pen. Barnes and Noble was safe. Full of progressives and rebels. Surprisingly, I got the Black Power fist from an elderly white man.
Kroger Supermarket was abrasive. Yes, tough grounds at the grocery store! The stares cut. The mumbles were not silent. So that I would not bring anymore attention to myself and to stop security from following me I gathered my meal items for my late feast, scanned the items, swiped my MasterCard, and as I walked to my American made vehicle tried my best not to smack the obvious Israeli cohort. He got too close. All up in my personal space. When I felt his finger poke in my oversized deltoid it was time to hit or flee. I left.

My day concluded with a meal. A meal that I had waited on for more than 16 hours. Those of you who know me understand that me not eating is a bad thing. The fast (no food and water) was tough – but as I have said time and time again: “Not eating for hours is nothing compared to the days some people in Gaza have went without eating since the beginning of the most recent Middle East conflict.”

This was my day. My experience.

Did I make a difference?

Perhaps. I received an email from a man (a policeman) who now claims I helped him “see” both sides of the issue. That was my intent on January 9, 2009: To get someone to think.

-The Black Rebel