All Articles Tagged "Choice"
If you couldn’t tell by now, I am infatuated by race and identity in this country, particularly how we as black folks relate to both race and identity.
My general belief is that our inability to reconcile with or even denounce one or the other is the main causation for why our community struggles to progress in this country. In short, we are serving two masters: We are trying to buy/work our way into the American dream while also trying to fix and build the community. I have found that those two concepts are often in opposition to each other, which is often demonstrated by our reluctance at times to unify and work together. And sometimes I wonder if Abraham Lincoln had followed through on his plans to resettle recently freed blacks back in Africa, where would be now? However, the way in which some of us refuse to act in our own self-interest, especially politically, I wonder if emancipation and self-determination is what we really want?
Those questions are very important to answer if we are ever going to properly educate children, build economic infrastructures and generally move the community ahead. However, those questions are as old as our history in this country itself. And many great leaders, from the likes of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and both Malcolm and Martin, have all been debating for hundreds of years and yet have failed to reach a consensus. So in an effort to once and for all settle this debate, let’s put our thinking caps on and consider this hypothetical situation. Keyword: hypothetical.
Before I get to the actual theoretical situation, let me tell you first about the inspiration. Last week, I was re-watching “Cosmic Slop,” an early 90s television special, which originally aired on HBO. The series is like Twilight Zone but with an anthology of stories about race relations. One such story is called Space Traders, a 30-minute short about a U.S. President faced with the dilemma of having a clean environment, and living in world peace and prosperity in exchange for giving all the black people on the planet away to bartering aliens, who offer no assurance of their intention with them. The story first appeared in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, a book written by scholar and Critical Race Theorist Professor Derrick Bell. And while I won’t give away the story, I’ll just say that people shouldn’t be surprised how that story ended.
But in that situation, the black community didn’t have a choice. SO in the spirit of the late great scholar Professor Derrick Bell, mixed with a little John Quinones of the “20/20″’ show “What Would You Do?” fame, I’ll give us one.
Let’s pretend that it is the year 2013. President Obama has won his second term as President of the United States. He is standing at the podium, in front of a live audience, giving the first State of the Union Address of his second term. He spells out his goal for fixing the economy, he talks about immigration, he gives his plan for gay, lesbian and transgendered equality and now, for the first time in his presidency, he speaks about a black agenda.
Tags:affirmative action, Africa, america, Booker T Washington, charing ball, Choice, Cosmic Slop, debt, derrick bell, emigrate, fairness programs, Frederick Douglass, hypothetical situation, incentive, leave, Madame Noire, options, politics, President of the United States, state of the union, stay, W.E.B. Du Bois, wealth
I am totally in need of a mental break from discussions about this Trayvon Martin murder. Everyday I wake up to more news of the absurdity and pointless debates with stupid people via Facebook, who insist on engaging in a smear campaign to passively defend their racism.
So to help us keep off the meds, here is a little mental respite by way of this question: If money was no object, what would you do with your life? Last night, I watched an episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” in which Kandi Buruss premiered her first co-written country song about money growing on trees. I think the question gets asked a lot in different ways, but no one really puts thought into what this really could mean…I think we all have our beauty pageant answers to this question, and they sound like a dope follow-up to the Nas/Lauryn Hill collaboration of If I Ruled the World. But how many of us would readily admit that the plans for our newfound financial whirlwind would be much closer to Mase’s 24 hours to Live than anything else?
So let’s say that due to some sort of strange twist of good fate, I won the lottery or inherited an infinite amount of money from a dead long lost relative (fingers crossed) and had more money than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and all the world’s top one percent combined–how would I go about living my life?
One thing I know for sure is that I would instantly quit my job and pledge to never work again – ever. Seriously, I never understood why those folks who win those multimillion dollar lotteries always say that they will continue to work. I mean, I like the work that I do, but I would be lying my A$$ off if I didn’t say that I like the days I don’t have to work, much, much more.
Of course I would pay off all my bills and loans, as well as the debt of my brothers, my parents, my Uncle Keith and my grandmother. Additionally, I would give them each a million dollars and set up a trust fund for my nieces and nephews to be retrieved when they turn 30 years old. But that’s it as far as family is concerned. The way I see it, the less the extended family knows about my new financial status the more chances I have to avoid going back to being broke.
If money were not an object, traveling the world would definitely be second on the list. There would not be a country, island or U.N. unrecognized territory on this planet that I wouldn’t touch ground in. I would collect art, spices and textiles from these places. I would also collect phone books, census counts and registries…
Trust me, it will make sense later.
“Sex and the City’s” Cynthia Nixon has dealt a strong blow to the LGBTQ community with her comment about choosing to be gay—at least from their perspective.
She was recently profiled in The New York Times and she told the newspaper she rejects the skepticism from members of the gay community who find the fact that she wasn’t always a lesbian disingenuous. She told the publication.
“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”
It didn’t take long for members of her community to fire back at her word choice, suggesting she’s falling into the right-wing trap, but if that’s Cynthia’s experience are they any more right to police her sexual orientation than heterosexuals who they say concern themselves with homosexuality far too often.
It’s interesting because one of the arguments you hear so often from the LGBTQ community—in addition to the stance that you are either born gay or straight—is the idea of sexual fluidity and that many people’s true sexual orientation fluctuates many times throughout their life. Cynthia’s midlife entrance into lesbianism illustrates that perfectly, yet she’s rejected by her very own.
I can definitely see how her statement flies in the face of one of the gay community’s biggest fights of being “born this way,” especially when it comes to gay women. Being a lesbian is often seen as more of a fad than being a gay male, particularly when the woman is more feminine or aesthetically appealing. Plus Anne Heche didn’t do the LGBTQ community any favors when she went from men to Ellen and back to men, but as Cynthia said, you don’t get to define her gayness for her. I think if the LGBTQ community wants to be able to define their sexuality to heterosexuals, they should let homosexuals do the same within their community.
What do you think about what Cynthia said? Does the gay community have a right to be upset?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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