We as a community need to really come together and figure out a way to stop the negative perception of the black male in society. When I say “we”, I mean all of humankind need to open up a dialogue to ensure that humans are not stopped by police, feared or as seen in countless recent cases to be gunned down. It seems that every other day on the news, there has been another black man that has been pronounced dead by a shooting. It has been a result from an authoritarian or those who feel they have the authority to become judge, jury and executioner.
While searching the internet for a definition of the black man, it was hard to come to grips that one of the sources only had us placed in a negative light. It basically states that we are constantly dealing with a struggle of being a gangster, thug, traitor, martyr or vagrant. Am I traitor because I have a great upbringing with ambition and strive for success? Are we to presume that the black male was put on this earth to fail? The pursuit for happiness and success is an attainable achievement for the black man, since like any other human being we have the opportunity to thrive!
It bothers me to the core to see any person gunned down on the news, however lately there has been too many cases involving the black man. This needs to stop! We can blame the system or we can start opening up a dialogue amongst each other (all races) to find measures to stop this constant struggle. After the latest man was shot and killed, I took to social media to see what people were saying about this event. The fact that some people have started to look at these stories like a car alarm going off is very damaging to all of us. The alarm should be ringing in our heads to start educating each other and create a foundation where no one is first viewed as a thug, gangster or criminal. Also, it angered me to see videos and messages that described ways of ensuring that the black male needs to find ways to be portrayed a certain way. This was highlighted by video where a black man, very well off and highly educated, described how his sons were not allowed to wear hoods unless on rain jackets. They needed to wear khaki pants and needed to smile and nod when entering a store and leave their bags outside. If I had a son, would I need to ensure he is dressed a certain way? Will his behavior need to stray away from being just a regular kid? While I see this man’s views, fear is not the answer for any of us to survive. Although he might be using the tactic of avoidance as a loss control method, there will always be new exposures that will arise instead.
I am a human being first and foremost, so I deserve to be seen as such without anyone negativity from my skin colour. When I come home from work and on the weekends, I love to put on my comfortable clothes (i.e. jogging pants and hoody). Sometimes I decide to let my beard grow up and honestly I am perfectly alright with that! I have worked hard to get where I am and will continue to face all obstacles in my way to make it to the top with no glass ceiling. Being described as “fitting the description” has angered me and made me disheartened all at the same time. Walking home for lunch during high school I was stopped and my possessions were searched, because of course my description matched the described suspect. There have been instances where I have been met with disapproving eyes during a jog in the park. Those same individuals show complete shock while I smile and nod during towards them during my training run.
With that said, we all need to find a way to treat each other as equals by educating one another on the issues we see from our current vantage points. Education and open dialogue needs to be had with all that are willing and unwilling to listen, so we can attempt to save humanity from unwarranted loses of life.
I am a Human Being that is a Black Man and I am Proud of it!
There is nothing like getting lost in an adventure from a well written book, listening or experiencing tales of conquest or failure from our travels. Sometimes the stress from our daily lives is overwhelming that we just need a good belly laugh that brings tears running down our faces from the jokes. Unfortunately our daily routine and our pockets don’t run deep enough to permit us to find time to travel the world or find time to sit on the stoop and share something amusing with our respective crews.
Well to the rescue to help us with a faux escape of reality, from the comfort of our couches, is the wonderful world of television. On any given night we are able to make a conscious decision on what mood we want to tap into for the night. When I was younger Thursday night was my night to get to bust-a-gut with Martin and Living Single then get all amped up for New York Undercover. However, for years Thursday was just been meh, yet this year Shondaland has decided to take over my viewing appetite with her 1-2-3 punch of Greys, Scandal and her new thriller How to Get Away With Murder.
With the new fall season approximately three weeks complete, I wanted to post my thoughts on the new shows as Grown Folk Real Talk sees it. Prior to the beginning of the season I was very skeptical of How to Get Away With Murder, since the network decided to oversaturate us with the one scene all summer long. Not going to lie, I thought Shonda had another bust on her hands; remember the doctors in the jungle show? Exactly, me either! However, I could not have been further away from the truth, since her new drama/thriller has me thinking and wondering where the story is going to go. It does not have me going oh sniggity snap at the end of an episode like Scandal, but has my brain on overdrive trying to solve the mystery.
Oh how I miss the days of some good comedy, since Martin and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air went off the air. I won’t give my100% seal of approval, but Blackish reminds me of the nonsense that my friends and I say to each other whenever we get together. I was not A fan of the show title, yet the concept intrigued me and I am happy that I gave it a chance. Anthony Anderson is one funny dude and Laurence Fishbourne might only have limited air time but they are straight fire.
We all grew up with Batman and the majority of us are huge fans, so of course Gotham had all the makings of an epic fail. It has been a well written show that is showing the development of some of our most well known villains and of course Bruce Wayne. Having the knowledge of their end game makes this show so far very intriguing. The first episode introduced us to several of the most infamous villains, yet how they became that way is the rollercoaster ride I’m prepared to experience.
Lets take a second and ponder some of the shows that in my humble opinion are a waste of time…
Well folks we all know we hate Mondays in general and Scorpion disappoints to remove the beginning of the work week blues. Apparently it is based on a true story, but fails to capture my attention with the bad acting. I gave it one episode and had to immediately remove all future recordings.
Forever did not look too bad for the little that I saw, yet it did seem like another version of Sherlock Holmes with a twist. Had me wondering where my dear Watson was the entire time.
Of course there a plenty other new shows that want to avoid the dreaded midseason cancellation list. For those shows I await your thoughts and feedback, since you are only as good as your last episode based on your audience. Hopefully their shot at boosting their ratings works and has me programming them in the pvr/dvr. Happy watching!
Attention All Able Body People!!!!
If you are able to walk without any assistance or a limp, I am talking to you with this post. Previous to my days as a daddy, I was oblivious to the epidemic that is occurring in our malls in Canada and I assume around the world. Now that I have a stroller I require the elevator to peruse every floor in order to fatten my eyes (Window Shop). Unfortunately why is it that I am fighting to get a little space on the elevator? Did I miss something? Are they new age spaceship able to blast us to the moon?
Listen I understand we all get tired performing some retail therapy, however there is no reason that people suffering from disabilities or the stroller massive should be left watching countless doors close. The funny thing is that most of the time the escalator is right beside the elevator which will get them down/up faster. I am not trying to be the manners police, but you really need to stop taking it like a free ride at the fair. The stairs can just be as fun as well. Pretend you are Rocky and run to the top…whatever floats your boat! My last observation with the shameful display of elevator use goes out to everyone, so open your ear holes wide and do not skim this section. Please wait for the people on the elevator to depart first before jumping in like you are late for work and the subway doors are closing. Nobody should have to avoid playing bumper strollers or red rover red rover please come over just to get out of it.
I understand there are several challenges that are being completed around social media lately, so mine is to have more courtesy for the people that require the elevator to get around freely. In case you did not realize there is usually only one elevator centrally in the mall, so after taking the journey to get to it, we would love to have instant access once we arrive!
Thank you and goodnight….Stairs + Escalator = Better health and less wait times!
The Mrs. and I can officially say today that we are term! For those who have no clue what I am talking about, we are 37 weeks pregnant! If my little girl wants to make her grand entrance from now on, she won’t be seen as early. Better stay in there a few more weeks just to get as healthy as you can be before your debut Missy!
I have a feeling that when I said, we are 37 weeks; it might have received some eye rolls and sucking of teeth. The nerve of me right? To say that when I am not the one carry our little bundle of joy. How dare I try to take some of the pregnancy pains? What a guy thing to say? Well as I am trying to matrix the shade that is coming my way, I am not trying to take anything away from the Mrs. at all. Pregnancy is no joke from the swollen feet, carpal tunnel, extreme thirst, nausea, etc. etc. To be frank, the Mrs. and all the other ladies, past and present, in the preggor club are extraordinary. However, the one thing that I never prepared for during our journey was the man nesting phase. I mean every second of the day, I am constantly making sure that everything is ready for Little Misses arrival. Just call me Mr. Fix-It from now on.
It began with the nursery, as it was the first area that needed a major makeover. We had a space that was our office and we decided that was now going to be turned into a room fit for her. We felt like interior decorators as we changed the office, so now it feels more of a warn/inviting place for her to enjoy. It took countless hours/trips down the elevator to throw away items that we decided were not going to make the cut in the room. I assembled furniture as if I was working a part time job at Ikea. Every weekend and evening we were consumed with painting, tossing, cleaning and protecting. I swear we should have had one of those property shows come follow us. As we no longer have months left and our finish line has been shortened to weeks, the toolbox has been put away and we now wait “patiently”.
Actually I lied; my attention has now turned to making sure the car is in tip-top-shape. We recently went to a car seat clinic and I have a car seat in the ride. Very surreal! I have made space for the stroller to rest with no stress. Thanks our parent’s “storage” services. All the junk paper has been thrown out (papers dated 2010 were in there) and this weekend the car will get her spring/summer wash and vacuum.
Once I finish up on my car, I think I will finally have a sense that I have done my little part in this preggo journey of ours. Now I keep my phone charged and bring it everywhere just in case I get the call to let me know it’s Game Time!! At least with all the prep work (nesting) that we have already done, we are ready with the bags packed in the trunk ready to cruise to the hospital to change our lives forever!
Valentine’s Day has a combination of people that want to take the day to spread the love to others and of course with anything else there are critics that want to put a damper on it by saying we should not only take one day to say I love you! Well folks for those that know me I am all about the romance and try to make my family and friends feel the love on a daily occurrence, however I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy trying to make Valentine’s Day special each and every year, because you only live once (YOLO)…LOL! This Valentine’s Day unlike others in the past holds a greater place in my old ticker, since Team Zebra is PREGNANT…well my wife is preggo so you get the gist. We just finished our first trimester a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to write this post dedicated to wifey on this joyous heart day to tell her thanks for carrying our baby and that I love her (start the rolling of eyes for those fellas that are reading this right now).
From the day that we found out that we were going to be 3 I have been thrilled! We have been going through every step of this pregnancy together, however it is hard to describe how much I appreciate everything that you have to endure during the entire pregnancy. The first day you told me at like 7 pm that you were going to bed I was shocked but smiled and knew that our little PEANUT was going to work in your body. Previously people have told me about this pregnancy glow that occurs and I was like okay sure, yet I might be seeing things but you always glowed but you are extra shiny to me now. You just walk in the room and the whole room feels like the whole room is surrounded by the sun…This girl is on fire!!!
Of course there has been the nausea that we knew was a part of this experience, but gentlemen who kept reading this did you know morning sickness is a sham? These poor women are really dealing with all day sickness in some cases! I must admit that I had some man guilt when you were dealing with the throwing up, but you were a champ and got through it with an eventual smile after taking a rest. Not going to lie, it was a bit funny when you would change your outfits like four times because you felt bigger. Hopefully my reassurances that you were just pregnant helped a little, if not, my bad for the chucking internally but I understood your concerns. From my sources I hear that there will be some moodiness down the road, but as I told you last night bring on the tears and the angriness, because I will make it my mission to make you smile eventually each and every time (crosses fingers)!
I know that I have not blogged in donkey years, however I thought on this day dedicated to love that I would write this post to you to let you know that I am thankful for you. I am thankful for everything you have to endure carrying our child. I want to let you know again that you are doing great and are going to be an amazing mommy! Happy Valentine’s Day and I love you!
In case your pregnancy brain kicks in I will print this off, so you can remember the steps we went through our first trimester! LOL.
With that said, Team Zebra is PREGNANT!!!!! Happy Valentine’s Day to ALL!!!
When is the last time that you just stopped to enjoy life with your person? I mean just literally hit the pause button on life and really appreciate some time with that special person you have been privileged to have in your life. When I look around my office or step outside, I am constantly inundated with images of people that are in a rush to get from point A to B and have forgot to smell the roses ( cheesy as that may sound). Just the other day while the sounds of the new John Legend album were echoing off the walls of my home, I jumped off my seat and located my wife in the other room to just slow dance to the music. She must have thought that I went mad, but she could not hide her smile while we moved our feet to the beat grooving across our floor.
Of course I am an advocate on personal success and acknowledge the necessary grind to get there, yet at the same time I appreciate being funny, silly and just me around my wife. Unfortunately life can be snatched away from us at anytime, so we need to make a conscious effort to stop pushing the fast forward button on our life boom boxes and try to find time to party like it’s 1999! By this I mean doing things with each other that makes your people know that you really are excited to be around them and want to see the world with them, share a laugh, and conquer a fear or just sit on your stoop and enjoy a drink.
For my married readers, I know you all heard folks telling you that once you got hitched that life as you knew it was over. Well I know I heard a slew of people (usually single) that wanted to paint life after the nuptials like it was a real life episode of Married with Children. I tried to tell them that they were being foolish, and to be honest, man were they so wrong. My first year of marriage was a damn blast! Wifey and I have always been totally in sync; however I had no clue that our decision to dedicate our first year of marriage to fun would be so varied and exciting. We have travelled abroad and at home, been to countless concerts, tried new recipes and supported each other through fearful events. For those that know me I am not too keen on heights or the drops in roller coasters and with the support of my wife I managed to see NYC on the Top of the Rock and kept my lunch in while dropping out of God’s sky at Canada’s Wonderland. We actually turned our marriage back to when we first started dating and just found things that made both of us excited about life and did not allow our daily work life get in the way of our enjoyment.
My request to everyone is that when you get home tonight, find that someone special and take a second to just dance or make them smile. This is not only for my married folk readers, if you live at home dance with your mom, single parent find your kids to shake a leg or just do something simple like actually call a friend to catch up. When I was growing up I would witness my parents acting silly around each other and slow dance in the kitchen. Back then I thought they were weird, but nowadays I relish the opportunity to bust-a-move for no reason with my lady!
Smell those roses tonight when you get home or throw in a oldie but goody movie and share a laugh…I promise you it won’t hurt! (You can get back to being busy tomorrow…or not!)
In 6 weeks I will be running my first half marathon, I am ecstatic about finishing the race and having another running accomplishment to look back it. By far this year has been the year of running for me as I have signed up and finished several races from 3 to 20 kilometers. After taking a year off of running last year for personal reasons, I would never have imagined that this year would be my most successful year when it comes to personal bests for times and distances completed. If someone would of told me two years ago that I would be preparing for a half marathon, I literally would have laughed out loud and told them that the best I can do is a 10K race. However, we are all in control of our own destiny and as I once heard dreams only end when you stop dreaming, so I made a pact with myself in January that I would make 2013 my running year, so I made my running play list, laced up the sneakers and just started running trying emulate Forest Gump and keep on running until I could not run anymore!
I was so eager to sign up for my first race that I did a 3K tune up race in the middle of winter! I woke up all energized in January and drove across town, however Google maps took me the wrong way for a portion of the drive. I made it to the start line seconds before they started the race! Imagine me starting the run pinning my number on and getting my Ipod ready for this very short race, but even though the beginning was hectic I got my groove back and was flying through the course. Although I did not drink any water or stretch I was still do just fine, until I got a cramp in my leg with 1K left and I had to hobble to the finish line while trying to maintain a smile on my face at the finish. After that run I thought to myself that maybe I was not cut out for running and should be happy that at least I was able to finish one run for the season, then I had to internally slap myself and get my mind right again to keep motivated.
Well for me I needed something to put in my sights in order to dust myself off from what I felt was a failure and get my Nikes back on the road to improve. There was no way that I was going to sit back and let the season pass me without getting at least one 10K completed for the 2013 year. With that said I signed up for one in April and began finding free time to train both physically and mentally. Honestly it is more mental than physical, because if you start thinking of reasons to stop, then there is huge possibility that you will no longer think you are the little engine that could and stop! If I was to tell you all the Jedi mind tricks or lies that I have told myself to push further, I might need to write another blog entry. For example, for any runner reading this, have you ever told yourself that you were only going to go to the next hydrant or light post, but really knew that once you got there that you were just going to say just another one? I actually got to a point where I knew the exact amount of hydrants that were on my route! Sorry for the quick sidetrack, yet I just wanted to re-enforce how important getting your mind right is or running any race.
The day of my 10K in April, I knew what I did wrong for my initial race, so this time I fixed all the no nos by arriving to the race early and stretching. This was my first race at this distance in quite some time, but told myself to run my own race and everything will be fine. You know when you have trained correctly when you feel like you are on autopilot and just enjoying the sites until the race is over. I was in that grove that when finished the race I knew that I should of put on the after burners and finished the race by sprinting it out…okay maybe not sprint, but at least finish with a quicker pace! Once I saw my time I knew that I was right to think that I could do several runs this year, so I signed up for other races. I am not going to lie that I had doubts that I could ever sign up for the elusive half marathon, but when the competitive side of me comes out, the personal challenge had been triggered. Before I would decide to do a half I saw that there was a 20K tune up race and it was going to be the race that would determine if this year was the year for Danion (Yes I am talking in the third person) to conquer his goal. Funny thing is that the 20K is only like 1 and a bit kilometers off from the half! I drove my car and designed a route that was close and spent many weekends and nights training to accomplish it. There were many practice runs that I made it far in the route, but I was having difficulty completing the entire course. I got a bigger water bottle to help me beat this distance, since it felt like I was trying to run up Mt. Everest. One morning I kissed my wife and told myself that this was the day I did not let this distance beat me, so I went off on my journey and when I could see the finish line I was beaming! My legs were saying something different, but damn it I knew that I was capable of finishing that distance. With the 20K in my rearview mirror, I got home and signed up for the half!
Last year I became more of a cheerleader to my friends that racked up some major foot mileage and I vowed to get my running bucket list completed. The half has always been a dream of mine to conquer, so I have updated the play list, made sure the shoes feel comfy and keep practicing even when I feel like just planting myself in front of the TV!
On October 20, 2013 I will be able to say that I finished 21.1 kilometers and will feel mighty fine! Wish me luck and I hope you never start dreaming! Running was my thing, but I would like to hear of things that you have done to impress yourself.
Should ignorance be accepted due to our surroundings and environment where we grew up? Have you ever decided not to react to someone’s blatant racist or stereotypical remarks? Unfortunately I have and to be honest I am going to make the assumption that most of us have been exposed to a similar situation. By the time we internalized the comment or behavior, we have felt like it was too late to go back and actually feel like we will be seen as the villain if we brought it to the attention of the person after the event had already passed. Well, we need to bring it to light and let those that have offended us in any way that their behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I am not trying to say that by doing so we will change the world, but hopefully we can change a person’s actions when they realize and understand that certain jokes or stereotypes are not funny and actually disrespectful.
I am not sure if any of you have tuned into Big Brother this season, however the behavior that was being exhibited at the beginning of the season was very cringe worthy. The fact that 3 people have lost their real jobs in the outside world tells you that the companies where they were employed felt so disgusted that they had to terminate their employment. One of the guilty parties would make fun of all races in the house and thought she was auditioning to get her own comedy sitcom. She was relentless and would call people all kind of names and even went as far to say that one of the housemates of Asian descent to stick to cooking rice (behind her back of course)…Coward! Many people would have private conversations and the entire house would agree that she was racist, but in order to save their game they felt that they had to pretend like they heard or saw no evil. Even those that were directly placed in her crossfire, made the decision to allow her to keep on keeping on without any making their feelings known to her as she was in the majority power group in the house. I am not a super fan like a lot of you out there so I do not watch the internet live feeds, however with all the murmurs that had to be travelling through the house she must have known her ignorant ways. Well that was my thoughts until the episode aired that showed her “friend” who was not targeted by her rants going to her room and letting her know nicely that her so-called jokes were viewed as racist. Now before I tell you her reaction, just think of how bad you would feel if someone told you that your actions were racist? I could not even fathom the idea of being informed I was acting in that kind of way. Well instead of her being disgusted with herself, she instead took the victim approach and compared her jokes to people saying she was blonde????? Really? No seriously that is your comparison? Those were the questions that I blurted out loud at the TV like I was actually a contestant on the show.
Fast forward many weeks and even months she changed her ways for the name of her game, but every eviction week you could see the host Julie Chin salivating at the opportunity for her to be eliminated. I watched Julie’s other show where she discussed how much she was deeply hurt by some of the comments that were be tossed around the house. When the ring leader of the negativity was finally evicted from the house I was so excited, because she had pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes and had a great chance to win the entire game. She walked out of the house and was greeted by Julie very professionally and was upset about her elimination, but homegirl never knew what was in store for her. After asking a few standard eviction questions, Julie started to read back a few of the comments that she had said and I could see homegirl’s heart drop out of her chest on live TV. Her response to defend herself was that where comes from this behavior is acceptable and no malice is meant by it. Well watching that interview might not have made anyone feel vindicated, but it might have just changed a few people’s perception of their own behavior if it resembled anything like what she presented in the months she was in the Big Brother house.
Looking at this example, we need to all make a better effort on trying to voice our opinions when we see that someone is using words or actions that is a serious offence to ourselves or others. We need to stop being the turn a blind eye society and instead find ways to help alter the mindset of others to refrain from hurtful behavior. If we each take a stand in showing people that we will not sit idle and watch them be stereotypical or racist, then maybe we will help change their stance. Each of us is in charge of our own environment, so we need to all get our inner Bob on and ‘Get Up, Stand Up, Stand Up for our rights!
This morning I woke up remembering the anticipation and excitement that built up every year as my birthday approached as a kid. The joy of having one day of the year that all my friends would come together to celebrate my special day had to be one of the coolest experiences every year growing up. My mom would bake a cake and frost it to perfection, my lungs would get exhausted from blowing up balloons for decorations (later for balloon wars) and picking out the best clothes I owned to stand out above the rest. We would play all sorts of games and just really enjoy each other’s company with the star for the day being myself.
Although the day would be centered around myself I can still remember the shared excitement we all felt together when I opened my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game (B,A,B,A, Up, Down, Left, Right, B,A, Start), or when I got a pair of Larry Johnson’s Grandmama Converse shoes. In short birthday celebration for all my friends at that time was a blast to host and be an invitee.
As I have gotten older I have seen many people that no longer want to tell anyone it’s their big day, or rather take the time to harp on things they have not achieved in their lifetime. Being miserable on your birthday? Looking at the day like you should be ashamed of yourself for feeling special? I have even been approached by another guy that tried to gain support from me with the notion that guys are guys and birthdays should just be swept under the rug as another day of getting older. He went on further to say that they should only be on a need to know basis and not made into a big deal. Unfortunately he did not know who he was speaking to as no matter how old I am I still love celebrating my birthday. Why not? It has nothing to do with presents or an extravagant party, but just a great excuse to take time out of our busy schedules with those who matter the most to us.
I know most of you remember the jingle, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid”. Well to me on my birthday I revert back to my childhood and try to avoid the stresses of being an adult. I am aware that none of us are Peter Pan living in Neverland where we do not get older; however we need to take a day out of our schedules to at least reflect on the positives we have accomplished over the year. In a future entry I will discuss the importance of finding time to appreciate one’s self, but for this entry I just want to reiterate that no matter how old I turn, it is my mission to continue celebrating my birthday even if it’s just a quick 30 second dance party by myself just to say I celebrated.
In my case one week from today will be my birthday and as you already can tell, I am ready to shake a leg and spend quality time with family and friends. I have never wavered in my excitement about the day of my birth. For those of you that know me…ask my mom! Ever year she will ask me the same question, “Aren’t you too old to celebrate your birthday?” Reading this entry I can imagine that you don’t need me to answer that question.
To sum this all up, if you ever wondered if the text/facebook messages or funny voicemails sent on my birthday go unnoticed and unappreciated, you are completely wrong. I read and appreciate them all. Life is too short not to take a moment laugh, live and celebrate your birthday!
Ridiculous…You’re going to relegate my history to a month? ~ Morgan Freeman (June 14, 2006 interview on 60 Minutes).
Recently I heard a clip from one of the greatest actors of our generation regarding his thoughts on Black History Month and I was intrigued on Morgan Freeman’s views on the annual monthly celebration to remember the triumphs and legacies of our current and past heroes. To summarize his position, my interpretation of his thoughts is that he feels that black history should be a topic discussed in various forums and not only be brought to light every February until the month is over to be stored away in a box collecting dust until the next year rolls around.
My initial reaction was somewhat of disbelief, as I never thought someone would reject the idea of highlighting our past, current and future leaders and accomplishments. Although the clip that was played for me was very brief, I could not stop it from playing in my mind, so I found the entire interview on the internet to try and dissect the words from one of my favourite actors. Within the interview he clarifies his message by stating that, “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Of course it is more than just American history; it transcends the entire world, which makes it world history!
Thinking about Black History Month for myself I have looked at the pros and cons of his interview and have deduced that I fully agree and disagree with his sentiments. It is very unfortunate that we have to designate a month for when we are supposed to teach society at large of the sacrifices and achievements that were made to allow our generation to have the opportunities that we sometimes take for granted, or just do not understand the effort that was put forth to enjoy the basic luxuries that are afforded to us today. To know that in the not so distant past, black people were not able to vote, were treated as secondary citizens and schools were segregated by the colour of your skin seems like a horrible nightmare. But it’s true. During every February I am always astonished at the information that is communicated from various mediums about people that I never heard about to those who are well documented with their place in history. I love hearing about Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and Rosa Parks, but there are other great influential leaders or success stories like Lincoln Alexander, Marcus Garvey, Alvin Curling and Mary Ann Shadd. They all have done their part in some way to inspire people of all colours in a large forum or even just in their small local communities. Of course some of these names are recognizable, but even with this miniscule list there are names that no one has a clue who or what they have done to inspire others.
Going back to Morgan’s point as I see it, I agree that we need to make it a goal not as a black community but as society, to make important historical figures of every race taught in our school systems more frequently, discussions need to brought up in community outreach groups, books need to be more prevalent in our libraries, so that the need for a month is not necessary as it is a topic commonly discussed in any month of the year. We need to get to a point in the near future where when someone talks about black history, we do not look around the room trying to find a black person to explain, since “for sure” they know everything about it. Not true! Even the people I named above, I might only know a little about them. Being able to sit in a room and hear a person of another race tell me or someone else about a great black figure that I did not know about brings me great joy.
It was not until University that I truly understood how the power of being taught black history could be so influential and powerful to the mind and soul. I took a Caribbean Studies class and my tutorial class was filled with only black students, except for this one white guy. We had a research project and we had to pick topics from our course material and of obviously I wanted to get music as my topic, as I thought I would be able to kill that topic and skyrocket my GPA based on my findings. Fortunately I did not get it as the one white student received it and let me tell you that I am so glad that he won the battle to present on the topic of a well-known reggae artist, Buju Banton. He began his presentation advising the class that he had never heard of Buju and how he went out and bought his CD to listen to it just for the assignment. His eyes then lit up with excitement as he went into great detail to let us know the message that was being performed on every song and how it related to the class and how influential it was to him . After hearing the presentation, it was truly an inspiration to have this white student have the entire room amazed at his description of the music and be able to teach many of us new things that we never understood previously with the songs. This example is to show that once we are all taught about our history and when I say “our”, I mean every race, then I will be able to truly agree with Morgan Freeman that Black History Month will not be needed. However until then I believe it is necessary to continue to shed light on the success stories from the amazing work done by black people in history.