This is a short one but I want to invite commentary. We are going to the Inauguration next month and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to support my road dog, Obama, while protesting Rev. Warren. Any suggestions?
I'm not much into snail mail but between my Newsweek, J.Crew catalog, and law school bulletins, I've been paying attention to my mail box more than usual as of late. So the other day, I realized that I didn't receive any mail for a while and there wasn't a holiday or a Sunday. Just a regular week. So I asked the mailman the next time I saw him:
"I guess I'm not getting much mail these days," I mentioned including a half-assed chuckle.
As he held up a mega stack of letters, cards, bills and catalogs, all for me, he said "I didn't deliver any mail yesterday. Took the day off."
"You can just do that? I mean, do they get a sub for you?"
"No, I just didn't deliver the mail. Didn't feel like it."
As I am one of the more polite players you may know, I decided to leave it alone, but the conversation that followed in my head, went like this:
"I don't feel like eating salad either, but I also don't like wearing sweats to the club! And you see how this mess is labeled "Time Sensitive"? That's because my paycheck is in that envelope. But, it's all good. I'll wait for you to feel like delivering the mail. And what about Cliff from Cheers? Can I get that dude to deliver my ish? I mean, dude really was serious about the mail. Don't you all take an oath about rain, sleet, and Oakland gangstas?"
I have a lot of interesting friends. And in all honesty, as time moves forward and one loses touch with some folks, when you meet up again, you realize how wack or fantastic some of these folks might be or maybe have been all along. Clearly, I didn't go to my high school reunion; who knows what shocks I would have been in for, or maybe not shocked at all. A few years before my reunion, I ran into a classmate. He said that he was in the process of applying to doctoral programs so that when the reunion came along all those haters would have to call him "Doctor." So I was wondering, was he always that wack?
With Facebook, I have been in touch with quite a few folks from back in the day. Folks who I used to dance and perform with. Folks who I went to undergrad and grad school with. Folks who I was in the Peace Corps with. They have families now and live on farms in Oregon or in Mormon country or in the Big Apple.
The little "status update" option on Facebook proved to be extremely interesting during the election. I saw a lot of my vocal homies supporting Obama and our gay brothers and sisters (I am trying to catch "Milk" by the way, so holler if you want to see it or dialog after). But every once in a while, I would catch a Bible verse in the update or a statement about God's will and war or someone's support for Prop 8. And I began wondering, were they always this wack?
The gay marriage issue is extremely interesting to me, partly to do with curiosity in people of color's attitude towards homosexuals. I've also always been a particularly spiritual person, mostly undercover. I pray on occasion, look towards Africa when it comes to certain ceremonies and life transitions, and respect Ramadan and Hanukkah. I went to Catholic and Lutheran schools for a good chunk of time and taught Sunday school. I have a Torah, Qu'ran, and Bible sitting on my book shelf, all well-worn. My partner chants each morning and attends native ceremony regularly. We are definitely spirituality junkies. But for me, being a person of color and spiritual at the same time, looks particularly interesting these days.
I asked my students last month why they think their parents were in support of banning gay marriage. The young people (all Black or Brown) said things like people of color suffered for a long time and gay people needed to suffer for longer; or that their parents were really worried about the school deal; or that their religion said so. And I thought, wow, those Prop 8 supporters really put their efforts in the right place. They knew folks of color would come out for Obama and their efforts in those communities, unlike the opposition. The young people said that they never saw any No on Prop 8 folks in their neighborhoods, but a grip of Prop 8 supporters. I was shocked to hear that. And with the funnyordie.com folks putting out that video, just too little, too late, still not reaching these communities, it is curious how we are ever going to reach folks of color to understand cyclical oppression. With the millions of dollars that the Mormons, for example, put into getting folks of color to vote yes on Prop 8, will people of color be allowed to join that church now, even set foot in a Mormon temple?
When I was teaching 10th grade World Studies, some of the teachers and I would argue about a particular theme--the oppressed become the oppressors. They were really set on teaching that, using Israel as an example, but implying that all folks of color would eventually be oppressors once they are given the opportunity. It sounded like an excuse to keep that Rudyard Kipling foot on Africa or free trade agreements in Latin America. They would argue that oppression is therefore okay, since folks need to put in their place. Enter capitalism and its inherent ways of organizing people.
And that's what we've missed: Christianity, Islam, and just about every religion and spirituality in the world are, by origin, fiscally and socially socialist! Jesus hated rich players. Ramadan happens so that people can truly understand the plight of the poor and hungry. Lest we forget tithing, shiva, and the plethora of other sharing traditions. We lost that. We can find it again and lose some of this wackness. Tis the season.