Thursday, April 12, 2007
For those of you unfamilar with Kiri Davis please check out the video linked here. It is powerful, but also sad that in this day and age so many of our youth are still not comfortable in their own skin.
After checking out the video, please go vote for Kiri to win this $10,000 prize. Thanks to Tayari for bringing this to my attention and to those of you who have voted for Kiri. She is now in first place!
Now go on over to the Cosmosgirl site and vote for Kiri Davis!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The poem below was read on the Michael Baisden sydincated talk show on Monday. At the tender age of 16, Yvonne Espinoza offers keen insight into the violence that continues to rage through our communities. As you read try to imagine the heartfelt plea she offered on the radio. With strong conviction, passion and anger Yvonne recited this poem through tear filled eyes. I hope this moves you and prompts some dialouge in your community.
By Yvonne Espinoza
We’re violent because this is all we know
You taught us this along time ago
We’re violent because you made us this way
You beat us naked, you hung our people,
Raped our kids and stripped us of our pride
And you now wanna ask why?
Give us a reason not to be
You can’t, it’s impossible
Because to give us a reason, you’d have to right all the wrong you’ve done
But you can’t and if you could then
You’ve only just begun
You’d have to beg for mercy, plead and cry
You’d have to feel the pain we felt
The pain that took lives
You go through the hardships,
The trials and tribulations,
The suffering, the heartache, the dying babies
You sit on a boat full of hundreds of sick,
Old people living to die
How about you dance to make money
Look ignorant on t.v.
Go to jail for nothing
Harassed because others don’t like what they see
Have your people get beat to death
By those who get paid to protect
You eat trash to survive
How about you watch your people and babies die
Get sold for a dime
Kill themselves because they don’t want to live this life
We went through it then and we go through it now
And you know it’s true, and you still ask why?
How dare you have the audacity
Who made you king?
Despite common belief and despite what you think
There is only one king, one God
And he walks with me, with us
The ones who were forced to live in grief
Who were cut, killed, raped and beat
Like animals, brainwashed to think like you
You hacked away, pulled and dragged us down
Until we didn’t want to be Black or Brown
We didn’t want to be Colored or Negroes
We wanted to be High, Suddity, White Folk
We though if we looked, smelled, and act like you
We could live a regular life, and though we tried
You still continued to beat and lay us out
To hang us from our necks, to laugh at our bodies
You could never blame us for being this way
Because you taught us violence
So how dare you think of forming any kind of alliance
Now we know that two wrongs don’t make a right
But since we have none,
Why should we spare your life?
It’s your fault for all of this
And if you didn’t teach us violence
Then who did?
It couldn’t have been us
Because, remember, we’re ignorant!
You should be careful what you say
Because your words have power
Say it enough and it’ll come true…
I know you’ve heard of karma
God have mercy on you.
Over the last three days I have listened to everyone from Al Sharpton to Michael Baisden lament the outrageous comments made in reference to the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. This whole controversy spoiled a wonderful experience because I had the good fortune to watch these young ladies fight for the championship in Quickens Loan Arena here in Cleveland. It was a good game, they are a very young but talented team with long careers ahead of them.
When I first heard about Imus' comments I was appalled and saddened for these young ladies who did nothing to deserve such degradation. They are some of the best and brightest in our community and they work hard daily to try to improve their lot in life. Something that everyone hopes for and encourages in young people. How then did they become the brunt of some sick old man's "joke".
My question is, "Where was the joke?" Then there are all of those who have stated well he's a "shock jock" and their aim is to do things that shock you into listening to them. Unfortunately for a large segment of our population this type of entertainment is acceptable and something they look forward to, I for one, had only a vague awareness of Imus prior to this incident and based on everything I have heard since I'm happy I did not have the opportunity to waste any brain cells or valuable time listening to his take on life.
As I pondered this situation I had a number of conversations with many people who agreed that the comments were outrageous, degrading, sexist, racist and they all called for harsh punishment. One conversation with a twentysomething male however rendered a different response. While he found the remarks offensive he felt the outcry from the National Association of Black Journalists in particular was unwarranted because they just as Imus are protected by the 1st amendment offering the freedom of speech. He also recounted comments made by nationally syndicated radio host Russ Parr who also spoke of the freedom of speech and indicated that he himself has said outrageous things, but because he doesn't have the following of Imus they don't make national news.
According to my young friend, the Parr show regularly hosts skits on the Chinese, elderly black women etc. Which leads me to my title - Good versus Evil.
Today we (the black community) live in a world in which young men and women appear to have a genuine disregard for one another. We do not respect one another and find it acceptable to use derogatory language in song, comedy and the written word. Many of our young people proudly peddle negative images of themselves and their community, but why?
In many ways this is because they see adults performing in the same manner. We have become a society of people with limited levels of self-esteem and the way one attempts to elevate oneself when hurt is by hurting others. But this phenomenon is not limited to the black community it is a reflection of the larger community. In the constant fight to move ahead we must first denounce and step on those who are the least among us.
It was encouraging this evening to hear that MSNBC had dropped the Imus show, yet despite their statements about the image of NBC Universal I would bet it had a lot to do with the fact that Procter & Gamble, General Motors and Staples had withdrawn their advertising dollars from the show. The bottom line in America is the bottom line! To that end I applaud the aforementioned advertisers for taking a stand against hatred in our community.
I strongly believe in the Freedom of Speech, but I do not believe in degrading young women of any race!
Let's all take a lesson from this incident and attempt to live our lives in a positive manner. As our mothers taught us - "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything", and barring that make your point without being hurtful and bigoted in your remarks. Think before you speak, write, rap or make public your views!