Just going through my luggage, clearing out some things to make way for enlightenment
Friday, November 25, 2005Relax! Relate! Release!
I know I've been quiet for a minute, but I've been busy. The holiday season alone is giving me enough grief to keep me crazy. Thanksgiving was fun this year. I didn't spend it with great aunts, which is making me feel slightly guilty, but with the acquisition of a partner, my family structure has changed. Another reason I've been quiet is that I've been reading and responding to the blogs and posts of others. I really have to stop that!
I've been reading some great stuff... some trash too, but who the hell am I to judge? Grandmama always says, "One man's trash is another's treasure." I've also been watching email battles that have really reminded me of the fights that took place in middle school. Remember how the parties involved would start talking shit in the cafeteria or the gym and by the end of the school day, it had escalated into something real ugly? Surrounded by their posses, the parties involved would begin a slow walk off the school grounds, while talking mad shit. Once they reached a point far enough from the school, but close enough for an authority figure to happen by and stop things, the first punch would be thrown. I was never one of the people who got to watch the fight. I was always far on the outside of the ring that surrounded the players. My scary ass just never wanted to be that close to trouble. Back then I didn't realize that it was all being done to save face.
Recently while going through the mail of one of my Yahoo groups (shout out to the Yahoo groups), I read a response that was posted by Cleo Manago on his blog as a response to something that was posted by Keith Boykin on his blog. It was all about the Millions More Mess (see my comments 8/25/05, 10/23/05). Again, I mean no disrespect to those who went and got something out of it. Just like Vanessa Bell Calloway in Coming to America, I like "whatever you like... ARF! ARF!" Once the march was over, I never thought I would comment on it again until 2015 when they do the next throwback march. Then I read Boykin's speech that didn't happen and was blown away by it's eloquence and power. After reading it, I could certainly understand why it could not have been delivered at MMM. It was more affirming than anything else I heard that day (no disrespect to any of the speakers) and was an important address on so many different levels. Still I chose to remain silent with commentary and allowed others to sing Boykin's praises. Then I read the Cleo response and then the note to Jasmyne Cannick and then the response from Ras James. That's when I felt compelled to comment. Here's what I said.
Ok... now this is completely annoying! Why are these exchanges being done publicly? It makes both parties appear to be fighting for a spotlight that has already moved on. It seems a cheap attempt from all to keep their names in the media. The MMM is OVER. What good did it actually do? Sure, folks got to roll down to DC and get some wings with mumbo sauce. If they happened to head over to the mall for the event, what did they take away?
My friends who attended came away with a pocketful of phone numbers, an over priced t-shirt, some quality pirated CDs and DVDs, a jumbo lemonade that was particularly thirst-quenching, and a contact high from a group of folks sharing a blunt of what was apparently some righteous weed. None of them came away with the belief that anything meaningful had occurred.
Amallah, who was put out on the street at 15 after being beaten by everyone in her family (followers of NOI), expressed that the significance of a gay speaker had no affect on the way she is viewed by her parents. Matter of fact, when she spotted her father that day on the mall and attempted to speak to him, he looked past her as if she was not there. They'd had no contact in 10 years. She left in tears. She actually had some hope that there would be some reconciliation. She went there with the sole purpose of embracing the father that she still loves. It makes me wonder if the NOI is doing anything to address the homophobia that exists within their own organization.
Admittedly, I stayed away from the event. Aside from being a conspiracy theorist who believes that large gatherings are targets for terrorists, I had to attend a memorial service in Chicago for LeRoy Whitfield (yes, that was my cheap attempt to keep his name in the media). I wasn't going anyway. I couldn't see the value. The truth is no one there represented my interests or spoke on my behalf. No one can do that but me. At the end of the day when the table is cleared and the dishes are washed and put away. We witnessed an historic moment... that has passed. Let it go.
What is it about people that won't allow us to let things go? At this very moment people are calling for Keith to answer to allegations of lying. People are saying that they can't trust him again until he speaks out and either clears his name or admits wrongdoing. Well I believe that is their issue, not Keith's and he should keep good and quiet. Too often we turn people into icons and the minute they do something that we find disagreeable, we go on the attack. Keith Boykin is the voice of Keith Boykin. If people can identify with what he says or writes and he can help someone, that is wonderful. Still, he is not the sole voice of a movement. I've heard allegations that he is creating a division in the movement. Wow! That's one powerful negro. Honestly, I don't think he should take credit for a division that already existed, but he can take credit for bringing the division to light.
Truth is... NJBC and BMX serve different constituencies. The fact that there are people out there who find value in both entities only proves that they are working toward the same end on different levels. I'm glad that both organizations are out there working toward the greater good. I don't expect them to work together any more than I expect Republicans and Democrats to work together even though they both claim to represent the best interests of all Americans. My mind just keeps going back to that episode of A Different World, where Debbie Allen played Whitley's psychologist. Her mantra was "relax, relate, release." I'm learning to live by that. It's making life so much easier.