Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

Tribute to Dr. King “Would You Die for Me?”

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

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You didn’t know who’d I’d be,

Didn’t know if I’d value being free,

Whether I’d live up to the things you gave up for me,

Yet, you still died for me.

 

I read your speech just the other day,

And I listened to the powerful words you had to say,

It was just a few hours before you went away,

Which made it more beautiful that you died for me.

 

You declared that your eyes had seen the glory,

Knew you wouldn’t be here still you knew the end of the story,

And because you loved God there was no worry,

You were willing to die just for me.

 

You acknowledged there’s no other place you could have been,

God sent you to redeem women and men,

And because you’re his vessel you’d do it all again,

Just to give your life for me.

 

I stand in front of a class of rainbow faces,

Teaching the legacy of Dr. King to different races,

Afforded the chance because you marched in many places,

Knowing you’d give your life for me.

 

Dr. King, it was a miraculous fight,

With long days and many sleepless nights,

Yet, you knew your dream would take flight,

And so you gave your life for me.

 

To self-sacrifice takes a real man of the word,

You stood for right despite the threats you heard,

Head held high, you remained unnerved,

Accepting God’s mission that you die for me.

 

My tears on the inside now leak out,

Dr. King’s mission is what true love is about,

His fierce passion should remove any man’s doubt,

That Dr. King was willing to die for me.

 

My pledge to you is to make the most of this life,

To show my ancestors that I was worth the strife,

And to show my appreciation to your wife,

Who understood that you had to die for me.

Black secretaries of state and a president too,

Those were possible Dr. King, because of you,

I won’t be arrogant- give the credit that is due,

For Dr. King, I know you died for me.

 

Brothers and sisters we must rise and take control,

This is the land where you can achieve all goals,

There’s no room for fighting, we must work as a whole,

For Dr. King gave his life for you and me.

 

Copyright ©2012 by Motivational Inspirations

Check out the audio:

https://soundcloud.com/jamiemayesaoe/would-you-die-for-me

 

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Phil Robertson: Maybe His Vision is Better Than Mine

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

I tried…I really did. I tried my best to stay under the radar on this topic, but it just won’t leave my presence or my mind. Now, some folks will get upset. I might get a few side eyes, some people might stop speaking to me, but the truth is the truth.

I have been quite disappointed with society’s response to Phil Roberston’s comments in GQ magazine. No, not the ones about homosexuals…yes, I think it’s wrong to judge others, but he is entitled to a religious opinion just like everyone else and we all face the same master. That’s who makes the final decision, bottom line. A strong opinion does not mean a wrong opinion; it’s still just an opinion. Let us move to the real issue at hand. The lack of discussion regarding Phil’s very strong inaccurate racial comments has left me in a deep perplexity that I just can’t seem to shake. Yes, once again, he is entitled to have an opinion, and no the family should not lose all they’ve worked for because of ignorance, but it’s not only the falseness of his statement that disappointment me, but the lack of negative feedback and the tremendous support of his comments by black people. I haven’t figured out if it’s because most people don’t know about the additional comments or they just don’t care.

We were rowdy and angry when Paula Deen admitted using the N-word and suggesting black people dress as slaves in a private home conversation fifteen years ago, but we swept the redneck’s (self-proclaimed) comments under the mud truck and kept driving. His comments were so strong that I must insert the quote directly from a source, for I do not wish to get one word wrong. According to the Huffington Post Phil Robertson was quoted as saying:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” Robertson is quoted in GQ. “Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

I have no idea where to start with this tomfoolery. I suppose that the first question is: Phil, so because you did not see it, it did not exist? I suppose that the newspapers, televisions, radios, and millions of people who died at the hands of racial violence were all just figments of our imagination, too. According to you, the black folks were the typical foolishly depicted scene, singin’ and pickin’ cotton and doin’ a good ole dance for mista! They had hardly any clothes and money, they were massacred and beaten, all the while singin’ and dancin’ about how good Jim Crow is. Phil says he hoed cotton with the blacks and never heard a complaint. Phil, do you think a black person would be stupid enough to make a complaint about back breaking, low paying work around you, fearing the threat of being snitched on? I am quite sure you weren’t the good ole boy back then that you are now, considering you’ve been delivered and all.  And now, you can relate because you refer to yourself as white trash. Well, Mr. White Trash, did you ever have to sit at the back of a bus because of the color of your skin? Did you have to get your food from the outside window of the restaurant or sip from the “Niggers only” water fountain?  No sir. You only heard them singin’ and snappin’ and toe tappin’ about good ole mista.

And perhaps the last two lines are what really infuriate me. Phil says that pre-entitlement and pre-welfare we (black folks) were godly and happy. So here we are now a bunch of ungodly-angry heathens running around telling America that they still owe us the 40 acres and a mule that were promised but never delivered and a $300 per month welfare check.  Let me first clarify a few of his inaccuracies (which is honestly my biggest problem with his comments; how he feels about our race generally doesn’t matter much). Firstly, welfare is not a system that was created for black people. Name a time that America has ever done something solely for the benefit of black folks. *crickets* Ok. Welfare was first established around 1929 during the Great Depression and returned fully in the 1950’s when white Americans were struggling to find jobs. Black people, however, were taking the low paying house maid and paper boy jobs and making it with what they had. Big Mama has always known how to turn nothing into something! Even today, the statistics of welfare recipients are nearly the same for both black and white people (with most sites indicating that black people edge out white people by 1% in welfare recipients), despite the public misperception. I am still stumped by his term “pre-entitlement.” I suppose if black folks were to actually rally for the pay of 350 years of free labor, the number of patents for inventions stolen and marketed, the millions of wrongful deaths, and rapes and emotional trauma and abuse,  then one could think that we are going too far with a sense of entitlement. But since we have no casinos, no land, and the reparations that promised during the Reconstruction Era were repealed, then perhaps you do think that black folks have a sense of entitlement…to what should probably be theirs.

My disdain does not end there. I was more upset to see the number of black folks using the tired comment about “blacks killing blacks” as a reason to accept unjust behavior. It is a tired and pointless statement, which opens another can of worms that is connected to this work but not directly. (I’m sure someone will insist on an explanation, though.)Therefore, I get the impression that society believes Phil deserves a pass because we are a flawed people anyway.  But I will move on because…

Maybe I am wrong and Phil is right. There’s something different about this area of the state and rarely do I go public with these statements, but it’s true. The remnants of slavery and Jim Crow are still heavy in this area. The city has clear lines of segregation, and it seems to be to the preference of the majority to keep it that way. It blows my mind when I see esteemed supposedly well-educated and well-rounded individuals shuffle their feet and turn into buffoons in the presence of their white counterparts. I’ve watched a grown black man boss me around and then be afraid to look a white person in the eye. I’ve been shunned by people who say that I’m too haughty and confident because I don’t keep my head bowed and broken, and I don’t limit myself to conversations with only those who look like me. I was called a traitor when I switched from one school system to another and publicly un-applauded abruptly by an audience when they were informed of the school where I worked. Following my speech, an old black woman asked me why I didn’t work at one of the black schools. When I told her that black kids lived all over the city and I had left the black school because there was no full focus on the mission of education, she turned her nose up and walked away. I’ve attended a certain annual agricultural event and listened to the white man behind my god daughters and me ask why we were there and then give us a filthy look when he walked off. Even more so, I’ve seen the posts of those applauding the Robertson family and saying what good ole folks they are. And they may be nice social folks, but I’ve struggled with idea that behind one of those scruffy smiles is a disdain for my people.

Phil maybe you are right, and the picture you saw is an accurate depiction of where you’ve lived, not far out of the woods, staying close enough to your comfort zone. But, the evidence doesn’t lie sir, just like you don’t either. I don’t believe that the entire Roberston family shares these same sentiments, but one spokesperson does and for the remarks to be ignored and supported by the people he speaks against is sad. (I strongly admire the family for standing together and vowing not to continue the show; this is true reflection of family over money. That’s rare these days.) My fear is that our people will become so silent and complacent that we will undo the work that our ancestors died for.  And we will, once again, work in silence, but not beside Phil this time, for he will be our master.

HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/phil-robertson-black-people_n_4473474.html

Winnie Mandela: The Pain of Loyalty

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2014 at 8:54 am

Winnie Mandela: The Pain of Loyalty.

Winnie Mandela: The Pain of Loyalty

In Culture, News, Race, Uncategorized on January 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

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Tonight I saw a movie that triggered more emotions than any movie I’ve seen in years. Mandela: Long Walk Home reminded me of a sore that had just started to heal and then was re-opened and saturated with alcohol as I winced throughout the movie. Thus, my commentary on the movie will take place in at least two…maybe even three parts.  However, I have chosen to start with the part that is let’s say, easiest for me to digest and dissect.

I grasped another story inside the Mandela story, and it was that of Winne Mandela. Hard-faced and stone cold through most of the movie, she showed courage to understand a man like Nelson and maintained dignity and loyalty while he was imprisoned. Shown in a soft and romantic youthfulness at the beginning of her relationship with Nelson Mandela, Winnie immediately announce that she understood Nelson…perhaps more than his first wife did. She didn’t complain about his long absences and encouraged him to fight for his country. She was the strength behind a man with a mission, while quietly playing her role in the background.  Even after Nelson’s imprisonment Winnie remained true to him, refusing to snitch and being beaten and held in solitary confinement for as long at 16 months, fueling her passion into anger. Tirelessly, she rallied and protested encouraging South Africans to fight fire with fire against segregation and injustice. She became as hard as a stone and as cold as an arctic winter. She was fearless; she was courageous. She was unstoppable.

Yet, despite Winnie’s loyalty to the cause of South Africa and Nelson, her work of more than 25 years would be quickly pushed aside upon the release of Nelson Mandela. His release from prison moved and changed the country, and Winnie’s hard work was criticized by Nelson and she was deemed foolish. Nelson’s focused returned to redemption of South Africa, not catering to nor thanking his wife who had remained committed to him, even from a distance. Nelson does not even make love to her when he first crossed the threshold of their home, even after she indicates that it has been “so long.” Instead, he says that he wants to rest, nearly escorting her into the arms of someone who is willing to show her love. Eventually, their love dissipates and Winnie is criticized heavily for her affair; while Nelson speaks poorly of her in a kind manner, she falls deeper into the folds, eventually becoming invisible.

I tried to imagine how Winnie felt. She waited loyally for Nelson for 27 years and would have worked for his cause until her death. Beneath the anger and frustration she felt with Nelson and his situation, a burdened and abused women simply needed to be loved and appreciated. I listened throughout the movie for a simple “thank you” from Nelson or even South Africa, but none was heard. Though I’m sure some type of thanks has been demonstrated none can compare to the accolades of her famed husband, who legacy would not have continued without the diligence of his wife.

The scene that flashes repeatedly in my mind is the one where Winnie wears the military clothes and Nelson is dressed in his suit while they are inside the church talking. This scene visually demonstrates a defining moment of their current relationship and the sides of the line on which they stand. While both sought justice, each had morphed into different creatures of warfare. Instead of showing Winnie the benefits of a new way of thinking, Nelson belittles her, yelling that the mission is about loyalty. Yet, he is the clear example of defying loyalty when he gives up on the woman who was loyal to him.

Winnie’s story is not an untypical one. We still live in a sexist society where women are usually the underdog and the black sheep. It is sad to say that even years later her story has hardly been told. Her loyalty to Nelson is hardly spoken of and she is not reveled in the same heroic manner as her counterpart, though she stood at his bedside until his final breath and spoke nothing but love for him. Yet, I am reminded that the essence of a woman is that she can remain humble when ignored, strong when broken, courageous when afraid, and  loyal when dishonored.  I salute you, Winnie Mandela.

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