this is where i come from

i’ve never once thought to myself, i wish i was a white man.

it’s simply never been something i’ve aspired to. since i was a kid, i’ve just wanted to be comfortable in my own skin.

after all, God gave me my skin the same way he gave you yours.

truthfully, it’s always been somewhat confusing why my shade of melanin has triggered as many conversations as it has over the years. like sometimes it’s felt like some were obsessed over it. why would the color of my skin matter to anyone? yours never mattered to me, at least not negatively.

i suppose if i think deeper about it, it could make sense. sort of.

i grew up not being like most people. i get it, i looked different. that must have fascinated people. when you’re continually surrounded by those with the same shades that you have, different is much more obvious. different is weird. different can be frightening.

different can be threatening.

the jokes. the stares. the whispers. the glares.

it’s always been my normal so i carried on. what else could i do? not only have i fought to be comfortable in my own skin, i’ve strived, against my natural instincts, to just fit in. i just knew that the culture surrounding me wouldn’t assimilate to who i was, so it was up to me to be like everyone else.

in elementary school, when teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, i naively said i wanted to be president, just like my friends did, though i knew better than to dream that big. america was never set up for someone like me to achieve an office that high, or really anything remotely close to it, which is sad because this is my country just as much mine as it is anyone else’s. this is where i come from. i never dreamed i’d ever live to view a man of color take that oath of office.

i cried on election night in 2008. it was like the constraints had been lifted. i thought america had finally removed the roadblocks that had suppressed so many. it was one of those “we can do anything!” moments.

in that moment, as tears flowed down my face, i remembered the pain, the comments, the insults, the jokes.

“James, can you teach me ebonics?’

“James, you’re really smart, you know… for a black kid”

“James, you speak really well for someone with your skin color”

“James, there’s nothing about you that is black, you’re really a white man trapped in a black-skinned body”

“boy”

“nigger”

yeah.

with a black man as president, i was as proud of america, as i’d ever been. we’d endured for so long. we had accomplished so much together.

that’s why these days are so hard. here we are again.

we’re anything but united. we’re anything but civil toward those with opposing views. left and right. as if we were ever meant to think alike. we’re more driven by fear than we’ve ever been. instead of celebrating our unique stories and histories, we ridicule. instead of building bridges, we place dynamite and light matches. we wear red hats as a badge of honor but also as a warning. a shoe company’s marketing plan enflamed the nation. the flag has become a trigger and kneeling has turned from being a humble act to a condemned one.

i long for a day when the color of my skin doesn’t impact where i travel. like dr. king, i dream of a day when my daughter can live anywhere she pleases without concern. i wish my wife didn’t have to see the ugliness of this world being directed at me simply because my skin is a darker shade.

aren’t we better than all of this? weren’t we all designed by a creator who said we were all good? didn’t that creator say we were all beautiful?

instead of falling for invented headlines and becoming political pawns, when will we just say enough is enough? isn’t there more to all of this than, well, this?

there was a time when we could have said we actually were better than this. this isn’t that time. but it could be.

what have we become?

we are living in the twilight zone.

i’m old enough to not be surprised by much, but i’ll never be too old to be disappointed. that’s where i’ve landed today.

we’re living in an age where a woman’s pain and anguish is overshadowed by powerful men with louder voices. by rich men who take what they want because they know their defense can succeed by simply pointing at the other side in a fit of “whataboutisms”.

there are no winners and losers here. survival is determined simply by who is less dirtied by the mud-slinging.

is this who we are? is this what we’ve really become? is this who we really want to be?

we are citizens in a world that pushes back against truth by dictating the terms of how we consume our reality. the louder the voice and the more the phrase is repeated is how we become believers. we have become too lazy to search for truth. too lazy to realize how ignorant we’ve become.

in order to establish your truth, find a light. find your center. find what is real. not what’s been dictated to you. not what you’ve been told. not what you’ve been told to believe. fight for your knowledge, fight for your beliefs. your intellect isn’t dependent upon someone else’s negligence.

we don’t have to believe the same things. we don’t have to agree. but we do share this earth. we do share this community. what’s good for you should be in my best interests. we may fail, we may fall, but we should be helping each other out of the mud.

writing gives..

I miss the elements that writing gives. I have been so busy with school and work and an internship that I have neglected my favorite hobby. Being allowed to write out my thoughts and to have people read them and respond to my words gives me so much more pleasure than what I can give back to the art of writing.
I am not sure that I will ever be able to contribute to the vast amount of thought that others have already given, but I will continue to try. It is my goal to present to anyone who reads my words a fresh voice, an original theory and a challenging discipline. Soon and very soon, I will have more postings on here. Until then...

exit.

I have to do this.

I have to burn on MICHIGAN football

Everyone knows: all we want is wins.

i remember not being happy with a 10-3 season. THAT was unacceptable.

now unacceptable is

0-3 vs.

both Ohio State and Michigan State

a 5-18 conference record

1-11 vs. ranked opponents

It is not about the man (except the part about not being a “michigan man”). I am sure that Rich Rodriguez is a nice guy. I doubt he is looking to lose games. I know he is trying. This is his livelihood. This is how he supports his family. So i feel bad for saying this.

Kind of.

When you agree to be the head football coach at MICHIGAN, you have to understand the magnitude of the program. when you are the head coach of MICHIGAN football, you cannot claim that sort of ignorance and get away with it. you cannot continually blame losses on everything but yourself, especially when you are working with 18-22 year old boys. you cannot declare an intention to turn MICHIGAN football into a great program when it is already the all-time college football leader in wins.

you had to know that:

we expect winners.

we do not like to lose.

especially not to ohio state. (it is not just another game)

orĀ  michigan state (your little brother)

and to all you josh groban fans (if they exist) … it’s really nothing personal.

we just want wins. we just want someone who is angry that they lost to ohio state and sets his schedule around beating the buckeyes. we want someone who understands the mystique of Michigan football.

it is sad but… that just isn’t Rich Rodriguez. he will survive this. he will find another gig.

it is just time for his exit.