Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Offense...

I kind of laugh when I hear that phrase.  People say that to kind of soften the blow of their words when they know for certain it's not a good thing to say.  Seems like words are getting more and more offensive.  You can hardly say anything without a watchdog group or a special interest group sending protesters to your front door.  Every other phrase causes a boycott, petition, or rally to pop up.  It's really starting to get annoying.  However there are a few words that don't need to be said, ever.  There is no excuse for it.  There is no reason for it.  There is no justification for it.

Lately, it's been about Paula Deen and her words.  Apparently, Paula Deen recounted in a court case how she's used the N-word in the past.  As a result of her admission, she was vilified by the public and fired by Food Network.  This has caused an outpouring of support by Paula Deen supporters as well as applause by those who felt her words were unforgivable.

I'm pretty glad that Food Network did what they did.  I'm glad they took a stand against this kind of behavior.  I'll go into more detail on why I'm glad they did it, but it's not because of her use of the N-word.  I'm going to say this about the N-word.  It's a terrible, awful, horrendous, and evil word.  It tears people down.  It rips people apart.  It's a word that causes strife and brings to mind the terrible atrocities done to Black people since they were brought to America as slaves.  I know I wasn't there for slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, or segregation; however the remnants from those times before are very well prevalent.  I'm bothered that Ms. Deen used those words, however I'm even more bothered that people in general use that word.  Rap artists, kids on the streets, racists, and bigots all use that word as loosely as my jeans are since I did Insanity.

The use of that word is terrible.  I can pretty much guarantee you that if Ms. Deen used that word once, she's used it 1000 times.  How would I know?  I grew up in the South.  Anyone who can use that word once, can use it over and over again.  And not just Paula, but the rest of the people I listed have probably used that word easily.  So yeah, I'm going to go ahead and call it like I see it.  If Deen used that word like that, I'll venture to say that at the very least, she feels black people are slightly inferior to her.  I couldn't care less what the circumstances are.  I work with a young man with Autism.  He has done some things to me that hurt, a lot.  It sucked.  However, if I were to call him the R-word because he's hurt me, I'm no better than Ms. Deen.  Being hurt by someone is no justification for using any totally offensive words.

Now to why I think Ms. Deen was rightfully fired.  It really has more to do with her attitude about Black people.  The reason I believe her firing was justifiable was because of her plans for a family member's wedding.  She felt it would be a good idea to hire a bunch of African American wait staff and dress them as 19th Century slaves.  Please give me one way that that is a good idea.  For someone to have that kind of flippant attitude about a whole group of people is shameful.  That's why I'm glad Paula Deen was fired.  She doesn't think everyone is on equal ground.  She believes her group of people are better.  That's my issue.  Her treatment of an African American general manager at her restaurant is the reason her firing was good in my book.

I do think that Paula's actions are just a small problem.  There is a terrible epidemic of people thinking other people are beneath them.  There is a terrible problem of Black people treating other Black people wrongly.  The use of the N-word probably being the most evil of all.  How in the world can we expect other people to treat us with respect if we can't do it ourselves?  You know how we avoid saying bad words around our kids because we don't want them to repeat them?  Well, I think Black people should do the same.  Avoid using things that upset us so that other people don't do the same.

Paula Deen didn't make a mistake.  She chose to use that word.  Let's stop calling it a mistake.  Let's call it what it is, sin.  It's a sin to say horrible things about other people.  It's a sin to consider people lower on the totem pole than you.  It's a sin to consider people less than you.  Paula Deen's problem isn't a use of a word "once."  Paula Deen's problem is her believe that she is superior simply because she isn't Black.  Like I said, if she's said it once, she's said it too many times.  And from past experience, that once isn't all.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What If...

So obviously it's Fathers' Day.  If your Facebook friends' random pictures of their dad didn't tell you, I'm sure some suit store commercial did.  Fathers' Day has a completely different meaning to me.  You see, I was only blessed to have my father in my life for six years.  I won't go through all the details, but he passed away tragically.  I had a stepfather who wasn't quite sure how to be a father, or any kind of man for that matter.  I have a stepfather now who I know loves my family very much.  I don't get too choked up or concerned about Fathers' Day because of all those factors.

I always wonder, "what if my father were still alive today?"  It's quite the haunting thought.  I think about if I would be in the position I would be in right now.  I wonder if I would have the life I have.  Would my family have moved to South Carolina if Dad were still alive?  Would I have been as active in church?  Would I have even gone to church?  It's a really deep line of thinking.  It's almost like soul searching, really.

I think it's better not to think in those terms.  In the end, God has me exactly where I need to be.  Everything that has happened in my life is exactly the way my life was supposed to go.  We always talk ask, "why do bad things happen to good people?"  The truth is there really is no such thing as good people, just people doing good things.  We're all kinds of messed up sometimes.  I think things happen to us to teach us lessons. Sometimes, those lessons are hard.  Sometimes, those lessons come days, weeks, months, even years afterwards.

I think that happened to me.  My father's death when I was six was very confusing.  However I truly believe that God had a plan.  It took pretty much my college career to truly realize that plan.  I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the idea that God had a plan through all this, but it's the truth.  When I saw God leading me to teach youth, I saw the light.  When the Good Lord led me to be in special education, I really got the idea.

My father's death was truly saddening.  It was maddening as well.  It was just a bad time.  However now that I know that it was the catalyst to how my is life now, I'm not as bothered by it.  I also know that my father is in Heaven, watching down and cheering me on.  It has taught me about faith, strength, and patience. Patience especially.  Patience for God's plan.  Patience with other people.  Patience with life in general.

I want to wish all those fathers out there.  Not babydaddys, that's a stupid and disrespectful term.  I'm talking true fathers.  Those who dedicate their lives to their kids.  Those who do everything to make their kids better, including treating their mothers with respect.  I want to say Happy Fathers' Day to you.  Be blessed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Here we go again...

So apparently this commercial has caused a lot of issues.  There is a healthy amount of people, and by healthy I mean an amount larger than 1000, that believe that this commercial is awful simply because the family is interracial  Considering that scientifically speaking there is only one race, it's more like the family has differing amounts of melanin in their systems.  However for the sake of this blog and the controversy, we'll just go with different races.

Anyway, I wonder why people have such a problem with interracial relationships and families.  What is the big deal with someone dating someone that isn't a match?  In particular, why do people avoid the interracial relationship for themselves?  I've kind of narrowed it down to five reasons.  The first four can be fixed with a little open mindedness and introspection.  The fifth, well there's really no hope, but you'll figure that out when you read it.  Anyway, here we go.  And if you're one of those that had a problem with said commercial, maybe you should figure out your hang ups and try to fix them.

1.  No Opportunity
Sometimes you just don't get the opportunity.  You have nothing against it, you just haven't met anyone in that category.  And that's cool.  Some people live in neighborhoods where it's not possible to do so.  Sometimes, you meet that childhood sweetheart and don't even bother to play the field.  Nothing wrong with that.  Maybe the opportunity will come for you and you'll see that they're not all that bad.

2. Not Your Preference
You don't have anything against it, but you like your future husband or wife to have certain traits that quite frankly aren't possible with other races.  I mean I guess it's possible, but you'd need surgery, hair dye, contacts, and drugs to accomplish it, see Michael Jackson.  You don't have anything against it for anyone else, but you don't find that particular side of the melanin scale.  If you're wondering, Asian women aren't really my thing.  However if I find that particular future wife and she happens to be Asian, I'm not going to complain.  God has a sense of humor, I'm used to it.

3.  Family Issues
You may not have an issue with it, but you're deathly afraid of being disowned by your family.  I totally understand.  Family is important.  They shaped and molded you into who you are today.  However, there has to come a point where you make a decision.  You have to decide if your happiness is less or more important than your family.  And trust me on this, if your family has issues with who God may have for you, God will set you up anyway.  I've been in that situation where the family wasn't a fan.  Once I realized that that person was more interested in keeping their family happy than keeping themselves happy, I eliminated that person.  At some point, you became a grown up.  Time to make grown up decisions without fear of consequence.

4. Biblical Reasons
Now it gets dicey.  There are verses and passages that tell the Jewish people to avoid other nations and races.  However, we have to remember that the Jewish people back then were quite gullible to other religions and forgetting God's grace and word.  This doesn't apply to us Gentiles, or anyone really.  God really doesn't have an issue with two Christians being together, even they're different colors.  So once you realize that it's not a sin and it's okay, you're good again.

5. Inferiority
This is the reason that I believe is hardest to get over.  Once you believe that any race is inferior, you're pretty much not going to change.  You have to really think about your thoughts on other people going forward.  When you see a commercial with an interracial family, you first ask "what's that doing with that?"  That's not a good look.  Point being, thinking anyone is inferior is terrible.  You need to work on that.  You're not that perfect, so stop thinking that.

I've thought about this thing for a while.  I used to just think that people who were against it were just racist, bigoted, ignorant folks.  However, I've had to adjust my thinking.  There are reasons things like that happen, and it's not just people being against me or others.  I've had to humble myself to the fact that people have extenuating circumstances.

It's time we as Americans realize that people that aren't like you and me exist.  We also have to realize that people that don't look like you or me date each other.  We also have to realize that sometimes, they have kids together.  They also get married.  They live long, happy, healthy lives.  And their kids are great looking, for what it's worth.  It's time we stop fussing and complaining and start accepting.  Like I said, nothing illegal is happening, so whatever.

I'm open to discussion, friendly banter, and what not.  If you feel like giving me your side, feel free.  I enjoy it.  I embrace it.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer Time

Another school year has come and gone.  This past Wednesday was the last day of school for the county I work in.  I have to say it was an interesting year.  There was a lot change just during the year.  I saw kids develop and grow into tougher kids.  I've seen kids develop their skills well beyond any expectation that some doubters had.  It was a pretty amazing year.

I made some pretty amazing friends.  I already have some great friends, but I made more.  You can never have too many amazing friends.  I looked it up, amazing friends limits just don't exist.  My co-workers were awesome.  I learned a lot from them.  I know that's weird considering I'm kind of an elder statesman, but if you're not learning, you're wasting your life.

I think about where I'm headed both this summer and my future.  I'm in that weird zone of what I would like to do and what I am doing.  I'm kind thinking about doing some classes to just go on and get the full teacher license.  I'm looking at different avenues.  Hopefully does avenues are cheaper and less time consuming.  Although, time consumption can keep me out of trouble.

I have summer time.  I know I'll be working with the fella, but I actually lucked out and got a pretty early shift.  That gives me all afternoons and evening to myself.  Maybe I could pursue that higher education thing.  I also plan on hanging out with my friends more.  I plan on going to Wednesday night church more often.  I plan on playing golf a little more.  I figured out a cheaper way to get lessons.  Just find my way to where the tour pro is teaching and eavesdrop.  Genius, I tell you.  I want to go to baseball games.  I want to get on a kickball team.  Yeah, kickball.  Which reminds me, if you're interested in playing with me, send me a tweet @TheOnlyTyronly or message me on Facebook.

I've been blessed to have some time to see my family.  My nephew is growing like a weed.  And honestly, he's a lot smarter than kids two and three times his age.  He's also very short sighted.  Kid can't stay still long enough to complete a task.  I guess we all were that way at one point.  Shoot, I didn't even talk till I was three.  It was just a lot of fun seeing my family again.  I'll see them again in August, along with my former high school classmates for a 15 year reunion.  That will be fun.

I'm also going on an awesome mission trip.  Last year I went on a mission trip to Sugar Hill, GA and it was tremendous.  This year I'm going to Chattanooga, TN.  Again we'll be helping build and repair homes.  That's what missions is, being helpful to those who need it.  Not just talking to them, but doing things that no one else would do for them.  It's supporting and helping those who can't quite help themselves.

Overall, I'm excited about this summer.  Not sure where it's going to lead me, but I know I will have a good time finding out.