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25 November 2014

THANKFULNESS/GRATITUDE/THANKSGIVING 2014 UPDATE

 This is a re-posting of my Thanksgiving messages of 2013.  We are, again, at the crossroads of human suffering with a lot of recent trauma related to the killings of unarmed black youth, pathological hatred,  justice denied, overall escalation of human misery, global wars, persecution, genocide and the unremitting and daunting effects of poverty. The latter is just to name a few.  In the midst of all this...we continue to  publicly celebrate the rite of Thanksgiving.  Acts of kindness still abound, many people are doing well despite the hardships expressed which is usually the case.  "Many things are true at once" , however, we must not forget or fail to continue to advocate and diligently work for changes that enhance humanity and lend to making subsequent Thanksgivings more meaningful.
 
"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received.  Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." ~ Henry Van Dyke ~


It's that time of the year again and I find myself still trying to reconcile the concepts of being thankful or grateful for what we have and frankly what we hope that we'll keep and certainly relieved that things aren't as bad as they are for much of humanity. "Fearing to lose what you have is not the same as appreciation" ~ Terry Guillemets ~
I've written several posts on this holiday from different perspectives including that of some Native Americans.{ See link 'National Day of Mourning.'} There are the exasperated  sighs  from  folks who find some form of gratitude or thankfulness in the most dire circumstances when they encounter people like me. Their perceptions are that we are the ones hardwired to focus more on the maladies of humankind instead of being thankful for those blessings that others share or for those who are doing relatively well despite their problems.  The consideration of societal and individual limitations coupled with solution building can enhance one's ability to be truly grateful in the face of dreaded happenstances.  As a collective we should give thanks.  I do believe that.
There is, however, a passage from one of Dr. King's sermons that reinforces my perception that we should always shine a light on and work towards the resolution of the suffering and injustice that much of humanity endures on a daily basis. The celebrated day of Thanksgiving is no exception.  The passage reads: "The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

With that said; I  enjoy reading articles and collecting quotes on thankfulness and gratitude. Many of them made a distinction between being thankful and having gratitude.


"Being thankful is to acknowledge the contributions of others. While, thankfulness represents an understanding of such contributions, it does not necessarily represent a deep, heartfelt embrace of the contributions."
"Having gratitude is to really feel and embrace the contributions of others and the power of the universe in your life.  Gratitude moves the intellectual acknowledgement of being thankful to a deep feeling representing the intersection of intellect and soul."  ~ Wecare ~

This policy for the uninsured under constant fire!

Gratitude is a real, palpable feeling, like pleasure or pain, and thankfulness is the most natural response to it. Two distinctly different things, joined at the hip." ~ Alan Roettinger ~




"It makes it difficult for many of us to find a reason to be thankful. Of course we have heard time and time again that there is always some one experiencing greater hardship than we are, and although true, it does not always make our personal hardships any less painful." 

"Life indeed is a roller coaster ride, enjoy the highs and find reasons to be thankful for during the lows and you will make out just fine."  ~Michael Szczepanik ~







"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."  ~ Maya Angelou ~

 11/23/11 statement on Thanksgiving rings true today as it did then and merits reprinting:

These are troubling times and many are left with feelings of hopelessness, despair and frankly an attitude of skepticism on what this day means to millions of folks not only in this country but around the world.  The haves vs the have-nots which is a common refrain on the nightly news and on many sites in cyberspace.

We have each other and there are caring folks who not only stock the food pantries on holidays  but during the year as well.  They raise funds to help those  who've been treated unfairly by happenstance and continue to advocate utilizing various venues for those of us who are unemployed, homeless and marginalized by the larger societies.  Although for many there is very little to be thankful for; they go deep within and find some gratitude for just being...gratitude for those who fight tirelessly for humanity...gratitude that yes things could be worse for many of us but we are still here and eking out a living for a better day. For those who are doing well or okay...let us not look in disdain and contempt toward those who have fallen on harder times.        
The prayer of sharing should be in our hearts and thankfulness that you can make donations and  assist those who have various needs in such a way that they can eventually do for themselves.  In remembrance of this spirit; may your efforts become a part of who you are--not only during the holiday season but throughout the year.  This is my Thanksgiving appeal!

23 November 2014

The Duplicitous and Deceptive Behaviors of Bill Cosby & Ultimately His Downfall!

I've been reading a number of articles about what many are calling the 'deconstruction' of Bill Cosby and the comments made by the readers of these articles which I found confounding as well as interesting. There are three of these articles that I'd like to share on this post.  One of them featured in Salon is Dr. Cooper's assessment which was especially poignant regarding the tragedy of this situation and the years of dishonesty, reprehensible behaviors and betrayal of women including his wife.  It's even more heartbreaking for it seems more telling now that his brutal (some call it tough love affronts) and verbal assaults against young men, women of color and blacks in general a smokescreen.  The latter a result of his private demons and displacement of  feelings about his aberrant behaviors over the years.  Dr. Cooper's take is as follows:

We must abandon Bill Cosby: A broken trust with women, black America.

   
  Brittney Cooper Brittney Cooper is a contributing writer at Salon, and teaches Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. Follow her on Twitter at @professorcrunk



A few more observations on this sad state of affairs:

The image(s) of a brash, confident Bill Cosby climbing the entertainment ladder and making a public name for himself that evoked pride and purpose and a private one as a womanizer and sexual molester.




Oh no...not 'Dr. Huxtable' who had a successful run of The Cosby Show and became America's Dad.
He not only became trapped in that image and meme; he had accumulated enough hubris to start pointing 
a finger at all the wrongs of black folks.  He took no prisoners and said things about us that even those law abiding and hard working folks in these so-called "at risk" communities began to wonder about his disconnectedness and failure to realize that we are not one-dimensional.  Blanket accusations of black culture/folks made him the darling of many whites for he never addressed the systems that were in place that maintained white supremacy and absolved those who perpetuated it and continue to do 
so in these United States.  The onus was strictly on us for he made it and 
those blacks whom he believed were contributors to society and not 
slackers and dependent on government services also made it!! 


Bill Cosby, a 77 year old man with years of sexual molestation allegations hovering over him is  now being forced to face the consequences of what he's sowed over the years. All those who came forth during those previous years telling their stories to mainly deaf ears and those newcomers aren't going away. There are probably some who lack credibility, however, 16+ women aren't all delusional/untrustworthy for there is a pattern.  No one can help him now, 'Cliff', his philanthropy (the most endearing aspect) and 50 year marriage to Mrs. Camille Cosby. 
The picture above was taken during a recent videotaped interview with an AP interviewer.  The formal topic was  his private African Art Collection Exhibition at the Smithsonian. He refused to answer questions regarding the allegations and after the interview asked the interviewer to 'scuttle' what he did say in response to them. His request was denied. It was telling and sad to view especially the strange affect (was that a smile or anguish?) on his wife's face while making this request. He further stated that 'we' aren't going to talk about that'.

It was also indicated that the statute of limitations are your protection from legal prosecution, however , your legacy  which includes generous gifts to causes and your successes in the entertainment field will be overshadowed by your previous sexually 'alleged' crimes and your skewed conservatism directed mainly at black folks.
  
The other articles by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Nikki Giovanni about Bill Cosby in response to  the rape/molestation  allegations and his conservative rants about black folks in general rings true today and are as follows:

'The Audacity of Bill Cosby's Black Conservatism' ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates{2008}
Nikki Giovanni Comments on Bill Cosby {2007}

26 October 2014

The Bottom Line on Toni Morrison's Papers: It's Her Choice

I debated whether or not I should post my opinion(s) to current controversy over Ms. Morrison's decision to house her papers at Princeton given that she was a student, teacher and actually began writing 'The Bluest Eye' at Howard University.  As with most of these self-inflicted dilemmas; I've decided to do so.

It further occurred to me if, indeed, the masses of black folks with more pressing concerns would really care.  This is all so academic and as one pundit indicated quite elitist.  However, we do live in the era of public intellectualism and an interest in literary works that spans across all socioeconomic lines. The internet, public radio/t.v. and cable have contributed to informing the public on a variety of subjects. Ms. Morrison has also presented and continues to appear (although less frequently of late) in a number of forums open to the public.  I believe she is respected and admired in ways that exceed age, class and ethnicity.  

26 September 2014

The Disheartening and Ennobling Paradox of Grief


'And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation'
~ The Prophet ~

A few of my posts have been tributes and remembrances of public figures/celebrities from the political, literary and  entertainment fields as well as the  tragic and unexpected deaths of young people by rogue cops or misguided gang members. There have, also, been those who've chosen to discontinue this journey by reasons only God and they knew at that time.  With the exception of the tributes to my parents; most of these posts have been about folks whom I didn't know personally but respected and admired for their talents and humanitarian endeavors.   

I, now, find myself again addressing personal grief with the transition of my niece, Thema  from complications associated with  Myasthenia gravis disease which is incurable.  She was valiant for a number of years in fighting this disorder and one never got the impression that she felt sorry for her predicament.  It was a debilitating process and she became weaker towards the end and worried about leaving her young children without their mother. Although, I didn't see her the past couple of years; I kept up with her on social media and was in a prayerful mode for an extended period.  It was my hope that she would again experience a period when the symptoms were less dramatic with a more acceptable level of functioning. 

13 August 2014

Editorial: Michael Brown and Anti-Black Violence

 I'm keenly aware of what I wrote in my July 12th post about spiritual nourishment/renewal and creating more of a  balance that focuses on the best instincts and behaviors of humanity.  Although the intent is still there, I find it necessary  to share this  editorial on the Feminist Wire site regarding the recent murder of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a 'rogue' police officer.  It is well written and  speaks to this expanding and ongoing  assault on our unarmed black youth and adults across this country by law enforcement.  It is what it is and a feel good story isn't going to work for me at this point.  I remain hopeful.


 


12 July 2014

'The Road Less Traveled' For Contemplation & Spiritual Renewal

I'm taking time off to do some serious introspection for fear that with all the turmoil and strife we're facing on the domestic front and globally; I may be losing my center. Beyond the 'silver lining' in those dark clouds; how about just the former.  Most people worry about their destiny and what fate holds for them only to realize that "a person often meets his (her) destiny on the road he (she) took to avoid it" ~ J. de la Fontaine. It can be a  painful process when confronting not only your personal issues but having the audacity to comment on the shortcomings of others with very few solutions. Overwhelming....to say the least.