It's about our community and our spirituality!

The Slander Of The Gander

I absolutely positively cannot wait to get my hands on the latest copy of the New Yorker.  The art cover features Barack and Michelle Obama in their true guise, at least according to a lot of less than well informed Americans who get their information from an institution of inconsequential integrity such as FOX News, more accurately described as the bizarro world news network.

Despite his protest to the contrary a lot of hardworking, white Americans cling to their bitter belief that Mr. Obama is a closet Muslim and Ms. Obama is a fist bumping terrorist who is also a Louis Farrakhan devotee and is the leader of the Chicago chapter of the Osama bin Laden fan club.  Ms. Obama loves Osama so much she married a man whose name is just one letter away from the terrorist leader.  I would not be surprised if there was a rumor floating about that she was set to live in Omaha until she realized it didn’t rhyme with Osama or Obama.

The magazine features an illustration from Barry Blitt named The Politics of Fear in which the Democratic presidential nominee and his wife are shown wearing traditional Muslim garb in the oval office of the White House, presumably after Mr. Obama won the presidency.  The drawing of Michelle Obama has a huge angry black woman afro while wearing fatigues and combat boots with an automatic assault rifle over her shoulder.  Mr. Obama is wearing a traditional Muslim headdress and attire ala Osama bin Laden style.  And to top it all off the stars and stripes is shown burning in a fireplace blaze while Osama’s portrait hangs above.

The only thing the cartoon needs is little caricatures of Sasha and Malia.  It would be the icing on the cake of comic fabrication to see the two girls depicted with bomb vests and copies of the Quran while wearing the traditional garb of Arab women.  I know that they’re much too young to be wearing the covering from head to toe.  But we are trying to drive home the point that the reality surrounding the Democratic candidate has been distorted to the point of severe absurdity.

This is not the first time the Democratic presidential nominee has been lampooned.  Dozens of cartoons of the Senator from Illinois appear in various newspapers, weekly and monthly periodicals, websites, and elsewhere on an hourly basis.  He has been satirized on Saturday Night Life.  Comics galore stand in line to ridicule any weakness in his political armor.  And even one of the hardest working white joes in the workforce is ready to make a dime off of this historic presidential run of an African American by plastering a picture of the monkey Curious George with the caption Obama ’08 on a t-shirt.

The official response from Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign referred to the illustration art as tasteless and offensive.  If anybody has a clear reason for being offended by this lampoon it would be the Muslim community that continues to be slandered by an affiliation with terrorism and unpatriotic tendencies.  Mr. Obama refused to give an opinion about the cover.  Other people have made their much less than favorable opinion known.  Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, many people will continue to unfairly associate his character with a negative stereotype without any foundation in reality.  Not unlike the way Mr. Obama continues to hold fast to his opinion that black people need to take more personal responsibility for the conditions of the black community before the nation takes any social responsibility.

At the annual NAACP convention Mr. Obama reiterated his call that black people show greater responsibility for improving their own lives.  Mr. Obama urged Washington to provide more education and economic assistance.  He called on corporate America to exercise greater social responsibility.  But he received his largest applause as he urged blacks to demand more of ourselves.  Said Mr. Obama, “I know some say I’ve been too tough on folks talking about responsibility.  NAACP, I’m here to report [that] I’m not going to stop talking about it.  Because as much I’m out there to fight to make sure that government’s doing its job and the marketplace is doing its job, none of it will make a difference, at least not enough of a difference, if we also don’t at the same time seize more responsibility in our own lives.”  I guess the other racial groups don’t have to have any personal responsibility.

Mr. Obama insists on holding steadfast to the notion that the black community is somehow more corrupt or somehow more irresponsible than any other race of people.  A cursory glance at headlines would support Mr. Obama’s assumptions.  But the headlines are controlled by a dominant community that would rather backhand people in the black community than extend a helping hand.  We all could take more responsibility for our communities.

For example, Mr. Obama could have gone before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and tell the Jewish community that Israel could take more responsibility for ending the tensions with the Arab community and Iran in particular.  Mr. Obama could stand at his podium and tell Hillary Clinton to take more responsibility for the debt she incurred when she campaigned against Mr. Obama.  I didn’t see anybody say John Edwards or anyone else deserved a handout for racking up debt.  What makes these other examples of irresponsibility so much more tolerable?

I seriously doubt that the problem of broken families in the black community is significantly more of a problem than the broken families in other communities.  I have to admit that I have not seen any numbers on the subject.  But if the propaganda that says black crime is so much more staggering than white crime compared to the actual crime numbers broken down by race is any indication, I have to say that unless Mr. Obama can produce some actual numbers from credible sources, all he is doing is reinforcing the negative image of the black community to his supporters who want to believe the stereotypical hype against black people.

There is little to support Barack Obama’s emphasis calling for more responsibility for the black community in relation to the level of responsibility in other community’s.  No matter what the reality is Mr. Obama will cling to his supposition that black people are the most irresponsible community of people in America.  So why would he of all people expect anything less from those of us who think he is a Muslim and his wife is a whitey hater with nothing to support their claims?  The way I see it, what’s good for the slandered goose is even better for the slandered gander.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Barack Obama, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Hair, Black History, Black Men, Black On Black Crime, Black People, Life, Michelle Obama, Politics, Racism, Thoughts | 30 Comments

Attention Getting Behavior

Earth Marble

One of the funniest things I find is people’s insistence that the universe was literally made by god in six human days. One Christian visitor to my blog berated my ability to separate fact from fiction because I believe the evidence that shows that human activity has contributed greatly to the global warming phenomenon. I was ready for a serious and open debate on this subject until this visitor turned around and said that all the evidence that supports Darwin’s Theory that life on earth developed as an evolutionary process is fiction and that god created this world and everything on it in one hundred forty four hours or so as measured by the human clock. Essentially, many of us are arrogant enough to think that the Supreme Being is or Beings are bound by our rules and definitions.

In the belief system of Ifa people regularly want to apply similar limitations and restrictions based on standards of human behavior on spiritual entities that are not even remotely bound by our weaknesses or, conversely, limited by human strengths. These entities have an existence that we cannot even begin to imagine. It is truly a form of under appreciation to think that these spiritual entities will respond to us, positively or negatively, the way another person would respond whenever we have the ability to influence their behavior. Orisas are not our neighbors or our family members. They are not our servants waiting to respond to our beck and call or merchants waiting for us to make a deal for the price of an ebo. We have essentially zero influence on our ancestors and Orisas and Olodumare.

Regardless of what we have learned about being able to contact spiritual beings through prayer and meditation, regardless of how we have learned that these entities are just waiting around ready to respond to our prayers, our request for services are not going into Orisas’ or the Supreme Being’s inbox. On the other hand, when we fail to live up to what we believe to be the standards of good character none of these spiritual entities are waiting in the wings to pounce and punish us. Simple acts of human weakness aren’t even close to registering on the conscience of these spiritual entities. In the grand scheme of things we are just not that important.

So what would get the Supreme Being’s attention? To me, this is a scary thought for several reasons. First of all, I don’t think Olodumare, the Supreme Being, or Orisas would or could appreciate having their chains yanked by anybody on Earth. It is my understanding that these entities are spread across the cosmos applying their energies into the management of their natural manifestations on planets and other heavenly bodies in a number too large to be fully appreciated by human comprehension. Other planets, solar systems, galaxies, and even universes are being created, changed, and destroyed on a constant basis. They are busy. So why would I want to disturb them just so I can get what I want?

Okay, that’s not quite true. I’m constantly doing my best to bother Orisas. The personal connections and the personal familiarity I feel with these entities give me a little courage to grab a smidgen of their notice every now and then. But never would I think that I can manipulate these entities to have them do my personal bidding.  I had a running joke with Orunmila asking Baba for the next winning lottery numbers.  His used to reply with the question like, how would that help my spiritual development.  Now he just ignores me.

However, the Supreme Being is a totally different matter altogether. When the big “O” takes notice something significant is bound to happen. When I saw the spiritual reading for the year and I heard Orunmila say that Olodumare is taking notice of us and our situation, my sense of anxiety went up a notch. In my limited perspective, I was thinking something strange was going to happen in the environment. Global warming is on the horizon and I just know we will see weather patterns that would dwarf anything that has happened to date. Level nine tornadoes that last for days and class twelve hurricanes are just a matter of time. Somehow, deserts will start forming in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Glaciers will shrink while water levels rise. And everybody will have a burning bush in their backyard.

But what is most scary isn’t the fact that severe weather is coming. Whether or not we believe that this future bad weather is a product of human behavior is not an issue. We all know bad weather is coming. What is truly scary is how we continue to refuse to come together as a people to do whatever we can to minimize the pain of the changes that are coming on the horizon. Too many people have too much to lose from a financial perspective if we acknowledge problems. Too many people are too busy protecting their personal interest at the expense of everyone else’s welfare that we can’t get anything done. Too many people have the attitude, what’s in it for me?

It is my theory that our inability to take the welfare of everyone in our global community to heart will be our undoing. Many of us talk a good game about caring for our fellowman and having integrity. But it is my experience that nobody tells the truth until it is irrefutable. Nobody comes clean unless they are compelled by proof so concrete it convinces the masses to the point where denial is not an option. So many of us are convinced that we are being clever and street smart and savvy and whatever when we deny others in need. However, we are also being narcissistic and greedy and self centered and self serving. People think we have the right to push other species to the brink of extinction because we need to expand our concrete jungles and four thousand square foot homes.

We have become so selfish that it actually makes more sense for us to sit back and watch people die rather than spend the money to help someone with a life threatening condition or illness. We don’t even have the good sense to protect our fragile environment that sustains and protects us from ourselves because that would give our financial competitors an economic advantage.  Not enough of us care about the fact that we live in a world where we tell people who are unable to fend for themselves to pick themselves up by their bootstrap while we continue to give millionaires and billionaires who sing and dance for our entertainment even more money. It’s gotten to a point that our economically political, industrially oriented, profit at the expense of everything else, dominating culture has taken over and refuses to let go.

Nature abhors an imbalance. And in the spiritual tradition of Ifa, the Orisas and Olodumare are nothing if not the epitome of nature’s conscience. The imbalance I refer to is not the imbalance of our natural surroundings or the atmosphere doing its best to respond to the affects we have had on our environment. I am not talking about the imbalance of pollution of this physical realm. I refer to the imbalance of people’s hearts and our inability to collectively care about the least of us. We have always been led to believe that humanity was supposed to be better than this. In the true manifestation of human nature, at least in this respect, we have failed miserably. And when a creation is a failure it usually gets the attention of the creator. It just might be time to go back to the drawing board and start over or at least make some significant adjustments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Faith, Ifa, Orisa, Religion, Spirituality | Leave a comment