Friday, September 30, 2005

In the Metro (a smaller commuter newspaper) of 7/20/05 there was a letter to the editor on the Boston Red Sox baseball team, David Ortiz. Someone called Payola Reyes, expressed concern over Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz, being called "a Black Man". Reyes says that David Ortiz is "not black but his skin is just dark" and "he is Latino." Well, there is no denying that he is Latino, but denying that he is black is a joke. Ortiz’s features look very African, even more than some African Americans.

I’m sure that David Ortiz could easily trace his heritage to some village in West Africa, just like most Black Americans. The heritage of most Black South Americans and Caribbean people is West and East Africa…their ancestors were stolen from Africa and forced to work as slaves (similar to Black Americans). In the USA, anyone with any known African ancestry is deemed an African American. That’s just the way it is. So many white or white looking people have gone through great lengths to hide or even forget their black heritage. Maybe if it weren’t for the horrible legacy of slavery and its aftermath, Reyes wouldn’t feel so bad about Ortiz being called a Black Man. Then again, a lot of Black people of Latino/Hispanic origin don't want to be called black. It's such that on forms there is a category called Black Of Hispanic Origin.

Reyes is concerned that blacks are stereotyped as being the same. I don’t know how that can be changed, because unfortunately human nature judges by appearance first. And in America it’s worse as people judge people first by the color of their skin, then whatever next.

Like Ortiz, I have foreign heritage, and I proudly call myself a black woman. I don’t need people making excuses for why I shouldn’t called, ‘black’.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

On Hurricane Katrina…

Many people put stuff they don’t want in the cellars of their homes and then forget about it. Then one day they go down there open the door and see what’s down there and they say, I had forgotten all about it.

Well Hurricane Katrina pulled the door off the cellar of the USA, exposing its contents to the world. In this case, it was a huge community of poor mostly African Americans in New Orleans, the home of Jazz music and a popular tourist destination as well. Then with the world watching the USA allowed these people to drown, die and exist in intolerable conditions for days.

Thanks to heavy news coverage, the world watched as babies and the elderly died of thirst and heat exhaustion on live TV. They watched as people starved and were forced to live in squalor without basic necessities. They watched dead bodies, bloat and decompose in front of their eyes on American streets! A lot of commentators said the scenes from New Orleans looked like a Third World Country likening it to the Sudan or Ethiopia.

Then we even saw a few people in despair kill themselves because they believed that there was no hope. No hope in America! Well Excuuuuuuz ME! This is the US of A which claims to be the world’s policeman and the best place on earth to live. It’s the land of plenty. It’s the same USA which can fly food and water and other aid to other continents in a matter of hours. Yet, as we saw it couldn’t do the same for people in need on US soil!

Rapper Kanye West, stirred up controversy when he said in an unscripted moment during a fundraiser for the Hurricane victims, “George Bush doesn’t like Black People”. This raised all sorts of commentary about the President not being a racist, and why is West turning this into a race issue. Well truth be told, New Orleans was a race issue. If the bulk of the victims had been middle class white folks, they would have had their Aid within hours, just like the victims of last years Hurricane’s in Florida. As to Bush not liking Black people, I would say that he doesn’t care about black people or the poor for that matter. That was probably instilled in him by his Mom Barbara Bush. She made some awful, snobby, heartless comments about the poor being better off because of Hurricane Katrina. How can anyone be better off living on a sports field with thousands of other, waiting in long lines for food and the bathroom, no privacy whatsoever and sleeping on a cot.

And while the President ate cake and strummed a guitar (yes he did) New Orleans drowned. Then the President told the now disgraced former head of FEMA, “You’re doing a heck of a job Brownie”! This is the same Michael Brown who hours earlier claimed on national TV not to know of the desperate thousands at the New Orleans Conference Center. Now he’s trying to throw the blame on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and the Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. He should be a man admit that he made mistakes and is sorry!

Maybe Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of exposing the truth about the Good Ole US of A.

On a positive note we saw a humane side to America. In shelters, blacks were helping whites, and whites helped black. Later, people took in perfect strangers. We saw white families taking in black families, black families taking in white families. People opening their wallets hoping that the money can indeed be used to help their fellow Americans in need. We saw kids selling lemonade and donating the proceeds to victims. We also saw Texas take in the bulk of Hurricane victims, while other states took in some. Politics and the Bush mess aside, this is the Spirit of America.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Well this Blog thing is new to me. I've been reading about how it's gotten people into trouble.

I've decided to give it a try and will blog in English and Swahili.