life beyond the well…

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Mr. President, can you excuse me from…

My president is pretty cool.  I’ve always thought that, but after hearing about this story last week, it’s been confirmed.

While at a town hall meeting, President Obama was asked a question by a man in the audience.  The man also mentioned that he had brought along his daughter, Kennedy, to the town hall meeting and he hoped that her absence would be excused.

Our president, being who he is, proceeds to write a letter for Kennedy, which says, “To Kennedy’s Teacher:  Please excuse Kennedy’s absence.  She’s with me.”

Since I now know that he’s in the excuse letter writing business, I have some things that I need him to excuse me from…and also some things that need to be excused:

  1. Faculty Meetings
  2. Faculty In-Service Training
  3. HR Meetings
  4. Anything that requires me to consistently wear a skirt/dress
  5. Long lines at the grocery store
  6. Any Wal-Mart that doesn’t offer butter cream cupcakes
  7. Plies, T-Pain, and on some occasions, Lil Wayne
  8. Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It” sandwiched between two secular songs (ie: Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”, Never Would Have Made It, Shirley Murdock’s “As We Lay”)
  9. Rude people
  10. THAT coworker (everyone has one…and if you can’t think of one, you’re THAT coworker for everyone else)
  11. Florida Traffic/Drivers (Are you really blowing your horn AS SOON AS the light turns green, when you’re car #4 at the light?  You weren’t going to be moving right away ANYWAY)
  12. Mosquitoes
  13. People who constantly retweet on Twitter
  14. The Iphone vs. Blackberry debate
  15. Skinny jeans and scarfs for men

Okay…so I think I’ll stop there.  For now.  What would you want President Obama to excuse you from or to just excuse in general?


100 Days!

It’s official.  President Obama has survived his first 100 days in office.  In case you’re not clear on what has been accomplished, you can check out this very neat interactive calendar provided by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

You can click on each day, and a pop up shows something that President Obama accomplished on that day.  I think it’s pretty cool.

I also think that over these past 100 days, President Obama has become more comfortable and extremely more confident in his ability to lead our country.  While he always spoke very eloquently about his belief that he had what it takes to lead our country, I feel that now he’s being more assertive about his agenda, and really tackling the issues head-on…as a president should.

Yes, it’s a crazy chaotic situation in America.  We’re at war, in a horrible recession, and facing a terrible sickness-  among other things.  But overall, it’s been a good 100 days.

Kudos to you, President Obama!


All sorts of things…

I always promise to update this blog more- and I always intend to keep that promise.  With all the thoughts that I have swirling through my head, you’d think that this blog could easily be transformed into a book by now.  Alas, I take the easy way out and avoid writing, which is something that I LOVE, for other things- such as ummm…teaching, and ummm lesson planning, and stuff of the sort.

The last time I wrote, I was in the midst of the annual family Christmas gathering.  And while I mentioned my fear of flying, I’m happy to report that I have (obviously) made it home to Florida, and continued with my regularly scheduled life, which was already in progress.  The worst part of the flight was that it was nonstop.  Seriously, I hate flying so much that I often have layovers to calm myself.  Nevertheless, it was a smooth trip, and I got a nap in, as well as some project graded.

For me, the joy of 2009 has, thus far, been the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.  It makes me sad to report that I was unable to make the trip to the inauguration (especially since my mother received an official invite that she decided not to use nor share with me…but I’m not bitter).  However, I did watch the inauguration with some of my students, as it was required by the school that we watch it.  It was an incredibly emotional moment for me, and I was completely unashamed of the tears that streamed down my face as I stood in front of a classroom full of 6th graders watching President Obama take the oath of office.  While I’ve never really felt limited in what  I could accomplish, I now truly feel empowered and excited about the fact that so many things are possible to me.  And I think that’s a feeling across America now, but especially in the African American community.  The sentiment that was consistently echoed was two fold- older African Americans (perhaps those who experienced the Civil Rights Movement and periods before and after) didn’t feel that they would see an African American president in their lifetime; younger African Americans didn’t think it would happen so soon.  The result is still the same- an entire nation of people now feel able and confident to dream again, and to pursue those dreams, because they truly believe that anything is possible.  Biblically, I can sum it up with two verses:  1 Corinthians 2:9 and Ephesians 3:20-21.

Of course with 2009 being a new year, I’ve set some goals for the year.  Goals, not resolutions.  Most of the goals revolve around me being more financially savvy and secure, and truly pursuing the things that I want out of life.  One month in, I feel that I’m off to a fairly good start, with the exception of the goal to work out.  If I could nail that one, I’d be a winner.

I’m proud to say that I’ve survived my first full semester as a teacher.  While I’d like to report that it’s gotten easier, it hasn’t.  And while there are times that I think that I’m better at managing all that teaching requires, there are other times where I’m ready to give this career “the finger” and keep it moving.  I can honestly say that I understand why many teachers quit after their first few years.  But as Jay-Z would say, “…this is the life I chose, or rather, the life that chose me.”  The positive is that I see headway in some areas, and I’m grateful for the encouragement and assistance from my coworkers, friends, family, and even from the students who say nice things that are just enough to keep me holding on until Friday (usually by Sunday evening, I’ve forgotten anything horrible about the last week, and I’m ready to dive in again).  So, in short, I’m still grinding it out, hoping to make a difference in the life of even one child.

Whew!  That was a mouthful.  Or rather, a handful.  At any rate, I figure I should probably write more often just so that those of you who read this don’t have to read as much.  I’m done making promises, but we’ll see what happens.  Until next time…

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Fear: The Promised Land Mentality

I had a professor when I was at UNC who expressed to me that the problem with my generation and other post Civil Rights Movement generations was that we were taught with “The Promised Land Mentality”.

What exactly is “The Promised Land Mentality”?  It’s the idea that we (as African Americans) have made it.  There are many in my generation that would be hard pressed to explain the segregated Jim Crow South.  They’d also be hard pressed to express knowledge in leaders other than Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X.  A few of my generational colleagues may know about Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer.  And a few more might know about Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis.  But if you start asking us about Diane Nash, James Farmer, James Bevel, or Septima Clark- our knowledge starts to wain.  While some of our ignorance can be pointed at the school systems for not teaching the Civil Rights Movement as thoroughly as other subject, part of the reason we don’t know these things is because we were not taught by those close to us who experienced it.

That’s right.  Our parents, family members, mentors, church members, and others have sold us short.  We’ve benefitted from their struggle, yet we don’t exactly know what the struggle is.  And that’s dangerous because it’s extremly difficult to appreciate the current situation without a knowledge of the past obstacles.

I say all of this because I’m afraid that the recent election of Barack Obama will lend the African American community to once again feeling that we have made it to the promised land.  I’m sad to say that we haven’t.  The election of Barack Obama is only the beginning.  We’re on our way to the promised land, and we’ve come a long way.  But we’re not there yet.  How do I know that we’re not there?  Because educational inequality exists.  Because gender inequality exists.  Because racial inequality exists.  There are so many inequalities that we cannot possibly have arrived in the promised land.  I refuse to believe that the promised land would offer so many broken promises to so many people.

My hope is that the inspiration that we’ve received from the election will be a catalyst for action- so that we can truly make it to the promised land.  This is not a time to be complacent.  There’s work to be done, and Barack Obama can’t do it by himself.  Our nation requires citizens who are not only informed, but willing to act.  Our children deserve parents who devoted themselves to the causes of freedom and equality.  Let us act in gratitude to those who came before us, and in preparation for those to come.  We’re not there…yet.

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What Losing White Privilege Sounds Like…

For those of you who haven’t heard/seen the John McCain concession speech, I like to think of it as “what losing white privilege sounds like.”

Tim Wise wrote about white privilege and the role that it played in the election.  You can read my entry on it here.

But for now, I think I’ll enjoy the droning sounds of Senator McCain, as he gracefully bows out…and hands over a little white privilege at the same time:

And, in all seriousness, it really was a good speech- and not because it was a McCain concession.  My sincere hope is that our nation will come together- and that we ALL take part in making our country the best that it can be.

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tonight’s the night

So, this is the night that I’ve been waiting for.  For several months, I’ve been wishing that I could just fast forward to this date so that we could see who is going to be the new president.

The night is here.  The time has come.  It looks like it’s going to be an Obama victory.

I’ll try to find the words to express my excitement at this historical moment.  I’ll start by saying that this is unbelievable and unreal.  Sometimes we have these dreams, and we understand that it’s possible that they can come true, but when they do…we’re just overwhelmed.  I feel that way about this.  I feel like I’m sitting outside of myself watching this happen.

I waited in line for about an hour and a half to vote during the early voting time in Florida.  It was the best wait of my life.  I felt so proud to be able to exercise my right to vote; so grateful to those who came before me who fought, struggled, and died so that I could be in line to vote.

**just a note** as I was typing this, the reports came in from the returns that Barack Obama has been elected president.  And I need to go get some tissue.

**okay, now that I’m back**  Like really.  This is amazing.  After a long, hard fight, Obama has become the first African American elected as President of the United States of America.  This is such a huge moment.

I’m proud to say that I was on the right side of history when I Baracked the vote.  I’m proud to say that I was alive to see this happen.  I’m so grateful for those who came before me who made this moment possible.  And I’m proud to say that my hope has been restored in the American dream, and I again feel that anything is possible for an African American in this country.

11.4.2008.  history made.


A Thank You to Tim Wise

…and thank you Carmen for sharing!  Tim Wise has just written one of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time on white privilege, explaining how it is having it’s way in the 2008 Presidential Election.

Here’s an excerpt:

“For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

A HUGE thank you to Tim Wise, for articulating this issue with white privilege in a manner so that we all could understand it.


A Monumental Week…

This week was amazing- in more ways that one.  Professionally, I completed my first FULL week of teaching and coaching middle school volleyball.  What an awesome and exhausting experience.  It’s so rewarding to be able to do something you love; so much so, that the fatigue that you feel from long hours doesn’t bother you.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love.

What was the real exciting part of the week for me was the Democratic National Convention.  I blinked back tears as I watched Michelle and Barack give wonderfully exciting speeches that have further propelled our country into anticipation of what’s to come in November.  As I’ve said before, I’ve always been hopeful that I would experience an African-American president during my lifetime.  I just didn’t think it would be this soon.  As I watch Senator Obama execute his campaign with dignity and class, I’m so overwhelmed with pride.  There really aren’t enough words to thoroughly express how I feel, but I’m working on it.

All in all, it was a pretty good week.  I’m still holding on…and I guess that’s a good thing.

Pray for me…

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Julian Bond Speaks the Truth on an Obama Presidency

I like the NAACP and I respect their work, more so historically than presently. And that’s me being honest. I think some people of my generation feel the same way.

However, I think that Julian Bond was on point with his remarks about an Obama Presidency at the NAACP Convention. Here’s an excerpt of an article published on

Julian Bond, a veteran civil rights leader, said Obama’s candidacy doesn’t “herald a post-civil rights America, any more than his victory in November will mean that race as an issue has been vanquished in America.”

But he drew loud applause when he said the country, and “all of us here,” are taking pride in the success in this year’s campaign by a candidate who couldn’t have stayed in some cities’ hotels a few decades ago.

“We know that Obama’s electoral success — even if he should win the ultimate prize — won’t signal an end to racial discrimination, but it does mark the high point of an interracial movement that dates back to the Underground Railroad,” Bond said, referring to Cincinnati’s historical role in helping fleeing slaves reach freedom.

I think it’s a great point to acknowledge. And I’m hoping that people don’t HONESTLY believe that having a black president would alleviate YEARS of racial inequality that is still present today. It’s definitely a move in the right direction; however, as to adjust the words of Robert Frost, the United States still “has promises to keep, and miles to go before she sleeps”…at least in the area of race relations.