By My Sense of Times Intertwined Deep with the Great Blacks

Making communities of color visible

I wanted to be white for three weeks in 4th grade (1965)because I was being rejected, being the only black kid in class in my elementary school in Bel Air. After three weeks I realized, wait, there’s nothing wrong with me, it’s them.  My home training countered the non-lessons I was getting: Slaves were smart. Slaves resisted every step of the way. We were the slaves that taught ourselves to read, when it was a death sentence.  Continue reading 

Toward a New Country

In between these massacres and the next

I want my country back. I want the country where “All My Relations” meant an expanded humanity that lives in kinship with other life forms as relatives, not resources. That recognizes that humans in particular are relatives to be nurtured and cared for, not resources to be enslaved or exploited. When enslavement, exploitation or terror happens, that the solution to oppression is to become more humane than your oppressors.  Continue reading 

Shooters to Shao Lin

Who are the really dangerous ones among us?

Paul Robeson once observed: “The man who accepts Western values absolutely, finds his creative faculties becoming so warped and stunted that he is almost completely dependent on external satisfactions, and the moment he becomes frustrated in his search for these, he begins to develop neurotic symptoms, to feel that life is not worth living and, in chronic cases, to take his own life.” Continue reading 

Open Season

Capital punishment without a trial

I’ve had this sense of it, open season, aka socially sanctioned targeting, since age 7, reinforced at 19, and lulled into a Eugene false sense of security pushing 60. I admit to a certain numbing grief over my lifetime composed of anger, rage, sadness, depression, loss and, finally, resolution. Being black bears the responsibility of acting as though you have some wisdom (at least sense, good freedom-fighter home training) and are working for the liberation of human beings everywhere. Continue reading 

Rites of Passage

Building stronger children

It’s summer, and that means rites-of-passage time when I do workshops for African-American related youth on preventing addiction and problems related to sexuality, whether or not you’re under the influence. I combine 21st-century knowledge with 25th-Dynasty wisdom, i.e. African Old School. It’s about keeping your spirits, your wits and your body safe, as well as safeguarding those around you.  Continue reading 

A Reverie in Black and White

The color and form of giving matters not

Part of my Eugene Experience is mentioning observances of famous birthdays, like Martin and Malcolm, and getting the response: “Martin who?” or “Malcolm who?” Even mentioning Angela’s work on the prison-industrial complex, and the school-to-prison pipeline, and people saying “Angela who?” Black History Month grew from Carter Woodson’s Negro History Week, which was situated to encompass two birthdays, Lincoln and Douglass, so we would always remember the contradictions of America, who actually freed us and wanted us free, and who took the credi Continue reading 

30 Years an Oregonian

Education and talent are a threat

This year marks my 30th year in Oregon. To celebrate, I took in a double feature which exemplifies the two poles of my Oregonian experience. 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, both films helmed by directors of color. 12 Years served to ground me in reality, while Gravity took me to my favorite fantasy: a world without borders, floating free among the stars. The reality of space, though, is that it has no breathable atmosphere, extremes of hot and cold and is always trying to kill you, nothing personal. Same with Oregon; sometimes we don’t like your kind. Continue reading