This presentation is about labels and what they mean to us. And yes, we all have them. This is clear for most of us. Even so, you will hear it this time in a way you have not heard it before.
There are two kinds of time in my way of thinking. It is the time that was given to each of us—our own time—and universal time/space, which is the greatest of all; it was created. It does not change. What I am saying maybe more clear if it is thought of in terms of the world, at least, as we now know it to be. There are seven world time zones. The United States uses nine standard zones. Therefore, the question is what time is the right time? With every area of the world having its own time zones, how can you know what time it is. Neither of them is correct when next to the other. Time that can change is invented by man. It is never the same and is not correct.
You should not make your decisions based on time. Time will not accomplish a thing on its own. Decide what you want to do, then make time to do it. This should be the order of how you decide. No matter how much time you have, if you do not know what you are going to do with it, you will not know how much you need. What matters is how you are going to fill the space. If you bake a cake for the required time but use the wrong ingredients, you will not get the cake that you want. What you would have, then, is a cake you cannot eat and time you no longer have. This time was your time. Let us take a look at nature’s time. In a room there are things, they come and go, some are added some are removed. It makes no difference what time these things are moved or changed, the space does not. Time is space. And there is a time for all things.
If we had the power over the nature of time, what would we do with it, where would we put it? Would we add a little here, take a little there? For sure, it would be the final step to the end. Wars would be fought over it, and some would lie, cheat and steal to get more of it. Those with the least amount of power would have very little time. Much like it is today.
The Self is Our Core
To be self-aware, is to know who you are. The Self is our core, the essence of you. It is where we go to be ourselves. A place we would never leave on our own. Our power and strength comes from there. If your mind and the ways of life have kept you away, it is a choice to go back. It is not easy to do. That is, unless it is what you want. And you have to want to above all else.
How we think, feel and act comes after we are born. It is not born with us. It is not the Self. These are things that make up our personality. It is the way we show the world who we think we are. In other words, what we think of ourselves. Though not always true. It is how we act, and may change as we change the way that we think. The Self will not change. It is the you that was created for you. Your Self is your own, given to each one of us. None is the same. Life evolves, but the Self does not change, it does not shrink, it does not grow. It can be smothered. Then, of course, you will not be able to express yourself. The way we think is what smothers the Self. It will not let the real one surface. The self is there for all of us to be. It is not about how one behaves. That has more to do with our personality.
Personality, unlike the Self, is a group of character traits that help to define who we are. It is this grouping that is the most affected by the seeds of doubt. Doubt is the root cause of disordered thinking. Our thoughts, feelings and how we act change, but we do not. Of course, that is if there is no conflict, which would be with the Self. One of the ways that the things we believe in are shown is through our character. It is how we are viewed by others. As well, it is part of us that tells what we think about ourselves. It will vary at times. Though it will only be the real you when it match your Self.
We are born with a map of who we are. It makes up the person that is you. The person we were meant to be. It is the core of the human being and does not change. As with all things, the physical side of us does change with time. Our genes, of course, determine how we will look. We have no say in this. It is part of our creation. We do have a say in the life we create. As does who we create our offspring with. And this would be the other parent, the co-creator of this new life.
There are some who will say that a person has changed, that they do not act the same. They may have changed how they act, though they are not different. Not a thing has changed about who they are. They are still who they have always been. What has changed is how the person thinks, feels and act. The core of their being, which is the soul, has not changed. You cannot sell it and you do not lose it. It is the real you. You cannot be who you are not and will tire out trying. Yet, there are many who do try. Your disordered thinking is what keeps you from being real. It keeps your Self from shining through. This creates an image that is not who you are. I am the one who I have been looking for. Not the one you know.
To Be Labeled and Put in Your Place
Man and woman is now how we are known. We have a name, which is our label. We must use the labels that we know by shapes and words to make sense of our world. As we grow and change, our labels will change. We will not have a thought of what a thing is if it does not have a label. Nor will we know its purpose. No one would know who we are and we would not know him or her. You and I would not even know who or what we are.There are things a society must have in place for us to thrive and grow. Labels are one of these things. Life would not be the same without them.
Still we have some who say they have no place and do not put a label on them. We are here, thus we do have a place and a label. Yes, if we accept it or not it is so. In many ways, just being a person with a name, which is a label, tells who we are and where we stand. Some labels we can change, others—of course—we cannot.
We all have a place starting in our mother’s womb. It comes with a label that tells who we are. And our place is in the order of our birth, as well. This does not change. There are labels that we have that will change as our roles in life change. When we feel that we do not have a place, we will get less from the place we are in now. We all have a place to belong and a label to tell who we are.
The Fire This Time
“The Negroes of this country may never be able to rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dream.” This is a quote from James Baldwin’s book The Fire Next Time.
And so it was.
Just a short four years later, in the nation’s Capital, I would be standing in the midst of what seem like hell on earth. Some were running, stumbling and falling. Others held on to all that they could as they ran in and out of the shops and stores. More than a few made sure there would be nothing left to burn. Even the bricks were ablaze and crumbling. They were all ages, sizes and shapes, but the one thing they had in common, they were all Black. The area was off-limits to military personnel who were not part of the operation. But I figured out a way around the restriction. I would don my government issued fatigues—our green non-dress uniform—to blend in.
Armed soldiers and military personnel were shouting orders but no one seem to be listening. They took no steps to stop the protesters. Their orders were to stand by, with weapons pointed down. Even as the buildings continued to burn, in places a corridor of flames, they stood by. The heat was intense, only matched by the intensity of the expressions on the faces of the young, and old alike, who were carting off as much as they could carry. It was a free for all. Though there was no doubt in my mind that some of them were there because of their anger. Dr. Martin Luther King had just been assassinated by the system in the form of James Earl Ray. You could expect no less. Oh the irony, when all the smoke cleared and the flames had been doused the guided as well as the misguided were left living among the ashes. The rage had given in to despair. The Black low-income neighborhoods had been reduced to ruin.
Just a few months before his death, Dr. King and leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) held a meeting to plan and organize a Poor People’s Campaign for the coming spring in Washington, D.C. Organizers intended for the campaign to be a peaceful gathering of poor people from communities across the nation. They would march through the Capital and visit various federal agencies in hopes of getting Congress to pass substantial anti-poverty legislation. They planned to stay until some action was taken.
The Poor People’s Campaign did not focus on just poor Black people but addressed all poor people. As history records, before their plans could be realized, Dr. King was cut down by an assassin’s bullet. Although feeling the sorrow of his death, a decision was made to carry on with the campaign. On May 12, 1968, the first wave of demonstrators arrived in Washington. One week later, Resurrection City was built on the Washington Mall. This was a ramshackle settlement of tents and shacks to house the protesters. And as I learned firsthand, to call it housing is being generous, at best.
This time I decide I want to take a close look at the other side of the protest, though still up close, but more personal. I had to focus my mind to take in what my eyes were seeing. Some wandered about with a sort of dazed look as just waking up to a bad dream, while others seemed to seek solace and refuge in their primitive accommodations. It was clear, to me, that most were taking on the symptoms of defeat. It would not take much—under these conditions—to become demoralized. People were hungry; there was not much food or at least an orderly way of providing it to those who needed it most, the young and the old. And there was mud all over and if you did not have boots, and most did not, you had to secure your shoes some place and do your moving about in bare feet. It was a mess. The mud seemed knee-deep in places. This was the heart of the “Poor Peoples” encampment. I went as I go to many other places. I was just curious, not much more than that. But what I saw caused me to return.
It was, to put it simply, a hopeless situation no matter how well intended. The King has died. There was a leadership vacuum; it could not be overcome. The best that I could do was pick several out of the multitude to take to the base for a hot meal and a break from the drudgery of living in such inhospitable conditions. And in two short weeks, I would be discharged from the Air Force and out in the “real world” myself. How was I to know though, that Chicago would be my next destination. Here destiny would step forward once more. Her hands were waving my way. I did not know if I was creating my destiny or it was being laid out for me. Either way, I would be there to see it all. It was not a plan, it just happened.
This is Chicago the time and place that the SCLC would try to resurrect the Poor People Campaign. It was not to be. The eyes of the nation were focused on the Democratic National Convention, the “other” event. Fate had dealt its hand and the cards had been played. It was inescapable, the end of the civil rights era was drawing to a close. There would be a last gasp and a whimper from the Black Power movement to be replaced years later with the rap and hip-hop culture. The sign of greeting is no longer Soul Brother, it has been replaced by my nigger. As it is plain to see, it was a turn by degrees for the worst. If they could only see us now. Time stands still as life moves on. Now here we are.
August 26 to August 29, 1968
I came here to Chicago to find a job, and see my father for the first time. Both of the things I did do. Even so, my mind would not let me rest. I could not resist the draw of the action on the streets leading up the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The convention was held during a year that would be remembered as a wakeup call and a warning to our nation. How easily it seems for us to forget.
Headline 2012: The Pentagon Is Offering Free Military Hardware to Every Police Department in the US
It was a social revolution with no blueprint. The Viet Nam war was in full force, and American “politics” had become a dangerous game in my lifetime. First, there was Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4 and the civil unrest that followed. Two months after Dr. King’s death on June 5, as if timed by fate, came the murder of Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Was all of this some kind of test? Yes, it was, and the grades are still coming in. For me, it was as if I had been programmed—I did not think of this then—to be an up close witness to the contest of what is and what is not. I had to be there and did not know it, and had no choice. I quit my job not really knowing why.
My 21st birthday marked the beginning and what soon followed is best described as police brutality and all out “war” on the protesters. It was people control, a step to the future that could not be taken back. There were no hot burning flames of the riots in Washington. The soldiers in Washington had been ordered to stand at ease. It appeared that Mayor Daley had issued orders to “attack and destroy.” And they were followed to the letter. Even bystanders were not safe from the swinging batons if they could not run fast enough.
There were indiscriminate beatings it mattered not male or female, young or old they were routinely clubbed bloody. It was as close as you could get to gender equality. No one was exempt. One scene that was hard to put out of my mind was that of a young female protester—with blood streaming down her ashen face—being dragged by her long blond hair; she was in shock. At this point, she had gone limp the “fight” had been beaten out of her. The only sign of life was a grimace and a moan when her head was allowed to hit the pavement. The cop only let go when he realized the cameras were trained on him. Up to then, it was “caveman.” It was not the Chicago that I had come to love. I would soon be on my way home to Arkansas, I had seen enough. I now had the space to distance myself from the images in my mind.
To be self-aware, is to know who you are. The Self is our core, the essence of each one of us. It is where we go to be ourselves. A place we would never leave on our own. Our power and strength comes from there. If your mind and the ways of life have kept you away, it is your choice to go back. It is not easy to do. That is, unless it is what you want. And you have to want to above all else.
All Because She Is A Republican
Stacy Dash is multiracial, so what. She has her own mind and way of thinking, as she should, as she has a God given right to have. What are the features and attributes that would be enough to classify a group of people as a race. Yes I said group. And at what point or dividing line would this change their classification. We as Black folks do not have our own name; we did not all come from the same location in Africa and we do not know our ancestral roots. Many of us are the offspring of miscegenation and are of different shades and hues. We grew up in different worlds.
There are just as many who do not share a common worldview, so I ask; how can we be expected to think or act as a group consistently over time. That is just asking too much, it is not going to happen and it should not. One of the worst things that we can do for ourselves is to be taken for granted, to be predictable. We are seen coming before we get there. Let others do this. We have done it long enough. And here we go, over the cliff again. All I wanted to hear at the very least were words of support such as we heard for others (groups). We did not get that, because we are taken for granted.
Black folks had better wake up. We seem to be sleepwalking and oblivious to what is actually going on around us. First, though, we need to realize what is going on with us. The seeds of division were planted long ago and it is now bringing forth a bountiful harvest. We can little afford what we are doing to us. This writer does not know Stacy Dash; though, she writes as if she does. Ms. Dash has her own way of doing things to be who she is, as we all should have the right to do. The writer cannot speak for her nor can she speak for you and me.
We are still, after all these years, talking about and spending what little time we have left trying to figure out what we are doing wrong and what is being done to us. Now tell me when will we live the time we have. Here is my suggestion, just be the best that you can be, and if each of us does that, we all will be the best that we can. There is no other way. It is what it is. Leave Stacy Dash alone.