Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Shirley Sherrod and the "scary" topic of race...

Okay, I kept seeing Shirley Sherrod's name in my time line on Twitter and I was curious about who she was and why her resignation was so important.

Now, as I was watching Nightly News this evening, they showed the clip that apparently started all the talk and my first thought was "Oh damn, lady! Why would you say that?!" Her losing her job, in that moment, after seeing that snippet, made sense. If I had seen a clip of a white woman making that same comment regarding a black farmer, especially with all the hell they've been going through, I would say "Heck yeah, she should resign!" The way this clip was shown makes one question her [Sherrod] ability to perform her job without prejudice. Now we all see that the comment was apart of something benevolent, not malicious. I've been busy today so I only just now found out what the ruckus was. My opinion on this? Give Sherrod her job back.

Fact is, she was explaining how working with this white farmer caused her to overcome her initial prejudice. She says in the video that she realized she "couldn't live with hate..." and that "we have to work together...it's sad that we don't have a room full of whites and blacks here tonight be[cause] we have to overcome the divisions that we have..." Sounds like someone reformed, to me. So why is the Department of Agriculture's Secretary, Tom Vilsack, sticking with this whole resignation? Why would the White House continue to back the decision, but say that they had nothing to do with the decision? The entire situation that Sherrod was discussing is something that happened long before she began working for the Department of Agriculture. So it's not like she carried her prejudice into the new job, right? Why stick to this decision when it has turned out to be a bad one, born of a sliver of an entire speech?

And the farmer, whom Sherrod helped, the one who was the topic of her story, supports her? He and his wife are appreciative of the work Sherrod did to keep them out of bankruptcy? Vilsack, White House, it is okay to admit a mistake and rectify it. Give Sherrod her job back.

Let me also say that the whole issue of race in the age of Obama is pretty crappy. Why? Because every time a case of race or racial discrimination pops up, folks want to say that the President has to be sensitive about the way it is handled. Now, in theory, this may be fine, maybe even accurate. But my problem is this: why the hell is it suddenly so important for our President to be sensitive to such issues? Shouldn't this have been required, expected, long before now? Every president should be required to handle race in a sensitive manner. You mean to tell me that the first bi-racial (or self-identified Black) President is incapable of handling race? So every white president prior to administration was automatically deemed capable? Were former presidents reminded almost daily of race and held to the fire when dealing with such a sensitive issue? I don't think so...to be fair, I cannot recall ever seeing this much coverage on the way The White House handled race. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Oh! And to the NAACP? You stay losing! How can she be giving this speech, in its entirety, at an NAACP function, but the NAACP jumps on the bandwagon against Sherrod? The organization just can't seem to get right...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Welcome to New Orleans!

Last Thursday began the best trip I've had all year, so far. Perhaps it is because I went with a group of close friends? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I saw Janet Jackson perform live? It might even have something to do with the FINENESS that is Idris Elba and Michael Ealy? I think that the awesomeness of this trip was due to all of the above and then some. The next few post here on Methodical Madness will chronicle the great experiences I had while I was in New Orleans for this year's Essence Music Festival. It's safe to say that I will be in attendance at the festival in 2012, if not 2011 (hey, a girl's gotta live within her means, lol).

My friends and I decided that a road trip would be more financially responsible, so I and one other  drove the first leg of the trip, about six hours, to pick up the other two friends. They drove the last six hours of the trip to New Orleans. The drive was fairly uneventful, with the exception of two things. One, there was what looked to be a one car accident. It seems a car spun off the road and almost hit a tree; from what we could see, there was no damage. That said, the police, paramedics, and firemen were all on the scene. However, they didn't seem to pressed, especially not the paramedics. They were just chillin' on the side of the road. Maybe I overreact but I would think getting the person, who was pulled from the car, to the nearest hospital would be of foremost concern. But what do I know, lol. Two, as my friend was driving along and we were nearing New Orleans, she realized we were going over a bridge. This wouldn't be a big deal but she's somewhat uneasy about bridges. She asks her cousin if this is the major bridge, the one that is supposed to be the longest in the US. Cousin looks at her and tells her that this wasn't the one. Shortly after that fib, girlfriend realizes that this was indeed the bridge and she makes a move like she's about to pull over. I'm in the backseat like o_O, saying "Uh uh! You gotta GO! We can't stop here!" Then she wanted to look at the scenery and see the water that we were traveling over. Now, the sight was awesome, seemed like the water went off into the horizon forever, but for a person who is squeamish about bridges, that did not seem to be the best idea.

Anyway, after the bridge situation, we finally made it to our hotel and it was all about hitting the ground running. We were meeting up with another group who had already been in New Orleans for a full day prior to our arrival. The necessary phone calls were made and we were to meet the rest of the group at The House of Blues. After everyone got their shower time and changed clothes, we saw that it was a little after 10, so plans had to change. We decided to connect on Bourbon Street and out the door we flew.

Bourbon Street. What an experience. The sights! The sounds! The smells...

The first night of walking the street wasn't too bad. Just a bunch of folks having a good time and dancing in the street to the music blaring loudly from the various bars and clubs that line the street. It wasn't extremely crowded, but there were enough people to keep things interesting. People watching as we made our way to a restaurant for something to eat, we saw...eh...um..."Women of the Night"? Would that be the proper term for woman standing in the doorways of various clubs, wearing see-through fabrics and barely there underwear? Suggestively dancing while outright selling "it" on the street? *shrugs* To each his or her own, but I found it disturbing when I spied with my little eye, what looked to be a child walking around in the midst of this. One of my friends pointed him out and he didn't look to be a "little person", so I was blown away by that. I thought I was doing something when we walked Beale Street in Memphis! Nope, uh uh, Beale has nothing on Bourbon.

We made it to a little place called The Sugar Shack and grabbed some dinner there. I had my first crawfish Po'boy and it was DELICIOUS! With a side of fries and a Hurricane, I was feeling quite right by the time we left that place. We continued our exploration and danced to the music, collected beads that were being thrown from terraces above the street. I wasn't the best at catching the beads (my coordination wasn't the best at that time in the morning) but I made off with several necklaces *smile*

After checking the time, we thought it would be a good idea to head back to our respective hotels and get some rest because the festival was set to begin the next day, starting with seminars in the morning. Had to snap a quick photo before the night ended, of course.
Next post: Day One of my Essence Music Festival experience!

"Welcome to New Orleans" photo by thibautmarquis