Going Back

This past weekend my wife and I were in Baltimore for my friend’s wedding reception.  Devin is one of the few people I still communicate with from undergrad.  He was one of my groomsmen for our wedding.  He and his wife did a destination wedding in Jamaica last December.  Though it would have been a great time traveling to the Caribbean, Monica and I weren’t able to go.  The stateside celebration was a great opportunity to come show our love and support for their new union.

Monica and I planned to arrive a little early to take a look at the campus; an impromptu reunion if you will.  Although it was night, we could see drastic changes.  The new student center, Engineering buildings, and off-campus housing made me a tad envious of the current students.  But much of the old charm remained.  Like Soper Library.  I’m guessing it’s abandoned now, or at least being used for a different purpose.  One of the peculiar features of this building was while the elevator buttons allowed you to select floors B-10, the building only had 4 floors.  Soper Library is special because this is where Monica and I had our first “date” 15 years ago (wow; can’t believe I just typed that).  And then there was the Refectory.  Many a meal was had here, as well as heated debates on topics ranging from who had the better diss track?: Nas or Jay-Z, to Operation Iraqi Freedom.  As we drove through campus, all these forgotten memories came rushing back.  I constantly amazed at how the mind just stores these things for what seems like forever, only to recall them at a moments notice.

The reception was pleasant; glad to welcome Devin as his bride into the fellowship of the ring.

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Book Review: The Complete Husband (Lou Priolo)

I am a man who strives everyday to hold to the teachings of Jesus.  After my relationship with God, my 2nd priority is my relationship with my wife.

In January we will celebrate our 8th Wedding Anniversary (time really does fly).  Between three children, career changes, health challenges, we have been through some stuff during that time.  I credit our faith in The Lord for bringing us this far.

I have recently finished reading The Complete Husband by Christian Counselor and Author Lou Priolo.  In it Priolo digs deep into the Bible to define the true purpose of marriage and being a husband, from the perspective of the creator of this most basic institution: God’s perspective.  Priolo pours over virtually all of the scriptures in the Bible that call husbands to fulfill the roles given to us by God himself.

It was a challenging read because while reading I was constantly reminded of the areas that I fall short in (more dates and foot rubs!).  But Priolo also does a great job not only convicting us husbands, but inspiring us to be better and use the scriptures as our motivation.  This volume is not for the feint of heart, as you will be tested and made to really evaluate where you are in your marriage in regard to God’s standard.  Not a quick read, The chapters are chock full of verses and well laid out examples.  They are deep, but never too heavy.

Whether your marriage is on the rocks, stale, or humming along nicely, I recommend this book for any husband who want to take their union to the next level.

“Black” People can be Racist

rac·ist
ˈrāsəst/
noun
  1. a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    synonyms: racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist, supremacist

adjective
1.having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another.
“we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club”
Let me start out by saying that I am a descendant of Alkebu-Lan.  I am proud of my Yoruba-American heritage, and feel secure enough to share these thoughts with you.  Despite what i’ve just said, there may be some folks who still believe my message is biased.
I want to refute the adage that “Black” People (I don’t use this term too often, but for the sake of argument I will) cannot be racist.  I’ve heard this for years and never really paid much attention to it.  But while watching Black-ish yesterday evening, lead character Dre and his mom (played by the delightful Jenifer Lewis) argued with Rainbow that they were allowed some freedoms when it came to making judgments based upon race & ethnicity because as they put it, “Black People can’t be Racist”.
This is simply untrue.  But not only is it untrue, it it dismissive, devise, and irresponsible in nature.
To be considered a Racist, one only has to believe that one race, or races, is superior or inferior to another.  This means that a White person can be racist towards other White people, the same way a Mexican person can be racist towards Koreans, and vice versa. Anyone can be racist against any race or ethnic group, including their own.
The fact that people of color have been systematically marginalized and disenfranchised in the Americas, and all over the world, doesn’t give us the right to mistreat others.  “Two wrongs, doesn’t make a right”.  Frustration, and a feeling of powerlessness may be the root cause of such behavior.  Because most people of color most often do not find themselves in an advantageous position in relation to the dominant race of that society (in America it is Caucasians at the moment; in other countries and parts of the world it is obviously a different race) they give themselves a pass to misbehave.
-When a Latino dude come to the park or gym to play basketball, but is constantly passed over for other “better” players, is this not racism?
-In a school project, students flock to the Chinese students because they “want to get a good grade” is this not racism?
-An airplane is delayed, and a few passengers begin to express there displeasure.  One of them happens to be a woman who is a descendant of Alkebu-Lan.  She is looked at as an “Angry Black Woman”, while the others are just “voicing their concern”, is that not racism?
-In the entertainment industry, a white artist is given more kudos for performing in a genre that was pioneered by people of color because they “stepped out of the box and did something different” when countless other artists who are minorities receive little or no praise, is this not racism?
I have experienced racism from other descendants of Alkebu-Lan (although removed by their ancestors being brought to the Western Hemisphere by force) just like I have experienced racism at the hands of people from the Domincan Republic, Korea, Pakistan, as well as from Caucasian Americans.  I have been racist towards other descendants of Alkebu-Lan, as well as every other race and ethnicity.  It’s is no different because the outcome is the same: fracture, division, and anger.
For there to be a legitimate discourse on the topic of racism and race inequality, we all need to be honest about what the issue is and how we have contributed in both good, and bad ways.

Rewriting the Narrative

Mark Duncan AP

It almost never happens.Very few people get the opportunity to rewrite the narrative of their lives.  The reason is obvious: it isn’t until the consequences of our choices are made clear do we know if they were good or bad.

Last Friday NBA Superstar LeBron James began rewriting his own narrative, as well as the City of Cleveland’s.  In a move that was considered unfathomable, James signed a two year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team he scorned by leaving without warning 4 years ago to join the Miami Heat.  LeBron instantly became NBA public enemy #1, a title held before by the likes of Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, guys who actually had run afoul of the law in some regard.

Admittedly James himself was taken surprised by the backlash.  It wasn’t just Cleveland and Ohio sports fans who were angry with him.  The media successfully painted him as a selfish athlete, who cared more about taking the easy way out (James spent the first 7 years of his career in Cleveland but failed to win an NBA title) than working through adversity.  The fact that James teamed up with fellow superstars and off the court friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  Despite the Heat  reaching the NBA Finals 4 years in a row, and wining two NBA Championships, it didn’t remove the tarnished image of deceit and betrayal in the eyes of many.

To be fair to LeBron, the goal of most professional athletes is to win titles and championships.  It is what ultimate defines an athletes career as a success, or a failure.   The Cavalier team LeBron was on just wasn’t good enough to reach that goal, so he did what was best for him and changed his situation for a better one.

It is a hard thing to make a right a wrong, especially when you don’t have to.  LeBron didn’t owe Cleveland anything.  Some would even argue he should have left earlier than he did.  But LeBron is wise enough to understand that with this act, he can win back the hearts he lost, at the same time cement his place in history.  Just look at how Cleveland and the NBA have applauded his move so far; one forgets that now Miami is Cleveland of 2010, where Wade and Bosh are left scratching their heads.

We have all experienced similar occurrences.  An ex who actually returns your stuff, a teacher you were at odds with giving you a C when you really deserved an F, your pest of a sibling who took the rap for you that one time you were really in for it.  When people exhibit acts of virtue and integrity, you see them in a whole new light.  It’s as if all the bad stuff they’ve done in the past is erased.  They are showing the ability to grow and evolve, by learning from their mistakes.  No one with a heart can frown at that: their rewritting the narrative.

Although i’m a New York Knicks loyalist (sup Nasir) i’m proud of LeBron.  It’s a very risky but stand up move that will make or break his career.  But LeBron has already won what really matters.