Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Now Or Never

I just finished reading a commentary entitled, “Gay Is Not The New Black” written by LZ Granderson and posted on CNN. It was interesting read, to say the least. At first I was angry after reading the article because of the writer’s tone and the implication by black gay people that all white gay people view Obama as a disappointment because he has yet to follow through on some of his campaign promises (gay marriage and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”).

My anger has since faded and all that remains is sadness because we are left with more dialogue that contributes to the already intense divide of White/Black America. I am literally tired of listening to the condemnation on both sides. When are we going to start talking about solutions… Real solutions?

I speak for many white gay people when I say there is no doubt in my/our minds that gay is not the new black (but then again I only spoke to 100 people). I agree that comparing the gay struggle to the struggle of black America is lunacy. It’s this type of rhetoric that fuels hate, creates gangs and supports violence. There are always going to be overlapping similarities in groups challenged by civil unrest. However, to think that all or even half of gay people compare their plight to that of the challenges of African Americans is absurd. Stop comparing and begin to appreciate the struggles of all people, because only then will we find common ground.

As for Mr. Granderson’s allegation that white gay people are maliciously attacking the President because he has not worked swiftly enough to secure marriage for all and reversing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ this is part of the game of politics and so it should be. All of us must be diligent about holding our political leaders to their promises. President Obama (whom I voted for and support) made many promises on the campaign trail, and now more than ever people are going to see that this President keeps his word. Some would think this is unjust pressure because President Obama is black and we are holding him more accountable than our past presidents, but that is far from true. It’s
because our last few presidents failed to recognize all Americans as part of “We The People.” (For the record, I’m not one of those selfish gay activists with a specific political agenda. I don’t have any interests in the debate of gay marriage. I’m more concerned about basic civil rights for ALL. As for gay people serving in the military, I have some concerns, but they can easily be resolved, thus insuring all Americans (gay too) serve without fear or backlash, and most importantly, with pride.)

As for the racial rant about “lack of perspective is only going to alienate a black community that is still very proud of Obama and is hypersensitive about any criticism of him, especially given he’s been in office barely six months,” this is a threat (which I don’t appreciate) because it again pushes black people away from the center. When you leave the center, cancer moves in and destroys the spirit of an individual and of a people.

Mr. Granderson and others, I encourage you to visit Baltimore so that I may introduce you to some straight and gay black people who are not happy with some of the President’s decisions. President Obama identifies with being black, but there are many (white, black and especially biracial individuals) who feel he is, in fact, biracial. However, that is another argument, and I’ll climb that mountain when and if I read a post about the topic.

This commentary has raised many questions that have lingered in my mind for so long. I want to know why minorities always attempt to out minoritize each other? I want to know why people feel excluded and how we can make them feel included? I want to know why we can’t just get along?

I must admit I’ve grown tired of the selfish and often childish arguments of White/Black America… And of gay people too. I am exhausted by our contempt for each other, often forgetting there are other minorities fighting for the right to be heard, acknowledged and respected. We are all in search of one thing, equality.

What about Hispanics? (And BTW… Kudos to Sonia Sotomayor for her amazing spirit, courage and words during her confirmation process. You changed the lives of many young Hispanic girls who now know they can do/be anything if they work hard. Justice Sotomayor is another great Hispanic woman paving they way for future generations). I’ve often heard that “Hispanics are the new black.” (Talk about profiling. You can’t get any more prejudice than with this statement.) Hispanics have surpassed blacks in numbers, but many of the Hispanic struggles parallel that of Black America. Also, what about Jewish people? “Oh, that’s right, they have all the money so they be fine,” as I heard one man say on the bus not too long ago. What about Asian Americans? “They are very smart people. They can do anything,” as I heard an elderly woman say while waiting for Chinese carryout. What about all the others… German, Polish and Greek Americans? The people with different religious backgrounds? Fundamentalists, Catholics, Muslims and those who are Atheists or Agnostics? What about those with green, blue, black and brown eyes…

The point I am making, and it’s very clear, “Listen up, white and black people, it’s not all about you. It never was.” It’s about America and the land of opportunity, but it only comes to people who work hard and meet the challenges. It’s sad that so many of us have to work harder than others (that would be me), but you must move forward and stop looking back. Yes, remember your roots and struggles, but don’t relive them. Find strength in them so your ancestors will not have died in vain.

At some point we are all minorities, some more than others. Yes, people will put you down because you are different, but that is no excuse not to rise above it all and shine. No one is going to do it for you, so do it for yourself. Don’t wait for someone to help you, help yourself. However, you must always go forward in life with respect, dignity, and grace, and with the realization that we all must live together. What impacts you (negative or positive) will affect others and me in the long run, thus the need to make life great for everyone and not a select few. You might not see or feel it now, but it does affect us in ways that will compromise future generations if we don’t hold true to the center. When you drift away you choose segregation.

There should be no separation of gay pride. There must be one pride of all gay people. If you feel excluded, find ways to be included by using your voice in a constructive way, always remembering words must not hurt. Hands of violence have no place in the center, or anywhere, for that matter, where people are trying to make a difference and coexist.

Festivals of diversity must be enjoyed by everyone, not just by those they celebrate and hope to unite (African American, Hispanic, German, Polish, etc.). I would hope people, especially minorities would encourage outsiders, like me, to come and see what they are all about. Show me your rich culture and heritage. I want to learn about you, and hopefully you would want to learn about me.

Each year I try my best to go to all of the ethnic festivals Baltimore celebrates. I’m an avid walker, so I walk through neighborhoods where I see rich and poor, black and white, German and Polish, etc. There is not one time that I don’t hear in the distance, “What is that cracker doing here? He doesn’t belong?“ This is just the tip of the iceberg. I belong wherever there are people.

I have an interest in ALL people. As my dear friend Ruth says, “We are all in this together.” (BTW, she’s black – LOL) To all who read this, it’s time to talk about what is good instead of what is bad. There is a mandate in the world for everyone to move to the center. I am forever hopeful. I still believe much of the tone in the commentary fuels the haters of the world (especially those deficient in education and with economic struggles), and disengages those trying to make a difference. America, it’s time to coexist! It’s now or never. – paerki

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.

Homeland

Preserve Your Happiness (Aug 13, 2013): This is for you, because you need to hear these words again. Live life happy. Find your joy. Now more than ever, it’s time for people to reconnect with their inner self. Find your happy place, rejuvenating the total you – mind, body, soul and spirit. It’s a mandate... Continue Reading

Baltimore City (Maryland)

World AIDS Day (Dec 1, 2013): Many scientific advances have been made in HIV/AIDS treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV/AIDS, and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, there are still individuals who do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and... Continue Reading

Evergreen Museum & Library

Thank You For So Much Beauty (Mar 15, 2010): Do you realize how much beauty you bring to the world? Do you know how awesome you are? Really?! Do you?! I am in awe of your work. I love your use of rich and vibrant colors, some even electric. The faces are what really capture my attention; they are delicate... Continue Reading

Baltimore Book Festival

A Culture Of Hate (Jan 9, 2011): Weekends fly by so quickly, or so it appears. However, this particular weekend seemed unusually long, and I think it had something to do with the gruesome events that took place on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. I am shocked by the horror that unfolded, a young man throwing his entire... Continue Reading

Station North Arts District

A 'Seagull' Of Memories (Mar 7, 2010): When I see gulls (known to many as seagulls), I think of the shoreline. I have wonderful childhood memories of playing in the sand in Ocean City; building sand castles, and coming back later in the day to watch the waves crash into my creativity, only to go back the next day to... Continue Reading

H.P. Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens

God Worthy (Jan 15, 2013): This is your religion. Believe what I say. Ask no questions. So many were raised this way. Our heads were filled with a mishmash of information, controlling minds and for what? I would have appreciated learning more about all faiths, instead of being told – this is bad, and this bad, etc., but... Continue Reading
I love photographs! They have this amazing ability to tell stories of fun places, special moments, memorable events, and exciting places. They give us reason to pause and remember friends, family, coworkers and so many others. One photograph can conjure up a flood of memories taking us on a journey. They help us remember the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.

On a cold and rainy day I love sitting in my living room with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, classical music playing in the background and my many photographs scattered about me. I love sifting through what I call my special collection, which refers to my favorites. They remind me of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. They remind me of challenges and overcoming.

My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

Edith Ann

Mind Body Green (Feb 6, 2014): To the haters, I feel so sad for you – mournful for your lack of empathy and understanding. No one is shoving anything down your throat. This is reality. What's wrong with this photo? This is life! For every photo shown of gay people kissing, there are millions and millions... Continue Reading

Peabody Institute

What Makes A Good Year (Dec 18, 2013): It’s that time of year when I take long walks alone to contemplate the past year. I guess you could say it’s my time to atone. What a year it has been! As I write this I’m wondering what makes a good year? I’ve never asked myself that question before... Continue Reading

Sherwood Gardens

Mural - Mural On The Wall (Mar 14, 2011): All are beautiful in my eyes, as they are striking masterpieces that enhance many communities, especially those challenged by poverty and abandonment. They fill in the gaps for neighborhoods lacking funding and manpower, providing just a bit of hope when... Continue Reading

Browns Orchards

The Human Condition (Jul 17, 2012): Words that are sufficiently crafted can leave a lasting impact on the world. It is good to keep in mind those words that will better help tell our story, ones that will represent us well for years to come. We must be clear in our purpose, concise in our action... Continue Reading

Patterson Park

Selfie (Jan 19, 2014): I was asked the following question by one of my Facebook friends… "I have to ask you this Paul, do you have a personal photographer who is with you constantly?" This question is worthy of a blog post, so here it goes. Enjoy! Good question, and one I am asked often enough and don't mind answering... Continue Reading

Charles Village Festival

Yielding To Signs (Mar 28, 2011): Sunday was the perfect day to be outdoors. The sky was a bright baby blue and absolutely stunning to look at, especially when it became the backdrop for seagulls and blackbirds, effortlessly soaring and plummeting in between wind gusts. It was magical, a hypnotic visual sensation... Continue Reading
There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

Stony Run Trail

Thank You (Nov 3, 2013): It’s hard to believe another Thanksgiving is just around the corner. In the background while standing waiting for a bus (as well as on the bus), and at the grocery store, I hear peoples’ musings about how they will spend their holiday. While many are frantically digesting... Continue Reading

Holi

You Are Beautiful! (Jul 17, 2013): I wish you could look into the mirror and see beyond your face, way past the surface to see more. More than what the world sees, more than what your friends see, more than I or even you can see. Forget what everything around you tells you to be. Be who... Continue Reading

Alpaca / Lama Farm

St. Michael's Catholic Church (Oct 17, 2011): The weekend has now faded into the past. However, this was one of its highlights. Art is to be found everywhere. When I look at these photos I think about all those involved with the creation of this magnificent structure – from the community (immigrate families)... Continue Reading

BMA (Sculpture Garden)

Bittersweet (Sept 7, 2013): I’ve been estranged from my parents for close to 20 years, but yesterday I learned my father passed away. I sincerely hope he found joy in his advanced years – more importantly, peace. For those who mourn his passing, focus on the memories and the joy he brought to... Continue Reading

Jones Falls Trail

City Of The Silent (Mar 18, 2010): Underground in permanent stasis they speak no more. Many have departed this life, leaving behind a legacy for all to enjoy, cherish, honor and, with a little luck and ingenuity, replicate. For me, this quiet region of slumber still has a pulse, and you can feel it when you walk these... Continue Reading

Country Drive

A Happy Life Begins At Home (Apr 19, 2010): My home is very important to me. My life between these four walls of privacy I value like no other. It’s immeasurable, and absolutely priceless. It’s an oasis with a cocoon-like feeling, shielding me from the outside manipulative forces of violence and pollution. It allows... Continue Reading
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008 - Enhanced and Redesigned by PAERKI

Back to TOP