What Really Happened?

Seriously…what happened?

I mean, wasn’t there a time where people could disagree without it turning into a brawl? Did I imagine this time of peaceful and respectful dialogue among opposing perspectives?

Maybe social media is to blame…

Ok, let me unpack this thing.  It is not necessary for us to agree on everything, but we should respect each other.  There are gray areas to almost every issue…almost.

It’s OK for us to have our own thoughts and feelings about the issues of the day.  We should be able to express those feelings in a way that is smart and respectful without the fear of being verbally, and sometimes, physically assaulted from someone who does not see it that way.

Take me for example.  I try to develop my opinion about things based off the facts of a situation.  I can agree with one politician on one issue, and disagree with him/her on several others.  I can totally dislike a politician as a person, but agree with their view on foreign policy if it makes sense to me and my beliefs.

I’m concerned though.  I am concerned that my daughters will live in a country where they cannot have their own opinions and thoughts.  I’m concerned that I can’t have a conversation with people because I have different viewpoints about the world, politics, etc.

You probably gathered from the home page that I am a black man, with a gorgeous black wife and 2 beautiful black daughters.

Now get this…I DON’T CONSIDER MYSELF TO BE A DEMOCRAT…

My personal thoughts about the Democratic Party is that the politicians in the Democratic Party, for the most part, look at people as “Voting Blocks”.  They come to black people during elections and say “I’m here for you”.  Well, I don’t buy it.  I really think Democrats and Liberals largely look at someone like me and think that I, a black man, am incompetent and can’t navigate life.  They think that black people need them because they happen to be the party that champions social programs that help people when they are down.  Yes, those programs have their place and do help people that need them.  I have had to use unemployment benefits before and was grateful for that program. However, don’t use these programs to attempt to convince me that I can’t do for me and mine when I know full well that I am both intellectually and mentally capable of doing it. Don’t use these programs and your “platforms” to tell me that I can’t be successful without you because I will prove you wrong every time.  I think most Democratic politicians want black people and other people of color in this country to feel obligated to them because they claim to care about us.  I don’t owe them nothing because my help comes from the Almighty, not politicians. I am an educated, melanated man of God.

So now there is a slow shift by Democratic politicians to other people of color because more and more black people are starting to see them for what they are.  It’s obvious because they are now looking at other groups, such as Hispanics and immigrants from Muslim countries.

My wife and I have worked very hard for everything we have.  We both earned advanced degrees, I served and continue to on a part-time basis, serve this country and we have plans to start our own businesses in the coming years.  I don’t need the help now, but even if I did, shouldn’t it come with no strings attached?

Now, you are probably reading this and think I am Republican or Conservative.

NOPE.  I DON’T CLAIM THEM EITHER.

My opinion is that the Republican Party largely discounts black people and other people of color from the jump.  You see, on the flip side of their illustrious colleagues, they will snatch those programs that are needed most by not only people of color, but anyone that is in need of assistance.  They tend to largely just disregard people of color, which is why they struggle to get the majority of people of color to vote for them on a widespread basis.  They have a difficult time producing candidates that appeal more as an individual and not the R beside their name.

This is why I have come to vote for the individual, not their party affiliation because the truth is, the parties are two sides of the same tattered and dented coin.  Have you seen the approval number for Congress lately?

The world is not black and white.  There are gray areas.  I am a firm believer in the 2nd amendment, but tend to lean pro-choice.  I am a Christian, but don’t condemn same sex-couples.  As a black man, I am very worried about the increase in race-related shootings by police, but I am saddened when a good cop is killed just because he or she is a cop.  I don’t agree with Colin Kaepernick’s protest last season, but will argue against anyone with his right to do so.  See?  Gray areas…

Now, I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There are exceptions to my opinion about the political parties of this country.  I know some people that are really cool and happen to be Republican, but I have come across some pretty bigoted Republicans, as well.  On the other hand, I know some Democrats that think I’m helpless and I know others that are outstanding people.

The point is this…we should be able to disagree, have a conversation about it and get a beer afterwards.  It’s not like that with some people.  They can’t see past their opinions to see that it is OK if someone sees things differently.  Some will commit acts of violence against another just because that person sees things in a different way.  How many of us have unfriended or unfollowed people we considered friends for a long time just because they so vehemently disagreed with our opinions.  How many unfriended us?

The sooner we realize that it is fine to have a difference in ideas and opinions, the sooner I will stop being concerned for my little girls.  Look at the people who just went through the biggest natural disaster to hit the US.  Political ideas, skin color and religious beliefs were put to the side so that neighbors could help each other.  Texans helped Texans regardless of opposing viewpoints.  Remember, this happened only a few days after the race violence in Charlottesville, VA.

At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy and live our lives.  I still hope, out of all things, we can at least agree on that.

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s Been Awhile…

I know…I suck…I haven’t been keeping up with my blog at all these past few months. Shame on me, too.  I told myself today that I need to get better with this, even if it means posting short posts.  I also told myself that this blog will be about more than just military-related content, although I will still post those things here.  I also plan to post about everything that is important to me and my world.  Which is why I’ve re-titled the site “Just James.”

Warning:  You may not like or agree with some of these posts.  That’s OK.  I invite other viewpoints, as long as the comments are respectful.  We can disagree without insulting each other.

In fact, my next post will be about this very thing…stay tuned.

Is the Black TV Family a Dying Breed?

Back in the Day…

I’m proud to be a true 90s kid, a millennial by birth year (1985, to be exact).  I think all 90s kids will agree when I say that the 90s were amazing.  From good music to legendary TV shows, the 90s had it all.  Great Saturday morning cartoons, SNICK and TGIF…ah, the good old days.  I believe in my heart that the 1990s was the Golden Era of not only modern TV, but black television as a whole.  I think about how black people are mostly portrayed on TV nowadays and frankly, I’m disappointed.  There are some shows that make me wonder if we are losing the image of intact and successful black families on TV that was more prevalent in the 1990s.

Reality Can Shape Perception…

I consider myself a conscious and successful young black man but when it comes to positive TV images of black people, I feel for this generation of black youth, especially my two little girls.  More times than not, black men and black women are shown at their worse, especially on reality TV.  Seriously, how often do you turn on the TV to see gorgeous black women throwing wine at each other and fighting over something that happened 2 years ago?  How about those same shows that make black men look like womanizers, aimlessly chasing after countless women?  Even the reality shows that have successful black people on them, in my opinion, tend to show more negative situations than positive.  I know some people may read this and argue that it’s just entertainment, but a lot of black people live their lives based on what they see on TV.  They are not able to separate the so-called entertainment factor from reality.  I guess another argument is that it makes for great ratings, but the people in charge at these networks don’t care that they are making millions of dollars at the expense of the reputation of the black race.  Black people are being perceived negatively worldwide, largely because of what is shown on the TV screen.

When Melanated Excellence Ruled the Airwaves

I remember shows like The Cosby Show, A Different World and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  These shows were great because for many black people in my generation, these shows were the only time they saw a successful and intact black family.  For a good decade or more, you could tune into multiple major TV networks and see melanated excellence all over the place.  Sure, these shows had, and thanks to syndication, still maintain the entertainment factor with captivating storylines, famous lead characters and comedic elements.  More importantly though,  they showed America that black people are successful professionals, lawyers, doctors, college professors and judges with families at home.  It is abundantly clear that a sizeable portion of Americans still view black people negatively and these reality shows don’t help.  It seems that the Golden Era of intact and successful black TV families has suffered a setback.  Furthermore, recent legal events have dealt a major blow to the legacy of the gold standard of black TV dads.

Syndicated Punishment, Not Fair and Impartial

From the mid-80s to the early 90s, Bill Cosby was “America’s Dad”.  Not just black America, but a considerable number of American viewers from all walks of life tuned in weekly to watch The Huxtables.  Yet, The Cosby Show was pulled from TV syndication and streaming services at the height of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, none of which he has been convicted, by the way.  Now let’s look at Stephen Collins who portrayed Rev. Eric Camden on 7th Heaven, a successful family-oriented show from the late 90s and early 2000s.  He confessed…wait…let me repeat, he confessed to molesting a young girl in 1972 and exposing himself to 2 other children, but 7th Heaven still has a hefty syndication presence across the country.  Fair?  I don’t think so.  Let me be clear… if Bill Cosby committed those assaults, he absolutely deserves to be punished.  However, the fact that Stephan Collins admitted to his bad behavior and his show continues to have a widespread syndication presence baffles me.  Here’s my point…bring back The Cosby Show in mass syndication so that black youth today, like my daughters, can see an intact and successful black family on TV.  Yes, there are some networks that have slowly started to show the Cosby Show in syndication again, but it is not like it was before these allegations.

There’s Hope

The good news is that it’s not all bad.  Shows like ABC’s Blackish portrays an intact, successful and multi-generational black family navigating said success in a predominantly white suburb of Los Angeles.  Blackish hits on the comedic elements of its predecessors, with a modern twist, but also tackles serious issues that affect black people.  Other shows, like OWN’s For Peete’s Sake and TV One’s The Manns, show intact, famous black families in a reality TV format and how they handle real situations, some serious and some very funny.  Bottom line, there is some positivity, but it is often overshadowed by shows that insist on showing more negative images of black people.

…But Perception is Not Always Reality

To black people I say don’t let these shows dictate how you should carry yourself.  For every fight shown on reality TV, there is a young black woman building a successful and profitable business.  For every scene showing a black man at a strip club “making it rain”, there is a black man sitting at home with his wife, helping his kids do homework.  Even if the images of successful and intact black TV families are decreasing, real and intellectual black people do exist and more are becoming “woke” every day.  Black people watch more TV than any other demographic, so I think it will help for black people to be portrayed positively on the TV screen more, especially for those young black kids that are not always exposed to the possibilities of the excellence they can achieve.