Entries Posted in "May 2004"

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About the New Site
May 31, 2004

Phew! What a ride. I am no web designer and that was perhaps the most horrendous experience in my online life. So a little about the new site. Everything is different; bio, picture, links, and I intend to make more changes throughout the week. This is the first step in my eventual move to a new publishing platform. The goal was a layout softer on the eyes, more user-friendly, and more indicitive of my personality. It's a little wide and views differently depending on the browser, so you may have to scroll horizontally. If this gets annoying, let me know. All feedback welcomed (slow-loading, etc.) Enjoy!

Oh. And happy Memorial Day.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry
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The Modern Day Minstrel Show
May 28, 2004

Today marks the national opening of the suprisingly non-controversial movie Soul Plane. If you've even seen 30 seconds of the film preview, it is clear that the folks at MGM took a double dose of plain, old, ignorance when they conjured up this one. You might as well be watching a music video on BET. This movie offends on so many levels, I don't even know where to start. It's hard to even point the finger. Who should we be upset with for perpetuating such stereotypical garbage? I recall a time last year when actor Will Smith was quoted as saying something rather prolific about the film industry, "Hollywood isn't black or white. It's green." My family and I managed to have quite an interesting debate about this statement alone. What is it about the movie industry that fuels such ignorance, complete irreverence, misogyny, and stereotyping?

You often hear people say things like, "Hollywood is racist". Generally this comment is directed towards the fact that people of color are underrepresented in film and television. I've never been in Hollywood so I am in no position to comment on a struggle about which I know nothing. What I do know is that the number of people of color in leading (and edifying) roles has been low in the past. Things have definitely changed since the day black actresses were only relegated to roles as servants or maids. I still say there's more honor in that than some of these roles certain black actresses are taking on these days. I wish I was blogging back when Halle Berry won an Oscar for her "riveting performance" in Monster's Ball because I would've had something to say about that. Hattie McDaniel has one over Halle Berry: she didn't have to take her clothes off to win an Oscar.

Then there are those who claim, "Hollywood isn't racist. It's all about money". I can agree with this more and more as the days go by. However, at what point are we the viewers, the ones buying the tickets, held accountable for what we sow into? Hollywood isn't going to produce something that they don't think people will watch. For this very reason, every major media conglomerate turned down a partnership with Mel Gibson when he was shopping around his little ole' Jesus movie. So when we buy into stereotypical junk, now who's racist, the producers or the viewers? Or both?

Back in 2000, Spike Lee, perhaps one of my least favorite filmmakers, piloted a movie that I thought had the potential to completely rip the covers off the adulterers in bed with the television industry, Bamboozled. The film essentially centered around a television producer who wanted to air a modern-day minstrel show starring a tap dancer (who happens to be a personal friend of mine) and other black actors in black face. As with all things Spike Lee, the film was an attempt to address some racial stereotyping and deeper psychological issues that have been rampant in mass media. Sounds nice right? Too bad the film was crap. Too many mixed messages, too messy of a plot. The film was conceptually brilliant, but over-zealous Spike was his usual confusing self.

The whole idea of the modern-day minstrel show isn't too farfetched. Movies like Soul Plane banter around with trite black/white relations commentary while completely trouncing upon any prior work of reputable black actors to establish integrity and respect in an unforgiving business.

Bill Cosby's words concerning education and priorities couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Much of black culture has managed to perpetuate the notion of "excess" and "ignorance" to a place that is making many uncomfortable. Moreover, the NAACP does stupid things like awarding Queen Latifah an "Image Award" for best female performance in the movie Bringing Down 'Da House, an equally stereotypical embarrassment to common sense.

Younger black actors continue to accept these stereotypical and demeaning roles one would never see someone like Sidney Poiter play. Whether or not the stereotypes are true, at some point or another they become so because we have confused real and fake and many people are simply a product of what they've seen on teleivision. We're so confused, actually think we are "the maid".

Audiences and movie critics laud these performances as though they are great advancements in our cultural history. The trouble is, much of the black community is too brainwashed to recognize they are being made fools on the big screen. So we just keep smiling entertaining. Meanwhile, white people (and all people) will go in droves to see a movie like Soul Plane. They'll laugh at it too because it's funny and it's not too far from the truth. It's a snapshot of a generation who's lost track of priorities and perspective. As far as I'm concerned, D.L. Hughley, Mo'nique, and everyone else who stars in Soul Plane may as well have on blackface because that's what this: a modern day minstrel show.

Posted by Ambra in Culture, Race | Link to This Entry | Comments { 1 }
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Excuse the Dust While We're Remodeling

So we're working on a re-design here at nykola.com headquarters. Our staff is not that big so posting seems to have taken a backseat to html coding, which makes us grumpy. There are oh so many more fruitful and productive things to do in line than code html. so extreme lack of content is due to this very fact. This is unfortunate as there is so much newsworthy material worth blogging about. New site launch is expected Sunday or Monday at the latest. After receiving an email from a reader who said she was going cross-eyed trying to read the little font on a dark background, we figured it was time to do some remodeling. I'm about as tired of looking at the cheesy black girl logo as you are.

In recent news: John Kerry was here in Seattle yesterday campaigning, raising obscene amounts of money, and schmoozing with the people. I generally have commented that I consider myself a fairly good judge of character, and I don't know what it is, but I just can't take Sen. Kerry as genuine. Maybe it's just politics, but every word he speaks seems so entirely calculated as though he were reading from cue cards. BO-RING. Maybe it's just the nature of politics. I don't know how politicians do it. I would probably not be a good candidate for any sort of political office. I'm far too loose-tongued if you know what I mean. Plus, when I don't feel like smiling, I don't smile. Presidential candidates don't seem to have that luxury. Neither do pageant contestants. In fact, there are some striking similarities between the two. But let's not go there.

Also in politics, Al Gore has lost his mind. Perhaps the worship of Gaia has pushed him over the deep end. Was it just me or did it seem like he needed a Hammond B3 organ going on in the background of his speech? (For readers who are unfamiliar with this reference, visit a local pentecostal church for more clarity) In any case, Gore's speech just goes to prove, you can yell anything and people will get excited.

Posted by Ambra in Blogging | Link to This Entry
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Okay So I Fell..
May 25, 2004

I watched American Idol tonight. I fell off the wagon. Hard. And I'm proud to announce that for the first time ever, I actually voted. I just couldn't let cheerleader girl win. I repent. And trust me, I feel really bad about my self-control. I'm certain this speaks volumes about my character. Oh well, that Fantasia girl is dang good.


Update: Restoring my faith in the hearing of America, Fantasia wins the competition. There is a God. I pray she doesn't do the typical and stray far from her gospel roots in the wake of fame.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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Wal-Mart Chronicles
May 24, 2004

I never thought I would say it, but I think I hate Wal-Mart. This weekend, on two occasions, I had to enter the doors of a place I used to love but have now come to detest. Immensely.

No I haven't jumped on the bandwagon of Wal-Mart hatred that has become so trendy lately amongst the anti-establishment and anti-anything-that-makes-money trustafarians. In fact, I get rather irritated by those who mouth off about how much they hate Wal-Mart and use things like "unfair labor practices" and "big business" as a smokescreen for the fact that they really desipse how much money Wal-Mart is making. Well, I am not one of those people.

I actually once enjoyed shopping at Wal-Mart. During my freshman year of college, I probably dropped a good $800+ there on dorm trimmings alone. Wal-Mart is a college student's dream. Always low prices. Always. My distaste for Wal-Mart is soley based on the fact that I feel like I'm responding to a cattle call every time I go there. Wal-Mart is not just a store. It is an experience.

If you're planning on visiting Wal-Mart anytime soon, be certain you pray first. You need to be covered in prayer--lots of intense prayer. For myself, I'd add a little fasting too. Fasting is necessary if you have trouble restraining yourself from telling dense people how stupid they are. Pray for patience. You'll need that right away. Like, before you even go into the store.

Patience comes in handy in the parking lot. Parking is no problem if you don't mind a 25 minute wait for a spot. Call me silly, but I mind. I think I almost had an out of body experience once when this guy in a Toyota Corolla maliciously stole my spot. Is there a nice way to call someone a jerk? Probably best just to say, "God Bless You".

When you do finally find a spot, bring some trail mix, a sherpa, and a compass to find your way to the store. I usually have to trek a good quarter of a mile just to get to from my car to the building, where I am immediately accosted by the annoying people-botherers trying to get me to sign some petition for teacher's rights or register to vote. I usually inform said soliciters that I don't sign any petitions without first reading them and I don't care how good "teacher's rights" sounds, I'm not about to slap my name on some "petition" and have it come out one day when I'm running for president of the NAACP, that I signed a petition to eliminate funding for some afterschool program.

When you enter into the circus they call Wal-Mart, you are promptly greeted by 87 shopping carts missing owners, bitter customer service representatives and a McDonalds. This is a recipe for disaster. The phrases, "Excuse me" and "Pardon me" and "Move your big behind out of the way please" become a huge part of your lexicon. These phrases can be said up to two dozen times as one maneuvers their way through crowds of people bottlenecking at the clearance shelf.

Oh look! A new "Atkins drink" for sale, I notice. What a racket.

Oooh look! There's a commotion over at the "two for $11.99" DVD bin!

Everytime I shop at Wal-Mart I feel less like a human being and more like an animal. This is nothing against Sam Walton or his entire rich and lovely family. I wouldn't mind holding stock in such a company. Although, while I was once a vigilant defender of Wal-Mart, I am becoming more convinced that they are partly responsible for perpetuating the lower-class citizen mentality that decends upon every customer who steps foot in their doors.

I try to fight it. I know I am a person raised with pretty good manners, but after about 10 minutes, I am ready to start pushing and shoving my way into the toilet-paper sale aisle just like everyone else.

Then there is the improper use of the intercom system. OH the improper use of the intercom!

"Kendra, calling Kendra, you need to get to the customer service desk now! This is the third time we've asked you! Get over here right now Kendraaaaaaaaaa!"
Please stop that. It's agitating. Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty certain the loudspeaker should not be used for chastizing other employees. That seems pretty tacky. But wait a minute, this is Wal-Mart.

The intercom ignorance is onl exacerbated by the seemingly trillions of children that have been separated from a parent.

"Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, there is a 6-year-old boy wearing a read shirt at the customer service desk that can't find his mother. If you are his mother, please come get him"
Twenty minutes later, same announcement, same kid. Um, could it be that people go to Wal-Mart with the specific intention of losing their children? As if to say, "Oops! Even though I can't find my child, I thought they were talking about the other 6-year-old boy wearing the red shirt." Child abandoners? I think so. Still, if you can manage to drown out the igorance on the intercom, you should be okay.

That is, until you get to the checkout stand--the pinnacle of the Wal-Mart experience. This is where all civility and common decency are completely lost and your true character is put to the test. This is the place that can break a weak-minded individual. This is the place where you must inform "Miss Independent" in the hot pink shirt that she has just cut you in the line. At this point, "Miss Independent" is highly likely to turn around and cuss you out and say things to you even your own mother wouldn't say. Be strong. Don't let her cut you. Once you've staked out your spot in line, you can't rest easy yet.

Chances are, your "brilliant idea" to get into the "10 items or less Express Line" will turn out to be not-so-brilliant when you realize that most people in line have approximately 67 items. Apparently, most folks don't read signs or count. Or even worse, don't read at all.

My end purchase of a whopping $20.19 makes me wonder if it was even worth it. Apparently millions of people think it is. They keep shopping. Maybe it's just Seattle Wal-Marts. Yeah, that must be it.

Posted by Ambra in Life, Requisite Monthly Rant | Link to This Entry | Comments { 14 }
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Cosby Legacy: Who Will Take the Baton?
May 20, 2004

The work of Bill Cosby in the entertainment industry is deep and wide. We all know that in addition to his work on television and as a comedian, Cosby has long had a legacy for being a proponent of education. I can't think of one time he didn't appear on the Cosby Show sporting the sweatshirt of some obscure college or university. Monday, he shocked even NAACP President Kwesi Mfume with his remarks when he was honored at an event commemorating the anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision,

"Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids - $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.'"

Somebody better preach on that one. Every major societal problem can be traced back to the family. One can imagine this was not the uplifting message on the plight of black people in education NAACP officials were hoping for. You'll be hard-pressed to find much in the news about his comments, but they are being felt throughout the black community and beyond.

Perhaps what worries me the most is the fact that Cosby, at age 66, is headed into the last quarter of his life and has yet to fully impart all that is within him to this generation. This is not Cosby's fault. This is our fault. Someone as influential as Mr. Cosby can stand before a group like the NAACP and utter those very words and many will not understand or recognize the significance of the fathering spirit. I have said for many years that Bill Cosby has not yet walked into the fullness of the respect he deserves as a man of wisdom and experience. This will be to our detriment if we don't take heed to the words our elders speak. We need to shake off this illegitimate child mentality and start receiving those who are attempt to speak into our lives. I suppose it is more cyclic than we'd like to think. Many in the black community cannot receive Cosby's words as a father because they themselves have never had a father. And thus, that value of impartation is not recognized or appreciated. Well, that needs to change. Quickly. I fear people will rally around Cosby's words for a couple of months and then once the hype dies down, we'll be back to complacency as usual.

One of the areas I've most admired about Mr. Cosby is his commitment to family, but more importantly, his commitment to Fatherhood. In the era where the male household figure is predominately portrayed to be a bumbling bafoon of sorts, Bill Cosby has always made sure that anything he put his name on gave fatherhood its due respect and honor. Bill Cosby is once again adding his television-genius to a new animated series based on his best-selling book, Fatherhood. The cartoon will bear the book's name. Here is the Nickelodeon press release:

Nick at Nite, the home to modern classic TV, will premiere its first original animated series, Fatherhood. Based on legendary comedian Bill Cosby's best-selling book, "Fatherhood," this original series will premiere June, 2004 and be executive produced by Cosby. Each installment of the animated series will be a comedic, yet insightful journey that features the challenges, life lessons and confusions of family life. Blair Underwood will star as the voice of Dr. Bindlebeep -- a high school teacher, loving husband and father of three. Sabrina Le Beauf, who played Sondra, Cliff Huxtable's eldest child on the beloved hit sitcom The Cosby Show, will star as Dr. Bindlebeep's wife.

This series is a far cry from the sarcastic and sac-religious cult-comedy of top-rated shows like The Simpsons and SouthPark. To think that he has centered an entire series around the role of a father is admirable, and rare. Fatherhood premieres on Father's Day, June 20th at 9 pm on Nickelodeon.

To compare Bill Cosby with any of the current top black comedians is just no match. Cosby is on an entirely different level. To compare the work he's done in the television industry with our modern-day sitcoms is like pitting Muhammad Ali in his prime against Regis Philbin. There's just no match. I would label the work Cosby has done "edutainment". In the days when people are putting mindless filth on the airwaves, I have always appreciated Cosby's attempt at something greater than just entertaining people. One of his most recent ventures includes appearing on Philadelphia schools television to encourage kids and parents to form a partnership with homework. I am encouraged that Cosby is speaking out more in his prime. I believe the years we have left with him are numbered and there is a great wealth of insight he has to offer this generation. I pray we take heed and listen.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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Tools of the 21st Century
May 19, 2004

I have often discussed my lack of appreciation for certain social and political organizations. These are not just any organizations. Some of these are organizations whose life's work is to beat the air about every un-relevant issue under the sun. Others have somehow gone bad over the years. All of them have postured themselves in a position of insane influence on the culture. I present my beginning list of Tools of the 21st Century:

The NAACP

This should not come as a suprise to anyone who's ever graced this website. While the NAACP may have at one point been a worthwhile and worthy organization, they have now reduced themselves to a useless, mindless, and lawsuit happy, pound of opportunistic flesh. This organization is doing absolutely nothing to advance "colored people". Instead, they advance themselves and their own agenda through illegitimate lawsuits, complaints, and public displays of embarrassment. Let's keep in mind, this is an organization whose entire livelihood is determined by lawsuit settlements, donations, and membership dues. Not a good combination if you ask me. As La Shawn Barber so eloquently writes, kill the dinoasaur!

PETA
Everytime I hear of this organazation's silly antics, it makes me want to go slap somebody and eat a hamburger. If this organization isn't complaining about fur coats or Halle Berry being a spokeswoman for the animal-testing Revlon company, then they're busy passing out religious tracts (yes, they are a religion) about vegetarianism and veganism to school children. I cannot think of one thing this organization does that is admirable or legitimate. They place animals on the same level as humans and tell kids their mother is wicked because she cooks chicken for dinner. We all have better things to do with our time and bigger fish to fry. Yes, yummy fish. Fish that was killed by humans so that I could enjoy it in my tummy. Fish that is on this very Earth for the purposes of providing nourishment to those who choose to eat it. There's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, but for the love of all things pure, do not proselytize the children. Every year it seems their agenda teeters on the line of complete pychopathy and their members have become more and more belligerant. If PETA had their way, we'd all be worshipping animals.

Planned Parenthood

Many organizations started out with a good foundation and later morphed into something obsolete. This is not the case for Planned Parenthood. Since its inception, Planned Parenthood has been downright evil. Not only is this the same organization that singlehandedly led the abortion-movement to the disgusting and acceptable "norm" it is in our present society, they also are on a mission to play God to the world through sterilazation in third world countries, offering abortions to teenager girls without parental consent,and handing out condoms to 12-year old boys. Although they would deny it, the roots of Planned Parenthood are racist. Its founder, Margaret Sanger, was on a mission to rid the world of people of color through "family planning". This is an organization that has done obscene amounts of harm to this country and they get lots of money donated to do it. The madness needs to be exposed.

Greenpeace

They claim to "give the Earth a voice". Boys and girls, please stop with this silliness. The Earth does not need a voice. The Earth is not a human. Now maybe those who live in Nebarska or other landlocked parts of the country haven't been exposed to enough of GreenPeace to recognize how much they deserve to be on this list. But I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where we spend MILLIONS of dollars saving whales. I watched as most news-worthy events were completely pre-empted so that Northwest news stations could cover the transport of "Keiko the killer whale" back to her home in Greenland. Give me a break! There are people starving in the Sudan and we concern ourselves with silly whales who shouldn't have been in captivity in the first place. Greenpeace has found a unique partnership with unsuspecting college students hungry for a cause. They usually roam about highly populated areas of Seattle and other major cities handing out literature and greeting passerbys with the phrase, "Do you have a moment for Greenpeace?", to which I always reply, "Nope, I sure don't." Their mission statement includes the fact that they use, "non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and force solutions for a green and peaceful future". Translated: they block highways, hang from construction cranes, spray paint buildings and cause major back-ups on highway overpasses in protest of companies who cut down trees. Stop wasting my tax dollars and my time.

The American Cancer Society
I might get hated for this but I don't care. ACS is one of the absolute wealthiest non-profit organizations in the world. Millionaires and billionaires sit on their board. Yet, I find something inherently wrong with any organization whose foremost purpose is to research and find a cure for a disease. Donations pour in year after from people who've lost loved ones and corporate sponsors all hoping to do their part in finding a cure for cancer, or at least make life better for those living with it. So what happens when the cure is found (if it hasn't been found already)? Do we disband the organization and file for unemployment? Can you smell the potential conflict of interest? Well I do. I'm all for finding a cure for cancer as I've lost loved ones too. I am also smart enough to recognize that when an organization spends upwards of 60% of their annual fund on overhead costs, new buildings, and luxiourious salaries, something isn't right. Don't think Enron is the only one capable of scandal.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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New Film "Saved" Walks a Very Fine Line

So it's no shocker that Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ is completely decimating the competition. The film currently has the #7 slot on the list of highest-grossing movies of all time right between Lord of the Rings and Jurrasic Park (rather telling, I'd say). Final figures can't even be predicted yet so it's assumed that #7 slot will change. The Passion is set to release to DVD very soon and has only recently opened in many international markets. It's safe to say the "bling" is still rolling in. With the success of The Passion, much conversation has been bouncing around about Hollywood venturing into the area of "faith films". I personally don't think we'll ever see "moral" films rightly portrayed until Hollywood actually becomes moral and there's a lot of work to do there. Righteousness is probably the only thing in the world that can't be faked. Not even expensive sets and fancy make-up artists can help that. However, more recently at the forefront of the "faith film" frenzy is the movie Saved starring young adult-boppers Macaulay Culkin and Mandy Moore. Saved was already in the workds before the public success of Gibson's film, and it's a lower budget film that will most likely make the rounds among the independent and small film festival circuits so there's no point in even comparing the two (although the film does do so by poking fun at the Passion by a play on words on their website). The film is set on the campus of a private Christian high school where teenagers struggling with homosexuality, drugs and sex are a plenty. Is this realistic? Unfortunately-- absolutely, yes. However, the film's resolution is not exactly a positive one. The basic synopsis of the film is a group of "Jesusfreaks" disown their friend who gets pregnant in an attempts to "deprogram" her boyfriend out of homosexuality by having sex with him. Lofty, yes. Does it happen, in some circles, yes. Are they out to prove a point? More than likely yes, and probably a controversial one too. The film is definitley more of a satirical dark comedy, although the filmmakers would argue otherwise.

If the film's website is any indication of the movie itself, than I'd say the media is right if they don't think Christians will appreciate it. (Just click around the website for a minute and you'll see what I mean). Columnists are already predicting that Christians won't see the humor. I'd take it a step further to say not only don't I see it, it's completely irreverent and over-the-top. Interestingly enough, the film's website has a section called "Christian Guide". Yeah, okay, whatever. The filmmakers purport that the movie is intended to spark dialogue around "true faith", the real issues with which Christian teenagers are grappling, and what's "not acceptable" to talk about in the church. Nice goals. Questionable path. Well now wait a minute. Let's surf the production credits for a moment....oh yes, now this is interesting: The film boasts some of the same production team responsible for Being John Malkovich, and what's this...Underworld? Oh yeah, sure that's really a morally sound film. NEXT!

Lewis Schaeffer of the National Review notes that gay audiences "love" the film. Nuff said. If that's not enough to let me know something is horribly askew with this film, I don't know what is. Now maybe some other people brush that kind of stuff under the rug, but in following with my other trends of thought concerning the homosexual agenda, I'd definitely say red flag anything the gay community is behind. Like a huge, gigantic, NEON, red flag with sequins, moving lights, and sirens. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this deflated attempt at social dialogue. They won't be getting my money.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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Things I Will Never Understand
May 16, 2004

Boxing. I have witnessed quite a few fights in my lifetime. Of course, being that I am young, it's nothing of the illustrious Ali-Frazier era, but more the ear-biting Tyson-Holyfield era. Afterall, my cousin is a pretty famous boxer, so my family's followed it pretty closely through the years. This said, I do not understand the dynamic of two men (and nowadays women) getting in a ring, and beating the crap out of eachother. I say this in the wake of the Antonio Tarver/Roy Jones upset.

Bungee Jumping. A rubberband. A cliff. A person. This is an equation that just doesn't add up for me. You could not pay me millions of dollars to subject my body (the only body I have) to this foolishness.

Curling. No matter how many times I watch this sport, I cannot understand the point. A bunch of men with brooms, wearing bowling shoes, roll a block of granite on some ice while sweeping its path?

I suppose if you break down just about any sport, it seems pretty pointless. Basketball: people running back and forth down a court trying to throw a ball in a basket. Baseball: people hitting a ball into a field with a bat in order to buy time to run around bases. I think the thing that always gets me is how much of a priority we've made sports. Here in Seattle there are schools that have no computers and no textbooks. Yet, we and our tax dollars just got finished building two multi-million dollar statidums (one for baseball and one for football), side-by-side. It is there that millions of Seattle residents spend 33% of the year worshipping at the altar of two losing teams.

Posted by Ambra in Culture | Link to This Entry
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God Privilege: Recognizing & Utilizing the Neon-Colored Knapsack
May 14, 2004

I was never taught to see the favor of God as superceding the systems of men

From the time that I gave my life to God when I was 16 years-old, I've always felt different. I knew I was marked, I knew my life was branded forever, I knew I wasn't like the average person. I have often noticed that many Christians do not have the proper perspective on their rights and privileges as sons and co-heirs with Christ. It is interesting that "privilege" in this country is often assumed to be a negative thing. People scoff at those who've had the descriptor "privileged" bestowed on them. I've never quite understood why we've built up such an animosity for the "privileged". I spent most of my entire scholastic career amongst privileged individuals and even they began to despise their own privileged-ness. Most people in the United States of America are of the persuasion that certain people in this country are where they are today because of some nepotism, their race, their gender, their class, their educational background (which is usually dictated by class and race), and many other things. I can't say I disagree with that theory. What I will say is that I believe there is privilege in belonging to God that supercedes all other privileges and some.

Being that I am a black person, I can take this a step further and say that many black Christians have come to have more distrust in corrupt socially-generated systems than they have trust in the almighty God. Collectively as a people, we have turned to the government and other social institutions to meet many of our needs, and then turned around and placed blame on those very same institutions when they weren't doing what we thought they should do. Somehow the favor of God gets left out of all this. Speaking for all races, it seems we have come to be a nation of victims in many respects. We point our fingers in a number of different directions, blaming others for our present condition, or the choices and privileges we were denied. I am often bothered by Christians who spew this mythology of blame and dependence on "hand-outs" to rise to the proverbial top.

Every day I am becoming more aware of the always present reality that being a child of God has more rights, privileges, and responsibilities than anyone could ever imagine or keep track of. Not only do we not have to be subject to many of the corrupt schemes and systems that are holding so many back, we have power over them! We carry on our backs, a knapsack of favor and privilege everywhere we go. This knapsack we have isn't invisible; it's neon yellow, plain for the world to see. The favor of God on a person's life is perhaps the most beautiful thing. This knapsack isn't to be shown off or flaunted. It's to give God the glory and draw others to him.

Having this privilege as a child of God is definitely something we are accountable for. In fact, I think it's a travesty when we don't exercise our influence and keep that knapsack closed. I decided to take some time out to think about all the glorious privileges of God I've experienced in my life. In listing some of these out, I realize these are situations and certainties to which many others cannot lay claim. This is the essence of true privilege.

  1. I can arrange to be in God's presence anytime I want.
  2. If I need to move to a different location, I can be pretty sure that when renting an apartment or purchasing a house, God already has one available and waiting for me.
  3. I can go shopping alone and pretty much expect to get a good deal, special favor, or an unexpected blessing along the way.
  4. I can turn on the television or look at the front page of the newspaper and get insight into things the average person can't see.
  5. When I go to a professional establishment, I can usually expect to receive the best service.
  6. When I am sick, I can seek healing for my body anytime I want.
  7. I can make mistakes in my past and not have them held against me in my future.

  8. When considering a spouse, I don't have to stress out about if that person is "the one".
  9. I get to see miracles every day.
  10. When I am in need of income I can guarantee that I will be taken care of at all times.
  11. Food, clothing, and shelter are things I never have to worry about.
  12. When I drive in my car, I have a hedge of protection around me.
  13. I don't have to be afraid of anything.
  14. I can do well in a challenging situation and be a credit to God alone.
  15. When I speak, people listen.
  16. I don't need affirmative action to get into college or get a job.
  17. I have exposure and access to the most diverse group on people on the earth.
  18. I can be placed in high positions of influence and power I don't even deserve.
  19. If I find myself in a bad situation that seems completely unchangeable, I know someone who can change it.
  20. I can get a job I'm not qualified for.
  21. I can have peace in the midst of chaos.
  22. I don't have to fight my own battles.
  23. I have protection everywhere I go.
  24. I always have someone I can talk to.

  25. I can have insight about people and situations without anyone telling me so.
  26. I have business ideas no one's ever thought of.
  27. I have the cure to every disease.
  28. If I'm having a bad day, the joy of the Lord is my strength.
  29. Death has no mastery over me.

In unpacking this neon knapsack of God privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience which I once took for granted. I now know that these are realities I can be certain of every day. I am unsure of why many don't embrace this burden of privilege. Sometimes I think it's easier to just blame others instead of trusting in a God who's so much bigger than our petty situations. There is so much more to say here, but it will be saved for a later time.

**Loosely based on an essay titled "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh, an article I've come to disagree with more and more each day.

Posted by Ambra in Life, Race | Link to This Entry | Comments { 1 }
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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
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