Posts tagged ‘History’

September 13, 2010

Tired of all the hate

One thing that bothers me more than most things is close mindedness. It gets my blood boiling and I find myself taking it almost personally. There is something inherently wrong about it, something unfair and unjust. So let me just say that I have been very angry of late.

This anger stems from the current discourse surrounding muslims in this country. It has been very ridiculous, totally irrational, yet amazingly mainstream.

The idea that muslims living in America do not deserve the same rights afforded other Americans is flat out unAmerican. This is precisely why people come to this country, to have an opportunity to succeed. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…” Does this sound familiar?

I do agree that building a mosque at ground zero would be insensitive. However, most of the people opposing the mosque don’t come up with an alternative solution (The Imam has offered to move it). This is because they don’t care about that. There just appears to be a concerted effort to turn this into a political issue in an election year. Never mind that it is not even a mosque or at ground zero. Or that muslims already go to that spot to pray for the 9/11 victims.

Let’s also remember that some of the people that died on that awful day, were muslims. There was a prayer room on the 17th floor of the South tower. If you’re keeping count at home, terrorism is a disease that afflicts muslims, christians, atheists etc. No one is immune and to find a cure, we must all work together.

Lady Liberty

Image by Don Sullivan via Flickr

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January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

Dr. King deserves all the respect and accolades that he gets. It definitely cannot be over emphasized. I like to wonder what things would be like if he were still alive. What he’d think of what we’d become since his time.

I am sure he would be proud of how far we have come and by we I mean America as a whole. There has been a lot of good work done. We live in harmony. There are opportunities to be had.

But he’d march on and continue the fight. I like to think that Dr. King was the kind of man who had a fire burning deep in his belly for better or for worse. I’d like to believe that he always stood for fairness, justice and equality. And that battle, my friends is yet to be won.

This article says it better than I can. Enjoy.

Happy MLK day.

January 19, 2008

Why there needs to be change

Some say that America has lost its brain. I’d like to submit that we have lost our hearts. Sure, one could pull out statistic after statistic to show that we are getting lower test scores, our teenagers are disconnected from the real world, college students don’t even know the basic tenets of history and grammar anymore, etc. but that isn’t what is wrong here.

The real problem I believe can be summed up in one phrase; “we just don’t care anymore”. Notice I said we. I am including myself in this conversation. We have buried our heads in the sand of circumstance and refuse to see what is going on around us.

To illustrate this point, consider this; a majority of the population especially young people do not believe that any politician is honest or is trying to serve the people. Let that sink in for a second. Then remember that this is a democracy. This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We’ve taken the people out of the equation and now its a bunch of politicians just doing their thing.

This same apathy can be seen in our everyday life and not just in politics. Yeah katrina was bad but the government ought to have done something about it. Yeah there is racism still left in the world but someone ought to do something about it. And so on. That someone is me. I want to do something about our problems.

But I need you. I need your honesty. I need your help. I need your heart. I want you to care. I want you to ask the right questions with me. I want you to pick me up when I am down. I want you to feel with me for the homeless guy on the street corner. I want you to feel for the little boy in the hood whose hopes are going to be dashed because he has no avenue to survive. Change needs to happen because the way things are going now isn’t going to cut it and its up to us to do something about it. I can’t do it alone and neither can you. So join me.

January 14, 2008

Indicting the Black Athlete of Today

You know about Elgin Baylor. You’ve seen his records being broken. Maybe you know that in the 61-62 NBA season he averaged 38.3 points to go with 18.6 rebounds. Such numbers are eye popping but there is more to this man than that. You may not know that Elgin was a United States Army Reservist that same year and could only play for the Lakers when he got a weekend pass. You may also not know that Mr. Baylor single handedly saved the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1958, when Elgin was drafted number 1 overall by the Lakers, the Lakers were in trouble. They were lousy. The George Mikan era was over and the players who were left on the team were “slow, bulky and aging” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgin_Baylor). The Lakers owner at the time, Bob Short, begged Baylor to skip his junior year and join the Minneapolis Lakers. Mr. Hope would later say in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1971: “If he had turned me down, I would have been out of business. The club would have gone bankrupt”. The Lakers drafted Mr. Baylor to save the franchise and in his rookie year, he led them to the NBA finals. To help put this in perspective think of this; the Lakers had finished 19-53 one year before Elgin came to town. Talk about clutch.

You definitely know about Jackie Robinson. You know what he accomplished by being the first black person in the big leagues. Jackie had to be good you see, Jackie had to be very good or this experiment was going to end just as quickly as it had begun. He was carrying the hopes and dreams of every little boy and girl who wasn’t white but had picked up a bat, a glove, or a ball and dared to dream. Talk about pressure. He knew exactly what he had to do. He had to carry those dreams and hopes on his back. Good thing he had a strong, broad back.

What about Oscar Robertson? He was the only man to ever average a triple double in a season. During the 61-62 season, he pulled off 30.8 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds per game. But you knew that. You may not know just how poor Mr. Robertson was growing up. In fact, he picked up basketball because it was a “poor boy’s sport”. His family could not afford a basketball so he learned how to shoot by tossing tennis balls and rags bound with rubber bands into a peach basket. The Big O had to put up with a lot of racism during his career especially in college and high school. He often had to sleep in dorms on the road instead of hotel rooms like the rest of his teammates because he wasn’t allowed in. Despite all of that, Mr. Robertson flourished and even helped bring an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA which led to a reform of free agency and draft rules.

There are many more old time black athletes. Some of them we’ll never hear about because their sacrifices went unpublicized. In a time when their white counterparts were renowned for what they did on the courts, pitch, field, etc., these men had to be champions both on and off the court. They were called upon to look beyond themselves and help bring change and they came through convincingly. Without them, there would be no Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, etc. The NBA wouldn’t be fantastic, Major League Baseball wouldn’t be importing players from Japan and the Dominican Republic, and Football wouldn’t be America’s new pastime. Yet these men are at risk of being forgotten. Some of them are still alive but aren’t celebrated. When the average fan of today calls Michael Jordan the greatest, I beg to differ. All Michael had to do was just play. The people before him had to win the hearts of people who didn’t want them there.

We are losing a valuable piece of American history. Part of the problem is the apathy shown by current athletes in their refusal to take up causes outside of their comfort zone. There is still some racism left, some injustice in this society, and yet the people who have the power to do so much do nothing at all. The current black athlete is failing off the court despite their high marks on it. Meanwhile history continues to be lost, one piece at a time.