I spoke with my brother yesterday and he mentioned to me two different
instances where people in our family, our uncle and his mother in law,
indicated that they were either scared of him or felt that he had an
attitude. I was pleased that he felt close enough to me to share, but I
felt helpless with regard to what to do or say, so I simply asked him
how he felt? His response, "I don't know."
Here is the story. He went to pick up the kids, my niece and
nephew, from their maternal grandmothers house, and he
was his normal moody Gemini self. Before he went to go get
the kids, he and his wife had an argument.
He said thank you and good bye to their grandmomma but he
was short and to the point. Based on my experience with
grandmothers, they like to chat.
On top of that, he was a street dude, and he is quiet. This combination
can make people uncomfortable. (Believe it or not, I can be quiet too, lol.)
My response was, "Aye, blood, I know you have made changes in
your life, but you were a street dude since '89, so that part of you
probably comes out when your mad at people and it
probably intimidates them."
He laughed, at the street dude comment. Pheew. Tension, diffused!
I asked him if he considered just hanging out or talking directly to
his mother in law when he didn't need something, just so that she
could get to know him better. He said he would think about it but
that they "don't be picking up their phone." Which is true. I conceded
that it is hard to connect with folks, and when they don't reach back
it can be type difficult. I also said that she is his mother in law and that
that name and title exists for a reason.
Mercury is in retrograde.
My brother then goes on to tell me about hanging
out at a bar owned by an old friend of ours near Grand Lake. He
commences to telling me how he almost had to "do something"
do a gay dude who kept walking in and out of the spot. I responded,
"why do you need to do something to someone just because he is
gay and looking at you?" I continued, "Men and women say shit to
me all the time, but I don't flip out on them. In fact it happens to
most women starting at around 13."
He wasn't convinced.
His response, tight lipped, through clinched teeth is "If that persons
orientation is different than yours, than that's out of pocket."
I had to tread lightly, because he is familiar with my gender
politics but also is steadfast in his own, and doesn't mind arguing.
So I say, "Well, someone harassing me is just that, someone
harassing me, sexual orientation doesn't make it more right or
more wrong, and it doesn't merit me being violent. Where is the
tolerance in wanting to do something to him?"
He hesitated, which is what I was looking for.
I also said that one of the reasons why I engaged with him in these
conversations is because I know that my nephew is learning
how to be a man from him, so the things I say could impact my
little round-eyed, chubby-cheeked nephew.
He gave me a flat, "ummm hmmmp."
Mercury is in retrograde.
Only after reflecting on the conversation did I realize that my
brother could stand to be on the receiving end of some
tolerance from our Uncle and his mother in law, and that he
could also stand to be more tolerant of the gay men that he
Its hard to shake that Oakland Rage.
Last night, I was in the Barnes on Court Street chatting with
a cat who does music in both NY and Philly, he thought
he knew me from somewhere. One of The Last Poets strolls
up and starts talking to us about everything from Obama, to
Black Nationalism, Gaza & Israel.
It was nice. Often times I feel like an old head when dialoging
with young bucks so it was great to be on the other end of
Let's be clear. I did not agree with everything the man said,
but he is my elder, so I had to listen respectfully. Then the
scratch moment happened, where he said that he agreed with
Jesse Jackson when Jesse said that he wanted to "Cut Obama's
I was like, hold up, my heart started speaking before my mind
could stop me, "You mean to tell me, given the history of
lynching and castration of Black men by whites in this
country, you could cosign on an African American man,
talking about castrating another African American man
who is a presidential candidate?"
He responded, "Yes, its different. "
I then asked , "Where is the tolerance in that line of thought?"
He responded, maintaining that it was different.
I was done, I said what I said to say.
It was interesting because I held my tongue, until it became clear
that it simply wasn't just for me to do so anymore. Writing about it
after the fact comes easy, but at the moment it was tight hard because
I didn't know how he was going to respond.
All I know, is that it has been three days in, and I have been
the bearer of tolerance. Yikes.
Mercury out of Retrograde on 1/31. Countdown.
You show tolerance towards anyone lately?