Saggy pants and blue bikinis

This country is race-divided but also in race-denial. A new trend in discussing race is that when a black person is offended, he is called a racist. Offense is the best for of defense.

Many of you might have heard about Deshon Marman who was evicted from a US Airways plane and then arrested, simply because he was wearing one of those ‘sagging’ pants.  Now, I’m not a fan of that fashion, not because I think its vulgar or inappropriate, but because it is impractical.

It is fashionable, and every generation has a popular set of clothing that our parents strongly disapproved of.  But disapproval of a fashion statement like ‘saggy pants’ is not a reason to throw someone off a plane.

Of course when the incident first happened, a whole lot of people came out with statements coloured by racism.  They defended the actions of the police and crew, which in my view were inherently racist.

Yet here is something many people would not have heard of.  Just days before Marman’s arrest, the same airline allowed a man wearing nothing but women’s bikini underwear, matching bra, a see-through top, black high stockings, and high heels, aboard their aircraft.  He was allowed to fly even after some passengers complained.  The man was of course, white.

Compare and tell me, Racism or not?

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And while we are speaking of race.  Have you guys ever heard of the ‘marriage pledge’ being passed around and signed by several republican candidates.  It asks them to pledge to oppose any redefinition of marriage.  But here is an interesting insertion, “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President”.

Really?  Now what this has do with marriage fidelity is beyond me, put it points out several things.  Racists cannot help themselves.  What normal people see as racism, they think is ok.  This definitely is a case in point.

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Still more race, perhaps.

Casey Anthony was found not guilty by a jury of her peers and the decision is still causing widespread feelings.  After watching the decision, I wondered how long it would take to bring OJ into the mix.  Not very long.  But I also notice that with the obvious parallels between the two cases, the righteous indignation against the Anthony decision is far milder than the ‘not guilty’ verdict for OJ.

Makes me wonder what if Casey Anthony was black?

Another thing of interest is how the hallowed halls of justice have become the setting for a new reality show… the nation must be entertained at any cost, and how we have come to accept trial by media, and the media manipulations of public opinions and perceptions.  Interesting.

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A few weeks ago, the Jamaican Observer ran a study that Caribbean nationals residing in the US showed a decline in their health the longer they live in the US.  Not surprising.

This nation suffers from obesity, and blacks perhaps disproportionately suffer more.

Ever think about a correlation between the high level of obesity in poorer neighborhoods and the amount of fast food outlets populating that community?  Think its just accidental?

But this goes beyond just health. Many Caribbean peoples carry their mores from the Caribbean with them and in those parents, we tend to see strong, successful families, with children who do well at school.

But there may be a change. More Caribbean parents might be falling for the trappings and traps of this country, or are failing to set strong ‘home-country’values for their children. The predictable happens.  Poor school grades, delinquency, gangs, drugs, failure, jail.  There is a cause and effect here.

This country is tough and unforgiving and many Caribbean nationals fail to survive.  They would have been better back home where there is a familiarity, stronger moral values and stronger social support.

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Another story in the Observer spoke about a survey claiming that many young Jamaicans feel that they would be ‘better off’ overseas (perhaps they should look to the above quoted survey).  This is not new. It has been going on since West Indians first started their mass trek from the Caribbean to the UK, USA, and Canada.

But a lot of these ill-conceived ambitions were built and are still being built on lies. These lies were perpetuated by national misinformation, and our own parents, relatives and friends have been propagators of this propaganda.  Many of us today still carry on the tradition.

That is not to say that many West Indians have not made themselves somewhat financially better off than if they have stayed in say, Jamaica.  But there is generally a steep cost and there is still a failure to comprehend the difference between Standard of Living (SoL) and Quality of Life (QoL).

Lets step back to the ‘tradition’.  Many of us remember the photograph of ‘Uncle’ standing before a big shiny car, in front of a big house.  We obviously concluded that Uncle had made it big, not knowing that Uncle didn’t drive that car and certainly didn’t live in that house.  It was for show because he couldn’t bear to have his family and friends think that he had failed to ‘make it’.  And generations after did the same.

Even today, many of us fail to talk to young people and have them think carefully before migrating.  I always tell young people that if they feel they must, get a university education in the Caribbean first.  Coming up here without the coping mechanisms is dangerous.  You’d be surprised how quickly new migrants find themselves in trouble.  Actually you won’t.  You know at least one story of immigrants falling flat on their faces.

Like granny says, ‘Si mi an’ come stay wid mi is 2 different tings’. Being a tourist and living in America is not the same.  With good support, fine.  Without the proper foundation, trouble.

As to SoL and QoL, this is something that even Americans fail to appreciate.  I tell people that the farmer back in Jamaica with 2 acres of land, a woman and 3 kids living in 2 rooms, are better off than many of us living here.  While we earn more money and have ‘nicer things’, we live miserable unhealthy lifestyles, in fear and on the edge of despair always.

I’m never tired to telling stories of many Jamaicans who scorn the ‘unfinished homes’ of the Jamaican rural, but who in the last few years have found themselves losing their 4 bedroom mansions to short sales, if they are lucky.  While in Jamaica, the countryman is riding out the storm, in the unfinished house, HE STILL OWNS.

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In my last blog “I do drugs”, I forecast that gas prices were about to rise.  This when the prices had been falling for weeks.  At my gas station the price towards the end of June was $3.55 per gallon.  A week later, it jumped to $3.65.  Well, it will be fluctuating over the next few weeks but not going too high in the near future.

Reading this fluctuation is not rocket science, at least not as inexplicable as the mass media is making it out to be.

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Did I just hear a republican congressman McCarthy (Ca) claim that jobs are lost because ‘we are spending too much’? What kind of convoluted logic are the republicans spinning?  People don’t believe this.

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Readers might not have caught the media happenings in Britain with the criminal scandal about News of the World’s ‘journalists’ hacking into the phones of politicians, celebrities and even dead people.

There is a major cover-up going on by both the government and the owners of this scandal rag.

Why should we on this side care?  The owner of News of the World is media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Watch this story.  The reverberations won’t be limited to the UK alone.

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Continuing on our series about art, the following is the continuation of the last submission.

How to buy

Many people with big, empty, monotonous wall space, think that they have to buy a big piece… and of course, the bigger the more expensive.  But you need not start big.  If you want a collection, it’s not where you start but where you are going, and the journey to get there.  And the journey is where the excitement lies, as your collection takes shape and continuously evolves.

So you can start small, with one or two pieces.  You can collect things you like, artists you like (preferably one with consistent body of work), a style you like, themes, or by size.   You can mix media… paintings, sculpture, photographs, mixed media, ceramics, Japanese prints, African sculptures, masks… whatever.

When your collection starts to take shape then you have a showstopper.  Friends and visitors will browse, compliment you, ask questions and talk behind your back.  Of course, not everything will be complimentary (afterall they are your friends)… but then it could be worse (it could be about your Wal-Mart art).

You will find that once you start collecting, you will be drawn to find out more about the art, the artist, the style, the period and so on.  You will want to know more because art opens up a whole new side of us… a total discovery.

But art isn’t just that.  It is communication, understanding, appreciating, searching for more fulfillment beyond the job, the shopping sprees and the stress that today’s society dumps on us.  Art gives us an outlet… whether we do it ourselves, or appreciate the work of

those who do it well.

And finally, what we have on the wall says something about us.  Could it be conversely, if we have nothing on the wall…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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