Recently, a friend told me he posted a meme on social media that he thought was perfectly fine until a friend pointed out to him that said meme might be offensive. My friend informed me that he removed the meme and proceeded to render a heartfelt apology. But between his confession and mea culpa, he sandwiched a question: is an Oompa Loompa meme offensive to Little People?
Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a number of mass shootings. Yes, the ones that make national headlines, and the ones that go unmentioned by the mainstream media. There’s a lot that’s been said about them; plenty of debate, conjecture, blaming, shaming, convicting, and support of victims. But there’s one subject that is rarely addressed: the ripple effect these shootings have not just on those not directly impacted, but those who are continually watching from a disance and what coping skills we should we all employ.
What do we do?
It is with great sorrow that we, the family of our beloved Clay Rivers, announce his passing. His body was found by authorities late last night in a wooded area in Ocoee, hanging from a tree. Please respect our privacy during this time of deep mourning as we try to understand this unspeakable act.
—the Rivers family
The fear that members of my family would ever have to post the above message or something similar has been a palpable fear I’ve lived with since I was in my early twenties. While I seldom, if ever, had reason to be in Ocoee, I grew up hearing rumors about Ku Klux Klan activity in Lake County. This has been a pervasive fear among black families who have lived in central Florida long enough to know of Ocoee’s reputation as a sundown town. For years, a well-known sign even gave public notice that blacks should not be found in Ocoee after sunset.
Racism. The subject is steeped in centuries of emotion. The mere mention of it among people of different ethnicities has the ability to suck all the fun out of a room faster than a backdraft consumes air, and more often than not, the resulting vibe after such discussions is just as combustible. There are those who are exhausted from explaining it and those who are tired of hearing about it. In all honesty, I don’t enjoy writing about the subject. But … as a Person of Color, there’s one reason I continue to have those discussions — and if you consider yourself an ally of People of Color who stands against racist practices it’s the same reason why you should continue to as well: I have those discussions because they matter.
Difficult people are hard to love. This makes having healthy relationships with them challenging. Read as: a pain the ass, thorn in the side, fun as a sharp stick in the eye, or all of the above. Everyone has at least one difficult relationship. And probably the most challenging relationship is the one between parents and their adult children.
New Year’s Resolutions, 2017, and Beyond
I don’t do resolutions. I gave up the practice a long time ago. Maybe it’s just me, but by the time February rolls around, I’m too consumed with surviving the public shame of not having a proper Valentine to remember a promise to improve some aspect of my behavior that I made after three glasses of champagne on New Year’s Eve. I can’t recall exactly when I tossed the promise to lose weight long. It doesn’t really matter as I’ve kinda become accustomed to my new cherub-bod. It’s growing on me. Literally.
December 24, 2004, I sat alone in my room at the Doubletree hotel in Boston and ended a phone call with my family in Orlando. I summoned as much cheer as possible from my aching body to wish them a merry Christmas Eve. I didn’t fool them at all.
Some people get all bent out of shape by use of the phrase “happy holidays.” I suppose it’s because they prefer others greeted them exclusive with the phrase “merry Christmas” this time of year or not at all. Personally, it makes me happy when people wish me good tidings of great joy (or any amount, for that matter).
It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times
The moment you utter the words, “This will be the best [insert your favorite high pressure goal] ever,” you can start weeping and gnashing your teeth because what you’ve done in your momentary glee is implored all forces in the Universe to conspire against you to bring about your complete and utter humiliation. But thank God for provision.
If you don’t take a stand for who you are, what you believe, and share the validity of your experiences, someone else will write a narrative for you that most certainly will not be in your best interest. This post is all about platform.