Skip to main content

Sensei Obama's Chill Dojo

At first, I was angry at the protesters who spat on Representative John Lewis and hurled racial epithets (not “epitaphs” as one reporter called them) at Lewis and Representative Emanuel Cleaver II. Seething, mind you. Then I was angry at Lewis and Cleaver for not commenting on the incidents. Then I was angry at President Obama for not calling the protesters on their racism.

And then I chilled.

Consider me a new student in President, or rather, Sensei Obama’s Chill Dojo.

I realized that, like President Obama and Representatives Lewis and Cleaver, I could not allow the N word to have the power over me that those who used it on Lewis and Cleaver wanted it to have. I, like President Obama, needed to focus not on the extraneous and the offensive, but the goal itself – enacting health care legislation.

I know my husband, Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB), has heard criticisms of President Obama at his barber shop to the effect that the President needs to be “more black” – and, in this case, I think that meant “more angry.” I know my first inclination when I heard that Representative Lewis, who had literally taken blows in Selma to march for the freedoms I enjoy, had been called the N-word and spat on, was to take up arms. I wanted to show those protesters that I wasn’t part of the non-violent Dr. King civil rights generation, but the “by any means necessary” pre-Hajj Malcolm X generation. And that I wasn’t alone.

And that’s exactly what they would have wanted – that Lewis, Cleaver, and even President Obama – lose focus. That they give power to that most offensive word at the expense of representative democracy and social justice.

So I took my cue from the President. And when the House vote hit 216 Sunday night, I quietly rejoiced and realized that had the President and Representatives Lewis and Cleaver given those racial epithets the power that those who used them thought they had, we might not be talking about a health care victory today, but what could have been had we chilled and remained focused.

I guess that is the first rule of Sensei Obama’s Chill Dojo: Chill and remain focused.



Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…