Autographed Letter Signed

A Mostly Center-Right Place For Those With Irritable Obama Syndrome and Diversity Fatigue

Happy Birthday Autographed Letter Signed April 8, 2010

Cakes By One of my favorite artists, Wayne Thiebaud

A sense of accomplishment is in the air. Today is the first anniversary of ALS. Wow an entire year. What brought me, lil ol’ Afrocity to create this blog in the first place? In short, after not quite fitting in at The Confluence and not quite fitting in at Little Green Footballs (which turned out to be a liberal blog disguised as a center right blog or some strange experiment in blogger as evil puppet master), I decided to get my own diggs.

"Lemon cake" by Wayne Thiebaud

Shedding a political spouse, in my case the Democratic Party, required some solitude and space to explore my values. What do I really want for my country? What causes are worth fighting for? I had to ask myself these things because for so long I played in the liberal sandbox watching my pals kick down castles of military defense, christian values, parental rights and all sorts of things that really mattered to me. Externally, I muttered yeah “fuck the military!”,  “burn that flag” , “sure the government owes blacks” but internally, especially as I aged, I winced at mostly everything liberals stood for with the exception of women’s rights.   Compassion and equal opportunity for all is something I can agree with.  I had it in me to be a good liberal, however I also had it in me to be a better conservative.

There is a difference between being a compassionate person and an enabler.  Liberals have a tendency to dramatize the human condition,  particularly that of minorities and any one they see as down-trodden.   When you just spend, spend, spend money- tax dollars- on “compassionate programs” , you have to take a step back in order to see if those programs are really helping anyone or are they enabling a persistent problem to turn into a generational saga.   Let’s take welfare programs for example and you know how I feel about those.

"Watermelon Slices" by Wayne Thiebaud

One of the reasons I am against government assistance is because I grew up on it.  And yes, it fed me, kept me adequately healthy, but did it advance me or my mother?  No.  Did it pay for my prom dress?  No.  Prom was a big deal to a 17 year old girl.  How would the $250 government check pay for my prom gown, my hair appointment,  my #352 pink dyed shoes to match my dress and my jewelry?   The answer was, it would not.  Mother went looking for dresses at the Salvation Army store, meanwhile Afrocity began looking for a job.   This image of one of us actually working was a bit much for my mother to handle,  “you know they will cut us off, ” she warned.

"Rosebud Cakes" by Wayne Thiebaud

I did not care, I had a date with a Victor Costa gown at Nieman Marcus.   School by day, working until 1am as a hostess at a Mexican restaurant was tough.  In retrospect, it was dangerous to take the bus home so late at night.  My school work was neglected B’s morphed into C’s.  One night I was so tired, I fell asleep with the curling iron still rolled in my hair.  When you are young, you can put up with a lot and my first paycheck made all of the trouble worth it.  My first paycheck- that I earned for my work. Money not for nothing but for something I did besides being black and poor.  I came to a particular understanding that my mother had yet to achieve.  Welfare may let you survive but it doesn’t let you live.   Maybe I got the job out of necessity.  I had a need that a welfare check could not fulfill.  I had a dream about a dress but what about my life beyond the dress?  What happens when welfare will not pay for your dreams?

Republican candidates would appear on television, right away before they could speak several words, my mother would shout, “They are only for the rich people, they want to cut welfare and programs in order to hurt blacks.”    Funny how our lives did not improve much under Jimmy Carter.  Funny how mother’s life did not improve much under Bill Clinton, until she was forced to get a job because the conservative state of Texas would not let her draw a government check just for being her wonderful self.

Shakes by Wayne Thiebaud

In working, she began to buy nice things, take me to lunch, actually act and behave as mother.  When she lost the job, she lost her sense of self again.  Being 65, by that time, the government was there waiting for her to pick up the pieces.  Back she went to waiting for their check.  When she died, she had not more than $345 in her bank account.  I reported her deceased and the government took back $325 and left her with $20.  Why was I angry?  True, it was Uncle Sam’s money to give to her and she was dead.  However, could he not at least left her with some dignity and money to be buried with? He left her with what she came to him with…Nothing.  Nothing at all but her life and the clothes on her back.

The reason I created this blog was to chronicle the thoughts and feelings of a reformed liberal.  To some degree I am still evolving.  One of the problems some of my critics have with me is my ability to be so compassionate and pathetic, yet turn into a brutal critic of the Obama administration.  A lot of people, especially those of color call me a self-loathing Auntie Tom who has sold out.  They think I am really a liberal and delusional on some level about my move towards conservatism.   I have struggled this year with the enormity of my exodus from Donkeyville.   People especially, PUMA’s have posted and gone.  Once friends are now distant acquaintances in the political blogosphere.

"8 Lipsticks" by Wayne Thiebaud

Am I happier now having left the Democrats? Oh definitely yes.  That party is unrecognizable to me.  This country and the direction it is moving in is unrecognizable to me.

Am I a well rounded conservative? Oh definitely, no.  I remain pro-choice.  There are many things to admire about the pro-life movement but a woman’s choice is a woman’s choice and she should always have the freedom to make that choice.

As this blog continues, I am always hoping to attract people who are willing to hear and understand both sides of an issue.

Before you can help people, you have to first listen to them.  This simple  practice  is something that is severely lacking in the Obama administration and among many compassionate liberals.

Give people what they need, not what you think they need.  Give people the ability to help themselves, not a lifetime sentence to be helped by you.  You cannot wave a magic wand and expect to end world hunger, wars, pain, sickness, global warming and paper cuts using other people’s money.  Your reward will be debt, depression and a lowered moral among those who actually do contribute to society.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Autographed Letter Signed on this our 1 year anniversary,

AFROCITY

 

Sunday Soliloquy: Damn It Feels Good To Be A Victim October 25, 2009

From I Own The World. Com

From I Own The World. Com

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake when you make it again.

F.P. Jones



My affection for grocery shopping yesterday afternoon was again trumped by my past anxieties.

Does the memory of past trauma ever end? No matter how successful I become my world will never be devoid of what came before.  Despite a fistful of coupons and a debit card to burn, here I am at the grocery store still feeling like a victim.

Afrocity, you do not deserve those $3.49 Sea Salt & Vinegar Kettle Chips in the organic aisle.

Afrocity, do you really need that pre-packaged salad? Are you too lazy to cut up a head of lettuce?

How dare you buy that 1/2 pound of imported genoa salami just because it tastes better when the domestic is on sale?

I was guilt-ridden and self loathing at the deli-counter. I asked for co-jack cheese, salami, Vienna corned beef, and old fashioned loaf.

Why so greedy? Just how many sandwiches can you make Afrocity?

What was I thinking? I went to the grocer’s market on an empty stomach and a head filled with bad memories of standing in aisles of food which I often could not afford without the government’s help.

Rarely did mom ever stand at a deli counter except to buy corned beef which is my favorite cold cut.  $6.00 a pound it was during the 70′s, for food stamp heads like mom and I that was a luxury…but we bought it anyway.

“Just because we are on welfare does not mean we have to eat like it,”  mother would often say when she would get a cold stare from the supermarket cashier. She was paranoid that because they were white, they felt that blacks should not eat as well. Especially when those blacks happened to be on food stamps.

Philadelphia Ad for Food Stamps

From "Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger"

“Because they are white and have to struggle to pay for groceries, they think we should too.”

“How can you tell they are struggling?” I asked.

“Look at them! Would you want to work all day bagging groceries?”

I shook my head. Bagging did look like a boring job.

“Well, neither do they… I would rather have NO JOB than to do that all day long.”

Obama_FoodStamp-1Mother’s wisdom was never plain. Tempered with bitterness and the frustration of underdog-dom, she cleverly turned our situation into something that was enviable and virtuous.

“We get corned beef and she gets bologna…and what did I tell you about bologna?” she asked, handing me the lightest bag of groceries.

policybasics-foodstamps-f1Frowning at the mere mention of the word, I proved to mother that I knew my lessons well.  “Bologna is bad for black people and made by whites to slowly poison us with poor nutrition. Just like Oscar Meyer corn dogs and possessed meat.”

“Processed meats,” she corrected. ” P R O C E S S ED.”

I nodded. “No fat, only lean cuts. It is a sin to eat fat the USDA is a liar and so is Nestle.”

Mother nodded, we were ready to retrace our steps back home, hands full of groceries.

Now she left me in 2009, starring off into space as the deli-counter lady was slicing my corned beef.  I don’t need all of this meat but I was hungry and got greedy.  I can’t ask her to stop now.  There are moments when it seems to me that I will never deserve that pound of corned beef. It didn’t feel good then and it doesn’t feel much better now that I can afford it with my own money that I worked for.

As usual ZoNation sums up everything for me this week. My favorite African American conservative has created a hip hop music video which discusses Obama supporters and victimhood. They call them “victicrats”


 

Sunday Soliloquy: Shoplifter Children of The World Unite and Take Over September 13, 2009

Filed under: Poverty,Sunday Soliloquy,Welfare — afrocity @ 11:00 AM
Art By Walter Williams

Art By Walter Williams

For me there is no childhood which to return.

We are all possessed with the God given the right to live, love and create.  Procreation is a gift, with golden strings to your heart. One that comes with the price of sacrifice but the reward is great.

adoption-sf-1It is time for me to make a difficult decision about becoming a mother. I am not getting younger. Should I or shouldn’t I be a parent? If the answer is yes, how should I become one? Should I have my own child? Someone that is of me and looks like me? A little Afrocity?  A tiny person whose eyes are like my mother’s.  Or should I give a home to a child that needs one?

For quite some time now, I have spent my Sunday mornings writing to you about my misadventures. The events surrounding my childhood fell far from  Kodak worthy accolades.  Mother and I endured tough times.  Now deceased, she still is alive in me and represents the most difficult relationship of my life. I am still drowning in her womb. The question remains can I save myself in order to save another?

It stings to think that I stole for a woman who should have been stealing for me. There was nothing legal about the way I was raised. The pattern of neglect demonstrated by my mother was hidden behind a façade of withdrawal and aloofness. Working together as a team, we never let anyone in too close for fear of being exposed as a parental sham. You would see us on buses, riding until the conductor told us it was the end of the line. We would sit in Greyhound bus stations, while waiting for nothing but daylight. I was the child that stuffed a package of Oscar Meyer Bacon in my coat as my mother pushed a shopping cart containing a purse with no money.  “Big Business owes us,” she would tell me. “not the other way around. It is not stealing when you stick it to the corporations. They steal everyday from little people like us.”

One time she got caught. We were in a store called Zayre’s. Mother had a package of Rice a Roni in her pants. The door beeped as we left the store. As the security guard came over, she urinated on herself right in front of me and everyone else.  In the security room, the officer examined the contents of my mother’s TWA flight bag. Out came the Double Stuff Oreo cookies and Wyler’s drink mix.

“How old is your child?” the guard asked.

“Twelve.”  Mother’s head was down. She would not look at me. Her pants were wet. I knew she must be uncomfortable.

The guard looked at me. She felt sorry for me. “You know I could send you to jail and this child would have to be sent to Child Protective Services?”

Say something mommy. No go. She was silent, almost in a state of shock so I spoke.


“Please don’t I would have to go into foster care and I might get raped by some old woman’s husband.”  Mother told me never to go to the authorities for food, shelter or anything. The alternative was foster care where I would be beaten or raped. Many of the foster mom’s were frigid barren women who secretly loathed children and wanted us for the government check. Their husbands were sexually frustrated men hoping for young girls like me. Virgins, no less to molest.  My relationship with mom was sacred. She would never forsake me as long as I kept our secrets safe from meddlers.

adoption-sf-2gr

“What?!?” exclaimed the guard.

Tears went down my face. “I can’t go to foster care! I want to take my mother home with me!!!!”  Heat came all over my body. “Why are you doing this to us and you are black too. You got your cookies back.”

I went to my school bag. The guard had not checked it. I pulled out a box of Nilla Wafers , a toy doll figurine, a bottle of Flintstones vitamins, a small salami roll and a jar of apple butter.

Suddenly mother came out of her self induced hibernation. “I did not know she had those things.”

The guard discovered that we were fucked up enough all on our own without her interference. We promise to never do it again and she let us go warning us to never come to the store again.


The lesson I learned that day was threefold: 1. Never get caught. 2. Never put my mother in jeopardy 3. Never let them see you pee.

Adopting the Older ChildOn the way home, mother uttered nothing for a long time. We were embarrassed for each other. Also that was our meal for the next week that was stolen from us by the guard. Bitch. What did she care? It was not like we were hurting the company. Why couldn’t my mother be a security guard? These were all the stupid thoughts of a bitter young girl who had just been busted for stealing a box of Nilla Wafers.

Mother, touched her pants, now dry from the July heat. A faint unpleasant odor wafted my way. The familiar smell from Chicago subway stations. A sign that we had become nothing more than bums, just more functional at concealing our dysfunction. We would have to clean her up later, but something was poking her in the side. It was a Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar- something that I could not have because I was allergic to nuts.  Handing it to me she said I could pick the chocolate from the nuts.  I shook my head and went into my own little stash.  Everything had not been completely emptied from my school bag. There was still a box of Uncle Ben’s condensed rice and a bent can of Carnation milk.

She smiled at me. Yes we were damaged goods.

Autographed Letter Signed,
AFROCITY


 

Hopeless Shelters: Welcome To The Motel California June 24, 2009

Hope and Wrath The recent depictions of the Democratic party as the masters of hope and change have taken an interesting twist. Remember the homeless woman who Obama reached out to during a town hall meeting last February in Fort Meyers, Florida?  Her name was Henrietta Hughes and she cried out to Obama for help. Henrietta was without the means to take care of her children.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

February 11, 2008 BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

FORT MYERS, Fla.-A woman’s hard-luck tale at a town hall meeting in Florida moved President Barack Obama to leave the stage.

When Henrietta Hughes complained she’d been down on her luck and was living in her car with her son, Obama walked to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Hughes said she was out of work and homeless, with “a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in.”

A White House press secretary said administration officials asked the local housing authority to contact her after the exchange in Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, the wife of Florida state Rep. Nick Thompson offered to let the woman stay in a house she owns that’s vacant about 30 miles away.

For matters of clarification, lets summarize the situation. The hopenchangling attends town hall meeting February 10, 2009. There he meets homeless woman who is obviously an Obama supporter. The change deity listens to the woman’s pleas for help and her desires to someday have her own kitchen and bathroom. The change deity hugs woman (smiles for camera) and tells her that she will be contacted by someone on his staff. The woman, Henrietta Hughes is then helped by of all people- a Republican state representative and his wife who gives her a home.  In many articles the fact that Nick Thompson (R-Florida) and his wife Chene were Republicans went unmentioned. The mainstream media did not want the word to get out that despite the Obama DNC love and promises to help that Henrietta received in front of the flashing lights and cameras, it was actually someone behind enemy lines that actually lifted a finger to do something. It has been nearly five months since Henrietta first met President Obama and she is still holding out for hope.

April 23, 2009

Woman who pleaded to Obama is still struggling

(CNN)The homeless Florida woman who made a tearful plea for help from President Obama earlier this year is still jobless and struggling financially.

Henrietta Hughes caught the nation’s attention in February when she cried for help during one of Obama’s town hall meetings.

After her plea, Hughes was given a free home to live in temporarily, but she is still struggling to find a job and might soon lose that home, CNN affiliate WINK reported Thursday.

Hughes, who is in her 60s, faithfully goes to an employment center in Fort Myers in hopes of finding a job.

“It’s almost our second home,” Hughes told WINK.

She and her son have taken a computer class at the center to help land work. Hughes said she has applied for as many jobs as possible but has struck out. Her son has had no luck either.

Now Hughes says she feels time is running out. The home she lives in was donated by the wife of a Florida lawmaker, Chene Thompson, who has been trying to sell the vacant home in the Fort Myers suburb of Lavelle since 2006. Once the house sells, Hughes will have to leave.

But Thompson told CNN that she will do everything in her power to make sure Hughes is not back out on the streets even if her house sells.

“I’ve told Miss Hughes … she will never again be homeless, even if I have to personally assist her with her rent,” said Thompson, who is a longtime advocate of the homeless.

Thompson said Hughes reminds her of her grandmother and that she and her son are “upstanding, good-hearted people.”

“Her concern is that she doesn’t want to be a freeloader,” Thompson said, but Hughes and her son have helped deter vandals who have targeted vacant homes in the area.

“They really are a blessing for me,” Thompson said.

But Hughes told WINK that she worries that she could end up living in her truck again if she has to move without a job.

dustbowlGiven the power of the President of the United States, you would think that Barack Obama could some how get this woman and her son a job. In de-emphasizing the political party of Henrietta’s true helpers, the mainstream media once again evades the hypocrisy of the Democrats. Didn’t Florida’s electroal votes go to Brack Obama? Surely there is someone there that can give this woman a job or a more permanent home.  While looking for more stories on Henrietta Hughes, I could not help noticing that the Obama family has failed to take part in personally reaching out to this woman and her son. Doesn’t Henrietta deserve more than a peck on the cheek? Judas kissed Jesus too you know…Just sayin.

So much for Henrietta being the “face of America’s failing economy”. That should be changed to faces (plural). Apparently the economic stimulus package Obama was peddling the day he met Henrietta was never intended to help Main Street folk. So extensive homelessness in America has become that the state of Massachusettes uses motels to shelter those who cannot sustain themselves.

Boston Globe

June 24,2009

A room to call home

State sheltering a record number of struggling families in motels

By Jenifer B. McKim

Robert Cutler and Tanya Labitue wake each morning in a rundown Saugus motel room to the buzz of busy Route 99 and the coos of their 6-month-old daughter, Ashleigh.

For more than three months, the tiny room has been their home. Cutler and Labitue spend each day caring for Ashleigh, looking for work, and watching television. They eat microwaved food, cram provisions into a small refrigerator, and dream of a place of their own.

Still, said Cutler, the motel is “better than being on the streets, and we get to be together.’’

Cutler, 34, and Labitue, 30, found themselves homeless in March after Cutler lost his job. They are among 751 families, including about 1,000 children, housed in 39 motels at a cost to state taxpayers of $85 per room a night on average – nearly $2 million last month alone.

Many motels are in congested commercial districts on busy thoroughfares without sidewalks. They often are dingy, with poor lighting, worn carpeting, and – in some places – bedbugs. Families are not allowed to have visitors in their rooms, some of which lack microwaves and refrigerators. Children have parking lots as their only playgrounds.

More homeless families are being lodged in hotels than ever. Officials blame the increase on rising unemployment and a flood of foreclosures. The state says it provides families with services similar to those offered at shelters, including transportation for children to their original school districts, and referrals to community resources for food and clothing.

“We are obligated to put them in a place where they can have at least a roof over their head,’’ said Bob Pulster, executive director of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, created by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 to end homelessness by 2013. “A motel may be the best we can do right now

Poverty_kidsWhile the motel shelters seem generous, there is a concern among many that they offer no supervision or counseling for the inhabitants. As someone that was once homeless, I cannot emphasize enough, the need for safety and security within a homeless shelter. My experience had a profound effect upon my psyche. Yes many people are homeless but what is not said is that many of those engage in criminal behavior, are often abusive to their children and spouses or they may be mentally ill. They may be prostitutes or drug addicts. Sometimes there are problems with lice and scabies.

What I am trying to say is that there is nothing romantic about being homeless. I have been there and each possible social ailment I have just stated describes a woman who was in the shelter with my mother and I.

There was Diane who was a prostitute and turned tricks in Grant Park while her three year old son sat on a bench unattended while she was in the bushes.

There was Karen, a drug addict and her two children who watched while our floor mother had to call the police because Karen refused to stop doing drugs in the shelter. She would sell her food stamps for drugs.

Laurie was in the shelter because her husband beat her, and her two children.

And then there was my mother who had a problem with depression that was so severe, she would let her daughter steal food just to be fed.

Cities such as Cambridge are grappling with issues brought on by an influx of motel families. For instance, officials last year learned about a growing number of homeless families at the Cambridge Gateway Inn following an uptick in emergency calls about medical problems and criminal activity at the motel. The Fire Department found minor safety violations, including prohibited hot plates and toaster ovens, and now makes weekly checks.

“It’s an extraordinary waste of money when we know the best way to house people is in permanent housing,’’ said Joe Kriesberg, president of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, which works to promote affordable housing and economic development.

Some question whether motels are an efficient use of tax dollars. A monthlong stay costs an average of $2,550 – similar to rent in some upscale Boston high-rises.

Last week, the Legislature voted to tighten family eligibility requirements for emergency shelter, something that could leave hundreds scrambling for a place to live. Currently, families whose income does not exceed 130 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for shelter. The new law drops it for incoming families to 115 percent of the poverty level, or $25,357 annually for a family of four.

The city’s health department is concerned about bedbugs, after complaints from residents and reports from school nurses that children from the motel appeared to have suffered bites. Sam Lipson, director of environmental health for the Cambridge Public Health Department, said officials worked with the motel in February to address the problems and have heard no new complaints. But hotel guests might be reluctant to complain for fear of being forced out, he added…

While the state has placed families in motels since 2007, when the 2,000 rooms in homeless shelters reached capacity, the temporary solution has become a long-term problem. The number of families in motels as of June 15 – 751 – was 355 percent higher than the 165 housed in them as of mid-June last year. Families are also staying longer. As of May, the average time was two months, compared with one week a year ago, but stays can stretch as long as eight months.

As a result, budget motels like the Gateway Inn have essentially become homeless shelters, with nearly all rooms occupied by state-paid guests. Massachusetts is one of the few states that mandate shelter for homeless families.

Hopeless shelters, that is what I call them. Such a lovely place.

Autographed Letter Signed,

AFROCITY

 

Nursing Foreign Aid Back to Health: Is Aid to Africa is “Dead” April 16, 2009

Filed under: Africa,Liberal Hypocrisy,Welfare — afrocity @ 10:38 AM
Tags: , , ,

(This post is dedicated to my conservative Texan friend Valorie- a very smart woman and great mom.)

Despite evidence to the contrary, the preponderant positive influence of America’s welfare state is still reported and encouraged by liberals. Concerning US foreign aid and relief programs, the quest for uniformity and evaluation of our efforts remains elusive and counterproductive as domestic aid. There is too an unexplained imbalance in mainstream media coverage of foreign aid having a stunting and negative impact upon its recipients.

During times of foreign crisis it is often the desire of the Western world to conform to political correctness and help the victims. Or so we would like to believe. We must act to lend a helping hand. That is our “duty”. Therefore we must face the inevitable task of dolling out money to foreign countries in order to positively affect the world social and cultural order and the lives of the citizens living therein. As with welfare programs in the United States, the question still remains whether or not this foreign aid is actually “aiding and abetting” the very social ailments it attempts to cure.

Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa by Dambiso Moyo

Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is another way for Africa by Dambiso Moyo

In her book Dead Aid:Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa author Dambisa Moyo explains that the true intent of foreign aid to Africa is controversial and often undermining of its original goals. Judging from the book’s title, this will not be a welcomed read for liberal welfare state/government intervention enthusiasts or those who are afflicted with political correctness disorder. Moyo advocates that rather than treating foreign countries as welfare states, the West should instead offer proposals for developing countries to finance development and self efficiency in lieu of foreign dependence.

Author Dambisa Moyo

Author Dambisa Moyo

Moyo is a native of Africa. She was born in Zambia and holds a PhD. in Economics from Oxford University, a Masters from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Moyo worked for Goldman Sachs for 8 years where she worked in the debt capital markets and as an economist in the global macroeconomics team.

I highly recommend this book and I wish it was required reading for Barack Obama and every member of Congress.

Here is also recent clip of Dambisa Moyo on Fox News.

Autographed Letter Signed,
AFROCITY

 

Nightmares Of My Father: Has Barack Obama Really Helped African Americans? April 9, 2009

"Power Grab" courtesy of <i>American Thinker</i> image by Big Fur Hat of iOwnTheWorld.com

(sigh)

Last Sunday I had my dad over for dinner. My father and I have only known each other for 5 years. Our relationship is a work in progress with many false starts. My mother who passed away 2 years ago was his maid and she had an affair with him and became pregnant with yours truly. At first she considered an abortion (they were not legal at the time). The morning of the abortion, she said she looked at herself in the mirror and asked God to promise her it would be a girl (she had a son already) and that she would grow to be as successful as her father’s family. My father’s family owned a chain of barbecue joints and at the time they were successful in the sense that they were not on government assistance like many of the African American’s in my mom’s circle of friends.

The rest is history or herstory ;-).

(Looks at chest) I am a woman and I am successful as far as being an educated woman and self sufficient. On Sunday after dinner, I helped my father look for a way to get medical assistance. He has no health insurance. Has been in jail for a felony including murder. He is now 62 and must worry about his health. So yes mom, I guess you can say I grew to be as successful as my father’s family. She never would have foreseen my sitting with him navigating the Social Security.gov pages with him, 39 years after my birth.

My dad voted for Obama. I did not. Sunday, I felt the need to reveal that to him. There have been too many lies between us already. I did not want him to think I was a liberal because I feel as his daughter, he should accept me unconditionally.

We were eating pizza and he was going on about how Obama is being set up by “da man” and handed a bad economy because he is a black president and people are “out to get him”. Through his rant I was silent.

Finally I put my fork down and said “Dad I did not vote for Obama. I am a Republican- a conservative. I did not feel that he was the best person for the job. I hope you are not disappointed in me but over the last two years or so I have changed my political leanings towards the right.”

Dad was quiet for a bit but said “Afrocity Look. I cannot vote first of all (due to convictions) but if I could have Obama would have been the only one. It is a step in the right direction for our people.”

I said, “But is he really ‘our people’ ? I would rather have seen an African American that I believed in and had the proper experience and leadership skills. Not this way. Not race baiting and silent affirmative action.”

Dad said “We have to start somewhere.

I said “Okay. So how exactly has your life changed as a Black man since the election?”

He mentioned the stimulus and how it will give more aid (welfare IMHO) to black communities. I told him that I would like to see Blacks excel on their own merits and stop being victims. He said “Who Afrocity? Like me?”

We stopped the conversation as a buzzer went off because I had a pie in the oven.

The next day I was on the Green Line subway and almost every person of color had an Obama skull cap on. The women had Obama tote bags. One had three disheveled kids with her. She had to be 22 at the most. I did not see hope in her eyes only frustration as she dealt with her small brood.

Has Obama helped her? Will his election help all of those African American kids in the Chicago neighborhoods like the southside’s Englewood community where Jennifer Hudson’s family was murdered? Incidentally Jennifer said this week she no longer considers herself a Chicagoan. I can’t say that I blame her.

My mother raised me on welfare and foodstamps. When those ran out we went to local food pantries to receive boxes of expired canned goods and powdered milk.  I cannot change that. What I could change was my future. I did that by seeing my potential and completing my education. No drugs, I practiced abstinence, hard work. I saw welfare as a deterrent to the success of the African American community and watched for decades as it made my mother slip deeper into complacency. Now to watch my father wonder and hope that he will get medical care and more public assistance because Barack Obama is POTUS disturbs me.

Have we gone forward as African Americans or back?

My mother and I in 1984. Yes we were on welfare even then.

My mother and I in 1984. Yes we were on welfare even then.

 

 
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