Not that long ago someone accused me of writing blog pieces that were too Pollyannaish. That once in a while I should write and act as if every moment that takes place in my life isn't beautiful and magnificent.
I do wonder what that same person thought once I began My Bad. A radio program that focuses on the value of sharing mistakes. Actually, I don't wonder what that person thinks. But it is was humorously ironic.
I must agree that many of my pieces are attempts to celebrate the beautiful moments in life that often go unnoticed. Others are simply the amazing stories that are taking place right before my eyes. I enjoy looking for and writing about these things because they make me happy and I believe that they make other people happy. Therefore, I am not going to stop searching for them and telling them.
The time has come for me to share other stories. Stories that aren't so happy, but that must be told. Stories that often go untold. Stories that we want to pretend don't exist.
I will tell them as best I can and in doing so my intention is not to depress but to inform.
I could continue to dance around the edges and I could continue to lean to one side or I could jump in headfirst. The way I see it, if I can write about all of the beautiful moments that my children and I experience then I must be willing to write about moments that are anything but beautiful. Moments that occur each and every day. And contrary to what we may believe, usually away from the public eye.
It took me having some very intense and heartfelt discussions with the person who is responsible for much of what you read and much of what you listen to on this site, BAmRadio, to realize that the time is now. Errol St.Clair Smith inspired me and truth be told I think I may have inspired him a little bit as well.
As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so profoundly explains in her TED Talk, it is very dangerous when only a single story is told. It is time we start having these tough and sometimes uncomfortable conversations. We must do so respectfully and with the intent of learning from and with each other. Pushing each other to think in different ways. There will be times when we inadvertently offend each other. And when we do we must apologize. Not back-away.
I look forward to the day when we can argue one minute and hug and high five the next. We must start having these conversations. They will not be easy at first. And I am quite sure that I will generate many My Bad moments for future episodes. I will make every attempt to listen and learn and move forward.
I am certain that some of my pieces will offend some people. They will say it is not my place to write about race, or sexuality or poverty because I am white, heterosexual and middle class.
So be it.
No longer am I going to preface my thoughts or my pieces apologetically with phrases such as;
I am white
I am middle class
I grew up privileged.
I can not change who I am or how I was raised. Nor would I want to. I will apologize when I am wrong. And I will try to apologize when I see injustice and do nothing. But why should I apologize for being me?
No longer will I use the terms African-American or People of Color when I write or when I speak. Whenever I use them I feel as if I being pretentious. As if it's not really me speaking. So I will use the term black instead.
Over the course of the past couple of years I have been given an amazing platform from which to share my opinions and voice my concerns. And while I have tried to do so to the best of my ability, I believe that there is much more that I can do. There is much more that I can say. Because now there is much more that I see.
So here we go!
If what I share or what I write or what I talk about upsets you or bothers you then
don't read my pieces
don't listen to my show.
I'll be okay.
But, if you are interested in engaging and discussing and even disagreeing and politely arguing with me. Then please join me. I will not be offended if and when we don't see things the same. In fact, I hope that we don't. How boring would that be?
To be quite honest, if I can't handle a differing opinion or a raised voice now and again then I think it is time for me to put on my big-boy slacks and get some thicker skin.
But for those of you that have been with me and supported through thousands of tweets, hundreds of posts and a handful of radio shows I say this;
I promise I will never stop looking for the beautiful.
But I am going to stop turning away from the uncomfortable.
It's time that I must.