Monday, June 21, 2010

Father’s Day, How Do We Really Feel About It?

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor Anonymous

This past Sunday, I wake up barely in time for my aerobics class, which starts at 10AM. I’m in a cab at 9:50 on edge. The teacher has already called me out on one to many occasions in the past about walking into class late and ever since I’ve been trying to address my CPT issue.

The cab driver asks if I’m going to see my father today. The question both irritates and surprises me for America would have you think that Black people don’t have fathers Mr. Indian Cab Driver.

“Why do you want to know?” I ask.

“It’s father’s day.” He replies.

It’s been a long time now since my father passed away - it was three weeks after my college graduation. I remember sitting in the hospital thinking of things to ask him so that I wouldn’t have any regrets later. Now nearly a decade later, this cab driver has activated my thoughts about what a conversation with my father would be like today.

I had just turned 30ty and so much had changed. I wondered what it would have been like if my father was at my wedding, witnessed the purchase of me and my husband’s first house, my first promotion, my first lay off, the advice he would have offered to me as I struggled through my twenties, what it would have felt like for him to be a grandfather, what goals and aspirations he would have had for himself and dreams for me.

I recently realized that I don’t have many Black friends who share my experience of growing up with not just a father, a loving one. My father taught me how to read, cook, wash clothes, (that’s probably why I still mix colors and whites) drive, stand up for myself and occasionally he even braided my hair. To me he was the best father I could have asked for.

I finally replied to the cab driver that my father had passed away so no I wasn’t going to see him. He quickly apologized and said that his dad did too…

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In Celebration of the World Cup

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Validated by a Degree

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor Anonymous

A few months back I attended a brunch that a friend of mine was having at her home in Brooklyn. Endless mimosas, salmon cakes, scallops, waffles, sweet potato fries, grits, collard greens and some kind of artichoke pesto situation- damn it was lovely.

People eventually got to talking about what they do for a living versus what they went to school for. It’s very common that people end up doing something completely different from what they studied in school but this one Black woman described how her white male boss when interviewing her for the current real estate position she holds, inquired why she had gone to Harvard Business school since none of the things she described that interest her required such a prestigious degree. She looked him straight in the eye and replied, “So that you could see me as an equal.”

That sat with me as I find that this is the case for a lot of people of color who attend prestigious schools, specifically those whose families are from countries outside the US.

Just yesterday I was catching up with an older white male colleague/ friend of mine who was telling me about his son, a sophomore in college barely passing with D’s and I thought to my self, “WHAT!” There is no way I could have ever gotten away with that let alone feel comfortable enough to be telling anyone! My Chinese friend told me that her parents used to put her and her brother's report cards on the fridge for public exposure. But that’s the difference. As far as we know my white colleague's son is still on track of becoming the next President of the United States.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nigerian Purchases Britain's Gatwick Airport for close to 1.5 Billion Pounds

Urban Chameleon Spotlight

Uuuhm has anybody else heard about the Nigerian native, Adebayo Ogunlesi who is Harvard Law, Business and Oxford School educated, purchasing Britain's Gatwick Airport for close to 1.5 billion pounds!?

There has been much criticism about Western media (meaning CNN) having not covering such a monumental event. Seriously, if every bodily function of Tiger Woods can be reported, real news should at least be squeeze in there too.

Adebayo Ogunlesi, you are our Urban Chameleon pick of the day.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Are the skills we learn in the white world transferable to ours?

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor Robin Thatcher

This guy I’d been seeing for a couple of months and I decided to take a trip down Miami last October. The idea was to escape the frigid NY air but ended up not getting much better in Miami as it was freaking COLD! Not quite NY cold, and we damn sure dipped out right before that blizzard, but I was still expecting to at least be rocking a sarong and some sandals instead of my guy friend’s sweat shirt and jeans – not cute. You know it’s cold when the white people who are at the pool are covered up. Regardless of what the temperature is they are usually on some Tim Gunn tip and “ Make it work!”

For a minute I thought about playing with the stereotype and putting on some suntan lotion, diving into the pool and pretending not to be the least bit phased by the Alaskan vibe but that idea ended at the thought. Instead, my guy friend and I ordered hot chocolate spiked with rum…oh, and food. Thinking that liquor would at least begin to turn this trip around it only went downhill from there. The hot chocolate was not hot enough, my filet mignon was over cooked, his bacon was burnt instead of crisp, the mint garnish in my risotto was wilted, the silver wear had spots on it, there were lemons seeds in my green salad, we asked for water no ice, which took an unnecessary 10 minutes and the cheesecake we ordered for dessert was made with pie crust rather than graham cracker.

To make things worse, when it was time to depart, I checked us in online only to discover that our flight was canceled. What if we had driven all the way to the airport? Some kind of notice would have been nice for goodness sakes. We were frequent flyer members!

At the airport my grandmother called to see how I was doing and when I told her about my trip and what we had been through she asked what kind of world I thought I was living in thinking I had these kinds of entitlements.

The question caught me off guard, for after all of my schooling and training with white people over the years, which my family was responsible for, I had only adapted to what I learned in that world. However are the skills we learn in the white world transferable to ours?

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