Thursday, January 19, 2017

What President Obama Meant To The Puma

As I sit to write this we are in the waning days of the Obama presidency I am sure there will be many think pieces on how he was an unmitigated failure or how he was the greatest president of all time. 

The first ever ball is life president
I’ll leave those to people much smarter than I to hash out. What I would like to do however is say what the man meant to me, so if you’re gonna read this and comment on how he is a socialist or a Kenyan Muslim who is intent on killing our grandparents this is where you get off. 

I first heard the man when I was in high school. He came and spoke and I was just in awe with how calm and relaxed he was, he was unlike any other speaker we had before. At the time he was a state senator and I thought to myself “wow, maybe this guy can be mayor one day.” Even that seemed like a long shot. I’d see him around Hyde Park, give a head nod and he’d return it in kind. I’ll be able to tell my kid I shared the universal sign of respect between two black men with the man who would be president. 

Fast forward a few years and he was running for US Senate. I was at North Park University when a debate between him and Alan Keyes took place. I skipped Journalism that night (Sorry Dave) and tried to get in. While unsuccessful I did get to see Alan Keyes as he left, I extended my hand to shake his, he walked right by. A few minutes later Obama strolled out, I extended my hand and lo and behold he hit a brother with the intricate dap and pull in.  The homie Barry hadn’t gotten too Hollywood on us.

After a rousing speech at the Democratic Convention and winning a seat in the US Senate there were murmurs that he could be a great candidate for President. I laughed. Then I thought what if he won? Nah it would never work I remember thinking. I have never been so happy to be wrong.
I remember sitting in Grant Park that night with my friends Julia, Kelly and Cooper anxiously awaiting the results.
Moments before the tears started flowing.
As it became more and more evident that he was about to become the 44th President of the United States, anger inside me grew. I was mad at him for having his speech outside. I sat there so scared that I was going to watch some psycho take away this representation of hope and joy. It’s a fear that I still have to this day if we’re being quite honest. I was so angry and scared, but he was and remains to this day so hopefully optimistic. It’s a trait I wish I had. 

Whether you like the man or not, I think we can all agree that he put up with more than any other president has before him. He had his wife called names and likened to animals, people who I’m not sure can read past a 3rd grade level asking to see his college transcripts, his beautiful daughters called everything but their names, even questioning if he was a true citizen of this country. He could have said “kiss my ass” as I would have done but he handled it with style and grace.
He worked with a congress that before he uttered a single word as commander in chief publicly made it known that their sole mission was to make him a one term president. He dealt with more threats against his life than anyone else and through it all he has kept his optimism and faith in the American people.

I remember as a young kid, I must have been 8 or so, I said in class that I wanted to be president. A kid turned around, looked at me and said “black people can’t be president.” After Barack Obama my kid will know that nothing, not even the presidency is unattainable.
You can be a guy with a funny name, who loves hip-hop, and is an unabashed basketball fanatic and you can be president. That representation matters.

While I can’t speak for every black person or tell them how they should feel I for one am happy to have had him as a president.And for one last time let us all lock arms, and swag surf to the old negro spiritual one last time.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January's If You Don't Sit Yo Ass Down Award!

Ah welcome back my loyal tens of readers; it’s a new year and the same ridiculous Puma here. I’d like to say that as I’ve grown older I am more measured and more mature. I’d like to say that. The truth is I am as petty as I have ever been. In fact I’d say as I grow older my super power has been my pettiness. It’s in this spirit that I present to you the first person to receive what will be a monthly installment I hope. I present to you January’s recipient of the “If You Don’t Sit Your Ass Down Award.”

This month’s recipient is a man that needs a bit of an introduction because frankly before this incident no one remembered or had heard of him. Bo Bice…Get yo ass up here so you can sit your ass down! 
If you don't get the...
If you are unaware why he may be receiving this prestigious award, I’ll bring you up to speed. Mr. Bice went to a Popeye’s, ordered food and was insulted and shall I say massively disrespected by the slur “white boy.” Wait… what? Hold on a second. 

Ok so let me get this straight, this wing ding is on tv literally crying because a Popeye's cashier said the horribly offensive line “He’s already got his — that white boy there.” He further went on to say: "If the tables had been turned and I used something as insensitive like that… I would be boycotted, there would be people not buying my albums." Hate to break the news to you champ but they weren't buying your albums anyway. Is this guy serious? Let me tell you I've been to that airport and he got off lucky if that's all he was called. 

Jokes aside, so you got your feelings hurt because she said you were a white boy? Bo, buddy, pal, being called white isn't a slur, or was it the boy part, the point is calm your crying ass down. At work I got called a nigger. This wasn't some long time ago, this was September. Hell last week I had another person ask me to teach them how to speak in ebonics. While not many come right out with the "n" bomb, little microagressions like the ebonics line are a daily occurrence. And guess what sport, I'm not special in this regard. I can't even tell you what a minority woman goes through as they get hit with the daily double of racism and sexism.

“Look through the comments of hate and ignorance that have been pouring in and tell me there isn’t a problem with race relations going on in our society, folks.”
You make a good point Bo, there is a problem with relations in this country, unfortunately for you this ain't it. I hope you cry just as hard when studies show black men with college degrees have the same chances for hire that fresh out of prison white men  or when banks use discriminatory lending practices that harm minorities. If you don't then by all means feel free to use this: