Posts Tagged With: BlackPeople

BOGO Day at Subway: Part 1

It’s been some time since I’ve regaled the lot of you with a story about my hometown and current place of residence, Decatur, GA. There are so many moving parts to this particular story that I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to break it up over a couple of days, maybe even a week. If you need to know what the people here in Decatur are capable of you should check out THIS BLOG and THIS BLOG as a point of reference before moving along with this one. And now without further ado, here is my latest Decatur Story.

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Last Saturday was beautiful, nearly 80 degrees, fluffy clouds floating about, and I was feeling good. I’d just finished a great workout at the gym and was pretty hungry afterward. I didn’t want to ruin my workout by eating junk; the closest thing to healthy was either a grilled chicken salad from the local Chick-Fil-A or a turkey sub from the Subway up the street. I really didn’t want to bother with having to go inside the mall to get the salad so Subway was the easy choice. As I turned into the lot listening to the Braves game I noted to myself that the lot was far more crowded than it should have been for 3:00 in the afternoon but I paid the extra traffic no mind as I parked and made my way to Subway’s front door. And that’s when I saw it, taped to the glass door on plain white paper was a sign that said:

Customer Appreciation Day! Buy one foot long sub get another Free! Continue reading

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Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Three Weekend Tidbits: Vol. 1

We just had the first really beautiful weekend of the year here in Atlanta. The temperatures topped out at 76 degrees, tree blooms came out to play and people were everywhere – in the parks, cruising in their cars, in the malls – all trying to take in the first occurrence of Spring weather. I, of course, was numbered amongst those out in the sun as I spent most the weekend outdoors. As I usually do when I’m out and about I keep my notepad app on my phone at the ready in case I see something interesting. The following is a couple of questions and tidbits that I typed in my phone while I was around the city the last couple of days. Continue reading

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Birthday Blog: Reasons to Smile

birthdayI’ve been told several times in my life that I smile too much. That I laugh too loudly. That anyone that smiles as much as I do must either be soft or not to be trusted.

I never knew what to say to those pointed statements. The first time I heard it I was in college; a buddy of mine was introducing me to one of his friends that lived in his dorm. He flat out said that he didn’t trust me, I smiled too much, and he walked away. After that, I tried to carry around the seemingly obligatory Black man “mean mug” forcing a scowl in every circumstance regardless of the setting but I always seemed to fail, my urge to smile and the enjoyment of hearing my own laugh always seemed to win out. It certainly kept me out of the cool circles in college but I managed. Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Attempts at Seriousness, College Years, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Issues of Importance – The 2012 Election

Before I get started with the subject matter for the day I’d like to inform you all that “THE OUTFIT” is now 6-0. Just an update on that important subject matter first talked about HERE. A made 55 yard field goal with five seconds remaining for the win? I’m just sayin’.

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As it always is with election season you have candidates that do their best to pander to the masses in order to get votes so they can sit in a big chair someplace behind a big desk to be about the business of forgetting to commit to all the promises they swore to keep while they were at your church/community center/soup kitchen the prior 6 months. Of course since I’m a Black dude, I find myself in a demographic that’s constantly being preached to as to how my plight is understood and how my pain is felt and, recently, how the economy can be made more equal for me as a Black dude in the Black community.

Now, strengthening the economy is a huge deal for Black dudes and non-Black dudes alike but I have more pressing issues than job creation and the return of manufacturing to our nation’s great shores. So I have put together the Skrapdiggy Platform, all of the things that I need to see done to make my, and a good number of my Black brethren’s lives better. Without further ado, I present that list to you in the form of the questions that I would ask at a debate that I hope to monitor within the next couple of weeks. Continue reading

Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, Humor, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Church is Ruining The Theater…kinda

I had the opportunity last weekend to see one of my uber-talented friends, Kelsey (www.kelseyscott.com) perform in the stage play, What I Learned in Paris, written by renowned author Pearl Cleage. It was a fantastic play and I don’t say that because I know and once had a monstrous crush on Kelsey (that I disguised by inviting myself over to her house to play Super Mario Brothers on a near weekly basis when we were in high school), but because it was a fabulous production. The 75% that I was able to concentrate on was among the best times I’ve ever had in theater. Why only 75%? Well, I’m glad you asked. Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Attempts at Seriousness, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Wobble and the Black Man

I hate to write blogs that are more than 80% race specific. I think that it cuts down the complete comprehension level of my potential reading audience if I get too “problem specific” in my subject matter; but sometimes it can’t be helped, sometimes it’s unavoidable, sometimes I have to launch out into the deep to help my fellow man and sharers of the Black race. That time is now…and it’s because of line dancing. We’ve all been guilty of having done one or two in our day: The Electric Slide, The Cha Cha Slide, The Cupid Shuffle –they’re easy to pick up, they’re a tad addictive, and they’re not gender specific…except The Wobble.

The Wobble (a.k.a. the “Big Girl Anthem”) is a line dance – wait, check that – The Wobble is like the Godzilla of line dances. You can be at a small house party consisting of 6 people and a cat, having drinks and a generally good time, but then someone will make the mistake of turning on The Wobble and upon the first “OOOH!!” women will be kicking down your doors, sliding down your fireplace, and breaking out your windows and before you know it you have 53 people you don’t even know in your house doing The Wobble. Fact. It’s documented. Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, So Incredibly Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Uncovering the White People Mystery

This is my fault. All my life I’ve had White friends. At my elementary/middle school there was only 5 of me, well 4.5 of me, out of 35 in my 8th grade graduating class. Then I went to a high school that, while about 55-60% Black still offered ample opportunities for me to get answers from my White friends; I mean I had several, I played soccer for 4 years, but I never did. Then I went away to college to a school with a total enrollment of about 19,000, of which about 14,000 of those people were White. But even after 4 years, okay I’m lying, 5 years atGeorgia Southern (GATA Eagles!) I never got inroads to the mystery. In my work experience I’ve worked with countless friendly neighborhood White folk in my professional life that I could have pulled aside and asked without fear of ill thought but never took the time to inquire.

But that ends today.

Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Attempts at Seriousness, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Rhythmic Race Relations

The subject matter in this particular piece got the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in a bit of hot water around the time that President Barack Obama was running for President and was one of the many factors that caused Obama to distance himself away from the minister during his campaign. Since I’m no one of importance at this point and have no one directly in my inner circle running for President I’m gonna go ahead and write it as it’s something you likely know already…


Among the many sacrifices that my parents made for me and my two sisters when we were young was to send us to a private school from K-8th grade. I really don’t know that it was that big a deal in the grand scheme, especially since it didn’t pay off in that ridiculously high paying job that I’d hoped to have had by now, but I’m sure that they felt that they were doing the right thing by their kids by allowing us to be challenged in the classroom academically with kids with backgrounds and upbringings far different than my own. I learned to appreciate what other people liked and some of those things I even became an enthusiast of. My love affair with rock music started after Rich, one of my classmates, played, replayed, then re-replayed his favorite Styx album when I visited his family one weekend. After being told by my parents when I was 7 that I couldn’t play football because they thought I’d get hurt, I started playing soccer at the behest of a long haired kid in my 1st grade class named Pete, and subsequently had 3 different stints on crutches in14 years (good strategy there, Mom and Dad). There were several other things that I learned to appreciate that may not have come to my attention had I gone to the neighborhood school near my house where 99% of the kids looked like me. One of the things that I learned early on was how to appreciate the differences between the “thems” and the “mes”. My mother told me a story once about how I excitedly jumped in the car one day after my half-day of Kindergarten and told her that I knew the difference between White people and Black people and it was simply that God made Black people in different skin tones – light, medium and dark – while He chose to make White people in varying eye colors – blue, brown, grey, and green. Undoubtedly I thought I had it all figured out at age 6 but as I got older and learned more I learned more about what I, and others, consisted of and surprisingly aside from some fundamental things here and there I found that we and they weren’t that far apart.

Except for one thing.

The school that I went to was a Catholic school which meant that we went to Mass about 77 times per month (exaggerated for effect). Very seldom did we clap to any songs sung at Mass, we stood, we sang, we sat down, which of course did nothing for my rhythmic Baptist sensibilities; but there was one Mass where clapping was required and here is where my lesson in unsolvable race relations began. I can’t remember what the name of the song was but it was an upbeat number, there was an acoustic guitar playing and then clapping started. I wanted to clap along but the rhythm wasn’t quite right, I looked around at the majority of my classmates and they were putting their hands together in sync with one another but it still wasn’t right. I wanted to clap in unison with them but something in my body wouldn’t let me. It wasn’t that the clapping of the others wasn’t rhythmic; it was spot on but wrong all at the same time. I couldn’t stand there in the middle of Mass and not clap, could I? I mean, the song wasn’t rocking like the gospel licks that my mother led at my church but I had to do something to appear engaged so I started clapping the way my inner metronome told me to and it was at that point that the looks started in my direction. I was out of rhythm.

I looked for help from my Black friends but there were only 17 of us out of 153 White kids and 16 others in the Upper School so when I scanned my classmates I didn’t see the scattered faces like mine, only the faces of my White friends with puzzled “what’s he clapping to?” looks on their faces. I heard the song and everything in me told me that my clap was right. This is the way that my friends at church would have clapped to the song isn’t it? I stopped clapping and listened to the song’s notes echoing off the bricks and ornate marble statues in the sanctuary and I lightly clapped my hands in sync with the rest of the gathered students but it wasn’t right; everything in my being told me that it just wasn’t right, I couldn’t and wouldn’t fake it so I stopped clapping. I decided it was a conspiracy, in some way they were trying to make me go crazy rhythmically; some kind of Catholic Jedi Mind Trick aimed at Baptists and other Protestants and I decided that I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I started clapping again, feeling the rhythm of my ancestors coursing through my veins I clapped audibly; each palm strike sounding awkwardly in relation to the other students’ sound offs. I remember my teacher looking over at me with a curious glance, perhaps thinking that I was trying to be a wise guy and clap off beat on purpose; was she going to give me a demerit when we got back to the classroom? Certainly she wouldn’t do that because I was right. Right? My classmates were looking curiously in my direction now and I could have sworn that the marble statue of Jesus over the altar shot a glance over at the brown kid immediately to his left as if to say “Didn’t I create those folks WITH rhythm?” I caught the eye of one of my “skin like me” classmates and gave a look that said, “You’re with me on this, right?” He didn’t acknowledge, he just stood there with his hands resting on the pew in front of him, facing forward. He was a grade above me; perhaps the Catholic brainwash technique had already wiped out his will to fight the rhythmic wrongness. Or maybe…I was the one that was wrong.

I gasped at the realization that perhaps I was the outcast here. I was the one that couldn’t decipher the music enough to discern the beat on which to clap. That was horrifying! Dammit, I knew Michael Jackson choreography, I’d been singing, clapping, and rocking simultaneously since I was 5 year old member of the children’s choir at my church. I refused to believe that I was the one that was wrong. Then the song ended, the singing stopped, the clapping stopped, and everyone sat down. I sat quietly in my seat and wondered not only if I was sane, but if I was going to get detention for causing a disturbance during Mass.

Obviously, I was a nervous wreck when I went to my good ol’ Baptist church the following Sunday and took to the choir stand with the rest of my friends. Had I been brainwashed? When the music started would I know when to clap? Because, one thing is for certain, there would be some clapping going on at the good ol’ Baptist church. Then the notes started, and I waited, and my inner metronome started again and I knew where I wanted to clap but I hesitated, scared that whatever I’d experienced at Mass earlier in the week had shorted my musical circuitry. Our choir director gave us the signal for us to start to clap; I closed my eyes, winced a bit and when I clapped it was perfectly in sync with the 60 other 8 thru 11 year olds in the choir. I was relieved, the Catholic plan to destroy my inner metronome was thwarted, I’d been programmed too well, it would take more than one midweek Mass to destroy me! Then of course after a while I finally realized that folks like me typically clap on “2” and “4” while a good number of my White friends clapped on “1” and “3”, in simpler terms I learned that Black folk clap on the snare drum and White folk clap on the kick drum. Now, none of this is to say that all White people do this and all Black people do that; that’s the ploy of a lazy comedian that is too lazy to devise real material. I’m sure there are a number of Catholics and/or White folks that have similar rhythmic sensibilities as I. Quite frankly, no one can really say who doesn’t have rhythm, shoot, I thought I was right at Mass but I wasn’t; had my friends from school been at my church clapping on “1” and “3” they would have been wrong. So wrong, in this case, is a matter of where you are at the time.

So, of course there was no wild scheme to make me doubt my rhythm, no plan to sabotage my inner metronome, those were the wild indiscriminate thoughts of a paranoid 9 year old. In this episode though, I learned that this factor and this factor only is the main difference that separates the we’s and the they’s, followed closely by my Kindergarten theory that God made Blacks in skin tones and Whites in eye colors.

Now, here is that video of Jeremiah Wright I was talking about way up there at the top of this here blog…

~thanks for reading

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Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Humor, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unconditional Love and the Dodo Bird

Hey all.  I visited my parents the other day and just looked at them, together. Just happy for the most part, except for when my Dad goes all Sagittarius and gets on my Mom’s nerves; you can read about their story here. Then I took a little time and teased a childhood friend of mine yesterday about his day long publicly flirtatious back-and-forth with his wife via his Facebook page. After that I took a look at some pictures I have at the house of my grandparents, who were together for 55 years, and other family members and friends who have had the ideal “Black Love” relationship. And then I silently mourned. I mourned because it is the opinion of yours truly that the idea of love unencumbered, love unconditional, and love in completion in “The Community” is dead. Now, mind you, I don’t think that love as an ideal and emotion is dead, just the idea that love is something that one can be ultimately successful in. That’s dead, extinct, just like the Dodo Bird, in this society, in my opinion.

Love in its simplicity can no longer exist for the simple reason that people won’t let it; it seems they would rather focus on everything that can derail an otherwise ideal situation.  You can’t go online without being force-fed statistics on the plight of the Black relationship. The headlines read like a clarion call of disappointment and dread.

70% of Black women are single

42% of Black successful women don’t have a man

Marriage Eludes Black High Achievers

More than half of Black Men Are Fed Up with Black Women

While these items, all of which were among the thousands of hits that came up with a simple experimental Google search, were probably meant to spur discussion on the dynamic between men and women in “The Community”, they succeed to only drive a deeper wedge between two groups that are the hope for future generations of people. Blog writers, in a search for traffic and comments, focus on the items that divide and the comment vultures start flocking almost immediately because as we all know you can draw more people with despair than happiness. Movies and plays are almost always focused on love gone completely wrong because, as the saying goes, art imitates life. Or does it?

Is art only portraying what is being lived by people in various Metros around the country or is it painting an unreal actual that people are coerced into thinking is real? My parents told me so years ago when I was a teen that “You find what you’re looking for and you are what you take in.” Unfortunately a lot of otherwise intelligent people are being hooked by the statistics of the pundits and the wailing of the whiners and believing that love can’t be found, and if you find it you’re instantly thinking of what can go wrong because of whatever reason you just read about in that link you were sent to your email, not because you legitimately believe in your heart of hearts. The more often you read about everything that is wrong with relationships the more you’ll believe it, and then when you start to believe it you start to look for it, then before long you’re believing that love can never happen for you because of what a bunch of other people wrote. And that’s why the quest of a Black man and a Black woman finding an unsoiled love free of preconceived notions and perceptions is dead. It’s dead because people are lazy and would rather have their ideas fed to them and then believe whatever it is that the most people are believing or talking about. Because of this the most inane of arguments and discussions get unnecessary run all because people don’t wish to think and live for themselves; this is an awful way for love without condition to die, isn’t it?

Now, none of this is to say that love is not without its issues. As long as things cost money there will be issues in a relationship. However what I am saying is that with the speed that news and opinion travels via the internetwebthingy and the propensity for said news and opinions to grow out of control, chances are slim that news of the demise of healthy Black relationship are unlikely to stop anytime soon, especially with the frequency that people like to hear about such things via blogs, TV, radio shows, etc. Hopeless romantic as I am, I choose to believe that such a thing for me is possible even with my quirks and otherwise questionable loose ends. And if, at this moment, you are without a relationship I challenge you to believe the same. I challenge you to ignore the statistics, to ignore those “link sharers” and others that choose to perpetuate the myths that love is impossible for whatever the reason is this week. Focus on happiness, and perhaps happiness will be on the other side of your search; but if you search for what is wrong with everything then don’t be surprised when that’s what you come across; like my parents said, you find what you’re looking for.

~thanks for reading

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Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, Family, Relationships | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

High Five Your Neighbor…or don’t

Hey all! First and foremost, I ain’t talking about your Pastor; I’m talking about that other dude. There, there’s my disclaimer…

I’m a Church kid to my core, my earliest memory is being dragged to choir rehearsal at about age 4 or 5 when I’d rather have been playing in the yard with my friends; then dragged to church meeting on Wednesday nights when I wanted to stay home and watch TV, then dragged to my mother’s choir rehearsals on Saturday nights because that’s where everybody else was. Most my memories as a kid are of being dragged to some church function against my will. But as I got into my teens I began to love church and all that it represented for me and my family, the friends that I started to make there, and the developing teenage girls that sang in the choir with me. More than anything though, yes even the developing teenage girls, was the nuances of all the things that made up the Black Church experience. The ushers, the deacons, marching around for offering (does everybody do that?), and Call and Response…especially Call and Response.

It is common knowledge that Black preachers need to hear back from their congregation early and often throughout the sermon. If you want to get on your pastor’s bad side let him see you sitting quietly in the pew while he’s going in on a sermon; I bet your auxiliary won’t that extra loot to go on that bus trip to the Outlet Mall this summer. Honestly though, for the good of your pastor’s ego, not to mention pumping him up so he wraps up in time for the 1:00pm kickoff, you need to get with the preacher in order for him to, as my mother likes to say, “Get on ‘cross the field and finish that sermon”. Somewhere though in the not too distant past, some congregation didn’t get the memo and they sat quietly, probably for a couple of Sundays in a row despite the preacher’s best efforts, and something had to be done. “What can I do to engage these people”, thought that frustrated preacher. And then it came to him, “If they won’t talk to me, I’ll make them talk to each other”. So he likely tried it that Sunday and it went well but it was still lacking a little punch, so then he thought, “Talking to one another was good but it needs something else”, then, “Physical interaction! That’s it!” And thus began the “High Five Your Neighbor” era.

Now if you’ve never been to a Black church before you may not know what it is I’m talking about. Basically it’s when a preacher turns his congregation into Ecclesiastical “hype men”, first by telling the gathered flock “High five your neighbor…” and then following that up with a statement punctuating the point he just made. Example:

“High five your neighbor and tell them God is gonna make a way for you!”

Harmless enough, right? Problem is there was probably a preacher there that was visiting from another church and he said, “Hey! That’s great!” and took it back to his congregation, then one of his boys from across town saw him do it on the DVD so he borrowed it, then a visiting preacher in his pulpit saw it…and so on and so on. By the time the act swept across the country, preachers had gone from one high five to something like…

“Now go high five 7 people and tell them that your breakthrough is coming, your family will all be well, your prayers are heard, restoration is right around the corner, maybe next Tuesday, and that you will have financial increase so your Rottweiler can have Iams food instead of Kroger brand.”

…not only have you forgotten all that by the time you get to the third person but by the time you’ve finished 15 minutes have passed. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but only by a little bit, but what probably started as a harmless attempt to engage a congregation morphed into a way to get other people to do your job…which is to engage the people. I’ll stop short of saying that it’s performance acting, but it’s dangerously close.

It’s very much like Steve Harvey said in The Original Kings of Comedy about rappers. 90% of rap concerts are the worst; a bunch of dudes with microphones screaming out instructions to the audience…

“Throw your hands in the air…”

“Say make money money, make money money money…”

“All the ladies in the house say ‘owwww’…”

“All the brothas in the house say hooooo…”

…and this goes on for the whole show and at the end you realize that you said more than the dude you paid the ticket to see. But then you see a real eMCee on stage that is able to command a crowd with nothing more than his music and a microphone without the rest of the histrionics and you say to yourself, “hmmm, that was a better show than the one with all the audience participation.”

Now, this comes from a dude raised in a traditional Baptist church notorious for not varying too far from the script as far as church services go. There used to be a time that sending an appropriately timed “Amen” or a “Hallelujah!” up was about the extent of crowd participation. And I know that in this age of attention deficit disorder sometimes a preacher might have to go to certain lengths to engage some folk; however I think that person in the pulpit should be able to drive a message without having parishioners search out 5 people to fist bump 4 times per sermon.

Perhaps it’s a new millennium attempt to inject a measure of cool into church service for people that weren’t raised going to Church on Sundays. Perhaps it’s an updated show of the joy that all people should and ought to have. And maybe, just maybe it’s all a legitimate effort to punctuate a point and not just a show. At the end of the day though, it’s about the Word in that book and not the gimmicks you wrap around it and certainly not how many people chest bump in the aisles. I ain’t no preacher nor do I profess to want to be one but I do know one thing, when I die and get to the gates I’m pretty sure the first question I’m asked will not be, “how many people did you high five on the first Sunday in February?”

Unless St. Peter has a really great sense of humor.

~thanks for reading

Skrap is a life long Baptist, still enjoys going to church, and no longer digs on the girls in the choir because they’ve all got children at this point, plus Church relationships ain’t really a good look in the first place. If you or someone you know has been offended by his High Five rant, you or someone you know should stop being so serious. 🙂

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Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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