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A Matter Of Expression

How do you express yourself?  When someone is delving too deep into my personal business or in some other way annoying me I might roll my eyes or simply hit them with a “whatever”.  I’ve been known to fold my arms and stare blankly when I really don’t want to be bothered. When the NFL’s at work push my buttons I always fall back on the Corporate Hustle. Your methods may be different than mine but I think we can all agree freedom of expression is vital. But on that same note there is a time and a place for everything. Imagine the horror of everyone around me if I were to stand up and shout “that’s some crap” in the middle of a preacher’s sermon. Time and place for everything, right?

Enter Rene Marie.  For those that don’t know, she was invited to sing The National Anthem at a State of the City Address in Denver.  Instead of The Star Spangled Banner, she took it upon herself to sing Lift Every Voice And Sing. No one knew she was going to do that, so a lot of people were quite confused.  When interviewed after the fact, she admitted only her husband and one friend knew in advance what she had planned and that she wanted to express how she felt about living in the United States as a black woman.  I am all for freedom of expression, and I respect ole girls hustle, but was a political event in Denver really the place to break out the “stoney the road we trod” lyrics?  Needless to say the local media ate this up and actually asked Presidential Candidate Obama to comment on her actions (and it deserves to be mentioned no one asked McCain).

In the spirit of expression I try not to do anything that will reflect poorly on “us”.  I went to a predominantly white college and I know the pressures of having the represent the entire race in Political Science or Sociology class.  Aside from an act of civil disobedience involving a racist campus newspaper, my college “expression” was pretty tame.  Now that I’m all grown up and working in a predominantly white office, I am again tasked with pretty much representing the entire race.  I know my brown face is the only black person a lot of these people will ever come in close contact with, so I avoid the inappropriate office attire and stereotypical neck rolling and slang talking in the break room.  I don’t feel my freedom of expression is stifled……as there is a time and place for everything.

As the Rene Marie drama fades, there will still be a few fanatics out there trying to link this to a matter of race relations and “us” getting too big for our britches now that we have a potential black president (You know how those fanatics can be)!  From here until Election Day, anything we do that seems even remotely too “black” or “unpatriotic” is going to be linked to Obama.  If a black man goes postal…….Obama is going to be asked to comment.  If a black woman curses out the meter maid writing her a ticket….TMZ is going to call it racial.   I know we are all excited at the possibility of a black president, but let’s collectively slow our roll before we blow it.  Let’s save our Denmark Vesey activities until after Election Day J

Seriously, freedom of expression is valuable, and should not be stifled, but do you avoid being too free with your expression in the presence of people that don’t look like you?  This is an Olympic year.  In the summer of 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos chose to express themselves by raising their fists.  If the opportunity was presented, how would you fully express yourself?



July 10, 2008 - Posted by | Opinion, Race, Society


  1. In you own words…”Deep enough for a good swim”. I just read this after watching Jesse Jackson having to apologize for getting caught with his mike on. We all need to take a piece of the humble pie sometimes and consider what our expressions could cost us. I loved this today.

    Comment by Venom | July 10, 2008

  2. As Jerzee Chic stated previously,we try to avoid inappropiate office attire and Stereotypes at work, however and just for Epiphany Blog, IF I had the opportunity to fully express myself, I would come to work every day ( corporate america)with a different Tshirt on to represent my feelings for that day. Each day of the week, my tshirts will have different slogans listed, please see below:

    Monday’s tshirt : Where’s my Forty Acres and My Mule

    Tuesday’s tshirt: I’m Black and I’m proud

    Wednesday’s tshirt:It’s a BLACK THING and u wouldn’t UNDERSTAND

    Thursday’s tshirt: BUSH don’t like Black people

    Friday’s tshirt: Martin is the KING and Obama is the DREAM.

    Then, after a long week at work ( if i still hve my job) I would then tell the ” other ” co workers, ” if you do not like my shirts, KISS MY AZZ”.Telling some of your co workers to kiss your azz is the BEST form of ” freedom of expression”.
    Now don’t get me wrong, I still NEED my job and I want to keep my job, I just feel like FULLY EXPRESSING myself this week 😉

    Comment by FOE | July 10, 2008

  3. Jesse should have known better but then again I’m not surprised. Deep down he is a Obama hater! He just used his freedom of expression and put his self on blast. Yeah there is a time and place and Jesse chose the Fox news channel to put it all on front street. I guess we can all be sure he will not be getting any high ranking positions in Obama’s administration.

    Comment by divastyles | July 10, 2008

  4. For the most part, when people say really great things which i can’t top (like the previous comments)–i generally keep my comments to myself or simply share my thoughts with those closest in my circle. Concerning statements which rub me the wrong way, I am still learning how to express myself without getting my feelings all caught up to avoid n*gganecking–and generally allow my collegue/friend who is great at articulating herself as a representative for our small number. Sadly if it doesn’t have a direct impact on me or my family i try not to get all caught up. Regarding the “whatever” comment, I have gotten a few whatevers from you–note to self, “mydb”–mind your damn business!

    Comment by Irving on the Crest | July 10, 2008

  5. I love the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. I grew up hearing my mom sing it in the kitchen, shower, when she lay beside me at night in my bed, trying to help me sleep, we’d all humm it, in church, etc. It’s a beautiful song. Listen to the words.

    Can we just for one moment ………..pause…………….
    and stop overthinking, over analyzing, and over reacting. There are bigger issues in life, bigger fish to fry, more important things to talk about and or stress.

    I admire people who go out on a limb, not conforming to “what society says we should or should not do”, as long as it is in in good taste. If we all conformed…would you and I be where we are presently???

    We should all carry a mirror, take a looooooooong hard look. Show me one person who is perfect. HMMMMM, he no longer resides on Earth.

    Lighten up people. Life is too short. Rev Jesse Jackson should spend more time being there for his family who he stepped out on and had an affair, which resulted in a new born child, and show that he can still be a role model, rather than be a player hater on a OBAMA. Didn’t you ever hear your momma say “The truth always comes to light”.

    I , personally, am sick of politics and the games that are being played. LET’S JUST FAST FORWARD TO THE POLLS IN NOV, OK.

    Comment by ccc | July 10, 2008

  6. Yes, Obama is black. You know the saying, a drop of black blood makes you bl—. But PLEASE people, stop trying to hold him accountable for every word and/or act of another black human being on this earth. I for one, refuse to comment or take responsibility of every stupid, crazy, or unconventional act of someone who happens to share the same race as I.

    Comment by ccc | July 10, 2008

  7. In a minute the media will have Obama linked to baseball and the steroid scandal, Tim Donahue shaving points and the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa! Can the Black man live, geesh!

    Comment by Urban Royalty | August 26, 2008

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