Archive for the Literature Category

Nigger Revisited

Posted in Literature, Trending with tags , , , , on November 7, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“Those of us who weren’t destroyed got stronger, got calluses on our souls. And now we’re ready to change a system, a system where a white man can destroy a black man with a single word. Nigger.” This was an excerpt from Dick Gregory’s highly controversial 1964 autobiography entitled “nigger”. The excerpt was an ode to his material ancestors in effort to give hope for social healing and societal change regarding racism in America. My father, who was born in Virginia, once shared with me the bitter hardships of segregated entrances, racial defamation and instances of people turning their rabid dogs on him just because he walked near their houses. He spoke of having objects being hurled at him by occupants of passing vehicles, followed up by racially hurled epithets, as he was working on the roadways trying to earn a simple living. For me, it is hard to fathom a time such as this. A time where you are considered less than a human being. My generation was thought to be rebellious, yet undefined; so much that we were referred to by a single, solitary letter; X. But as I peruse through life and the lineage of my family’s history, I have come to the realization that I am very well aware of the polarizing effect racism has had on the black culture and black society as a whole. It has always motivated me from an educational standpoint, as I recognize the fact that my success at this point, is due to the fact that I am standing on the strong, unrelenting shoulders of my ancestral roots. Perhaps it is here that we find a disconnect in the modern day African American youth, as it relates to the histrionics of not only racism in America, but also the overall appreciation of the forefathers and foremothers who paved the way by plowing out the proverbial field dreams in a time where advancement was not an option nor a choice. We can always point a finger at education and the absence of African American representation with the exceptions of Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. However, our black society as a whole owe it to ourselves to be preservationists as it relates to our own collective ancestry. It is glaringly apparent that the baton was dropped during the handoff exchange, especially when it was revealed in the recent racial scandal surrounding the Miami Dolphins, that African American men denounced a fellow African American teammate for not being “black enough”. And one would hope that the train to ignorance would stop right there, however, they would go on to allude that they accepted a Caucasian teammate as being black, so much that he was allowed to call them nigger as a form of acceptable endearment. I for one, have a plethora of friends with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. I completely endorse the “brother from another mother” premise and the kinship that is developed that blurs the lines of color. In fact the Reggae artist Junior Reed has a song entitled “One Blood” that could be an anthem for racial healing. Yet the fact still remains, the plight of the African American in this country is not one that can be related to by donning on the shoes of empathy or having an impoverished upbringing. The hate and the evil behind the word “nigger” is far greater then any other racial slur or verbiage spelled out in the English dictionary. Only an idiot would want to be inducted and enshrined into the shackles of the disenfranchised, the genocidal, the raped, the murdered, the degraded and the barbarically annihilated heritage associated with something a simple as skin tone. What saddens me more than anything, is the fact that those African Americans who endorsed him, have no clue of the message that they send out to society as a whole. The message? That the word “nigger” is really not that bad and that our ancestors were actually treated fairly. But who is to blame, other than ourselves? We utilize it in our vernacular and trend set it throughout our music. And when artist like Nasir Jones tries to bring educational light to the word, just like his predecessor Dick Gregory, he was chastised and ridiculed for doing so. Nasir promulgated to the world: “They say we N-I-double G-E-R…We are much more, still we choose to ignore the obvious…Man this history don’t acknowledge us…We was scholars long before colleges”. Sadly enough, only a few people listened to the lyrics and apparently the Miami Dolphin players were not amongst them. Placing honor on a badge of demoralization all but returns us to the chains of slavery. It states that we fought a great fight, but ultimately we lost the war. There may be those who ignorantly believe that the over saturated usage of the word may lessen its power, but to them I suggest that they trade skins with me for a week. John Griffin did in the book “Black Like Me”. It was then and only then that he came to understand the stigmatized pain associated with the African American plight. The war is not over as the struggle continues to rage on. Racism is a complex tradition and not just a word of simplicity. #educate yourself

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Exclusive Interview with Author Colleen McKinstrie

Posted in Literature with tags , , , , on September 5, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

Gaudete

“Whence the light is born, salvation is found”. Light is said to be responsible for our sense of sight, as salvation is said to be the deliverance from difficulty. The meaning of both make for an apropos pairing when describing the resolve of Author Colleen McKinstrie. Usually words like heroism are reserved for the glossy pages of comic books, however, the real heroes of life don’t receive blockbuster movies nor do they have action figures developed to resembles their likeness. No, the real heroes show the kind of bravery that is willing to stare in the face of adversity, climb the insurmountable mountain, accept the challenges of life and still find a way to “rejoice”. I had the honor and privilege of having a Q&A session with one of life’s truest heroes, Colleen McKinstrie, to discuss her inspirational book entitled “Gaudete”:

Q: When I look at your book cover, one word comes to mind: Victory. What made you choose that picture for the cover?

A: The title of the book is “Gaudete” which means rejoice in Latin and in the liturgical calendar it is the third Sunday in Advent (Christmas season), when the lighting of the pink joy candle takes place. My fifteen year old daughter, Gillian took this photo when we were at one of our all time favorite places, Mission Trails Regional Park an open space natural preserve, close to where we live in San Diego. I was indeed rejoicing in this photo, cancer free, in one of my favorite places with one of my absolute favorite people.

Q: When did you first know that you had the ability to write?

A: I don’t consider myself to be a “writer” I am not an English scholar or a literary expert. I am a person with a unique story to share. I initially set out to write a personal memoir that was only meant for my children as well as my nieces and nephews. After receiving much encouragement from different people I decided to publish it with the hope that I may bring inspiration and hope to others that may be facing tragic events in their lives.

Q: For those who are not in the know, we are former high school classmates. I am also an aspiring author as well and found great inspiration when we reconnected and saw “Gaudete”by Colleen McKinstrie. Tell the readers about your project and the inspiration behind it.

A: Gaudete is a personal memoir but it is also about many people I have been blessed to know over the course of my life. Most of the people I have written about have passed away and during some of the most difficult times as a cancer patient I drew strength from allowing my heart and mind to revisit those relationships. The book alternates battling breast cancer & the aftermath, with the stories of my past. I tried to keep the portrayal of the cancer as raw and realistic as possible. The reality is I was not always “victorious” It really sucked at times. One of the greatest inspirations (too many to write about) behind the book came from Deaconess Doris Snashell, Grace Lutheran Church, San Diego. A few years ago she gave a lecture on “Thinking Pink” during the holiday season that more than resonated with me. She explained that Advent is the season to repent, but the lighting of the Joy Candle reminds us to rejoice over all the blessings we have and most importantly because Jesus was crucified, died and was resurrected to save us and therefore there is no reason to fear. No matter what the struggles may be, there is something to look forward to and that is something to rejoice over. This message came to me at a really good time, because I was feeling a bit jaded over the holiday season. Christ was missing from Christmas and I was saturated in the materialistic flooding of the expectation of the season. Hearing her words reminded me of the real meaning. The third Sunday in Advent is also the perfect time even for non-Christians to pause on the frenzied last-minute holiday shopping and take the time to love and honor those people in their lives and celebrate with kindness & acceptance rather than the giving and expecting of material things.

Q: I have yet to read your book for superstitious reasons as I don’t read a lot when I am working on my own writing, however I have read the reviews. What does it mean to you as an author when a person who has read your book, writes: “I’m deeply impacted by your Faith and Strength to overcome all obstacles in your path and future paths!!! ”

A: Humbled.

Q: I see pictures of you online with your kids and pictures of you documenting your personal struggles, yet in a world filled with excuse makers, I see you and I think warrior, I think winner and I think bring it! From where do you draw your strength?

A: Knowing with every fiber of my being that there is something to look forward to.

Q: If you don’t mind, please tell us a little about your story.

A: I was 29 the mother of two when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. With no family history and a very healthy life style the news was jolting. My life since that time has had many twists and turns that have truly given me an appreciation for the gift of life.

Q: Survivor, Mother, Author and Inspirational Motivator; what is next for you moving forward?

A: I am currently attending school full-time working towards a degree in counseling. I am also looking forward to one day (hopefully not for a while) becoming a mother in law and grandma, maybe even being a wife again. And most importantly trying to follow Mother Teresa’s advice “Love the way you want to be Loved.”

“Love the way you want to be loved.” Such a beautiful summation that the world at large could learn from and adhere to. When reflecting on my Q&A with Colleen McKinstrie, I discovered many more lessons about the entity that is vivacity. I see a woman, who when faced with the vicissitudes of life, call upon both her inner strength and spiritual beliefs to act as substantive pillars of support and guidance. I see a woman who chose to become an orator “for” instead of a victim “of” a disease that saw 1.6 million new cases in 2013 alone. Such an extraordinary individual whose plight is to fight and rejoice in overcoming the obstacles and defying the odds. Please, if you have not purchased your copy of Colleen’s powerful and inspirational book, click on the following word: Gaudete and it will direct you to the proper site to do so. Genius Scribble Ink would truly like to thank Ms. McKinstrie for visiting with us.