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What it do with Lue

Interracial Relationships in the Wake of Ferguson

Christelyn Karazin

Christelyn Karazin

By Christelyn Karazin, Brand Ambassador for InterracialDatingCentral.com

In light of the recent events in Ferguson, as well as news that the police officer responsible for the chokehold that contributed to the death of Eric Garner will not face criminal charges, the focus on black people in interracial relationships has come into question by some. If you are currently in an interracial relationship, as I am, you may now be noticing an elephant in the room with the two of you. How you and your partner navigate the communication surrounding America’s recently heightened racial tensions can make or break the longevity of your relationship. Some questions I have gotten recently are along the lines of: “Is it possible to date and marry a non-black person in light of recent events? Would they really understand what it’s like to live in a country where racism is still alive and rearing its ugly head?

Sometimes debates between interracial couples creates conflict within their relationship, and oftentimes, disillusionment can set in. But that is when empathy and understanding are in order.

When events like Ferguson occur, and you suddenly find yourself party to a racial debate in your very own kitchen or bedroom, both races need to begin that dialogue by acknowledging certain truths. Much of the frustration and misunderstanding comes from each party being so invested in their own emotions that neither person wants to acknowledge these truths.

A Caucasian, or non-black, person involved in an interracial relationship must acknowledge that racism in this country still exists, even if you yourself do not endorse or engage in such bigotry and discrimination. We are a country founded upon a racial hierarchy which was used to justify slavery and subsequent injustices like segregation. The people who encouraged, accepted and perpetuated such injustices are not all dead. In some parts of the country, there are populations of white people who still yearn for the old days when everything was separate and vastly unequal. Though these populations are marginalized at this point, they do exist.

For much of the black community, events like Ferguson and the events that surrounded the death of Eric Garner, rip open old wounds. It leads many of us in the black community to feel powerless in the world in which we live. Many of us sink into utter despair. When you visibly see your partner in despair that is not the time to apply your logic and state your laundry list of facts surrounding America and race relations. It is a time for you to simply hold him or her in your arms and sooth them through their pain until they are capable of having a rational conversation.

When emotions are raw, it is best to observe and acknowledge the pain the other person feels. Acknowledging a person’s feelings doesn’t mean you have to 100% agree with their point of view. It just means that you care enough about the person in front of you to listen and give support.

Because we live in a country with a racial hierarchy, understand that issues related to your partner affect you too. If you have children, then even more so. You need to know that your children may be negatively impacted by those who adhere to this old guard racial hierarchy. You will have to acknowledge and deal with the reality of police misconduct so that you can protect your progeny.

Now, black Americans involved with non-black people, we need to acknowledge certain truths as

The Black community is in trouble. We have a 73% out-of-wedlock rate which is resulting in utter chaos, especially in lower-income neighborhoods. Children growing up without fathers are the walking wounded, and are often angry and much more likely to drop out of school and go to jail. You need to know that outsiders who observe this dysfunction see it for what it is. Everyone can see our dirty laundry, and that can feel embarrassing and put you on the defensive with your partner. But resist that urge. We have to openly and honestly acknowledge that fractured families come in to play when it comes to the chaos within our own community. No amount of money or legislation will affect the change that needs to come from within.

You need to understand that white people see us killing each other. They see how many of us apply little value to our own lives and to the lives of others. They become confused when a black person’s life seems to suddenly have value and galvanize the community only when a white person ends it. They take notice, and yes, they are quietly judging us.

You have to acknowledge that the black community is not completely innocent, powerless and unable to enlist personal accountability. Not everything is “the white devil’s fault.” Some of it -much of it – is ours. The good news is, we also have the power to harness our anger into productivity and stronger family ties within our own community.

You need to understand that the person in front of you, your significant other, should not be some voodoo avatar to stand in for every racist white person that has ever wronged you or your peers. Just as you want to be judged as an individual, you must also extend that courtesy to your partner.

If both parties can acknowledge one another, empathize, listen, and be willing to learn from each other’s point of view, such relationships have a very good chance of thriving through these moments of racial crisis in America.

 

BOTTOM LINE: “You Can ‘Cool Out’ with Jazz

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

I woke up Tuesday morning listening to accounts of the protest against police shootings/attitudes/actions regarding Blacks in specific, and minorities in general. I have had my share of bad experiences with police, as well as participating in marches and protest. So, I must confess, my morning being shaped by “news” that was in fact an “old story” and was starting to give me the blues.

I fed and was sharing my blue feelings with my dog Sherman, when ignoring my pity party and grateful for his food, he gave me that “you the man” look.  “Thanks Sherm” was my thought as I instantly felt better.  Returning inside the house and into the atmosphere of my radio I was caressed by the sound of Jazz…Herbie Hancock! “Wow, KJAZZ is kicking this morning,” was my thought, but my baseline thought was,”you know you can’t get KJAZZ on this radio.” I was right, it was KUCR 88.3 FM effecting “Jazz Tuesday.”  I listened to 30 seconds of Jazz and my whole attitude changed!  I felt cool, empowered, like a person who has loved to lean on. I felt in touch with myself and the power of being one of God’s children. The free flowing music was like taking a “Wind Bath!”

The sounds and feeling reminded me of the medicinal value of Jazz Music. I decided that it was time to publicly thank Jim Palmer, founder of the Jazz and Art Exchange, for his commitment to keeping jazz alive in the Inland Empire. Jazz is a soother for most male anxieties. Jazz can make men forget what they were arguing about. Jim Palmer has been providing “a place to play” for Jazz and Blues musicians for over ten years. Jim‘s home base is the “Jazz and Art Exchange” located in the Adreson Building in Downtown San Bernardino.  Thanks Jim!

Every Monday evening at 1073 N. Mt Vernon Avenue at the Elks lodge, musicians gather for the “Blue Monday” Jazz Jam. A small donation provides access to hours of good music, food and drinks under the direction and hospitality of Jim Palmer and his partner Amos ”The Chef” Wallace.

Jim and Amos are now providing management services for the Elks Lodge, and on Sunday, December 28 they will bring a Grammy Nominee to the Inland Empire. The legendary Blues and Jazz singer, Barbara Morrison, will perform at the same Elks Lodge, at 1073 N. Mt Vernon for a 4 p.m. show.  This is the first of the Route 66 Jazz Series Produced by Westside Story Newspaper and Empire Talks Back radio.  Attending this show will not solve all of your problems, but you will definitely feel better about your chances. Jazz will allow and encourage you to “be cool!”

For ticket information and reservations to witness the great Barbara Morrison perform and entertain at a world class level, see the ad on page 8 or call (310) 462-1439.

 

World Renowned Bar-Kays Close Out the Year with Benefit Gala

BarKeys

By Sheri Neely

The legendary Bar-Kays celebrated 50 years in the music industry with a red carpet gala with friends and fans from all across the country on Thursday, December 4 at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in Memphis. Hosted by Elise Neal and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, performances included George Clinton, ConFunkShun, The Dazz Band, Mary Jane Girls, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles Jones, Jazze Pha, The SOS Band, Doug E. Fresh and the reunion of the United We Funk All-Stars. Special guest appearances included David Porter, Al Bell, Otis Redding, III, daughter of Rick James Ty James and Cherelle.

The benefit gala supported the Bar-Kays coined “Fab Five” nonprofit organizations: The Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, United Way of the Mid-South, The STAX Music Academy and The Allen Jones/Marjorie Barringer/Bar-Kays Scholarship Fund in support of LeMoyne Owen College.

Special presentations were made at a private VIP reception sponsored by the Hard Rock Café Memphis downtown on Beale Street. The Bar-Kays’ James Alexander and Larry Dodson, Sr. were presented with their honorary guitars from Hard Rock Cafe of Memphis’ general manager Julien Salley and Memphis & Shelby County Music commissioner Johnnie Walker.

They received awards and special presentations at the gala as well, including a proclamation from the State of Tennessee presented by Congressman Steve Cohen. They also received a presentation from the City of Los Angeles by award-winning filmmaker Keith O’Derek. The Bar-Kays performed during the historical WattsStax Music Festival held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 1972.  Organized by Memphis’ Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots, it is known as one of the top most important civil rights contributions to music history.

The red carpet gala was followed by a private VIP after party which was also held on Beale Street and sponsored by BB King’s Blues Club and Restaurant. It was attended by many of the performers and special guests from the gala.