Monday, January 11, 2010

Do I Smell?

Do I Smell?
By Kevin D. Moore

The other day, I met a man with a great year long tan from Kenya, Africa. Yup…you guessed it… He is a black man. Or…you could say that he is an African American. Actually, that is incorrect. He is an African who lives in America with a great year long tan. Ok… He is a black man.

Well, once I knew that he was from Africa, I became curious as to his experiences here in America as a black man. I wondered if he may have experienced some of the same things I experienced in my life or some of the things other black Americans have experienced.

Once I asked the question, I became very surprised by his answer. He informed me that at first he wasn't aware of being treated any differently than any other person (e.g. white, brown, yellow, etc.) He stated that, regardless of how he was treated, he probably wouldn't have noticed the difference because in Kenya the issue of difference is not color based but "tribe" based. He said that there are over 40 tribes in Kenya and all have a different culture, tradition, and way of life. So, as a result, he was never truly aware of differences associated with color.

Unfortunately, after living in America for some time (which he loves), he slowly became aware of some of our American color issues. He said that he didn't really know that he was being looked at differently until he had a memorable eye opening train ride in our nation's capital.

So… He tells me that he was sitting in a seat on the train. Being raised in a tribe that taught manners and courtesies, he slide over as far as possible on the two person seat to ensure that there would be plenty of room for another person to sit down. He said that on that day the train was extremely full. But after awhile, he noticed that none of the white people would sit next to him. Instead, they would stand. He even tried to provide more room on the seat. But still…no white person would sit next to him.

For the life of him, he couldn't figure out what was wrong…

Now, I have to tell you… While listening to this story, my mind briefly wandered as I pictured the situation in my head. I could imagine him sitting there trying to figure out what was wrong. Not understanding color issues in America, I could actually see him begin to wonder if maybe the problem was that he was unpleasing to another's senses. In other words…maybe he smelled bad!!! I could see him trying to identify the offending area without anyone noticing what he was doing. I could see the distressed look on his face as he tried unsuccessfully to find where the smell was coming from.

At this moment, my mind refocused on him as he stated to me how bad he felt that white people were not sitting next to him. He said that he felt so bad that he finally stood up so that others might then be willing to sit down. And, he was right. Once he got up, white people started to use this now fully vacant seat.

While standing, he said that he was still trying to figure out what the problem was. It wasn't until some months later and after numerous train rides that he realized what the problem might be. Needless to say, he was not happy with his realization.

I thought I could hear the pain in his voice. I must admit that I wanted to ease his pain and tell him that it had nothing to do with his color. I wanted to tell him that the reason white people would not sit next to him was because he smelled. Of course, that wasn't true. He didn't smell but at least he could do something about that.

To be honest this is the first time in my life where asking the question "Do I Smell?" brings more joy than having to ask "Am I The Wrong Color?".

Either way, having to ask either question…really stinks!

Copyright © 2010 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Painful To Be Famous

Painful To Be Famous
By Kevin D. Moore

Like so many others in this world, I too longed to be famous at one point in my life. I too, like many others in this world, was drawn to all of the positive possibilities that fame could and would bring to my life. I too, looked at all the famous people - actors, singers, public officials, and sports professionals and imagined how great their lives were compared to mine. I could just imagine how great things would be if I were famous and had phenomenal amounts of money, screaming crowds of people requesting my autograph, and everyone else - the common people - wanting to be just like me.

Imagine all the good I could do with my fame. Imagine, with phenomenal amounts of money, what I could give to charity thus making life easier for others. Imagine, all the autographs I could sign thus bringing and giving much joy to all the fans. And just imagine, the good example I could be for so many that would aspire to be like me resulting in a much better world. Wow, I could do anything, be anything, and more importantly be extremely happy if only I were famous.

Since I considered myself a fairly talented individual, I figured that fame wouldn't take long to achieve. For starters, I began reaching for my dream by acting in one of my high school plays. Although, I didn't have the lead role, I just knew that the critics and others would see my abilities and as a result I would become a "Shooting Star." Unfortunately, things didn't exactly go as expected. Instead of being a "Shooting Star", my acting career turned out to be more like a "Star-fish" out of water.

However, I didn't let that disappointment in acting fame deter me from stardom. So, I decided to become famous through my singing abilities. Wow, what a difference a day makes! I actually had two songs released to the world. I couldn't believe how great being famous was. Well, Ok, maybe I wasn't "big" famous but at least I was a "little" famous. Ok...Ok... I wasn't famous at all. The most fame I got was dancing to my own song in a couple of dance clubs. And to make it worse, I probably danced by myself. Not much fame there but again I would not be deterred from my right to be famous and receive all of the pleasures that fame would bring.

So…I wrote a book, became a motivational speaker, and have been a guest on many radio shows across the nation. And needless to say, everything I've done to date is now paying off. Fame has finally come!!! No matter where I go, whether it is on the street, in an airport, or in a public restroom (go figure) I'm recognized and approached by adoring fans.

Only one problem - all these fans think I'm somebody else! As it turns out, it seems that in-person I seem to resemble the actor, director, and producer named Tyler Perry. What a let down... Now, don't get me wrong. I am a fan of Tyler Perry's myself, however, I wanted to be famous on my own accord.

Imagine, how painful it is to want to bring joy to others through fame and then have that very fame bring hurt and disappointment to others when they discover and realize that you are not who they thought you were. I must admit that at first it was fairly humorous and flattering. That is until I started to focus on the other person's reactions after coming to their disappointed conclusion. Of course, they don't blame me personally for not being Tyler Perry but the "high" and "low" that they experience are there and obvious "none the less."

It's funny, not once did I ever believe that fame wasn't everything I thought and many others thought it would be. That is until now. I guess my mother and father were right when they said be careful what you wish for - you might just get it!

Copyright © 2009 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stupid American

Stupid American
By Kevin D. Moore

As much as I hate to admit it, I knew a guy who must have been one of the stupidest Americans around. The most ironic thing about this guy was that he was an intelligent person but absolutely had no clue how stupid he was.

This American's stupidity manifested itself in his support for one of two Presidential Candidates.

During the Presidential Race, he listened to both sides and watched their Ads. And, using or not using his God given talent of reasoning, he made a decision to support a specific Candidate. Unfortunately, that decision was stupid.

For example:

He actually believed that the potential Leader of this great nation of values would not purposely spin, taint, or tell half truths about the other Candidate. Stupid!

He actually believed that he did not have to do any research on his own given that the News Media would definitely ensure that there was no foul play. In other words, the New Media would establish a "No Spin Zone." Stupid!

He actually believed that fellow citizens would be outraged if there was the slightest hint that a Candidate running for the President of the United States was "Spinning" out of control. Stupid!

You know, it's amazing how smart I have become since the last Presidential Race. My eyes have been opened. I'm no longer that Stupid American.

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grandma Got Thrown Under The Bus!

Grandma Got Thrown Under The Bus!
By Kevin D. Moore

Recently, Senator Barack Obama gave a speech on race relations in America. During that speech, he gave a very personal example of how issues associated with race can hit close to home.

Specifically, the example he gave involved his grandma on his mother's side whose tan was not as good as his for as long as his. In other words, his grandma was White. While citing this example, Barack said that his grandma helped raise him, had sacrificed for him, and truly loved him. And, of course, he truly loved her back.

However, although his grandma truly loved him, she had confessed that she was fearful of Black men who passed her on the street and she would sometimes say things in a negative manner about Black people that would make him cringe.

As a result of this very personal example, there have been people that have not viewed nor received Barack's comments in a positive light. In fact, some have said that Barack needlessly threw his grandma under the bus!

Well, I disagree... Furthermore, I truly appreciate that he was willing to provide such a personal experience that resonates in so many people that live in the United States. The fact is that we (Americans) are still dealing with the baggage associated with racial issues derived from our past. Of course, there are many Americans today who do not see these issues, may never have directly added to these issues, or do not view these issues as hitting close to home. But unfortunately, these issues are still there, none the less, and, for many, do hit close to home.

However, as reflected in Barack's speech, these issues are not one sided no matter how close they hit to home.

For me, approximately a year ago, while walking out of a very large Mall in a racial mixed area, I was called something that I had not been called in years!

Unfortunately, while walking to my parked car, a taxi cab slowly pulled up next me. The cab
was driven by a White man. Needless to say, I expected him to ask me if I needed a ride or maybe he needed directions. I was wrong on both accounts. What he wanted instead was to yell and call me a "NIGGER!" Upon satisfying himself, he quickly drove off.

Now as you can probably guess, I was somewhat enraged although I did not show it (I did not want to empower him or the word he used.) But that is not the point of this story. I wish it were but it is not.

The point is that after being yelled at, the first thought that entered my mind was that I could not believe that he called me this because of the way I was dressed… You see, I was dressed in a business suit. I not only looked "Corporate", but felt "Corporate", and for whatever reason felt somewhat part of the "Majority."

The problem with this whole thought process was that somehow I initially thought that being called a "NIGGER" would be more appropriate if I was wearing stereotypically different clothes.

WRONG ANSWER! What was I thinking?

My initial thought demonstrates to me that I probably have some issues of my own deep down inside. Fortunately, I quickly put myself in check. But I had thought this none the less. Ironically, if you ask those who are close to me they will tell you that I probably do not have a prejudiced bone in my body. But obviously, this was a failing moment that hit close to home.

So why tell you this? Better yet, why throw myself under the bus?

Because, personal experiences tend to be more meaningful and credible to others and I want to do my part in helping America continue moving forward in its desire to truly and totally be united as a nation. If that means throwing myself under the "so called" bus to demonstrate that there are two sides of the racial divide and that these issues hit closer to home than we may realize… Then so be it…

I guess when you really think about it sometimes being thrown under the bus is a good thing…

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Catch 22

Catch 22
By Kevin D. Moore

Like most children, when I was a child growing up, I aspired to be something great. My aspiration was that of the President of the United States of America. Fortunately, my parents supported this level of desired leadership during my early formative years. They did not squash my dream. Instead they were supportive!

It was not until I became a parent myself that I realized that my parents were truly torn between support and nonsupport in my endeavor to become the Leader of this Nation. Looking back in my memory, I can see the expressions on my parents' faces. As a child, I only saw the encouragement that they had. I did not notice the worry and concern that was simultaneously behind the encouragement. Come to think of it, I did notice that something was not quite right when I reached my teenage years and better understood the ways of the world. However, it was not until I was a parent that I truly understood.

I say this because there has never been a President of the United States that has ever had the year long tan that I happen to have. In other words, there has never been a Black/African American or Multi-racial President. (Note: Please forgive me for stating the obvious…)

Now, I do not know if you have noticed or not but I have, to date, not attempted to join the race to become President. Unfortunately, as much as I strive to be the best leader that I can be, I have also come to the harsh reality that I may be a "Big Chicken!"

Like many, I have faced and for the most part overcome many small and large challenges in life. But there is one challenge that always seems difficult to face. That challenge is "Catch 22" especially as it relates to a Presidential Race.

Here is what I noticed… Non-year long tan (i.e. White) candidates will and are expected to address the issues and concerns of the majority voters as well as those that are in the minority (e.g. Black, Hispanic, etc.) Many view this as just good politics. There generally is not a fear or concern that this type of candidate, if elected, is going to focus primarily on the issues associated with minorities. Again, it is just good politics to court minority voters.

However, things seem to change when that candidate is themselves classified as a minority. For example, I have heard many majority voters state their concern that a minority candidate once in the White House would focus on minority issues which they believe would not be good overall for the Nation. To reduce this perception and fear, there is a likelihood that a minority candidate would focus more on majority issues. One might even argue that by addressing many of the majority issues the minority issues are addressed simultaneously. Needless to say, not everyone agrees with this.

On the other hand, I have also heard many minority voters state their concern that a minority candidate is not focusing on minority issues and therefore will not effectively work to resolve these issues once in the White House. As result, some have said that they are voting for a majority candidate.

Catch 22! What is a minority candidate to do?

Answer: Face the challenge head on, address the issues, inspire, motivate, and more importantly convince the Nation that he or she can lead it.

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Easier Said Than Done

Easier Said Than Done
By Kevin D. Moore

It's funny. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Take, for example, the 2008 Presidential Race. I once said, "Don't judge a book by its category." The point of that statement was that we should not vote for someone simply based on an associated category. In other words, don't vote for someone based on their race, gender, religion, or political party. Vote based on their position and stance on the issues.

Well, I'm sorry to say it but this is proving to be a lot harder than I want to admit. As a matter of fact, it is proving to be extremely difficult and painful. Specifically, the pain and suffering that I am experiencing is due to the conflict created by pride, inspiration, perception, and the issues. In other words: Barack Obama.

Now, I must be perfectly honest and frank. I do not agree, I repeat, I do not agree with all of Barack's positions and stances on the issues. And, based solely on all of his positions on the issues, I would not normally vote for him no matter what category he is in.

I mention categories because there is one category that he and I both share. We both look like and are considered Black/African Americans. Of course, given my previous statement about what should and should not dictate how a person should vote, the fact that he and I share a category should not affect my voting rationale.

But, I am finding this to be easier said than done. There is a part of me that is prideful and proud that a man in my racial category could one day be the Leader of this great nation during my lifetime. If he wins, I believe that many like racially categorized people as well as many others would be inspired to follow their dreams and would believe that anything is achievable in this country. I truly want to believe that we all have come a long way and have made tremendous progress towards looking out for our fellow man.

Additionally, I believe that if Barack wins the perception of this Nation in the eyes of the rest of world would greatly improve. This win would demonstrate that American, for the most part, has overcome many of the problems that have plagued us since the days of "human owning human."

Thus my dilemma. Do I not vote for him because I am not completely aligned with his positions on the issues or do I vote for him because we share a category and, if elected, I believe that his election could truly inspire any person that has felt like a minority in some way, shape, or form (e.g. race, gender, religion, etc?)

Hmmm, not using categories sure is easier said than done.

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Presidential Candidates: Don't Judge A Book By Its Category

Presidential Candidates: Don't Judge A Book By Its Category
By Kevin D. Moore

Does it really matter what category or group the future president of the United States is in? Should we really care?

I say "No!" Some say, "Yes!" Some ask, "How can you possibly make such an important decision as to who to vote for without knowing what category or group a presidential candidate is in?" My response to this question is, "So what?"

Call me old fashion but my life experiences have taught me that you can't judge a book by its cover (i.e. category or group.) Just because a person belongs to a political party, religion, gender, or race doesn't mean that they automatically stand for and support the same principles that may commonly be associated with any of those categories or groups.

Sure you could take the easy way out and vote for a candidate based on a specific category but you may be shocked in the end when that candidate takes a stance that is opposite of what you thought the category stands for. Surprise!

I know for many of you, I am preaching to the choir. However, there are so many that I am not preaching to. Perhaps these individuals should consider rethinking the criteria that they use to determine who to vote for. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked who I was voting for simply based on a category.

Now to be honest, even I have thought about supporting a candidate that fits into a category or group that typically is aligned with some of my thoughts on certain issues and concerns. And I must admit that it is so much easier to vote this way. But deep down inside, I know that this method of selection is very naive. Again, the old saying that you can't judge a book by its cover comes to mind. Better yet, no matter the group or category, candidates are individuals and will make decisions the way they want. To think that a candidate makes decisions solely based on a category or group may not be the best use of brain power.

I don't know about you but I believe that the only true way to judge a person is not by their category and affiliation to a group but by what they say and do.

So, does it really matter what category or group the future president of the United States is in? Should we really care? Again, I say, "So what!" I don't care about the political party, religion, gender, or race of a presidential candidate. These aspects are nothing more than the candidate's cover. All I really care about are the principles of the candidate and what the candidate says and does (i.e. walk the walk and talk the talk.)

The decision of who to vote for to be the next president of the United States is just too important! Don't make the mistake of missing what's on the inside. Let's not judge a book by its category.

Copyright © 2008 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.