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These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: rants

STOP calling it Fall Festival!

jasmine banks

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This content originally appeared in "All That Jazz" a column by Jasmine Banks in the Siloam Springs Herald Leader.

 

Halloween is almost here!!! Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. Well, Halloween and Kwanzaa... but that is a discussion for another time. I love Halloween for so many reasons: fun costumes, candy, the spooky decor, whimsical pumpkins, crisp air, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. It is a wonderful time of the year. Imaginations get to run wild and creativity is unavoidable.

The other day I was driving and I passed a church sign that advertised a “Fall Festival”. The banner outside of the church emphasized fun costumes, candy and lots of carnival games. The date of the activities were suspiciously close to the day of Halloween. I lie, they weren’t suspiciously close... it WAS on Halloween. I laughed to myself, “what in the world!” I don’t understand this cultural trend. Why are Christians doing the whole bait and switch thing? Also, what is wrong with Halloween? Last time I checked it was a highly commercially driven endeavor that is made even more wickedly awesome by adorable tiny people dressed in costumes  and pilfering candy. Are we still afraid of the whole “demons/satanic” thing on Halloween? Really? Is calling it a “Fall Festival” changing anything about it?

I tried an experiment on my son. I made him a peanut butter sandwich, like I always do, handed it to him and said, “Here is your Nut Butter Sandwich.” He looked at me and replied, “Peanut Butter, right?” I said, “No! Nut Butter.” He laughed, “Mom... you are crazy. It is Peanut Butter. I can tell!” Giving something a generic tag doesn’t change what it is at its core. So I am confused.  Why the semantics? Doesn’t it just make church communities look even more separatist when they try to ignore the larger culture that is doing the same thing they are, but just renamed!  This phenomenon is right up there in the confused category of churches that don’t “believe in dancing” but do allow “rhythmic moving”. Lets add to that list people who use replacement words for explicatives. Don’t you mean the same thing and don’t those replacement words mean to express the same thing as the words they are replacing? Can someone explain this to me?

Of course when I found myself perplexed with this Halloween versus Fall Festival business I took to the internets. By internets I mean Facebook. I took a quick poll on the subject. The responses I got were varied and it was very interesting to see how people who were forced to celebrate Fall Festivals  as adults. Jordan, a commenter, responded, “ My family did that when I was a kid, because our church taught that Halloween was a pagan holiday in celebration of Satan. So I never got to trick or treat. Every year, we would dress up in "wholesome, Christ-centered" costumes, and go up to the church for an evening of carnival-type games with free candy. Personally, I wish they had let me celebrate Halloween instead.”  Another person responded about people saying Halloween is related to Satan, “Satan, my eye! Current Halloween traditions are based on Samhain (pronounced SOW-ehn) an ancient Gaelic festival, heavily influenced by Irish, Scottish, and English folk traditions.”  Yet another person, Rob Sorbo a John Brown University Alum, chimed in:”Since Halloween is really All Saints day Eve, my guess is that Fall Festivals are the evil atheist versions.” Of course Rob was kidding about the whole “ evil atheist version” line, but he makes a good point. The religious significance of why Halloween has become Halloween is missed by many churches in the United States. My most favorite reactions was this: “You can put lipstick and heels on a pig and it is still a pig!” Well said!

The reality is that Fall Festivals that do the “Halloween Thing” without calling it Halloween aren’t fooling anyone. We know you are celebrating Halloween, y’all! Also, important opportunities to teach our kids about cultural and religious traditions are being missed when we shy away from such a fantastic time of the year! Can we stop calling it Fall Festival now, please? Like my son Isaiah, who was not fooled by the “nut butter” bait and switch, we totally know y’all are celebrating Halloween too.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Did Morgan Freeman Just Piss Me Off?

jasmine banks

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I am sure y'all are worried. OF all the people I have picked a fight with you are thinking...."this woman had better NOT be bad mouthin' our beloved Morgan Freeman." It is true. I am about to open a can on Morgan Freeman. I feel a little insecure about it, because, you know, he has played the voice of God and all... but when it comes down to doing what is right you just have to do what is right.

Garrett was reading me a quote from Politico.com the other day. He exclaimed, "Jasmine! Morgan Freeman said Barack Obama isn't the first Black president." I shrugged thinking that OF COURSE Politico.com misquoted the undeniably amazing Mr. Freeman, because no asshole would say something like that out loud... or at least to be quoted. I grabbed my laptop and followed Politico's source, NPR, and as it turns out Morgan Dead-to-me Freeman DID say what was sited.

Now, let me clarify that I have put up with this bullshit my whole life. I have dealt with being called "high yellow" the girl with the "good hair" and not being "black enough." My mother is Belgian and Cherokee and my father is African American. My birth certificate says African American. I was raised as a Black woman with proud Black and African American roots-- though I've fought hard to be respected as such. I got the shake down from both sides. I was never white enough for the White people and never black enough for the Black people. I have been told that I don't sound Black, my nose doesn't look Black, and I just don't seem Black... not that I ever knew what any of those things even meant. But when Morgan Fucking Freeman decides to weigh in on the conversation and say we have NOT had our first BLACK president, but that we've only had our first MIXED RACE president, I am prone to pull the bullshit card.

Bullshit Morgan Freeman. Bullshit.

I watched African American Lives 2, Morgan. I learned, right along with the other fascinated  PBS viewers, that your slave lineage has some "mixed race" as well. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. totally outed you, man.  So do we get to call you a mixed race actor? Do you get a lower ranking in Essence Magazine because you are not "Black", but just "mixed race". More to the point, I am pretty sure Bill Clinton and all the other White presidents have "mixed race" and so technically President Obama isn't the first "mixed race president."  I am not trying to enforce the one drop rule, but I am saying  DUDE. MORGAN FREEMAN!... BARACK OBAMA is black. No one is hatin' on you or reframing your heritage because you have some Indian cheekbones in your lineage.

I think what you meant to say to NPR is that you are a racist. Like so many other people you look at other African Americans with distinct Caucasian heritage and label them as "not Black" or "not Black enough." I am pretty sure that is the very definition of racism. You are engaging in racial hierarchy and you need to knock that shit off.  You make it hard for people like me and Barack to enter into the race conversation because we automatically get disqualified. We don't carry the "Black card". It is sad, Morgan Freeman, that you moved from my "People I want to narrate my life list" to  my "Racist Assholes" list.

We BLACK PEOPLE (YES WE) have a hard enough time in society, Morgan. Can we stop with the inter-minority racism? It doesn't help anyone's cause. You were interviewed by MSNBC back in 2005 about race:

"The actor says he believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism.

"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.

Well , Morgan Freeman. It seems as though seven years time was enough time for you to decide that "beating racism" wasn't so much for you and that you'd join the likes of my racist   junior high peers who called me "Oreo."

Knock that shit off, Morgan Freeman.