WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rules of Engagement

I love all things Wiz related. The actual musical. The movie even with all its highs – the Emerald City scene, and lows – the whole NYC Subway theme and Diana Ross’s old ass playing Dorothy. But one of my favorite parts of the Wiz (the movie – cause this part is not in the musical) is when Michael Jackson (R.I.P.) sangs, You Can’t Win. And I love this line: You can’t win. You can’t break even. And you can’t get outta the game. This pretty much sums up how I would describe being a Black person in America. In the past. Right now in the double 0 9. And dare I say in the future.

So I didn’t want to comment on Gatesgate because as Bellini emailed us article after article, I told her, “don’t send me nary another article on this mess. Cause right now whilst I type this at work, that nygga is chilling at Martha’s Vineyard on some ‘don’t cry for me Argentina.’” But then the chaos continued. And Obama made that “the Cambridge police acted stupidly,” comment and people jumped all on him, demanded an apology. I was like “dang son. These white people ain’t messing around.” And Obama looked like he wanted to say, “muhfcuka, I ain’t apologizing for shyt.” And so he went the Sotomayor route with his “I regret I made those statements.” And then he, Gates and Officer Charlie Crowley had a beer together at the White House. A Kodak moment. A teachable moment. A Rum Punch rolls her eyes moment.

Look, I get it. Racism and its sister discrimination and its play cousin stereotyping are wrong. They are mean and vicious. They have no place in America. And yet they’re everywhere you turn. With its overtness. Its subtlety. Its borderliness. You know when you have to check with other people, like, "I think that was kinda racist..." And then break down the scenario.

It’s the white man who voted for Obama, but will still deny your ass a loan just because. It’s the white people who have Black friends, but will be quick to send out an email through the neighborhood list serv that they saw some suspicious minorities roaming the neighborhood. It’s the white man who assumes you went to Temple because that’s where all the Black people go. Some of us fight it. Lots. Some of us try to deny its existence. But here’s what I Rum Punch have chosen to do: accept it. Give it a big ol' hug. Say come on in racism, put your feet up, are you hungry, did you eat yet, make yourself comfortable, while I go to work and then live my life.

Cause if you let them, these white folks will drive you insane. Like completely and utterly insane. You know why? Cause they will do something seemingly post racial like vote for a Black man to be Mayor or Governor or President. And then do something totally stupid like send an email to the entire Boston police force calling Gates a jungle monkey. And it can damn near raise your blood pressure. Because it’s a continual slap in the face that this isn’t our world. At all. And so here's what I propose: let's just live our lives like it’s golden.

Cause unless we are all about to get on the same page, become a revolutionary block and be on some Aaron Macruder Birth of a Nation type stuff, demand our 40 acres and start our own country – then we should just live. Work yo' job. Raise your family. Take your vacations. Go to church. Laugh with your friends. Attend shows and plays. Keep it 400 degrees from time to time, work your neck, wag your finger and school a white person on how Black folk really is, just for shyts and giggles. And then be about the change.

Change your block. Your neighborhood. Your little corner of the world. Find a cause. Help youngins' get out of gangs. Work to stop teen pregnancy. Teach our people about financial literacy. Pool your resources and open a community center. Or a beauty store just to give the Koreans some competition. Teach a child how to read – cause our babies can’t read! And just think how good you'll feel as you take your last breath, you can say, “all is well in my soul” and know you had a positive impact on someone else’s life.

This does not mean that we should act like racism, discrimination, etc., don’t exist. And this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to dismantle it on the larger scale levels like in education, the workplace, health care, politics - by demanding laws and policy that include all members of society. But this does mean maybe we have to reframe our thinking and start asking the question, “what if things on the everyday level don’t change. Then what?”

Look. Do y’all know that W.E.B. DuBois, prominent race man of the 20th century, a founding father of the NAACP, former President of Atlanta University (who still had to take shyt from Spelman College’s white woman President), author of Souls of Black Folk, the epitome of a man who demanded in every which way he possibly could that America treat Black folks as equals in all aspects of life, self exiled himself to Africa?!

This man, towards the end of his life, after all he had done, probably took a good, hard look at America and said, "y’all muhfcukas is crazy. I’m out! I’m going somewhere where I can die in peace." And that’s exactly what he did. So me thinks us regular folk, dealing with day to day madness of this world, who don’t have time to pontificate, research race relations, write essays, stop our lives to hold hands and sing, or be invited to share beers, don’t stand a chance. Like at all. We can’t win. We can’t break even. But we can’t get outta the game. So mayhap we should change how we play.

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

You can't win - Michael Jackson - The wiz
Uploaded by xBillieJean - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

i'm not a racist but...

i walked into court this morning to accept a new case assignment. this week has been that kinda week. i'm feeling overworked and unmotivated. tired and frustrated. like i am the worst lawyer in america.

i walk up to the defense table and ask my colleague, "have they called kenneth scott?"

and he points over to the sherriff's table.

kenneth scott = dirty lookin' white guy.

damn damn damn james.

i introduce myself to mr. scott and we walk outside to talk about his case.

and so the story of my life begins. new clients, cases, rinse, repeat. but after i watched him walk away i wondered, why do i always have that reaction with my white clients. as it happens the white ones are few and far between. but for some reason they just irk my nerves a lil bit more. like the one client i have who writes me a letter once a week from jail, telling me all the things i'm not doing on his case. and if i can send him all his documents cause he's gonna get himself a paid attorney.

as my officemate says, "don't threaten me with a good time."

on that same day i got the latest letter from mr. disgruntled white client, i also got one from mr. less than enthused black client. who questioned whether i or my investigators were doing anything on his case. that shit made me angry too. i'm working with 200 cases here. doing my best.

but as much as the black client blew me (my investigators have actually been working really hard on his case) my pissiedoffedness at him does not match the ire that i sometimes feel with my white clients. for some reason i think they need to have some white attorney and not me. that my skills and talents and time should be reserved for my people. black people. i know it's not fair. all God's children are precious in his sight but...

this is what i feel, sometimes, what i wonder, sometimes, in my mind.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

letters, e-mail, text...

letters, e-mail, and text…
what is being communicated other than what is obviously stated?

A few weeks ago, I had an encounter at work. There was a meeting scheduled between 2 divisions. I am member of Division A, Division B is at a different locale. I received e-mail exchanges from Division B hinting that the scheduled meeting was at an inopportune time. And finally at the 25th hour, a manager from Division B requests a meeting cancellation. So, initially I replied one monkey doesn’t stop a show – ok I kid, I didn't use that specific language, but that was my attitude about said situation.

When I got a response e-mail informing me of Division B travel status majority of the team was off-site – and therefore the Division sought to reschedule the meeting. I began to draft a response stating you all were aware of this shyt prior to confirming the scheduled meeting. And then, like an angel in the night, my boss replies to all parties and curtly and courteously appreciates being informed of the meeting cancellation prior to me responding.

I wonder did my boss know I was in the thick of my thoughts. That my reply e-mail would have blown some steam? I think I recall my blood pressure going up, like I was gonna give it to Division B. And then with the serendipitous intervention of my boss, I breathed and asked myself “why are you so livid, Bellini” and you need to find a undercover way to thank your boss be’cuz the professional maturity you usually display was going to be undermined by some juvenile banter.

And so I keep wondering to this day, what vibes or lack of did my boss pick up on? How did he know it was the right time to intervene? You guys don’t get it, he really diffused a situation, a situation that never witnessed any verbal exchange. So how did he know via reading e-mails, that something was potentially brewing under surface? And did Division B, deem Bellini as hostile?

Even in texting situations w/ the 5 spot, I’ve been told to simmer down. Huh? What signals are the gang gettin' from computerized wavelengths. And now that I've been given a blackberry for work, I'm too intimidated to reply instanteously. Oh, the digital age and its gadgets. Bellini can't keep up.



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When You Assume....

Yesterday I was telling Courvoisier about an incident that happened to me while I was engaged in the wonderful world of working. A white coworker and I were chatting and during a rare occasion that I felt like giving a glimpse into Amaretto's world, I told this coworker that I attended college in Philadelphia. So then this coworker says: "Oh, so you went to Temple?"

So this is where I had a moment. Maybe it was my overly sensitive crazy chick (CeCe) raising up- but of all the schools in the Philadelphia area I wondered why oh why this coworker had assumed that I had attended the predominately Black one?

So I told him, that I in fact had attended Drexel University at which point he gave me a shocked face and said "Oh, yeah that's a good school." Thanks for your stamp of approval Mister white man. But even if it wasn't an accredited university, why did you have to assume?

I mean this is the racism that I am talking about. I have never had a cross burned in my yard, or told I couldn't use the bathroom at a certain facility. But on a daily basis I have to combat preconceived notions about Black women. And I'm sure other people/genders/races/nationalities find themselves doing the same...but since this my post and it's all about me Tuesday, I can exclaim that I am sick of this shyt!

Courvoisier felt that it wasn't a moment of racism until he had a shock face because what if Temple was the only the only school he knew of in the Philadelphia area-afterall it is well known. But I begged to differ. Because if I were a young white woman he wouldn't have said Temple. Or if I was having the same sort of conversation with any person (white, black, purple or green), in my mind I might assume they had attended Grape University (because all the purple people go to this place), but I would have asked them "So where did you go Mister Purple person?" and then given myself an internal hi-five if I had assumed correctly.

Because we as people can't help what we think in our minds, even if we live in a politically correct world our parents, media and personal experiences with folks have shaped how we view and label people. But unlike in 1959, in 2009 I think folks would have the decency to at least ask me question, before assuming that they know me...I think that's the least people can do!

See You In Seven

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sweet Dream or Beautiful Nightmare

Yet to decide...

Much luv until next week... peace :)