Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for Justice

Maya Angelou – I know why the caged bird sings

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied, so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.
(Written by Maya Angelou)

This poem was inspired by Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s poem entitled, Sympathy.   In Maya’s autobiography, I know why the Caged Bird Sings, she writes about sexual abuse she suffered as a girl and about prejudices of society.  Maya, who we know to be so rich in speach and intellect, actually stopped speaking for years following the abuse.  Through the miracle of God and his hands (other people) Maya was able to move out of her shell and become the outspoken, free as a bird Maya we now know and love.  We as humans need to ensure that we help those who are abused and are in a shell.  We should not sit by idly and watch others whom we know suffer.  We should offer gentle encouragement and our love, if nothing more.  In the case of children, we should take steps to protect the children at all costs.  I personally know why the caged bird sings and what it feels; I truly appreciate the love and support that was shown to me to help me regain my freedom years ago, while living as a battered spouse.

I often wonder why humans have such a need to control and hurt other humans, especially children.  I know of no other species that feels the need of such control.  I have found through my experiences that those who desire to control, have very low self images of themselves.  They feel that being in control of others gives them power; or being in control simply makes them feel good about themselves.  They are often so afraid of losing that which they control so tightly, that the end result is abuse.  Victims of spouse abuse often feel sorry for those who hurt them, and therefore stay in unloving relationships out of duty, obligation or sympathy.   Adult victims feel they can handle the abuse, and truly believe the abuser will change.  Abusers can change, but the change must come from them, not the victim.  If this message applies to you, my advice to you is to run away as far as you can, and do not look back.  Do not go back unless you are 100 percent sure that the person has truly changed–this seldom ever happens. (you’ll know in your heart).   Once you leave, get some type of counseling, because so often there is somethng about victims that attract abusive people.  Don’t make excuses for an abuser.  An abuser gains control by manipulating others to feel sympathy for him or her.   

I feel that although people may have bad days, bad years, or even bad childhoods, it gives them no excuse for abusing others (mentally, emotionally, or physically).    I believe that freedom is everyone’s God given right.  It’s so sad that so many people still live in in physical bondage each day; and far more remain in mental bondage. 

I pray today that all who read this and those who don’t–and especially those who can’t– will open there mind’s up to freedom, and not let anything or anyone take away their dreams and aspirations.  I pray that these people will overcome all fears and start living the life God intended for us all.  ~Amen

 Peace, Love and Light to all, CordieB.

Perhaps Taylor’s death will help us rise above statistics

 Mr. Williams article touched me so much, that I had to repost it here on my blog. 



If raw statistical data is the mortar that seals our fate, you can only wish Sean Taylor had been just a tad older.

Taylor, 24, the Washington Redskins safety, was slain four months short of graduating from America’s most vulnerable demographic group.

According to 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics, the homicide rate for black males between the ages of 18 and 24 was more than double that of black males age 25 and older. Homicide rates for black people overall were six times higher than the rates for whites.

Whatever state of affairs has formed these statistical icebergs makes life risky to navigate for young black men, even if they’re affluent, famous or the son of a police chief, like Taylor.

“I was just heartstruck to learn [yes terday] that he had died,” said the Rev. Canon Alonzo C. Pruitt, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and chaplain of the Richmond City Jail. “It’s another tragic part of the price we pay for this war of black men on black men. It’s one of the terrible vestiges of racism — that having been hated for so long, we have learned to hate ourselves.”

Forgive Pruitt’s assumption, or mine. But nearly 95 percent of black victims are killed by blacks. Taylor appears to be a link in a tragic, blood-stained chain that is systematically sending black men to the prison or the grave.

Taylor came out of a University of Miami football program feared and revered for its jacked-up attitude and outlaw trappings. That attitude seemed to follow Taylor into pro football, where he had several legal scrapes — one involving his brandishing of a handgun. But more recent accounts suggested that fatherhood had matured him.

Unfortunately, the so-called thug life has become as ingrained in the football culture as yard markers. Perhaps for some of these young men, it’s a misguided form of empowerment.

Whereas so-called gangster rappers tried to convince us that they were real-life Scarfaces outside the recording studio, athletes have been turning up in police reports as alleged perps or as victims. Eleven months ago, Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in Denver.

These are the folks our young people look up to. If they represent hope in life, their deaths cut a wider swath of despair. But this, like all tragedies, comes with lessons.

Or as Pruitt said: “More people will notice it because of his celebrity. But hopefully, they will notice that wealth is not going to save you.”

What will save us?

“We need to each one of us commit some time each day to loving as many people as we can, especially angry, powerless people,” he said.

“Leadership doesn’t belong to a particular individual,” Pruitt said. “It has to be a communal experience. It’s not like we can go pull the wizard from behind the curtain to make it better. We all have to make it better.”

We’re a celebrity-obsessed society. The loss of a distant celebrity should carry less sting than the deaths in our own communities. But perhaps Taylor’s death will galvanize us against this ethos of violence.

Who knows? Maybe athletes will take a leadership role in steering young black men from the streets. And maybe, someday, “18 to 24” will represent a beginning and not an end.
Contact Michael Paul Williams at (804) 649-6815 or mwilliams@timesdispatch.com.