Tag Archives: heritage

Her Persian Voice

Heard the sharpest retort to one of the vilest insults recently. Of greater interest, though, was the woman who launched it.

Nasrin identified herself as “Persian.” Yeah. She’s Persian, all right. As Persian as I’m African. She’s a 20-something Cali girl through and through.

What gained my favor was her having enough pride in self to supplant Persian for Iranian. The former carries nobility stretching back into antiquity.

A Persian background is replete with culture and atavistic figures. Xerxes? Cyrus? Esther? Their respective histories are as current today as their living importance in the past.

Iranians, their inheritors, are poor cousins. Compared against their classic progenitors, they lack stature. Who esteems them? Continue reading Her Persian Voice

Let’s Cut the Rebop

Must the sensibilities of the fragile transform American English into an insipid language?

Our plummet through political correctness threatens rendering how we speak into mamby-pamby.

Several weeks ago, a very conscientious article ran decrying colloquialisms whose origins the author deemed racially-charged. Why, yes. Some were. What of them?

If the writing behind the subject had been any more earnest, the page would’ve wept. Since publication date sat so close to April 1st, I made sure the piece wasn’t a seasonal gag, a la some Borowitz satire.

Were that it was. Such would’ve elevated the article into clever entertainment rather than leave it low at honest persuasion. But since it was so doggone sincere, the views expressed so achingly put, that made this righteous tripe ripe for scorn. Continue reading Let’s Cut the Rebop

Who Was Oisk?

A vintage sportswear retailer issued a baseball catalogue a short time ago. Its cover featured a forlorn boy amid the ruins of what had been the quirky splendor of Ebbets Field, one-time home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They had abandoned the ballpark and borough for Los Angeles. Their old address was being razed for low-income housing.

The dejected boy toted a bat and glove. By his demeanor both destruction and departure confused him. Doubtlessly he had been a true-blue Dodgers fan.

Can’t imagine such devotion today. Sports franchises routinely extort municipalities for taxpayer funded improvements and fresh facilities. Free agency has broken once solid binds between players and fans.

Even our old baseball cathedrals are no longer sacrosanct.

There should’ve been an outcry and defense for old Yankee Stadium similar to that which spared Grand Central Terminal sharing the fate of McKim and White’s Penn Station. Instead, wrecking balls demolished the House That Ruth Built. And while the team simply moved across 161st Street, the old edifice’s aura remained put. Monumental as the new structure is, the Yankees’ glorious continuity is broken.

Ghosts do not travel. Not even in the Bronx. Continue reading Who Was Oisk?

Edna Long Left Questions

Vernon waited too late. A cousin, he now wants to assemble our family tree. A branch of it at least. One comprising our mutual matriarchal entities. The moment to have done this was decades ago when enough generations still stretched among us to weave that narrative together.

My grandmother Alice, his aunt, was born in 1908. Hers would’ve been a fine memory to excavate. She could’ve provided his enterprise’s bones. After all she was old enough to have known ex-slaves.

Ex-slaves. Talk about history coming to life. It’s one thing to watch Skip Gates’ Finding Your Roots or Ken Burns’ Civil War documentary. It surely would’ve been more immediate to have such recollections lent voice from a listener who heard them directly from people who underwent those indignities.

It’s no stretch to any imagination in Alice seeing her own grandparents as having once been chattel.

What prompted Vernon’s late, nearly futile search? Edna Long. Edna Long piqued him. Continue reading Edna Long Left Questions