An e-mail chain currently making the rounds asks the question: "What do you love about America?" There are some terrific answers. Among my favorites are: The Grambling State University Marching Band, Times Square, overpriced coffee, 7th Avenue Park Slope, Thelonius Monk, Johnny Cash, Sandra Bullock and — of course — The Cosby Show.
To this growing list I would add: Western films, cheeseburgers, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, Count Basie. . .
It was one of those days. The children were getting on my nerves and I was in the doghouse with my wife. Nothing seemed to be going my way. I was staring at a stack of bills on the desk and yet hadn't heard from my agent in what seemed like months.
In a panel discussion at the Summer Television Critics Association tour this past summer, Aaron McGruder, creator of the popular comic strip, Boondocks, defiantly told the audience that he'll use the N-word as much as he pleases in episodes of the series on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. If folks don't like it, then they'll just have to get over it. After all, everyone uses it.
Last week a young man whom I met in a church in Florida several years ago came to mind. He had his own small business and he had joined the reserves to earn extra cash to support his family as his business grew. He had just been called up for active duty when I talked with him. He was prepared to fulfill his obligations, but he knew that his fledgling business could not survive his long period of absence, and his family would be forced to survive on his military earnings and those of his wife.
I was sitting at my computer when a friend emailed the news that Rosa Parks had passed. When I reacted, my 10-year-old son Malik asked if something was wrong.
After explaining the reason for my reaction, he asked: "You mean the lady who wouldn't give up her seat?" At his young age, he may have captured the life of Rosa Parks with an uncomplicated rhetorical question.