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Black Means No
4/3/2013 2:21:33 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch



  Most of us have a crazy friend or have had a crazy friend in our life that makes us laugh.  Somehow they know just the right time to call. When I say crazy, I mean crazy in a good sense.

A few weeks ago while this country was mesmerized by the election of a new Pope, my friend calls and asks was I keeping up with the election of the Pope? My response was yes. The same week one of my lifelong schoolmates died.  I was more into my friend’s death.  I would have to have had my head under a rock not to know what was going on with the Pope’s election. The election of the Pope is of such historical significance that several of my favorite TV shows were preempted.

  We live in a world of instant communication. The process of electing a new Pope has gone viral. The tradition is white smoke means a new Pope has been elected; black smoke means no new Pope. It was the second day and the only smoke the nation saw was black.  Black smoke has come to be recognized as one of the most famous traditions of electing a successor to the Pope.  So, my friend says black means no.  Is there anything good associated with the color black.  I can think of many negative connotations associated with black but is there anything positive that comes from the color black. The thought had me scratching my head. The first thought that came to mind was a “black tie” affair.  We like to dress up and look good; that’s a good thing.  Beyond the black tie affair, I thought about black music and black sports, areas of black domination.

Yesterday, while watching the news, I learned that all new cars are supposed to have a black box much like the airplanes to record details regarding accidents.  So, will this black box be a positive or negative thing and why did I have to find out about it on TV? Auto salespersons do not have any problems going over all of the fine details of what comes with the new car package.  Why wasn’t I informed of the black box when I purchased my new vehicle?  Will the box simply track accident details or information that can be used against consumers in finding victims of crimes or tracking down criminals? Consumers have a right to know what is in the vehicle they are buying. There is too much tracking information out there already and we certainly don’t need a black box following our every move.

  Another time when black means no is when your momma says so.  Y’all know black mothers did not play.  When they told you to be home before dark, you had better be there.  That’s a time when black meant no for sure. If your momma had to come looking for you, you wished you were any other color but black because black meant your momma was going to knock the wind out of you. Black mommas meant no foolishness.

  Now that the white smoke has settled and Pope Francis has been elected, looks like they made a wise choice.  I applaud the new Pope’s humility. I watched as he stood in line to pay a bill. The Pope is also very bold as he walks through slum neighborhoods.   He has washed and kissed the feet of prisoners.  Now, that’s one time Black means “NO” works just fine for this black gal.

In memory of the late Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., on the anniversary of his death, I say yes to his unselfish contributions to this nation.  I say yes to his boldness and yes to his insistence of peace in the face of unrest.



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