The dirty little secret of Black Expo

Dateline: Sun 17 Jul 2011

More white people need to get involved.

It's no longer a dirty little secret; the truth is being exposed right here.

I went to Expo on Friday with Emma, age 10, to volunteer to register voters and work for the re-election of President Barack Obama. (Register voters and sign folks up to volunteer to work for Obama).

As Greg Morris, publisher of Indianapolis Business Journal, said in his column this week, show me a moderate Republican who is not all hooked up in crazy right-wing social issues, and I will vote for him/her.

For now, as an independent voter, the president remains my candidate of choice. I worked hard, very hard, for his election in 2008. I am happy to work for him again. This is about making amends: I voted two times for George Bush. I loved Barack Obama's spiel, his eloquence, his vision.  I was very disappointed in Bush's flagrant spending --- hello, deficit -- and I wanted to see an end to our involvement in Iraq. Hence my willingness to work for Obama. (And I am no fan of big government, but sometimes, government is the answer).

But back to Expo: Emma will be a 4th grader at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School. She is one of the children I care for, and when I was asked to volunteer at Expo, earlier in the week, and because Emma is in my care, I asked her mom if it was OK to bring Emma along with me. Her mom said yes, with enthusiam. Emma, whose father is Creole, had never been to Expo. So we went.

It was a very good and enriching experience. We worked the crowd, which was such a decent group of people. We partook of the booths, which we both enjoyed. We were each impressed. I loved the three retired schoolteachers from Fort Wayne, each of whom was happy to sign up to volunteer for Obama.

I had told a black friend, a retired IPS teacher, about out plans to go to Expo. Her immediate and to me, humbling, response: "God bless you." She was genuinely gratified that a white woman would spend time doing this.

More white people need to attend Expo. This would dissolve the myth that Expo is "only for blacks..." It is not. Colleges, universities, high schools, businesses, government agencies, IMPD, firefighters, etc. etc. etc. , were represented at Expo in the amazingly expanded Convention Center. The event is all-inclusive.

Next year, Expo should work on recruiting whites to be a presence....I would be so happy to be involved again. I think Emma would, too.

Because, it is a very fine Expo. And a celebration of black culture in this community is worth taking pride in. The fact that there was no crisis during the Saturday night celebration shows Expo has its act together. More power to Expo, and please, white people, get with it.






Wilson46201 [unverified] said:

I've been participating in Black Expo since 1972 and never noticed a paucity of Caucasians. It's always been racially diverse -- true, the majority of folk are African-American but considering the title of the event, isn't that the whole point?

Years ago I realized that Black Expo is really just an urban "county fair" without the sheep...

2011-07-17 21:10:29

ruthholl [Member] said:

Good for you, Wilson. I used to go when the Star had a booth; this year, as in the past, I saw lots of white volunteers at booths, but very few white people in attendance. That is my main point.
The usual line is "why not a white expo?" and the answer is "white people have the indiana state fair." That's somewhat amusing. I like your analogy to an urban county fair....
Mainly, it's great that the event was not marred by violence this year. I agree with someone else's analysis, that having all the events under one roof helps adults keep greater watch on youthful festivities.

2011-07-18 06:21:12

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Without the fried butter, too, Wilson. Thankfully.

The Expo folks have tried to re-brand the event. It's now "Summer Celebration." I think they're trying.

I was downtown last year during the shootout. I will not expose my family to that again soon.

Was it Expo's fault? No. Expo merely provided an excuse. Last year, we went to see a movie at dusk in Circle Centre. Dozens--and I mean that literally--of parent-driven cars stopped at the corner, dropped off under=age kids, and left. That process was repeated when the movie ended at about 10 PM.

I don't know where those parents went, and I don't care. They shirked their responsibilities. Wandering 14-17 year-olds is a prescription for trouble.

I phoned Expo last year, in August, and offered to help. Three times. Not one return call.

It's a wonderful event. If we could somehow put barriers around the Mile Square and refuse entry to any youth not accompanied by an adult, it'd be better.

And next year, let's have a Parenting Expo.

2011-07-18 07:40:16

hendy [Member] said:

People need purpose and dignity and Black Expo does a great job of helping to provide it. Those who are not black, and therefore don't want to identify with a "black" event miss out on a lot, and that's a lot of people.

It's a great networking event; it's fun, and it brings people from many states away to celebrate and enjoy.

Most of the white folk, however, are out in the burbs, staying far away. They fear black culture and black identity because they don't understand it. There ought to be a way to entice them back into the city to find out what they're missing.

And Ruth, I like how your politics are turning out. You seem to vote in the winners.

2011-07-18 14:47:00

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

The Indians, Sikhs, Italians, Hispanics and Greeks all hold festivals too. They celebrate their heritage wonderfully. Most are one- or two-day affairs.

The African Americans have seized on a great opportunity. Could, they organize better/ Sure. Do they need some outside help? Sure.

But they managed to push it to a 12-day festival that includes religion, job fairs, youth events, music, arts and's really broad.

The cynical among us could point out, that the Appalachian influence (in the worst sense) visits us every year too--complete with beer guts, fried Oreos, bad hair, screaming kids and tattoos galore. It's the State Fair.

THAT event needs more African-Americans.

Or not.

2011-07-19 06:18:28

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

I will always, always be grateful for the opportunity I had to complete my college degree at Martin University. Though it was a predominately black school, I saw and experienced very little racism, but, boy, did I learn so much more about the human race.

We all so miss out when we stay in our own little zones.

It was interesting when I was in South Africa and Botswana some years back. I remember once being in a big truck stop -- about the size of a Pilot truck stop you see on I-65 -- and I was the only white person in the place.

I wish to God our nation had never gone down the path of race-based slavery. We are a great country, but we will be forever blemished by our racism.

2011-07-19 08:18:32

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"We are a great country, but we will be forever blemished by our racism."

I couldn't agree more with that sentiment about American racism.

On the issue of attending Black Expo, I'm not able (my wife just got a call - as I am writing this - that the doctor wants to see me tomorrow because my tests came back showing possibility of fast-approaching renal failure; would appreciate the prayers from those who believe in God here).

Back to the subject while I take some deep breaths.... I always wondered if I would be intruding on something like a very large "family reunion" by going to Black Expo.

From the call my wife just got, wondering if it's ever again going to be an issue for me personally.

2011-07-19 14:40:30

indykjsharp [unverified] said:

Whitebeard, I don't know you, or know who you are, but I have come to enjoy our back and forth and fellowship on this blog. I hope and pray you make it through tomorrow and that we can meet sometime. Godspeed.

2011-07-19 20:03:39

hendy [Member] said:

Whitebeard, the very best of luck, and don't keep us in suspense. You won't intrude on the family reunion by going there next year. We all bleed red. Get better soon.

2011-07-19 20:22:53

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Godspeed Whitebeard.

Kidney prayers for you.

They're kinda like kidney beans. Without the post-meal gas.

2011-07-19 21:36:21

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Thanks so much for the very kind comments Indykjsharp, Hendy and TTT. I really appreciate your concern.

Great news today. To make a long story short, the kidney disease has not progressed as badly as was feared. Got to handle the diabetes and hypertension much better, which I WILL do.

Maybe I'll still be around for awhile to irritate some Republicans (smile).

Blessings to all, Whitebeard

2011-07-20 19:19:28

hendy [Member] said:

And the same to you.

Question: you may have seen the sites referring to "Sh*t My Dad Said".

My father used to point to his temple with his index finger, and say kidneys, as an apparent reference to a mistake made pointing to his brains.

Context: he'd say something bright, point to his head, and say "kidneys!". Does anyone know the origin of this? Must have been a radio or TV show.... or something. Other people my age cite their fathers doing this, too, and it perplexed them as it perplexes me. References? Anyone?

2011-07-20 22:08:05

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

Whitebeard, sorry to hear about your accelerating health issues. I wish you and your family a best outcome with this.

2011-07-21 06:36:52

Pasquale [unverified] said:

@hendy: According to an impeccable source (the Internet), it comes from an old joke:

A man was in a line of patients trying to get his release from a mental institution. He watched as the others went in to meet with the doctor and heard the questions the doctor asked, which were: "point to your right arm", "point to your stomach", point to your toes", point to your knee," and so on. He saw which answers were correct, and which answers were wrong.

When it was his turn, he sat down with the doctor and answered all of the questions correctly. The doctor was amazed, because he knew this patient and his problems. The doctor asked, "How were you able to answer all of those questions correctly?"

The patient pointed to his head and replied: "Kidneys, man! Kidneys!"

2011-07-21 07:53:24

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

That was good news, Mr. Hendy. The health of your kidneys will be in my thoughts when I read your comments in the future. And, God willing, it will be a long, long future.

2011-07-21 07:58:20

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

George, I wonder if you meant to address MY kidneys? But hey, nothing wrong with thoughts and prayers for Hendy's kidneys, too...and liver....and heart...and......

Ruth, I bet when you wrote this blog article you didn't imagine it would end up being about kidney disease (smile).

What it ends up being for me is a reminder that there are many, many very nice and kind people who post here. And, though we may not always agree on everything, we wish the best for one another and pull for one another.

I would mention that African/Americans are more prone to kidney disease and hypertension than Caucasians and that if anyone reading this is African/American please have regular physical exams with your doctor.

Its' great that the Black Expo has a major health screening event every year.

I remember writing an article about colon screening and several months later got a letter in the mail that a man read my article, did the test, and cancer was discovered. However, since it was discovered at such an early stage, full recovery was expected. The letter gave my article credit for potentially saving this man's life.

I'm sure other folks here who write/wrote for newspapers/magazines, etc., can also relate those kinds of stories - when all of the bad stuff involved in being a professional writer seemed insignificant in that moment.

2011-07-21 15:06:13

hendy [Member] said:

I'll take anything I can get ;)

And Whitebeard, your karma is good: anytime we can prolong the desired life of others, it's a good thing.

2011-07-21 19:38:14

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

Hendy and Whitebeard: Here's to both of your pthy kidneys.

2011-07-22 08:18:55

Jason [unverified] said:

Late to the game here, just wanted to pass along some more best wishes Whitebeard!

2011-07-22 18:44:35

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