Sunday, December 27, 2009

Black Jack and Ujima

Somehow we moved from Franz Fanon and Edward Said and self-determination last night to Blackjack.

I'm still trying to figure out how that happened, but I think my mistake was in retelling Tracy Kidder's story of Deogratias the Burundian medical student.

As soon as I said Deogratias, "Deo" for short, my two offspring sang in unison "Day-O" and then ran to the laptop to pull up Harry Belafonte on Rhapsody. They suggested that we honor self-determination through African and African-American music, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

So we ran through Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald (we listened to a Christmas gift - the recent release "Twelve Nights in Hollywood" really is a gem). And that was as good as it got - Most Favorite Son put on Screamin' Jay Hawkins "singing" Old Man River, which was decidedly not my idea of self-determination, though it led to a spirited discussion of what constitutes self-determination and self-expression. I asked for Paul Robeson to cleanse my ears, but lost that battle.

We moved into 70s soul tunes, which promptly scattered the younger generation. So I lured them back with the promise of playing a game. Pictionary was nixed by one (too artsy), and Yahtzee by the other (too juvenile).

Most Favorite Son suggested Black Jack - Army rules with "soft 21". Sleeping Beauty had to be coaxed to come to the table and learn to play a new game. Once she learned the rules, she cleaned us all out.

We figure she's now learned a great skill for college.

And so it goes: Kwanzaa in Barelas.

We got a jump start on tomorrow's Kwanzaa principle of Ujima - collective work and responsibility. We collectively took part in making dinner, cleaning up, getting post-dinner refreshments and putting together entertainment - from music to games. I'll be putting on my thinking cap early in the morning for a Duke City Fix post on Ujima.

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