April 21, 2009

Village Interview: Abdul Kargbo (T'ings 'n Times)

This is a continuation of our Village Interview series. Today, we are pleased to invite you for a seat under our baobob tree to read interview with Abdul Kargbo, an active blogger in the afrosphere. His blog is known as T'ings 'n Times. Bro. Kargbo is part Russian and part Sierra Leonean, part Muslim and part Jewish. He lives in the Washington DC area. He expresses his ecletic viewpoint with photos and radio commentary. However, I encourage you to visit his blog to best enjoy his humor and intelligent analysis of current events. I think you will enjoy this blogger interview!

Q1. What were you like when you were younger?

Depends on how you define younger. As a child I was cerebral, anxious, and a bibliophile. As an adolescent I was somewhat introverted, still anxious, uncomfortable in most social settings, and I read much less than I did as a child. In my 20s I went through a rebellious phase (I rebelled against systems and philosophies of authority, not against individual people and not in my behavior). I became more extroverted but still felt uncomfortable in social situations. I also drank a lot, which probably helped make me extroverted. Today I'm more comfortable in social situations, still enjoy the odd drink, and am reading again, though not as frequently or consistently as I'd like.
Q2. Name a famous historical figure, living or deceased, you would like to meet and tell us why.

I would like to have met an African who had been ripped away from their homeland and forced into bonded servitude anywhere in the New World. I would like to have heard first-hand about the consequences of enslavement on the mind, body, and spirit of the African. I would have liked to know how s/he coped with the daily abuse and humiliation, how they felt about the people who controlled every aspect of their lives, and the hope, dreams, and aspirations they had had for themselves and their descendants before they were enslaved and what became of those plans after they found themselves in bondage.
Q3. Name a person in your community who is relatively unknown to the rest of the world, who you believe is significant in some way, and that you would like the rest of the world to know more about.

There's a guy who's been running an English-language school in my neighborhood for about 20 or so years now. Who knows how many immigrants have passed through this school, and how can you measure the impact this school has had on people's lives.

Q4. What are two items in your 'bucket list' ... things you want to do or accomplish before you kick the bucket?

Visit or live in India. Write a memoir.
Q5. Describe your first experience on the Internet?

I remember using computers before there was Windows. Windows were introduced at my college in my freshman year. One day we went from the black screen with the orange text and the cursor that was a blinking underscore. The next day, we had windows, with icons, spinning hourglasses, and arrow-shaped pointers. I used the internet a lot for usenet groups, which had all sorts of information.
Q6. Tell us about your current blogging career and how you got into it.

A friend of mine suggested I create a blog, because I was always ranting and raving about politics, social commentary, etc., basically stuff that bothered the hell out of me. I would also forward newspaper articles with my two cents attached, or respond to articles other people sent out with a running commentary. The blog was great for me: I was a natural. I wrote about everything: politics, race, social criticism, responses to current events, whatever. It was cathartic too, to get all that stuff out of my head.
Q7. Who are the two bloggers you read the most and why? Include their links and tell us why we should subscribe to their feeds.

Despite being a blog writer, I'm not a dedicated blog reader. I guess I'm just not big on commitment. I read news and opinion articles online and the odd blog, but I'm not a dedicated reader of any one site. One of my favorite sites, however, is Unique Muslimah, written by a young Muslim woman. She's a great writer, very insightful, spiritual, and soulful. Her posts are intimate yet pure. As a modern, Westernized male, I find her perspective enlightening and her writing uplifting. Another favorite blog is Racialicious, a blog collective run by an Asian woman. Racialilcious, as the name implies, examines at contemporary race relations, including the way race and racialized images are portrayed in the dominant culture.
Q8. Where are you taking your blog over the next 2-3 years?

I'm in a bit of flux right now as I'm finding my interests going in different directions. I'm torn between keeping my blog general or "specializing" in something like race/racism or religion. But my interests are too broad and I do enjoy voicing my thoughts on a variety of topics. In the end, I'll probably stay general. Most importantly, I'll be happy simply to continue writing. I'm afraid that I'm burning out...
Q9. What is your 'killer post' over the past year ... the post you are most proud of?

Man, this is like asking a parent which of his kids he loves the most. As I said already, I've written on a lot of topics so some posts are great in the context of what they cover, but other posts might be better because of how they're written. I have to confess that I often return to reread some of my older posts. I also have to confess that I think I've gotten better as a writer so I like most my more recent posts more than some of my previous ones. So I'm going to have to pass on that one ... I'm proud of all my posts.
Q10. What is your 'biggest noise post' over the past year ... the one that you took the most heat over from your readers?

Every post I've ever written on race/racism and hate crimes draws a lot of heat, mostly from overt racists and other ignorant people. I wrote a series of posts in response to Dr. Watson's thinly veiled reference to Black/African people's intelligence deficiency, and that brought a LOT of bigots out of the woodworks. The same thing happened in response to a series of posts I wrote in response to the beating death of Luis Ramirez, a Mexican migrant in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. But by far the most controversial post that had NOTHING to do with race or hate crimes was one I wrote about foodies.

For some reason, this one really rubbed people the wrong way. I basically argued that people who can afford to treat food and eating as a hobby—i.e., foodies—are over-privileged and out of touch with the reality that most of the world's population does not have the luxury of choosing when, let alone what, they will eat. It seemed people were upset that I would refer to foodies—who self-identify as such—as an affluent clique. After all, most of my detractors argued, foodies are simply people who enjoy food. All types of food. To which I say, everyone enjoys food. Some people just don't have the luxury to make a hobby out of it.

The lesson I learned is that affluent, over-privileged people don't like to be accused of being affluent, over-privileged, and out of touch.

I hope that this interview points more keyboards towards Abdul Kargbo, a remarkable blogging talent! Don't let this brother burn out...


blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!

This a great interview!

Hmmmm...perhaps I should add Abdul to my list of male correspondents that are invited to add commentary at my think tank!

{raised black fist}

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Villager said...

Lisa - Are you ready to be interviewed?

Monica Roberts said...

Nice interview, Villager.

Always great to discover new bloggers to read.

Anali said...

Very interesting interview! It definitely didn't go where I thought, and as a "foodie" myself, I found it quite interesting. However, he must not actually "know" many foodies to make such a sweeping statement. I'm not sure if he's aware of all the charitable causes,especially around hunger, that the food community takes part in.

Villager said...

Anali - I must admit that I've never heard the term "foodie" until this interview. Hopefully, Bro. Kargbo will respond to your comment directly...

Monica - Are you ready to take one of my blogger interviews?

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for the chance to do this interview. I really appreciate it.

I'm happy to see that I did not come off as a complete lunatic, though perhaps Anali would disagree. ;-)

I'm sooo tempted to respond on the foodie thing but I won't. I think I've beaten that dead horse already. :-)

But seriously, thanks again for the promo! I hope to return the favor someday in some way.

Keep up the great work.


Shawn Williams said...

Abdul will be a guest on my Blog Talk Radio Show this Thursday night. I'm looking forward to it.

Villager said...

Shawn - Can you provide the URL so that our villagers can listen to your show with Abdul?