Black power
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Black power (January 17, 2005)
Yesterday in San Francisco, CA.

It was the first no-rain weekend for quite a long time. I decided to go to San Francisco to catch the "The Sleep of Reason" exhibit in the Asian Art Museum. I made a six-album playlist on my iPod and drove myself to the BART station.

Nice exhibits in the museum. I spent a few hours inside wondering around, had some lunch, and took some photos. By the way, the Asian Art Museum is a photographer-friendly place -- you can take non-flash photographs in all areas except the first floor's main exhibit room. It was still early when I came outside. I then decided to take a walk along the Market Street to enjoy the nice sunny day.

Some people were playing chess on the sidewalk near Union Square. I thought that could be some photo opportunities. I got close and started shooting. Suddenly, a black homeless guy in a wheel chair got in front of me. He stared at me and shouted something like "You take my picture, you take my soul." His voice sounded harsher than Louis Armstrong's singing that was playing on my iPod.

I realized he was protesting. I pulled out my earbuds and replied, "I didn't take any pictures of you, Sir." He then mumbled something back and kept complaining. I could have just turned around and walked away, but instead, I made him an offer.

"What if I gave you a dollor, can I take some pictures of you?" I then expected more complaints and objection.

"Two dollors," he bargained.

"No, one dollor," I bargained back being a little surprised.

He mumbled something again seemingly still complaining, then suddenly he raised his right arm hoding his fist in the air. Black power. I was a little stunt at first but quickly realized he had accepte my offer and was posing for me. I took a couple of shots of him holding his fist in the air. I then took another couple. I didn't go on. I found myself looking into his eyes in my camera's view-finder, and these eyes were full of anger and sadness, which I could tell it wasn't because of me. I just couldn't go on.

I pulled out my wallet and handed him two dollors.

We both said thank you, and I turned around and walked away.

When I put my iPod's earbuds back into my ears. Louis Armstrong's jazz was replaced by U-2's new album "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb". The lyrics sounded especially piercing:

"I want to trip inside your head,
Spend the day there,
To hear the things you haven't said,
And see what you might see." -- "Miracle Drug" by U-2

Today, people in the United States are celebrating Martin Luther King's Day.