Standing Up for Black Women

bernasvibe:

I simply can’t not re-post this piece..Beautifully written & expressed! Re-blogged from the Tall, Black, One Sugar blog site

Originally posted on Tall. Black. One Sugar:

There is a tendency when an article is written about injustices against a specific demographic be it race, gender, ability or orientation that some people want to jump in and talk about ALL. All races. All women. All abilities. If that is your intention, then this article is not for you. Try this one instead.

This article is primarily aimed at my simple voice for standing up for black women of the Diaspora primarily living in the UK and USA, who have come in for a lot of unnecessary negativity.

To My Black Brothers
My first shot from the bow is going to be aimed at my black brothers within the Diaspora. I think it is important to sort out our own house first before taking any broadsides at the wider community.

For many years black women have been pillars in our community. When we as black men have…

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^Pondering Emotion

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Ponder this…

**Do we think a certain way because of the emotions we feel, or do we feel emotions because of how we think? **

Sigmund Freud believed that mental illness came from ‘repressed emotions’ in the unconscious mind. He believed that release & acceptance of these denied or repressed emotions & memories were VITAL for mental health. If this emotional energy wasn’t released , Freud noted it led to physiological symptoms and illnesses…>> Memorized this many moons ago when I studied psychology..For some reason or other , this Freudian tidbit came to mind while reflecting on why my emotions free-fell to anger after watching a video clip last night..

A friend sent me a video clip last night..My first reaction to it was anger..Not seething; but full of passion! And immediate..So much so that I didn’t finish watching the clip until much later..Curiosity forced me to finally watch it. At the time I didn’t realize why it made me feel angry..I’ve not “personally” experienced the sentiment expressed in the video clip..Yet , I took it personally. It was hard to watch and swallow..As a Black woman it hurts to feel judged & stereotyped(as a group) by everyone–especially those that we’ve stood by ALL of our lives. Black men. I later realized my feelings of anger directly translated to ; my realization of the myriad of reasons the gap is getting larger @The disconnect between Black men & women. As a single Black divorcee that makes me “feeeeeel” sad, disappointed, abandoned, a sense of betrayal and yep, angry…Briefly! We’re all freeee to do who! or whatever we choose to do..But dang, dangit & dayuum why heave us under the bus! The description @Angry Black Woman has never been applied to me as an individual; but it doesn’t mean I can’t/don’t/and won’t express and feel anger from time to time..We live in a culture that views expressing anger as taboo. My personal belief? Holding it in & denying it isn’t good for our spirit..I’m hopeful to write more on that & this topic at a later date… So anyways, that led me to ponder/reflect/wonder why we feel the emotions we do..Just wanted to give a little backstory on the prompt of the thoughts that inspired this piece ..Again I pose the question@ ** Do we think a certain way because of the emotions we feel, or do we feel emotions because of how we think?**

I’m sharing the actual clip in the spirit of seeking insight..Curious what , if any, emotions are evoked when y’all take a peek. From any perspective..As a woman. As a man. Of any race..In my experience emotion transcends all..Especially the greatest which , of course, is love! But I digress and badly.. If you feel the need to share then just know this is an emotion-friendly zone! Let it flow…



Special thanks to my friend for , again, broadening my scope of knowledge

*Watercooler Chat* Whose Your Sounding Board?

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Who are the people you can rely on for counsel or motivation? Who gives you feedback that you can put to good use? Who helps you resist the temptation to shy away from deep personal reflection and/or positive change? These are the some of the purposes that those who serve as my sounding board fulfill..My life wouldn’t be the same without them! Whether self-appointed or just fell into the role; I appreciate them to the fullest..Again and again thanks y’all for always answering my calls..

Most of us need people to give us support, advice, and motivation from time to time..Someone we can run things by or just to vent & release…Whether one’s sounding board simply just listens or offers advice/insight; they get YOU. I’m of the belief that this process has helped me to grow , in ways I wasn’t even aware I needed to change or improve..In addition knowing I’ve got folks I can confide in is highly comforting..In a world as complex as the one we live in that is a priceless!-stress relieving fix..Have you ever felt the need to release to someone who genuinely cares/appreciates you? If so ever thought about if you didn’t have them in your life? Do you have anyone you can call to say I just needed to hear the sound of your voice ? It can be almost as comforting as sitting by the waters edge..Even if you don’t feel like sharing here why not give them a call/text/email/or smoke signal to say thank you & I appreciate YOU. Alright y’all all input is welcome ..Never know whose day you might make from simply sharing your experiences. Lets rap!

It’s Complicated

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bernasvibe:

>>This piece was originally posted on ‘ The Uppidity Negro’ the personal blog of ICUs Joshua Lazard>>>

Originally posted on The Uppity Negro:

dvwhenlovehurtspix131122

Domestic violence, inherently, creates complexities on both sides of the gender aisle.  We, as a society, have to admit that in order to have an open and honest conversation.  This would be a conversation that appropriately lets emotions be felt and listen to opinions that may seem like something directly from a male chauvinist playbook be dealt with directly.  The first open and honest paradigm that should govern these types of conversations is that the victim should not be further victimized.  There is nothing ever that the victim caused to be a victim of domestic abuse.  There is no word or action that has the power of causation for them to be hit or struck in any shape, form or fashion.

I’ve sat back, silently (and perhaps that is a fault of my own I hope to explore later in this piece), and watched some of my black brothers bring out…

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>>GAME Changer..America’s Teachable Moment@Ray Rice

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..MAJOR SOCIETAL FAILURE** >>When a woman is figuratively RAPED in front of the entire world over & over & over again as she’s victimized repeatedly ..The point has been made clear by the NFL @WE don’t believe women. WE think they are wrong & we’ve got to be convinced they’re right… So, here is my breakdown of how many times Janay Palmer was victimized since Ray Rice PUNCHED her in the face this past February & knocked her out cold! >>

First a FACT that the NFL might want to take note of(Or more so) ..Especially with the “indefinite suspension” for Ray Rice. In my humble opinion? He should be banned for life from playing professional football. I’ll get back to that later..Over 45% of football fans are women. Go figure..A traditionally male-oriented , very often female-exclusionary sport has a fan base of almost half female. Many of us have watched it right along side our husbands/partners/Dads/sons..Some of us love it! Having said all of that..If the men of the NFL won’t man up & stand UP against violence towards women(I simply don’t believe they’d not seen enough evidence to dump Ray Rice when they gave him the 2 game suspension..) Then the women of the NFL should and need to. If half its fans don’t tune in or buy NFL products??? I bet it wouldn’t take a TMZ released video for the NFL to do the right thing next time! Come on now..A celebrity gossip entity can get the full video & the NFL couldn’t have?? Wasn’t it already clear what happened in that elevator with even the first video of Ray DRAGGING unconscious Janay ??? Does anyone expect Goodell to say , NOW , that he made a right decision with the first suspension?? A guesstimated 375,00 women attend NFL games each weekend of the season..Alot of moolah is on the line. However, what I really feel is on the line is the sentiment about women in America>>

Back to the list of ways Janay Palmer was victimized>>

#1. When Ray Rice punched her(like she was a grown MAN) in the face..Every picture I’ve found of Rice, alone, he’s pointing to his enormous muscles. Yet? He instantly responded to the situation by punching the mother of his child. He could’ve simply lifted her off her feet to calm the situation. I’ve heard not one report on her injuries..Not one.

#2 Janay was next victimized when, from the onset, the Ravens minimized her assault. It was called “a distraction” in their star player’s life.

#3 She was forced to sit in front of the media & the ENTIRE world in an interview..Apologizing for her role in being punched in the face..WTF & OMG..I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And America sat back in full acceptance. The game must go on at any cost. Right?

#4 When Rice’s lawyer said it was “completely hypothetical” Panay instigated and Rice was in defense mode. Later the justice system, didn’t even pursue full charges against Rice. Hmmm big money talks & at times it truly is a man’s world. Still even in 2014>>

#5 When the NFL’s powers that be, somehow didn’t see enough evidence to punish beyond a 2 game suspension. Why wasn’t a request made to gain access to the entire video? Major League Baseball got evidence during the Biogenesis scandal, right? Yet, the NFL (btw the # 1 American sport & quite powerful..) couldn’t get a tape from a hotel??? Poppycock!

#6 By Ravens cheering fans when Rice returned to the field. WOW..Enough said.

#7 The full footage of the incident being released to the world last Monday. Truly an invasion of Janay’s privacy! As IF it wasn’t enough for the entire world to have seen her dragged out that elevator like a cave dweller..I won’t post that video clip as a visual for that reason. It’s been seen enough and too much as it is..Shouldn’t have been necessary to reveal so much.

The final painful thing to occur is that many(one was too many…) blamed Janay Palmer. That somehow something she DID or said provoked her to get punched..As IF..Why is it the woman always gets the burden of proof??? Casted as being mentally imbalanced, or as gold digger, or dressed provocatively, or simply saying something to rile a man UP..Lawyer’s use this(as Rice’s did…) time & time again. Because it works! Why? Why is it a woman’s word(especially with supporting evidence…) isn’t a good as a man’s? It is a deep cultural misunderstanding of how violence operates , to think that the victim incites the abuse. How about a person using self-control(some dang discipline!) & keeping their hands OFF another person? Especially when they dominate over them in size/weight/physical power? Football is a sport driven with aggression and violence. That is no secret..When played with great sportsmanship it is a sport many enjoy watching and playing. I get that!(though I readily admit football has never been a sport I adore) And when that aggression is left on the field, where it belongs, it can’t impact innocent others who aren’t football players. If they want to beat their own bodies up to a broken down mess by time they reach their 40s & 50s..So be it! Humans though are habitual in nature..I’m more shocked this isn’t a more wide-spread issue. Youth hormones + amped up testosterone + aggression training + the coddling athletes receive..The potential is there..As a woman I’d have felt better if Ray Rice had been banned for life from the inception of the first video being released..Immediate. At least then it would’ve been obvious how the NFL(or rather the men in power calling the shots…) felt about women. It is as if they didn’t believe (or care..) about Janay Palmer’s opinion or well-being. Not one bit.. Furthermore, I don’t believe no one in the NFL saw that full video. The burden of proof should be on them to PROVE they are in full support of women’s rights..Nothing less than banning Rice will prove that. An example needs to be set. Let him use his millions to seek continual therapy..Rice needs to question his own ethics..Why did he allow the mother of his child to be pimped out in an interview? Amongst other questions. This isn’t just a football matter. It is personal. I’ve already spoken before about how I feel about violence..Didn’t physically discipline my sons/ I’ve never been in a physical fight/ I don’t feel war is a necessary tool except in self defense…We live in a time when education is made more & more accessible and excessive technological advances..Yet bohemian and heathenish(is that a word???) behavior is viewed as a mere “distraction” ..When such a great deal of people could cast Janay Palmer at fault in her own assault; instead of feeling compassion for her as a victim. As a society we’re in trouble!! ..Good self-esteem isn’t something we’re born with. It is cultivated, nurtured and taught! A great deal of lessons learned are from what we see..And the way I see it? The NFL needs to be clear on its stance against violence away from the field. Can’t sit on the sidelines & make the right decision only after the truth comes to light. Women are more than just potential profits and should be treated as such. Not just during football season either. All the time.

**Reasons You’re a Good Catch & Still Single..**

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This topic was actually prompted by a conversation with a male friend..A deep chat of sorts that reminded me how people view being single from the outside..As IF all folks that are single are lonely..I know I speak of things from a personal perspective. I’m working on that! But in the interim here is my list of reasons I think I’m still single. Actually I’m single but dating/seeing (is that even the politically correct term these days???) someone.. It took a great deal of honesty/soul-searching/reflection to size myself UP.. A great deal!

**Flashback to the aforementioned conversation** As I recall the list of qualities/characteristics my friend brought to my attention that, he feels, makes me a good catch..I’ve come to the realization a lot of those same items are also the reason I’m still single! Ironic as it seems(catch 22 mayhaps?) I believe that to be true..What I also realized as he spoke was that he’s digging me as more than just a friend..OMG when & how did that happen???? But I digress..And? If anyone else out there also desires something (whether it is a career/significant other/change in location/further education, etc etc) a reality check is a good way to purge the soul! Least it works wonders for me..On with my list>>

Reason #1 . Never learned how to play second fiddle. Yes, I bought the whole kit & caboodle I was taught as a young girl by my Daddy. That I deserve a man’s full attention. Don’t get me wrong; I can hold my OWN in a crowd. Being the social butterfly that I really am..But in a love relationship that analogy doesn’t work for me. I’ll wait for a minute to be plucked out of a crowd with my hand, figuratively, held in the air waving@ Here I am! Yet, being number 2 isn’t something I do well. I fall back if I discern that is the case. A most speedy retreat. Might even leave skid marks as I quietly depart..Confidence can be attractive but also has its disadvantages..I honestly believe I AM & should be treated as the 1 & Only

Reason #2 . I’m only attracted to my Black brothas as romantic partners..It is part of my DNA and comes as natural to me as breathing. This has caused the dating pool to be a lot smaller. Why? Because at my age a great deal of good brothas my age are married or linked up already. Heck, I never thought I’d be single divorced at 51! Just wasn’t part of the master plan I’d set out with many moons ago. Y’all know what they say about the best laid out plans though right? Yep, ish and life happens! Bottom line , without a doubt, IF I’d open myself up to date interacially I’d have been linked up long ago. If the rejected proposals are any indication..Real talk for real! Black is SO beautiful & my brothas rein in all ways>>

Reason #3 . I waited too long to get back into the dating scene..I’m so out of practice! Figured I was doing the right thing to take a breather after my Cali love & to get myself adjusted to my new location(and life as an empty nester) Isn’t regrouping a smart thing to do?? Wait, don’t answer that it is a rhetorical question..But like I recently heard Katt Williams say@ “I was single too long..Everyone is either too young or too OLD..Issues or not(don’t we all have issues of some sort at this age?) I’ve got to admit Katt has a point. Contrary to the thought process of a lot of single folks(about why they are single..) ; I don’t believe the rules of dating have changed that much. Men still crave the company of women & women still crave the company of men..Well the straight ones DO. While a great deal of brothas have expressed admiration for my self-discipline ; still has become quite clear to me I’m out of practice. I’ve grown to used to just being and doing ME . Becoming part of a duo again will take time & effort & patience…I need to tape that to my mirror so I can re-remember it daily>>

Reason #4. Began buying the hype about the to do’s and not to do’s of dating..There IS a never-ending list of lists of what to do/how to do it/WHEN to do it..And as my new guy friend pointed out? Some of those sources(ex. Steve Harvey) haven’t been IN good relationships long enough to even be reliable self-appointed love gurus! Least I didn’t buy his B.S; I mean his book..Come back and give me tips after you’ve been in a GOOD love relationship for 50 years Steve. Until then thanks be to God I’ve got parents who fit those shoes. Never in my life have I looked UP so many tips/clues/hints/suggestions on how to be in a relationship before. Jeeeez , no more..Back in the day we just let it flow. Used to trust what I felt in my spirit/soul. I’m standing firm & refuse to buy into the hype any longer>>

Reason #5. Still yearn for a guy that gets me! I can’t play ‘the game’..I don’t know how to be coy/play hard to get/LIE. I want to have conversations where not a word need be said. Believe it or not(loll yes I know I talk a lot..working on that too!) Just want someone who understands & appreciates me for me. And likewise..Girlish as it sounds I want to fall in love with my best friend. For life. I think guys have gotten so used to being duped & played; it is difficult to trust in a woman’s word. Realizing fully that sometimes I’m hard to follow! I’ve alot of pent UP energy & alot to share..Patience is a virtue and often the best things in life are worth working to learn/earn. >>

Reason #6. I have standards and principles. I believe in loyalty and committment.. I’m a one man-woman. And tough as it is for some guys to adhere to(due to natural biological cravings…yep, I read up on it to gain understanding) I believe in a monogamous relationship. I don’t know how to ‘hang out’ with a guy I’m digging. To me it IS a date. I can hang out with my girlfriends..>>

Reason # 7..I’m a giver by nature. Whether it is a friend or a lover I’ll give the shirt off my back to a person in need. Without hesitation…Problem with that is kindness can be viewed as weakness..I can’t shut off a piece of who I am just to avoid possibly being hurt. One can’t discover love holding back.>>

Exhaling! I think that is it..Enough said. Anyone out there sat & reflected on possible reasons you’re still single? Granted it is easier to just profess there is a shortage of good guys/women left..That could be part of the reason & I honestly don’t take away from that logic. The terms good & good catch are subjective..In the spirit of teach one, reach one(my only reason for blogging isn’t just to vent..) I’d love to get additional comments. Chime in! Until I read/write y’all stay UPlifted & blessed! 4ever sincere the 1 & Only, Berna

My Online Dating Experience..Tips for the Fabulous 50s

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Ugh! For some reason this was the hardest piece to write..Mayhaps because in the rear seat of my mind I knew people (because they told me..) I’d chatted or met from online would actually read this..Often times things can be said, even in good taste, that can be found offensive when describing real –life happenings..As my disclaimer before I dig in it is my utmost intent to show respect for the people text chatted , or conversed with on the phone, or met face to face(my preference) ..Each & every one taught me something new(either about me , men, or from their shared life experiences that I listened to) …I’m forever appreciative of that. Thank you/Gracias/Asante/Merci/Grazie/Obrigado! Moving right along…

Overall? I’ve had a good online dating experience..Actually wound up meeting someone , in person, that I am highly interested in! More of that later…First I wish there had been more tips for online dating in the fabulous 50s..It is different from offline dating…Or least it was for me! Could be because I’ve been out of the dating scene for 3 years now..Wow, can hardly believe that myself ..Can’t tell y’all how many comments & wonderings(and amazement) I’ve heard about how could I possibly be single that long?? If one more person says that I will scream! (Or at the least feeeeeel like screaming) Yet, it has been pretty easy to be single when one hangs with their parents/parents friends as much as I do..Until now. Now I’m ready to not be single anymore…

So next a few tips learned first-hand by moi..Okay ladies here is the real scoop
1. Make it clear you’re interested..Honestly, I think this goes for men & women..Once there has been an established mutual connection(either on the phone or in person) let that person know you’re digging them! Why? There are A LOT of potentials online (never counted the amount of messages in my inbox but it’s in the hundreds…) & who has time to pussy foot around? At 51 and after a 3 year hiatus? Pfft! I’m not letting any grass grow under my feet. IF I dig you you’ll know as soon as I’m feeling the first set of butterflies…(Which for the record in my couple of months online experience has only happened once. Very, very recently) Someone said to me that he felt women were too busy weighing options online to decide on one man. Yuck! That is a sure fired way to miss out on a diamond in the pile of pebbles..Weigh your options ; but don’t take forever & a day doing it. We’re in our 50s; we know what we like when we see it. I think that shoe fits for men & women..

2. Appreciate a MAN for who he IS..Just as you want to be appreciated for who you are. Or least I do! We get what we give. Can’t read someone’s profile & then try to change him into something he isn’t. Just hope and pray he was honest in what he wrote on his profile..

3. Move quickly from offline ..Period. My limit was 2 weeks. I’m not feeling the online chats at all.. Not my thing. After 2 weeks of messages if he hasn’t asked for my number (cell number to be on the safe side) ? I move on…After phone and text chats for a couple of weeks? It is time to meet face to face. Why? Because people can get attached very quickly through actual conversations..This could be problematic if there aren’t mutual sparks when you actually meet. And of course make the first meet in a public spot. First person I met(I met 4 people) I met him at the supermarket. On purpose. Yep, lol..

4. Define quickly what is and isn’t acceptable. I had NO idea it was the IN thing for people to send nude pics. Lawd! Had my hair blown back..Just didn’t see it coming. I’m not a total prude. At first? I can’t lie..I looked..After all he was a pretty buff & nice looking brotha..And he was so proud of his body(as he well should’ve been..) However, if that is all you have to offer ? We’d never even chatted voice to voice; only text chatted. Then wham! Physical attraction matters but without a mental connection it means nothing to me. Absolutely nothing. I deleted him before he realized what was going on. There was no need to explain. Even in my younger days that would’ve been a lame approach.

5. Be honest. Do NOT post 10-year-old pics. Do NOT post pics that are blurred. Do NOT post pics from a mile away. I haven’t had time to respond to even half of the messages in my inbox; but the ones with those type of pics I quickly deleted. One finger stroke. Poof! Do NOT state ish about yourself that isn’t true. Lying is a funky habit anyway..But if you happen to link up with someone you lied to??? Not sure about them but that would be a deal breaker for me. Even if I was digging them…Can’t build anything good on a bad foundation or one built with lies.Be real. Be YOU. Everyone isn’t for everyone. Period. I feel its better to be myself(yourself) and be accepted as I am; then to perpetrate a fraud.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d try online dating..It used to be so taboo! But since I’m not one to venture out into the clubs by myself(though I love dancing!) and haven’t yet ventured much out into the social scenes here by myself(and everyone is coupled up at the social settings I’ve gone to) ; it seemed the logical(and convenient ) way to broaden my options. I’ve been lucky . The handful of people I met were cool & good people at heart. I was going to write about my specific brief encounters; and decided against it. I’ve been on several dates & had a good time. It is hard for me to have a bad time where ever I am. And yes, I will talk to anyone. Lol! New friend of mine suggested I get a T-shirt that reads@ Yep, I’ll talk to you too! I’m actually thinking about having one made. And he IS a keeper. Intelligent, very well versed and can hold his own(and does) in any conversation, hot!, kind, and extremely chivalrous. It is the first time in ages that I’ve been physically and mentally attracted to anyone. The vibe is good. Very good. And? I met him on an online dating site. And? I’m not ashamed to admit it. I can’t be the ONLY one reading this that has experienced online dating..Why not share? Go!

Online Dating in the FABULOUS 50’s & still sexy phase of life** COMING VERY SOON

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Waving to y’all! My fingers are itching to blog on this topic..Been too long since I last blogged or blog read; and I’ve missed it. Promised to blog on this for a minute now…And? I think or hope the fieldwork I’ve done can serve to help others seeking love in the 50s..Want to know why 11% of American adults have tried out an online dating site? Well now I’m officially one of them. Hmmmm hang onto your hats, caps, wigs & weaves..Will be spilling the goods this evening..STAY TUNED & BUCKLE UP

Memories of being 50 years YOUNG* Thanks y’all for being part of my journey..

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Waving y’all! Quick break in a VERY busy day..It IS my 51st bday..Wooooohooooo!!! Extremely humbled by the amazing amount of Bday calls, texts, emails, ecards, gifts ..Blown my hair back & as I reflect on this year past? Flew far faster than I anticipated it would..Yet as I count off the goals I accomplished this year? Almost completed all of them..Progresssive year indeed..What was most important to me? Living IN the moment; and making those I consider dear feel as special as they are to me. Nothing more special to me than time spent & enjoyed! I learn & I yearn to learn even more. Thanks to all who have added to my journey. Thanks to all who taught me lessons I’d not have learned had you not entered my world. Most of all thanks be to my God for allowing me to learn the lessons a tad bit quicker..Embarking on a new adventure as we speak; and I am READY. Be back asap to share ..Till then live, love , laugh! Have a fun & safe 4th. 4ever sincere & still standing, Berna(the 1 & Only)

Horrible Mistakes Women Make In Relationships

bernasvibe:

**Re-blogged by Berna from The Opinionated Male blog spot** Always love the frankness & insight of these brothas! Feel free to add your 2 cents..(ladies & guys)

Originally posted on THE OPINIONATED MALE:

woman-depression-sad-hurt-unhappy-lonely 1- OpinionatedMale.com

Another night alone. Another evening rendezvous with your cat, dog, or in extreme cases your….*ahem* toy. Another instance of hearing how much fun your girl Marissa had on her date with Darnell. How about hearing all about how Tania and her husband Curtis just came back from a weekend getaway?

Now maybe it won’t bother you at first but after a while you start questioning yourself. You go from not wanting or needing to be in the company of the opposite sex to feeling downright lonely and melancholy because you’re not. You are labeled as the ‘token friend’ that your girls are trying to hook up with someone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blind date or otherwise.  Maybe you made some mistakes that many women tend to make in their relationship(s) starting with:

Giving up the cutty rather quickly & often, then suddenly your vagina goes on a hiatus

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#YesAllWomen

bernasvibe:

All I could think as I read this piece was ..Yes, YES, Yes! Such a young writer but she clearly gets IT..I’m glad she didn’t let fear stop her from sharing it..>>Re-blogged by Berna from the In Transit blog site

Originally posted on in transit:

#YesAllWomen

Because all women have walked to their car in the dark, keys clutched tight in hand, one poking out between two fingers.

Because when I go out to bars or clubs, I have to think about whether what I’m wearing is too suggestive, instead of putting on whatever I please.

Because I feel the need to apologize when I’m not wearing makeup or my hair hasn’t been washed, or when I’m generally looking anything other than flawless.

Because there was nothing I could do about the man who touched me inappropriately in the middle of Gillette Stadium as I waited for my then-boyfriend to come out of the bathroom. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STADIUM.

Because there was also nothing I could do when a man touched me inappropriately in the middle of a crowded street, his arm around his girlfriend. Because retaliating in the way I wanted to…

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**Freedom Is Not Free**

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Today when you’re having fun
Free day off for BBQ’s or whatever U choose 2 do
Take a moment or 2 to reflect & to say a prayer
For those that gave/give their lives for U

Lest We Ever 4get Freedom Is Not Free!..

A Message to My Brothers. We Must Do Better

bernasvibe:

One of the best pieces I could ever wish to happily share/re-blog! Written by The Barista from the Tall, Black, One Sugar Blog site

Originally posted on Tall. Black. One Sugar:

“We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky”. – Thomas Sankara

To my brothers, elders, youngers of all shades, colour and creed.

At some point we have to come to the realisation that we have a collective responsibility towards the way that we treat women both within and without our sphere of influence.

Globally the world is shaped in our favour. Systems, be they religious, political, economic, educational or social are shaped and dominated by male thinking. The official word is patriarchy.

As a result of this many woman are treated as property.

In the extreme cases we are talking of rape, child marriage, FGM and a whole raft of other offences.
In other cases this manifests as…

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*Yin* Seeking her *Yang*

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Almost midway into THE year I said I’d marry again..OR at the least be IN love for the last time. Where has the time gone?? Is it just me or is time flying by in faster increments than it was before Fabulous 50? With all the happenings of this year so far I’m just settling down & taking note that OMG half the year is gone. Poof! Anyways I digress..Since last thinking about dipping my toes back into the awesome pool of love and/or married bliss..I’ve half-seriously considered a cross-country relationship, a relationship with my X, online dating, & staying single indefinitely(YUCK) ..I say half considered because due to life happenings , I honestly haven’t had time or energy to fully delve into anything 100%. At all. And because I tend to be an over-thinker at times..Yep, I admit it..I decided not only will none of the above work for me; but that I absolutely will not “settle” either. >>

One of the greatest advantages of flying solo has been: It has given me ample time to figure out exactly what type of significant other will add to my life. Outside of being physically attractive; there is so much more I need from a man before I hand in my singles card. I don’t need someone to complete me. What I desire is a union in which we complement each other. More than likely? Opposites! Wouldn’t two conservative people bore each other too pieces till death do they part? Ugh! On the flip side of that imagine two zany energetic people together for life?? I don’t even want to imagine that scenario..Which is why I know I need a somewhat more reserved counterpart..But he’s got to have energy to keep UP with me as I run circles around him(and a ton of stamina) Anyways, quickly moving right along>>

Chinese philosophy(yep, been reading up on this & it makes sense to moi) cites there is a natural order in the Universe that works smoothly like a song..Yin and Yang..It is said we all have it & that we use both energies in our interactions. However, it is presumed women have more yin and men more yang. Yin is feminine energy: soft, dark, cool, hidden, subtle, and complex. Yin is much more fluid, more nurturing, than yang. Yin’s strength is to preserve life, to keep major support systems in line. Yang is masculine energy: strength, action, and relentless assertiveness. It is a protective energy..>>

I’ll be sure to follow-up after I’ve got a story to tell based on this theory..Coming soon so stay tuned & buckle UP

Women are women, but men are people

bernasvibe:

Personally? I’d love to see a ticket with Hillary & Warren..No doubt in my mind they’d WIN..It is high time for women to step out & act as the equals we ARE..Pfft! @ Dianne Feinstein’s comment..Women must stop adopting male perspectives & support women who are just as qualified(or more so..) for POTUS. 2 thumbs UP for writing/sharing this piece! ..>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Of Means & Ends Blog

Originally posted on Of Means and Ends:

photo via businessweek.com

photo via businessweek.com

“I am not sure it’s wise. You want a ticket that represents men and women.”

Who said that about running two women on a presidential ticket? Mitt Romney? Mitch McConnell?

Oddly enough, it was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of two Democratic female senators from California. Feinstein didn’t explain if she felt like women had been unrepresented by almost every major party presidential ticket in history, but Ann Friedman nails the core issue:

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Sterling, Clarkson and Scudamore: What discussions in private space reveal about the pervasiveness of racism and sexism.

bernasvibe:

…”But it is hardly surprising that powerful, wealthy, white men have moved quickly to defend Sterling, Clarkson and Scudamore’s right to privacy if these three men are representative of how powerful, wealthy, white men talk to one another…” Snippet from this excellent commentary by Stefan Lawrence ..A mouthful , indeed! ..When private discussions are revealed; it clearly reveals how alive & well racism is in America..And the struggle continues to overcome! >>Re-blogged by Berna from the Stefan Lawrence blog

Originally posted on Stefan Lawrence:

In recent weeks, Donald Sterling (owner of the LA Clippers), Jeremy Clarkson (BBC presenter) and Richard Scudamore (Chief Executive of the Premier League) have found themselves having to defend unsavoury comments made during private communications. Apologists for these three men have taken quickly to radio, television and social media to support the accused, arguing simply: the overtly racist and sexist comments, made by each man, happened in private and were not intended for public consumption. For some then the argument must stop here. Supposedly, there’s no need for any further inquiry or analysis. The social context of the utterances renders them inconsequential. By the logic of this argument it is unimportant Sterling is troubled by his girlfriend “associating with black people”, that Clarkson saw fit to subject his co-workers to the ‘n’ word or that Scudamore, self-proclaimed activist in the “whole equality agenda”, thought it acceptable to ridicule “female irrationality” and…

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>Reasons Why Just a Hashtag@ Bring Back Our Girls Won’t End the Nigerian Situation>

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I’m feeling some type of way about the abduction of the school girls in Nigeria..Much of what I’ve read from our American newspapers has been sugar-coated and/or the bigger picture left unrevealed..What IF such antics become common place in the world? How would WE feel if it were our children snatched ( & boldly threatened to be sold into slavery) for a so-called cause? What is the real cause behind these abductions? Is it political? Religious? And what are the consequences that could filter world-wide if the Nigerian government negotiates with Boko Haram? I happened upon an article from a Nigerian historian , writer and author that is the best analysis of the entire situation>>

**
Boko Haram: six reasons why the Nigerian militant group is so powerful. Written by Max Siollun

Not long ago, few Nigerians had heard of Boko Haram. Now, the whole world is talking about the extremist group that kidnaps school girls and bombs cities. How did it become so formidable?

Six years ago, most Nigerians had not even heard of Boko Haram. Now the whole world is talking about the extremist group that has kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in the north of the country. Founded in 2002, how did it rise to become such a threat to national security in such a short period of time?

1. Political connections

It would be naive to think that this kidnap happened in a vacuum, or that the Boko Haram has no connection to the powers that be in Nigeria’s Game of Thrones-style politics. Spikes in violence and insecurity took place on a suspiciously recurring basis in the 12-18 months preceding Nigerian presidential elections: the next election is scheduled for 2015.

This tends to be the time that politicians allegedly deploy armed militia to harass, intimidate, or even assassinate their rivals.

In 2012, a senior member, Kabiru Sokoto, was found in a state governor’s house after escaping from police captivity. The year before, a Nigerian senator was arrested on suspicion of aiding the group after claims that he telephoned a militant more than 70 times in one month.

The extremist group is also automatically linked to all kidnappings, violence, and assassinations committed in northern Nigeria – even acts of armed banditry and political assassinations are attributed to it, whether the group claims responsibility for them or not, adding to its reputation and aura.

2. Imbalance between north and south

Seemingly disconnected historical events over the past 60-70 years started the slide into poverty and inequality that eventually led to the formation of Boko Haram. Before Nigeria’s independence in 1960, British colonial authorities ruled the north (where most Muslims live) and south of Nigeria (where most Christians live) separately. Western schools started by Christian missionaries flourished in the south, but Muslim leaders were reluctant to allow Christian mission schools to open in the north.

The long-term result is a massive economic and educational imbalance between the north and south which persists today. In many southern states more than 90% of women are literate. The corresponding percentage is below 5% in some states in the far north. Less than 10% of Nigerian university applicants (pdf) come from the 12 Muslim majority states in northern Nigeria (where Boko Haram’s insurgency rages). Boko Haram draws its members from the legions of uneducated, unemployed, poor and disenchanted young northern men.

3. Sharia law

An overlooked catalyst for Boko Haram’s evolution occurred in 2000 when Ahmed Yerima, the governor of Zamfara state in Nigeria’s north-west, extended the jurisdiction of Muslim sharia law to criminal cases, prescribing punishments such as stoning for adultery, amputation for theft and flogging for drinking alcohol. This became a super-charged political issue in the north, as sharia was popular among Muslims who hoped it would lead to a social and moral revival. Eight other states in northern Nigeria also enacted sharia in full and Boko Haram’s then leader, Mohammed Yusuf, anticipated it would also be implemented in his home state of Borno. They became disaffected and increasingly hostile to the government when Borno did not implement sharia in full.

4. Government crackdown

When Boko Haram clashed with police in 2009, the government responded with a military iron fist. Security forces destroyed Boko Haram’s mosque, killed hundreds of its members, and arrested, then summarily executed, its leader Yusuf and his father-in-law. The routing of Yusuf and his followers radicalised Boko Haram even more by eliminating the conciliatory faction within the group, and paving the way for its takeover by its most implacable faction led by Yusuf’s deputy, Abubakar Shekau.

5. Nigeria’s complicated ethnic and religious mix

Sensitive ethno-regional issues make it difficult to fight Boko Haram. A massive elephant in the room is that the vast majority of the army’s fighting troops have historically been recruited from ethnic groups in northern Nigeria. Such ethnic groups include the Kanuri – to which most Boko Haram members belong. Unleashing the army on militants means soldiers may be ordered to commit fratricide against communities they come from, who they are not hostile to, and leaves the army vulnerable to infiltration.

Also, an attack by Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan (a Christian from the south) on a northern Islamic group with unrestrained force in the year before a presidential election, would surely result in lost votes amid accusations of being heavy handed with people of another faith.

6. Military limitations

The Chibok schoolgirls are unlikely to be rescued in a spectacular military raid. The Nigerian army is trained for conventional warfare and peacekeeping operations. Elaborate hostage rescues are not its forte. It is having to make ad hoc adaptations to train cadets to carry out counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.

Military offensives can only buy temporary breathing space for politicians to devise permanent solutions to the problem posed by Boko Haram. Some in the military establishment acknowledge that the military alone cannot eliminate the group. Nigeria’s former chief of defence, staff General Martin Luther Agwai (who commanded the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur), said: “You can never solve any of these problems with military solutions… It is a political issue; it is a social issue; it is an economic issue, and until these issues are addressed, the military can never give you a solution.”

A likely outcome to the current stand-off is that the government will negotiate an unwieldy deal with Boko Haram that will see the girls released in instalments.

This would not be unprecedented as the Nigerian government has a history of paying off or reaching uncomfortable opaque compromises with its opponents. When militants waged an armed insurgency in the oil-producing areas of southern Nigeria to protest against economic exploitation, the government ended it by granting amnesty and cash stipends to the militants in exchange for them giving up violence. This has created a “money and amnesty for guns” precedent. Muslim leaders from northern Nigeria have urged the government to similarly negotiate with Boko Haram and to grant it amnesty. With more money and more guns, the group might become more powerful still.

Max Siollun is a Nigerian historian, writer, and author of the book Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture 1966-1976. Follow him on Twitter @maxsiollun**

>> Hopefully reading all of the above will give a bit of background about the situation..My heartstrings have been pulled since first hearing of this incident..My pen(& thoughts) are my weapon against injustice..A friend(originally from Sierra Leone) locally released a statement to urge “all” to lift our voices regarding this situation. This isn’t just Nigeria’s war on terrorists; it is the world’s fight also!

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

We Raise Our Voices on the

Abduction of School Girls in Nigeria

From: The Ivory Club of Tampa Bay

Martin Williams, President

Our “mission is to educate the public regarding the history and current affairs of African family values through cultural, educational and social activities. We provide educational scholarships and forums to increase understanding between Africa and America.”

The Ivory Club raises its voice in condemning sectarian group, Boko Haram, and the kidnappers of two hundred plus school age girls in Nigeria. We raise our voice demanding the immediate release of these children and their safe return to their families.

We appeal to all other African organizations in the US to raise your voices and be heard, condemning Boko Haram’s atrocities with these young school girls, and call for their immediate safe return.

We raise our voices in prayers with the rest of the world that the families and friends of these innocent children find comfort within themselves, as the rest of the world demand an end to their brutal captivity.

We raise our voices, calling on the Nigerian Government to use its power, and to fully cooperate with other countries that are willing to offer assistance for the safe release of these abducted school girls.

We raise our voices to all who care about the wellbeing of these young girls and support the use of social media as a means to apply pressure and continue to demand the immediate release and return of these young innocent victims to their family and friends.

The Ivory Club, an organization of African Professionals in the Tampa Bay area, encourages all to join forces at protests, marches, demonstrations and other such events to help bring an end to the wicked abduction of these innocent school girls in Nigeria.

We believe very strongly in African family values and family ties, and will raise our voices against any actions that disrupt and cause the breakdown of this cultural trait.

#BringBackOurGirls

http://www.theivorycluboftampa.org

If You Ever….

bernasvibe:

All the things I wanted to express this Mothers Day; but couldn’t because I’m missing my grown sons SO much right now..I share the same sentiment as this piece times infinity ! >>Re-blogged by Berna from The Chatter Blog

Originally posted on The Chatter Blog:

If you ever birthed, adopted or fostered a child.

If you ever held a baby for endless hours because you wanted the child to sleep, whether you did nor not.

If you ever held a vomiting child.   Or had a child projectile vomit in your face.   Or held a baby high, laughing at their beauty, and they spit up in your laughing face-and you kept laughing while gagging.

If you ever read story after story after story after story after story after story after story.  Then read another one.

If you ever laughed at 1,279 ‘knock knock’ jokes that ended with “it’s me mom!”

If you ever went out scouting the neighborhood, or the school, or the football game to get a glimpse of the boy/girl that broke your child’s heart.  Or called them a name.  Or pulled their hair.  Or gave them a dirty look.  Or did…

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>>He Calls Me *Ma*>>

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He Calls Me Ma..

My firstborn..

Inquisitive from the start

Not afraid to make his mark

Never often out of place

One step ahead in any race

Humble in every possible way

Yet..

Not afraid to have his say

I watched with pride as he took his first steps

Even more so when he eased through college prep

Rose to his defense when he was late to utter words

But..

When he began to speak he properly used verbs(& nouns)

In full sentences!

Was never an average child from birth until

Now..

Somehow I just knew he’d reach any goal he chose

And over the years he just rose and rose and rose


An outstanding mentor he’s been/IS to his brothers(and so many others)

No mother could’ve wished for a more perfect firstborn; no other!

With tear-filled eyes I watched his defense of his dissertation

Mere words couldn’t express my awe & fascination

Wow! I kept thinking>> that is MY son!

As we embark upon the few days left till his ‘last’ graduation

I feel compelled to write out my undying love & admiration

Thank you son for an amazing ride and plenty of adventures

You’ve worked so, so hard & diligently!

I’ve learned so much with you and from you..

Looking forward to vicariously enjoying all your future ventures

Your new dream job(woo hoo) & eventually your own family unit

Just..

Never stop calling me those two letters I adore; that only you call me

Ma..

And with private joy! for fun

I’ll call you those two letters that carry a beautiful melody

Dr.

I’m READY for Hillary! Get Ready..Get Set…NO doubt she will run

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I’ve seen this bumper sticker more and more these days..There are a couple of things I’m very sure of.. No doubt in my mind Hillary will run for President in 2016..No doubt in my mind she’ll win the Democratic nomination. Hands down there isn’t anyone even remotely close in the rear-view mirror..One of the things I hate though is the coy approach..Say you’re going to run already! Jeez.. Over two million supporters and 50,000 grassroots donors rallying for a potential Hillary run..Having said all of this I’m still very much an Obama cheerleader & supporter(both elections) ..But I’m also very ready to see a woman run for & become POTUS in 2016. Had enough of the suspense/hints/foreplay though..It is time! Are you ready for Hillary?


If You Could Only Choose One: Love or Marriage?

bernasvibe:

>>I always love the honesty of thoughts when I read Matt’s thoughts..This piece as many of his; made me reflect on my own love life. As well as my outlook on love relationships..I can’t make a choice between love & marriage. I’m waiting on married love ONE more time..Can you choose? Enjoy the read..>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Must Be This Tall To Ride blog

Originally posted on Must Be This Tall To Ride:

Marriage matters. But honestly? Not as much as love.

Marriage matters. But honestly? Not as much as love.

I’m pretty good at beating myself up.

If they awarded fighting championship belts for kicking one’s own ass, I’d be a top contender.

And I’m a bruised, bloodied mess after this past week—about 13 months after my marriage detonated.

Because I’ve been having inconvenient feelings about my ex-wife for the past week or so.

It’s because getting over anger is one of the things I’m best at.

It’s because she’s my son’s mother and seeing them together is like watching the sun set into the ocean, or watching a meteor shower from the top of a mountain. Seeing them together combines two of the most beautiful things I know of.

Mega-beauty. Beauty on steroids. And it affects me down deep where almost nothing can reach.

Removing from the conversation the special love a father has for his son which all…

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CLIVEN BUNDY IS A RACIST AND REPUBLICANS ARE SHOCKED

bernasvibe:

Couldn’t have said this better myself..Hear, hear!>>Re-blogged by Berna from the America The Not So Beautiful blog site

Originally posted on America The NOT SO Beautiful:

April 25, 2014

By Mike Caccioppoli

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I love it when the chickens come home to roost. As it turns out Cliven Bundy isn’t only a tax cheat and a moocher but a racist as well! Now, I could have told you this well before Bundy held court with his cult of red neck un-American losers, and spouted off one racist comment after another. I could have told you this because people with Bundy’s mindset are usually racists. The ignorance doesn’t just stop with his selfish, inane interpretation of the Constitution, it often goes well beyond that. The same goes for his “followers.” 

Now of course all of those Republicans who were on his side, pundits and politicians, are now distancing themselves from him as though they never knew he was a bad guy. The fact that he didn’t want to pay the taxes that he legally owed, the fact…

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>>The DOWNside of a Celibate Lifestyle>>

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Most folks that speak on a celibate lifestyle speak on the HIGH notes…Believe it or not there are alot of highs about it..However, there is also a GREAT deal of frustration handling the realities of celibacy..Especially someone whose been in a committed relationship or married majority of their adult life. Someone SEXY and half-arse normal and considered intelligent. Someone that looks alot like ME>>

When I first chose celibacy it had little to do with my religious beliefs..It had more to do with making a conscience choice for less distraction while trying to reach a goal..I’d move cross-country and had a disciplined focus on a set amount of goals..And within a certain time frame..Adding dating to the mix would have been a MAJOR distraction..For I tend to give my all to anything I engage IN..Dating and men is certainly included..Matter of fact?

MEN = 1 of my few weaknesses…I’m not ashamed to admit I love being in love & especially love being married! On the flip side of that I’m also willing to wait (in a celibate state) for marriage before I have sex again..Now,I know most folks think certain things about celibate folks..What comes to mind is either weirdness/priests/OR a maladusted anti-sociable person..I’m NONE of the above..But I do have standards. And the longer I remain celibate; the higher my standards become. And honestly? It has become frustrating as hell!

At first? I was wearing an invisible banner waving it proudly @ I am proudly celibate , waiting and proud! 2 years later it is beginning to feel like a burden..Now it has been SO long that I wonder how much longer I can keep this UP? Not to mention I come from a highly sexed family..I’ve come to a point I don’t believe this is NORMAL..WTF was I thinking? Lawd! We are biologically created to be attracted to men and to want to have SEX..Period

The biggest downside of celibacy is the MEMORIES of how beautiful a loving relationship IS..The God created stress relieving perks that can’t be simulated. Trust me I’ve tried! There is nothing more fulfilling than a love-filled marriage..There is also nothing more aggravating than explaining to someone who doesn’t get IT that “waiting” for my The One doesn’t mean I’m pushing marriage. IF not desiring to settle for less means I’m pushing marriage; than so be it. It is not an easy walk. And definitely not for the weak hearted..But I’m standing on Faith that it is going to be well worth the wait.

Wait! Did I wear this dress yesterday?

bernasvibe:

Re-blogged by Berna from the psychologistmimi blog site..When time permits I’m going to comment; but in the interim shared an opinion I’m sure many feel about dress attire in the office..Well expressed & written piece Mimi!

Originally posted on psychologistmimi:

Wait! Did I wear this dress yesterday?

Much has been made of the fact that both Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton have worn some of their dresses on more than one occasion. Apparently, it is a major social faux pays in the celebrity world to wear a dress out in public more than once. Admittedly, I have about ten high fashion dresses that I have only worn once to either a major event or a Red Carpet (not in Hollywood mind you). I had fabulous nights with those dresses and now they just hang not even shielded from my closet dust. There is no way I can realistically wear those dresses again to the same annual events. However, I keep hoping for that mailed invitation to some grand fete so that I may again wear one of those gloriously fabulous dresses with my equally fabulous six inch heels. For now…

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White Mind Dominating Black News

bernasvibe:

Digging this perspective & can’t resist the urge to share>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Too Much Black blog

Originally posted on Too Much Black:

Fake smile Odd StuffWhen Black News Disappears: White Holds on Black Intellectuals’ Minds and Misinforming the Black Public
Friday, 24 May 2013 09:49By Dr Tommy J Curry, Racism Review | Op-Ed

As an historical entity, the Black press has not only offered critical commentaries and political critiques of the sempiternal racism of the modern world, but correctives as to how white newspapers, opinion-makers, legislators, and most importantly the white public sought to justify their complacency towards and support for anti-Black racism and the sexual brutalization of Black men, women, and children. Today, however, the post-Obama lullabies of racial détente and the progressive liberal passivity of Black intellectuals have allowed the structural

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7 LIES We Need 2 Stop Telling About Young African-American(Black) Men by Antwaun Sargent

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This is an excellent write & a piece very worthy of a re-blog.. My eldest son forwarded this piece with the simple message@ WE must change the narrative! Enjoy/Learn/Share the facts & not the dismal media & widespread societal myths, 4ever sincere Berna>> (Credit to Youtube for pictures & video clip)

Last week Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin captured national headlines after becoming part of an impressive club: high school seniors who have been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. However, while many celebrated Enin’s achievement, a bitter minority griped that the teenager had somehow gamed the system. The racial subtext was obvious: Enin couldn’t have actually have gotten into all those schools by himself. Why? Well, because he’s black..

This type of harmful and wholly inaccurate narrative has been constructed around African-American male student achievement for years. Enin is just the latest high-profile example of how it hurts all young men, high school high achievers or not, by implying that the majority of African-American boys are hopelessly behind and may never be able to narrow the achievement gap.

There are, of course, legitimate issues that African-American male students face due to a confluence of factors. But even data that show the more dire aspects of black male achievement do not exist in a vacuum, with researchers misrepresenting or not calculating for the experiences of African-American male students.

The good news is that bright spots like Enin may help raise the profile of America’s African-American young men. However, there is a lot of work to be done, beginning with rethinking the way we use these seven common “facts.”

1. There are more African-American males in prison than college.

African-American men are grossly overrepresented in the penal system; however, there are more African-American males in college than in prison, as of 2011. Howard University professor Ivory A. Toldson found in his research that there are about 600,000 more African-American males enrolled in higher education than are in jail.

This myth has been used by education experts, the media and even the president, despite the fact that over the last decade, African-American boys have largely avoided the “school-to-prison” pipeline.

2. African-American males believe academic achievement means they are “acting white.”

African-American males are not anti-intellectual. In fact, researchers have shown that African-American boys show more positive feelings toward school than do their white counterparts. University of North Carolina professor Roslyn Arlin Mickelson found, “Many black youth and adults express a high regard for education” and that there are a multitude of factors that shape black students’ educational attitudes.

3. Less than 50% of African-American males graduate from high school.

The high school dropout rate for African-American males has actually hit a historic low. According to a 2013 Education Week study, about 62% of African-Americans completed high school in 2010 (the most recent year for which the necessary data was available), compared to 80% of white students. The increase represents a 30% narrowing of the gap between black and white high school students.

Indeed, African-American males are graduating at historic levels. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, “In 2009-10 the national graduation rate for black male students was 52%. The graduation rate for white, non-Latino males was 78%. This is the first year that more than half of the nation’s black males in 9th grade graduated with regular diplomas four years later.” At the same time, overall high school dropout rates have fallen steadily since 1990, and there is no indication that the rates won’t continue to fall, given the trend over the past two decades.

4. African-American males don’t go to college.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 1976 to 2010, “the percentage of black students [enrolled in college] rose from 9% to 14%. During the same period, the percentage of white students fell from 83% to 61%.”

The Congressional Black Caucus report “Challenge the Status Quo,” meanwhile, found that there are 12.5 million African-American adult males living in America,who make up 5.5% of the total population, and 5.5% of the students on college campuses across America are black male students. The percentage of black male students enrolled in college is proportional to the 5.5% of African-American men college-age or above living in the U.S. today.


5. African-American student-athletes graduate at higher rates than their non-athlete black peers.

Often college coaches boast about how teamwork and sportsmanship translate to academic success. However, according to a University of Pennsylvania report on black male student-athletes in NCAA Division I college sports, 50.2% of African-American male student-athletes graduate within six years, compared to 55.5% of black undergraduate students overall. And the disparity is even larger if black male student-athletes are compared to other student athletes: 66.9% of overall student-athletes graduate within the same six-year period, representing an 11.4% gap between black student-athletes and their teammates.


6. African-American male students have the same opportunities as their peers.

This is an important one, part of the narrative that allows casual racism like the kind experienced by Kwasi Enin. In fact, a recent U.S. Education Department’s 2011-2012 Civil Rights Data Collection survey noted that the American school system treats African-American boys unfairly. African-American male students receive a disproportionate number of suspensions, detentions and call-outs, and have a much higher rate of being expelled from school. In addition, schools attended by African-American males have less access to experienced teachers and advanced placement classes, according to the survey.

At the same time, the Casey Foundation recently found that African-American students face the highest barriers to opportunities. The foundation’s researchers measured success toward 12 benchmarks, including literacy proficiency, rates of employment, income and several other factors. The report concluded that African-Americans. when compared to other racial groups using these benchmarks, fare the worst due to disparities they face from birth.

7. African-American male students are underachievers.

Coded language and misused statistics have constructed this idea that African-American male students are underachievers. But ignoring the fact that some of America’s brightest minds are African-Americans, recent research shows that a lack of critical feedback and demonstrated high expectations is stifling black confidence in the classroom.

In three double-blind randomized field experiments, researchers at the University of Texas found that African-American students improved their grades after having the assignment expectation reinforced by their teachers. These results point out that a cycle of mistrust and lower expectations is a likely culprit in cases of African-American underperformance.

The university of the public library

bernasvibe:

Absolute mirror of how important I feel libraries were/ARE/and always will be! ~~ Re-blogged by Berna from the N.V. Binder blog~~

Originally posted on N.V. Binder:

I am a librarian at a small public library in rural Florida. While there is a lot to love about my community, many of my patrons face the ills of rural poverty: outdated infrastructure, inadequate schools, a lack of access to computers and high-speed Internet, and insufficient transportation. Under these circumstances, the public library isn’t just a “nice thing to have”–it’s a lifeline to community and social services, as well as the many benefits of access to technology.

While the library’s core mission is still to provide access to books and a place for free expression, providing access to high-speed Internet has become increasingly important. Far from reducing the need for libraries, the Internet has made libraries more valuable in communities like mine. People now use public computers and Internet to access job training, social services, and even healthcare, often with the assistance of library staff.

The library building…

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**DISILLUSIONED? ** Get over it! before November cause WE need YOUR Vote

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>>IF the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged , the impression is created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority<< Quote from Barbara Jordan(Deceased American politician & leader of the Civil Rights Movement..But her words still ring true to this day)

November is going to be here in a flash..Even Republicans KNOW that for some reason Democrats do NOT turn out to vote in midterm elections. What they also know is that many of the critical midterm elections in 2010 were very close..In many states the governors races were decided by mere points! I ask myself why , especially in a time when ALL know this as factual, is it so hard to get the millenials(young) & female & people of color to the polls when it isn’t a presidential contest? Especially when those are the same groups that have the most to gain from VOTING?

There are some that say that they just don’t care anymore..That their vote doesn’t matter..I counter that sentiment with this..IF voting doesn’t matter why then are Republicans trying to disenfranchise as many voters as possible?? And if you aren’t aware of that then it will take alot more than my rant to hip you to the reality of the situation..

From Pennsylvania to Florida Republican leaders have PUBLICLY admitted that they’re counting on suppression of voters of color for their midterm victories..Pat Hickey claimed that 2014 will be a great year for Republicans because alot of minorities(are POC still the minority in America??? ) and millenials won’t turn out for the midterm elections..And they’re working HARD across our country to restrict voting rights(case in point in enacting harsh voter ID laws) Again I say IF our vote didn’t count why the heck are Republicans working SO hard to block & discourage voters??? Nothing vexes me more than to do nothing; yet expect things to CHANGE. Pfft! That is related to folks voting against their own best interests..I don’t even pretend to understand that. There are 17 House seats needed to reclaim a majority for the party that half-arse represents folks that aren’t rich(me & YOU) It is possible if we ALL get out to the polls in November and VOTE.</strong>

Why should you retire then travel? (Getting out of the rat race part 2)

bernasvibe:

Love this sentiment and can’t resist sharing it….>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Let’s Talk about It blog site

Originally posted on Let's Talk About It:

Why should you retire then travel? (Getting out of the rat race part 2)

Why should you retire then travel? (Getting out of the rat race part 2)

Why’re we taught to retire then travel? Who said that was a good idea? Why aren’t we taught to travel while we’re young? I would rather travel in my prime with more energy in my “younger years” then to travel when I’m older and most likely need a hip replacement or deal with body parts failing me. That’ll sure take the enjoyment out of moving around freely. The flesh isn’t built to last forever. So…. why don’t we make it our focus to see the world earlier on? If I could travel at a young age and settle down when I’m above 60 years old, I’d think that’s ideal.

You may say, my younger years are for me to work on establishing myself and moving up the career ladder as far as I can in hopes…

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12 Years A Slave: Why I’m Glad it Won Best Picture

bernasvibe:

Re-blogged by Berna from Afroculinaria blog site because I’m glad 12 Years a Slave got kudos also!

Originally posted on Afroculinaria:

12 Years A Slave: Why I’m Glad it Won Best Picture

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   “Joyce is right about history being a nightmare –but it may be the nightmare from which no one can awaken.  People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”  –James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village.”

If you follow me through social media you know I’m used to visiting plantation landscapes and dressing in the type of clothing enslaved people would wear.  I’ve cooked the enslaved way in many states across the former Confederacy and Border states.  I’ve picked cotton and worked in tobacco fields. I’ve been in rice and sugarcane fields in the Lowcountry and Lower Mississippi Valley dodging teenaged gators and poisonous snakes.  Plantations blind with darkness don’t scare me and I almost take comfort from the spirits that have surrounded me.  I have been in their presence—for real—and the ancestors have been both welcoming…

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How are you?

bernasvibe:

Certainly worth re-blogging for I’m more than sure we’ve all lied a time or two when answering @How are you?

Originally posted on Black Dog Runner:

One of the most difficult aspects of living in the UK is the bizarre mix of box-ticking politeness with genuine emotional reserve.

In other words, while almost everyone will ask, ‘how are you?’, the only acceptable answer is ‘fine thank you, how are you?’

Perhaps we should just invert the meaning of ‘fine’?

On a black dog day, this presents a problem. Either you break social convention and cause widespread panic:

‘Oh, the usual mix of abject misery and thoughts of self-harm, how about you?

Or, you lie.

In the short term, lying seems like the obvious option. For one thing, it creates less paperwork. I once made the mistake of being brutally honest with a colleague about my desires to end my life. Within a few hours I was being invited (that’s the British for ‘ordered’) to have a chat with both human resources and occupational health…

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Black. Catholic. Full Stop*Beginning of Lent and Resisting Temptation

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I had no intention of discussing Lent today nor its meaning..But it happened anyway..Not within the confines of things I can control..It just happened..Funny thing IS it happened while simply explaining to someone I couldn’t keep my committment to work out due to it being Ash Wednesday..Little did I know that would lead to an entire text chat defending my Catholic Faith..Are y’all ready for this? Hold onto to your caps, hats, wigs and weaves because here I GO>>

I’ve no issue with defending my Faith..But I’ve also no issue admitting I don’t like being put in a position to have to! I don’t ask anyone else to defend their Faith and I don’t take kindly to feeling I have to defend mine..But I shall if I and when I have to..Any day 24/7 365 days of the year. I am Black and I am Catholic. Period. And there is no other religion I’d rather practice and be a pupil of; other than the first. Catholicism. >>

I don’t critique other religions. I feel everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they desire..I also feel folks that do NOT have a clue about a certain practice of religion, other than speculation or hearsay, should never ever speak as IF they’ve got knowledge of a certain religion. I’ve no problem with answering questions about the religion I’m apart of..But when you a. step to me and act as if you know all about Catholicism but come across as not knowing the first thing about it. OR b. step to me with nothing but hearsay and wrong assumptions OR c. step to me quoting me Bible scripture that you think counter the Catholic religion…My interest level wains from the inception and so does my respect level for you. Instantly. >>

Before I go any further I’d like to profess I don’t think nor feel I’m a Bible thumping over righteous type of Christian who bangs folks over the head with my religion nor my Faith…I’ll never show up at your front door trying to convert you to Catholicism. I even sometimes wonder if there are so many things considered SINS in Catholicism that I’m forever destined to be a sinner. (after all we were born sinners..) Though I practice celibacy until my next marriage(OMG that’s tough) it is said even lusting or thinking about SEX is a SIN outside of marriage..IF that is truly the case then I’ve certainly got strikes against me! ..For I’m not of the belief I have ‘credit’ with God; no matter how good I treat people in my day-to-day life. But I’ll try not to stray to far from my point>>

All of that said today was the first day in my entire life I told someone google UP what Ash Wednesday Mass meant to Catholicism ..I’d tired of texting the reasons..And just in case I left anything out, I figure I’ll give it my best shot here. For I believe a lot of folks , even practicing Catholics, might not know what the intent is behind Ash Wednesday. We’re all learning and there is nothing wrong with learning a little bit more & truly understanding the age-old rituals>>

Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional ennumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord's Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

Hopefully none of you will have to answer a litany of questions about practicing Lent(and from a friend no less..) but IF you are I’m prayerful my rant can give you the the info you need..Or , even more importantly, motivate you to learn more about your Catholic Faith. Bottom line as Believers we’re all brothers/sisters in Christ..And at the beginning and end of each day that is what should matter in our interpersonal relationships..Not what religion we practice. Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted and blessed,Berna(the 1 & Only)

From Janitor to Principal: Gabe Sonnier’s Story of Perserverance

bernasvibe:

@..”The newly appointed principal recognizes his accomplishments, and even still cleans his own office. “Don’t let your situation that you’re in now define what you’re going to become later,” Sonnier told CBS. “I always tell them it’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.”>> Hear, hear! Awesome to hear good news ..2 thumbs UP

Originally posted on GOOD BLACK NEWS:

Principal Joseph Sonnier (Port Barre Elementary website)

Joseph “Gabe” Sonnier is now the principal at the Louisiana elementary school where he served as a janitor for 27 years.  Sonnier had been working at Port Barre Elementary for over 30 years when he was selected as their new principal last November.  He originally began his college education at Southern University, The Advocate reports, but dropped out in 1979 after one year to help support his mother and four siblings.

The inspiration to complete his education degree came in 1985, when the principal at the time approached him about becoming a teacher, reports CBS.  The former custodian began studying in his free time and working towards his degree, which he earned and began teaching in 2008, according to The Advocate. Sonnier continued his education and completed his masters degree through Arkansas State University.

The newly appointed principal recognizes his accomplishments, and even still cleans his own office.  “Don’t let your situation that you’re…

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The Masquerade Is Over by Woe

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Presently working on a piece, per request(sort of..), about the sometime and often masks worn in our day-to day lives..And though I’m not yet finished with it; brought to mind, this work of art I discovered and then re-discovered last year..I’d promised I would share it then & somehow never did..Anyone else out there getting that caught UP in lifes’ oh -so-busy hamster wheel??? Anywho this was written by a brother who goes by the name of Woe..He’s a semi-retired musician and also one of Esquire’s best-dressed men. He’s posted his rants and musings on a delicious website geared for Black men..I truly aspire to write from the gut plus personal experience , with my own style as he’s clearly mastered. So much of his musings I can relate to! Enjoy>>

**The Masquerade Is Over** By Woe

Every working morning, for as long as you can remember, a stranger’s face has stared back from your bathroom mirror’s reflection. Occasionally, your eyes make contact when it glances back at you. The brief cold of a ghost’s presence. A momentary acknowledgment in the rear-view mirror…as you are chauffeured along in the backseat that has become your life. Like a laugh, too loud, from the back of a movie theater. Like a telling string dangling from a magician’s sleeve. A fleeting reminder…that Everything Is Not In Its Right Place.

We commute from one social landmark to the next, like falling debris. Careening wherever the winds of opportunity take us, as pieces of ourselves are smashed against the shore. Against the waves, we are anchored by our titles. Anchored by our degrees. Secured by the weight of social status. Bound to the sense of privilege which will eventually sink us when we no longer have the will to keep up. The constant pressure to tread water. The unsubtle urge that we are not doing enough, if we aren’t doing more than those who are in the lanes next to us. The guilt of having the world on our plates, as we grow to despise it more with every force-fed bite.

On the way up the ladder, life is like a back-room card game…and we’ve been taught to wear a poker face. A mask that says: “I want what you want.“…”Everything is fine.” and “Of course. How much further backwards can I bend to help you?” with one glance. Underneath, the eyebrows furrow. The inner fists clench, and the grin begins to grimace. A voice says to you: “…you know, if you keep making that face, it’ll stay that way.“ In response, you laugh to keep from crying.

How much longer can we pretend? How much more of ourselves will we burn out, while wasting away as fuel and fumes for someone else’s engine? A slumbering leviathan; your true purpose brims below the surface. Announcing itself like a telephone that rings endlessly; stopping only when your fingers encircle themselves around the receiver. Like a recurring dream that holds the Answer to Everything. It’s silhouette slender and shrugging behind the curtain of your eyelids. Always on the verge of whispering the punch line before you awake.

For some, there is comfort in the linear life. For some, the adulation that comes with a nameplate and corner-office is sufficient sustenance. They want it so bad, they might cry. This is the prescribed and pre-arranged method to happiness. Perhaps they aren’t plagued by the ever-present sense that they were made for something better. Perhaps they are, but choose to paint within the lines nonetheless. Maybe they’ve opted to compete for the inconsolable consolation prize: a successful but unfulfilled existence.
If you’re frightened, you can be. It’s okay. But one thing becomes clearer every day. The more of ourselves we allow to be smothered, the less of us there will be when we finally come up for air. A day will come when you decide to claw your way out of the deep sleep. A day will come when you decide to stop living as a facsimile. The masquerade is over. Make sure they see your face.

The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

bernasvibe:

There isn’t much more that can be added to this; so I won’t..Excellent perspective. Superbly expressed..Outstanding write! >>Re-blogged by Berna from the Accidental Missionary blog

Originally posted on The Accidental Missionary:

*Writers note:  After reading your comments, I have been moved to revise the following piece.  In a post where the main point is to encourage others to be aware of how our choice of words can get in the way of conveying our true intent, I realize the irony that my choosing to refer to my lack of understanding of God’s purpose as “dumb luck” caused some folks to miss the meaning of the post itself.  Silly me.  While people may still disagree, I think this slightly revised version better captures my honest intent.

I was on the phone with a good friend the other day.  After covering important topics, like disparaging each other’s mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.

“So, how’s work going?” he asked.

For those of you who don’t know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and…

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Will Blacks in America Ever UNIFY?*Salute/ Tribute on Last Day of Black History Month

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I think many Black Americans would LIKE to think there is only a visible division among Black and White in America. And there IS..But what takes some of us, like ME, longer to admit, there IS still a division within Blacks themselves..When I mentioned this issue to a very good friend of mine(who also happens to be my X love..) his response is @They call it slave mentality baby..They’re doing what the White mas has rewarded them for doing for over 400 years! Alright, I get THAT. But when does it END???

Even knowing about the whole slavery mentality theory; being the victim of it hurts! And it hurts BAD…Because it is ones own subjecting them to adverse feelings ..I am here to tell y’all it IS a phucked up feeling and it is unacceptable. I personally can’t speak for anyone else but ME…But since moving to the South(after living in California for 20 years) I’ve been called a bougies bitch; had people trip REPEATEDLY over the grain of my hair; and had people wig about my skin color to the point of being certain, without a doubt, that I’m Spanish; and professing I sound White because of how I talk..All of this from people who are also BLACK. Bear with me a moment while I grab hold of my bearings>>

Majority of my life I’ve NOT been in a majority Black environment.West Coast living agreed with me to the utmost level..This only came to be once moving to the Dirty South 2.5 years ago..OMFG..I knew sentiment here wasn’t as progressive as the West Coast; BUT I didn’t and couldn’t have imagined it was this far BACKWARDS progressively..Lawd! >>

Now I don’t know IF it is a Southern ‘thang’ or not..After all the South WAS where slavery reined back in the day….But I do know that the POWER Blacks in the South, from my viewpoint so far, feeeeeel they have IS nothing in equalivence to the power Blacks have in the West Coast. I’ve never seen anything more pathetic than broke arse folks clamoring for power , here in the South, like I’ve seen! It is shameful…Back in California I’ve easily mingled with millionaires who were far more down to earth than the want-to-be-bougie here in the South..As IF having money or prestige makes a person have more character and respectful standing…It doesn’t! And fighting for it makes it all the more GHETTO in every aspect. It is a sad thing to see and watch; and I refuse to be a part of it. I simply refuse>>

I could very smoothly run from my people back to White Corporate America..At this point? It represents, believe it or not, alot LESS drama and bullshit! But that would be like trying to run from myself..I’m not into the personality ENVY, nor the crab in a barrel syndrome crap; personally I believe competition is a GOOD thing. Challenge me with greatness! The petty ish of light-skin-good-hair-banging-body stuff has to END..Light or dark skin Black IS Black. Period. We’ve got to get educated and beyond the slavery mentality ish! Our children are watching US..I’m ashamed of some of the behavior I see out here these days.Bottom line? African. Trinidad. Haitian. Dominican. Puerto Rican. Latino. Jamaican. Brazilian…WE are all ONE…Whether we unite or not we’re all identified by our skin color. Trying to ignore it is like a cat chasing their own tail…Never ending. I think about running from it; a lot. It is easier leaving..But I stand! I love MY people and I love being BLACK. Black folks have alot to offer the world and always have…We’ve a legacy to be proud of. And its worth standing together proudly. United we stand or divided we can continue to free fall..

Final Black History Month Salute* Ruby Bridges*

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Ruby Bridges is an African-American activist best known for being the first Black child(she was 6 yrs old) to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.(New Orléans, Louisiana) The pictures of her being escorted into the school by marshalls are legendary..

In November 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges Hall became the first African-American child to desegregate an elementary school. Although she only lived a few blocks from the William Frantz Elementary school in New Orléans, Louisiana. Marshals had to escort Ruby because of angry segregationist mobs that gathered in front of the school. For an entire year, she was the only student in her class since white parents pulled their children from the school in protest. She wrote about her experiences in her book THROUGH MY EYES & she’s shared it with future generation in educational forums>>

Her bravery paved the way for the continued civil rights efforts; and at such a young age! I recall seeing her picture when I was a very little girl myself and hearing ‘her’story; yet not truly understanding what it really meant..As she was at the time of her step into the pages of American history; I was too young to really ‘get’ it..Her message then and now is this & it makes absolute sense @ “My message is really that racism has no place in the hearts and minds of our children”<< Quote by Ruby Bridges. I couldn't agree more! IF only all parents felt that way …

ASALH*Association for the Study of African-American Life and HISTORY*Black History Month Salute

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Little known Black History fact is that ASALH still exists..It IS a totally different organization from NACCP..Although the founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, was involved in both organizations..Did you know that Woodson’s dream was that there would NOT always be a need for a Negro History Week(the father of Black History Month)? Well, if you didn’t know please don’t feel too bad. I didn’t know either! As I’ve said before Black History Month is still mandatory; for all Americans can stand to learn more. Including moi>>

ASALH was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson..Its mission is to create and disseminate knowledge about Black History, to be, in short, the nexus between the Ivory Tower and the global public..The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History was created in direct response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of African – Americans..Much of which HAS either been purposely left OUT of History books or diluted down to just the accomplishments of a few..I used to ask why?? These days though I don’t waste time asking why anymore..There is far too much I(we) can read offline or online to discover the accomplishments and achievements Blacks have had since the beginning of civilization..And it is? ALOT. In my hearts of hearts I feel it is mandatory this information is readily available..It is highly necessary for Black youth to know they’ve got much to be proud of ..I’ve no problem in admitting that is my primary reason for promoting Black History Month. Hell, I’m still learning at 50 years of age(and not shamed to admit it) All I dream of now is a day when our history is so well imbedded in American History; that racism rightfully DIES. Black folks built much of what is now America! It takes more than big cojones to try to snuff that history out..

I had the opportunity to attend an event yesterday hosted by ASALH..It was an awesome! story ‘sung’ of the history and journey of songs created by Blacks here in America..From spirituals which then graduated in later years to Gospel and Blues and Jazz and R & B and etc etc …What an emotional and moving hour it was! I learned after that ASALH has a calendar of year-long events and programs..We’ve got a local chapter of ASALH that is very active..I also learned that the National chapter is alive and well..They’re bring our story to life! And I wanted to bring it here to share with you..Anyways, until I write/read y’all again stay blessed and surrounded by love. 4ever Sincere , Berna(the 1 & Only)

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*Black History Month 2014 Theme is*Civil Rights in America*

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Every Black History Month has a theme..The theme for Black History Month 2014 is ‘Civil Rights in America’ It gives tribute to the golden jubilee of the Civil Rights Act..Signed on July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson..That act stated the following..

**”We believe that all men are created equal—yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain inalienable rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty—yet millions are being deprived of those blessings, not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skins.

The reasons are deeply embedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand without rancor or hatred how all this happens. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I sign tonight forbids it.”**

***
This year begins the sixth decade since Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington. Yet, more than 50 years after that historic march, we still are marching for both freedom and jobs.

To paraphrase Dr. King: we cannot be satisfied while any American cannot vote; nor can we be satisfied when far too many Americans believe that they have no reason to vote.

Confronted by unacceptable levels of unemployment, inequality and voter suppression, far too many of our fellow Americans remain trapped by the most crippling segregation of all: the segregation from hope as a result of poverty.

President Obama has challenged each of us to join him in overcoming this “defining challenge of our time—the dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain: that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.”***

I’ll end this topic with a quote from President Barack Obama during his presidential proclamation for Black History Month 2014..”As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.”

As we all know our country’s civil right struggles aren’t limited to our history. Now, we are the Americans who must organize, mobilize and fight the good fight“>>Quote by Congressman Elijah Cummings

Black History Salute*Promise 2 Former Slaves*40 Acres & a Mule

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Many of us have heard of the (broken) promise to newly freed slaves..Some parts of that part of history have been quoted with mistruths and little known facts..First and foremost General William T. Sherman in ‘Special Field Order 15′ promised 40 acres; but not the mule. The mule was added later..But what isn’t often told is how it all came about. It wasn’t a good will gesture made by General William T. Sherman alone..It was prompted by the direct result of a discussion (held 4 days before the order was announced) between General Sherman, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and 20 leaders of the Black community in Savannah, Georgia. The meeting was unprecedented in American history! And as much as I thought I knew about history and black history; I didn’t know until recently that black leaders were present in that discussion..

The ‘promised’ land was 400,000 acres( owned by confederate land owners) and was to be confiscated by the government and given to newly freed slaves so they could OWN their own land. Which , at the time, was a part of the American dream..As it still is! This promise was made to approximately 3.9 million former slaves..The land involved was describes in detail in this manner.. “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes [sic] now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”

Special Field Order 15 goes on to describe what is to be done with the land(totally run by newly freed slaves..) in this manner ” … each family shall have a plot of not more than (40) acres of tillable ground, and when it borders on some water channel, with not more than 800 feet water front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection, until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title.”

What is also little known is that the 20 black leaders who brought this idea to General William Sherman were ministers. 11 of them were born free men! 10 of them lived as free men during the Civil War; the remaining 9 freed due to the Emancipation Proclamation. When General Sherman asked the chosen spokesman, a Baptist minister named Garrison Frazier(a prior slave), what did the Negro want most . He said, “Land! That way we can take care of ourselves!”

The response to the Order was immediate. When the transcript of the meeting was reprinted in the black publication Christian Recorder, an editorial note intoned that “From this it will be seen that the colored people down South are not so dumb as many suppose them to be,” reflecting North-South, slave-free black class tensions that continued well into the modern civil rights movement. The effect throughout the South was electric: As Eric Foner explains, “the freedmen hastened to take advantage of the Order.” Baptist minister Ulysses L. Houston, one of the group that had met with Sherman, led 1,000 blacks to Skidaway Island, Ga., where they established a self-governing community with Houston as the “black governor.” And by June, “40,000 freedmen had been settled on 400,000 acres of ‘Sherman Land.’ ” By the way, Sherman later ordered that the army could lend the new settlers mules; hence the phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”...

..And what happened to this astonishingly visionary program, which would have fundamentally altered the course of American race relations? Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and a sympathizer with the South, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865, and, as Barton Myers sadly concludes, “returned the land along the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it” — to the very people who had declared war on the United States of America…

I imagine a very different America IF this promise had been kept! I imagine things would’ve and could’ve rightfully been half-arsed set right had a broken promise not come behind years of enslavement..I can’t imagine how broken those ministers(not to mention the almost 4 million newly freed slaves..) felt when that happened. Trust levels broken down at the deepest level(s) for 246 years & then THIS..Given something one minute & promised a chance for …For what? A piece of the American Dream? Freedom? Equality? Are we there YET?

NOI – Ten Best White Lies

bernasvibe:

Because the truth matters & should be shared>>Re-blogged by Berna from the Too Much Black blog

Originally posted on Too Much Black:

Keep Trying - BenowskiTen Best Lies of Black History
By NOI Research Group (2013)

Lie #1
Whites were the first people on earth.

As long as Mendel’s Law is in effect Whites can never be the first humans. This is the law of biology that asserts that white skin is recessive and black skin is dominant, which means that two whites cannot produce anything darker than themselves. This is why ALL those seeking the origin of human beings start and end in Africa.

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Black History Salute(&Future)*Jordan Davis Tribute*60 years is ‘not’ enough

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The partial verdict has been decided regarding the murder of Jordan Davis..An un-armed 17-year-old African-American murdered for playing music ‘too loud'(according to his murderer) ; while sitting in a SUV with friends..Three counts of attempted-murder have returned a guilty sentence of more than 60 years..It is my belief that is NOT enough. The fact that the murderer, Michael Dunn, wasn’t convicted on the first-degree murder charge; again sends a message that the life of a Black male in America is worthless..I’m far too passionate about this topic to speak or write too much about it at this time..It’s a very open wound and a band-aid can’t fix it. Not in yesteryears and certainly not now.

What I will say is IF Dunn had minded his own business, not decided is was HIS right to tell anyone to lower their music, and not FELT(& thought!) he could shoot 10 bullets into an SUV with Black male youth in it; Jordan Davis would be alive . TEN bullets shot into a vehicle with unarmed Black youth who were simply listening to music. If the implications of that don’t horrify every parent reading this? Something is truly wrong with society! As a mother of 3 Black sons? It is the type of ish! that keeps me awake at night..I don’t need to watch horror movies(which I don’t; well least not without covering my eyes) with this real-life horror happening. It is my belief the Stand Your Ground Law is equal to the old Jim Crow lynching laws..Dunn said, ” It was a life and death” situation. With that I agree! It was Jordan Davis’s life and it was Jordan Davis’s death.

The future of Black men in America (and all POC, people of color) is necessary, priceless and mandatory. Just repealing the Stand Your Ground Laws(though I feel that is necessary) isn’t enough though..It IS the mindset that must be extinguished.

Earliest Blood Banks Separated Blood by RACE and yet…*Black History Salute

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..the person who invented blood banks was Black!

Charles Richard Drew already had an M.D. and a Master of Surgery degree when he went to Columbia University in 1938 to earn a Doctor of Medical Science degree. While there, he became interested in researching the preservation of blood. Drew discovered a method of separating red blood cells from plasma and then storing the two components separately. This new process allowed blood to be stored for more than a week, which was the maximum at that time. The ability to store blood (or, as Drew called it, banking the blood) for longer periods of time meant that more people could receive transfusions. Drew documented these findings in a paper that led to the first blood bank.

After completing his studies, Drew began working with the military. First, he supervised blood preservation and delivery in World War II, and then he set up a blood bank for the U.S. Army and Navy that serves as the model for blood banks today. However, Drew resigned his position because the armed forces insisted on separating blood by race and providing white soldiers with blood donated from white people. Drew knew that race made no difference in blood composition, and he felt that this unnecessary segregation would cost too many lives.

Niagara Movement*Forerunner of NAACP*Black History Salute

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Niagara Movement, (1905–10), organization of black intellectuals led by W.E.B. Du Bois and calling for full political, civil, and social rights for black Americans. This stance stood in notable contrast to the accommodation philosophy proposed by Booker T. Washington in the Atlanta Compromise of 1895. The Niagara Movement was the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the summer of 1905, 29 prominent blacks, including Du Bois, met secretly at Niagara Falls, Ont., and drew up a manifesto calling for full civil liberties, abolition of racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. Subsequent annual meetings were held in such symbolic locations as Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

Despite the establishment of 30 branches and the achievement of a few scattered civil-rights victories at the local level, the group suffered from organizational weakness and lack of funds as well as a permanent headquarters or staff, and it never was able to attract mass support. After the Springfield (Ill.) Race Riot of 1908, however, white liberals joined with the nucleus of Niagara “militants” and founded the NAACP the following year. The Niagara Movement disbanded in 1910, with the leadership of Du Bois forming the main continuity between the two organizations.

**Info from Encyclopedia Britannica*

*Founded, Financed, & Governed by African-Americans*Discrimination FREE Cali Town

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Colonel Allen Allensworth along with 4 other settlers ; believed they could create their version of the “American Dream”. In August 1908 they established a town which became the only California town founded, financed and governed by Blacks..Their dream of developing an abundant and thriving community stemmed directly from a strong belief in programs that allowed blacks to help themselves create better lives.. By 1910 Allensworth’s success was the focus of many national newspaper articles praising the town and its inhabitants.

An unavoidable set of circumstances made it impossible for the residents of this tiny town located 30 miles north of Bakersfield to achieve their founders’ dreams over the long term. But the town did remain home to a handful of families and individuals throughout the 20th century, and true to the courage and resolve of its founders, the town has survived and persevered, earning the well-deserved title “The town that refused to die.”

In 1974 California State Parks purchased land within the historical townsite of Allensworth, and it became Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Today a collection of lovingly restored and reconstructed early 20th-century buildings—including the Colonel’s house, historic schoolhouse, Baptist church, and library—once again dots this flat farm country, giving new life to the dreams of these visionary pioneers.

With continuing restoration and special events, the town is coming back to life as a state historic park. The park’s visitor center features a film about the site. A yearly rededication ceremony reaffirms the vision of the pioneers…

(Facts pulled from California Department of Parks & Recreation)

Ancestors Tribute

bernasvibe:

All month I’m only re-blogging Black History Tributes or related subject matter..This one certainly qualifies! >>Re-blogged by Berna from the Sisterhood Agenda

Originally posted on Sisterhood Agenda:

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Ancestors Tribute. Photo: Carolyn A. Butts

Ancestors Tribute. Photo: Carolyn A. Butts

Dear Friends,

In honor the poets, artists and cultural leaders we lost last year, African Voices is planning a special ancestors issue for Spring 2014. We will pay tribute to Jitu K. Weusi, Amiri Baraka, John Watsui Branch and Sister Fabyiene Miranda. The powerful souls who made transition within the past year is mind blowing — our whole universe has shifted axis.

Please contribute to our tribute list. If you have a loved one who has made an impact on your life and others as a mentor or creative inspiration, we are inviting you to send poems, a short dedication on your loved one’s life and community contributions with a photo if you have one.

We will select as many as we can for African Voices’ print and online editions. Submissions deadline: Feb. 12, 2014. E-mail:ancestorstribute@hotmail.com.

Peace, Carolyn
www.africanvoices.com

 

 

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For-Profit Colleges: What’s Race Got To Do With It?

bernasvibe:

Re-blogged by Berna from the Tressiemc Blog because education ‘matters’. Alot!

Originally posted on tressiemc:

This week I will presenting findings from my study on race, class, gender and for-profit colleges. Slide01

There is a sense that race has something to do with for-profit college enrollment. There are the brown faces in ads and Claire Huxtable as the official voice of the University of Phoenix. Trend data certainly supports this visceral read of the for-profit college landscape: African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be enrolled in a for-profit college than are Whites.

Yet, empirical tests on race and enrollment choice are inconclusive.

What gives? Does race have anything to do with for-profit college enrollment?

Slide03

I will discuss the theoretical weaknesses of rational choice models of college choice when status is variable. I base the framework on findings from my multiphase qualitative study of college admissions at for-profit colleges and interviews with for-profit students. I argue for a framework of credential-seeking logics, embedded motivation, and…

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Feb. 8 Salute to Black History*1894 Congress Repeals the Enforcement Act*Rise & Fall of Jim Crow

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**There are many reasons why I feel we must all continue to maintain our right to vote.. Many folks these days apparently think our rights can’t be revoked..I humbly suggest they READ up on the history of our country.(and etc…) **

January 8, 1894. Congress repeals the Enforcement Act, which then made it easier for some states to disenfranchise African-American voters. FACT

Once Congress passed the Enforcement acts, President Grant decreed that “insurgents were in rebellion against the authority of the United States.”Between 1870 and 1871 Congress passed the Enforcement Acts — criminal codes that protected blacks’ right to vote, hold office, serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws. If the states failed to act, the laws allowed the federal government to intervene. The target of the acts was the Ku Klux Klan, whose members were murdering many blacks and some whites because they voted, held office, or were involved with schools.
Many states were afraid to take strong action against the Klan either because the political leaders sympathized with the Klan, were members, or because they were too weak to act. A number of Republican governors were afraid of sending black militia troops to fight the Klan for fear of triggering a race war. But once Congress passed the Enforcement Acts, the situation shifted. One of the Acts, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, made private criminal acts federal crimes; consequently, President Grant decreed that “insurgents were in rebellion against the authority of the United States.” He sent federal troops to restore law and order to many areas where violence was raging at its worst.

In nine counties of South Carolina, martial law was declared and Klansmen were tried before predominantly black juries. Much of the credit for prosecuting the Klan belonged to Amos Ackerman, Grant’s Attorney General, who did his best to make the country aware of the extent of Klan violence. As a result of his efforts, a few hundred Klansmen were tried and sent to jail. Thousands of others fled or were let off with fines or warnings. By 1872, the Klan as an organization was broken. By the time the terror ended, thousands of blacks and hundreds of whites had been massacred or driven from their homes and communities. For a moment, it seemed that peace and Republican rule was restored. Yet within a few years, the terror was reborn and Reconstruction officially ended.

And then on January 8, 1894 the Enforcement Act was repealed~(To Be Continued)

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