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!..
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..
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)
*I’ve seen a lot of amazing & fabulous tributes to Black History Month..But this one, by far, is the absolute best! Major props & credit to Dr. Alice Tyler Milton for this invaluable tribute to Black History Month*
The Father of Black History Month was a man born to parents who were former slaves..He spent his entire childhood working in Kentucky coal mines..At the age of 20? Enrolled in high school! ONE year later though he graduated and later went on to earn his PhD in history from Harvard. Thus becoming the second Black American to earn a doctorate(the first was W.E.B.DuBois) He was disturbed that history books largely ignored Blacks(and their accomplishments/contributions) & that was his motivation in launching , Negro History Week in 1926. Negro History Week was later established as Black History Month in 1976..
February was chosen by Dr. Woodson because it marks the birthdays of two men who had a heavy influence on Black Americans. Frederick Douglass(Black American Abolitionist ) and President Abraham Lincoln(Issued Emancipation Proclamation executive order) But here are a few other notable Black History February happenings..
February 23, 1868. W.E.B. DuBois, civil rights leader and co-founder of NAACP was born.
February 3, 1870. The 15th Amendment was passed, granting Black Americans the RIGHT to vote.
February 12, 1909. The NAACP(The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded by a group of concerned Black and WHITE citizens in New York City
February 1, 1960. A group of Black Greensboro, N.C. college students began a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter
I’ll continue to not only support & celebrate Black History Month ; but also counter naysayers who feel it isn’t longer necessary..Until racism no longer exists in abundance Black History Month IS necessary..It is necessary because it supplies the masses with positive facts and contributions of Black Americans to society..Versus the consistent and ever-growing list of negative images and false stereotypes! February is going to be a fabulous month of learning & sharing..I’m ready! And I hope y’all are also. If you want to read up on Dr. Carter G. Woodson check out one of the BEST books I’ve ever read@ The Mis-Education of the Negro. An infamous quote from the book that I’ll never forget is “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary”
I’ve kept UP with the murder of Jonathon Ferrell..BLACK/24 years old/Worked TWO jobs to put himself through college/Shot DEAD 10 times by a Charlotte police officer in September 2013…Former FAMU student/football had recently transferred schools to be near his fiancé in Charlotte..Shot 10 TIMES by Officer Kerrick after being in a car accident & walking to a near by home for help..Sound familiar??? Yesterday the grand jury decided NOT to indict officer Randall Kerrick..Ferrell had NO weapon & Officer Kerrick claims he was assaulted by UNKNOWN means..The Attorney General’s office is re-submitting the voluntary manslaughter charges..The family of Jonathon Ferrell is ‘skeptical” about getting justice..I don’t blame them! It is target season on Black males in America! I thought long and hard about writing a piece on this, to vent out how I feel about it..Then I ran across a piece by another mother(& a lawyer) that says it ALL & far better than I’m capable of doing..It is highly personal to me..Last year I called all 3 of my Black sons; and begged them NOT to wear a hoodie! THAT IS BEYOND RIDICULOUS; but its true. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m ashamed this is OUR reality in America. I’m dropping the link for the piece Shanikka wrote for The Kos..She wrote it 2 years ago & the senseless, race-incited murders(& NO justice..) are still happening..Until more people stand UP & let it be known this isn’t right; it won’t end. Stop the violence. Make stricter gun laws or BAN them. STOP KILLING OUR BLACK MALES!!!
..EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT IN THE END. IF ITS NOT, THEN IT’S NOT THE END! THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES & THE DREAM LIVES ON, IN ALL OF US..
…January 20, 2014 is Martin Luther King, Jr Day in the United States..Here are a few little known facts about the man who is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. He was a Christian American Pastor, A Husband, A Father, A PhD!, An Activist, A Humanitarian, And a LEADER in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and the FIRST Black man behind a federal holiday in America..WOW, wow, and I’m still wow’ed when I think/reflect on the DIFFERENCE one person can make..Before I sign off I’d like to once again say THANK YOU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr for ALL that you were & did for me, mine and America. Your ultimate sacrifice wasn’t in vain; you’ll never, ever be forgotten!
His name was originally Michael…When his Father changed his own name , to give tribute, to German theologian Martin Luther..He also changed his son’s name. Martin Luther King , Jr was 2 years old when his name was changed.
The switchboard operator of the Lorraine Bailey hotel(where MLK, Jr was murdered..) and co-owner of the hotel; Lorraine Bailey; died due to the heart attack she had upon seeing King was shot..
MLK, Jr skipped 2 grades! in high school..9th & 11th..He was 15 years old when he entered Morehouse College..He was 19 when he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology..He had his PhD by age 25...
He almost didn’t become a minister..Had doubts about Christianity & the Bible and thought of becoming a doctor or lawyer..Later he decided the Bible had profound truths that one couldn’t escape...
He got a ‘C’ in his first year , in public speaking, at the seminary..God only knows the truth of why the professor gave a ‘C’ to someone who by his final year had straight ‘A’s’, was valedictorian & president of student body and the BEST public speaker of all time!!!..
To date he’s the youngest male to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize at 35 yrs old..
His house was once BOMBED..During the Montgomery Bus Boycott (which lasted over a year @ 385 days!)
His mother, Alberta Williams King, was also murdered. She was killed while attending church in Atlanta in 1974 by a 23-year-old man, Marcus Wayne Chenault, who believed “all Christians are my enemies”. He shot and killed her while she was playing organ at the church...
King Jr.’s autopsy revealed that stress had taken a major toll on his body. Despite being just 39 at the time of his death, one of the doctors noted that he had “the heart of a 60-year-old”...
It wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The last states to join up where Arizona in 1992, New Hampshire in 1999, and Utah in 2000. The holiday itself was originally signed into federal law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, with the first MLK holiday on January 20, 1986.
Today over 700 streets in the Unites States are named after Martin Luther King Jr., with one such street in almost every major city. This is not even counting the amazing number of buildings, schools, and the like named after him.
Non-violent resistance is not for cowards. It is not a quiet, passive acceptance of evil. One is passive and non-violent physically, but very active spiritually, always seeking ways to persuade the opponent of advantages to the way of love, cooperation, and peace...
I’m going to close this up with one of my fave quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr..About his dream for his children..And today almost 50 years later! I’ve got that very same DREAM for my 3 remarkable Black sons! Let’s let this MLK, Jr day be a day ON ; not just a day OFF…Live/Love/Laugh.Until I read/write y’all again stay lifted and remember to count your blessings every, single day. 4ever Sincere, Berna(the 1 & Only)
The 2016 Presidential Election will be upon us before we know it..Are you ready? I admit I’m not! But I’m doing my homework early…Got me to wondering how many people out there, that vote, read/research/partake in due diligence prior to voting..Did y’all know that the electoral college was, in part, created (yep, by our Founding Fathers) on the premise that Americans would NOT make INTELLIGENT decisions..How’s many shades of dumb does that make you feel??? Didn’t make me feel dumb when I learned that; made me spitting MAD..As IF..For that simple reason and a slew of others I believe that the Electoral College is VERY outdated and no longer needed. Period..Mayhaps in an age where communication cross-country was by pony express, just maybe, it was necessary way back when..But these days with the ever-growing technology and the internet? NO WAY do we need the Electoral College; and that is just a tiny bit of things I think need to CHANGE to bring American politics from the 18th century to the 21st century. Certainly, what made sense back then is no longer true for the here and now>>
Yet my mind can’t help but trip over thoughts on this truly relevant topic..How MANY Americans even know what the Founding Fathers adopted? (or the whys..) How many Americans KNOW what the Electoral College IS? How many Americans know what the Constitution consists of? How many Americans know there are many national political parties other than Democratic & Republican? Like the American Beer Drinker’s Party/The Being Human Party/The Pot Party/The Party X/The Thermodynamic Law Party..& the list goes on..As I looked over the entire list I had thoughts of wtF! and OMG..All this splintering off, of viable votes, just because folks have become SO disenchanted with the current 2 party system..Not to mention those who don’t vote at all! >>
I refuse to NOT vote..Far too many of my ancestors(and yours..) have died for OUR right to vote..Double as much for me as a Black American Woman..Likewise though I also refuse to not make an educated vote..Or least as educated as I possibly can. With all my might I’m praying a lot more of my fellow Americans will do the same. There IS no excuse with the wealth of information at our fingertips and within library/bookstore walls..Still time to get onto the task of getting educated..I’m going to drop a link for any/all to peruse..And I welcome others to use this post to do the same. Let’s get ready for 2016 before we enter the voting booth! Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever Sincere, Berna(the 1 & Only)
Direct link to The Constitution via our White House website..A good place to begin for those that seek to learn more about our political system>>
The topic about Black American women and OUR hair issues keeps coming UP; so might as well go ahead and open it up for discussion…Again! Hang on tight though because I’m truly on 1 & going to write it out as I ride it out>>
Viola Davis: ‘I Took My Wig Off Because I No Longer Wanted to Apologize for Who I Am‘>>
Viola Davis recently said this & when I heard it? My eyes filled UP with tears! I didn’t realize until that moment that IS exactly what WE are doing anytime WE don’t wear our natural hair…And? That includes relaxing it. Even IF it’s a mild relaxer; which by the way would include ME. Oh, but this is such a personal topic..>>
First things first..The word NAPPY was not created to describe Black hair..That, sadly enough, is something Blacks did on their own. Using the word NAPPY as a negative note to Black hair in its natural state. Why, one might ask, would Black folks describe their OWN hair in a negative manner? Hmmmmm It would take going far back-in-the-day to pin down exactly when it was determined that wearing Black hair in its natural state was a BAD thing..Was it something Blacks sat down & thought of on their own? Or were they conditioned to believe their hair was ugly? >>
Allow me to backtrack for a minute…When I was a pre-teen the IN thing was to sport a fro! Yes, the 70s was a time of picks, fro’s, and afro sheen! Anyone out there remember those days??? Lawd, I had a natural curly fro SO big that it resembled this picture..(I really wish I could find the picture of me with me fro; if I find it later I’ll post it here..
Then suddenly it was no longer hip or cool to sport a fro…Next thing I know I’d have to sit for hours! having my hair hot pressed in our kitchen by my Mom..Took hours because I had/have a ton of hair..I clearly recall(even though it was a longgg time ago) the smell of the grease mixing with the heat & flinching if the hot comb got too close to my face>>
Fast forward a few years & next began getting my hair relaxed..Another process that took hours upon hours. By the time I left home as a young woman? I did NOT know how to style my own natural hair..Not only that I’d grown so used to having it in relaxed form; it became my idea of what it meant for me to look GOOD. To even think of wearing it in its natural thick state was a no-no…
Fast forward to the year 2013..There is a BIG movement of Black women wearing their hair in its natural state..Even my own Mom at 72 yrs of age finally went natural this year..And beautiful woman that she IS; she looks amazing and FREE>>
Recently Sheryl Underwood(who I dig as a comedian) made ugly comments about natural Black hair..Which she has since apologized for..BUT the damage is done! Problem is she said it in front of America; and more importantly TONS of Black children heard/saw/read her say it…I realize many Black parents don’t realize the message they send Black children when…a. relax or straighten their children’s hair b. use the word nappy to describe Black hair c. use the terms good & bad grains of hair…However, it keeps the mindset going from generation to generation that natural Black hair is not a good thing. And I’m of the opinion that doing so? Can cause severe identity issues..So much so that some Black adults do NOT even realize they’re held captive in the chains of slavery>>
Personally? I am absolutely ELATED every time I see a younger Sista sporting a natural hair style..And the conversations I’ve had with some of them & they say they REFUSE to straighten their daughter’s hair; due to the message it sends them? I love IT..Wigs & weaves has never been my style; but same message is being sent. And costly! Relaxers also though..Every 8 weeks I’m dropping mega bucks for someone else to do MY hair..That is money I could be buying shoes with. Lol! The good news? I’m inching closer & closer to transitioning over..BUT I refuse to cut my hair; I love the versatility of having long hair ..Can choose to wear it in so many , many styles; and I do. But once I find a professional that won’t charge me a grip to teach me how to make the transition? I WILL BE SPORTING A NATURAL ‘DO. Like these..>>
Anyone recently transition from relaxed to natural? If so, feel free to drop some tips..Lets rap!
..~~Some of the BEST moments in life are the ones you cannot tell anyone about…~~
I was nominated for the BEST MOMENT award..Woooo hoooo..As a new blogger its awesome to be read & appreciated by fellow bloggers..My list of over 130 blog spots on WordPress is an amazing list..Chocked full of people I’d never met before I joined WordPress almost a year ago..(with the exception of the person who introduced me to WordPress..) It is with pride I’ll display my BEST MOMENT award logo on my page & sincere thanks to ‘mishunderstood’ for the nomination.Also many thanks for making me feel so VERY special when I recently joined the Fabulous 50s group! I’ll first list my nominees & then the rules of this award(I changed the 15 nominees to 7..Choosing 7 was tough! But 7 is after all a lucky number..) Well actually first check out the link to ‘mishunderstood’s’ blog spot; she always has something positive to read or look at(pictures) on her blog. http://mishunderstood.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/best-moments/
My first nominee is one of the very first blog spots I became hooked ON..He uses humor , wit, and a ton of intelligence to share insightful/POLITICAL, and current events from our country to all over the world..He keeps us abreast of important matters; while also making us smile..Even when it’s not good NEWS. The one & ONLY , List of X.
This next nominee is tied for my #1 fave WordPress blog..He IS always in touch with anything there is to know or read about affairs in D.C..and all political matters of great concern. He researches and lays the FACTS out and always has interesting comments from his loyal audience..He also shares my loyalty in following & supporting our POTUS@ President Barack Obama..And the pictures on his blog site are always a pleasure to see..He’s a true OBAMACRAT through & through! He’s included ALOT of facts/stories about Black History that I personally feel every American could benefit from reading..
When I want my spiritual fix on WordPress this is my go-to spot! She’s my Sista & my church sister; and she’s the one who introduced me to WordPress..Relentless, hard-working, and the QUEEN of multi-tasking..*round of applause* and Yay!
I stumbled across this next blog site because it was Freshly Pressed months ago..A story about her beautiful daughter’s smile! There is always something joyful, beautiful , insightful to read on her blog spot..Hails from Africa and she has a heart of GOLD. So very glad I can call her ‘friend’..
Her name says it ALL..She IS an AWAKE Black Woman..A TON of insight on her blog spot! I’ve yet to read all of it, yet, when I’m reading there I almost always learn something NEW..She’s also included many, many links on her page to other blog sites that are positive & cultural.
This next blog spot spreads a positive message..I always have a warm & fuzzy feeling after reading and sharing comments on his page..
This blog spot is one of the most recent I’ve added to my faves list..I’ve enjoyed interacting with her on both of our spots..Yet another blog spot that I get that nice warm & fuzzy feeling after reading there.
** The rules are as follows for all nominees; including myself(I’ll list my two lists of 7 following the rules) Nominees should do the following(if you wish)=
1. Copy and post the BEST MOMENTS logo on your blog page. (You’ll see mine freshly posted in my side bar)
2. Link back to the person who nominated you…
3. State 7 things about yourself…
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers
5. Name 7 moments you experienced that are dear to your heart..
*** Here are my 2 lists**
7 Things About Myself=
1. I’m a TRUE Cancer in almost every sense of the word..With the exception of the moody part..Thankfully I grew out of that as I grew older/matured/evolved..Born under a water sign I absolutely LOVE the water! Imaginative/intuitive/loyal/loving/nurturing/emotional/& protective are some of the positive traits of a Cancer..
2. My favorite saying that I try hard to live by? LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH.
3. Not many people I’ve met and/or friended in my entire lifetime; that I’m not still good friends with. Including both of my X’s & my X inlaws..My Xmominlaw still calls me daughter & even cross-country we speak often. I treat people as I want to be treated. What you see is what you get..IF I don’t care for ‘ya? I won’t spend time around you. There aren’t many people I can’t find at least one nice thing to say about them..
4. I am an admitted NEAT freak! I can’t think clearly in cluttered or dirty environments…
5. I absolutely LOVE talking to people! Not too many places I go(even the library..though I try to whisper) that someone doesn’t speak to me. This I feel has allowed me to meet people of ALL backgrounds/cultures/genders..love IT
6. I hated liver as a child. I STILL hate it as an adult. Exclamation mark. Period.
7. If I break bread with a person it means I consider them a friend..Meal times were always special times when I was growing up. And for me? It still is.
7 Moments I Hold Dear in my Heart=
1. The moment I held each of my 3 sons in my arms moments after they were born..NOTHING in my life tops that.
2. The first time my Daddy told me he was proud of ME.
3. The moment I realized as a young woman; that my Momma was always going to be my best friend.
4. The moment my now ex husband told me he couldn’t see his life without me in it..And is one of the reasons we’re still good friends till this day. (even cross-country)
5. The moments I watched my sons graduate from high school/graduate school/and soon we’ll watch our first family PhD graduate. It’s so very nice to be a part of such progression..
6. Being able to help host a 50th wedding anniversary dinner/party for my parents last year…Their LOVE has been an amazing thing to see/watch all of my life
7. When I stood on a California spoken word stage at 45 yrs old with knees & nerves shaking to perform a tribute I’d written to Black Women…Some of the beautiful moments in life are the ones we think we don’t have the nerve to DO; but we do it anyway!
**BONUS BEST MOMENT** Don’t want to mess up the lucky 7 roll, BUT , I’ve got to add this..When my best friend of 30yrs plus stood in front of all at my 50th Bday bash this past July & recited a poem she’d written in honor of our friendship. I didn’t even know she wrote poetry..Amazing after 30 yrs can still learn new things about those in our lives..Truly a moment to be cherished I won’t ever, ever 4get..Mad love & regard Lizzard!!!
““More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began,” Alexander, an Ohio State law professor, recently told listeners at the Pasadena Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union….” Quote taken from article written March 2011 regarding stats in Michelle Alexander’s book>
Alexander’s seminal book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” argues that prisons have become the latest form of economic and social disenfranchisement for young folks of color, particularly black men. In it, she grapples with a central question: If crime rates have fluctuated over the years and are now at historical lows, then why have rates of incarcerated men of color skyrocketed over the past 30 years? <
~For those that are just tuning IN..I’m utilizing the month of Black History Month to talk about Black specific topics that the masses either a. On a grand scale don’t want to think/talk about because “not” being aware is easier than dealing with reality b. Far too busy with their lives to worry about the lives of the future generation c. Just don’t care d. prefer to keep their heads in the sand and just tend to “self” e. don’t READ therefore honestly miss what goes on in the world around them. f. Are aware and are raising well-grounded /well-taught children/mentoring/outreach to the at-risk community, etc g. Did I leave anyone out? Bottom line IS there is no time like the present; especially Black History Month to talk about some of “tougher” topics regarding Black America. What better place than in an environment that receives 402 MILLION readers of 4.1 BILLION pages a month? WordPress. A site I love dearly! A site I didn’t even know how to navigate on a mere 3 months ago when I began here…I’m cognizant with EVERY single keystroke that my words here are a carbon print that will last forever…I don’t take that lightly. Now back 2 the topic at hand. I’m going to post a few alarming statistics and attempt to give this topic the due JUSTice it deserves…
Let that sink in for a minute into every pore of your being..
**The way I see IT is pretty simple. Any time you’ve got more people IN the penal system; than IN college(or in the education system period…) that surrounding/environment/society/and in this case an ENTIRE race/class/segment of society will suffer in a negative manner. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. And I’m far from being that..nevertheless as a Black Mother/Ma/Moms/Mom myself I’m beyond concerned about this issue. Even from the viewpoint of being an American citizen, born & bred & LOVE my country ’tis of thee I’m frightened when I see the statistics. As a former state prison employee I cried MANY a tear seeing upclose and personal the young Black youth behind bars. Just weeped uncontrollably..mayhaps because I’m aware of the atrocious things that happen in prison is yet another reason I feel as I do. IF the current trend continues 1 out of EVERY 3 Black male adults will spend some time IN prison. I’m sorry folks but I see that as a reason to be alarmed..
Did you KNOW? That when many surveys are taken by government agencies they “exclude” the people from prison population from their research & findings?!? When they’re added back into the equation it dramatically alters the picture of the status of ..Black America. It isn’t a pretty picture. Over half of the 2.3 million people in American prisons are; BLACK. Even on a good day folks; how can that be a good thing? Just keep in mind there are NO good days behind bars..
DISCLAIMER: I’m NOT an advocate nor user of drugs. Nor am I saying that folks who break the law shouldn’t be PUNISHED..nonetheless there is a blatant “grey area” that mayhaps needs 2 be considered. <<<<
The question that BEGS to be answered is=WHY ARE SO MANY BLACK MEN LOCKED UP IN AMERICA? Well lets consider the war on drugs for a minute. By itself; the war on drugs has affected Black communities far more than others. Would you agree? There are increased arrests of Blacks for NON-violent offenses and yet…”There is NO evidence that drug use is dramatically different by race or ethnicity; but the pattern of arrests is very different. ” Quote from Ernest Drucker. Author of ‘A Plaque of Prisons’ Let that sink in for a minute…
Is it ANY small wonder, given the above happenstances, that as of Dec. 2012 ..a whopping 72% of Black American children are being raised in SINGLE parent homes?!? The media hypes up only the parts they like & dilute(or totally delete) the background info…yet! there is no excuse with the Internet ya’ll can’t do due diligence to find out the REAL scoop behind the scoop. What can WE do to stop this cycle ? My humble opinion is quite more than is being done on a grand scale..Often times when something seems SO monumental folks don’t know how or where to begin. The way I see it one by one we can do our part in various ways..Educate, educate, educate. For the remaining parents out there link UP together to raise YOUR children! Stop letting the boob tube, the internet, or their friends raise them…It is a parents JOB to arm a child with whatever they need to become PROductive good human beings. Don’t take on the task of being a parent if you’re not going to do the JOB. It is the most important JOB on the planet. Exclamation mark. Period..Far more than brand names clothes & overpriced tennis shoes children need guidance/discipline/and TONS of love. For folks who don’t have children mentor someone else’s. Even more so these days it truly takes a VILLAGE. My eldest son, who has NO children of his own AND is wrapping up his P H D, is presently going through the Big Brother interview process..to become a Big Brother. That is on top of his terribly busy schedule and mentoring his 2 younger brothers(my sons..) IF we all took on some small part to lend a hand; certainly the change can be great. At least that is the way I see it..
~Whether or not its a discussion as OLD as the hills; it is still sadly enough relevant in 2013. I’m willing to bet there isn’t a Black person in America who hasn’t been affected by the color issue . In some form or another..and the type I’m talking about is Black on Black. As funky as it IS and as mind blowing it is…Colorism is alive and well amongst us. Even for those folks who “think” they aren’t colorstruck. As simple as it might seem to “others” to NIP it; it is very complex indeed. Disclaimer: As always these are merely one person’s observations/experiences/opinion. Mine. Ready? Get set! Here I go head first , again….
I recall watching my teenage heart throb(is that phrase even used nowadays? oh well, I’m old skool till the day I die…) beholder of the handsome face plastered allllll over my bedroom walls on posters; slowly MORPH into something horrific. The once beautiful brown skin with the just PERFECT wide nose and the full , luscious lips just poof! …gone. I couldn’t for the life of me understand WHY someone with so much talent could HATE their brown skin /Black features enough to do that to themselves. What happened to MY Michael??? Object of sooo many of my naive teenage dreams? Author of the OFF THE WALL album which was the BEST album of the century? How could he possibly have NOT liked himself when I and millions of others loved him so??? I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. How could anyone NOT love being BLACK?…..
So that was about the time I decided to dig a little deeper…Taking mental notes of my own personal experiences as well as reading, reading , reading about others experiences. And of course quietly observing…
Before I delve deeper let me preface by saying..I LOVE BEING BLACK. Exclamation mark. Period..and I make no apology for it. Anyone who is anyone should be proud to be who they are and what they are..and if you don’t like who you are work to change IT. However, one’s skin color should be something to be proud of for it is given to us by GOD for a reason. Or least that is how I feel about it. IF he wanted us to be any other color certainly we’d have been born that way…OR better yet IF he wanted us to all look alike he’d have done that too! But it is my inherent belief he made us different colors for a reason…but that is another topic for another time.
So one might ask if being Black is so awesome; why does colorism exist? Why are we still stuck on being COLORstruck? Haven’t we evolved enough past slavery to get past THIS ?!? And we all know it stems from slavery; doesn’t it? Hmmmm Yep, my questions bring more questions that even I can only guess the answer to; or assume. Which I hate to do! So I began listening to others experiences…the pain!(like Michael Jackson’s ..) my people have gone through due simply to the color of their skin. IF a person keeps hearing or seeing over and over and over and over again negative connotations associated with “anything”(including their skin color) what will eventually happen? And what will that person then pass on to their children???
One way to change something is to start with changing our OWN behavior…Or whatever is possible to change within our power. I recall when my sons were much smaller…People would remark about their skin color being light or lighter or whatever. And the good hair comments OMG..WE have got to let go of that also. But that is another topic for another time…My response was always the same. Do NOT bring that mess around me or my sons! I won’t allow them to even think! they’re any less Black than anyone else due to their skin tone or hair. NOR will I let anyone else plant the seeds of those thoughts into their heads..What you do or say around your children is your business; but what you say around mine is MY business. And I was serious. Also, I ‘ve had people walk straight UP to me and ask “What are you. Are you mixed?” Wth? WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? I’m just good ole fashioned BLACK. Period. That has honestly been my response when anyone is ignorant enough to ask that question…I’d never ask anyone that, jeeeeez. Black IS Black folks. I don’t care if you’re one ounce Black…still BLACK. Sometimes I wish we’d gotten stuck in a time warp in the days of ‘Black is Beautiful!”..wasn’t that the 70s?
I once had a brother tell me, to my face!, that I wasn’t dark enough for him to date…WOW. Blew my hair back because I’d never been told that before. Least not to my face. Appreciated his honesty, but dang!, still hurt my feelings. What the heck can I do about my skin color? Not a dang thing; nor do I plan on “doing” anything about it ..except loving IT. By the way we “did” end up dating and he’s an outstanding brother(& one of my best friends in the world) that has no regrets…
We come in many shades that run the gamut …There are expectations/judgments/so called advantages/and slights that boost one shade of brown over another..It needs to NOT only be discussed but STOPPED. Generation after generation is carrying it forward. I recall when my youngest son started dating his high school sweetheart..first thing my ex husband said was”Whew! I’m glad to see he isn’t colorstruck!” Because she was dark-skinned..and my comment was”Why would he be? We raised him to not be; didn’t we?!? ” But then we talked about it and we really had NOT ever discussed it with our sons per se…all we did do though was not to label people by color. I’m not really sure what the answer is to stop colorism from continuing to re-cycle..I think one sure way to start though is by addressing it. We know it exists. And society knows it exists; google UP what Loreal did to Beyonce’s skin in an ad if you don’t believe me. We also know that it causes DIVISION, schism and contention among us as Blacks. We can either continue to just discuss it every Black History Month or whenever; and then forget about it. OR we can discuss it and act on changing our own behavior. One person at a time might start a movement to nip it..I think that just might be how major movements/CHANGE begins. Until I read/write ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 & only)
February is Black History Month in America…The controversial question that still begs 2 be answered IS= Does America really NEED a Black History Month? And if so, why is it important? Also, is ONE month tribute ENOUGH? For those that are BLACK; aren’t ya’ll BLACK every single day? For those that aren’t Black ; do you attempt to learn anything new regarding Black History during February? One last question I’ll give my views on= IS Black History Month just a “token” given to Blacks to put a band-aid on old wounds? WHY is it so difficult to have a decent, honest, OPEN dialogue about RACE still in America today? ~~~~~ First, a brief history lesson on how Black History Month came to be. Or do ya’ll already know? Oh well , for those that don’t know it began because of the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson & Rev. Jessie E. Moorland. Dr. Woodson was the former son of SLAVES and the SECOND Black person in history to receive a degree from Harvard University. Because Dr. Woodson felt preserving one’s heritage was important he urged the fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to create ‘Negro History and Literature Week’ in 1920. He “chose” February to honor two men who had a great deal to do with altering the future of Black Americans. President Abraham Lincoln and Abolitionist Frederick Douglas(both men were born in February) Thus the creation of what we now celebrate as Black History Month in America was born…
I’ll briefly answer my own questions I posed earlier..Later, I’ll dig deeper. First of all , NO, Black History Month, isn’t a “token” given to Blacks in America for any old wounds caused by years & years & years & YEARS of slavery…As I’ve briefly explained earlier Black History Month was created by a Black man for Black American citizens to feel a sense of PRIDE about themselves..Something that was badly neeeeeeded when he first worked so diligently to have it created. Next, do I feel America still needs a Black History Month? Yes, I sure DO…Why is Black History Month important? I’ll dig deeper into that later. Aren’t Black Americans Black & proud every day and not just during Black History Month? Well , I sure AM. Every morning when my feet hit the floor and I look in the mirror I know several things for sure. I AM BLACK. I am a WOMAN. I am a loved child of GOD. Not necessarily in that order but being Black is always first…and I make no apologies for that. But later I will try to explain why. And the last question=WHY in the heck is it so very difficult to have an open & honest dialogue(among Blacks , Whites, and any other race/color/creed) about RACE in America??????! Especially when WE all know it is still very much an issue in our country….
For the naysayers, Black and White, who want to keep their heads in the sand; and think RACE issues don’t still exist in our country…Ask President Obama’s good friend Henry Louis Gates, Jr if it does. A highly! educated Black man who in recent years was reminded that NO matter how educated he was/is..he is still BLACK. Not even being the close friend of the President of the United States could save him from public humiliation. Just because WE don’t discuss race issues doesn’t meant it isn’t still an issue…And mayhaps IF we did discuss it more(in a civil fashion..) it could finally begin to solve the issue. Unless you were blind and deaf you certainly have seen RACE raise its ugly head just prior to and since President Obama became President of the United States…I don’t have enough time to list all the ways but ya’ll can google all the incidents/things said/happenings if you don’t believe me..
In my opinion , Black History Month, is necessary to educate ALL American citizens..Quiet as kept there are MANY Blacks who don’t even know their own history! For IF they did why would “some” feel Black History Month is no longer necessary? Begun by a Black man to give Blacks a sense of pride; I truly think it is still needed for that very reason..and more. Mayhaps if other races are educated about Blacks the race issues would cease! As I’ve said many times before we are ALL far more alike ; than different. And often times ignorance about a topic can cause people to have distorted beliefs/thoughts about said topic. Note to parents: IF you’re depending on the American public educational system to teach your child about being BLACK or about other races or Black History …it won’t happen! Get them books, share their family tree with them/ share with them family history stories..etc..KNOWLEDGE is POWER. My sincere hope/prayer is that people are indeed learning something new every single time Black History Month rolls around…As much as I’ve studied Black History including my own family history; I’m still learning new things my dang self. It is closed minds that will take far longer to move past the old ways of thinking…
~~As a person I love ALL people…of all races/creeds/beliefs. As a Catholic Christian I know we are ALL loved children of GOD. I don’t understand how any Christian could with good conscience call themselves a Christian and yet HATE with the level of hate I’ve seen/witnessed/experienced! ; simply based on the color of one’s skin. Matter of fact there is no one on this planet I hate. There are a handful of people I ‘ve run into that I don’t care for; real talk. But I don’t hate them. I just don’t care to spend ANY of my precious time being around them nor speaking of them. And only one of them isn’t Black.. I’m still praying on how to get past that…never said I was perfect.
Quite honestly in recent years I’ve heard the N word used more by Blacks than anyone else..As a word of affection no less! What kind of shiiite is that?!? You can’t turn a WORD thats past is so negative that Blacks died cause they REFUSED to be called that word; into a positive word. I don’t care if it is JUST a word. I don’t allow it to be said in my surroundings . And I didn’t allow our sons to say it either…the ignorance has to stop somewhere. And I draw the line there. There is enough ignorance about what is or isn’t racism to wrap around our country a cazillion times..For the record there is a difference between racism and prejudice. Every time any of us labels a person by race, unless asked to describe someone by their race, we are exhibiting our prejudice. I’ve got my hand raised high; I’ve done it. And I try to catch myself but I’ve done it…I’m still working on that too. More proof I’m not perfect. In closing my sincere hope is that we can open up honest exchanges about RACE our country…Its past time. We’ve just TOGETHER put into office , for the 2nd time, the first ever Black man in the highest position of our country. That alone wasn’t enough to stomp out racism..Anyone who thought that was going to be enough wasn’t thinking logically. Rome wasn’t built in a day…nor can something so monumental be solved in one day or action. BUT we’re making progress…and that is wonderful! Like any good parent my DREAM is for my sons to live in a country that they are considered EQUAL…judged based not on the color of their skin..but ALLL of their years of education, their experience, their HEARTS, and all of their hard work. I co-raised my sons to LOVE all people and they do! I refused to teach them to hate..What we did do was teach them to be PROUD of who they are. Which includes embracing their Black heritage. One can’t know where the heck they’re going in life; if they don’t know who they are & where they’ve come from. And while I do have a preference for who will be my love mate/life mate; I’m not racist. Though! I’ve had White guys who have asked me out say they felt that was racist. It isn’t . It is a preference. I just happen to be HONEST about my preference from the jump…Chalk it up to the level of highest respect I have for my highest male role model. My Father/Daddy who is Black..Little girls either are attracted to men like their Fathers or the opposite…I fall into the first category. Think about the preferences people have with who they’re attracted to??? Blondes. Women with big boobs.(even if they’re FAKE) Women with small waists & big butts. Women with small waists/big butts & big boobs! How about women who won’t date a man under 6 foot? Or won’t date anyone that isn’t fit or fyneeeee as heck. My preference just happens to involve skin color. And I absolutely LOVE chocolate skin..and the swagger of a confident brother??? Omg, no substitute for that…. Also, if anyone out there reading this has anything to add or correct me on things I’ve written; feel free. I’m ready to rap if you are…4ever sincere, Berna (the 1 & only)
Why IS our country so obsessed with guns?!? And why does NRA have SO much pull it can toss loopholes(and has…) into even the best laid out plans to fix the gun issues in America like the Brady Bill? Mind you that was yet another time in history folks got all wound UP and decided to make a change to the guns laws…due to a violent act , by gun, against James Brady(was shot by Hinckley, Jr during an assassination attempt on Ronald Regan) WHY does their (..NRA’s) say or voice matter more than OURS; aren’t WE the people the ones whose VOTE is our voice?! And WHY does it take a violent act, by gun, against groups of children or government official to inspire politicians to do the RIGHT thing? IS the NRA paying off politicians or what?!?? And THIS question truly begs to be answered: WHO are all these Americans(including NRA members) stock piling guns UP to hunt ????? Hmmm think about that for a minute…
**And I know its out of desperation to save lives BUT..what a SHAMEful day it is that has come when WE there have to be ARMED guards in American elementary schools! A very SAD day indeed when parents have to be fearful when sending their young ones off to school..*shaking my head* After I cried a river of tears over the recent incident of “babies” slaughtered; my 2nd thoughts were THANK YOU GOD my sons are grown and finished with public schools(And yet! my sons are in college and I’ve lived to see folks NUT up and go shooting sprees on college campus as well) ..Who would’ve thought an American parent would ever fear sending their young one off to LEARN? Is this still America? Land of the free and my country “tis of thee ; of milk and honey. A country that boasts proudly of being the BEST place on earth…
Should it only be the parents of innocent children SHOT that speak UP for what is right and just? How many more shootings are going to take place before WE the PEOPLE stand UP and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH..Don’t we all deserve to feel safe while doing random things?!? Like walking into a movie theater to watch a movie. Like walking into a Walmart to shop. Like sending young children off to school. Like walking through a neighborhood wearing a HOODIE.
And then! 2 add insult to injury NATIONAL GUN DAY this year..was the very same weekend as Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. A man known for nonviolence who was himself gunned down & assassinated by a rifle. Talk about blantant-in-your-face-don’t-give-a-dayum-BOLD-moves…What did we do to try to nip it? Where was the outrage?!? Have we forgotten that multiple voices are amplified in great volume? Have we forgotten all that was accomplished during the civil rights movement by the masses?!? Has the majority just become a bunch of mute, drones going through motions of life but NOT trying to change things for the better? If things continue forward in this manner what will the next generation have to endure?
When will America wake UP? Or have we become a society that has accepted unanticipated & unprovoked violence with guns as the NORM? Do YOU feel as safe today walking about minding your own business; as you did even 5 years ago? It apparently can happen anywhere…from college campus to elementary school and anywhere in between. Land of the free? Truly home of the “brave” to walk about and feel free/secure/safe these days..Do NOT sit out on voting and or getting involved in YOUR/OUR country; get UP and do your part. Go to City Council meetings/learn the legislative process for heaven’s sake!/write to YOUR congressman to speak your disgust! with the lack of present gun laws/MAKE THE POLITICIANS WORK FOR THE SALARY/CUSH BENEFITS WE PAY FOR!..Many great changes took place right here in America from grass root efforts. Lest WE forget that ONE voice/one person! can start a momentum rolling…It only takes one very small spark to light a fire folks. Things are so OUT of control….but one can never lose HOPE that we can’t once again make AMERICA the great country it has the potential 2 B . WE can do this. It is time to help our President change things for the better. America has become the #1 spot in the world for obesity…Get OFF the couch and keeeeep it moving. WAKE UP AMERICA your children are dying far before they’ve lived their lives…Senior citizens who worked ALL their lives have to pick & frigging choose which meds they can afford..Working class folks have to WAIT to tend to medical needs..The American Dream of owning a home has become a distant dream to MANY..WE can do better! And we must…Our children/future grandchildren are watching & depending on us to do OUR part
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