Humiliation personified .. A surreal scene mayhaps for those who aren’t racist ; but for those of us Black Americans and minorities who have been there or seen it’s become an every day moment reality that still reeks of ISH.. Many of us , including myself!, have sons same age as the victims .. Makes it terribly personal .. And YES I said victims .. I’ve sat in MANY Starbucks from Barnes and Noble to Target stores and just SB sites ; and had meetings , link upS or just to hang out and READ.. I’ve used their restrooms whether I purchased a product or NOT.. And not once as an American Black woman have I been arrested .. Not 1 time from coast 2 Coast.. For the record to preface I’ve got a myriad of friends of all colors , sexual orientation and genders.. IF I must state I’m not racist here it IS I’m not , but what I am is a Black American woman proud of my culture and Co- parent of 3 amazing , astounding grown Black SONS .. And to quote former POTUS Obama this could’ve been one of MINE.. Honestly, I fully support and stand behind ANY person unjustly villified .. It just is not right to judge anyone , lest alone based on color of one’s skin color . These 2 college graduates weren’t wearing hoodies ! They weren’t thugs yet they were treated like thugs .. Like CRIMINALS.. Those words @ I feared for my life… I’ve heard from my own sons breathing while Black and innocent yet targeted .. For nothing .. Which IMO is the worst type of words a parent can hear from sons they’ve birthed and raised to do the RIGHT things .. Starbucks IMO let this manager who called the police OFF lightly .. Allowed her to resign , mutual parting , pfft! Many of US would’ve been FIRED for far less .. Now Starbucks due to many of US refusing to remain paying our big bucks to them ; is taking ONE day for racial unbiased training.. 1 DAY a month in advance to roll back how many years of racial ISH? Want to impress me? Why is it planned so far in advance ? Why not teach racial non bias as part of training ; period ? WE don’t need short term 1 day so called solutions .. Truth IS they hired a racist person ..What is the long term solution to keep that from happening again and again ? And mind you this isn’t an isolated Starbucks issue.. IMO with Trump thumping racist behavior and condoning it; this is becoming more and more common… Thankfully ! this time no one was murdered .. As a collective group Black and Brown have HUGE spending power .. I will not cater to companies who don’t treat those who look like ME with great fair customer service .. Ever .. Might mean being inconvenienced or making my own coffee or whatever .. But saving lives and dignity in the long run is worth it.. IF I was on fire ! and the only water available was in a Starbucks cup of coffee I would rather burn to death .. Period .. I recall when Starbucks had to close stores during the recession due to over saturation .. If it depends on my money , and I’m a coffee lover, they’ll close many more until they stand for fairness and equality . Let’s rap…
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)
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
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.
..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, (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*
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)
Going to try to write this out & articulate how I feel about it..So hang onto your hats, caps, wigs & weaves I’m diving in head first! Ready?>.
I’ve experienced something new for the past 2 years..Very new for me..Time after time I’ve been mistaken for other than; Black. Been asked IF I were a multitude of things..Hispanic, Latino, Puerto Rican, Brazilian, Dominican, and today? Panamanian. My response , more often than not, is simply..No, I’m just ole-fashioned BLACK American..The new part of it is that it is other Blacks that have asked the question..Great majority of my life Whites have always asked IF I’m mixed..I’m not totally sure WHY it mattered whether I was mixed or not! But I was a bit surprised, now, that I’m not the only Black in my environment(or part of only a handful as I was on the West Coast); that any type of questioning about what I am comes into question>>
At first I didn’t know how to handle it..The behind-my-back comments(& sometimes to my face..) about how I talk.(you don’t sound BLACK) About the texture/thickness /style of my hair(wow, its yours!) About my background(well, you can’t relate to us because of your background..) Etc, etc, yada yada..I won’t lie my emotions have ranged from flat-out pissed off to butt-hurt feelings..WHY does it matter? I am just ME..Black & proud American born Sista! And how come I’ve never been asked IF I’m African??? I find myself thirsting to know more & more of African culture these days..Thus? I would love to be mistaken for an African Nubian Queen! Yet? That never happens>>
Then today? It hit me! While conversing with someone new(Panamanian); I realized she just wanted to CONNECT…She said you look SO familiar to me & your features remind me of HOME..As I listened to her talk it became crystal clear to me..I feel it when I’m back in the place I call home @ New Orleans..Its a feeling of being HOME. A feeling of comfortability that I feel NO where else on the planet. A feeling of familiarity with people; even people I don’t know..It just feels GOOD. Could that be the reason why other folks want to label others as theirs? A sense of bonding..A need for connection. >>
I’ve said often I’m a people lover..And I truly AM..The more I learn about & from other people; the more I learn about myself..From now on I’m going to look at the question @Are you ____? ; as a GREAT opportunity to open dialogue about other Black cultures..I won’t take offense & instead look as a chance to teach and learn..Teachable moments. Love IT.
**EPISODE FOUR** “Making A Way Out Of No Way” Airing on PBS Tuesday 11/12/2013 8 p.m. ET/PT Check your local listings>>
During the Jim Crow era, African Americans struggled to build their own worlds within the harsh, narrow confines of segregation. At the turn of the 20th century, a steady stream of African Americans migrated away from the South, fleeing racial violence and searching for better opportunities in the North and the West. At the same time, there was an ascendance of black arts and culture, such as The Harlem Renaissance.
Making a Way Out of No Way is episode four of the six-part series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr
**EPISODE THREE** “Into The Fire” (1861-1896) Premieres Tuesday, November 5, 2013 @ 8 p.m. ET/PT >Check your local listing..Whatever you do; don’t miss IT!
Episode Two >> “The Age of Slavery* (1800 -1860) Due to air 10/29/2013(Check local listings)
…”The Age of Slavery illustrates how black lives changed dramatically in the aftermath of the American Revolution. For free black people in places like Philadelphia, these years were a time of tremendous opportunity. But for most African-Americans, this era represented a new nadir. The cotton industry fueled the rapid expansion of slavery into new territories, and a Second Middle Passage forcibly relocated African-Americans from the Upper South into the Deep South. Yet as slavery intensified, so did resistance. From individual acts to mass rebellions, African-Americans demonstrated their determination to undermine and ultimately eradicate slavery in every state in the nation. Courageous individuals, such as Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen and Frederick Douglass, played a crucial role in forcing the issue of slavery to the forefront of national politics, helping to create the momentum that would eventually bring the country to civil war…”
>>After watching Episode One on its 10/22/2013 air date..I decided I wanted to share with y’all about the PBS ongoing series..It is hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr and consists of six episodes..I’ve attempted to post a copy of the video preview for episode two; but it is registering an error message. Ugh! If nothing else hope this serves as a notice to all of the upcoming episodes. The first episode kept me glued to my seat for the entire hour! I’ll post air dates for episode three & on when it becomes available. If you missed episode one; it can be viewed online at PBS. (and quite possibly PBS will re-air it on TV until episode 2 airs) Feel free to post your comments here after viewing each episode..
Recently I read an article that was SO deep I feel compelled to share it..I’m of the belief that for every given situation; there IS a solution. Or in this case at least a way of dealing with the fall out..I’ve not yet learned how to link articles here to my WordPress blog..Therefore, I’ll do my best to take excerpts from the Essence article. Under the title @ ‘ Confronting Unconscious Bias’ written by Dr. David R. Williams (Harvard Sociologist & Professor of African and African-American studies and sociology)
> Here is how one can protect themselves from the effects of discrimination<
1. Take care of YOUR health. By managing what you eat and engaging in exercise and meditation, you minimize exposure to biases in health care. Learn as much as possible about health conditions you may have and question providers about treatment options. It’s also critical that you find safe places to talk through any discrimination you may face. Black health care providers need to be watchful of their own biases. We have to be vigilant because we are part of American society . We, too, have been fed the same soup.”
2. Reject stereotyping. Consciously choosing to act in opposition to the stereotypes you hold can make a profound difference in how you treat others. “If you think of a particular group as violent, try to imagine the individuals you encounter from that group as nonviolent,” says Williams, who advocates a broad approach to reducing the stereotyping of African-Americans.
3. Change the narrative. Policy makers need to refine the language used to discuss African-American issues and instead adopt language that folds Black people into the American story. “We’re learning that language like ‘leveling the playing field’ turns Republicans off, ” Williams explains. “You’ve lost them just by your choice of words,” What works better” “Increasing opportunity for ALL.“
4. Recognize the value of affirmation. Understanding family strengths and values is a powerful inoculation against negative messages. The research is definitive. If you mention Black stereotypes before giving Black students a test, they will do more poorly. Simple affirmations can counteract these negative messages. In one study, students were told to think of values that reflected who they were and to write a few paragraphs about which value was most important to them and why. “That was it. Took less than an hour, ” William says. The exercise improved Black students’ performance not just in the class in which they did the exercise but across the board, reducing the achievement gap between Black and White students by 50 percent!!!
5. Provide focused intervention. Interestingly, the affirmation exercise above had NO impact on White students’ performance. “They don’t need the intervention. But for those who need it, YOU provide it, ” Williams explains. “The fix is really so simple. And the quality of the science is SO good,” Williams says. >>
When my sons were younger I took parenting seriously. I , along with my co-parenting partner@my now ex husband & lifelong friend, attempted to arm our sons with the tools they’d need to maintain and rise UP above racial discrimination. Truly wish we’d had pro-active tips like this to share with them..Well folks that is a wrap for now. Any and all feedback is welcomed! Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere , Berna(the 1 & only)
..As time progresses post-the-VERDICT I’m absolutely astonished at the number of white folks across America(from reading blogs/news clips/articles) who are saying they just did NOT know racism still exists here..Whoa, WOW and Really?! I wonder where they were when the OVERwhelming amount of blatantly RACIST slurs, depictions & cartoon caricatures ; were splattered ALL over the Net during the past 2 Presidential Elections. (Not to mention the OPENLY racist comments of utter disrespect to President Obama from his D.C. peers) How in the heck did y’all miss all that?!? Led me to believe that the old adage/cliché is true..In life all of us “see” what we want to see; and ignore the rest. Some of us , are afforded the luxury, of being able to do that more than others. Personally? As a very proud Black American I’m here to profess WE have to keep our eyes , ears, and even our bodily pores! open & alert at ALL times…Fair? Nope, but it IS the way it is in America. Even in the 2013>>
^ EXACTLY what does this T-shirt mean? Want OUR country back from what? Or WHO? Again, I just can’t understand how White folks can say! they didn’t know racism was still alive and well in our country..These Tshirt slogans were EVERYwhere..Whatever did y’all think they referred to???
^ I’ll never forget the first time I saw the above bumper sticker..Only thought my eyes were playing tricks on me! WtF..I knew then, that with folks boasting this type of bumper sticker on their cars(And most of the cars I saw these on had kids IN the car..) things were going to get worse for Black America; before they got better. IF anyone thought that just because a Black brother was elected for the 1st time in American history was going to ERASE the evil, UGLY history of racism in our country…Then you’re totally clueLESS and UNplugged from reality. One positive thing though that I do recognize has happened post-the-verdict? The race conversation has once again begun…Which leads me to a blog post I saw earlier today>>
..I can fully appreciate any/all opinions; even those that differ from mine..However, in regards to this Trayvon situation(or any other..) I will never post something that I am cognizant is offensive to others..Having said that earlier I read a post today which I responded to here on WordPress..Twice. The author “chose”(and we all have choices on what we post or not here) not to post my second response to hers…SO here is “my” version(because all any of us can do is speak from our viewpoint) of what transpired. First, of all I do NOT understand why White folks feel the need; to try to one UP racism . You can not. There is NOTHING in comparison that folks that are NOT of color face..A Sista who also responded to the blog post I’m referring to; said pretty much the same thing. And she was just as frustrated with the author’s post as I was..IF not more so. The author of said blog post was titled, ‘ I am not Trayvon; but i AM the woman on the elevator’ . At first I figured I’d be reading an open thought process of what her position was. I tried really hard to see where she was coming from..BUT what she basically said in a nutshell? Is that when a Black man gets on an elevator she FEARS being raped…I can appreciate the honesty of her thoughts. And I am HIGHLY elated such thoughts are being put out into the public..Why? Because it gives ALL Americans Black and White and INside peek into how someone with racist thoughts; thinks. And yet? She didn’t see her thought process as being racist..Or how it could be offensive. That WOWed me & blew my hair back! I’ll take that one step further..IF said author had also expressed that she felt the SAME way when ANY “man” stepped on an elevator? Then just mayhaps that wouldn’t have been as offensive to non-racist folks…Still offensive; but only a tad tiny bit. IF there is such a thing! I felt my 2nd response to her response was civil yet forthright expressing my opinion..My opinion from the stance of being a Black woman who just also happens to have been born American..And also as a mother of 3 BLACK heckfied sons/daughter of an outstanding Black Daddy/ex-wife of an excellent Black Father/Friend/exgirlfriend of the MOST supreme Black Alpha man who just also happens to be a good person through & through..And newsflash? NONE of them or the host of other good Black men that I know; would even desire to “rape” YOU or any other woman(white or not) when y’all step into an elevator! They’re just simply trying to get to the next floor(s)..But where this notion that ALL Black men want White women comes from I will never KNOW..Somebody LIED to y’all..Not only that ; to bring up something as God awful as rape immediately into one’s mind??? OMG don’t even get me started on the “rape issue”..Just let the message sink in..ALL BLACK MEN ARE NOT LUSTFUL CREATURES SIMPLY LOOKING TO JUMP YOUR BONES. Trust and believe that. Exclamation mark. Period.>>
..I wonder, briefly, if the negative images of Black men/women are taught at birth! Or IF its something that is portrayed SO much by the media; that White folks end up thinking its true..Perhaps it is a combination of both..Regardless of how the seed is planted; the plant that has grown? It IS one that must DIE. If it doesn’t die off soon more Black parents are certainly at risk ; of losing their children just as Trayvon’s parents did. My Priest said something just this morning in an off-handed way regarding ‘the verdict’..It brought tears to my eyes! Here was a man who will never have children; who was telling his parish watch over your children!(majority of our church is Black) KNOW where your children are at ALL times! Keep them safe…The verdict has many people, even those who aren’t parents, wary..Can anyone reading this imagine; in addition to all of the natural worries of a parent, HEAPING onto that pile this additional concern? DON’T BUY YOUR CHILD A HOODIE. TELL YOUR CHILDREN DON’T WALK IN A PREDOMINANTELY WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD ALONE. DON’T LOOK SUSPICIOUS WHILE WALKING BLACK..(how in the heck is that mastered???) The list of don’t-DO’s for Black children is growing & growing..This is SHAMEful in America in 2013!!!>>
I’ve said before, and I’ll say it one ‘mo time, its my belief that people have more in common; than different. I honestly believe it is the LACK of getting to know other cultures/backgrounds; that keeps folks ‘in the closet’..There are folks in America , especially in the South, who have never traveled outside of their city! So it is only common logical sense their viewpoints might be “limited”..What people who aren’t well-traveled might not realize? The last statistic I could find about the percentage of White folks in the World…8 % White 92% Non-White..Only in America, and that percentage also is changing rapidly, are White folks the majority..But it won’t be long before that is no longer the case. I would like to think ; now is just as good a time as any; to start to try to learn other cultures/learn some understanding & tolerance/stop trying to ignore racism or one UP it when Black folks are expressing their pain/angst..It is high time for folks to link up and let the past truly be a thing of the past. WE can’t do that as long as we’re still being impacted by the “chains” of the past…
MY comments? MY feelings as a Black Mother? MY feelings as an American?..I am struggling this morning with trying to don my politically – correct hat on. BUT somehow its a losing battle , even for ME..Because what IS winning out is my sense of what is WRONG and what is RIGHT..And every, single time I look at this baby’s! face splashed across newspapers and websites across our country today?!? I get more and more and more HEARTSICK as each moment passes..I am also a BLACK Mother/Ma/Moms/Momma of three(3) Black sons..I can’t seem to keeeeep the bile from rising UP out of my tummy this morning. I am so usually a content and nothing-to-complain about loving person; but on this DAY? I am struggling to fight the ANGER and the tears just keep filling my eyes UP. Two(2) of my sons wear a hoodie from time to time; what IF that had been one of them walking home??? Would I have been sitting in that courtroom , knowing & feeeeling in my heart of hearts(along with millions! of other Americans) that my son is innocent; only to hear the words, NOT GUILTY, regarding the verdict of his murderer? I’ve so, so tired, nope tyeeeed of this type of backWOODS mentality! Is it now alright to gun down a child! like a dog in the street???? What IF it had been your child? I stood on FAITH that this would not & simply could not happen….
..I thought running to Mass(church) was going to help calm me..BUT I’m still spitting MAD! Especially after standing outside after Mass, in what seemed to be 10,000 degree HEAT, discussing this “situation”. If ANY Black male in America thought they had problems/issues before this day? Pfft that was nothing compared to the problem they’ve got now. IF a price was attached to people..STOCK on Black Males in America just plummeted!!! I thought about putting a disclaimer on any/any of my next comments..BUT I refuseee to keeeeeep apologizing for BEing and LOVING being Black. ONLY in America are a people, namely Black folks!, made to feeeeel as IF they’re wrong to identify/love their color/culture..NO OTHER RACE/COLOR IN AMERICA IS MADE TO FEEL THAT WAY. The even more pathetic thing about that comment? A GREAT DEAL OF BLACK FOLKS COMPLY WITH THAT SENTIMENT EVERY, SINGLE WAKING DAY OF THEIR LIVES IN AMERICA. And I love my country with every ounce of my being. But today? I’m ashamed! of what has been “allowed” to happen in that courtroom. And for those just tuning IN? I’m on the top of a wave of a major RANT; and I’m just getting started. So hang onto to your caps/hats/wigs /& weaves or they might get blown off. As a good friend of mine would say, ” THIS is some BULLshit!”>>
1st things 1st..I believe there are a few FACTS that need to be interjected before I continue..First & foremost the constitution does NOT support that a “victim” have a jury of their peers..Matter of fact it doesn’t support that the “accused ” does either. What is does say though leans more towards the ACCUSED than the VICTIM; regarding a jury of so-called “fairness”.*Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution*=In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense..It WAS my belief that Trayvon Martin OR any victim; was due(by the LAW) a jury of their peers..Which in this case would’ve meant at the least a couple of Blacks and at least ONE Male. There were NO Males on the Trayvon Martin jury..and ALL but one of the women were WHITE. Some reading might say race doesn’t matter. I beg to differ race DOES still matter a great deal here in America. For those that still have their heads UP their fanny or eyes closed; have only to recall the highly! NEGATIVE slurs/comments/pictures posted on the Internet of ugly racial funkiNESS/3 ring circus antics of both recent Presidential Elections. IF you didn’t get IT then; let this be your eye-opener. Its time to WAKE UP >>
I wore a Black dress to Mass this morning..I do not like wearing Black. Matter of fact I refused! to have the customary Black 50th birthday party color theme(chose pink instead..) But this morning I donned BLACK on purpose. I’m in mourning..I’m mourning the death of an INNOCENT YOUNG(17 yrs of age..) BLACK MALE. I’m mourning the LOSS of FREEdom here in America. More & more of our civil liberties are being taken away..A country that just celebrated the 4th of July; a day which marks the declaration of independence..Out of the GREAT principles of freedom and justice embodied in the National Declaration of Independence; which ones are in 2013 extended to Black Males? To Black folks in general even? Yea, think about that for a minute..I’ll wait. After pondering that this very morning? The answer I arrive at is nothing to celebrate with fireworks or a BBQ. Year after year WE celebrate a holiday; which in reality doesn’t celebrate US. I’m struggling today ; and trying hard to smile past the tears that are just waiting to drop..I’m afraid today. First & foremost I’m afraid if I start crying I won’t stop>>
Before I wrap this piece up with what I feel is the beginning of the SOLUTION..I’d like to drop a few items regarding this case from folks other than me; including President Barack Obama(His comment was made shortly after Trayvon’s death..) **Even President Obama weighed in a month after the shooting, expressing sympathy for Martin’s family and urging a thorough investigation. “If I had a son,” Obama said, “he’d look like Trayvon.”**
**Saturday night, when the verdict was read, Zimmerman, 29, smiled slightly. His wife, Shellie, and several of his friends wept, and his parents kissed and embraced.** What the heck is he smiling about? He STILL killed another human being! But I guess he smiled because he realized he’d gotten away with MURDER!?! What kind of person is capable of smiling & not feeling remorse for such actions?
**Rachel Jeantel in Trayvon Martin’s words: He said “Get off, get off:” As Martin walked back from the store to the home of his dad’s fiancee, he was talking on the phone with his friend, Rachel Jeantel.
The prosecution’s star witness testified for two days about the final moments of Martin’s life, saying he told her someone was following him. Jeantel’s testimony is key to the State’s case that Zimmerman was the aggressor in the confrontation.
“He said the man kept watching him. He kept complaining that a man was just watching him,” she told jurors.
When Jeantel asked Martin what the man looked like, she said he told her the man “looked creepy.” “Creepy, white — excuse my language — cracker. Creepy [expletive] cracker.”
Jeantel said she heard Martin talking to Zimmerman in the background of the call. “He said, ‘Why are you following me for?’ And I heard a hard-breathing man say, ‘What you doing around here?'”
Jeantel also said she heard a bump from Martin’s headset hitting something and “wet grass sounds.”
“I start hearing a little bit of Trayvon saying, ‘Get off, get off!'” said Jeantel.** Its MY belief that Trayvon fought for his LIFE! And that is why Zimmerman had cuts on his head..I can’t fight/never been in a fight/and I like Trayvon am much smaller than Zimmerman..Yet, I also would’ve fought him off with every ounce of my body. IF anyone was standing their ground in defense in this case? It was Trayvon Martin.
**The teen’s father reacted on Twitter: ‘‘Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.’’
His mother also said on Twitter that she appreciated the prayers from supporters.
‘‘Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have,’’ she wrote.** (thats a deeeeeop comment that hits me like a ton of bricks)
…I used to think the way to protect my sons; was to raise them with TRUTH. I didn’t mince many words with them..I spoke/speak to them with love; but of the way things ARE. I did lie to them though when I told them that the Easter Bunny existed. I went along with the LIE..I did lie to them though when I told them there was such a thing as a tooth fairy..And I stillll to this day have a tiny felt bag with their tiny teeth that I gave them money for in exchange. It was NOT the tooth fairy sons! I lied to my sons when I went along with the LIE that Santa Clause exists..Which in America that lie has turned the entire celebration of what its supposed to be about(I don’t care if its a run-on sentence..) ; into a big FAT commercial money-making mess. I refuse to continue to keep up lies with the humans I helped to give Life..Truth IS just like Kanye West said & then got blasted it for it; there are MANY people in America that just don’t like Black folks. And never WILL. That is factual. Racism IS not dead in America. For many moons to come my dream for my sons won’t come TRUE; you won’t be judged just based on your OWN merit. And that’s including my eldest son who this coming May will be the first PHD on all sides of my family. As Black MEN my sons will always have to work 3 – 4 times HARDER than their White Male Counterparts. They’ll more than likely get paid LESS. And even though all 3 of my sons are college educated withOUT criminal backgrounds; IF they happen to walk in the wrong neighborhood with a hoodie on? Just might get gunned down like a dog & KILLED. That is my reality as a Black Mother/Ma/Moms/Momma on this day. That is my sons reality on this day and any other Black Male in America. Its not my perception…It IS the way it IS. And we’ve got to stop sugar-coating things/overlooking things/glossing things over. We’ve assimilated SO frigging well WE have forgotten our ROOTS. Family FIRST. And UNITY. And love of all mankind. The violence has got to stop. How many more Black MEN have to die or wind up behind bars for us to get IT? I am proud to be Black. I am proud to be American. I am NOT proud of what happened in that courtroom. Never will be. Its time. Its time for people to stand UP for what is right and just. Things are declining instead of getting better. That is just not progressive folks. WE are moving backwards and with a quickness..As a loving parent I can’t stay quiet and muted. Someone said something today that for a moment gave me clarity and peace..He said mayhaps this is God’s way of making something DRASTIC happen for us to SEE how F’d up and ugly things are? What if there had to be a sacrifice? There are so many what IFs going through my head..What IF that was one of my sons? I’m going to keep thinking that over and over and over again. As positive as I’ve grown to BE; I quite honestly think I’d lose my marbles. TO SIT IN A COURTROOM AND HEAR THE WORDS NOT GUILTY AND SEE THOSE WORDS SPLASHED ON NEWSPAPERS ACROSS AMERICA; FEEEEEELING IN MY HEART OF HEARTS, KNOWING! MY SON WAS INNNOCENT AND GUNNED DOWN LIKE A DOG IN THE STREET??? I say its time for another Civil Rights Movement. Drastic actions call for drastic actions. No different than it was a movement of MANY colors/creeds to get the “right” person in the White House; its time for great change. Nothing changes until something changes. I’ll say that one more time so I can read it..Nothing changes until something changes. Its time. But that’s just the way I see IT. And right now I’m not “seeing” with my eyes; I’m seeing with my heart. Until I write/read y’all again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere Berna(the 1 & only)
AFTERword..Reflection can be a good thing sometimes..BUT today it is not working..I can’t stop thinking about this matter. What truly bothers me? Is as culturally aware & politically savvy as I profess to BE; I was still naive enough to be BAMBOOZLED. Hoodwinked and caught UP believing in OUR JustUS system..Thought we’d prevailed when at the least this case went to trial! IF anyone is keeping UP; at first the city wasn’t even going to press charges on Zimmerman. None. Zilch..So one might just be a little “naive” ; and I’ve got my hand held UP high; to think at that point that there would be consequences for murdering an innocent person. A young 17 yr old person. Alas, having a voice got Trayvon the trial he rightfully deserved..And then BAM the reality of the worst of a Black American’s nightmares came to BE. Not a dayum thing in the form of punishment was done..If nothing else Zimmerman profited from taking a life. And now that he is FREE? Mark my words he’ll write a book & make tons of money. I wish NO ONE buys IT..sadly though that won’t be the case. Zimmerman had tons of supporters; but hopefully not as many as the folks who knew right from wrong. Recently my Pastor Priest spoke about “ownership” of our church..and it comes to mind now regarding our country. The US of A. Aren’t we law-abiding tax-paying HIGH as HECK gasoline paying citizens of this country? Doesn’t that mean that WE should be treated as more than a DOG? Anyone recall when Michael Vicks got JAIL time for so-called animal abuse???? And YET a man can walk free after killing a Black young male..something is funkier than funky with that picture. As tax paying citizens WE have to take ownership rights..We have rights. Right to live freely is one of said rights..In the pursuit of happiness..And I believe that includes being able to BE Black ; even in a predominantly White neighborhood. Zimmerman took ownership of an entire neighborhood! One that he did NOT even own a home in. WOW now that’s cojones! This is our country just as much as the next person ..We deserve the right to sleep well at night; NOT worried that our Black sons can be gunned down just because..What is the next because going to BE? Because someone has had a bad dang day & gets a notion to start killing off Black men? It might sound far-fetched; but so did getting killed armed with skittles a couple of years back…I hope there is a potential next MLK, Jr reading this. And I hope said person is motivated enough to get BUSY.
UNapologetically Black & very proud of my AfricanNESS(even though East Coast folks keep asking me if I’m Latina..NO I am not) with a natural deeply bred Southern Hospitality style courtesy of being from New Orleans; meshed neatly with much American Pride. Heck I was even born on the 4th of July! Having said all of that; I can’t help but be disappointed with the current state of Black America. Its overall downward spiral way of life; heavily laden with afflictions & chronic conditions, is disheartening to say the least. Recent events have brought this even more so to the forefront of my thoughts..Have WE become our own worst enemy? Will WE bring about our own extinction in America? Lets rap>>
*Might want to kick your feet UP & get comfy; I’ve got a lot 2 say on this topic..And I plan on taking my time with it..Letting my thoughts flow from my mind; mental notes & life experiences of 50 years of Being Black-Loving IT-Raising Blackness(our 3 sons..)-Promoting Black IS Beautifulness in all I am-Standing Still*
In my Life Journey of 50 years I’ve been labeled a Negro/a “N” word( I won’t use that word even as a 50 yr old; but I was called this by my “friend” before I was 5 yrs old/Afro-American/African -American..My parents lovingly labeled me as Bernadette(a Saint’s name..) Marie..These days I walk proudly as a Black woman who refuses to be labeled by other folks..When we allow others 2 define US; it can be easy to forget who the heck we are. Took me far to long to discover the in’s & out’s of who I am to allow that. So anyways, here is my outlook on how things look for the future Black generations that will be born here in our country; America. Including my unborn grandchildren..Its pretty bleak the way I see IT. First? Proof positive how far WE have fallen ..>>
...What happened to the days when Blacks walked out of their homes; dressed? Literally, some of these girls these days are butt naked! Or half naked..lawd! Might as well be leg-wrapped around a pole..Has it been forgotten that when one walks out their front door; they represent their ENTIRE family? Every single day; dead or alive and yep, even the yet-to-be-born. The shoulders of the ancestors we stand upon? They dressed sharp..even headed out to the supermarket. Teens included…Know why children/teens dressed well back then overall? Because children follow suit behind their parents. And I’ll go as far as to say children watch & learn from ALL of their elders..WE are teaching even when we don’t realize we are. Yet, slowly but surely we’re acting as if we aren’t proud anymore. What happened to “the Black & Proud” movement of the 60s? We must & can do better or we’re going to free fall to a level so low; we might not be able to recover from . Or are we already there?>>
**Going to rewind backintime for a minute..To a little known comment made by Malcolm X..(Its my opinion he was “made” out to be a villain by the media; but that’s another topic for another time) I wonder IF this is how Blacks feel about one another anymore..Love for one another..Why IS it that every other ethnic group..i.e. Asians, Latino, African, Jewish, and even Indians all help one another ; and Black Americans don’t. Its known! Other folks laugh about it..Black Americans have become a big, fat model for the “crab in the barrel ” syndrome. How IS that possible when we USED to be so tight? Were we only tight back then because back then WE were all we had? >>
More than likely I should’ve added a disclaimer at the onset of this post..But for the sake of doing so here is my disclaimer = All or anything I pen are my thoughts and or beliefs. Based on a lifetime of personal experiences/what my parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins have taught or shown me/combined with a healthy dose of common sense and statistical facts. Moving right along..You didn’t think I was finished did you? Just getting started. Literally..Moving forward>>
There are many things tormenting Black Americans..Including themselves as a whole; but I’ll leave that for the very last part of my post. Exclusionism(yep!, that’s a real word not a Berna’ism) , Drug use, Diseases, Lack of higher education, economic strangulation, incarceration, and Black on Black crime is killing us off in astonishing numbers..The #1 cause in that list pushing Blacks in America toward genocide? Incarceration of Blacks. Namely Black MEN. The statistics are beyond startling..I wonder IF the majority of Blacks realize how many Black men are behind bars in our country. The U S of A..I’m willing to bet other single & eligible Sisters out there know our Black brothers are dwindling in numbers..And its very noticeable. >>
Heres the fast forwarded & brief version of being Black- behind- bars- in- our -country..As of 2008(which more than likely means the number has increased) America is still #1 in something. It’s now infamously known as the “WORLD’s number one jailer” . I hate reading or writing that; I love my country!; but that fact stinks. The U.S . with a population of 300 million(mind you these stats are very 5 yrs ago..) has a prison population that is GREATER than China with a population of 1.3 billion people..Whoa! It’s guesstimated that translated to approx 1 out of 12 Blacks is either in prison/in jail/or on parole. That not only stinks; that down right sucks! Races does matter..The rate of incarceration of Black males is 6.5 times that of White males & 2.5 times that of Hispanic males. Keep in mind the amount of ‘money’ pulled in from those productive Black laborers behind bars. Keep in mind also that a person’s right to VOTE is stripped while in prison and often after they’ve been released. Keep in mind also that same person has to still PAY taxes; but can’t vote. Keep in mind one more thing..Its guesstimated the cost of keeping a person in prison; is comparable to matriculating at Harvard University. How different America would/could be IF drug offenses were sentenced in an equal manner..I won’t go deep into the meaning of that comment. Personally I feel its self-explanatory. How different America would be if the above mentioned Black men “could” vote. Or could afford to pay for an education..The OR’s are limitless so I’ll stop there. When I worked in a prison & saw all the YOUNG brothers, babies!, behind bars? Hurt my heart & moved me to tears often; too often. Moving right along>>
Roughly 7,000 Blacks are murdered every year..94% of the time by the hands of another Black person. 94% of the time folks; that’s alarming! Just as we are horrified by the senseless/unjust deaths of the Trayvon Martins; we should rightfully be upset/aware of this statistic. Blacks make up approx. 13% of the Nation’s population; YET account for more than 50% of homicide victims. OMG I read over stats like that and can’t help but wonder about the future of Blacks in America. Its hard , knowing such things, not to be concerned. Beyond tragic to fathom that a young Black male has a better chance of reaching maturity on battlefields in Afghan & Iraq; than on the streets of some of the major cities in our country. I try very hard not to think about such things often; its less painful to just try with all my might to be part of our progression. Yet, isn’t remaining silent something that can also been seen as acceptance of such stats? Or worse; lack of caring or concern..>>
I could continue to write on & on & on; as I’ve done off & on all day about this topic..However, I’d like to think the general gist of where I’m coming from has been clearly outlined..I’m hoping with all of my being that this might just start a fire under someone out there reading this; to get involved, in some way, for positive progression. What if just doing our part isn’t enough? What if the way to prevent extinction; folks have to take on an extra chore in this mission? What a difference we’ve clearly seen that UNITED groups can make here in America. (Gays fighting for their right to marry is just one thing that comes to mind..) Silence isn’t always golden. And often times words aren’t enough to express sentiment felt. IF my heart could talk out loud about how it feels about the future of Blacks in America..It would scream from the highest roof top & say “I’m scared about my son’s & unborn grandchildren’s future here in our country” Exclamation mark. Period
I’ve decided to wrap UP my series of Black History Month tribute posts for this year. Not because it is difficult to meet the post a day challenge plus write with content/passion; though it is tough! But because I refuse for my posts to just became..random. Many a blog & article already exists listing notable folks in our/America’s history; I wanted mine to be different. I’ve written on subject matter I’m passionate about..its what I do when I do what I enjoy doing. In any aspect. Ending with this topic because someone has to say IT..and it might as well be me. With love & the highest regard always for my Black brotha’s & sista’s……….Sometimes asking questions can serve as a way to reach others/open one’s 3rd eye/or provoke people to look at self to make a change for the better; IF the shoe fits. So here are a few questions I’ve contemplated. WHY do we, Black folks, continually find ways to divide ourselves? WHY do we think “we” have a right to say what BLACK enough IS? WHO in their right mind thought of the phrase, ACTING White while being BLACK? (this goes hand in hand with sounding White..wth?! IF one more person says this to me I’ll scream!) WHY is it acting “bougie” if someone wants to get educated, do better, and progress? WHY is it anyone’s business what someone else is wearing on “their” head?! (i.e..wig, weaves) HOW many years is it going to take post-Jim Crow for Black folks to drop the good hair/bad hair/light skin/dark skin hang UPs?
Don’t ya’ll think it rather odd that when the phrase@Crabs-in-a-barrel is used; most people just KNOW its preceding a comment regarding Blacks folks?!? As a Black woman I don’t just find that odd; I think its very sad…
WHY were there ANY funky comments about Gabby Douglas’s hair last year?? And why in the HELL were those funky comments from Black folks??!??? At 16 yrs old , in front of a billion! watching people(as IF that wasn’t enough pressure…at 16!) , that young sista became the very FIRST Black woman to achieve the HIGHEST prize in gymnastics. TOP of her game/already faced much adversity in her young, young life; and then! Black folks tried to tear her down! I found that beyond disgusting and UNACCEPTABLE. What are we teaching our youth??? OMG
WHY when Oprah Winfrey has given more assistance in the form of MONEY; than any of us will even begin to imagine or possess..do Black folks continually talk smack about her?! As IF she owed any of us a brand new school ; it is HER money. Jeeeez , if she chooses to make a pile of money in her yard and set it on fire she can. It is hers! Oprah has survived a horrific childhood; and rose above like a rose among weeds…and yet! for some reason the only folks tearing her down are her OWN. (no pun intended…) Shouldn’t we be proud of her? Shouldn’t any American be? Should not she BE an example for anyone Black , or everyone!, that from any background one can reach their dreams & goals? Lawd!
And last but not least…President Barack Obama is BLACK. I’ve grown about sick & tyeeeed of the some of us; that act as IF they’re appointed governors over who IS and is not Black enough. Pfft! All of society views him as what he IS…A Black man. Mixed or not(as majority of us here are; even those of us who won’t admit it) Black IS Black. Exclamation mark. Period.
There was a time when Blacks had each others backs. There was a time when even Sista’s, but especially Brotha’s, wouldn’t walk past each other without nodding. Or something! Brotha’s still do it with one another; and with me lol! ..but why is so hard to do the same with Sista’s? Just because we don’t know one another; doesn’t mean we’ve got to act like strangers. And NO amount of money or possessions a person makes; makes you any BETTER than anyone else. Wise folks know that when you’re good to others, in sincerity!, it comes back tenfold to you. Its called helping others WIN; and in doing so you win. It is just the way it is…And isn’t the world a much better place when everyone looks out for one another?! Isn’t that the way it is supposed to BE? IF we look out for someone today; IF we need it tomorrow it will be returned. In my heart of hearts I feel when things were really, really bad for Blacks..they stuck together. Like glue. And family meant so much back then! ALL we had was each other in those days…Look at the overall state of Black America these days. Take a long look…it has got to get better. WE can do better. I say that often; because I believe it.
Until as a whole we begin to LIVE ; what is preached at the pulpit..then matters will continue to decline. I’d like my future grandchildren to be born into a country; that Black men aren’t non-existent. I’d like my future grands to be born into a country; where the numbers of Black men in prison is less than in college. Far less…I’d like my future grands to be born into a country; where Blacks encourage each other to WIN. Help each other even after so called *making it big* themselves. Instead of stepping all over one another to get to the TOP. Its very uncool and it just isn’t right. We are one people. One race. The Human race…I’m sorry I’ve just tired of hearing the awful stats regarding US. I embrace & love ALL people; but I can’t lie I’ve a special bond/affection! for those I look like! (even THOUGH many of ya’ll keeeeep asking me what I am; I am BLACK not Puerto Rican, not Latino,etc ) We can and must do better…The good thing about this life? Where one is today; doesn’t have to be where they stay. Translation= There is still HOPE for things to change in a positive manner. But first one, or as a people, have to admit! there are issues…Nothing changes; until something changes. Exclamation mark . Period.
Until I write ya’ll /read ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the one & only)
Let me be clear..I’m PRO education. Exclamation mark. Period. Life has a way often times of getting in the way of our goals & dreams. WE also have a way of getting in our “own” way. There is a difference. Yep, *rant alert* because I’m on 1…
“In 100 years, it won’t matter if you drove a Cadillac
or a Chevy. It will matter what we do for children.”
— Reverend Anjohnette Gibbs
**One more quote/background..then I’ll give my opinion on this topic. Bear with me because I’m digging deep. Not easy subject matter to broach; but so very important. **
>America is failing its young Black boys. In metropolitan ghettos, rural villages and
midsized townships across the country, schools have become holding tanks for
populations of Black boys who have a statistically higher probability of walking the
corridors of prison than the halls of college. Across America, the problem of Black male
achievement seems intractable. We fail our Black sons more than any other racial or
ethnic group.< Excerpt taken from Fall 2011 Edition of Policy Evaluation & Research Centers’ Policy Notes…
I’ve got many PHDs..One in Life.(including the school of hard knocks) One in Family. One in Love Relationships/Marriage. I’m still working on attaining my actual “paper” PHD..As my eldest son is ,now only a few months away, from actually having his PHD it brings to mind some of the many questions I’ve answered (or attempted to..)over the years regarding education. Questions from my sons and naysayers who say the time has come for Blacks to weigh whether a college education is really worth it. I could use alot of old adages to express why I feel it IS; but I won’t. I could even post more graphs to illustrate the impact a college education has on one’s lifetime income; but I won’t. Last but not least I guess I could say what I truly feel…the price of a college education is not rising for NO reason. Is it purely based on the economy that tuition and books have skyrocketed? Or is there a very logical reason behind the madness? IF college costs keep rising at a rate of 15% in 2 years(the average from 2008 to 2010) ; it will become increasingly unaffordable for the poor or even the almost non-existent middle class…
Honestly? I can understand why the youth might ask these questions..What about ALL of the folks with degrees that are JOBless? Is a college education worth going into knee -deep debt for? Why can’t I quit college when an excellent job with benefits comes along? How do I KNOW there will be jobs available when I’ve got my degree? What IF I’m not college material and I fail & waste all that time/money?
My stance? By whatever legal means necessary college is still worth it…nobody ever said anything worth it was going to be easy. Or without sacrifice. And these days a TON of moolah..Or good grades! to offset cost by landing a scholarship or grant. Which leads me back to where I began with this topic. Anyone out there know what the average reading level of 12th grade Black males was in 2010? On average, Black 12th grade students read at the level of White 8th grade students; or lower. Quite impossible to gain academic scholarships with those stats..Some don’t even consider college as a viable option. Sad, isn’t it? And then we wonder why prisons are filled with Black males; and college campuses aren’t. And we all know its happening because the media posts the stats EVERYWHERE; on purpose. With a purpose..
In my opinion when ANY group of society is lacking or falling behind; ALL parts of society will be impacted by it..I’ll let you think about that for a minute before I proceed.
I’ve tried to analyze where “we” can begin to solve this major issue..First, I guess one would have to figure out where it begins. Heres a quick breakdown..In any given situation PARENTS are/or should rightfully be a child’s first teacher. Giving guidance, direction and stability, etc, etc. Why isn’t that happening with today’s Black youth? Especially young Black men..Sometimes an issue can seem so HUGE we don’t know how to tackle it. Don’t even know where to begin solving it. But that doesn’t mean don’t do anything or attempt. And I also feel that those of us who have the wherewithall & care enough about the future; have to give till it hurts! Give our ourselves, our time, our experience, our ideas for progression, mentor!, etc..It is mind boggling to me that the situation has gotten this BAD. I don’t know about you but I’m tired, no tyeeeed, of seeing the dismal statistics. How can we, with good conscience, not do our part to help? We can’t…
Bottom Line~ IF or when your children , or anyone, asks you any of the aforementioned questions..You can use my answer if you like; I’ll let you borrow it…College is ALWAYS worth it.(or some form of higher education) My own Dad taught me long ago that one thing that could “never” be taken from me: knowledge. And in society these days that translates to a degree. A piece of paper , true!, but it is the way it is these days. A high school diploma doesn’t hold the weight it once did…In a quick minute a bachelors degree won’t even be enough to get a decent job. And that clock is ticking rapidly. A college degree isn’t a guarantee to get a job; never was! But it can open doors…and once inside that door it can lead to rapid promotion. Personally? I think high school should extend for another 2 years…An associates degree should be part of the regular public school system curriculum. But that is another topic for another time. And if saying ALL of that; doesn’t satisfy the person who asked you if college is worth it. The very , very final answer I resort to when I’m truly desperate IS…Because I said so!
I make this look ALOT easier than it really “tis..Alot of my commentary about “being single & waiting for my ‘The One’ might come across as IF it is always …A walk in the park/through rows & rows of rose petals/and full of fabulous, sunny days..While 99.9% of my days ARE full of sunshine/tons of smiles/& even more laughter; it is some of those after-hour moments that can be trying at best. Shows like ‘Sex in the City‘ & even the black casted “Girlfriends‘; didn’t always reveal the “real” scoop. …
Majority of the time I can’t/won’t lie; my vibe is right and tight. No complaints with being single & sexy other than…I’m ready to NOT be single! I am ready for my onceinalifetimeloveofalifetime. And before I dive in deeper this song will or should set the background for the foreground; that I’m getting ready to lay down. Just so there are no misinterpretations of where I’m coming from..
Now that its been established the phase of life I’m in…Its the notsofabulous moments when thoughts of temptation can creep into the crevices of my mind..Usually right before I go to sleep when I’m finally; still. Those times when the part of my inner self? has doubts>
That “trouble-making” part of self that attempts to disturb my groove of feeling hecka-fied and awesome..Asks funky questions like: What IF waiting on “the 1” is for naught?!? Where the heck is HE? Is he lost??? Is time spent going to make up for these months of waiting? Why isn’t THE time for love right now? Maybe Mr Right Now is better than waiting for Mr Right..
I don’t profess to speak for all Black women..BUT I can not be the only one going through IT. However I am so busy it isn’t often I have time to even get “that lonely feeling”. That feeling of remembrance…of how sweet love can be and IS. *sigh* Certainly I can’t be the only Sista trying to walk the walk; and talk the talk…Single by choice and actually I’m not even dating yet, lol!, BUT I’m close to being ready to date..I guess I was hoping I’d run into Mr Right and he’d be SO awesome, that I’d be forced to give up my “dating hiatus”. After all I am a dreamer; and I dream BIG and in color…
Truth be told I’ve never waited on love before..this is my very first time. There isn’t much of my adult life that I’ve spent *single and unattached*. I’m far more used to being part of a love union than..this. I don’t even know if I’m doing this right! How does one know when it is their very first time? And how much longer can I endure those late night thoughts that creep in? Not sure how many more sheep I can count..
That nagging feeling that comes when my body is tired yet..mymindisstillracing gets me SO amped up I think about the unthinkable. A long distance relationship. Ugh! Or what about joining an internet dating site? Double Ugh! But holding on the hope of all hopes that not ALL of the outstanding brothers are married..IF so where the heck are they?! I keep running smack into hot married ones on this coast. Triple Ugh! And I refuse to go down that road…Did all of the hot, outstanding ,single, brothers move to the right coast when I relocated to the left coast?!?? OMG
The really great news? I don’t have these type of thoughts often..though honestly I’ve had them alot more than when I first decided to take a breather from dating..More fabulous news? Overall the results have far exceeded what I’d wished for. Doing ‘me’ for a minute was one of the best decisions of my life..And I know, in my heart of hearts , I’m so close to the finish line. I can feel it! I can and will overcome those “nagging” late night thoughts & temptations..because settling now would truly mean I’d wasted alot of precious time learning me/doing me/reaching for my dreams, etc etc yada yada. And the best news of all? I feel so much better after this rant and venting it all out…exhaling is necessary from timetotime. Thank you GOD for blogging ;for its served as such a sweet release. Problem solved for now…
Or do they?…That question is just begging to be asked/discussed. But whether it can be answered simply is yet to be seen or done. Its indeed a quite complex situation that needs direct action/solutions to change it. The finger-pointing, complaining, and blame game isn’t changing a thing…
Ever heard the old adage @’Put your money, where your mouth is?’..And when a person DOES indeed , do just that, shouldn’t they rightfully be able to speak their mind about it? Well..when Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey..after years and years of donating tons of MONEY to inner city schools and Black colleges spoke out there was outrage from many in the Black Community. Yet, the issues they both spoke out on still exist to this day, if not moreso…
**I don’t pretend to know all of the answers to this issue or any issue I blog about..What I do intend to do is lay down some of the background/state my opinion/and pray like heck it can urge folks reading this to care enough to DO something to change things for the better. ANY generation is supposed to move to higher levels than the one before it. It is something my own Daddy taught me /practiced/and believed in since I was born…It is the same practice I practiced with my sons..And it should be what everyone is doing. I did NOT disagree with what either Bill Cosby or Oprah Winfrey have publicly said.. I’ll explain why & will also recant a conversation I had just last night with a LIFElong Black educator that has worked hands ON with inner city youth..~~
The biggest issue I’ve got with all of the “outrage” about what Bill Cosby & Oprah have said IS..nothing has been done since to IMPROVE the situation or the statistics they spoke of. Furthermore, no one! had an issue with either of them when they poured MILLIONS of their money into Black inner city schools/areas and Black colleges. As a matter of fact, for those who recall, even as far back as when he was doing the Cosby show…Bill Cosby was donating mega bucks to education AND mentoring the youth on his show to go TO college. So no one can say he didn’t put his money where his mouth is..but when he finally got fed UP and spoke on what he saw & felt was reality?!? Whoa! suddenly majority of folks, Black folks, forgot ALL the years & moolah he’d donated and he was instantly a “traitor/elitist/classist/ill-informed/& just downright wrong to have aired the Black community’s dirty laundry. BUT the question is’Was he wrong??’
I can answer that for I’ve far less money and no celebrity status like Cosby(which is why I actually think folks got mad about what he said…but thats another topic for another time) and my answer is NO, he wasn’t wrong. He was so dead on that its beyond embarrassing to admit..but that doesn’t make it any less true. Here is just a tidbit of info to substantiate his stance >
How much money does one have to donate/give voluntarily before their opinion matters??? Where else was Bill Cosby or Oprah supposed to have “aired” their feelings on the matter? First of all Oprah was responding to folks “complaints” about where she spent HER money to build a school…and then folks got mad when she said what she said! *slapping forehead*
I was having a conversation last night with someone about education..He’s been an educator for the majority of his LIFE..Actually came out of retirement to mentor/teach children again..Has received lifetime achievement awards for all he’s done..and yet guess what? He said the same thing that Bill Cosby and Oprah have said. And yep, he’s Black also; just not filthy rich like them. He basically said todays’ Black youth just don’t get it! And that they take an education for granted; whereas in other countries like Africa(where Oprah opened her school..) they don’t. One of the things Oprah did say is ask kids what they want here; they’ll said an Ipad. Ask kids in Africa and they’ll say books or uniforms to go to school…which is why Oprah said she finally just stopped visiting American schools. What would you have done? I’ve even heard folks say well rich folks get a tax break for donating..which is true. BUT they didn’t ‘have ” to choose to donate to Black schools or colleges. Enough with the excuses ..we ALL know the situation is as bad as Cosby and Oprah said it was. If not worse. So why not keep it real and do something to change it? Like Oprah did..
1. Don’t wait until your child is born to READ to them..Begin reading to them in the womb. Sounds insane, but it works! And you’ll actually feel them moving around in your womb more when you’re reading; if they like the book.
2. Start teaching your child about college before they can speak..They’ll hear you & they’ll remember. I preached college so much to my sons; that I’m sure they were sick of hearing it..and my neighbors probably were also. But I meant it…and my goal was to get all 3 sons into the college door. And that mission was accomplished.
3. Join PTA groups, GO to ALL parent teacher conferences for every , single report card..if you can’t get off from work then have the teacher do it over the phone. They will…they’re public servants and work for YOU..and most of them want to do their job. Alot of educators are shocked at the amount of parents NOT involved in their child’s education. It is NOT their job to do the job of teaching everything to YOUR child. It won’t work unless its a 2 party agreement. Teacher + Parents or Parent
4. Turn the boob tube OFF while kids are studying. Promote a study environment..this carries on with them for life. Take them to the library so they get used to READING and studying in a quiet environment. And censor/limit the amount of time they watch the boob tube, period. Also censor what music they listen to. I cared less our sons could still hear it outside of our home..I was NOT going to contribute to it in our home. Its about the best a parent can do these days
5. Link up with people on school boards your child is in or run for school board positions. I learned a TON of stuff I didn’t know when I ran for/attained a position on a Catholic school board. A ton of valuable insight..
6. Talk to your kids very early on about what college they want to go to…long before they enter high school..Start the talk about mid 8th grade for the high school years will fly by!
7. Do NOT make not going to college an option..it is a MUST these days.
8. Start saving for college when they are BORN. This is one of the biggest differences between the “classes”..most of them time “us” working folks feel we can’t afford to save for our kids college funds. BUT if you’re driving a car that costs 80,000/wearing tennis that cost 200/and carrying a purse that costs 1,000…you could’ve afforded to put that money in an account or investment for your kids college fund. WE have got to get our priorities straight.
Had to show my Sista‘s some love during my venture of blogging Blackness during Black History Month..This letter format was inspired from Nova Giovanni..A brother whose a fellow WordPress blogger, comedian, radio personality, active philanthropist, social activist & author. The brother is busy for sure! And his site is listed in my faves if ya’ll want to check him out..
Dearest Sista, I write this letter with the UTmost love, respect and regard..Sight unseen I know you’re beautiful! And the world does as well. How do I know? Many women from coast to coast and around the world try with all their might! to EMULATE you. Don’t you find it odd when there are tons of stereotypes /racist , funky comments(usually behind our back …) about US; over the years in increasing numbers WE are imitated and envied. How so? From as far back as Bo Derek “others” wanted OUR hairstyles; from braids to cornrolls! Folks pay big bucks to “tan” their skin in an attempt to gain our fabulous skin tones. Butt implants and fuller lip injections are the latest rage; attributes WE were born with naturally. And OUR Black brothers(men)? Well they’ve been desired by “others” since the beginning of time…Yet, you my Sista, were created beautiful just the way YOU are!
From the natural sashay of our curvy hips as we walk..to the way we can pull it together even during times of crisis..to the graceful way we age naturally withOUT even the many wrinkles to betray our true age…Black Women rein supreme when they’re at their BEST. When a Sista has come “into her own” she isn’t just a glowing sight to behold; she is pretty much unstoppable in achieving her dreams/goals/aspirations. She can come from the depths of poverty and abuse; to unlimited financial status. With finesse! Oprah is a perfect example of that very fact..and thus makes it possible for all of US…
But my dearest Sista, I wonder in the sincerest of ways, if YOU truly know from whence you come..Do you walk as IF you love yourself? Is there pride in the way you carry yourself? When you look in the mirror are you proud of what you see? Do you know that you walk on the shoulders of those who gave their lives for you to have the world at your fingertips? Are you living UP to your God given purpose? I never gave birth to the daughter I yearned for ; BUT if I’d had a daughter these are some of the things I’d have shared with her..
1. When you’re in your 20s you’ll think you know everything! When you reach your 40s..you’ll realize you didn’t know HALF as much at 20 as you’d thought you did. The lesson? Listen to your parents even when you think they’re not hip ! as you…truth IS they don’t just think they know it all. They do! As you mature gather people into your “inner circle” who can mentor you…Mentors aren’t just for college students. Choose people who have achieved goals they’ve strived for. Choose people who are already in places or careers you’d like to attain. And listen/observe every , single thing you can.
2. Choose your lovemates WISELY. Like Judge Judy says to all the whining women who complain about their misfortune with men; YOU picked him! Choose men not just based on looks or how fine he IS(although I won’t lie physical attraction IS a must) but also on his admirable traits , level of smarts, respect for his parents(important!) , his level of compassion, belief in GOD(sorry its the way I feel so I can’t leave that out) and bottom line ask yourself if he is a good person at heart..Who your mate IS is a direct reflection of YOU. Or it should be…
3. Hard as it IS sometimes remember your body is a precious temple..Treat it as such. If you take care of your body in your 20s; when you reach your 40s you won’t look like you’re 100 yrs old. Starting good physical habits in your 20s is far easier than later in life…Old habits are very, very hard to break. Consider your “precious temple” before you give it easily over to a Man..make sure he is worthy of your “essence” . Every time you give of “yourself” ; you’re giving away a piece of your essence.
4. There is NO one person who can be your everything! Nor should you need them to be..that was a hard lesson for me to learn. Just glad I finally did. A lovemate should compliment all that you are. Like ying and yang..doesn’t mean you have to be twins. And can often mean you’ll be opposites in many ways..BUT you should share core mutual interests. I’ve seen a pair of opposites work in sync for over 50 years; my parents.
5. NEVER be afraid to be different even when in a crowded room of Idontcarehowmany! NEVER be afraid to share your passions..NEVER be afraid to do your own thing. BE original. BE the first. DO YOU..you’ll find it alot more satisfying than being a follower. And more often than not folks will follow you…Let your little light shine and let it shine brightly. You only get one life/one shot to do this life.
6. Stand FIRM in your convictions/beliefs when you feel with all your being that you’re right..but pray for discernment before doing so. However, also learn to know when to “fold” and give in ..its a thin line indeed..but it can be done. Trusting your “gut woman’s intuition” will save you many a heartache or misfortune; so learn to trust it 100%! Majority of the time our “first inclination” is totally accurate. It IS when we as women doubt ourselves we usually fall short…
7. Embrace who YOU are; Black roots included. Let NO one convince you that being Black is ugly or bad..your Blackness is a part of you that should be nutured..Learn your history and cherish it. Never , ever forget the many who died for you to go to uncharted territory they only could dream of. When you walk out of the door every , single day! you represent your ancestors, your parents, and YOU. Act like it..always..including how you dress! Translation: Cover UP your behind and breasts; unless of course you’re at the beach.
8. Strive to constantly strengthen your “spiritual being” and your FAITH in GOD. Without God you can do nothing; and with GOD you can do anything you dream of. Real talk….you never walk alone. Ever. Once you realize that the entire world/universe! will look different to you.
9. Last but not least remember always YOU were created for a reason! No child is an accident; even ones WE didn’t plan. You’re a unique creation…a one of a kind. One and only YOU. Strive to reach your God given purpose..Work always to improve “self” for we’re always a work in progress. And love, love!, LOVE your counter-part. Your Black Brothers. For even if you don’t fall in love with one..you were created to support HIM. Whether it is as your Father/Daddy/Son/friend/confidant/lover/or husband..do NOT tear him down. For if you do you’re also tearing down a part of YOU..and it is quite impossible to raise outstanding Black sons into beautiful Black MEN; without a sincere RESPECT for Black Men. It is quite simple to understand when looked at from that aspect….Whatever you do enjoy your life. Its a life full of chances to fall down , learn from mistakes!, and dust self off and keep right on moving forward. Love your life; and live the life you love. Anything less is a waste of time…DO YOU and do you to the best of your ability. If you do you’ll have little to no regrets.
In dedicating this week’s posts to ALL things pertaining to Black America..in honor of Black History Month..I’d be remiss in not giving proper attention/adulation/RESPECT to BLACK FATHERS. I should’ve begun and ended with this topic; but I needed time to gather my thoughts to give this topic the HIGH regard it deserves. I can only pray I give it the DUE justice it so rightfully earns. Here is my very best attempt to stand UP and pay homage to the Black MEN whose positive side is notoriously ignored by the media, the paparazzi, often times by Black WOMEN themselves..
**This is a subject near & dear 2 my heart as a 4ever & very LOVED Daddy’s Girl. I dedicate this piece as a tribute to the MAN who gave me life/has been my life-line in my darkest of days/and who has been the voice in my life journey that could instantly bring me comfort when I needed it the most/and beloved lifemate & lovemate of my Mom.. I love you always, Daddy!**
~”Mothers can not be Fathers…Fathers can not be Mothers” EACH role is distinctly important and that is far too often disregarded by the Black community. In the same regard a FATHER’s role is CRUCIAL in a child’s development; no different than it takes both sexes to make a baby…it should rightfully take BOTH to properly raise a child. Exclamation point. Period..Nonetheless many a Black woman has HAD to take on both roles. Or in some cases , far too many, overlooked and under-mined a Father’s role in their child(rens) lives. Which, in my opinion, is a GREAT disservice to the child. Because society does its best to depict Black Fathers as UNneeded; Black Mothers/Women have got to play double -duty letting them know they’re ESSENTIAL. It is a part of our unspoken JOB even though we fall short at times doing so…
>For far too long the “rumors” that resonate as so called “facts” in American society about Black Fathers hasn’t been defended OUT LOUD by anyone…including the Black community. Harsh and sad as that sounds we all know it is true. But what is NOT true is the UNtruth that Black men don’t care /don’t want to care about their children . I’ve lived and seen quite the opposite with my own Father(aka Daddy) , my exhusband, and a host of friends who are Black Fathers/Dads/Pops!/Papa..
NOT only do Black men LOVE their children , and want to spend time with them, but many have had to go to great lengths(and expense of attorneys) to secure what should be their “right”; as a parent. Which is to participate and BE involved in their child’s life; & faced much resistance from racially/gender biased court systems. I personally witnessed a friend of mine endure this for 3 years! The entire time over $800 a month deducted from his salary monthly; yet he had to fight the courts/& child’s mother for visitation rights. Honestly, had I not witnessed it I’d not have believed such a thing could happen…What I feel needs to happen so this can cease is Black mothers have GOT to stop manipulating the court system. Why stop a well-intentioned Father from spending time with their child? And shouldn’t we ask ourselves WHY the court system would allow such a thing?!? But one only has to know the detriment to a child without their Father in their lives..just maybe the infamous “they” don’t want Black Fathers involved in their childrens lives for a reason. Nevertheless the courts would NOT be able to dictate such things; IF mothers respected the importance of the Father’s involvement. Black relationships without a doubt need a major overhaul when courts are this involved in “their” childrens lives…WE can and must do better or our childrens future will be bleak.
The positive impact an actively engaged Father has on a child’s life is beyond priceless…#1 . Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their child #2. Indirectly the relationship between child’s parents will IMPACT the child for life. So even when parents split maintaining a cordial environment is MANDATORY. Just look at it as working on a mutual major project together; your child. Mature folks who love their child can manage this(and helps if you once loved each other)…#3. Children with involved, caring Fathers have better educational outcomes. Higher IQs, better linguistic & cognitive skills(if you don’t believe me google it..) #4.Children with involved Fathers are more emotionally secure,confident to explore their surroundings, less likely to get into trouble at home , school , or anywhere!, and have better social connections/skills #5. Children with involved Fathers are far less likely to experience depression issues, less likely to exhibit disruptive behavior, MORE likely to exhibit pro -social behavior #6. LESS likely to get involved with DRUGS, gangs, or violent behavior..
I’ve personally lived out loud the benefit of having been born into an active 2 parent loving(and IN love with one another)”nuture” team..Fortunately I no longer live over 3,000 miles from them; and loving every moment I get to spend with my parents. Parenting is a JOB that lasts for a LIFEtime. It never ends folks…. I’ve also been part of a 2 parent parenting team with my now exhusband; and its been(and still is) an experience I’ll cherish forever. My exhusband fully understands and promotes the importance of BOTH of our roles; and I give him his much deserved DUE props on a regular basis. He’s known to say there is nothing like “mama love” ; and likewise with “Pops love” We’ve shared duties and “huddled” over major issues. Even though we’ve been divorced for years. Having watched the nuturing love he has given to our sons; has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I’ve got another treasured friend who raised his children on his own basically…never once bad mouthing his children’s mother. Just stepped UP and took the reins in his hands and raised 3 awesome people. Single & GREAT Black Fathers DO exist. Though they ask for no applause; the applause should be thunderous! Enough of just the negative stories about our Black Fathers being plastered across screen and newspapers..the same light should be shown on the outstanding ones. And IF this isn’t done then Black Women need to step UP and do the JOB they were created for@Be supportive of Black Men when the rest of the world is NOT…Or least that is the way I see it. Until I write/read ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna (the 1 & only)
~I am NOT my hair. I am NOT this skin. I am NOT your expectations no, no. I am NOT my hair ! I am NOT this skin….I am a SOUL that lives within~Lyrics by India Aire. India Aire’s song suggests we aren’t our hair..While I can understand the point she’s making; I can’t personally relate. I do indeed feel our hair IS a reflection and self-expression of WHO we are; and whats going on inside of us. And while the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her GLORY; with BLACK women I feel it is FAR more than that. IT defines us in ways that don’t just meet the “eye”; but also reveals our ESSENCE.
First things first..For many moons I’ve said the following @ The Black hair care industry is a multi-million dollar industry; and the Black community is the LEAST to see any revenue from it! Ya’ll can google UP whose got the major control over the industry(cause I think most of us already know…); and also note the fact they’ve a. excluded non-Koreans(yep, you guessed it!) from the industry by refusing to distribute to them b. raised prices higher when distributing products to non-Koreans c. do NOT put revenue back into Black communities but INSTEAD put the revenue back into theirs….Now the question that is just begging to be answered is?!? WHY didn’t Blacks corner the market on their own hair products in the first place???? And now? Everyone has got their hands into the pot of gold regarding Black women’s hair care; except Black women. *slapping forehead* But there are alternatives…
The new hot debate is Natural vs. Relaxed or Weaves…and it can get quite heated! Not in the conversations I’ve engaged in though…Natural is the being called the New Black. I’ve even heard sista ‘s that went natural say they feel its disgusting when a sista either relaxes or wears a weave. WOW. and omg! as if we need yet another thing to divide us. Lawd! Personally I feel it is a woman’s choice to do what SHE pleases with her hair..IF she wants to wear a wolly mammoth atop her head; her business! IF she wants to pay upwards of $500 or more for really good natural fake hair; her business! If she wants to chop it all off and strut it bald; her business! And IF she wants to chemically relax her hair/hot comb it; her business! OUR hair is already scrutinized, styles stolen( Bo Derek took OUR braids to a whole new level…) and critiqued by everyone else as it is. Last thing that needs to happen now is in-fighting..so knock it off! Chill out and do your thing with YOUR hair; and respect others to do the same with theirs. Some sista’ s want to try to micro-manage everything and everybody..jeeeeez. Can’t we all just get along?!?
Here is my opinion regarding natural vs relaxed vs weaves vs bald. The bald state is an easy & quick answer. Hecks NO! I dig being versatile far too much to even consider it..Backintheday my exhusband used to say I’d be beautiful to him even if I was bald! Aww gotta love him but still NO WAY. I’ve seen beautiful Black women sport the bald look ; but not my style.
I’ve also seen beautiful sista’s rock weaves..Beyonce is NEVER without a weave. Ever…her natural hair is boy short. It is quite the norm now for anyone to go from boy short to waist long hair over night. And also quite costly. There are weaves you can’t tell aren’t real hair…Love the idea of being versatile as an option. But I like my scalp being able to breathe…I don’t even wear hats! When I want to run my hands through my scalp; I don’t want to pull back thread. Or worse; not have the freedom to run my hands through my hair. Different strokes for different folks and this just isn’t my style.
I’ve got MAD respect & regard for sista’s that sport their natural hair! The cost is lower than weaves/wigs and I hear it is very liberating….I’ve got male Black friends who will NOT date a woman who wears weaves/wigs/relaxers. They want it all natural…from head to toes.
And while the numbers of Black women who go natural is rising; the majority are still relaxing or semi-relaxing their hair. It is convenient and when maintained with natural conditioners/relaxers the hair is very healthy. I’ve been on the verge of going all natural; but I’ve not dived in with both feet yet. I’m semi there and I use double natural conditioners in my hair to keep it healthy & vibrant. Which takes more time but to me its worth it. I love my hair long…and since its naturally thick I have an awesome time being able to wear many different styles. I don’t get angry when people ask if its real….Actually I think its very amusing “others” are SO obsessed with OUR hair enough to ask such a question. Bottom line is it is our hair/ our choice. And that is the way I see it…Until I read/write ya’ll again stay UPlifted & blessed! 4 ever sincere, Berna(the one & only)
““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)