Posted in @Cultural

I am just , BLACK…

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.

Posted in @Cultural, Things That Make U Say Hmmmm@, ^^Thought Provoking^^

>>the Are U Racist test..Hint=If U start a sentence with I’m not racist because..<<

This topic comes UP alot these days..It came up recently while I was chatting with a friend; I decided then I was going to bring it to my blog to dialogue. A taboo topic that need not be taboo IF folks could/would..speak openly & honestly about IT. Very hopeful to make that happen here as I do what only I can do; the way I do it..Sincerely & with finesse, somewhat?>

>WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Arizona, a state that has clashed repeatedly with the federal government on the issue of immigration, will be back at the Supreme Court on Monday defending a state law that requires proof of citizenship in order to register to vote in elections.

< I want to be clear before I dig into this topic. I’ve had issues with Arizona’s proposed citizenship law; since its very inception. Living in California at the time & quite in-the-know-about-politics(I once ran for office long ago..) ; I understood the law for what it was/IS. Voter suppression. Point blank. For the record there are already laws/statues in place for voter identity. (to ensure folks that vote are indeed American citizens) The proposed Arizona law desires measures in ADDITION to what the Federal law already requires(according to the National Voter Registration Act) Take into account Arizona didn’t introduce the idea for this law; until a very eligible Black American ran for President. Also take into account Arizona was one of the very last states(they held out, with New Hampshire, until they received a litany of heavy criticism) to make MLK, Jr birthday a paid state holiday.  Coincidental? I don’t think so…Lets dig a bit deeper>

We have a fear about talking about RACE ISSUES in America..Its like a dirty little secret that the ENTIRE world knows about(that our country was built, including majority of D.C., on the backs of slaves…) and yet; it’s not talked about openly in public. Because of this being factual is my belief that racism can still exist in our country. Or least that is one of the reasons .  Can’t work to erase something that “allegedly” is already dealt with…But even a blind, deaf-mute  knows that the days of racism/racist attitudes/racist beliefs/racist tendencies are  far from over>

*I could keep my head buried in the sand..Act as if racism is truly dead in a country I love..On a daily basis living as a Black American woman I’m not physically touched by racism..But our Black men, America’s Black MEN, are catching HELL..As a mother of 3 grown Black beautiful Black men I simply can’t pretend racism is dead. As an American I can’t turn a deaf ear & blind eye either. How many more Martin Trayvons, Chavis Carters, & Oscar Grants have to die for us to openly discuss race issues in our country? Very well could’ve been one of MY sons..two of whom are fond of wearing hoodies from time2time. To think the unthinkable could happen to them or ANY law-abiding citizen in our country; is more than I can bear to think. And more than enough to motivate me to use my freedom of speech to speak on IT..yet another thing I love about my country@freedom of speech & thought. I think therefore I blog>

I wonder everyonceinagreatwhile IF I weren’t Black if I’d care so much that racism still exists..IF I were privy to White privilege would I feel racist beliefs/treatment were unjust? IF I were White would I turn a blind eye to people’s freedom & lives being taken away without justified reason? I’d like to think I’d still feel the same as I do now. Matter of fact I’m almost willing to bet I would; because I’ve got an enormous heart. Wrong is wrong no matter the color of a person’s skin/ethnic background/cultural foundation/personal belief system. 

If you start a sentence with, I’m not racist because…More than likely you probably are or have racist tendencies. And for the love of God; I wish folks would stop saying I’ve got Black/White friends so I’m not racist. As IF! I’ve said it before & I’ll say it one ‘mo time; that only means you’ve got Black or White friends. I don’t try to dis-prove or UNprove anything; or least I try not to. What I attempt to do is love & accept everyone..That inofitself has been something that is an on-going process. As I’ve evolved as I’ve learned more about different cultures and life styles; my level of acceptance has broadened. I really can’t express it any other way..So read between the lines. I believe that IGNORANCE is what lies as the foundation of racism & prejudice. What folks don’t understand or know about; they often form negative opinions about. What can also feed a person’s belief system is = what they’re taught as children. Thankfully I was taught self-pride/cultural pride/LOVE. But what about children that were taught to hate from birth? I wasn’t one who thought racism would die overnight because we’d elected a Black POTUS. Rome wasn’t built in a day; and something it took many moons to create will take more than a minute to change…What I do think is that as a country WE can do better. The next 4 years will be a time of great positive change for our country..Or so its my belief based on many factors. That is another topic for another time. However having said all of that; there is NO time like the present to do what is right. I’m hoping we can do it together. *One love*

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, @Cultural, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

*Myth or Truth?* The Splintering of BLACK America..*my last* Black History Month 2013 Tribute

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?

hatersgonnahateDon’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)

 

 

 

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, @Cultural, Motivational!, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~An Open Letter 2 My Black Sista’s~~Tribute to Black History Month*Written with love..

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.

AintIAWomanfurthertofly6. 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.

 

Posted in ***DPCHALLENGE, **RELIGIOUS**, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, =Self Discovery=, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, WOW, ^Encouraging Words, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~To B Continued

~~Daily Prompt~UN FaithFUL *DP CHALLENGE*Post A Day@Just DOing IT

I saw this prompt on WordPress this morning N could hardly believe my eyes! A chance to write, solicited, about my journey of Faith. A journey which spans an entire lifetime, mine, N a myriad of phases. From wannaBbeliever/attending Mass all the while over the years, yet not feeeeeeeling IT/starting 2 grasp IT/seeking 2 fully believe/Believer in every bone of my body and HUNGRY to learn more N more. Going to take a few moments to gather my thoughts so that my keystrokes can relay what I’d like to share. ^2 B Continued Soon^

Where do I begin  a topic such as Faith? A topic that has become so very personal 2 me that I’m excited just being about 2 write about IT. Saying that, keystroking it rather, still amazes me because a mere 5 years ago I’d not have felt such excitement over the topic of Faith. I was IN a different time N space then. A different mindset. And yet, I’ve been LED to right where I am now. The here N now. Present in the moment N oh! so content , pleased, HAPPY, to B in this moment. Any1 who has known me for a decent length of time knows that is a miracle inofitself…

I can not promise this will B a post of brevity. But I can promise it will B sincere N hope it is received as such. Never do I profess to be an expert in anything..though I’m experienced in ALOT ..I possess a PHD in life. From extreme moments of joy 2 being down in valleys so deeeeeep I didn’t think I’d make it out..alive. Real talk. There once was a time I didn’t think I’d live to see 50 yrs of age. There once was a time I did NOT want to live to see the age of 50 yrs of age. There once was a time my own actions /feelings were indicative that I didn’t like myself very much. And  yet by my outward appearance people thought I loved ME. But on the inside I was lost…a part of my inner being was murdered when I was a teen. An action that even my own Daddy couldn’t *stop* from happening to ME..and yet here I stand on the brink of making IT to 50 yrs of age. I am in AWE of that and that is tough! to express to people. So I no longer try…I just AM . Trying to live UP to my GOD given purpose. Far from that goal yet I’m so very , very much closer than I ever have been in my life. And you know what? I just feeeeeeeeeeeeeel GOOD about 99% of the time! Real talk. Alive, vibrant, and leaping out of bed each day @O’dark thirty hours eager! to start each new day. I say all of this to attempt to express to ya’ll how very GOOD that my GOD is allll the time. I’d not have wasted these keystrokes to say such personal things if not trying to show you just how FAR my GOD has brought ME..through things I didn’t think I’d ever make it through. Once something I yearned to believe IN(because those I loved dearly@my parents believed so strongly…) and now? I believe so strongly that  at times the feeling of goodness feeeeeels so good I get overwhelmed. Ever felt something that good? So good it scared you? And yet even that scared feeling of butterflies about to burst out of your tummy felt good?!? That is how I feel most of the time now…I can’t properly describe it any other way.

After experiencing a very  unexpected spiritual awakening in a state I’d lived in &  loved! since 1989..I found MYself led, guided, to move cross country. 2 beginning anew. At 48 yrs of age…I was simply put, terrified to do that! Yet everything happening was urging me/gently pushing me towards making such a bold move. I was afraid to do it. I was afraid not to do it. Hope that makes as much sense to ya’ll as it still 2 this day makes 2 me. Shortly after relocating cross country I was fortunate enough to attend my very 1st(but certainly not my last..) National Black Catholic Conference in Indianapolis with my parents & new church friends. AND MY LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. Over a period of  4 days I for the 1st time in my life felt I belonged NOT just to the religion I’d been a part of since birth..but I began to feel remarkably different. I began to see things differently. I began to say things differently. It happened so suddenly! I had begun to believe in GOD fully and almost overnight. Not forced nor reaching to believe as I had my entire 40 some odd years…Bam! I believed. My life, the years past of my life/events of my life/people who had entered my life/circumstances that happened in my life/…began to rewind in my mind. Over days N days..as IF someone was playing a movie of MY life. I couldn’t STOP it..seriously thought I was losing my dang mind. I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening. Not even my Mom. Sounded far too crazy to try to explain..or did IT?

My entire outlook on things changed..Instead of feeling sorry for MYself about things I’d left behind..Stead of lamenting about people /loved ones! I couldn’t see daily(that I missed as if it were the AIR I had to breathe..) I threw myself head 1st into becoming the type of person I so admired. I began to WORK on tweaking/changing every facet of myself that I did not care for. Tough job to do at almost 50 yrs of age…I didn’t consult anyone. But I began to PRAY for guidance. I simply had a chat with GOD N asked him to please let me seeeeee the me that everyone else loves! Let me begin to love…ME. Heal me from things that happened long ago that were NOT within my control. Allow me to learn to lose  the tight, oh so tight! control, I have held over my heart. Let me live life to the potential I know you’ve plotted out for me since before my conception. And then! I realized I was talking to GOD..and I fully believed he was hearing me. Just so happened the exact way  I just wrote it. I became a full believer without the least amount of effort. A process of things over a lifetime brought me..here. So I’ve decided that it must’ve ALL been a part of HIS plan. That had my life happened any other way I simply wouldn’t have gotten IT. Once I was so very blind; but now I see EVERYthing so clearly. I kid you not. N I’m as serious as I’ve ever been about anything.

Now? I’m like a sponge. I am on a personal pilgrimage..Still journeying to get closer to my GOD. So much I’ve yet to learn . I don’t confess to have Bible scriptures memorized. Nor do I profess to be a perfect Christian. I am NOT a perfect anything. I am just me..the one and only creation of what my God created me to B. I don’t even long to be perfect! I think that would make me boring as heck…What am I? I am perfectly imperfect.

I’ll leave ya’ll with this final thought. Fear not if you don’t yet believe 100%…just wanting to believe is a start! WE are ALL loved children of GOD..whether we believe or not. This is what I feel. This is what I’ve come to know. And if we just stop trying to follow our OWN will N let HIS will for us B and go with the flow when we are LED by him…life gets SO much easier! I stress and worry so much less than I used 2..that is yet another miracle! inofitself. Not saying I don’t still worry about things; but its FAR less than I used to. Progress…for Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it is ridiculous to think anything, including a person, especially one almost 50 lol! would change totally overnight…but I’m getting closer. I am WISER. I am STRONGER. I am SO much better than I used 2 B. Can’t ask for much more than that. And? If it can happen to me, and I can assure you my words R true, it can/WILL happen to anyone. You if you want it 2. All you have to do is ..BELIEVE. Stay UPlifted N blessed ya’ll. N remember 2 count each and every one of your blessings 2day N every day. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 N only)