Category Archives: Journalism

Do You Know Where You’re Going To

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“The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots” – Erich Fromm

Lately, the traffic in Austin has been worse than normal, so I have attempted to try several different routes, and it’s been somewhat of an adventure. I’ve been doing so for my morning and evening routes, and I feel like I have driven all over Austin. One day this past week, a thought came to my mind. As I drive around Austin, I never use a GPS. I take great pride in learning and knowing my surroundings. Yes, I am that person who looks down on someone who’s lived in a city more than 2 years and doesn’t know how to get around a city in which you live.

I believe a GPS, although it has purpose when you are somewhere unfamiliar, I find it mentally frustrating, because it doesn’t always take the best route, it more times than not, takes the long road (“safe route”) , and ignores the shorter road (“riskier route”). So it is interesting how so many people are addicted to the GPS.  You also do not learn your environment or you’re too busy paying attention to the GPS that you might miss out on  scenery that surrounds you, and it’s a shame. But more than anything, to some extent you are a robot, following a voice and the mind isn’t thinking.  To some extent, you become a robot.

Now when I had these thoughts, I had no idea what I would sit down to write about this week or how it would relate to the topic of my choice, but I knew it would be relevant, and boy is it ever.

As I peruse my timeline, news feed, or any other social medium since the Friday attacks in Paris, a question comes to my mind:

Are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

I think the only thing more disturbing than the actual terrorist attacks in Paris, or any other terror attack or violence in any country at any given time, is the arguing about what people should or shouldn’t do or say on their Facebook profile. There has been a lot of social media riff raff about the media attention and sympathy for the attacks on Paris versus other acts of violence whether it be in the black community, in Beirut, or in Kenya, and so on.  In all reality, there are thousands if not millions of people who live in constant danger every day, and should be on your habitual prayer list, but I am not even going to get into that. What’s really surprising is that people are ACTUALLY getting annoyed when the seemingly majority comes together to change their profile picture to the French flag. Now, I would agree that there are plenty of people who couldn’t have pointed out the French flag before Friday, but what you are learning is that some people follow the crowd. Sometimes that crowd is your family, or friends, and now it can be your Facebook friends, strangers, or the mass media. Either way, everyone isn’t paying attention to what’s going on in this world, and are just passing a widget in the assembly line.

So I ask, are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

In a country where we are free to mourn, cry, and pray in the manner in which we choose, more and more, there are so many people judging each other publicly about the decision that they make. I was listening to the radio on Friday, and they were discussing a report that stated, “A week without Facebook leads to a happier, less angry, less lonely life” (source)

I believe that story without an ounce of double checking of the research. I get frustrated on Facebook at least 3 times in a week, and on Veteran’s day, I think I was upset 3 times in that one day. But the reality is today, as was when I wrote it here, here AND here, you cannot complain about the media not covering certain news or Americans caring about certain people. A lot of people are mad about the unfair coverage of the news, but THIS IS NOTHING NEW. Similar to when my black friends and I had the tough conversations about the police and brutality, that my little conservative, uppity Negro ears didn’t want to hear or believe or listen. But you all are mad at institution that has failed you for years, yet you continue to tune in, re-tweet, and share the news that give you crap and when you wake up and realize that all International Lives don’t matter, I don’t have sympathy for you.

I really do not watch any form of cable news, besides ESPN – and they too, are becoming ratings obsessed. I boycott, not because I am into boycotting, they do not cover or represent mine or anyone’s interest. They continue to prevail, because we are becoming more and more like robots. Following as the winds blows, and rarely making are own decisions. Not to mention, people are constantly trying to change our MIND for their gain and not our enrichment! In fact, sometimes, going against the grain feels like it’s a part of the crowd when too many begin to follow. I mean this shouldn’t be surprising, didn’t you hear, the First Family, are a bunch of robots. Yes, I am referring to the Kardashians. But beyond this seemingly unsurprising robotic nature of many people, I wonder if telling people what they should do, and then they do it, do they really believe it? Cherish it?

I think more than anything, we are doing and saying things without really thinking about why or who we are saying it to, and social media has made everyone’s opinion relevant.

The more important question were the seemingly “Christian” folks on my timeline who took the time to remind us that we shouldn’t allow refugees into this country. Now, I am not negating that they didn’t play any role, but the quickness in which many took to discuss whether or not the refugees contributed to the terror attacks is alarming. What I can tell you is that the hate and fear mongering that we are spewing to each other is not going to help these robots that this world is creating. The part of this that scares me are the young people influenced by ISIS across the globe including America.  We are creating robots, and when they fall into the wrong hands, their fragile minds can be swayed to do and be a part of really bad things, in a million different names, including religion.

There are a few traits, psychologists have found, “They tend to be young, male thrill junkies, craving purpose, glory, camaraderie and a fresh identity….They hunger for significance, even infamy. Some barely understand the Islamic faith. And many are just plain bored.” (source) …. sound like a robot trying to feel alive again doesn’t it? I do not mean to over simplify the issue, but many of the recruits in the Western world are pulled in a social media recruitment, and with the wrong psyche, many things could trigger a person to search and reach to ISIS as did Andre Poulin, a common westerner to join the Islamic State. (source). I cannot sit here and write about how to change the terror attacks in Paris, Beirut, Kenya, and so forth, but I know I see more hate then love on my timeline, and more blind allegiance, than true thought.  America we cannot create any more robots. Our lives depend on it.

M/P

The Reality of Truth In America: A Story About Donald Trump and N.W.A.

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“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” –Albert Einstein


What I am about to say may seem a little outlandish. You might think that I am a little crazy. But like the Black Eye Peas, “I got a Feeling”.  There’s this movie out, I don’t know if you heard of it … “Straight Outta of Compton.” And then there’s this actor running for President – Yes, I am referring to Donald Trump. And I see a connection, a similarity… in who they were, and who he is now, and why we just can’t get enough.

Americans, and others, love “the truth”. Straight talking in your face, not caring about the consequences.

* enters N.W.A. and Donald Trump hand in hand*

We loved/love them for their honesty, their bluntness but yet, they have/had their fair share of haters. There are people who disagree with their honesty, and then there are others who would just like them to “tone” it down a bit. But what they both have in common is their comments, lyircs or words about women that are derogatory. Yes… I am taking it there, but hear me out, this is not what it seems.

Filmaker Ava Duvernay expressed her feelings about hip hop so eloquently in 140 characters.

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When you think of N.W.A and other Rap/Hip-Hop artists, as a woman, you can’t help but cringe at some of the lyrics. The honesty that they bring comes with an asterisk when it comes to women for a lot of people. When asked about their lyrics in response to say “F*ck the Police”, they explain that they are exercising their 1st Amendment right and shout from the hilltops that political correctness takes away from the stories they are telling about what’s going on in their communities. But in terms of women, what is the explanation for that? We have the right to talk about women any way we want. Well, that’s what they did and artists still do today.And Donald Trump, in 2015, still going at it strongly dissing women when he can.

Now, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have kind of changed their tune, and don’t say degrading things about women for the most part (to be discussed later).  And to be honest, now, most people equate Ice Cube to a family actor who is always playing the sensible guy. I mean have you seen Ride Along.  And let’s not forget Dr. Dre’s physically abusive nature towards women from his past. Now, the members of N.W. A. are all grown up and might not talk or do what they used to, but we have new rappers who follow in their footsteps. We see time and time again, that people have no problem saying demeaning things to just about anybody, and we eat it up like cake as long as it’s not about us or offending us.

So here’s the question: Can we handle the truth, and if it is someone else’s truth, should we “handle” it ? Does being in the spotlight have any effect on what you are free to say? Do we really believe in Freedom of Speech as a Nation, and should we?

So I went on a little research expedition about Donald’s inappropriate language, I’m refraining from posting any of that garbage on my site, but here’s at least one link that identifies a few of his comments

Now, some of the comments in the article aren’t that bad, some of them are disgusting. Implying that Megyn Kelly was menstruating  i.e. she was emotional is equivalent to Hilary crying back in the 2008’s primary election. People said this happened cause she’s a woman. Really? Now my friends, those examples aren’t shit. It’s offensive, yes, but let’s not get distracted. Donald’s is offensive when he refers to women sexually or inappropriately but everything people are up in arms about isn’t offensive.  But the reality,  he’s running for President. So is he offensive, because he’s running for President, or because he’s just offensive. One of his supporters, now former, said it best at the end of the above article, “I wouldn’t want my daughter around him”, but would you really want Bill Clinton? (I’m just saying)

I am not at all condoning Trump’s commentary, look back two weeks ago here, I was pissed at him for talking about John McCain, because it was insensitive and un-American. But in some way American, right? This is my 4th post about Freedom of Speech. So you know, it’s something I care about. When we talk about limits and all that and its purpose, and why we should be thankful for it, you can look there and there for those conversations.

My point today America…. Stop picking and choosing the truth that you want to hear, truth should be all encompassing.  

So you have to take the whole person and their truth, not in parts. Can you love N.W.A. for coming out against the Police and shame them for their lyrics about women? You can but to me, it’s the same as an holier than though anti-gay preacher who hires gay men for sex. Like WHET! But here’s the point. Why do we continue to reward people for the things we like and shame them for the things that we don’t. You either love them for all of who they are, or you don’t. We cannot cherry pick the truth. As much as I or you would want to. If you know me, you know who my favorite actor is, and I watched that Clear Project crap, and cried every night for a week, okay maybe not every night or at all, but I love Tom Cruise, jumping on couches and all. So I guess what I am saying is just own it and stop apologizing, which brings us full circle as to why Trump is winning in the polls, winning in America with  his offensive talking points and language.  Trump isn’t apologizing for what he’s saying. It is HIS truth and he’s OWNING IT. There are not enough people doing just that.

In terms of N.W.A., I am not condoning the vile words or actions of abuse, but you cannot separate them. Those young men were born in situations of abuse where they saw it day in and out against women. When they raised themselves out of that environment, and knew better, they did better. This is not the case for all men. It’s not about whether Dr. Dre has or hasn’t really changed. In his new album, Compton, he might not be as bad, but he doesn’t do any favors for women, as mentioned so eloquently in this article. Even if slight, there are still a couple of hints of mistreatment of women. He could use his position to highlight the difficulty of being a black man, and how we unfortunately use violence against our women and children because of the struggle, but that wouldn’t be his truth. So let’s stop making excuses for him.  And that’s what this is really all about. You can yell and scream, inappropriate and vile, all you want, but the biggest problem is not believing people when they tell us who they are. So like I said, I am all for unabashed truth, even if it hurts, because it’s better knowing than not, but that means the rest of America needs to catch up with the truth that’s being spit right to them.

If what Trump is saying is resonating with so many Americans, what is the real problem, and who is going to fix it. Because if we don’t, Trump is going to be elected and he will have the opportunity to do so. My advice to the other candidates on both sides of the aisle, attack him until your truth is a better solution. Otherwise, his truth will continue to reign, and he happens to live in a country that will allow him to do so. Maybe everyone should take the same approach and exercise their freedom of speech as Trump has.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game, and starting learning how to play.

M/P

Great Expectations (The Anniversary Edition)

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“Ask no questions, and you will get no lies”- Charles Dickens

Today is the anniversary of the launch of my blog. This time last year, I published my  first post  here on Missing Perspective. And the rest is history. I am so thankful for my faithful readers, commentators,  and sharers of my work. Without you this wouldn’t be as interesting, engaging or fun!

As I have been approaching my one year anniversary, I have been asked:  Have you reached your expectations over the last year? Absolutely! Why? Because at the beginning I set zero expectations. I had purposed in my heart, I was going to do this and anything was going to be better than nothing. Sounded like a good idea in the beginning. Well, along the way, I laid out expectations at different times of the year. At times, I reached them and others, I completely, and utterly missed the mark. But that’s okay, because no one is perfect right.

When you’re starting something new in uncharted territory, you  take advice from others, read tips, how to’s, and every manual that tells you exactly what you should do. And sometimes people ask your advice along the way, because they too are trying to do exactly what you are doing. Having to read what others did, successfully or unsuccessfully, and then describing to others what you did/do, is one of the ways we can have Great Expectations failings for ourselves every time.  But guess what I learned from that experience.

In the process of working on my blog,  I learned to read, hear, and know bull shit better than ever before, and boy, did I need to learn that lesson. If you ask my mother, she will tell you that I am naïve, and even though she would never admit it, sometimes I surprise her with my silly naiveté or trust and belief in what other people say. But when you embark on a journey like writing a blog, which causes you to put yourself out there, you learn a lot from this experience, but that’s only when you’re honest with yourself.

So after 6 months, when I would read other blogs, or talk to other people about blogging, I could honestly tell the fakers from the truth Sayers. Some people are quick to tell you their readership, or following and why they are awesome, instead of providing practical application and advice. This matters, because if you start to compare yourselves to them, you start wondering if you are doing something wrong or what more could you be doing, even though you are already barely getting any sleep.

But I just decided to sit back and learn genuine people versus the completely lying out of the side of their mouth people. Blogging and social media worlds are generally pretty friendly, sharing, and authentic. (Join any tweet chat, and the top word most of the time is authentic, trust me, I know). Everyone has been to lie to, and that gets kind of old.

I say all of this, because expectations are important. We should all have them for ourselves. It’s good to even have expectations of others, but if you don’t like heartbreak, having few expectations for your friends, family, and significant others is probably the best idea in my book.

I write a lot about creating goals, working on them, and achieving them. But the reality is that it’s so much more than your professional life. It could be personal, spiritual, among many other things. More importantly, they can be small or large goals, just don’t let anyone else define them for you. I wrote earlier this week about not putting ourselves in boxes, or getting caught up in identifying ourselves with a particular group. But sometimes, people on the outside do just that,  and try to set our expectations.

Because of my aspirations (taking over the world), ambitions (semi-entrepreneur), views (feminist, feminist, feminist, and girls rock), and passion (there is literally no end to it), people even put me in a box. I have to explain so many misconceptions of what I believe, what I am most proud of, and what things are most important to me. To the point, I create expectations based on these demands and not because it is in my heart. I encourage you not to do that as well. At some point in life, you have to live for you and realize, like I have learned, misconceptions will always be there, there is nothing you can do about it.   Smart people will move on and keeping doing what makes them happy, because at the end of the day that’s what is important.

So I picked, Great Expectations as my title, not because I like Charles Dickens’ book by any means. If fact, Great Expectations is probably my least favorite Dickens novel and not because it isn’t beautifully written, and the story is compelling, gut wrenching, etc, but I just wish the story was different for Pip.  Who can’t help but sympathize and admire him throughout the story. I oddly have a fond admiration for a story that I do not enjoy.

The term “Expectations” refers to a Victorian definition, “a legacy to come”, sounds beautiful does it not. Despite Pip’s orphan status, he has great ambition throughout this book, but at many points throughout, he is disappointed and it kind of hurts. So for me, I can love the thought of having great expectations, but reality will always set in. But as the preacher used to say, “trouble won’t last always”, and that’s exactly it. It is always better to try and miss the mark then to never try at all. Hopefully, our lives won’t be a tragedy  like Pip, but at least it won’t be half lived.  Create expectations, reach for the stars, and believe in dreams that only you are meant to enjoy.

So as I celebrate my anniversary, I encourage you to remember:

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Thanks for reading, and to another year!

Jackie-Monroe

Emotional to Irrational – The Winning Logic of Donald Trump

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Where do I start? The land of the brave, and unfortunately free to say and do absolutely whatever comes to mind. If you have been a follower of Missing / Perspective from the beginning, you know that freedom is at the top of my list of reasons that I love America.  Freedom of speech and expression is a rare gem that gives us a true advantage over most countries. Even our 1st world allies do not practice freedom of expression as openly and freely as we do here. However, with this freedom there is “speech” that  I  hear that disgusts me and I often disagree with it especially out of news media’s mouth (i.e. CNN and Fox News).

So now that it is election season, and a new candidate announces daily, I guess it’s time to talk a little politics. I would like to enjoy my summer, and not have to talk about politics with you, but sometimes life isn’t fair. A number of people haved asked me about: Donald John Trump. I find him entertaining, because well, he’s entertaining.  And yes, his comments about Mexicans were offensive and inappropriate for a number of reasons. For one, using absolutes as if every Mexican immigrant is a rapist is inexcusable, and to some extent, the comments could  apply to a segment of every ethnic demographic.  So let’s be clear, what Donald is trying to say, that there are illegal immigrants that come to America that are bad and commit crimes, and we want them to stop coming here. But that’s not WHAT he said. And the angry people in his audience just cheered him on as he said those ridiculous comments.  I wonder were they really listening.  Maybe… but we as Americans are learning to live in absolutes and not discerning the issues.

Politico  tried to explain the angry GOP support last week with their article, “Donald Trump and the Angry GOP)” . They tried to articulate, much better I might add, what Donald Trump and his followers believe:

 “Immigration reform” allies like to say, a land of immigrants. But it is not a land of endless immigration from one culture that is different than ours and in many ways far less successful. Most immigrants from Mexico, no doubt, are good, hardworking people seeking a chance to better their circumstance in America. But they are not Americans. And in the numbers they are coming, the serious concern is that they are not easily assimilated. Other cultures are supposed to augment ours, not replace it”  (Source)  

You might not agree with the whole statement, but it’s true. At some point, we do have to be stricter and prevent others from coming into our country freely. HOWEVER, the way we go about having the conversation is important. I think it’s legitimate to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we cannot forget that we are talking about people. So I am glad that Donald Trump and his people are angry, and there are reasons to be angry, but you can’t just say anything in anger. Being legitimately angry about one fact doesn’t mean your anger gets to be all encompassing. Case and Point: Donald’s comments on John McCain’s hero status.

That’s right folks, Donald had the audacity to talk about John McCain. If you know me, I have a strong affinity for John McCain, if you have read any part of his story as a POW, it’s truly remarkable. One of my highlights of law school (because they are few and far in between) is when we got to perform speeches in trial class, and of course, I performed an excerpt from John McCain’s book. He is a true American, don’t even get me started. Now, that doesn’t mean he is perfect, and that he hasn’t made mistakes, made some REALLY bad decisions (Sarah Palin comes to mind), but never in my life did I think anyone would question his service.

*Enters idiot Donald Trump*

Well, if you missed it, Donald essentially said that John McCain wasn’t a war hero, and he so flippantly stated that “he likes his heroes not to be captured”. Oh really, Donald, don’t we all. I didn’t realize your definition of heroes involved capes and spandex, i.e. the Avengers, because you know in the REAL world there are no super heroes, you cannot help your fate at times. Look at Chris Kyle, a war hero, unfortunately, was  killed by another human. I know it’s unrelated, but my point, is that we are human and can be vulnerable at any point in time, such as your plane being shot down in ENEMY territory. Not to mention, we could compare Trump’s ability to be a hero if he had not deferred 5 times. That’s right folks, this joker who is calling out someone else’s service, had 5 deferments, not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, BUT 5.

Now, maybe if it stopped there, I would be mostly mad at Donald Trump, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post, but the next day when Donald Trump asked if he owes McCain an apology. Of course, he doesn’t. Stand by your words. I think it’s stupid that people ask people to take words back, I get that people say things in the spur of the moment, but if you’re running for President, get it together. But Donald makes an honest and correct point about why he wouldn’t take it back and that he didn’t think it would affect his race, “When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation,” said Trump. “It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted”. (source)

And that made me stop think. He’s right. He’s wrong about a lot of things, but not this one.  See Donald Trump has been wanting to run for President since 1988, and in 2015, America is at a place where they want to hear someone say the crazy things they think in their home. Emotional? Yes. Irrational? HELL YES. I actually think there is more to the story that’s not being articulated. See the reality is that John McCain, who has served in Congress since 1982 (before I was even born) needs to have a seat. Since his first campaign, there has been a number of changes in America. I would agree it is probably time for him to retire from public service, and it doesn’t just rest with McCain. I think there are a number of political figures who have outlasted their stay and are unwilling to challenge the status quo. The reality is that people are angry, so angry that they can’t see straight. So there are issues with John McCain, sure, but not about his POW record, but why are we confusing the two? When did we get so emotional? Oh wait, we’ve always been emotional, but we have moved from emotional to irrational.  Well, whenever that day happened, was the day Donald Trump decided that he could capitalize on this anger. So I am not mad at the “the Donald”, I am mad at America for getting us to this point.

So what’s next?

Just when people want to stop paying attention, because the rhetoric such as this is maddening, we cannot. We have to get involved and we cannot give up. We have to be emotional, but rational beings. We must look for the solutions when the emotions are gone, or not be misguided by our emotions. It’s almost as if the country needs a counseling session. So let’s sit down and talk!

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. – John F. Kennedy

What are your thoughts about Donald Trump? or the field of the candidates? Let’s talk (Comment below)

Since the Day I Was Born ….

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For me, the hardest part of watching the movie Selma was the first five minutes. It is the scene when the young girls, doing what young girls do in church, were blown up. I have thought of this scene multiple times prior to seeing the movie and just the thought of this scene was chilling, but Ava DuVernay captured it even more poignantly in the movie. So as I woke up this morning, June 18, to hear that 9 black people were shot in a historic church in South Carolina, I couldn’t even imagine what was going on in their minds and hearts as it was happening. As a child who grew up in the church, the thought of some one coming into our sabbath school, choir practice, youth service or a sermon brought me to real tears for so many reasons. Cried for their kids, their families, but also that our people have to be killed in a church, for everyone to find outrage. To utter the words that this IS a hate crime unlike all the other incidents. Because when our people are in the streets, not wearing the right clothes or defending themselves (if only with our words), the life of a black person is not of the same worth. We have to be doing what society deems appropriate for there to be outrage.

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See what’s so troubling about this shooting is that the black church is a center piece to black culture. Despite our difficult past, the church has been a place of refuge for us. It IS a place of refuge for us. Despite its faults, because no establishment is perfect, it represents so much for black people. This feels like the highest violation, because almost every black child can relate to some degree when it comes to matters of faith. So now, in 2015, we are still being terrorized in our places of worship like in the days of MLK. How are we supposed to attend our places of worship? Of course, this won’t keep us out of our churches, but it will make some look over their shoulders. And it shouldn’t be this way.

Over the last two years, we’ve seen our young sons and daughters killed, and protestors and activists lambasted for speaking out against the police. Here’s the truth, we are racially profiled, wrongfully jailed, unjustly sentenced, and leniency is rarely given, yet a privilege white boy can receive leniency for a disease called “affluenza”, because he was born in privilege so he couldn’t grasp his actions.

Am I missing something?

I’m not radical. I actually love the police and respect the 5 -0 , the men in Blue. But when I sit here and speak to older black people who are not seeing why we are upset. That in some way, they implicitly say that we are the problem, is when I realize I have to say something. To speak up.

TODAY, we have earned the right to be angry,  to be sad, but we must not sit. We want equality in every area. But there are certain things I want right now from three groups of people:

1. The Media and the People Who Watch It
2. “Educated” Black People
3. Everybody else

1. MEDIA

For the last week, I was saturated about the Rachel “whogivesashit” Dolezeal story. Wake up media and get some respect about yourself. How can this nation grow, the people learn and understand,  if the information you give us is horrible. You ARE dumbing down America.

The People Who Watch It

STOP WATCHING IT …

Until its worthy of our attention

2. EDUCATED BLACK PEOPLE

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of my peers talk about how they are numb. STOP. You’re still living, breathing and have a sound mind. Do something. I’m not asking you to move mountains. But all of us need to have a hand in making a difference in our communities. It’s about each of us contributing in some capacity. You don’t need to live in Baltimore, NYC or Cleveland, but help where you are. You can protest, but there are other ways too. Use your unique gifts and talents. More importantly, as I’ve said so many times, have real conversations with your White friends, your Hispanic friends, your Asian friends, your Jewish friends. We need allies. Don’t have any of “those” friends? Well, we can not sit in our little educated black circles and expect people to understand or care if we’re not out here shouting from the mountaintop.

3. EVERYBODY ELSE

Wake the HECK up to the world we actually live in and not the world you think we do. Get out your shell or your/our world will fall apart, and it won’t be the underprivileged, the mistreated, and upset young people’s fault, it will be yours.

Since the day I was born, I have loved America and I have been a Black American. Since the day I was born, I believed I lived in a post-racial America. That is not true. I have been proud to be an American, I just hope those days are not numbered, because we are blind to reality. I now know,  since the day I was born, there is still a lot of work to be done about race. I have taken off my rose colored glasses, won’t you?

M/P

Turning the Corner… Fearlessly!

See you in the future

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

I decided to do a blog post link-up this week (click here for more details). Ironically, the topic of the link up fits fairly well into this week’s “The Monday Fits” where I wrote about selling your personal brand to yourself, before you can sell to anyone one else. The irony is that I write about the importance of our generation’s future quite a bit, whether it’s discussing taking risks, pursuing your dreams and chasing waterfalls. My most recent post asked my readers to reflect on what they’re selling to people and whether they believe their own story. So I have been selling to my readers about taking ACTION for their future, so to be asked to evaluate myself in a real way caught me a little off guard. What am I doing, what I am constantly selling to my audience? So with today’s post, I am evaluating myself, and I hope that you take the time do so as well. It is so important that we are intentional with our future

 Topic: WHAT ARE YOU DOING (NOW) TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE? WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD START DOING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOURSELF?

When thinking about my future, there are so small tasks that I think are necessary to literally do every day to get to the next level, and then there are the big ideas, your vision for the future. This is usually what are dreams are made of and sometimes they can make your stomach turn, because you’re never 100% sure if you will be able to accomplish them. Hence, why the small the tasks are so important to get to the end, they will lead you to the big vision, but it can be hard not to lose focus. So below I listed my long term goals, and what I am (trying) to do each day to prepare for my future.

  1. Being Bold  –  Professionally. This really manifests itself by trusting my gut. In my role at work, I make recommendations by analyzing problems through policy, research and data and look for solutions. Being creative and trying something new, when the evidence supports the idea, is important. But often, people don’t see or understand your vision or idea. So you really have to believe in yourself and not seek others approval.  We can talk ourselves out of taking a risk. I am guilty of it, but I work on it so that one day I may be able to be a fearless leader.  – Long Term Goal: Run a Non-Profit Organization
  2. Saving Money  I have a problem with this thing called self- control and prioritization. Self-control is important now, and not for the next day.  On a day to day basis, I am focusing on spending my money on items that are aligned with my long term goals and not the thing that feels good at the moment.  The main day to day task that I have to do is taking the time to say NO. Sounds simple, but it’s not easy. Denying one’s self today for the benefit for tomorrow is hard. I am an emotional being if you have ever read any of my intense Mondays Fits. Being debt-free allows me to be fearlessly in control of not only my finances, future business financing and financial freedom – Long Term Goal: Being Debt-Free  for business and personal investments
  3. Meaning What I Say Why is this a goal? Because at every job interview, discussion, or questionnaire, when someone asks what is one of my top 3 qualities that are important to me, my first answer is always integrity. In some areas in our lives, having integrity is effortless. In other areas, it takes some real soul searching to keep your integrity intact. But more times than not, its the small white lies or minor excuses that make us lose our integrity. Those small occurrences will turn into big ones if we don’t monitor our behavior. But being a positive role model is important to me and my future. Meaning what I say allows me to be fearless in the example that I set for those around me, who look up to me or those who are having to work an depend on me. – Long Term Goal: Be a good Parent, Role Model, and Co-Worker

Question Numero 2 – Now what should I start doing to create a better future for myself? My initial reaction to this question, is EVERYTHING. But that is clearly not possible or plausible. But I think there is one major thing that I should start doing to create a better future for myself is being able to make mistakes, pick up, and keep it going. It is easy to sit and wallow, and sometimes it is more enjoyable to do so, but allowing the bumps to stop you is the same as not having goals in the first place. If we allow one mistake to slow us down, we will begin to get bogged down, and never make any movement. The other reason I think this is important to start doing this is no one else can teach you how to do this or how to overcome when you want to give up. Those motivations come from within. The only person who can turn the corner fearlessly is YOU!

Your turn!  Answer the questions for yourself, What are doing right (NOW) to prepare for your future? What do you think you should start doing to create a better future for yourself? AND please be sure to check out POSTS from the other bloggers below.

Meg Biram
Liska Monet
26 and Not Counting
soak and simmer
Knowing Kelly
Carrie Loves
Alyssa J Freitas
Manifest Yourself
Rae Loves
White Cabana
The Yuppie Files
Little Wild Heart
Life Modifier
The Not Quite Adult
Random Little Faves
Perfect Enough For Us
Always, Anita
Feathers and Stripes
Something Good
The Golden Letter
Leigh Clair
York Avenue
Sequins & Strawberries
Emilie Lima Burke
with love from ellie
rejoyce
Bite My Fashion
White Oak Creative
StyledbyKesha
xo lacey
Whitney Bangel Blog
always craving
Evann Clingan
Turning the Corner…Fearlessly!
IN THE GREY
Beauty and the Pitch
PRBlonde

What’s With the Middle Class? (The Monday Fits)

what-is-your-problem

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein


It’s time to be a little direct. There is something wrong with the middle class. Politicians, theorists, and writers tell us time and time again, that the middle class is the social class that matters most. “Depending on the class model used, the middle class constitutes anywhere from 25% to 66% of households”, but the most legit models all have the middle class as the majority. (Source)  More pointed, many believe that the continuing existence of America depends on the success of the middle class. I would say the middle class has a lot of power.  The upper and lower middle class, create the largest voting bloc, yet we do very little with this power to influence. Instead, we are the ones who are influenced, let others speak for us, and define our future. (Trust me – Google – What does the middle class care about, middle class priorities, what is important to the middle class, the results are interesting)

So let’s look at #BaltimoreUprising. Many ponder how the events over the past two weeks could happen in an American city in 2015. Why they are pondering, I am not exactly sure, Ferguson feels like yesterday to me. I ponder more about what could be done to fix the problem, and do we really care enough to fix the problem? I found, as did many other Americans, the major network’s media coverage of the riots to be a farce and self-serving versus a balanced, honest coverage of the events that were occurring. More and more, we can’t rely on our mainstream media. There was peaceful protesting. There were rioters. There was unnecessary violence. But more times than not, there were teenages, adults, gang members, church members, and even local politicians protesting the violence against our young black men in America peacefully. Luckily, last week ended on a positive note, with indictments being served to the officers. Not because the officers are automatically assumed guilty, but justice, as best as it can be, will be served in a trial for those innocent till proven guilty officers.

Now back to the media. Would we, the middle class, ever protest and stop watching the inadequate mainstream media that continues to feed us crap. Would we ever demand more from them so that we could be a more informed class since we consume more of it then any other class? NO, NO and MORE NO. The first episode of HBO’s NEWSROOM so eloquently makes this point, and yet, we still allow ourselves to be bamboozled.  And the sad reality is that these passive behaviors do not only occur in the media we consume, it’s everywhere. So when I look at the events of Baltimore, yes, I do believe the middle class is the biggest problem. We are not demanding more of our politicians, of our cities, our governments, and we are not giving enough. We might not have enough time, our lives are stressful just like everyone else, but we also have the power to change things in the lives of our citizens who are less fortunate than ourselves.

There is no denying that we hold the largest voting bloc, and can potentially have the most influence. Yet, we do not use this power to our advantage, which would be fine, but when the results of our passivity comes upon us, we cannot act like we have no hand in the matter. If middle america doesn’t start waking up to the America as it is, the working class, and lower class will continue to grow. Karlyn Bowman and Jennifer Marsico write:

“In an Allstate/National Journal poll, 85 percent said that over the past few years, the number of Americans who had fallen out of the middle class is greater than the number who had earned or worked their way into it (11 percent).(source)

Many would think that we should look to the wealthy and those with more resources to fix the problem. Do you know what they spend their money on? They spend their money convincing us of whatever they want us to believe, and we fall for it every time. They know more about us, than we know about ourselves: that we have more power to fix our problems than we realize. Reihan Salam  on Slate writes:

“We often hear about the political muscle of the ultrarich. Billionaires like the libertarians Charles and David Koch and Tom Steyer, the California environmentalist who’s been waging a one-man jihad against the Keystone XL pipeline, have become bogeymen for the left and right respectively. The influence of these machers is considerable, no doubt. Yet the upper middle class collectively wields far more influence.These are households with enough money to make modest political contributions, enough time to email their elected officials and to sign petitions, and enough influence to sway their neighbors. ” (Source)

And he’s just talking about the upper middle class. We choose to fall for advertising and what the “machine” give us. When the Koch brothers came out a few weeks ago about having Republican candidates vie for 300 million dollars, where was the outrage? It was like the Koch brothers were ring masters making them perform like circus animals. Every republican candidate or potential candidate should have been appalled and ALL of them should have revolted. I found it very insulting, but I guess I was the only one. Because all of the candidates understand one thing, that they need the money. Not because they need money, most of the candidates have more money than you or I, but they need the money to FOOL us, TRICK us, to feed us some story. Now, it’s not a Republican thing, Hillary and the other democrats are ripe to play to middle america too, cause we got the power and we don’t know how to use it. We have the ability to go against policies, regulations, or actions that are not in our best interest, and make everyone pay attention! Not to be trite, but if we had just an ounce of the revolutionary spirit of our forefathers, we may could get things on track. Its time to throw tea off a harbor.

Anyone should be able to see from the Baltimore riots, that there are systematic, generational problems that are plaguing the community as  in other urban cities across the country. Some people cannot recognize this. They are the ones who want us to focus on buildings and the damage. Seriously, CVS can afford to fix that damn building, trust me, but some of the families in the community do not know if they will have a roof over their head next week AND their caregiver IS working 2 or 3 jobs. The next group of people believe that money is the biggest problem, and having more money or throwing money will fix the problem. Well, if we’re talking about giving more Americans working a living wage, then YES, more money could help. “In 2012, 2.9 million Americans worked full-time jobs and still lived below the poverty line. Some 22 percent of our children live in poverty, and it’s worse for African American youth—38 percent—and Hispanic children—34 percent”. (source) 

But the reality is that it takes people. It takes creating capacity in our communities to help break through the strongholds poverty has on these  families, and not let those in charge fall into corruption. It takes more than a village, it’s takes us all. And since we’ll never get 100% participation, make sure you’re not one of the  people who is unwilling to make a difference.

I don’t like to be too definitive in my posts, because I prefer for people to make their conclusions and start their own conversations. We just are not doing enough. I may have a slight bias, because I am raising money for my community, and I see people who will not offer a dime to it, but will pay all kinds of money to see artists who do not NEED their money.  But more importantly, I see too many people in my own sphere, not just my close friends and friends, but people I work with, drink with, network with, are more likely to be doing everything to make their lives and loved ones better, but not much else. If the only things you can do is go to work, take care of your family, kids, and not much else, just imagine doing the same thing, each and every day but what you do isn’t enough to put food on your table, pay your rent, you’re not on welfare because you have a job, your spouse has a job. You are not a “statistic”, but you can’t make enough to get by. And every time your child walks out the house, you have to worry if they will make it home alive. Wouldn’t you cry out for help? Poverty, more times than not is a systematic, generational curse, that is easy to leave only for a few. You can continue to be passive and act as if it’s not your problem, and wait till it’s at your front door. Will you be more worried about the buildings and pass the blame, or will you look at the mirror and realize that you could’ve done more. Don’t let that happen, just do more now.

M/P