Category Archives: Race

To Be Thankful and True

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” I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence” – Fredrick Douglass

 I was very excited about today’s post. It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for when I think about where I was last year. But as I sat down to write, and caught up on all the news from Tuesday, I couldn’t write about my personal matters. It didn’t seem true to myself, didn’t seem real. There were a number of events that happened yesterday that compelled me to write a feature for Alibi X called, “Just Thankful To Be Alive”.  We cannnot be afraid to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable, change will not come any other way. Please go check it out on their website: Here

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M/P

America’s Favorite Subject: Me (The Monday Fits)

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“We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American Eagle in order to feather their own nests” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

This post is obviously about selfishness and it has been in the works for quite a while. I actually originally wrote this blog topic to be called, “The Selfish Side of Minorities… the What about Me Personality”. Then Sandra Bland died, and I kept trying over and over to write about how, we as minorities, can be so selfish when we only look through our lens. This subject matter came to my mind, because of the diversity work I’ve done, and as mistreated as Black people are, many ignore the discrimination that say a person with a disability might experience if it is outside their experience. It’s an argument many people make about minority groups in general that refuse to support other civil rights movements. I honestly felt foolish for writing about minorities being selfish, when you hear the majority complaining about how life is unfair for them with all the focus on race.

Just this past week, in the wonderful state that I live in (Texas), a young Muslim boy was arrested for making a clock that they thought was a bomb. But they didn’t really think it was a bomb, because there was no evacuation AND they admitted knowing that it wasn’t a bomb, BUT arrested him anyway. And then I figured out why I really hadn’t written in almost 3 weeks.

The foolishness is at an all time high! You have presidential candidates supporting a woman who is refusing to do her job, say a felon, who struggles to get a job would love to do. You have the GOP presidential debate “winner” literally making up facts that aren’t true (yes, go fact check Carly Fiorina) – I mean in the age I just don’t understand a. why make up shit b. why others just believe anything out of someone’s mouth. And while everyone was so excited that Obama tweeted to the young Muslim boy about his clock, where were his harsh comments to the school district that racial/ethnically profiled this young boy. Where are the strong words about the behavior? Obama wanted to be seen as a “hero” instead of providing the leadership this country so desperately needs when it comes to race and ethnic relations, but he fails yet again. Why? What’s in it for him?

But despite my frustrations, I have nothing to really complain about. I still live in America. I look at what’s going around the world such as the displaced refugees in Syria. The women and children who are desperately in danger of being raped or molested against their will. Those are real things, real problems. Those people should be crying from the roof top for the world to care about them. But they are too busy trying to survive to really cry out. We are always crying and we pit our struggles against one another regardless if we’re minorities, in the majority, or whoever. And then we want people to have sympathy, fight for our causes, or understand our perspective.

I do believe that people can change their mind on topics or difficult issues, but they do have to be open to them. There are also people about  causes that do not directly affect them. However, I find it hilarious that people support candidates who are completely unaware of their struggle and they act like it.  Donald Trump has done nothing in his career to make you think he’s concerned with the middle class struggle, but that he is concerned with power and money. What most people do, support, or the interest groups they entangle themselves with is really indicative of the kind of person or candidate they will be.

People’s character is really based on who they are when no one is not looking.

Whhat they do before they hit the spotlight, before they run for President is more indicative of who they are and what they will support. I mean it’s okay to be fooled by pretty words, but we shouldn’t be. We should look at these elections from that angle. Remember we are selfish beings, why do we think they somehow are more concerned about our needs. But I did not come here to blog about the elections, again (as tempting as it can be).

I wanted to discuss the Black Lives Matter campaign. Yes. I have no problem with organizing, coming together, and pushing the agenda of stopping the violence against our young black boys and black girls. But the idea that we can convince others that Black Lives Matter, hurts my heart, because in all honesty we can’t. Hence the preceding all Lives Matter rallies that have occurred and now Police Lives Matter movements popping up across the country. It is sad that they feel threatened by the Black Lives Matter movement. That even in this very selfish world, they have tried to convince us that focusing on our black lives is inappropriate. See I was wrong to think, as minorities, we are selfish because we only care about our particular status in this world, and not banding together more often to help with several causes. It is true that we all have a different fight, and if you were born or live in America, this is the country of me. So why is it so upsetting that a Black Lives Matter movement exists, or that over the past year, it has become harder and harder for me to not write about race relations. I know there are other matters going on in the world, and other issues affecting me and those around me, yet it’s what I care about.

It is because I am black, I will always be black, and when I raise my kids, no matter who I marry, they too will be black. There is nothing selfish about being concerned about my black life, my future child’s black life, and most important, my brother’s black life. What is selfish, is that idea that people, who are not black, telling me to not care. What’s worse are the many black men and women of power and influence, who are also telling me not care too. Everyone is pointing their finger to themselves and saying me, me, and me when we need to come together. But I cannot sit around and wait for that, I choose to nurture our children of tomorrow. The fight to convince the other side will never be won, because you cannot convince someone else that YOU matter, but you can teach a young child to remember that they matter, that they matter in the scheme of the whole world and not in their silo. That is what I have decided to do as a concerned citizen, person , and most of all, as an American.  I can longer spend my time writing about something I know is important in hopes that you will understand, because there are more important at stake: Our children, our future.

M/P

Who Am I? (The Monday Fits)

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“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

― George R.R. Martin


The first Republican debate of this primary election season is over and it was quite a treat. There have been plenty of commentary, memes, and discussion about it. When I asked Republicans how they felt about the debate, it was a mix between a fair analyses of the issues discussed mixed with the blanket, “It was awesome”. Really? Is that all you have to say about a debate that was filled with positive and negatives, is that it was awesome? When I asked some Democrats about the debate, almost every single one just called it awful and exclaimed there were no real issues discussed. And this is when I became utterly annoyed.

Everything about the debate wasn’t awful. But after I took a step back, and thought about it, if it was a democratic primary debate, the responses would probably be the same, but reversed.  A few democrats would really decipher through what was discussed, others would just love everything about the damn debate, and  then the opposition, Republicans, would hate just about everything that was discussed. This is our reality, and it’s kind of disgusting. We are so easily tied to a group of people, and I just sit back and wonder, do people take a minute to sit back and think about who they really are? What really matters?

So I am kind of a joiner, my friends would like to call me. I have joined a number of organizations in my life time, including a sorority. And if you don’t know about sororities they often have a reputation and most of the women (or fraternity for men) kind of fit into a certain category.  And once you’re in one of those, you realize that reputation is true for some women and others are striving oh so hard to be that stereotypical reputation for whatever reason,  I do not know. But overall, I have come to learn to that we, yes, us humans, like to be a part of things that define us even if you are in the “anti” crowd. Well, if you’re like me, I don’t let my affiliations define me. It hasn’t always been that way, I by no means am perfect, but if you are like me,  and don’t let your affiliations define you, you’re probably as frustrated with America as am I. I don’t consider myself a rebel by any means, but I definitely do not like to be put into a box. But I do think the majority of us like to be put into a box, it makes us feel all good and shiny on the inside. And let’s just assume shiny is a positive word.

Republicans and Democrats alike live in their little box loving their narrow minded view. I heard one candidate from the debate say a little something out of the box, but I don’t think people were really listening. Governor Kasich, maybe I am a little naïve to the marriage question. (That’s right, it’s no longer called same-sex marriage, it’s just called marriage in the U.S.A., but I won’t digress on that topic). He said that although he believes in traditional marriage, he recently attended a friends marriage (who happened to marry the same-sex), and he was there to celebrated love. While there were democrats who doubted his sincerity, what Kasich said isn’t accepted by the majority of either party. Most Republicans (minus us forward thinking Millennials) feel that you cannot believe in traditional marriage and support same-sex marriage in any capacity.  Most democrats (minus conservative thinking liberals) that you can support same-sex marriage unless you believe people are born that way. Now let me tell you something, that’s just stupid. What’s the point of having America with different religions, viewpoints, and perspectives, if people can’t, I don’t know, have them.  What’s crazier than a Black Female Republican, is a Republican Muslim. I don’t know about you, but I stopped in the middle of the debate, and asked “Is there separation of church and state anymore or did I miss the memo?, well you couldn’t tell in the debate. It might as well have been moderated by Franklin Graham.

Now, I might not sound like a conservative, but I am kind of angry, out of all of these issues that we are talking about, people are failing to discuss that major problem in this country. Poverty. Wealth Inequality, and if you want to invoke the name of Jesus Christ, look in the bible and how many times does he mention, or the bible in general squarely, boldly, and PLAINLY talk about helping the poor, it beats every other f*cking political topic every single time. Like EVERY SINGLE time. I am not one to be hypocritical, some one’s beliefs does matter to me. But if we are going to invoke all of this spiritual-ness into our political world, then we should be more honest about it and not simply serving our purpose cause that’s what this is all really about. People are saying and doing what they want to for whatever purpose they need.

Since I am talking about fitting into roles, I want to talk about Ben Carson comments about race and the reason he is in error. I am glad that he looks past the color of people’s skin, I do too. But to imply that for some reason black people are the reason we are in a race war, is an  insult to every black person in America. Sound extreme?

Since the recent deaths of young black men and women, oh wait, let me rephrase, unarmed black men and women, I had to evaluate whether I was out of touch, I am sure I have friends who are surprised by recent  interest in race, but there is ONE reality, when I walk out this house and am on the street, no one cares if I am a conservative, that I never have broken a law or committed a crime, never smoked or done any illicit drugs in my life, never had an abortion, or anything that else that makes me “good”. But I know if I go in the wrong part of a small town or make the wrong move, the only thing that will matter is my blackness. Luckily, Ben Carson doesn’t have to experience this fear as a neurosurgeon that most black Americans do. He wants to be so accepted by the Republican Party so bad that he is willing to sacrifice the reality for so many people who actually look and talk just like him. To some extent he was right, we don’t NEED to get into a race war, cause we are already in one. But it’s okay Ben Carson is being used by the people who support this ideology. Ben Carson finished 3rd in the debate based on some polling.  Many Republicans commentators are surprised, because he didn’t get to say much. Well, that’s because he’s portraying a false reality in America that people want to cling so hard to. The reality is people are  STILL being  judged by the color of the skin, and Ben Carson can deny this reality to try to win an election. Instead of doing the right thing.

I might not know exactly who I am, because I am still growing, still changing, and trying to be better each and every day. But I know who I am not, who I will never be. I don’t have time to make decisions to fit into a mold, even if I make mistakes, it will be my mistake and I will own it every time, and it will be worth it. So let me rephrase that, I know exactly who I am, and I hope it only it gets better. More real, and less fake and hypocritical, day by day.

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.

THIS
IS
NOT
OKAY

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

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

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“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

The Reciprocation of Respect or Lack of (The Monday Fits)

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“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

There are areas in our life that giving and getting respect is easy; people are quick to give respect to people who have something they need or have accomplished something in their life that impressed them, even if that person really isn’t worthy of it. It’s like respect is an unspoken rule, whether it is genuine or not, it can be built when there is a mutual exchange of something. That’s the whole idea of “To get respect, you have to earn it”, which is reflective of the definition, Respect is “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. (source)

So then, should we have respect for people we don’t know? How about respecting someone who owes you nothing, and you owe them nothing? That, my friends, is the question. I would like to think that deep down inside, as Anne Frank said, there is good in everyone…but let’s be honest, our human nature can be self-centered and self-serving, so we should be skeptical of who we respect… except that is disregarded when it comes to the dollar bill. Most people respect the dollar regardless of standards. That’s why whenever someone asks, why doesn’t anyone pay attention to X (i.e. let’s say the black community), the response is often that we don’t have the buying power to “buy” respect, because people are not necessarily giving out respect freely, in comparison to the Jewish community. This makes me think of the debate over Dr. Dre’s 70 million dollar donation to University of Southern California and whether he should’ve given it to a black college (which I disagree). He’s able to give his money anywhere, but whether he was giving it to USC or a black college, to me that money isn’t going to the community it’s needed most, to kids who grew up just like him. Dr. Dre himself, doesn’t respect his community enough, to reinvest in it. Or does he? Is that one example, a demonstration of a lack of respect.

There are people who genuinely care about the poor, which is why politicians use it as a selling point, but if put in a situation to truly help a poor person in a one-on-one interaction, they often pass that opportunity. The other day, I was biking around in Austin, the city where I live, and I saw something that I rarely see in other parts of the country but often in Austin, a runner, stopped in conversation with a homeless person, listening to his story. People often talk to homeless people when they give some spare change or a bite to eat, but this runner was doing much more than that, he seemed interested in listening to the man’s story, and it touched me, that throwing money at something can’t always solve the problem, and sometimes you just have to listen, and that’s what respect is all about: LISTENING! Yet, we do less and less of it each day, because we don’t respect one another. Even people who say they “understand”, sometimes really aren’t listening!

In the continual fight for equality (even in 2014), explaining to a person why the death of Eric Garner was wrong, regardless, of any illegal activity (i.e. counterfeirt cigarettes), doesn’t automatically imply that fighting for his justice, and others, is anti-police. The movement is against police that are racist and unnecessarily killing black lives, because IT IS happening. But they don’t want to realize that, and are too busy protecting their own and fixing the problem, and I think it’s out of a lack of respect.  Just think if they same amount of white young men and women were being killed unjustly by cops how would there not be an uproar, but that comparison is futile, because it’s not happening. That’s the thing, it’s not happening for a reason, and to deny it, is disrespectful to not just black people, but too all people. And honestly, it’s mostly disrespectful to what officers stand for. When police talk about the most vulnerable people in society, it’s often not the people fearful of crime in the large houses in the suburbs, it’s often the ones who find themselves in poverty stricken environments.

The current movement that is going on in this country is not to disrespect the Police, but in fact, to bring respect back to an important part of this country. If the people do not respect law and order, there is no room for reason. There is no denying that there are officers who are not respecting the people they are hired to serve, and vice versa, but we ALL need to be standing hand in hand in this movement. Black, white, blue, democrat, republican, Christian, Jew, Muslim.

A few weeks ago, Garth Brooks made headlines for canceling his appearances, because he didn’t feel comfortable promoting himself during all the protests and uproar in New York. He didn’t offer a position, or a stance in the fight, but that “America was hurting”, that my friends was respect, a recognition of reality that many people are not giving today in this battle between #blacklivesmatter, police brutality, the duty to protect and serve.

There is a lack of respect for different views, and the inability to see truth for what is and isn’t. I honestly see it all the time. I don’t mean to over  simplify a scenario, but a couple of weeks ago, I was at a NFL game surrounded by the opposing team’s fans, and as many people know, bad calls only happen against the “other” team. If you are an avid sports watcher, you know that person. But as I was standing there, and a call was obviously made in favor of my team, and it was CLEARLY the right call (not being biased), but there were fans adamant that the call was wrong, you honestly would’ve had to been blind to disagree. I stopped and realized, this is what America feels like. There are people who would argue bad referee calls till their dying day, even though they are obviously right to the human eye. So just imagine if you were in a stadium with 400 million fans and they were just like that… they only chose to see calls for their team – this, my friends is America, no respect for anyone but “their” team.

M/P

Denying That We Have a Race Problem is Un-American (The Monday Fits)

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The events of Ferguson have a lot of people doing, saying, spewing all kinds of love, hate, and fear to each other in their homes, at work, and all over social media. These actions are fueled by life experiences that shape their perspective in one way or another. However, after seeing what some people choose to share, I’m realizing sometimes the quote, “Your perception is your reality” is hogwash, in terms of this country and race relations. My experience is not completely unique, but as I grow older, I wonder if it is less than the norm.

I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky in a very particular situation, where I had one of the best upbringings in a truly diverse and creative environment. I attended a performing arts school that entrenched in me a confidence like no other and conviction of equality quite different for the average young black girl. In my life, I have some amazing friends who are white. Not where I am a token type of white friends, or the friends who make you feel a little awkward and don’t really know where you are coming from and every now and then they say the wrong thing.  I have the kind of white friends who talk about race, my hair, our differences in a real way, among a million other topics, do you know why? Because that is what it means to be a real friend with a person of color. It is who I am every day, and sometimes I have to talk about it, even when they might not exactly understand why.

However, I learned from my early days at Tuskegee University, a historically black college, that these type of relationships are rare, and my American experience has been different.  When you ask a black person, do you see yourself “Black” first or “American”, most will say Black, and a black person who thrives as a token will say American first. I will say that I am Black American, and there is no separation. I am as proud to be an American, as I am to be Black, because I truly see America as land of opportunity, even for me as person of color.

So before Obama was elected, I viewed America as many Americans did, that we really did not have a race problem, I mean we may have a few issues, but it’s not a problem. I was at a point that I truly believed it. America was not full of people who had biases at a disproportionate amount and that people had such negative impressions of Black Americans. This did not mean I had not experienced racism, or knew family members who had faced it as well. However, my experiences in my upbringing, really made me believe that these were just the after effects of a racist culture that couldn’t help but linger, because in the millennium, America was a welcoming place for all. Obama’s election changed everything, and the problem that existed has been surfacing since.

In the month of Obama’s inauguration (January 2009), 79 percent of whites and 63 percent of blacks held a favorable view of race relations. The data show a decline of 27 points for whites and 25 points for blacks by 2013. (source).  . According to the most recent survey, conducted by CBS News/New York Times, 47% said good, with whites polling at 49  percent of whites and 44 percent of blacks now have a favorable opinion of race relations in the U.S. (source). Slight difference, huh?

I’ll never forget his first election night, I was in a room full of Black Americans excited about the election of the first black president , who I didn’t even vote for. I am Republican, and I believe that my ancestors did not fight and die for me to simply vote based on my race. I was happy to have a black president, yes, but I voted on the principles for the candidate that best supported all of my interests and my party. And since that day, I have debated so many people on whether black americans should vote on race. They argue that because our interests are always underrepresented and disregarded, it’s our responsibility to vote as such.

I would not even consider that thinking at the time, but since Obama’s presidency, my blinders have been taken off, or shall I say ripped off.  The number of hate groups has increased exponentially, and the vitriol spewed at him, is unprecedented. “The number of Patriot groups, including armed militias, skyrocketed following the election of President Obama in 2008 – rising 813 percent, from 149 groups in 2008 to an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012. The number fell to 1,096 in 2013.” (source) . It really is though, and he’s never been my guy, but it is hard not to notice, unless you have on blinders. Now speed up to the past couple of years, as the string of deaths of young black men and women have been heavily publicized. Check the twitter and Facebook feeds,  I find myself looking at an America that I did not even know existed. Everyone wants to call it race baiting or pulling the race card, but the reality is that there are a lot people who say whatever they want and say it is not racism. Then the rest of America doesn’t want to wake up to the America that we live in.

I am black, so it was a little easier for my binders to eventually come off. But can you imagine if you were born and you have never been followed, ignored, called a derogatory term, seen family members racially profiled, beat up, and wrongfully arrested. Would you think that there is a problem?  Not to mention, Beyonce, Jay -Z, Oprah and Obama run the world, right?

Here’s the thing: You cannot tell Black Americans that racism doesn’t exist, and that some actions are not racist. I am not asking people to go out of your comfort zone, or to even get your hands dirty, but what I want for people to do is for people to stop talking about something that they don’t know anything about; an experience that you cannot imagine.  And then to have the  audacity to talk about how you love America; this IS America. It is not always rainbows and butterflies, and until we ALL realize it, the country will stay divided and not improve.

But at the same time, I would say there are Black people who need to engage people of other races about our differences, and not when it’s a fight or calling out racism. I find that being able to talk about race freely is important for progress, and we have to stop reserving certain  topics for black people only, even if it feels a little awkward. Even I have had stereotypes about other minorities, but do you know how I learned that my thinking was wrong. I spoke up. I asked. It was a little uncomfortable, but I am a little better for it.

Now the day after the indictment was released about the Mike Brown shooting, I was perusing my twitter feed, and looking at comments ranging from anger, hurt to hate. I ended up having a small twitter fight, back and forth, with a woman who was saying that ALL blacks, not some, but ALL  BLACKS were animals. She was educated. She was a former marine. Yet, she was ignorant. It was one thing to support Officer Wilson and his version of the events, but there were many more people who took their opportunity to discuss the problem with black people, problem with black on black crime, and the way we “act”. I want to believe people are better than this, but we need to speak up, because we have race problem. It’s not racist to think race problems don’t exist in America, it’s simply un-American. Just as un-american as thinking we don’t have a poverty problem, a health care problem, an unemployment problem, a “creating jobs” problem, an immigration problem, or “our children are dying in our schools” problem. I’m not saying race is our ONLY problem, but it sure is a hell of a problem.

The Economist magazine recently published an article saying “ Race is America’s deepest problem, but multiple small changes can mitigate it”. and that “Solving the problems of places like Ferguson is less about passing more anti-discrimination laws than about rekindling economic growth and spreading the proceeds. But there are also ways of making politics and policing work better that would contribute greatly to racial harmony in America. (source)And so this is all I am asking, that we wake up to the reality that we have a problem, and push our lawmakers, and communities to do something about it, because it is un-American to continue living this way.