I like to challenge the localized thinking of individuals to make global change

Internal Conversations

“You look so sad.”  Her words cut through my thoughts like a butcher knife.

“Huh?!” Oh, no I’m fine.”  Still a little dazed, I absentmindedly began gathering the used tea bag and sugar packets off the table.

She reached out her hand to accept my trash. “Would you like another hot tea?” She asked.

“Um, no..no thanks…I think I’m good.”  “Uh, who are you?”

“I can tell you have something on your mind.  Why don’t you let me help you.” She completely ignored my question.

“Help me with what?” I asked.  Trying to appear perfectly calm.

“Decisions like these are difficult, but you already know the answer.  You’ve always known the answer.  Trust yourself.”  She laid her hand on my shoulder and it felt chilling yet eerily familiar.

“I’m not sure,” I stuttered, “I just don’t want to make the wrong choice.”  Wait, I suddenly realized she knew what I was thinking.  “How do you know…”

“Just trust yourself.” She said quickly and walked away.

Just then Randy, my waiter, walked up.  “Can I get you another hot tea?” He asked.

“What…where..the young lady, where’d she go?” I asked Randy, frantically looking around.

“Excuse me?” he said

“The waitress I was just talking to, where’d she go.”

“I’m sorry ma’am, I’m the only server here at the moment.”

 

 

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So here we are embarking on another election year and the time when people just be saying stuff.  I don’t need to regurgitate all of the ridiculous claims that have been spewed all over the media for the past several months….I’m sure we’ve all had our fill of that!  What I’m referring to here are the comments regarding President Obama.  I’ve heard numerous times that President Obama has been the worst President in the history of the United States.  President Obama has been a divider not a unifier.  President Obama has caused our economy to be in the worst shape that it has ever been in.  President Obama has cost people jobs and increased the cost of healthcare.  Oh and my very favorite…President Obama ain’t black enough, hasn’t done enough for the black community, and he’s a sellout…WHOA!!

Well, I don’t know what measuring tool was used for determining President Obama as being the “worst President in the history of the United States” but it couldn’t have been Watergate, Sex Scandals, falsified documentation for starting wars, or a failed economy that sent the housing market spiraling and thousands of job losses, if so, I must have been living in a different United States for the past 8 years.  I don’t remember seeing any of the above situations happening during President Obama’s tenure.  Also, I don’t remember a President who has not only had to endure the harshest of criticisms from the other political party, but the backlash from some in the black community has baffled my mind.  Now, I’m not saying that just because he’s black he should be automatically embraced by the community.  But I am saying that just because he is black, he shouldn’t be expected to do more for the black community than any other President has been expected to do.  The President of the United States is elected to represent ALL people and not be partial to a certain group, however, unless this person is a robot without preconceived biases, there are always going to be preference of some groups over the other.  What I don’t understand is why President Obama has been held to a higher standard in the black community than any of his predecessors just because he is black.  Is there some black code that he violated by not being a “brutha?”  I mean, damn, he danced to “Hotline Bling with Usher,” sang “Let’s Stay Together at a political rally,” sang “Amazing Grace at a funeral,” and “dropped the mic at the last White House Correspondence Dinner” yet he is still not black enough.  Hell, I’ve seen less blackness in my neighborhood!  It’s really disheartening that we (black folks) couldn’t even come together to at least celebrate the historical nature of President Obama’s election (TWICE) rather than find ways to cut him down even though the white folks (CONGRESS) were already doing a damn good job of that!  I get it…opinions are like assholes….everybody has one and you are surely entitled to do what you will with yours, but there is a fine line between opinions and criticisms and I find that people are much quicker to offer the latter when they themselves wouldn’t dare step foot in the shoes of the person they are criticizing.

Just a final word…the attached video from 2008 is a reminder of what was and how we need to WAKE-UP and take control of our rights as a people and a nation regardless of color.  Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Harsh Reality

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F235624105594%2Fvideos%2F10157231367590595%2F&show_text=1&width=560

I hate to share this video, but this is the harsh reality…the stark contrast between these two incidences are astonishing! The contrast is not just because of the race of the people involved but because of the choices of the officers. Yes, they have choices! Being a police officer is a life and death job. Decisions have to be made constantly as to whether it’s your life or theirs. Sometimes those decisions warrant deadly force, other times those decisions warrant using the multitude of resources and training to handle the situation so everyone sees another day.

I wanted to share my thoughts in a video but my heart is so heavy I don’t think I would make it through. A friend posted this conversation on FB the other day:

My oldest son: What do I do if the police stop me and I haven’t done anything?

Me: ((speechless))😢

My heart is so heavy as I am truly afraid for my two boys.

This is from a young man who isn’t even out of school yet, yet this is what he has on his mind. Not because he has done something wrong or is thinking about doing something wrong, but because he hears and sees what is happening and that his chances may not be the best.

The comments from people on her post was to tell him to “just do what he is told and he will be fine.”  One person comments: Look, Ive been in trouble many many times in my life..not once did I get abused, pushed, tazed, pepper sprayed, or anything out of the way!! Because you know what I did..exactly what the officer said do!! Now if I had resisted, what do you think would have happened!! Do exactly what is told!!
Well, bravo for you sir, but your numerous encounters with the law and not being abused, tased, pepper sprayed, etc. is clearly not because you are a model citizen, but because you encountered police officers who did their jobs without abusing their power.  Some people are not resisting they are simply asking questions.  You should not be dragged out of a vehicle, thrown to the ground, put in a choke hold, or SHOT for asking “What did I do wrong?” “Why are you pulling me over?” “What is the problem, officer?”  A person has every right to ask questions and receive answers if they don’t know what is going on.  If you are clearly breaking the law, then you won’t have to ask these questions and you have no reason to NOT do as you are told because you know what the HELL IS GOING ON!!
This isn’t about following or not following instructions; this isn’t about all police being bad; this isn’t about whether someone feels threatened or not; this is about people making choices about who they feel is worthy of life and who is not. This is about those who abuse their power. This is about people who feel so disgusted with their own lives (whether they have a badge or not) that they feel like they can make themselves feel better by taking another person’s life (murder/suicides). This is about those who haven’t learned that their are options to resolving conflict (man shoots two people after losing bet).  This is about young men, going about their lives being gunned down in the street because of someone’s perception of who they are or what they might do.  This is about those in law enforcement who murder someone not being held accountable.  This is about men of color being considered a threat just because they are men of color.  This is about the lives of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, family members who are not being heard but are being condemned and murdered in the streets and then being judged by public opinion about what they SHOULD have done! What they SHOULD have done is made it through the situation alive…incarcerated, if necessary…but ALIVE!!
My heart is heavy because my sons are about to take a well-deserved vacation together and travel to the West Coast. While I am excited for their opportunity to take this trip, I am doubly fearful that they may go to the wrong place, say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, walk the wrong walk, wear the wrong clothes, listen to the wrong music and be judged and convicted by the wrong person who is having a bad moment, day, life. That’s why my heart is heavy, not because I think they may commit a crime, but because I’m afraid they may be seen as a threat because they are brown men who carry themselves with confidence and are eager to experience the gift of travel, to explore new things, and share lived experiences.  My heart is heavy because I love them and they are my life’s blood and while I want to keep them close and safe I know it’s out of my hands.  So at the end of the day the only comfort I have is Prayer and Faith which gives me a peace that passes all understanding.  So I will bid them a safe trip, pray while they are away and rejoice when they return!

Don’t Let the Demons Win

The news of Black Lives Matter Activist MarShawn McCarrel taking his life deeply saddens me, but the statement that he left as his final words resonated deep within my soul.  “My demons won today, I’m sorry.”  As someone who fights their own demons daily, I can understand how the voice of those demons resonated louder than his message of “Black Lives Matter.” I can only imagine that the voice of those demons quickly drowned out his until he could no longer hear the positive message that would have propelled him to continue the fight of equality and respect.

The voice of those demons in the justice system who said it’s okay for an unarmed young black man to be gunned down in the street because the police officer “felt” threatened screamed that it was wrong for us to feel outrage.

The voice of those demons who want to cry foul and boycott an African American singer because she dared to use her talent and platform to bring to light the injustices of Hurricane Katrina and celebrate her culture and the strong black women are given more credibility than the message that was being conveyed.

The voice of those demons who stand proudly on political platforms and spew hatred for anything and anyone who doesn’t look like them, think like them, or agree with them are applauded for their divisive speeches while an activist for “Black Lives Matter” is struggling to hear his own voice over the roar of the crowd telling him to “Stand Down!”

MarShawn McCarrel took on a noble cause and expected his voice, his mission, his passion to be heard, but the demons silenced him as they will all of us who allow our voices to be silenced by the privileged majority.  Black Lives do Matter!  MarShawn McCarrel’s life mattered!  And even though the demons won today, MarShawn’s life will continue to matter because he had a voice and it may be quieter now but it will never be silenced!

http://nydn.us/20ThEUD

 

Shows on My Face

“Why are you looking like that?”  I have had this question asked of me more times than I can count.  My facial expressions are difficult to control when coinciding with the thoughts in my mind.  I would love to have a poker face where it’s hard to read my thoughts, but that is not the case.  On the flip side, I hope that the expressions that show evoke some type of action on the part of the observer.  That “look” that you see should cause one to pause and think about what they are saying or doing, continue on their course of action, back away slowly, run quickly, laugh heartily, show respect, love, or fear. I usually don’t intend to show my thoughts by the look on my face, but there have been more times than not that the situation has caused my face to react before my thoughts could tell my mouth what to say.  I offer no apologies because this is who I am, what I am made up of, and how I express myself sometimes without words.  There are times when my facial expressions are all I can rely on because the actual words may not express the depth of my emotions.  So, if you happen to wonder “Why I’m looking like that?”; take a moment and reflect on what has transpired between us and you may find the answer within yourself because I’m sure it shows on my face.

“Ain’t it funny that the way you feel shows on your face and no matter how you try to hide it states your case” (EWF)

 

Fish Tale

It amazes me how I have looked at something many times and not until today did it speak to me in a different and profound way.  Something as simple as a commercial gave me a different perspective on challenges and obstacles of life.  This particular commercial is from Geico and it is the one with the fisherman telling a tale about a huge fish the size of his boat that he was wrestling with.  He told them that after 7 hours he declared “YOU WILL NOT BEAT ME!”  Just as he shares that declaration, his friend comes up with a small fish and asks what he wanted him to do with it.  Obviously caught in quite the “fish tale” he tightly tells his friend to put the fish in the cooler while his audience looks on.  After looking at this commercial for probably the 100th time, I realized that life’s challenges can be just like that fish tale.  How often do we see an obstacle or challenge and think it is bigger than our boat (life).  We struggle and wrestle with it declaring that it will not beat us, but in reality it is a small situation that can be easily handled.  How often I have stressed over what seemed to be an enormous situation only to have someone else show me that it really is quite manageable.  My giant fish will not beat me when I keep in mind that it really is small enough to fit in the cooler.  Breathe deep and Handle Life like a Trout and not a Whale!

https://youtu.be/TfBSPyCPVsE (click or copy and paste link to see commercial)

Let me make it perfectly clear that there is no…I’ll say that again…NO correlation between my disciplining my children and an officer of the law physically assaulting a child…excuse me….a BLACK child.  For those who are trying to, once again, find a connection between parents who discipline their children by spanking, popping the butt or legs, tapping a hand, or what have you, to society feeling like it is okay to drag a 16 year old girl out of her chair and across the floor, may as well try to harness the wind or catch oil in your grasp.  Yes, I used spanking as a form of discipline with my children because I wanted them to know that spanking was “a” not “the” form of consequence for their actions.  They also received time-outs, punishments of being in the house, no tv, no toys, and very stern talks.  However, just because I spanked…not BEAT…spanked my children, I was not diminishing who or what they were to become, neither was I telling them that this was the expectation that they should have from society.  I agree that corporal punishment in and of itself may not produce a positive outcome, but it can be effective when used along with consistency, admonishing, love, and support.  A spanking, punishment, discipline from a place of love, boundaries, and correction is very different from a beating from anger, hatred, and abuse!  The Baltimore mom who was seen on television hitting her son because she was so appalled and afraid at what she witnessed her child doing was both applauded and criticized.  Applauded by media saying they were glad to see a mom who was taking control of a young black man in the wrong.  Criticized by others (you know who you are) because of “How” she was taking control of a young black man in the wrong.  Black mothers, especially, are in a no win situation.  If we correct our children physically, we are being abusive, if we don’t correct them physically, we are being punks or irresponsible.  My children learned that if they displayed unacceptable forms of behavior that there would be age appropriate consequences.  That did not make them perfect children, but it made them adults with a conscious and a knowledge that for every action there is a counter action.  That being said, they also knew that they had every right to feel safe and protected by me and their father.  That they did not have to relinquish their rights as a person just because they grew up in a household where discipline was enforced.  Because I spanked my children, also did not send a message to society that it was okay for anyone to treat them as if they were less than human.  My children have been taught to respect authority but to also feel that they have the right to question authority when they feel they are being treated outside of the dignity and respect of being a human being. What the officer did, and also the school administration did, was to strip this 16 year old girl of her dignity and respect and treated her as if she was less than human.  I fault the teacher and administrator for not having the classroom management skills to handle the situation because this was clearly not a law enforcement level incident.  In turn, the officer took it to a level of wrestling down a 200 lb man who was tearing up a bar or robbing a liquor store.  The officer’s response is sickening, but the fact that there are those who now want to blame parents who spanked their children as the reason why this officer or any other law enforcement representative feels it is okay to physically assault this young lady or any other black child is as bad as blaming the victim for being assaulted.

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