Saturday, September 05, 2020

What My Grandson Has Learned from Number 45

This post was inspired by a conversation I saw on Facebook between a white woman I knew and one I didn't know.  The woman I knew issued a warning to parents about the state of the world and how our children were being influenced by all of the negativity they're seeing around them. The woman I didn't know responded this way: 
Bullshit!.....children learn from what they are shown in their homes.  I can't ever learning from politics any of my lifes lessons. (I intentionally didn't clean up her grammar.  That in itself makes a statement).

Of course, I took issue with her post and responded.  Here's what I said:

All I can say is IGNORANCE is bliss.  It's a fact children do learn from home, however, there is a lot of influence from peers and social media so if one thinks children are not paying attention to what's going on in the world, they are truly ignorant.

My grandson is 14---just started his first year of high school.  Sadly, he's learned more from the presidency of Donald Trump than he's learned in the classroom.  Here's what the Corrupter-in-Chief has taught him:

1)  Never apologize to anyone EVER

2)  Science is stupid

3) Don't serve in the military.  Protecting this country from foreign adversaries is for losers 

4) Anyone different is bad

5)  Cheaters CAN win!

6)  America is the only country in the world

7)  Women are less important that men

8) Be afraid of anyone who is not white

9) Facts and truth are not important

10) Low paid people are not important

11) Lying is fine, people are gullible

12) It's okay if your father cheats on your mother

13) Never take responsibility.  Blame others

14) You can hurt others badly, if it benefits you

15) You can lie, cheat and steal and be considered a hero

16)  The police can shoot you just because.....


But here's some other things my grandson has learned:  

1)  Having morals and values goes a LONG way in your life

2)  Racism is alive and well

3)  Life isn't FAIR but you play the hand you're dealt to the BEST of your ability

4)  He has a strong support system to help get him through

5)  Trouble don't last always

6)  Women are to be respected and appreciated

7)  Gold diggers really do exist so be mindful ALWAYS

8)  Take nothing for granted

9)  Be RESPECTFUL to everyone

10)  Knowing how to communicate effectively and with clarity is important

11) You can have a lot of money and still be ignorant

12) Mama and Grandma don't play that when it comes to bad behavior so he better recognize!

The sad truth is many white people want to play blind, deaf, or dumb when it comes to the stupidity and outright mean-spirited behavior of  Trump. In their ignorance, they see this man as demonstrating strength and power and the only one who can keep all things unequal under the law. What's worst is the media is going out of its way to make sure we ALL know how corrupt and inept he is to be President.  The only way a child isn't exposed to this is if they don't have access to any type of media  and they have no friends.  

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Chadwick Boseman was More than a Superhero on the Big Screen

My husband and I were watching a movie together on Friday night (8/28/20) when I decided to check my news feed.  There is was:


I couldn't believe it!  I thought it had to be some kind of mistake or joke---you know those false celebrity death reports that pop up from time to time based on a quarter of the story being told.  I immediately went to Twitter because I figured that would be my best source for this information because we all know the major networks wouldn't consider this "Breaking News."

And there it was..........

My Twitter feed was cluttered with reports of his death.  Then I went to his Twitter page and saw the official announcement from his Publicist. I shared the news with my husband and then we proceeded to watch one of his movies, A Message From the King.

The next morning I woke up and decided to look at a link my daughter shared.  It was of Chadwick surprising fans on The Jimmy Fallon Show.  As I was watching I just burst into tears.  I kept thinking that a bright light, in all of this dark and gloom we've been experiencing here in America, had suddenly gone dim--and without warning. No one knew.  His inner circle never said a word (By the way, that's what you call true friendship and loyalty) and he continued to share his gift with the masses on the big screen.

I then became obsessed  with wanting to learn everything I could about him.  Besides being born and raised in Anderson, SC, he reportedly got his start in TV in 2003 on the ABC Soap All My Children.  He played a character named Reggie Montgomery.  I have to say I don't remember his character even though I watched the ABC Soap faithfully.  He ended up being replaced by Michael B. Jordan (who I do remember ironically).  The next time I would hear his name (more than once or twice) was when the movie 42: The Jackie Robinson Story came out, followed by his James Brown impersonation in the Movie Get On Up and then the year-long anticipation for his role as T'Challa, our Black Panther King.

And here's what else I discovered....In the four years since he was diagnosed with cancer, he became a strong cancer advocate for others.  He visited a number young cancer patients without getting any fanfare.  He knew then what his medical fate was but he kept going. That probably explains why he was so overcome with emotion when talking about two young boys who told him they were trying to hang on so they could see Black Panther---but they DIED before the premiere.   He was living out Jimmy Valvano's "NEVER GIVE UP!" mantra in ways that many of us can't begin to imagine.  I know people still living who haven't done half of the things Chadwick did.  Hopefully, those of us older than 43 will take this extra time we've been given to fulfill our purpose without regret. 

In the four years since Chawick was diagnosed with cancer, he made 10 films!  And these weren't "I need mindless entertainment"  pictures.  These were movies that gave you some insight into historical figures who helped shaped this country (Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson) and to allow us to see how powerful we can be (Gods of Egypt and 21 Bridges) 

But he will forever be known as The Black Panther---a superhero who some parents have said was just as inspirational to their children as former President Barack Obama. His Black Panther character gave black children hope and showed them there were strong intelligent people of color who looks just like them.  He gave black adults a sense of pride.  In addition, he showed white children they could love a superhero who DIDN'T look like them.  

Chadwick Boseman has demonstrated what determination, fighting against all odds, willpower and not letting your circumstances define you looks like. What will you see when you look in the mirror?  


Monday, August 03, 2020

Jimmy Butler's Life Matters

First of all, I will go on the record saying I was NEVER a Jimmy Butler fan.  His behavior in Chicago and Minnesota turned me off quite frankly.  Of course, the media instigated things by portraying him as the player who was always blaming others for losing and not coming across as a team player.


Today, I applaud Jimmy for being an instigator in the NBA.  Prior to the start of the Miami Heat's Re-Start tip-off against the Denver Nuggets, Butler walked onto the court in his Miami Heat Jersey without anything written on the back of his jersey. Once someone noticed it, he was forced to change.

Now, prior to going into the "Bubble," the NBA Players Association (headed by Chris Paul) negotiated with NBA officials on options to make a statement, on each team member's jersey, using predesignated names and phrases associated with Social Justice and Inequality:

Black Lives Matter
Say Their Names
I Can't Breathe
Respect Us

Or, like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Butler could've just had his own last name and number on the back.  But Jimmy, being the seemingly defiant young man portrayed by the media, chose to be nameless saying, "If I wasn't who I was today, I'm no different than anybody else of color.  And I want that to be my message, in the sense that just because I'm an NBA player, everybody has the same right no matter what."  

And you know what?  He's absolutely right!  My guess is the average basketball fan wouldn't recognize an NBA player if they were just walking down the street in regular clothes.  Of course, LeBron, Anthony Davis and James Harden (Fear the beard) would probably stand out but out of the more than 400 NBA players, the overwhelming majority are unrecognized.  How do I know?  Well, let's take Thabo Sefolosha for example.  In 2015 when he played for the Atlanta Hawks, he happened to be outside of a New York City nightclub where another NBA player had been stabbed.  As a result of an altercation with police, the 6 foot 7 guard suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damage.  He ended up being charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration but those charges were DROPPED and he later settled a lawsuit with the police for $4 million.

Then we have Sterling Brown.  He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks.  In January 2018 he was leaving a Walgreens when a white police officer approached him about his car being parked illegally.  Not long afterwards several more officers show up on the scene and the situation escalated when Brown put his hands in his pocket.  The officers rushed him, tackled and kneeled on his neck and then tasered him.  It was only after his body was semi-lifeless that an officer recognized him as being a basketball player for his hometown team.

Then there's Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards who had his own encounter with a police officer while driving on I-495 in the Washington DC area.  The way Beal describes it is he was pulled over because the tint on his windows were too dark.  The officer made him, his wife and a friend step out of the car so he could search it.  Beal asked if he could put the hood of his car up so he wouldn't be recognized by people passing by.  The officer asked him who he was, at which time Beal says he told him his name and that he played for the Washington Wizards.  The officer then asked Beal how much money he made and Beal is quoted as saying, "Officer I don't want to be a smartass but I think I make more than you per year."  The officer then reportedly threatened to arrest him and make him the headline on ESPN's SportsCenter.  

And countless others, like former Chicago Bulls player, Jason Williams, have been stopped numerous times by police just for driving while black with a fancy car.

Jimmy Butler attempted to make a powerful statement about how some white Americans treat NBA players when they're not on the basketball court.  As long as "Jimmy Buckets" is leading his team to victory he is loved and adored but the minute he takes off that uniform and goes about his daily life, he's just another n****. He clearly recognizes that just as we all do. 

Jimmy Butler, your life DOES matter!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Money Does Not End Racism

Since the killing of George Floyd and the rallying cry for social justice and equality around the country, nearly two dozen companies (that I know of) have also expressed outrage and a commitment to help.  In addition to issuing press releases and making statements via social media, numerous companies, like Nike, Inc. and Walmart have decided to throw money on the problem.  Throw money, you say?  Yes, donating their millions is putting a "band aid" on racism----a systemic problem they helped create.  This is obviously a "feel good" moment in time for them and shows their customers that they stand with them.  I guess my question is, where have they been all this time?  George Floyd isn't the first black man to be murdered by police (and definitely won't be the last).
Nike, Inc, announced in early June that the company was donating $40 million to black community organizations over the next four years to support social justice organizations.  Of course, the specific organizations weren't identified in the press release, however, Nike President and CEO, John Donahoe, was quoted as saying, "We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates."  So, did he just have this epiphany after Floyd's murder?  I might also add that Nike has reported investing nearly $420 million over the past five years to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, MENTOR and Girl Effect.  

Then we have Walmart who came out and announced they were donating $100 million over five years to a new center on racial equality.  According to their press release, "The Center will seek to advance economic opportunity and healthier living....strengthening workforce development and related educational systems and support criminal justice reform.  This "Center" wasn't identified and $100 million doesn't sound like it will go very far over a five-year-period for all they claim they will do.

Sony Music Group also announced a $100 million dollar fund to support social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the WORLD.  Once again, no specific organizations or groups identified.

Paypal pledged more than $500 million to support black and minority-owned businesses.  According to Black Enterprise, "The Association for Enterprise Opportunity, received $10 million from the pledge and said it would administer $10K grants to 1000 black owned businesses across the country."  Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reports there are more than two million black owned businesses in the U.S.

According to The CEO of Comcast said his company will commit $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against, race, ethnicity, gender equality, sexual orientation or ability.  Once again, no specific organizations identified.

UnitedHealth Group was SPECIFIC.  The Company, which has its headquarters in Minnesota,   announced it will pay for the college education of George Floyd's children and donate more than $10 million to help Twin Cities neighborhoods hurt by the riots, including to $5 million donation to the YMCA Equity Innovation Center of Excellence.     

Don't get me wrong.  The fact that these businesses decided to give money is a good thing (and a GREAT write-off) but the bottom line is, you don't END racism by donating money to charitable causes! Eliminating discriminatory practices begin by changing laws and policies.  Companies must make a conscious effort to open up their boardrooms and offices to qualified blacks and to pay adequate salaries comparable to their white counterparts. Presidents and CEOs' need to hire lobbyists to pressure Congress to add more beef to laws on the books that are supposed to prohibit discriminatory hiring practices.   They must also invest directly into black communities by creating businesses and business opportunities.  

Throwing money "blindly" can often lead to illegal activities such as fraud and embezzlement.  Case in point:  The federal government allowed a Florida man to collect nearly $4 million in coronavirus relief money and he turned around and allegedly spent it on luxury hotels and a Lamborghini.  

Oh, he was white.    


Monday, July 06, 2020

We're Sick and Tired of the Apologies

We, as black people, don't need to hear another "Karen" apologize for throwing a racial temper tantrum when we all know she said what was in her heart at the time.  We have heard apology after apology from "entitled" white  women who are forced into doing so after being publicly shamed on social media.  

Certainly you remember Amy Cooper, who threatened to call the police on a black male avid bird watcher in NY Central Park because he kindly asked her to put her dog on a leash.  She made it perfectly clear in the video (he recorded) that she would tell the cops she was being threatened by an African-American male.  The next day, after being fired from her job and blasted all over the TV, she issued this apology:  
"I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash." ~Amy Cooper
Now she is facing charges of making a false police report.

Then we have Amber Rocco of Oregon, who said she regretted using the N-word after going on a tirade against a black couple in a Strip Mall parking lot.  In addition, she threatened them with a knife and spit on one of them. After being convicted of a hate crime, she was sentenced to 30 days in jail and anger management counseling.  She said:
"I regret using that word.  I love everybody equally."  

The husband of Arizona's Tamara Harrian stepped in and offered a tearful apology for his wife after she was caught on video using her "privilege" to demand to be waited on ahead of a Native American woman and telling her to go back to Mexico.  Her husband said:
"I'm so sorry this has happened.  I'm so sorry for what she said.  It was very hateful...But I just have to tell you this:  It's her mental illness."

Next comes Sonya Holt of Tennessee, who was caught on video yelling "white lives matter" and "white lives are better" and referring to protesters as "monkeys"at a Black Lives Matter protest rally in her community.  

In Williamston, NC a white Hampton Inn employee was fired after she called the police on a black woman because she didn't believe the woman and her children (who were in the pool at the time) were guests of the hotel.

In Grand Rapids, MI Shelly Hueckel ended up pleading guilty to assault and battery after attacking a black car salesman at the dealership where he worked.  She reportedly struck the victim repeatedly while yelling racial slurs.  Before being sentenced to two years probation, the suspect apologized, 
"Nothing excuses my actions, but I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused in his life."   

But then you have one bad ass white woman who just said "Hell no, I ain't apologizing!"  Nancy Goodman was caught on video in a Raleigh, NC restaurant last year calling two black women seated near her the N-word.  When interviewed about the incident, Goodman called the women rude, loud, and obnoxious and said "I'm not going to say I'm sorry to them...I would say it to them again!" 

Thank you Nancy!  At least we know how you REALLY feel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Let's Have a Little Talk ABOUT Jesus

When I was a child, there was a song the old folks used to sing in church:  

Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
Let us tell Him all about our troubles....
You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right...

I am now proposing that we have a little talk ABOUT Jesus, but, first let me issue a disclaimer.  I am NOT a Biblical Scholar.  I have done NO in depth studies on Jesus, beyond my normal Bible study,  prayers and meditations. 

With that being said, I can recall hearing that old negro spiritual (written in 1937 by Rev. Cleavant Derricks) sung repeatedly as members of the congregation praised the image of a blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus hanging on the church wall.  I remember always questioning that "image."  I was even more curious after taking a genetics class in college.  As I recall, the Instructor said the only way a white couple could conceive a black child is if there was a mixing of the races somewhere down the line so, it's conceivable that a great-great grandparent (or great-great-great grandparent) could've interacted with a person of color and it show up in their genetic make-up as time goes on (it was something to that effect).  SO........if that is in fact the case, how it is even possible that Jesus would be a blue-eyed, blond-haired European looking white man?  (The idea that Mary had an immaculate conception is a totally different discussion).

Furthermore, the King James version of the Bible clearly describes Jesus this way:  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  (Revelation 1:14)

So let me ask you:  How many white men do you know who have hair like "wool"  That's what we call KINKY in the black community.  And if his feet look like they could have been burned in a furnace---that's clearly a DARKER skin tone.

Now we have many so-called white Christians in an outrage because people like Shaun King are calling for the blond-haired, blue-eyed images of Jesus to be removed. The question is why the anger?  If Jesus is supposed to be Lord and Savior of ALL, what difference does his color make? Why go to the extreme to portray an image that fits what you, as white America, want the World to buy into?  When you discover Jesus was not a blue-eyed, blond-haired European looking male, will you feel you can no longer serve the One who died for your sins?

White america needs a serious wake up call and it starts with having a little talk ABOUT Jesus and the systemic racism that infests their perception of "Christianity."  

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Please Stop Apologizing White America

If you've noticed, there's a wave sweeping across the U.S.  I call it racial correctness.  It's like political correctness which is a term used to describe "language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offending, insulting or marginalizing people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against."  Since the televised murder of George Floyd, many (not ALL) whites are apologizing for "not understanding" "not seeing" or "turning a blind eye" to the injustices and suffering black people have experienced for more than 400 years.  Now, all of a sudden, they want to LISTEN.

Within days after Floyd's murder, I had white friends and acquaintances call, text or email me to see how I was doing and to ask what they could do to try to make a difference in bringing about change and ending racism.  (Perhaps you had the same experience if you are black).  The sad thing here is we have been begging and screaming for change for so long and it always seems to fall on deaf ears---until now.  Perhaps it took three very publicized murders (Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd) for whites to finally get the fact that police brutality against blacks is a very real thing and there is not such thing as "equal justice under the law" and white supremacists can gun down a black man while jogging on a public street and almost get away with murder.

Needless to say, emotions have been are raw on both sides. Social media platforms have been inundated with post after post and video after video of  hateful rhetoric, protesting, police brutalities that aren't covered on the news and apologies from people who finally woke up and understood what their white privilege really meansKrista Vernoff, Grey's Anatomy Showrunner, told her Twitter fans that her white privilege kept her from having a criminal record:

"Between the ages of 11-22, my friends and I were chased and/or admonished by police on several occasions for drinking or doing illegal drugs on private property or in public.  I have no criminal record.  When I was 15, I was given 6 months probation for stealing thousand of dollars of merchandise from a Mall and was chased by police."

A number of companies, who count on the mighty black dollar, have been issuing public apologies:

Christene Barberich of Refinery29 posted this on Instagram:  I’d like to start by saying that I’ve read and taken in the raw and personal accounts of Black women and women of color regarding their experiences inside our company at Refinery29. And, what's clear from these experiences, is that R29 has to change. We have to do better, and that starts with making room. And, so I will be stepping aside in my role at R29 to help diversify our leadership in editorial and ensure this brand and the people it touches can spark a new defining chapter. 

Dolls Kill:  We fucked up. We should have been quicker + louder and this is what we r doing about it.

We all remember the apology Drew Brees was forced to make after he said he would never respect anyone who didn't stand for the flag or the national anthem and NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell went on ESPN and apologized for not listening to the players earlier on the subject of racism and Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protest back in 2016 that got him black balled by the league.

Here's my advice:  Just stop apologizing white america and start taking action.  As Mahatma Ghandi so eloquently put it:  Be the change you want to see in the world.

One more thing:  Why in the hell did it take Quaker Oats 131 years to have a wake-up call that the  the "Aunt Jemima" brand was purely RACIST?

What My Grandson Has Learned from Number 45

This post was inspired by a conversation I saw on Facebook between a white woman I knew and one I didn't know.  The woman I knew issued ...