It is Systemic!

Most people do not understand the depth of systemic racism and how it is embedded in every organization in this country. Let’s look at the latest news of the shootings and the killings this past weekend in Chicago. Any shootings in Chicago somehow become front page news everywhere.

The stories are written in a manner to let you know the shootings happen in a predominately Black neighborhood. As big as Chicago is the media would want us to believe that there were only shootings in predominately Black neighborhoods this weekend. The truth is violence doesn’t just happen in predominately Black neighborhoods. No neighborhood is exempt from violence.

The violence that happens in Black neighborhoods is the news that makes a good headline story. Also, consider those doing the shootings don’t always live in the neighborhoods where they are shooting. When you see or read the news about these shootings, what do you think about the people that live in those neighborhoods?

The news is designed to make you think negatively about Black people. If the media wasn’t designed to have us think negatively about Black people, we would receive a balanced news report. The good things that are happening in Black neighborhoods would be just as prevalent in the news. The good news stories are few and far between and are not given as much air time as the negative news stories.

The people in Black neighborhoods are not as silent as they were in the past. People do speak up. People are going to jail for these shootings, but we rarely hear about this.

When the news is about predominately White people, we are not given context clues to let us know where the violence happened. We don’t quickly receive a picture of the offender. There are always excuses as to why the person did what they did. The offender is painted as the good boy or girl that has some mental issues or he or she is going through some difficult times.

Please be a critical thinker as you listen or read the news. If you don’t you will think negatively about Black people that happen to live in the neighborhoods where shootings occurred, and you will say some of the same biased, racist remarks that others say about Black people.

Reflections (2019)…

Rejection – I have experienced several rejections in my professional life. Rejections that I still don’t fully understand why I was rejected, but God knows why I was rejected.

Great personal loss – A few people that impacted my life I didn’t expect to be gone are gone. It still doesn’t seem real that they are gone. I’m so grateful that these folks left their imprint on my life and will forever be missed.

Difficult decision – I had to make a difficult spiritual decision that I didn’t foresee having to make. If I would’ve been told in 2017 or 2018 that this decision would be made in 2019, I would not have believed it.

New life – Excited about my next grand-baby!

FiftyI turned 50! I see this age as new beginnings, new experiences, and new goals.

Finishing what I started – I started working on my PhD and then had to stop. I had resigned myself to never completing my PhD – but God! 2020 will include me beginning to finish what I started!

This year has been filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. Some things were set up to knock me down. I stumbled and tripped, but I didn’t fall! Some things were set up to destroy me l, but I was not destroyed! I know that God protects and cares about me. God favors me and is expecting great things from me!

Forward!

Book Review – How To Be An Antiracist

Racist – One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.

Antiracist – One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.

The above definitions of racist and antiracist from Kendi’s book were interesting to me and helped me understand how detrimental racism is in our world. We don’t want to accept it, but it’s true that the very foundation of America is built on racism. There are laws that still exist that were established to block the progress of minorities.

I have read other books that discuss racism. However, I like how the author traced his own growth throughout the book. The author was able to tell life defining stories of his own to bring to life the various categories of racist in the book. When the author discussed combating racism in the same manner that we combat cancer, this resonated with me. We have to be willing to kill racism at the root, and to kill something at the root most of the time requires a surgical procedure. We have to ask ourselves what are we willing to do to root out racism.

I would encourage anyone who wants to be a better human being to read this book.

Clear Your Mind

We are consumed daily with so much noise that we can’t take the time to think. Think about our goals, plans and dreams for our futures. We are inundated with so much that’s nothing but noise. I call noise anything that doesn’t allow you to focus on what you should be focusing.

We have to carve out time for ourselves to just think. My best thinking and ideas happen while I’m walking. I love walking. By my job there’s a forest preserve trail that I walk to clear my mind. As I’m walking, I look at nature and I’m just in awe of what God has created. I’m able to hear. Hear from God, hear my thoughts and plans. I have a peace that I can’t explain while walking. Walking centers me.

I notice things that I wouldn’t normally notice because I’m moving too fast or focusing on the wrong things. On one of my afternoon walks I met my friend below.

I couldn’t even remember the last time I saw a turtle. A turtle! He was just moving along as if he didn’t have a care in this world. I thought to myself I need to have the attitude of a turtle – moving at my own pace and not caring about what others are doing. Focusing on myself and making sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.

Below are some other picture I’ve taken on my walks:

Let’s talk. What works best for you to clear your mind?

Social Media Robots

Social media has taken over almost every part of our lives. The latest news can be found on social media. We received the play by play of the latest breaking news, and experience the changes in the news as statements are retracted or further explained. As we navigate through the vast amounts of information that is available via social media, we cannot be social media robots.

Social media robots are people who believe whatever they see or read on social media without vetting the information. There are a few obvious signs of a social media robot:

1. Posting without reading what you are posting. So many post out dated articles or articles from satire sites and don’t let their their followers know the information is outdated or satire.

2. Comment on the post of others without reading the article the person has posted. How can you debate efficiently by only reading a headline? It’s similar to saying you don’t like Beyoncé’s music, but you’ve never listened to one song!

3. A firm believer in conspiracy theories. A popular conspiracy theory is that Bill Cosby was framed because he was trying to buy NBC. Here’s the link to the first article from 1992 that mentioned Cosby was interested in buying NBC

The article mentions that GE said NBC was not for sale.

Cosby expressed interest again in 1993 and was told once again NBC was not for sale. Fast forward over twenty years later and some want to tie Cosby’s sexual harassment allegations to being a product of him wanting to by NBC 😳😳😳. Cosby admitted to drugging women. The reason he is in jail today is because of the wrong he admitted doing.

There are other obvious signs of being a social media robot, but the ones mentioned above made the top of my list.

God created us with a wonderful thing called a brain. We must use it. We should refuse to blindly believe the information that is pushed on us. We must choose to be critical thinkers.

Critical thinkers use research and analysis to evaluate information and form their own opinion. I get it – being a critical thinker requires work. In our microwave culture, so many want someone else to be the critical thinker and then tell them what to believe or who to support. This mindset is dangerous and leads to being a social media robot.

I challenge you today to be a critical thinker. Let your actions demonstrate your unwillingness to be a social media robot!