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.

I’m Tired!

Almost every time another Black man is murdered, I think about when the Harvey police pulled my son over and pointed their guns in his face! He had done nothing wrong. He had just left Ingalls from visiting his dad after his dad’s surgery.

I think about how they could’ve murdered my son for nothing!! We would’ve probably never found out what really happened because folks were not recording like they are today. They would’ve tried to paint my son as a criminal. God protected my son that day!!

I have been mostly reflecting and not doing a lot of talking about what people should or should not be doing. I don’t have the answers and neither do you.

I know I’m tired! I’m tired of Black people being murdered by police. I’m tired of encountering racist behavior from others. I’m tired of white privilege. I’m tired of us being mistreated because of the color of our skin. I’m tired of having to navigate through this world in defensive mode ALL THE TIME!

I’m tired of folks who sit on high horses like they do everything right and use their platform to bash others for the choices they make. I’m tired of folks comparing what’s happening to the crime that happens in communities. It’s not the same! If I kill someone, I’m going to jail. Police don’t seem to have that same understanding.

I’m tired of folks want to speak out about how wrong the rioting is, but didn’t speak out about a Black man being murdered. I’m tired of folks who love Black culture, but don’t like Black people. I’m tired of these protest calisthenics: make your profile picture Black, don’t buy anything on this day, boycott this company, cancel this person and NOTHING has changed!

Black people are still being murdered by police, Black people are still being murdered by the local neighborhood racists, companies are still producing racially insensitive advertising and products, we are still being followed around stores, we are still being questioned about why we are in certain spaces, we are still being falsely accused and imprisoned, and we are still having to fight to wear the hair that grows out of our heads! I AM TIRED!

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day!

To every teacher that reads this Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day! Thank you for being the catalyst that turned on the lightbulb of learning! Many years from now your students will remember how you cared and what they learned from you.

Teaching is a superpower!

Good teachers should be appreciated. I teach college courses and there’s no experience like witnessing the learning lightbulb turn on for a student!

My favorite teacher was Mrs. Champion. She was my 8th grade teacher. She’s gone, but she will never be forgotten. She was the one that turned on my love for learning and taught me to always do my best. Mediocre was unacceptable! She has left a lasting imprint on my life. Even after I graduated, she still cared and wanted to know what I was doing. She bought my son a baby shower gift. Thank you Mrs. Champion for everything!

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?

Living My Best Life!

I started the morning of Chapter 50 eating breakfast with family and friends. I want to thank you for all the birthday wishes that were received in every form.

I wanted to go somewhere that was on my bucket list of places to go and never been before for my 50th. NOLA was my choice. I wanted to celebrate with my family and friends. Everyone couldn’t make it, but I’m having a blast with everyone that was able to make it.

I’m excited about my future. This birthday has been one of my best! I received one of the best gifts ever! Fifty looks good on me. I mean I do look good period! Here me roar – ROAR!! I love me – flaws and all. My theme this entire year is BETTER! Every day I’m striving to be BETTER.

I have another item I want to check off my bucket list this year – learning to swim. I’ll be finding a class to help me on my quest to be BETTER!

PS – LEO SEASON IS NOT OVER💁🏽‍♀️💁🏽‍♀️☺️☺️

Marriage Is A Triathlon – Not A Sprint!

Recently, I was watching a video about training for a triathlon. A triathlon is a race that is split into three different activities: swimming, biking and running. Let me provide my disclaimer that I’m not ready for a triathlon. First, I have to learn how to swim. Learning how to swim is on my 2019 bucket list.

Back to triathlon training. I was curious about the preparation for a triathlon. After watching the video, I realized that preparing for a triathlon is similar to preparing for a lasting marriage. Let me explain.

You can’t just wake up one morning and go complete a triathlon! There’s some preparation involved. That preparation requires commitment. You have to decide to train so many times a week in preparation for the triathlon. Marriage takes commitment. You have to take your vows seriously and be committed to demonstrating your vows by your actions.

A triathlon requires dedication. There will be some days you don’t feel like training. There will be some days you would rather be spending your time doing something else. There will be days you won’t like training. However, you have to train anyway and remain dedicated to being prepared for the triathlon.

Marriage requires dedication. There will be some days that you don’t want to be married. There will be some days you don’t like your spouse. There will be some days you would rather be doing something else. When those days come and trust me they will, you have to remain dedicated to your marriage.

A triathlon requires some essential gear: a bike, helmet, shoes, swimming cap, goggles and a trisuit to name a few. Without the essential gear, you hinder your chances of doing your best. You want to do your best.

There’s some essential marriage gear: love, good communication, good sex, honesty, God and prayer to name a few. If you don’t have the essential marriage gear, it will be difficult to have a lasting marriage. Essential marriage gear is necessary and beneficial to a good marriage.

A good marriage deserves a good foundation. A good foundation begins with commitment, dedication and the essential gear. Are you ready for your triathlon?

If You’re the Toxic Friend and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Recently, one of my friends asked this question on Instagram: “How do you know who is toxic?” My short response was you bring their toxic ways to their attention and they don’t try to change their ways. You find yourself in a constant struggle of not talking to them for awhile versus talking to them on a regular basis. It seems they act better after a hiatus, but alas their old toxic self shows up!

I used to believe toxic people didn’t know they were toxic. However, as I’ve matured I recognize they know their toxic and they don’t care. You know why they don’t care? They don’t care because they have the number one characteristic of a toxic person – they are selfish!

Their selfish ways show up constantly. Every activity has to revolve around them. Every conversation has to revolve around them, or they make the conversation about them.

You call the toxic person to vent about something you’re going through and this is how the conversation goes: First, they compare what you’re going through with something they have went or are going through. Then, somehow the conversation turns to be all about them! After you finish the conversation, you feel worse than you felt before you called them.

Another characteristic of toxic people is they are always the victim. Someone is always doing them wrong. They don’t do anything to anyone. They mind their business 🙄🙄. You know these are all lies because you know this person! They never take responsibility for their actions.

Then, toxic people like to monopolize your time. They want to be your ONLY friend. They don’t get along with any of your other friends. As a result, you can’t invite them to group outings. The toxic person not getting along with your other friends is their way to monopolize your time.

Furthermore, toxic people are users. Most of the time you interact with them, they need something. If you analyze your relationship, you will notice the toxic person always wants something from you. The relationship seems to always be you giving and the toxic person always taking.

Finally, another classic toxic person characteristic is they are never happy for you. If you tell them about your new job, they have to mention they wanted to work for that company and they didn’t get the job. They say you must know someone that works at the job. When you tell them about your financial increase, they have to mention how they need the increase more than you need the increase.

Toxic people leave you feeling drained surrounded with negativity. Their words and actions make you question your self-esteem and worth. The reality is the relationship is built on a foundation of jealousy. You may be wondering can any good come out of this relationship?! Yes, it can!

Here’s the good: As you grow and mature, you recognize toxic relationships have no place in your circle. You recognize there is nothing wrong with severing toxic ties and moving on with your life. You will more quickly identify toxic people before you have invested your time and energy in them.

If you read this post and recognize yourself, you are the toxic friend so clap, clap! Now that you see yourself, what are you going to do about it?

For those that have or have had toxic friends, how did you determine your friend was toxic? What did you do about it? Let’s talk about it.