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many post out dated articles or articles from satire sites and don’t let their their followers know the information is outdated or satire.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!

Most Of What I Learned About Black History, I Taught Myself

Today is the last “official” day of Black History Month. I celebrate every day and continue to share knowledge on a regular basis.

There’s so much Black History that I didn’t learn in school. When I was 15 years old, I went to the library and borrowed Mary McLeod Bethune’s autobiography. My need to learn more led to me studying African Kings and Queens. I found this book. If you haven’t read it, it’s an empowering read:

Next, I discovered the various inventions that wouldn’t exist were it not for a Black man or woman. Here is a partial lists:

Then, I read Malcolm X’s autobiography and he woke up the militant spirit in me: “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” I became proud of my people and recognized we have persevered and succeeded against all the odds and obstacles that have been placed in our paths.

Finally, Fannie Lou Hamer made me even more proud to be a Black woman and honor her and others like her who secured my right to vote. Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Actually, the world and America is upset and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more.”

In studying Black History, I found my voice. My voice to speak out about injustice and demand to be treated right. Studying Black History made me recognize I have a legacy of determination, intelligence and ingenuity pumping in my veins. I have no other choice but to be the best at whatever I set my mind to do. It’s in my DNA!

What Black History knowledge didn’t you learn in school?

I Have A Problem…

I didn’t realize I had a problem until I finally recognized that every time I go to the bookstore I buy a bookmark. I mean this problem is really bad. Just look at this picture of my bookmarks:

Since recognizing I have a problem, you would think I would stop buying bookmarks. Nope – I’ve continued! I haven’t taken a picture of my latest bookmark purchases.

The other indication that I have a problem was when my husband asked if I had a bookmark he could use. For a moment, I looked like this 😳. I wasn’t going to give him one, but I knew one day he may see my stash and then remember I refused to give him one. It pained me to do it, but I gave him one.

I’ve resigned myself to the realization that I have a bookmark purchasing problem. I know I can only use one at a time. What if the current one doesn’t match my book reading mood? Having multiple bookmarks makes sure I have one that fits my current book reading mood. Here’s my current book reading mood:

I know I’m not the only one with a weird problem or habit. I did go a few times without purchasing a bookmark, but my latest bookstore visit had me back purchasing a bookmark. I only bought one pack this time. They are so cute! I couldn’t resist…

Do you have a weird problem or habit? Let’s talk about it.

*Book Review* One Person, No Vote – How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Democracy by Carol Anderson

When the votes were tallied for trump, I wondered how he won. Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the electoral college votes. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators, (https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html).

Voter suppression has led to millions of minorities being removed from voter rolls. In 2013, the Supreme Court stripper power from the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Supreme Court’s decision allowed districts to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice, (Anderson, 2018). Carole Anderson provides the history of voter suppression and discusses how voter suppression and gerrymandering has affected the voting rights of minorities.

Time and time again Republicans have cried voting fraud to further restrict minorities right to vote. Republicans have used voter suppression as a means to maintain political power. Carol Anderson outlines her research, which proves the extent Republicans and racists will go to restrict and eliminate the voices of the marginalized.

This book is a must read to understand the history of voter suppression and a call to action to reverse the damage that has already been done by voter id requirements and gerrymandering. Republicans have removed polling places, restricted early voting and instituted voter id requirements all in the name of eliminating voter fraud; even though voter fraud has been minimal. The truth is these actions were taken to maintain political power and racism.

We are already experiencing the results of voter suppression in our courts, in the murdering of minorities without accountability by the police, and in the laws that are being placed on the books. We have to educate ourselves and then fight the power! Fight so that everybody has their voices heard through voting.

An interesting part of the book was the outlining of Russia’s involvement in our 2016 presidential election. It is scary to read the lengths some will go to suppress minorities and elect someone that represents only their interests. This book further proves that racism is built into the foundation of the United States and may never be eliminated.

References

The Electoral College. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

Anderson, C (2018). One Person, No Vote – How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Democracy. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Price of Silence

I didn’t watch the R Kelly documentary last night, and don’t plan to watch. I have read some of the posts that have came across my newsfeed. So, teenage girls are fast and were given what they wanted 😳😑😑. Men have been doing it forever, so it’s ok?!! Nothing was said about Elvis Presley and other white men?!! I almost can’t place into words my reaction to these statements!

Are y’all serious?! So, this is how we make it okay to victimize young people?!!! I wonder if it was your child would you still have those feelings? We have sexualized Black children and held them accountable like they are adults, and this is wrong! These are children! There are grown women and men that have been bamboozled by abusers and we expect children to recognize an abuser and say no?!

I am a victim of sexual abuse by a family member and an authority figure. I was just a child and didn’t know what to do. I told on the authority figure and he publicly shamed me while I wasn’t present. He said I was lying on him, and people believed him. I never looked at him the same again. I forgave him for my growth, but I told my mom if he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness in hell will he lift up his eyes.

I’ve never said anything to the family member. Since I’ve been grown, I finally told my mom. I forgave the family member too, but a conversation needs to take place for that person to know the affect of their actions. The sad part is the person probably doesn’t even remember because I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Quit blaming victims. If you still choose to listen to R Kelly’s music that’s your choice, but don’t blame victims to make you feel better about your choice!

Reflections

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

2018 hasn’t been my best year. Learning to live on without my mom has not been easy. I’ve had good days and I’ve had days where I stayed in the bed with the covers pulled over my head. I’ve learned to go with the flow and live in the moment. If I feel like crying, I go ahead and cry. I’ve learned to embrace and acknowledge my feelings, so I can move forward.

2018 has been the year for dealing with my emotions. I used to bury my emotions. Burying emotions is not good, and only leads to an explosion. An explosion affects everyone that has any contact with me. I no longer wanted to be that explosion.

Choosing not to be that explosion led to me having to deal with some things in each area of my life. I chose to deal with every area of my life and in the process learn to handle the outcome.

I’m stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. 2018 has been about being better: a better me, better wife, better mother and better friend.

Every valley and mountain has molded me into the woman I am today. I’m looking with expectation to 2019. Yet striving to BE BETTER!

Black & Murdered in Amerikkka

The police murdered this young man! Another young, Black man killed by those who are supposed to serve and protect. Some wonder why we kneel, refuse to pledge allegiance to the flag (me), and continue to post about the racist things that happen daily😡😡😡😡 we post because of the consistent harassment and murders of Black people!

I’m so disgusted how we are daily treated like we don’t belong. We didn’t ask to be in America! Our ancestors were brought here against their will! The irony is all Americans are immigrants, but some White folks think they have some golden ticket that says America belongs to them. Well, just in case you haven’t been told lately – America doesn’t belong to you!

I’ll end my rant with Maya Angelou’s poem:

Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Mama – I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You

“She was there when I took my first breath, and I was there when she took her last.”

I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I lived this quote.  On November 21, 2017 at 5:50 am my mom took her last breath and I was with her.

I was determined to stay the night with my mom, and I did.  Even though I knew she would not be alone because God would be there, I wanted to be there with my mom as she made her transition.  If anyone had told me I would have had to make difficult decisions that involved my mom, I would not have believed them.

My mom always said if anything happens to me, you fight for me to live.  I took that literally.  I struggled with saying yes to hospice because to me that meant I was giving up on her.  I prayed and realized I wasn’t giving up on her.  When I was able to truly look at my mom as she lay in the hospital bed, I could see that she was suffering.  She was in so much pain, and not allowing the respirator tube to be removed was delaying the inevitable

In the circle of life children are supposed to bury their parents, but who wants their parents to die?!  We want them to live forever.  I wanted my mom to be here to see my granddaughter grow up and graduate from college.  I wanted my mom to see my daughter have children of her own.  I wanted my mom to be here to make me laugh.  She kept me laughing with the things she said and her views on life.  It seemed like a lot of my family members talked to my mom and she would have the good family tea!  She knew all the family gossip and shared it with me.  

We shared a lot of good times.  We didn’t always agree and during her sickness she was frequently upset with me because she said, “I thought I was the boss of her – LOL.”  I had to be firm and take over medical decisions and other things, which she didn’t like.  Everything I did was for her good.

My advice to anyone whose parents are still alive:  cherish the moments.  Please don’t get caught up in not speaking to them or having petty arguments.  Once your parents are gone, none of that stuff matters.  Instead of creating heartache, make memories with your parents.  The last thing you want to have is regrets or feelings of guilt because you didn’t treat them right.

I don’t have any regrets.  I treated my mother with the respect she was due.  You couldn’t have thin skin around my mom.  She equipped me to be a word master.  I know how to fight with words.  I learned to laugh at words that were meant to hurt me.  She taught me how to accept myself – flaws and all.  Being called fat was funny because I am.  She taught me that.

She taught me to love God.  She taught me how to be saved.  She taught me how to love my family.  She taught me that.  She taught me how to bake a cake.  She taught me how to clean a kitchen.  She taught me how to mop the floor.  She taught me how to wash clothes.  She taught me all of that.

This past year has been a lot of firsts for me:  first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Day, first Mother’s Day, and first birthday without my mom.  I am an extension of her.  I look like her.  This curly hair came from her.  I find myself saying some of the same things she used to say.

I know my life will never be the same because she’s gone. I miss you so much Ma!  My life is better because you chose to give birth to me.  This first year without you hasn’t been easy and my heart will never be the same.  I’m strong though and I will continue to thrive because you’re my mom.

Chapter 49

Some people believe I do the most for Leo season and my birthday. Well, I do! I turned it up a notch this year because I’m grateful to be in the land of the living. This past year has not been an easy year for me.

I learned more about myself and the sacrifices I would make for someone I love. I discovered that I had more strength than I realized. I learned that even in the midst of the pain and grief that I yet feel, I can make it. I learned that Chapter 48 prepared me for Chapter 49.

It’s my first birthday without my mom. For 48 years I had her in my life. This new normal has not been easy. This year required me to be extra. If I didn’t, I would’ve focused on how much I miss my mom and the birthday greetings she faithfully posted every year.

I would’ve focused on how much I miss the cake she made special just for me – German chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting because I don’t like German chocolate frosting. I would’ve spent today being sad instead of glad.

Through all I have been through I have learned the importance of carpe diem – seize the day! I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I want to make the most of every moment I have remaining on this earth. I’m determined to have meaningful relationships, and appreciate when someone cuts me out of their lives because they are doing me a favor. They are helping me to invest in those that want to have meaningful relationships with me. I’ve learned that life is short and I should experience everything I want to experience.

Resist Chicago Resist!

Folks always have something to say. At least Father Pfleger is true to his activism for the community. Are protests supposed to make us comfortable? Will we agree with all protests? Everyone has the right to protest. A protest is supposed to shake things up, bring attention to disparities, and facilitate change.

The truth is some folks don’t care about the shootings in Chicago because it’s not happening in their neighborhood. Well, guess what? One day shootings could be happening in your neighborhood or one of your family members could be a victim of gun violence. Then, you will want everyone involved in being an activist against gun violence.

I think about my family members and it’s only God’s grace that it hasn’t been one of my family members or me the victim of gun violence. We are good at talking mess about what needs to happen and what everyone else should be doing. Well, what about you? What are you willing to do for things to change?

If you are interested in protesting against gun violence in Chicago, please click here. Shut the Dan Ryan down on July 7th!