Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Something new- Something Better?

NBC nightly news is continuing its limited series on black women. Next up- our personal lives- in particular interacial dating and its rise for black women (see video). I'm all for it. For many of us growing up a black man was the ideal image of who our husbands would be. Post college and the cold reality that 40% of black women don't get married (and even more horrifying that 70% of black children come from single parent-woman raised- homes) many of us have changed our views. Especially if you are a well educated, economically sucessful woman. As one man stated in the on line web segment of this topic, "their simply aren't enough black men up to par" (I was kind of intrigued that it was coming from a black man saying that and not a woman). I'm not saying I have to date a white collar guy like me. I'd rate a plummer as pretty sucessful but even that is hard to find. And lets face the reality if you are on your way to making close to six figures and live a certain life style of travel and having nice clothes and living enviornments, its hard to get into a relationship with a man who is making half your salary, not educated or traveled. I mean if a woman who marries a man who makes more than she is "moving up", then if she marries one who is not in her economic range is she "moving down"? If you are used to Nordstroms and Paris as a way life, would you be satisfied with meeting a guy who can only do Kmart and Bush Gardens? Would even a compromise be sufficient? Would you be okay with paying for most things to keep up with your style? Sounds cold but its something to consider. And not only that- good luck in even meeting a black man if you are in certain fields. The higher you go, the less black men who are in your workforce or area (unless you meet them at the club). I know more white males than black males now compared to my days in highschool and even college and am finding that I have more in common with some of them as well.
I would never turn my back on a whole race of men and will always give a black man a chance (provided of course that we are compatable, but that goes with anyone) but opening up your dating pool only leads to a greater chance of finding love. And hey, lets be real, its not as if black men are only dating black women!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tiny Series on Black women in this country

So I watched the "indepth" one minute segment that kicks off NBC News week long series on African American women. While I won't be commenting on each segment I will on some. Tonight, as you will see in the article below that basically relays the segment, the reporter discussed how black women are outachieving black men in education and business. Hmm, okay but for some reason, I'm thinking this is an issue that is affecting all races (which the article mentions but the tv segment does not). There are more women period in college! And the segment does not paint this issue of black women going to college more than black males as a positive response to the greater independence we as black women are forced to face but as a problem in the community. Sure it is an issue that more males aren't going to college but in a one minute special on black women why are you focusing so much on that issue? Further, the quick rationals they gave to this growing disparity was that the schools are giving up on black males and more black males basically want to be like 50 cents and school therefore is not cool. Such a simplistic and arrogant explanation kind of pissed me off. Are T.I., Jay-Z and 50 the reasons more black males are dropping out? It couldn't possibly be the long lasting effects of slavery and oppressions breakdown of the black family unit and the economic injustice that is still being felt from years of oppression nor the slaying of black male leaders who kept the focus on education and economic empowerment as a way to real long lasting freedom? Or very simply the lack of focus given to males to gain an education so that they can be independent and strong upstanding citizens like what is pushed into the minds of black females who see too many single black women in difficult situations. No, no, blame it on Jay Z

African American women: where they stand Posted: Monday, November 26, 2007 12:50 PM by Barbara Raab

By Rehema Ellis, NBC News correspondent

Editor's note: Rehema's report airs on tonight's broadcast, in Part One of our series, African American Women: Where They Stand

For years, Black women have told their daughters they may have to take care of themselves without a husband so it's imperative that young women develop skills.

It is happening.

The numbers of Black women earning college degrees and taking leadership roles in the workplace are impressive.

And the huge achievement gap between African-American women and men is astounding. Black women are making gains in record numbers. It may suggest to some that Black women have gotten the empowerment message and have met all accomplishment goals. That would be only half right. According to research, there is still a lot of work to do.

Black women, like all female business owners, still lack business parity with men in some key areas.

Most of the companies owned by Black women are part-time ventures, often run from home at night and as a way to boost daytime pay as women care for children and/or aging parents. And according to the Center for Women's Business Research, as of 2006 just 5 percent of companies owned by Black women had employees, versus 10 percent for Black men. Annual revenue averaged $29,000 compared to $77,000 for Black men.

Still, Black women are moving ahead "... driving trends in the market place, and there are advertisers that are seriously starting to pay attention to her," says Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in- chief of Essence Magazine.

"I think this is the best time in our history to be a Black woman in America. By most conceivable measures we are excelling."

But she and others caution that as there is excitement about the advancements made by Black women, society should be equally concerned about how Black men are falling behind academically and economically. Plus, some caution against viewing those disappointments as affecting only African-Americans.

"I don't think that what you are seeing right now should be viewed in isolation. Researchers will tell you that the trends you see in the African-American community really are the precursor to what is going to happen in the general population," says Burt-Murray.

All the more reason to pay attention to what's happening to Black women and men and to understand that their story is not just an African-American story. Far from it.

This is an American story deserving everyone's concern

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Who says racism is a thing of the past?

It may not be out and out to the degree that it used to be but incidents such as the one sited in the article below only go to show that racism is so ingrained in our society that it can't truly die. How can it? As long as parents and families continue the racist and ignorant thinking at home, nothing we can do outside of the home will terminate racisim. As the article shows, it such a part of who some people are, even if subconsciously, that we don't even recognize the behavior.

Racist Halloween incident may have repercussions for Myers, ICE

By Christine Cave
cyberFEDS® Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Federal employees and managers must remember they represent the government at all times -- even when having fun at an office party.

Julie Myers, President Bush's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, may have put her Senate confirmation in jeopardy after she participated in a three-judge panel that awarded the agency's most original Halloween costume to a white employee who darkened his complexion with makeup and dressed up in dreadlocks and a striped prison uniform. Myers also posed for a photo with the costumed employee.

The costume drew fire from fellow employees as being racially insensitive and could create liability issues for the agency. Myers was recess-appointed by Bush but must be confirmed by the end of the year to retain her post. Although she was confirmed by the Senate Homeland Security Committee by an 8-1 vote in September, some senators are questioning the nomination following the incident.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he had serious concerns about Myers' nomination.

"I plan to consult with the chairmen of the committees with jurisdiction over her nomination," he said at a press conference.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has also objected the to nomination and voted against Myers' confirmation in committee.

But Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, met with Myers on Nov. 5, and discussed the incident, according to a staff member. "Collins has concluded that Myers recognized serious mistakes in judgment, regrets the incident and apologized. Collins believes she has done good job at ICE and is inclined to support her," he said.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rockers Rock

I love this song by Fall Out Boy and the video made me cry (or maybe I'm just too sensitive). Made me wonder about some rock artist- U2, Linkin Park, Sarah McLauchlan, Nickleback, Green Day... Rock artist have a history of making videos to have people pay attention to charitable causes and political issues. Why? Are they simply more creative and since most write their own stuff, they tend to be more aware of what goes on in the world for writing material? And why don't artist of other music genres do this? Well for whatever reasons, I'm glad some artist and celebrities are using their gifts to dig into people's consciousness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Challenge- Rapper's (and R&B) Delight

So no new thing here but thought I'd vent about the state of hip-hop and r&b today. Think I've had enough of the lyrical trash that gets thrown at me on a daily basis. Not only is it unfufilling, it is degrading to a whole gender and race of people. I feel like my parent's now when I hear certain songs and don't even bother to keep up with certain top 40 songs any more. Everything just seems the same- sex/women, drugs/violence, fame/money, rinse and repeat.

Can't we get a little deeper, instead of sex how about love, instead of violence how about other issues facing our community (education, disease, politics), instead of money how about something random? I find myself falling more in favor with neo soul and rock out of the sheer need to feel something different and I don't know be able to think about my lyrics. Sometimes I wish the old days of music would return (and by old I mean early 90s). I'm talking

  • Sensativity by Ralph Tresvant over Put you to Bed by J Holiday (okay guys we know you can have sex but can you sustain a positive relationship)

  • Mama- Tupac over Duffle bag boy by Lil Wayne (since when has being little been cute on anything other than pet or a baby?)

  • Self Destruction collaboration over I get Money Collaboration

Of course we have a few artist who think out the box Common, Outkast, Roots, Kaos, Kanye West (yes I said it), Jill Scott, Maxwell (where the hell is he by the way).

Which leads me to vent on my Top Ten Songs that did nothing for Black people and women:

10. Freak- Adina Howard- just how I like men to think of us

9. Body Like a Car- R. Kelly (may get some titles wrong but [shrugs in disconcern])

8.Thong Song- Cisco (did I spell his name wrong- who cares)

7. Back that Thing up- Juvinille (no I will not)

6. Anything by Luke

5.Skeet Skeet (?)- Lil John (disgusting)

4. Rump shaker- Teddy Riley and some other dudes (I think this started the whole down grade)

3. Supaman- by who and cares

2. Put it in your mouth- by I and forgot

And the number one waste of my listening time....

1. Hard Out here for a pimp - Three 6 Mafia (for trying to make us feel bad for criminals and for actually winning an Oscar, here's an extra pimp slap to the Oscar committee for enforcing stereotypes and having them perform on the show).

Any honorable mentions out there?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I didn't know...

That many black women suffer from depression until I read an article on it Essence. We just may have the largest ratio of women in a racial group with depression. This seems plausable becasue the number one drug for women is an antidepressent (and not the pill like i thought). It's just that black women in general aren't "let's go to a shrink and try to work it out" kind of people. We go to the church and if not that keep it inside and keep moving. We have a history of dealing with the blues without any assistance. From the snatching of our children during slavery to the lynching of our men some decades ago to our growing single status as a whole. We just pray and keep it moving. But looking at our statistics and the realities of our communities it makes sense that we would secretly be suffering with the blues. I say secretly because we are so good at hiding it and focusing on taking care of others. We go to work, come home, take care of family(if we have one at home) and sleep. This is not true of all, I try to rail against this. Especially a few years ago when I found myself falling into that pattern and sinking into depression. But I made movements and haven't looked back since. But not many of us do so. We get stuck in our own made up prisons and behave in the ways others expect of us or put up a wall to keep others out. We don't want anyone telling us we have problems...its embarrassing.

I am finding myself thinking of this after recently losing an aunt to a stroke and heart attack that I believe was in part due to depression. She just gave up living life like the outgoing person she used to be and taking care of herself mentaly and physically and her body got the point and quit. I wish I had seen the signs but I didn't see her all the time. I thought she was satisfied with her life, she was always happy and cracking jokes and everyone who met her loved her. I knew she was ailing but thought it was beyond help. But I wonder if she could have gotten assistance for her illnesses to improve how she lived. Could have let go of the vices that were killing her. There were those who knew the truth and tried to intervene but she was so locked up in her prison that she could not hear them to change her ways. And now its too late. I don't blame her but I feel a lost and can't help but believe it could have been avoided. From this, I have learned to pay more attention to people around me. She was happy when we were there and seemed alone when we weren't which aided to her depression. I will also focus on taking control of my life and never letting life happen to me. the best way I can honor her now is to remember her at her best and live my life to the fullest...every day. Hope you do the same.

Monday, November 5, 2007

80/20 Rule

Thanks to Tyler Perry, many of us are now familiar with this bit of sound logic. But in case you didn't see the movie or are familiar with Bishop T.D. Jakes speech on this here's a quick explanation: In love you are never going to find the 100% of what you're looking for in a mate, mostly about 80%. Of course you'll see that left over 20% in others and that may sway your attention because that's the missing portion you've been looking for. However if you leave your 80% for that other you'll only be getting 20% and now in need of 80%! Most people don't think in those terms but it makes so much sense. But of course things are never so black and white. Not many people are just 20%. Qualities will overlap and both could be 80% but some have different traits that you were looking but never all. The key is to be able to figure out what kind of "80 percenter" you are looking for. And will some traits be worth more than others? Putting it all into mathematical terms makes my head hurt and I find it makes finding "the one" a little more analytical. We make mistakes but if focused on this 80-20 rule in love it might help us to make wiser decisions. We just have to slow down and think before we leap. This is something I had to really think about after having a good conversation with some friends. Are there certain qualities that I hold so high which are really 20% qualties and, therefore, ones I can live without? My hope is that if I find an 80%, then the 20% not achieved would be something that wouldn't be a deal breaker because I get so much more. I just need to narrow down what I consider 20%.
I'm also in favor of another rule that I'd like to think I coined called the debt vs. investment scenario in dating. I believe that "the one" is someone that will only make you a better person and help you to a better life (investment). The "not the one" is someone who makes you worse off than you were without him be it financially, emotionally or physically (debt). For example, a guy that makes you smile and adds a brightness to your day- investment and he should be someone you should keep to pursue a deeper relationship. A guy who is negative, perhaps says mean things to you and affects the way you feel about yourself has only made you worse off and therefore put you in debt emotionally. I try to employ this logic and it has kept me from making some big mistakes and I bet it could work in well with this 80/20 rule. Oh, well, just my thoughts.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Was feeling blue one day

And I wrote this poem. I usually do stories but needed to write something that I could get to the ending a lot sooner than my 250 plus paged tales.

Copyright October 5, 2007


Time goes fast but I move slow
To a destination of nowhere
A circular motion of sameness
Exhaustion of movement but no finish
A constant repetition of the undesirable
A battery of pain that never subsides
All hopes and dreams dissipate like smoke into nothingness
A long forgotten moment
Crushed dreams, last finger slipping form the ledge of a hope-filled reality
Battered heart, body and soul leading to darkness

National Black out day

So I know I'm hardly the first blogger to discuss this but I have to put in my piece.
Tomorrow is national black out day in which Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are calling for Black people to boycott companies that show little interest in black folk. Essentially they would like us not to buy anything tomorrow.
Now I get it, I'm curious to see the statement it would make if most people actually did so, which not to be negative, I'm sure most won't. Let's face it, the majority of what we as consumers get was founded on some form of racism, be it slavery, discrimination in the work place or out right racist thinking. And most of what we get, doesn't come from us, even in markets where we are the biggest consumers (soul food, black hair care). It just got me thinking that most of what we use to function is not from companies fun by Blacks and some really could be. Perhaps if this boycott was better prepared (got people people enough notice to get the things they need so they won't go without on Friday or be tempted to buy) this would be more powerful. But I see the power in this boycott. The next stage to MLK's plan before his assassination was economic freedom. After the physical freedom and then the educational freedom we were then to put those to good use and empower ourselves to make us a force to be reckoned with. Needless to say, that never happened.
And while there are plenty of black entrepreneurs out there making money for themselves through clothing lines, shoes, perfumes and the like, how is that spreading the wealth? How do some other cultures get it done so successfully? I have no answers but until that time, I wish that we as a people would be more intelligent about our spending choices especially to avoid being so predictable (ever notice how now McDonalds is only advertising to Blacks and Latinos now, what does that say about our eating habits as well?). Stop giving our money to things that aren't improving us and start supporting black businesses ( and not meaning businesses that cater to black folks only but all folks and that it just happens to be run by a person of color) and once you have a good thing going, employ other black people who are qualified. Money is power in this country but so are numbers especially when those powerful numbers are going towards a strong goal.
Just my rant for the day...