Often, an individual or group will act out at a business or location. They may do anything from what we would consider as terribly offensive to maliciously criminal. My question is, at what point to do we hold a person or group responsible versus the location? We are asked to boycott Waffle House, Walmart, Starbucks, Target American Airlines, and the list goes on. But, based on the justification for these boycotts, we should be boycotting the whole United States. Where can you go and not be subject to racism? If we have an emergency, should we not call the police? Should all black students leave Syracuse and all campuses that have had any racist incidents? And also, are we ok with receiving the same treatment? Every group has some knuckleheads. Including people of color. Although we are overwhelmingly subjected to unfair and unjust treatment. There are some bad apples. Are we saying that it is okay to label all black people the same based on the actions of those that are making poor choices? This is where my heart and mind collide. My heart hurts whenever I see another killing of an unarmed black civilian, I am saddened by the overt suppression of our black youth. I am even angered at the stories that appear time after time that validate the insensitive and demeaning treatment of people of color. So, I get it. Don’t support businesses that don’t have policies that enforce fair treatment. Don’t buy from brands that mock certain cultures or devalue a group’s heritage. But, where is the gray area. Or, is there one?
First of all, as a people, we can rarely unite long enough to create a significant impact. We tend to rally through marching and standing in protest. Which has some merit, but doesn’t seem to generate long term change. It kind of just let’s people know we aren’t happy. And then the next incident occurs and we march and protest again. And then the next incident occurs and we march and protest again. So, we keep the needle on the broken record.
How do we decide who is accountable for racism? How do some businesses or institutions get a pass and others don’t? I didn’t get the memo. What are the rules? What some strategies we could employ to put a dent in the deliberate acts of racism targeted at people of color? It is okay to be heard, but we need to be healed. Now, here is where some of us will part ways in our thinking. I cannot respond with hate. It just isn’t in me. I can’t target a random person and judge them or stereotype them based on the actions of other individuals or even a group of individuals… no matter how big that group is. Am I denouncing that there is white privilege? Of course not. Should I hate white people because they have this privilege? I find it hard. The first formal protest against slavery were held by the Quakers... white folks. The safe houses along the underground railroad were held by white people as black people couldn't own property at the time. While at the same time, you had the Klu Klux Klan and lynchings. We have come a long way, but not far enough. A lot is still so close to the same, it would be hard to differentiate the era. So, who is the blame when things stay the same?
Don’t let technical jargon and opaque terms shadow the truth. There is an idea floating around that Project GRAD does not improve graduation rates. There is ABSOLUTELY no way to determine that. First of all, a legitimate study done with a control group is not possible as there are no schools in the Knox County School district with a control group of students to compare to Austin-East and Fulton. Some have gone as far to believe that a student of color or an economically disadvantaged student in Farragut, Hardin Valley or any other school are the same and get served the same. SERIOUSLY??? #FakeNews
First of all, if you are going to make decisions in the best interest of all students, then research should be done to know how to serve ALL students. Has anybody bothered to understand the challenges and impact of concentrated poverty. All students cannot be served the same because they are not the same. It is not about equality, it is about equity. Equality is about giving everybody the same thing while equity is about giving everyone what they need. Concentrated poverty has an impact on student outcomes, so does high teacher turnover, number of cumulative teacher years in a building, constant and consistent administrative changes, curriculum without variety and exploration, number of AP and dual enrollment classes, school esteem and on and on and on.
To really explain it, think about the sun. The sun shines with all its power every day. However, some days are cooler than others due to environmental factors. Clouds (high teacher turnover), winds (lack of resources), precipitation (curriculum) and other weather terminology that impacts climate and temperature. Yet regardless, the sun still shines.
There is no way to say Project GRAD did not improve graduation rates because if it is 78%, whose to know if it wouldn’t have been 70%?
Also, there is not a valid control group that can be used to research and defend a claim that Project GRAD does not impact the schools it serves.
I would say, "you do the math", but there are no legit calculations to be made.
We are too smart to be blinded by a little dust thrown in our eyes.
However, there are some things we can say about Project GRAD...
With motive comes movement. When you know your why, you aspire for achievement. Project GRAD gives students motive and helps them find their why. This is in addition to interventions, social, emotional and behavior supports, incentives and intellectual experiences.
All that being said, base your conclusions on valid reasoning. Don’t let people throw dust in your eyes. Project GRAD is to legit to quit!
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
Those of us that desire to spread love through the hearts of the community and the world, may need to employ the same techniques as those who have mastered how to brainwash narrow minds to hate.
So first, let’s define hate and tackle why people hate. The dictionary definition of hate is intense or passionate dislike or extreme emotional dislike. What drives people to this level of emotion? Most sensibly, if you or someone you love is severely harmed, that pain and disdain can manifest into hatred. However, we also know that love, humanity and compassion can override or at least subdue those feelings of hate so that we don’t fight hate with hate. There are no winners when we do that. Then there is hatred that exists and makes absolutely no sense. I would think that an intelligent mind would understand that, but realistically even those that are educated and have sane minds fall into the trap of adopting a mindset that allows them to accept hate. Now, if you call them out on it, they don’t define it as such. Hence, part of the problem.
Hate can be generated out of fear, jealousy, bigotry, low self-esteem, helplessness, hopelessness or anger. Ahhhh, now we are getting somewhere. If we know what causes hate, then we need to eliminate those things. There is a bigger element of hate that is passed down through generations, cultures or communities. It may have been triggered as previously described and then taught. In this case, we have to suffocate hate with something equally or more powerful. I suggest that power is love.
No misunderstanding, hate is taught. Additionally, hate breeds hate. It is taught directly or indirectly through consistent exposures to hateful teachings or acts or consistent experiences. It is like those of us who have accepted religion or cultural routines because that is what we have been taught and it is what we have experienced. In general, these things aren’t harmful so we adopt the policy of “to each his own”.
What we do know however, is that hate is harmful. Hate causes people to suppress others. It causes people to kill and ridicule and eliminate. It causes people to blindly accept ideas grounded in prejudices and idiotic theories. Then, often, the hated become the haters. This creates the cycle. Society suffers through the crops grown from hate. These weeds include diminishing the value of life, suppressing opportunities of a people and extinguishing hope. When hate is the foundation of policy, it becomes dangerous. The rise in hate crimes is concerning. Hateful acts are described as deliberate infliction of cruelty with a purpose to cause suffering. http://www.overcominghateportal.org/hate-as-an-act.html
We are not born to hate although, we may have been born in it. With all that being said, what do we do? What strategies do we put into action? Scientifically, hate emerges similarly to love which brings me to belief that if we counteract the causes of hate with reasons that make us love, we may be able to change some things. As a side note, it is a pretty common belief that the church teaches love and it should, but you can’t teach love and judge at the same time. I’ll sit that right there for another day. Back to strategies... be tolerant of differences without being tolerant of those in your circle that exhibit hate. If you are my friend and your friend hurts me or hates me just because…. and you don’t call them out on it, you are not my friend. It’s been said many times, if you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. To be a part of the solution try being kind for no reason, accepting individual differences without judgement, being charitable, seeking to understand before being understood and embracing the value of each individual as equal. This seems like a pretty good recipe to me. I am committing to these things and I commit to model these things. I am one, but there is power in many. Who will join in the commitment to suffocate hate with the air of love? If you want to be counted in, please make one statement in the comment section of your intent. #talkwitht
I know that people use social media for a variety of purposes and primarily, that is their choice. So, the following obviously just reflects my opinions. Social media is for social engagement, social entertainment, networking, promotions and keeping up with friends and family. Social media can be fun and funny. I often turn to social media for a good laugh or inspiration. Social media is not for glorifying violence or hatred. It can inform, but not reform. It should debunk, but not derail.
I see people posting the most inappropriate things, they openly argue with someone and a part of me says to each his own. But, I do think it is disrespectful to post pictures or posts that announces a loss in someone’s family that is not your own. Sometimes Facebook puts out the news before there has been time to contact the family. It is an awful thing to learn about a family tragedy on Facebook.
And then, people post offensive pictures and such. That is just messy. Sometimes posts are just nasty and vulgar. But like I said, if you are okay with the whole world knowing that part of your taste, then so be it. You have to remember that your social media posts are a reflection of your character. People have been fired over their social media posts. People have lost scholarships over their posts. Was it really worth it?
While I'm venting, I have another suggestion, please consider using words you know. Don’t try to acquire an unfamiliar vocabulary to try and sound intelligent. Just be yourself and keep it simple. Also, check the dates of your news stories and make sure you aren't contributing to spreading gossip and rumors found on satire sites. I'm going out on a limb here, but there are a lot of people that seem real thirsty for attention. I just hope you are getting the right kind and not more than you bargained for. I encourage you not to seek validation from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler or any other cyberspace celebrity club.
Finally, I am not ashamed to profess my faith as a Christian. I sometimes read and share inspirational posts and I would like to believe my life and character align with things I share. I see people that are one way in the streets and reinvent themselves on social media. Or, one minute they are telling me to hit "like" so that I will be blessed by God and the next minute, they are posting profane pictures or posts. Or, pictures of them turnt up when they should be worried about being burnt up for being so shamelessly blasphemous. How are you going to guide me to heaven's gates while you are sitting on Hell's porch.
Our teenagers are apparently bored in spite of this ever stimulating world created through immediacy and technology. We have entertainment, music, movies and games instantly at our fingertips. We can research and explore a world we never had access to at the click of a button, namely Google. We can use voice activation and virtual reality glasses while controlling our world by remote control. Yet, with all of this, teens still seem to be bored.
Their idea of stimulation and fun seem foreign to those of us a little more seasoned. As we delight in the accessibility of information, databases and the use of technology for efficiency and creativity. Many of today's youth are using social media as thumb thugs and keyboard killers to bully, threaten, harrass, posts fights, vulgarities, and other inappropriate content not realizing they are leaving their footprints in the great technology cloud which can follow them as they approach their futures and look for jobs or other opportunities. This past week, officers across the country had to respond to multiple teenage mall fights. At least 15 fights in shopping centers and malls were reported. One report in Fort Worth said that a fight had broken out in the food court of Hulen Mall and that 200 teenagers were running, screaming and fighting. There was another fight at an upscale mall called Beachwood Place in which it was reported that around 500 people were involved. There was a Law enforcement suspects that many of these fights were somewhat organized on social media.
What have we done to encourage or discourage this behavior in our youth? When did "two to the head and one to the body" become a cheer? This is a growing and dangerous activity that can lead to serious injury or death. Have we failed in teaching non-violent conflict resolution? Have we exposed them to too much violence? Have movies and media made violence attractive? Well, in the real world, it is not cute. It is not funny. It is not charming. It is not entertainment. It is ugly, distasteful, and abhorable. It is our children and we need to start paying attention. in 2014, Suicide and homicide were the second and third leading causes of death, respectively, among teens ages 15 to 19. We don't want to lose our youth to such a tragic trend.
Tanisha Baker, January 2, 2017
So now there is a #noflagginchallenge that encourages people to snatch confederate flags even if on private property. This is utter foolishness. I have to share my following thoughts on this ridiculous activity and the issue of the flag at large. My opinion is that the removal of the confederate flag from public spaces is appropriate because public spaces and places should be considerate and respectful of all citizens. I do NOT, however, agree with infringing on freedom of speech. Whatever I choose to wear on my personal body or have at my home is my business. If you are offended, then you don’t have to engage with me, be in my presence or visit my home.
I remember when I got my first fur coat. People told me to be careful of the animal rights activist. I respect those that chose to fight for the rights of animals and they can march, boycott, picket, and put up billboards, commercials or whatever they want to do to promote their cause. What they CAN’T do, is tell me that I can’t wear my coat. And… I dare them to try to take it off of me or damage it. I have a right to express my opinions and I want my voice heard. This ridiculous challenge is bound to get somebody hurt. #iwishyouwould
We have devalued the issue that birthed the controversy of the confederate flag in the first place. We cannot encourage an activity that gives value to the stereotypes we are trying to fight. Let it be known that we collectively do not reside in such a state of mental deficiency. This would make us idiots and I for one am not.
RUN AND TELL THAT!
Same sex marriage is legal in all fifty states. This is a pretty heated issue and an interesting dilemma. I personally do not claim the right to judge or condemn anyone based on race, religion or lifestyle. I was not given that authority. That power is owned by God. James 4:12 " There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy.But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?"
As a Christian, I believe that I am to accept and love my fellow man. That being said, as a Christian, I can't be wishy-washy with the word of God. Leviticus 18: 22 "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." God will judge, not man. I also know there is no greater or lesser sin. For those that are liars, thieves, adulterers and those that covet, kill or hate and decide to condemn those that are homosexual, you are rowing in the same boat of sin. John 8:7 "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." This allows everyone that has never told a lie, stolen, cheated, committed adultery, been jealous, or greedy to pass judgement and penalty. Would all those that fall in this category stand and be recognized... so that I may personally call you a "bald-faced liar"?
So ,the interesting dilemma as I see it, is how to make sure you honor the integrity and truth of God's word in totality. Solution: don't judge or condemn homosexuals, love them while not participating in the act yourself. Don't promote or encourage it just as you wouldn't encourage people to steal or kill. That's how I am going to handle it -
My personal opinions and my personal choice.
Additionally, let it be understood that gay rights are intended to protect a lifestyle, African-American rights protect humans. It is quite perplexing that we have jumped on yet another bandwagon because it is easy. Some people are protesting, commenting and condemning on an issue in which they don't even have a connection. There are many many causes for which we can take a stand. Pick your battles.
We recently celebrated Father's Day. We celebrated the men in our lives that help to raise, mentor and guide our children. To the fathers that have pictures in their wallets where money used to be and know all the words to "If You're Happy and You Know It"...we salute you. Starting with the positive, research shows that more African American fathers live with their children than live apart from them. These dads care for their children as they teach them, play and pray with them and love them. Unfortunately, not every child had a present father to celebrate. No father to cherish a handmade card or yet another tie. Now there are greeting cards that wish mothers a "Happy Father's Day". This acknowledges the number of single mothers that are managing households alone. I applaud and respect the sacrifices and the fortitude of these women. Some say that mothers are playing the role of both mother and father. I dare to argue that is impossible to do that. Although we are well aware that many mothers successfully raise their children, this is not the point of debate. I believe that a mother in fact, cannot play the role of a father. There are certain things that fathers bring to the table that a mother simply can't model. This may be a little controversial, but if the absence of a father made no difference, the statistics for children that grow up without one would not be so disheartening. Let me also go on record as acknowledging that a father does not have to physically be in the home to be involved. I am specifically talking about absent fathers. Additionally, the issue isn’t which parent is most important, an absent mother is just as detrimental.
Many of our black men are displaced from civilian life. In fact, more than one in every six black men ages 24-to-54 are gone because they died young or are locked away in prison. There are only 83 living and not incarcerated black men to every 100 black women. The unavailability of black men yield instability in our homes, communities and lives of our children. This dilemma does not only exist in Black America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America -- one out of every three -- live in biological father-absent homes. Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be impoverished. These facts don't obviously apply to everyone but grounding our conversation in some solid statistics makes sense. Research shows that the love or rejection of mothers or fathers equally affects a kid’s behavior, self-esteem and emotional health. Kids with more involved fathers tend to exhibit lower levels of behavior problems. They are also less likely to engage in delinquency or substance abuse. There is also a link to academic performance and reduced risk to incarceration. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
T's Top Three
1. The impact of Fatherlessness is real and important to acknowledge as we understand the detriment to children that grow up without their father or a father figure
2. As a community we should facilitate more opportunities for positive male role models to mentor and engage with our youth. These role models don’t have to bare a fancy title. They just need to be dependable and respectable citizens.
3. A Woman cannot assume the influence of a man therefore a mother cannot be the father. She can be a great mother, but in no way can she teach her son how to be a man nor can she teach her daughter the unconditional love of a man.
First, let me start be saying I along with many Americans feel deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy that took place on June 17th at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine lives were lost to racism and hate. The perpetrator of this horrific crime was captured without incident. Of Course he was apprehended without incident... just like James Holmes that killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater or Julia Shields that went on a shooting rampage in Chattanooga. There are many similar stories that prove disparities as it relates to apprehending suspects. Two Idaho men were taken into custody after shooting up a Walmart with a BB gun. Both were intoxicated. They walked into the Post Falls Walmart and proceeded to remove BB guns from boxes, before loading one and firing it four times while in the store. Walmart security contacted police, saying the two men “started shooting the gun in the store and made comments that they were going to shoot the store up.” According to one Walmart employee, the drunken men approached him and asked if he wanted to join them in their shooting spree. They, unlike John Crawford (killed for playing with a toy gun picked up in the store) are still alive. This is evidence of the difference in perceptions when it comes to African Americans...particularly our children. Trayvon Martin was called a thug and Dylan Roof is identified as mentally ill. It goes without saying that anyone that is prejudiced is mentally ill. We are used to living among the "mentally ill", but it can't be an excuse for a premeditated massacre.
In my heart, I don't believe that all police are malicious and corrupt. I know there are many that are being judged by the company they keep and what seems to be a growing culture among law enforcement. I personally refuse to misjudge or criticize an individual because he or she is in law enforcement. I can however, criticize a growing standard of acceptance of police misconduct. When similar things happen over and over, we recognize them as a pattern. As a mathematician, I consider patterns to create formulas or rules. Rules formulate a culture. Therefore, we live in a culture or society in which police brutality targets young African Americans often without penalty. This isn't a new society, but one that has tried to hide under the shadows of the tree of racism rooted in this country. We can't kill the tree unless we attach the roots. The fight isn't over. Many became comfortable and complacent as long as they could ignore the ills of the world. Well, it is hard to ignore now. So what shall we do? Not just African Americans, but all Americans that have intelligence and a heart. There is power in numbers and economics. Let's figure out how to unite and force a change. A change that allows room for redemption and avoidance of arrest if you get loud, walk on the wrong side of the street, buy skittles, or raid a swim party.
There is a lot of conversation around the “plight” of being young and black in America. I may as well put in my two cents of sense. Let me start by sharing some information and debunking some myths when it comes to our young men of color. Although African American males are overrepresented in our penal system, research reveals that there are actually more African American males in college than in jail among the comparative age group. Many of these young men are accomplishing great things and stunning the statistics. They are conquering challenges as college graduates, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, doctors, politicians and educators.
Although many are avoiding the school-to-prison pipeline, unfortunately, on a national level, African American male students in grades k-12 are 2 ½ times as likely to be suspended as their white peers. The process of steering kids toward juvenile and criminal justice systems through disparities in suspensions, expulsions and arrests is disproportionate and interrupts equitable educational opportunities.
So once again, this becomes personal when I think of my black son. When I think of someone demeaning him, threatening him or harming him physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually I leave my space of being polite and professional. I forget that I am refined, reserved and dignified.
I go there!
It is like an out-of-body experience when I go in to my “Momma Bear” mode. The pain of having to explain the word “nigger” and why he got reprimanded for doing the same thing done by his white classmate whom received no consequence. It angers me to have to constantly push him to be better than good to get the same opportunities as others that are less than good. Let me be clear, I am not happy and a bit disgruntled. How long can anger be bottled before the lid blows off? How much pain is bearable before you self-medicate?
Now I ponder a few questions. How will we ever know the possibilities of our youth if they are killed or locked up before they mature into their full potential? How much proof is needed to prove worthiness of equal rights and equal opportunity? So what do we tell our young men? Do they need to be constantly aware of perceptions and biases? Do they need to try and dress, talk, and behave in a manner that will diminish suspicions about their character and their worth? Do they need to be conditioned to make others less afraid of them? More importantly than any of those questions is what is that we need to do as a community to support, encourage, protect, strengthen, and restore our young men? In the words of Billie Holiday, there is a strange and bitter crop.
Three points to consider:
1. Racial profiling, stereotypes and misjudgments block the country from truly knowing the value, potential and greatness of our young men of color
2. While we are busy telling our young men what they need to do, we need to take time and listen to them. Successful young men can share wisdom to guide the success of their peers. Our young men need us to believe in them regardless, support them regardless and love them regardless.
3. While we are looking to change the negative impressions on young men of color and trying to teach them to be positive, productive, and powerful, we can’t forget to celebrate the many of them that are already on the right track and doing the right things. We can’t leave those that are achieving and beating the statistics to remain in the shadows of our conversations
I am well aware that ALL lives matter, but the fact is as an African American with an African American son, I have to pay particular attention to the value America places on the lives of people of color. I am unapologetic about my concerns, my worries and at times my outrage. The frequent occurrence of police misconduct and brutality that seems to often to target African Americans is disturbing and heartbreaking. When I think of the possibility of a diminished quality of life handed to Black youth, I become sad...then mad.
and.... I CAN'T BREATHE!
There is a lot of research and fact searching around the accuracy of the data that depicts an almost calculated assault of men of color at the hands of law enforcement, but at the end of the pile of papers and dismantled databases is the fact that black deaths are disproportionate in comparison to their white peers. I have read the articles and studied the charts. I have cross-referenced and calculated all the data I could handle before my eyes grew weary and teary. My son and all sons deserve fair treatment, fair opportunity, fair access and fair judgement. All citizens should have equivalent value and should matter equally in treatment, dignity and significance.
How is that police and citizen misconduct that often leads to death can continuously and consistently go on without accountability or acknowledgement of wrongdoing? Is there a collective mindset that allows this to keep happening? Is there a secret society that protects the wrongs of those that violate human rights? Any way you look at it, through the eyes of any race, religion or economic status, the facts and patterns of behaviors that are unjust, unethical, immoral, corrupt, indecent and vicious are glaring and apparent.
Let's talk about it...