Sunday, July 27, 2014

DO YOU SHIFT?

        What is Shifting? According to Dictionary.com, Shifting means, "To put (something) aside and replace it by another or others; change or exchange". As black people, we are often guilty of Shifting when it comes to our personal and/or professional lives. There's a book called Shifting, written by, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, I highly recommend it.

        Do you ever feel that you have to leave your true self at the door to placate white colleagues? Do you downplay your abilities for fear of outshining Black men? Do you speak one way in the office, another way to your girlfriends? Is it sometimes a struggle to feel good about how you look--your skin color, your hair, your body size and shape? (Jones and Shorter-Gooden).

        I'll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of Shifting. Although I don't call it shifting, I call it adapting. I adapt to my environment. I speak one way at home, and another in front of strangers. I do this because I feel comfortable enough at home that I don't have to prove I'm intelligent, but in the presence of strangers, I feel as though I am already prejudged based on my looks, so it is in my best interest to speak proper English. Do you often change something about your appearance or attitude to fit in with other people? Is this normal for you?

        The book discusses the long-term effects of Shifting on the mental health of Black people, particularly Black women. It talks about how we make those around us feel comfortable, at the expense of our own happiness. Mentally we are left confused, tired, depressed, and lonely. We are actually putting on masks to hide our true selves. Some could argue that we are living a lie.

        For those of us who Shift, we look at it as a survival tactic. Shift to survive, or face potential rejection from the crowd. Read the book and decide for yourself.

Friday, May 16, 2014

THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO

        I've been meaning to do a blog post on Dr. Carter G. Woodson's book titled, "The Mis-Education of the Negro,". I picked it up about a year ago, and decided to dedicate a blog post on some of the information that is discussed in the book. This book was written in 1933, so the word 'negro' is used in the place of 'black'. In the book, Dr. Woodson talks about the different 'types' of black people, and how we can never truly overcome our struggles unless we try. The 'types' are as follows, the 'mis-educated negro', the 'educated negro', and the 'un-educated negro'. Dr. Woodson also discusses how the current education system in America is set up to output 'mis-educated negroes' (“The so-called modern education, with all its defects, however, does others so much more good than it does the Negro, because it has been worked out in conformity to the needs of those who have enslaved and oppressed weaker peoples,”). If you can, please go out and get this book, because the knowledge it contains is nothing but the truth, even after 70 years later.

The Mis-Educated Negro
 
        According to Dr. Woodson, the Mis-Educated negro has been taught to essentially turn their back on their people. They are educated, but have been misinformed. They are taught to disassociate themselves with black people who they believe are 'un-educated' and of lower class. They are told to assimilate themselves into white culture in order to be considered accepted. We as black people are taught to hate ourselves, and where we come from.
“If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race. Such an effort would upset the program of the oppressor in Africa and America. Play up before the Negro, then, his crimes and shortcomings. Let him learn to admire the Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin and the Teuton. Lead the Negro to detest the man of African blood--to hate himself.” 
Dr. Woodson also explains how controlling the way someone thinks, leads them to believe they are inferior. 
“If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”  
 
The Educated Negro
 
        The Educated negro is a black person who is educated about their roots, and acknowledges his people. They know the importance of self learning as well.
“Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: 'that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that which constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.”
The Educated negro is known for doing the opposite of what they were taught. They know where they came from, and where they are going.
“At this moment, then, the Negroes must begin to do the very thing which they have been taught that they cannot do.” 
 
The Un-Educated Negro
        The Un-Educated negro is a black person who does not know about where they came from and why things are the way they are. These are the black people that are often referred to as ghetto.
        “If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto. ” 
The Un-Educated negroes do not strive to better themselves, and continue to fall victim to a system that intentionally sets them up to fail.  
 
Here are some more quotes from the book, "The Mis-Education of the Negro"
 
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”  
 
“The so-called modern education, with all its defects, however, does others so much more good than it does the Negro, because it has been worked out in conformity to the needs of those who have enslaved and oppressed weaker peoples.”  
 
“The present system under the control of the whites trains the Negro to be white and at the same time convinces him of the impropriety or the impossibility of his becoming white... the Negros will have no outlet but to go down a blind alley, if the sort of education which they are now receiving is to enable them to find the way out of their present difficulties.” 
 
 “It may be well to repeat here the saying that old men talk of what they have done, young men of what they are doing, and fools of what they expect to do. The Negro race has a rather large share of the last mentioned class.”  
 
“The mere imparting of information is not education. ”
 
 
Again, please go out and get this book!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

"I'M NOT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN, I'M BLACK" (PART 2)

    Reasons why Africans feel like that can't get along with Blacks

    An African's point of view: One, Africans see the media reports on Black people getting in trouble with the law, refusing to get a job, not taking care of their kids, having attitudes, etc., and form conclusions on how the majority of black people are. They see Black people as lazy and often wonder why they don't take advantage of the education and opportunities this country has to offer. Two, most of the time, when an Africa person immigrates to the U.S. he/she is most likely made fun of immediately by a Black person. Some Black people also make fun of each other and this another after effect of slavery believe it or not. (I'll discuss that later). Africans often do not feel welcomed by their distant family members (Blacks) when they come to America.

    Another reason is that Africans aren't educated on what blacks went through in America. Unless they live in South Africa, they are most likely exposed to racism. Maybe colorism, but not racism. It is not apart of the curriculum in African schools to learn about Black history, and why should they if it doesn't affect them? They learn about what's going on in their own country. Ironic how the system is set up so that we don't even get to properly learn about each other and much we are actually alike isn't it?

    Instead of thinking of each other as "Blacks" and "Africans", why not think of each other as distant relatives. A quote by Maya Angelou says, "If you will have a person enslaved, the first thing you must do is convince yourself that the person is subhuman. The second thing you have to do is convince your allies so you'll have some help, and the third and probably unkindest cut of all is to convince that person that he or she is subhuman and deserves it." This is why happened to blacks when they were separated from their African relatives, only to be reunited years centuries later and not even be able to recognize each other. Just remember we all have the same blood running through our veins. That's what unites us.

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mayaangelo
Please read these collection of tweets by @Luvvie on her website www.awesomelyluvvie.com. She describes the situation from her point of view as a Nigerian.

"I'M NOT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN, I'M BLACK" (PART 1)

    Hello everyone, I apologize for the long hiatus, school work has been occupying much of my time. I decided to do this blog post on the relationship between Blacks and Africans. I have noticed how rocky this relationship is, and I was interested in doing more research on it. So why is the relationship between Blacks and Africans so turbulent? I have come up with a few reasons based on the research that I did.

    A black person's point of view: One, we tend to group everyone that it from the continent of Africa altogether. We forget that their are many different countries that make up the actual continent. That's like grouping every state apart of America together and saying all Americans are country hillbillies. That wouldn't make sense to the people who live in the suburbs and the city. Two, we see the "feed the children" commercials from Africa at 3 o'clock in the morning and video footage of women and children starving and we begin to believe that the entire continent of Africa is poor and in need of help. Not once does it come to mind that actual kings reside on the same land. Three, even in school, we view people from Africa as "wild animals" who live with actual animals in their backyard. Isn't it ironic how we are taught to believe Africans are wild and untamed just like the Europeans thought when they arrived there?  Also in school, the way they taught us about the history of Egypt, it was almost as if they were purposely teaching it in a way that did not make it apart of Africa. At least that's how I viewed it. They never told us that much of the ideas of the Greek and Roman empires were from Africa, or that Cleopatra actually had some color. (That's going off topic so we'll save it for another day, but trust, we will talk about it).

    A lot of times Black people make fun of Africans for the way they dress, and the accent they speak with. Is it the result of a deep rooted jealousy towards them because they have a culture and we don't? Think about it, we as black people don't have much of a culture or anything to unite us. It is nearly impossible to trace our family line directly back to Africa, and we don't have a country to go back to. We came from Africa about 400 years ago, so any kind of customs, languages, or culture we brought with us is gone. This is why Black people do not like to be referred to as African-american. We don't know much about the culture.

    Another reason the relationship between Blacks and Africans is so tumultuous is because, we don't feel like Africans can relate to the struggles we went through for about 400 years. Slavery is over, but we are still feeling the after effects and continuing to fall victim to mental slavery (I'll save that for another blog post). We are essentially suffering from PTSD. Many countries in Africa, except the ones in South Africa, have not gone through racism because they are the majority and the default. To add to this, Blacks may also feel resentment towards Africans because of being sold into slavery by their own people in the first place. Remember, some were kidnapped, and some were sold into slavery. Stay tuned for part 2.    

Friday, January 17, 2014

THE POWER OF A THOUGHT

        I wanted to start off the new year with something positive, so I'm going to talk about the power of thoughts, and how they influence your life. I will continue to do blog posts on colorism topics this year, as well as posts that are meant to teach, help, and uplift others. I hope everyone is having a great new year!

        I don't think that many people stop to think about how powerful a single thought can be. A single thought can manifest itself into hypotheses and theories, or even physical objects. What I mean by physical objects is that, every invention started with a thought. How you think translates into what you say, and how you act. This is why I always say, "Watch your thoughts". Your thoughts, whether positive or negative cam also have an effect on your emotional health. Please watch this sermon that Bishop T.D. Jakes did on the power of your thoughts.

Make it a point to watch your thoughts this year, and don't let anyone influence the way you think. Have a good new year.

Friday, November 29, 2013

NOTHING JUST HAPPENS

        Sometimes things in our life happen that unfortunately leave us feeling confused, heartbroken, empty, irritated, and angry with GOD. Sometimes, out of nowhere, all hell breaks lose, and we are left hurt and confused. We begin to question GOD, and his true purpose for us. Why me? Why now? If this sounds like you, keep reading.
        

         I was watching a Bishop T.D. Jakes sermon, and he discussed how nothing is ever a coincidence, and how everything happens for a reason. He also explained how pain is a strange thing. It can bring the two most unlikely people together. It doesn't discriminate against race, color, sex etc. We feel a certain connection with people who can begin to understand the pain that we feel. We can relate to what they're going through. GOD can do more through our failures than our successes. He talked about how you have to chose who you fellowship with. If you haven't experienced the pain of loss, death, or misfortune, they can't relate to you. We feel the need to reason with our pain, because if it makes sense, we feel okay about not going through it for nothing. Please watch the video below. Even if you can't watch the whole thing, just listen to the first few minutes. You need to know that NOTHING JUST HAPPENS, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!!!






Thursday, October 10, 2013

What is the Downfall of a Black Woman? (Part 2)

        The first crab exhibited signs of jealousy. She was jealous and envious of the other crab because of what she felt she lacked, so she began to criticize. Black women do this to each other all the time and I can't stand it. Remember when Gold medalist, Gabby Douglas was put under the radar during the 2012 Olympics for something as stupid and irrelevant as her hair? Can you guess who the first person was to criticize her? Her own people. No other race mentioned her hair but her own. Not only did she have to deal opinions and criticisms from white people, but she also had to endure talk and humiliation from the black community. The real problem was that people saw her achieving so much success that they became jealous and proceeded to find anything wrong with her, even if they had to make something up.

        The second crab was fearful, but didn't know how to express that, so she became angry and hateful towards the others. We as black women need to learn how to be comfortable with being vulnerable. Whether it's with our sister, brothers, cousins, friends, lovers, etc. We don't like to be vulnerable and show emotion because we have a fear of being judged. This is ironic because women are naturally emotional beings. When black women look at each other, they also see what the other can become. If that makes sense. We fear the success of the other because it means we will be left behind, or there will be nothing left for us. This fear turns into hatred and dislike for the other.

        The third crab resented the others because they wouldn't attend to her needs first. Resentment is having bitter feelings for another person because you feel like they did you wrong. There are many reasons why black women are bitter towards each other. It could be because one is at a higher level than the other at work, one has a better education than the other, etc. It could even have something to do with misplaced emotions. We may be angry for a number of other reasons, but decide for some reason to direct it towards each other. When you see black women arguing with each other, accompanied with the 'neck rolling', and 'finger pointing', it is the result of deep-seated  bitter feelings each woman has for the other.

       I was compelled to touch on this topic because I can't stand seeing black women treat each other like trash, when in reality no on else understands us like we do. No one else in the world knows what it's like to be a black woman in America, but a black woman. We hold each other back and push each other down, when we need to lift each other up. If one of us makes it, we need to make it a priority to pull the rest out of the gutter. We walk past each other like we're strangers, even though we look just alike. This has to stop NOW, or we'll end up like the crabs in the story.