What’s Really Going On?

Did you know that most schools no longer have Black History programs during school hours? School officials claim it’s taking away from academic learning time? Whet?! Am I the only person that has a problem with that?? Yet, prisons are built based on the 3rd grade reading levels of our Black boys. The stats are showing that if a Black male is falling behind in reading in the third grade, he will most likely not graduate from high school, and he will end up in prison because over 75% of the inmates are high school drop-outs. Now THAT just takes me there, because maybe if they were able to read about things and people and places and experiences that they could relate too, then maybe they wouldn’t be falling behind; BUT that’s another post for another day.

Back to what I was saying,

I remember being excited about Black History Month when I was a kid. I used to be ready to get my poster board and pick out my markers and colored pencils and head over to my Grandma Faye’s house. She was an elementary school teacher, and she used every moment she had with me to teach me something. I grew up with encyclopedias and dictionaries on the book shelf, and going into my dad’s office to find out more information about Mary McLeod Bethune was something that I looked forward too. Not copying and pasting off the internet, but literally doing research each year on the person I chose for Black History Month. That was in the mid 90s, fast forward to 2015. . .What the heck is going on?!

No like for real what is going on?! Our history, who we are, how far we’ve come, is so important. The challenges that our parents and grandparents and great grandparents had to face and overcome is important. All the harsh treatment that they were forced to endure to make sure we could enter a restaurant through the front door, or use a public bathroom, or vote in the elections, or sit in any seat on the bus, or go to college, all of those things are important! But for some reason, so many of us still don’t get it. Especially those of us who are apart of this current generation of “entitlement.” For some crazy reason we think that world owes us something, and that we are doing everybody a favor by merely existing.

Young people, especially those under 25 years old really think that things were always this way. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. probably one of the most famous people in Black History. . .I double dare you to ask a teenager to tell you just 5 things about him. I bet they couldn’t do it. I dare you to ask a teenager to tell you 5 things about our current Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama; I bet they wouldn’t be able to do it. Smh! It’s already bad enough that the television shows that actually shined a positive light on the Black community like “A Different World” and the “Cosby Show” and “Family Matters” and “Fresh Prince” have been replaced with all the guilty pleasure, ratchet reality shows like “Love & Hip Hop” and “Basketball Wives” that only highlight all the negative stereotypes of Black people (fussing, fighting, cursing, sleeping around) in order to boost ratings. And to now learn that Black History programs and projects are being snatched away from our schools. And then to add insult to injury, the Churches are no longer taking the time to do Black History programs. Heck, the parents aren’t even telling our kids about prominent people in history that happened to look like them. What is going on? What happened? When did Black History Month become just another month? When did we get so disconnected from our roots? Who dropped the ball? Where did we go wrong? How can we fix this problem? Look y’all we are suffocating ourselves. We are participating in our own demise. We are so overly consumed with things that don’t even benefit us. We are the biggest consumers, yet we are at the bottom of the chart when it comes to owning our own stuff.

It’s a sad thing that a kid can tell you the exact date that the next pair of J’s is dropping, but can’t tell you when Dr. King’s birthday is.

I’m an optimist, so I honestly believe that there is a solution. I mean, it has to be. This cycle of ignorance has to stop and WE have to break it. Let’s make something happen. Let’s do something. I challenge you to find a young person and take them under your wing. Teach them something new. Ignite their fire. Let them know that they are not just the descendants of slaves, but they are connected to Royalty as well. Began to mentor them. If we all were just to start with one young person and then that person grabs somebody and then the next person grabs somebody, then maybe just maybe there is some hope for us. Make a difference in the life of some African-American boy or girl. We scream that we want things to get better. We post on social media that #BlackLivesMatter. Well we have to start being the change that we seek. I believe we can breathe again. We can get better. We can turn things around for our people. We can make a difference in our communities, in our states. We can change the world.

~B.

In the words of my Soror, Eunique Jones, Because of Them We CAN!

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Jiggaboo’s Vs. Wannabee’s

Colorism is a practice of discrimination by which those with lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin. In the African-American community, this is traditionally played out via the paper bag test.  In the past, those lighter than the standard paper lunch bag were allowed entry into fraternities, sororities and other realms of black upper class life, while dark-skinned blacks were excluded.  Colorism has become a very serious, emotional and psychological battle among the African-American community.

The Jiggaboo’s vs. The Wannabe’s  is still ringing loud in 2015.  (School Daze)

It’s heartbreaking to me when I think about how much we as a people contribute to our own mistreatment. Things will never get better until we start doing better. Until we stop competing with one another, and begin to love and embrace and support one another. We do more harm to ourselves than any other race ever could ever do. The drama that we put each other through is unnecessary. To some, the battle between Light skinned long hair, Brown skinned short hair, Dark skinned natural hair is petty and non-existent, however to most teenage girls and grown women alike, the stresses of trying to look the part is very overwhelming . . .  and even though some like to say, “it doesn’t really matter because (technically) we’re all still a part of the same race” the battlefield in the minds and the hearts of our little Black girls is real. The media (Music, Television, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube) tells them how to dress, what their bra cup size should be, how small their waist needs to be, and what type of booty would drive a black man wild. Social media is teaching our girls that what you look like is more important than how smart you are. As Beyoncé said, “Pretty Hurts.”

Being a young Black girl in 2015 is difficult. The pressure is real.  That’s why we must take our girls back. We must be the examples. We must be the light. So that means we have to do some self-evaluation, and get ourselves together because our little sisters, nieces, cousins, daughters are depending on us. They need some role models and mentors to look too for guidance.

Let’s start encouraging one another. Let’s start lifting each other up. Let’s love more. Let’s break this destructive cycle. We are the most versatile ethnic group; we come in all shapes, sizes, and shades. God made us special. We are intellectual. We are trendsetters and trailblazers. From music, to the arts, to sports, to food, we are in the spotlight. We are innovative, we are creative, most things that are used every day we invented, we came up with the concept. So let’s use our power and influence to help benefit US, instead of using it to belittle one another. We are strong. We are intelligent. We are beautiful. We are lovers. We are powerful. We can change the world.

~B.

“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst

Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst

We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see

It’s the soul that needs the surgery.”

Selma, The Dream Marches On

Hands down, Selma is probably one of the best movies I have seen. It was moving. It was inspirational. For me, it was a tear jerker. . . I cried quite a few times while viewing this movie. My favorite part was the march from Selma to Montgomery. The story was real. The rush of emotions during the “Night March and the Bloody Sunday” scenes were real.  The silence that was felt in the theater was real. This movie made me proud to be an African American woman, Ava DuVernay, the film’s director made history when she became the first woman of color to be nominated for Best Director for the Golden Globes. It is truly something special when someone that looks like you is recognized for the work that they’ve done. This story needed to be told, and I’m glad she brought it to life. Selma is definitely a movie that I wouldn’t mind paying to see again. It was worth the time and the money. I am so proud of this film, and I’m so thankful for the people that made voting for people of color possible. Films like Selma remind me that, it is JUST THAT SERIOUS. Be aware. Educate yourselves about the candidates. Get informed about the local elections as well as the national ones. Exercise your right to Vote. No Vote, No Voice.  #Selma50

~B.