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Intergenerational Fight for Social Justice.

@RolandsMartin on @tvonetv was discussing the battle between millennials and elders in the struggle for social justice

There shouldn’t be a battle; what we need is understanding. Millenials need to understand that every situation doesn’t need a shoot now ask questions later mentality. I have said it before and I will say it again, where we go wrong is a lack of a coordinated strategic effort at every level – local, national and international. Protests are the age old way of being noticed, making your voice heard and getting the work out but there needs to be more done. There needs to be a political intervention on a massive scale. We need to call out racists and racist institutions that hold us to a negative standard but we also need to call out our own for contributing to the problem through negative portrayals, blatant objectification and the way in which we relate to each other. As a millennial that has benefitted from the wisdom, foresight, pride and passion of elders, I can honestly say we have relied on them for too long to get things done. They should be respected, consulted and part of the solution however action needs to happen with an agenda of only improving overall outcomes – socially, economically and politically.

Elders need to understand that we have been listening to you talk for too long. I respect the NAACP. I respect the NCNW. I respect Jessie Jackson. I respect Al Sharpton. I respect the Congressional Black Caucus but I often question their impact. We are dealing with the same issues. We are fighting the same battles. We are demanding the same things. WHY??? Wars are timeless unfortunately. But some battles should have been won by now. I love the encouragement of the community and young people doing well, but how are the messages from the many conferences, summits and seminars being delivered to those living the lives steeped in social obscurity that you are discussing. I understand the politically some conversations have to happen out of the public domain but how are you measuring effectiveness? Surely not by impact?

#FergusonOctober we need strategic action from those bold enough to accept the challenge and brash enough to see it through to the end using intellect and targeted movements throughout our communities ~Governance for Black America

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Race

 

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Confronting Racism

shoutingThe Root reported that there has been heavy backlash for Steve Harvey who invited Paula Deen to mentor the 100 young Black men at his mentoring camp.

For those that don’t know Deen is thought to be a racist. Now usually I wouldn’t support our young people being exposed to racists but I can see the value in what he is doing. (Steve has reportedly said he didn’t care what people thought and social media is calling for the parents of the boys to take action.)

The value is in the lessons the could be learned from this; because while the camp is more that likely providing them with great skills they are also in a silo. There is great potential for them to learn:
– how to prove your haters wrong
– coping skills in dealing with people who think little of you
– understanding the view of black people by others
– learning to get something you need or want from someone who wouldn’t otherwise give it to you
– learning to manage opposing views
– confronting Racism or any issue head on instead of running from it
– working with those who may be an enemy

It is possible that good can come from this. But, as always, emotion has driven people to act before understanding. What I would say to the parents is to question:

– what is his rational

– what will the boys possibly get out of this

– what will they learn

– how will they protect the boys from anything that will cause lasting damage

– how are they going to manage conflict and confrontation

– why exactly did he think this was a good idea

– of all the chefs in the world, why this one

…and then make their decision whether or not they want their son(s) to take part. There has to be a reason. Instead of jumping to conclusions and assumption based outrage, ask questions, challenge – the parents have a right to ask so they can protect their children.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Race, The Good Guys, The Social World

 

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Governance for Black America part 2 – National Black Caucus

In a previous post I mentioned a need for representation of the Black community on the local and national political stages.

Establish a national Black Caucus. I know there is a congressional caucus that is looking at the representing the interests of the African American community however, I am proposing an expansion or a separate entity. The remit would be calling our prominent figures that are doing things that are counterproductive to change, prosperity and/or progression within the community. We would manage public relations of national community issues – sending representatives to rally locals and improve media portrayal of the community. We would prepare local political candidates to represent the community and create local caucuses to help them address the issues prevalent in their own communities. It would be a coming together of local and national leaders.

To be more specific I think the remit of the caucus could be:

* making “community call outs” on any prominent figures – local, nationally, or internationally – who are doing or saying things that are counterproductive to change, prosperity and progression.
* manage image of the Black community in the media
* manage community issues before they become national statistics and fodder for stereotyping
* sending consultants to communities to help in times of crisis (public relations, organizing, creating strategic actions plans for change led by local leaders)
* sending consultants to communities where leaders appeal to the caucus for assistance
* training of local community on change management, building community resources, and training local “champions” to manage local political processes
* aiding in ensuring there is equal political representation and policing in communities where Black people dominate the population (to start)
* re establishing town hall meetings as a means of addressing local issues and manage them independently
* building of funds to fund community interventions
– financial drives: possibly local drives to address their own issues
– National drives: appeals to organizations and representation for national crisis fund

As I’ve said, we have all the talent and ability to unite and do better. Having a national voice is part of it but listening to local voices is the bulk of it. Let’s build on what we have to increase what we have.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2014 in Race

 

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Governance for Black America Part 1

In the wake of #ferguson we can all agree that something needs to be done. I think we can all agree that we need to stand in a way we haven’t for many years. We need to take responsibility for what is going on in our communities. We need to do better and there are ideas as to how to do this.

“Black America Needs Its Own President” I wholeheartedly disagree. For years we had something akin to this in the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson but then we are still having the same conversations. We are still reactive and not largely proactive. We are still asking for the same things and making the same demands. We don’t need our own president what we need is to take responsibilities for ourselves and form a coalition to directly address behaviour, policies and practices that are detrimental to the way we are viewed globally and treated locally. They need to be able to directly and assertively lobby for changes that obliterate racial disparities. We need to develop a caucus that goes into our communities where there are issues and organize strategic action that doesn’t include violence or destroying our own communities. We are a people of immense and immeasureable talent and potential. We need representative voices that are not only saying something new but are about REAL action – strategic and targeted that would uplift and empower our communities.

Having one person we look to when things go wrong isn’t the answer. We are a diverse people living in diverse communities all over the country. If we had a caucus where individual leaders from Black communities could come together we can start having the conversations that lead to action plans. We need to address our economic needs and start to build community wealth so we are in a position to help each other instead of relying on others. This is not an impossibility. There is no reason our community shouldn’t be as prosperous as others. It isn’t about amassing wealth as much as it about being able to help our own through crisis. So many have been doing it for so long, meanwhile we are still waiting for our 40 acres. I can’t stand people who continue to perpetuate a myth. We are the only people who rely on our oppressors for progress. Are we serious? This is why we have made progress but have not become leaders and drivers of changes in our communities.

I agree that there needs to be a Black presence to represent our interests but it does not need to come in the form of one person who is on the media stage. It would be more empowering to go into communities and help develop local leaders who can then come to the table to represent their communities. The problems individual communities face are problems our community faces on the whole. There are those who still see our problems as the problem of “Black Americans”, having amassed their own wealth through hard work and dedication and I believe this is what is needed. But we also need to realise that the resources to achieve this are not readily available to everyone and there are communities that are systematically disenfranchised and would benefit from assistance and motivation from their peers in order to see and experience success. We need to help each other out of the trenches and onto the the path of prosperity. There is no reason for us to rely on others to take us out of the shadows; we have everything we need within. It is about having the conversations (new one because quite frankly, there have been apologies for slavery, we need to stop expecting our oppressors to help us progress – i.e. move away from the fairytale of our 40acres and a mule, and we need to wholly understand the impact of racism ourselves) that will lead to strategic plans to impact the world around us so it will change in favor of us. A coalition of communities leaders could do this. Yes they will come with their own agendas and understandably so – they come from varied communities; however, it doesn’t change the fact that there are some issues that are pervasive and need to be addressed. We can balance the two, addressing issues of the Black community as a whole while helping individual communities develop.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Race

 

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I have a responsibility to Black America…

As a Social Worker, I am committed to social justice. However, as I have always been on the frontline doing day to day work with individuals and families, I left political intervention and macro social work to others. I have spent too much time thinking and feeling that someone would come along and help improve the state of Black America. I will not stay silent any longer. We have spent too much time having the same conversations ending with the same list of demands that will never be achieved; and they won’t be achieved because they are unrealistic. As a 33 year old woman of color, I have heard these demands but I am more concerned with creating our system of justice than I am with getting others to amend theirs to suit the needs of my community. The Black community in America needs to:

  • Stop believing anyone owes us anything. If this is true for individuals trying to succeed in a chosen career, why isn’t it true of a community? How many oppressed peoples sit back waiting for their oppressors to correct the system of oppression they created for their own benefit? I am aware that the government promised 40 acres and a mule. I have read that this was passed but subsequently repealed. What I am not clear on is why we continue to expect people who don’t even see us as human beings to honor a promise that was quickly repealed? It gave with one hand and took it back with the other. Have these demands for a repealed “promise” prove productive or prosperous for us? No. What it has done is keep us locked into poverty and a slave mentality. It is no longer a valid argument and we do ourselves no justice trying to change a system built to deny. We need to move on and forward.
  • Stop addressing each other as n***ers or any variation of the word. The argument is that by using it we take the power away from the word. The truth is that argument is a blatant lie. What we’ve done is give others not only permission but license to use that diminutive word without any context to its damaging nature. The truth is, I doubt anyone who uses this word (besides those who aren’t people of color) would feel so confident as to walk away from a Caucasian person using this word. The truth is, if they heard this shouted when they were out on their own in the middle of Mississippi, they wouldn’t bother sticking around for an explanation. As long as the word precedes an attack on my person, either physically or verbally, it is unacceptable. Period. We need to stop using the word and stop accepting it from others. We are better than that.
  • Establish a national Black Caucus. I know there is a congressional caucus that is looking at the representing the interests of the African American community however, I am proposing an expansion or a separate entity. The remit would be calling our prominent figures that are doing things that are counterproductive to change, prosperity and/or progression within the community. We would manage public relations of national community issues – sending representatives to rally locals and improve media portrayal of the community. We would prepare local political candidates to represent the community and create local caucuses to help them address the issues prevalent in their own communities. It would be a coming together of local and national leaders.
  • Stop believing violence is the answer. Stop threatening violence and learn to address community issues with strategic action. Violence and attacks only perpetuate the stereotype that we are “animals” in need of containment and control.
  • Local lobby for fair and appropriate representation in communities where we are the majority. We need to work with our young people to help them understand and get into politics. We need to support our own who want to get into politics. We need to support those with track records of supporting or being involved in initiatives that address local concerns. We need to understand politics and the dynamics of representation on a larger scale.
  • Get our young people involved. We need to get our economists, political science majors, policy makers involved in local government early. Create local internships and fellowships etc so they are talking, strategizing and creating actions plans to move forward locally.
  • Take notes from other communities on building and circulating wealth within the community. We continue to need educating on finance. Not only on the use of money, credit and the like, but also on investments, financial planning, equity and other issues. We need to build up the work ethic and sense of community/communal assistance. We need to own more and to be educated on how to do this so that we hold on to it. We need to know more about possible tax breaks, write offs and rebates for volunteer work, pro-bono work etc.
  • Take responsibility for our own wealth and prosperity. We need to stop relying on “others” to move our community forward on a local level. There are many national programs looking at the bigger picture but we need to empower the “impoverished” so they learn to help themselves. Stop being so comfortable with “others” buying in our neighborhoods when we own nothing. Stop blaming anyone accept ourselves for our lack of progress because in truth we haven’t done all we can do. Start accepting the responsibility to ourselves, to each other and to our communities.
  • Teach and accept social responsibility. We need to help our children and young people with work experience in their own neighborhoods first and foremost, encourage volunteerism from a young age as a means of community building, developing social skills and local pride, and developing employable skills. We need to make local investments in restorative justice and reparations to discourage crime and rebuild what has been broken. We need to, as adults, model this behaviour for our children and volunteer to help each other and each other’s children.
  • Understand that if we want change we have to create it. We can’t depend on our oppressors to help us progress. No one will give us anything we haven’t taken. Discussions are important but only as predecessors to action which will facilitate change.
 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Race

 

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Less Talk About Racism, More Talk About Policy

Less Talk About Racism, More Talk About Policy

I have been thinking the same thing. There needs to be less of the same old conversations and more strategizing and action to make changes – in addition to policy. Many are saying it; now we just need to get together and make it happen.

Social Justice Solutions

I will go out on the limb here and say more talk about racism will do little to change the plight of the good citizens of Ferguson or the poor and middle class in this country in the near term.   What is needed is more talk about policy.  …

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1o68BL3
#Ferguson, #Racism

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Posted by on September 7, 2014 in Race, The Good Guys

 

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Please stop with the “reverse racism” crap

I am going to say this quite clearly. There is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is racism no matter where it is coming from or where it is going. “Reverse” means “the opposite of” and the opposite of racism is what? Think people. I hate hearing this. What makes it even worse is the fact that it is spouted by non-minorities when they think they are trying to help or are exhibiting behaviour they view as showing that they are on our side. It is not reverse racism. In some instances it is racism, blatantly. Not all “Black” people wish to be white. Not all “Black” people value light/fair skin, straight hair or narrow noses. Not all “Black” people like Caucasians. Some of us are happy just as we are. There are just as many “Black” people who do not favour Caucasians as there are Caucasians who don’t favour “Black” people. And don’t misunderstand, any Brown person or person of colour is despised however, there seems to be a particular distaste for the darker shades of brown. The other cultures of people with brown skin are the lesser evils because although they have insular cultures that support themselves, they still allow the pseudo-majority to feel superior (for the most part – of course not everyone fits this mold).

However, there are other times when it isn’t racism at all. It is actually a frustration stemming from a non-ethnic view that you can somehow relate in any way to our experience. As much as we may appreciate your efforts and your contributions to overcoming the struggle, you will never have an anecdotal story that will ever compare to the ingrained and entrenched institutional biases we have to overcome on a daily basis. If you want to help, just be yourself. Empathise with us, absolutely. Try to understand what we go through and be part of the solution, absolutely. But the kindest thing you can do is to recognise that you will never know what it is like to be thought of as beneath everyone no matter how prestigious the schools, no matter how high your grades, no matter how hard you work (but don’t rub it in our faces, we already know it well). You have a privilege that will never be extended to us. You have a standing in the larger societal view that will forgive you for everything you do, always. You hold a status in the world context that means you can experience the world without fear. We hold no such delusions. Unless we are lucky we are not taught to love ourselves from day one. It is something we learn. It is something we can only learn from each other.

Can Caucasians be victims of racism? I would say categorically no because they hold a privilege that allows them to rise above everything. They also hold a majority standing that means they are granted anything. Can you know real racism if you are in the population that benefits from it? I am not sure but I don’t think so.

Can they be victims of racially insensitive comments and stereotypes? Yes, they can. They can, most certainly, be victims of the institution they created. The difference between racism and racial insensitivity, in my mind, is the effects. Racism can keep me from thriving, can cost me my life, can keep me from getting a job, or accessing certain services. Racially insensitive comments and stereotypes may hurt your feelings but that’s about as far as it will go. It seems to be a bit crass, but it is absolutely the truth.

I don’t want you to think I am a racist. I absolutely am not. What I am, is someone who is honest about the world in which I exist and the effects of the things inflicted upon me. I am thought little of by the ruling majority. I am thought little of by other people of color. I am thought little of by my own. And that is just as a “Black” person. As a “Black woman”, I am not even respected, at times, by anyone. I am viewed as an oversexed, glorified mattress and portrayed in the media as though my skin isn’t beautiful (although the products that people of colour have been using for ages to keep our skin so lovely is now being marketed to the ruling majority), as though my hair is something to be hated and drastically changed on a cellular level. I wouldn’t change my skin. I have learned to love my hair and have always loved my curves (even on my nose). I believe everyone, no matter the race should feel the same.

I genuinely feel that all men/women are equal by virtue of the fact that we are all humans. I don’t begrudge anyone their happiness as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the happiness and well-being of others. I believe people have to do what is best for them; that which will allow them to thrive. I enjoy getting to know people, and having friends from a wide range of backgrounds but this will not diminish my love of or respect for “Black” people.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Race

 

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