Category: Black Blogs Matter-2018

WEEK 7: WHAT BLACK PEOPLE BE THINKING

Mane, look.

Black people be thinking a lot!

Like a whole lot!

In my over quarter century of blackness, the continuous theme is, “Damn, can I just live?” Like what is really the issue with letting me and all my magic and melanin live?

There are so many forces that would, should let them, diminish the shine that our blackness gives! From movie theaters, to outdoor events, Spades games and graduations, can we just be allowed to be great? I mean…what is it about this magic and melanin that makes cats so nervous we need coded language and separate categories to describe the power of a group or collective of melaninated people?

As far as these right-wing State Fox News Reports, all black people be thinking is, “Damn! Can I just live?!” With the tea being spilt, sprayed and thrown scolding hot through GET OUT, we see that most people would do anything to be us, but destroy us if their ideal of blackness cannot be achieved.

From lips, to accents, to fashion, to innovation or athleticism, non-POC, want to become people of color only to toss us away like rinds of strange fruit, to quote Jesse Williams.

“Damn, can I just live?!”

-Proverb of unregrettable blackness

Black people be thinking, “You wanna be me until you get to be you. What part of the game is that?!”

How about this. In return for us teaching non-melaninated people the value of style, rhythm, minding your own business and seasonings, y’all tell the other colored people in blue, dressed in their wives’ good sheets, and dressed in the skin suits of US Senators, to stop shooting every black person they see, aight?

Nall?

Then we still can’t breathe and still all we wanna do is live. Can we just do that?

Damn!

WEEK 6: DEFINING INCLUSION, EQUALITY AND EQUITY

Image result for inclusion

 

Racial tension in America has grown and has spiraled out of control in America. With the recent election of our current president, closeted racist trolls have come out of their places of hiding to rear their ugly heads not only behind screens of overpriced electronics, but in our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, and yes, even in our places of worship! Oh, and by the way in some of our families as well.

Inclusion, equality, and equity in my opinion are words that we tend to use in our everyday language to impress people, and to show how liberal and progressive we are rather it’s political or religiously. They have become words that we just throw around, words like “diversity” or “welcoming”, but, we honestly have no idea what we truly mean when we use these words.

Since I’m currently a seminary student and in ministry, I would like to look at these three words: inclusion, equality and equity from the context of Christianity and the relationship that they have with the local church. According to the dictionary, inclusion is the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure. To be connected to a local church, or most importantly to say that you are a Christian who says they believe in inclusion, but does refuses to open your heart or even the doors of your church to people within the LBTQIA+ community, refuses to take care of widows, orphans, to welcome the immigrant, or speaks hatred towards a person because of their race, I would say you are not an inclusive Christian. I would go deeper to say that you are simply not an inclusive person. To be inclusive is to welcome people as they are without any motive. For people to come into your spaces, whatever those spaces maybe, just as they are without fear of being ridiculed or being asked to change who they are to make you feel comfortable.

Equality is basically everything being equal, and everyone being entitled to the same rights and opportunities. We live in a nation, where we claim everything is equal, but sadly, as an African American male who daily has to walk around in my black body, I would beg to differ. Equality has not been attainable for African American men, for immigrants, for women and for countless others who are forced to live on the margins of society. Therefore, social justice work is so important.

Whether you are on the frontlines of a protest, making phone calls to politicians, making your voice heard on social media outlines, or even preaching social justice from behind the pulpit, a person’s work in the fight for justice and equality to ensure that all people have an equal slide of rights and opportunities in important. Do not allow a person to tell you your work is not as important as their work. There is plenty to go around!

Equity is simply being fair. In our nation, our minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and in Missouri where I live, it is $7.70 per hour. The higher ups who make the rules expect every day, hardworking people to live off these meager wages, when the average cost of everything continues to go up! That’s not far. That’s not being equitable to people who just want to go to work and take care of themselves and their families.

It has been researched that employers overlook qualified candidates for job opportunities just because of how “ethnic sounding” their names are. “Jabari Coleman” who graduated top of his class in high school and has a college degree can and my get overlooked for a job interview, but “Mark Thomlinson” who may have graduated high school, but dropped out of college gets called in for a job interview, and more than likely for the same job that “Jabari” applied for. How is that fair?

Inclusion, equality and equity, words that we all need to seriously take a look at ourselves and how we look at others within the different context of life that we serve in, and see if we are truly living those in action and in deed.

by Phillip A. Harris, Guest Firestarter

WEEK 4: PASSING OPPORCOONITIES

There is something to be said for knowing your own worth. There is something to be said about being wise about what you do, where you are, and what opportunities you take. In the pursuit of doing better, hustling towards goals, especially as a person of color, you have to be on the look out for opportunities that promise more than which will ever deliver, which exploit your talent, time and career desires or expertise. These are opporcoonities.

Opporcoonities will ask you two questions:

What do you want?

What will you give up to get it?

In considering what is an opportunity and what is an opporcoonity, you must weigh what it is you are being asked to do–and how much of you will be required to do it. Case in point, the Queen Coon herself, Omarosa.  For all her wit and ability, her passions are many but have become all but dust! In evaluating these new situations, there will be a group of people which you can beseech wisdom from whom have no other motive but to tell you the truth.

In this case, Omarosa said she had people telling her the decisions she was making were detrimental and exploitive. She wanted power and to be known–from that she gave up the benefit of wisdom.

Opporcoonities will always require more than you realize, because its dressed up in packages meant to distract. The position always comes with more money and less control, the record deal comes with censoring of artistic licensure and long hours for no money your talent garners and is owed.

It comes as it did for the ancestors…just one more thing and you will be free. One more year. Give me your body one more time. Just give up a little more of you, and it’ll be fine.

Money will make it better.

The prestige will make it better.

You must be willing to make your own opportunities, being able to see past the packaging of things which come only to break all you are. Opportunities come to allow you to grow, to shape and push you to where you must go–and you determine that trajectory. Opporcoonities put stipulations on your growth, snatch back when you mess up, are unforgiving and push you towards what the situation presents–there are always hidden strings.

Don’t be so thirsty for the next new thing that you forget what matters to you, what you want, what you desire and if those opportunities only come to steal, kill and destroy and you accept the terms full on?

Well, that means you can enjoy your caramel cake where Omarosa does…coons normally roll in packs, so I’m sure you’ll find her–along with the dry cake.

WEEK 3: THE TAO OF WOKE

Being woke is the trendsetting thing when cameras are watching, or there is a hashtag to be shared to increase a social media following. However the reason to be woke is two-fold:

1.) To be aware, actively engaged in the world around you.

2.) Acknowledging the world around you, if left in the state it is in, will devour you, all you hold dear,  and smile while doing it.

What is seen now is a rush to acknowledge, affirm and change everything that is perceived to be a hindrance towards marginalized people. In this rush towards change, and changing, I am reminded of a quote from a favorite movie with Keanu Reeves, Constantine:

“If you do this, you can’t go back. If you see them, they can see you.”

So it is with being woke. Once you decide the world outside your sphere, your family or car doors is not how it should be, you can never unsee these things. You will begin to examine slights, arguments or disputes where your ethnicity or race may have been a factor, with a vision unlike anything before. And because you now see it, you must something.

In being woke, you acknowledge you must do something about the world you are forced to engage in on a daily basis. In being woke, you admit that you can no longer feign ignorance or apathy about the things by which affect you or those around you. You see it.

As a shero in the St. Louis area said on one of her Facebook post in regards to being woke, and activism work, “There’s more than enough work to do.”

The question is, are you too busy being woke to do it or are woke enough to realize what is being done?