My Controversial Views on Race- As a Woman of Color.

It’s scary to write about race. Right now everyone wants to hear the perspective of people of color, but they seem to only want to listen to a particular narrative. I don’t share that view point.

My son and “D” were best baby friends. They were together nearly every day. In the bathtub oneday my son looks at D and says,” D you’re brown” D at just three looks at liam a little cowed and says “I know” my son also three says well I’m pink accept when I’m cold then I’m purple” and they continued to play.

We all “See” color even two little mixed boys who happen to be different shades. The fact is: IT SHOULDN’T MATTER! The people who get this I appreciate so much. The people who go out of their way to apologize to me for having more “privilege”than I do, I don’t. It makes me and a large group of others feel small. It makes us feel like we are defined solely by our skin, and it feels like pity.

Facts are facts we are just as capable, smart and talented as anyone else. We are just as capable of doing well & making smart decisions. There are road blocks that seem insurmountable and we climb over them just like any other capable person would do.

Never forget those who were sold into slavery where not ignorant savages, but rather kings, doctors, teachers, architects.

When race is brought into the situation constantly and I see signs that say “white people do something” I honestly cry because it’s yet another way of people saying: “we’ve got to help those incapable of helping themselves”

Cops who overestimate their power should be punished for police brutality not because the person was a minority and the news would better serve black people if they told the whole truth about situations. THATS WHAT BEING EQUAL AND JOURNALISM ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT. When the news constantly focuses on the negative black news it sends a message that: we are inferior that we must be “helped”. But if you really want to “help” here are a few practical ideas to move you in that direction.

1. Be TRUE friends with people of color Without always making it be about race. Imagine if you always hung out with an obese friend and always talked about their weight or a poor friend and always talked about their lack of money?

2 Mentor kids so they can learn skills and see that there are different ways to live! Coders, there are opportunities to teach kids your skills that will change their lives and open up real opportunities. Accountants go teach youth …and Adults how to manage their money. Volunteer! Take your skills into the less “privledged” neighborhoods. Work with kids or teens or anyone. Teach them skills that will help them envision a better future. A vision and hope will open doors!

2: Advocate for more diversity in your schools what happened to bussing kids in to better schools?

4. Expose your kids to different people WITHOUT making a big deal about it. I know of a young lady who plays basketball in the city because the kids are great players. And that’s all. But those great players happen to be a different color then her. If you choose to go to a park visit one in a “different neighborhood” It’s a long drive but worth it for diversity. We learn better by immersing ourselves. Let awareness of differences come natuarally.

5. Don’t pretend color doesn’t exist that’s insulting! Acknowledge color like you would someone with green eyes or glasses. It’s just a small piece of who someone is.

6. Don’t try to “save” me. A lot of people of color resent the white savior complex, that sadly is HUGE right now. Treat us as your equals, because we are. Don’t focus on the history of slavery instead see what our ancestors where before, doctors, lawyers, priests kings and queens. We don’t need your pity.

I really fear that if the pendulem swings too far in the other direction people will habor resentment. We need to learn from the past and move forward. We need to bring SOLUTIONS that benefit all to the table not just RAGE.

It honestly sounds like bragging when I hear the word “privilege” I’m not blind I’m aware of my struggles, I’m also aware the current things I enjoy as a determined and focused woman. If you think you are so “privileged” then go DO something about it.

Let me be direct here, I do not believe you owe me something because of my skin color! I do not hold you responsible for the attrocicities of history, I do not hold you responsible today because someone who happens to be your race does something inexcusable. I believe in the power of individualism. My goal is to help people develop individual responsibility and competence. To accomplish this work it means I have to be real. I call things as I see them which means I sometimes choose to go against the popular narrative, the same narrative that says we are doomed or helpless or broken as former fosters is the same narrative that accompanies race.

Just like everyone else, I see race, of course I do! But that’s not where I place value. I don’t care if I a person is black yellow brown white or polka dot, I don’t care if a person can is religious or not. I believe that BLACK LIVES matter BECAUSE I believe that ALL LIVES MATTER but more specifically than that I believe that You as an INDIVIDUAL matter!

So my general stance on all of this in a nutshell, is just: Let’s be good to each other!

I’m rooting for you always!

Carob

7 STEPS TO START IMPROVING YOUR LIFE TODAY.

Taking steps to improve your life can be difficult even during good times.

We as humans are prone to being complacent. We are often not really ok with where we are at but lack motivation to achieve more.When you are starting at rock bottom moving forward (and upwards) can seem insurmountable!

For as  long as I can remember I have wanted to live life better. It’s not that I’m some sort of social climber! I never wanted to be rich or famous. What I wanted was to leave the labels and stereotypes of being a foster kid behind. I was going to live my adult  life on my own terms. However, as soon as I Aged Out of foster care, I realized I was alone. I was scared, but thankfully not homeless because my college financial aid package. Despite my anxiety I was also excited. Having moved to a new town to start college,no  one knew me. It was a FRESH START and an opportunity to create the life I wanted. Here’s a list of the actions I took. All of these actions are still viable and effective for anyone wanting a fresh start today:

1.       Create a vision

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 As a 19 year old college freshman I saw the world of opportunities and out of all of my options I knew I knew I wanted to be both an actress, and a wife and mother. I knew loved theater down to my bones and through theatre I would live passionately. I also wanted a family that included a good marriage to a man who would love me as I never had never been loved before.

When you create a vision you have to think about everything you want in life. Your Endgame has to be always in sight. I do this literally with a vision board. But list journals and digital options can also be useful.

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2.       You need a plan

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“If you fail to plan, You are planning to fail”

-Benjamin Franklin

Think of your plan as GOOGLE MAPS. It’s a straight forward (mostly) accurate step by step guide to getting you where you need to be. But sometimes google isn’t up to date and misses things like detours or recently construction and you find yourself needing to take a detour — which may take you longer, or cause you to change plans. 

You MUST Develop Grit:

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Here is where you need resilience.  In her book, Grit, Dr Angela Lee Duckwork talks about how “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” In our journey grit is the ability to keep moving forward no matter what obstacles are placed in your way. Not an easy task but made doable by ….

Developing a Growth Mindset:

That in its most simple terms, is not letting things getting you down. Its adding “yet” to the negative things we tell ourselves. Example “I’m not  good at math” becomes “I’m not as good at math as I’d like to be, yet” In Carol Dweck’s book XX, and her subsequence Ted Talk (give date). She explains that the brain is a muscle and that it can grow and expand to increase intelligence. Dweck challenges the stereotype that “some people are smart and some are not.” We can expand our cognitive abilities! It’s kind of surprising to me that we didn’t figure this out sooner, considering some great minds like Albert Einstein and Mozart were once thought to be developmentally delayed. 

Education:

There are many ways to be educated that don’t include a formal degree. And if you were a foster child after the age of 13 there may even be options for university degrees. I am an “Autodidact ”. That’s a big word to say that I am self- taught. I continually homeschool myself in whatever I want or need to learn. There is a plethora FREE educational resources online (some even offer degrees). Even YouTube (when you can trust the speaker) can be extremely useful. If you do better in a class setting, many charities offer free classes.  I’ve taken some computer classes at my local Goodwill.

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Possibly the most important trait you must develop is character.

Now it goes without saying that many Important people are lacking this. But as a person RISING, You must develop DIGNITY. And that comes through having strong personal character. We have no parents or family name to vouch for us. When people give us a chance they often see it as taking a RISK, We must turn that risk into a reward. That means we must be honest in our dealings, whether that is with money or HOW we work. But beyond just honesty, we must be gracious, we must  be pleasant, and we must be likable. We must take the brick of anger that often often rides on our shoulders, that sense of unfairness–whether perceived or true– and turn that brick into a stepping stone. Use that stepping stone to lift you to where you want to be. 

This is a brief overview of the essential skills you NEED to have to start to improve your life today.

Over the next few months we’ll dig deeper into each of these topics in my blogs, podcasts, youtube channel. Subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!

Until next time, 

Keep Rising!

Carob