Finding Perspective In the Midst of Chaos.

I’m trying to regain that positive perspective. I’m trying to get myself back to the place where I am driven and motivated by a purpose. Honestly,  I am trying to get back to that placeof just functioning, being productive, without being distracted with the constant negativity. the easiest way I know to do that is to start a gratitude list.

  • I am TRULY GRATEFUL that my reality is not that of my predecessors. 
  • I’m grateful I don’t have to fear being raped, murdered or lynched for some imaginable offense.  That I can own a home, eat where I want, love and marry who I want, get an education even though I had no ability to pay for one.
  • I’m grateful that if a person of any color, race, religion, or gender works hard and smart they can achieve the American dream.  They can reach heights like running for and be elected to the highest office of our country. That they can like Maya Angelou, Ben Carson, The Obamas, and so many others that aren’t in the spotlight use their voices to effect change.
  •   I’m grateful that I can plan a vacation (mostly) where I want without signs like “WHITES ONLY”, that I have never experienced segregation. I’m grateful that a child who shares my black blood can be in honors classes, and not automatically assumed to be special needs. 
  • I’m thankful that those who would do me harm based solely on my skin color are very very few and that they are the ones that are looked at as the FREAKS. 
  • I’m thankful that I can buy and read any books I choose to expand my mind and teach me about the experiences of others, and that am not relegated to a section of hardly useable garbage that was considered appropriate only for “coloreds” back in the day. 
a colored school, one room classroom, where they kids where given castoffs of white children . There is an excellent description in the book Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor.
  • I’m thankful for choices and opportunities that ARE available regardless of who is in office.  I’m grateful there are programs to acquire student and small business  loans, internships, and interest based education. 
  •       I’m thankful that I can go to a theater and not have to sit in the balcony (although I love theater balconies). That I can shop where I want and mostly not be followed. 
  • Mostly, I am thankful that it is better! While society is not perfect, There has been SO MUCH PROGRESS MADE and I’m more grateful than I could possibly express to have had an opportunity to have lived so many years that way. I have enjoyed my freedoms because of the choices I made. 

That last paragraph is written in past tense because I don’t really feel those freedoms right know. I feel the pressure as many do of being labeled. That’s something I’ve worked so hard to get ahead of, I have had to EARN dignity, and while perhaps thats not fair, it is hard won and something to be proud of. SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME STRONG.

It is quite frankly PAINFUL  that something that  MARTIN LUTHER KING and his constituents begged for fought and died for is being pushed aside.

MLK advocated for non-violence not because he was weak, but because he understood that being “morally above reproach” made a clear line between the oppressed and oppressor. There was pride in that. That pride is something that many people of color “black folks” carry with them, a sense of overcoming and when you  lump  together with people who have not overcome but instead made poor and especially criminal choices that most good people of any race  (if they are honest) shun, you negate all our hard work!

You negate those who have climbed from the ghettos to become teachers, police officers, ministers, lawyers and CEO’s. You negate those who still struggle but  do menial jobs when selling drugs would be more lucrative. You the negate parents who teach their children (girls and boys) to be respectful to authority. Not scream hate in the faces of their teachers, their neighbors, the elderly. The parents who instill in their children principals that prioritize education,  who stand with honor their children become the first or fifth generation to go to college. And you turn us all into people to be pitied. When you do this you negate all of our accomplishments. 

MLK Famously dreamed that his children (and I believe he would have meant ALL people) would  be seen FOR THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER, but we as a society  aren’t really doing that right now.  In fact arguably we are doing the exact  opposite. We seem more divided at this point, , than I can personally remember.  This idea that you are standing up for your minority brothers and sisters, is in actuality shining a huge light on how much YOU still in fact see us as different. 

Warning Hard Truths Ahead:

I have many (in fact most of my) extremely liberal friends. I truly love and appreciate you for many reasons that don’t include politics. But I’m going to blunt here, and I hope I never have to talk about race again. (because it is really awkward)  In the current efforts to prove how racist you aren’t, many of you are proving the opposite.   My sincere hope is that you will see this in the spirit is intended to educate rather than offend. 

The truth is, You are a bit racist if you have ever said to me or someone else, “im doing this for you” if you’ve ever expressed concern for my or another person of colors well being or mental health for not supporting  a black president, or if you were so “excited to vote for the first Black president (Who was actually bi-racial) YOU are the one who was consumed with race. Also if you think a person of poor character, a criminal a thief a drug dealer etc. should be excused for any offense just because they are black…yup you are a bit racist. You have lower expectations for people based on skin color. 

This past few weeks have shown us, just how many people are still consumed by skin color. If you feel in your soul that you have work to do than do it, it’s like what various religious texts teach about prayer say:  go into a secret place, don’t be a hypocrite.  I know…Harsh. But it’s no more harsh than the crazy amount of people confessing their “privledge” when i just want to watch nextflix. Yes white people as a race have had it easier, arguable every race has had it easier than blacks, who are in my cultures considere thave premortally committed some great sin in order to be so cursed. But that is your work to do it. Its gross.  and i’d rather not take part. 

This current movement is not the same as the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s.

My  grandparents, never asked for free rent, or a lifetime supply of welfare. They asked for doors to be open. They aked for opportunities to prove themselves. There was a time when very smart people of color could not reach their full potential. There was a time when honor and dignity got you nowhere if you were a black person.  There was a time when opportunities, even to educate themselves were denied to black people. There was a time when men and women didn’t dare speak their truth in fear of very real repercussions. 

I use my voice in honor of those people. Though we are in a time when it is dangerous to go against the current narrative when business and people are threatened for having a different view, at least we are in a country and a time where we are allowed to SPEAK. I can’t help but wonder if current events and even people would be squashed were we not to live here? 

For all of the cries in the name of “PROGRESS” I feel like identity politics puts us in reverse.  You have your rights to believe whatever you want, but in pushing this division these groups seperated by a myriad of criteia, you are widening a gap that my forefathers worked so hard to bridge.  There is no way to argue that we have made massive progress, that many people who were given ridiculous challenges in life have been able to overcome, that there are systems in place that go unused, many of them already meeting the demands we are currently insisting be created.  

I think that there is a need and a benefit to returning to a place of gratitude. I doubt many of us could have withstood the trials of our fathers. 

That is not to say that we can’t improve. Its not to say that lives can’t be made better or even that racism doesn’t exist. If you want to not be racist, I applaud that whole heartedly! If you feel you have some deepseated mistrust or hatred of a particular people based on….well anything.. and want to improve that, than please do!  If you feel in your soul that you have work to do than do it. It’s like what various religious texts teach about prayer say:  go into a secret place, don’t be a hypocrite!  I know…Harsh! But is it any more harsh than the crazy amount of white people confessing their “privledge” when I just want to watch nextflix?! Yes white people as a race have had it easier, arguable every race has had it easier than blacks, who are in my cultures considered thave premortally committed some great sin in order to be so cursed but that is your work to do it. Its gross.  And I’d rather not take part!

I have received many messages from people on my facebook page apologizing for things they have never done. Asking me to explain racism I’m not an expert and only speaking from my own experiencen but from my own laymans perspective, if you question if you worry that you are, you probably aren’t! For those of you i know personally,  In my experience you are just lovely genuine people who care about others and are doing the best you can, If You have never treated me poorly for looking different, (and no I don’t believe that thoughts count, because it’s actions that have the effect, and if I’m honest, I believe we all have our “isms”.) If you have trusted me to bring some joy to your children in my very chaotic and creative way, and never thought anything except She’s chaotic and creative, you are probably not racist. If you look at situations even ones that are ugly and unpleasant and complicated And care about the details and truth, instead of dividing it up by COLOR. You are probably not racist. 

I’m glad and so very very grateful that there are more of you in the world than not! 

I think this time maybe we should all be rooting for eachother!

C

” 

Anger is the Birthright I choose not to accept.

There are people in this world who don’t have it easy. Who wonder when things will ever get better, why they were born…yes most people have these thoughts sometimes, but for the people I am thinking of these thoughts are a constant companion.

Anger is a birthright for those of us constantly reminded that life isn’t fair. That we may never have the opportunities that others so easily take for granted.

Anger is a birthright for those who were abused in unspeakable ways by people who should have cared for them more than life itself.

Anger is a birthright for those who were torn from their families, brothers, sisters, aunts uncles and grandparents, as well as for those who should have been rescued but weren’t.

It’s a birthright for those who were labeled as “troubled”, and “not worth the time”, who were ignored by teachers who failed to report the signs. Who they made to feel stupid for not turning in homework, when our biggest priority was JUST TO STAY ALIVE.

Anger is a personal birthright for me, as I had to beg the police to put me in foster care and away from my mother, anger is my birthright because I had to at age 11, make a choice to abandon my brother and leave him to a life that would be fraught  with crime and separate from me. Anger is my birthright as my mother chose sex over her own daughter’s safety.

Anger is my birthright as after so much hell, I still struggle! That I can barely see the silver lining from the crushing weight of trying to  be self – sustaining. That the uphill battle that is life, never seems to have a top. That people perceive me as different than I am, and there is nothing I can ever do to change that. Yes, we, “I” have a right to be angry.

But I choose a different path, I choose to be grateful for the moments of joy that ease my troubled mind. I choose to learn from people’s ignorance, I choose to forgive (for my own sake) the people who hurt me. I choose to be better!

When we look at life from a perspective of a gift, we can benefit from anything. I learned at a very, (too) young age, to stand up for myself in a way that people would listen to, but also respect me. And that true respect the kind out of admiration, not fear, is one of the most valuable gifts a person can ever have. Too many people don’t understand that! They think if people are scared of you..they respect you. To be honest, That’s just not the case they see you as a bully and you are probably friendless…

I want to address how I forgive, but because it’s not just blindly, the first thing I do is try to see the situation from the other persons perspective. Was their intention truly to be hurtful?  I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. If they are in any possible way not entirely wrong, I work to forgive them. However, if I do determine a person to just be “mean or dangerous “ no mater who they are, they don’t get a place in my life. That may seem cold, but it is survival. I don’t wish them ill will, and if I run into them, I treat them civilly and with grace. But they are no more a part of my story.

Anger “is a poison”. So many people say, “Oh, I didn’t get this job because of this or that, usually siting race, nationality, or gender; but it has been my experience, that it is usually about attitude. If you bring SUNSHINE into the room, people will be drawn to you. If you have a chip on your shoulder, are constantly negative, or are looking to cause a fight. I sure as hell would avoid you!

I implore you to let your anger work for you. Let it motivate you to excellence! Let anger at being treated poorly drive you to NEVER TREAT ANYONE THAT WAY! Let anger at being made fun of for being poor, motivate you to succeed and to help others do the same! Let anger from bad parenting, strengthen your commitment to being the best parent you can possibly be. Let anger at all the injustices, make you fair and kind and passionate! Do not,do not, do not be a SLAVE TO YOUR ANGER, it can crush you and keep you down, or you can let it work for you and make you GREAT!

I’m rooting for you!

Carob.

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