Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Apology


THE APOLOGY
 "They beat me and I called you to save me, but you couldn't.. so I secretly resented you.They took our babies and sold them, I begged you to save us.. but you couldn't .. so I secretly blamed you.. They raped me, and I cried out for you to protect me, but you couldn't.....So I stopped trusting you... You were supposed to be my man.. my provider.. my protector but when I needed you.. you couldn't be there... so I hated you...How could I let you tell me what to do.When massa could protect me more than you..How could I submit to you when you are forced to submit to massa? So to protect myself I submitted to the one who could protect me and our children. I stopped trusting you..I stopped loving you.. I stopped honoring you.. I stopped valuing you and in turn I became valueless to you. I didn't see the frustration in your eyes when our children were sold.. I didn't hear your silent cries when I was beaten. I didn't see your anger when I was being ravished. I didn't understand that you held your emotions to be strong for me. I thought you didn't care.. but you wanted to be there. You wanted to protect me, but massa made it so you couldn't so I would trust him more than you. I didn't see the hidden hands shaping our destiny.. all I saw was my pain.. and the feeling that you neglected me.. For all the times I blamed you, I'm sorry. For the resentment and distrust I've held against you for centuries, I'm sorry. For the times I've let you down. For all the times I've broken your spirit with my words and my actions. For the times I openly rejected you, and tried to control you, because I thought less of you.. I'm sorry.. Massa had a plan that he said would work for 400 years.. 400 years is over now. My eyes are wide open... I see the king in you... Please forgive my wrongs and see your queen in me."" via @PhotoRepost_app — with Caroline Arnold.

This was posted by Haley White on Facebook and I thought it was so powerful, that I would post it here in The Critical Thinker. Reading through this piece ought to definitely give us something to critically think about. Join me live each Saturday morning at 6 a.m. ET on gobrave.org and WP88.7 FM as host of The Reading Circle. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Thoughts As An African American Male After Viewing Lee Daniels' THE BUTLER

Ever since viewing Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER, I’ve been trying to determine what angle I was going to take when writing this post, as I knew from the opening scene that I would be giving my commentary on the parallelisms between the obvious system of that time and now. For many, I am sure you may be amused by the fact that I am just seeing this much acclaimed film that was released in 2013, but that only speaks to how much time I personally give to movie and television watching. It is rare that I invest my time in movie or television watching because most of what is offered to us is garbage in my opinion.  Having heard so much about this film upon its release, I was intrigued when Netflix sent me the notification that it was now available on its streaming service and decided to watch it the other night.

From the opening scene I was riveted (the only other movie opening that impacted me so, was from A Time to Kill) and will not give it away for those who have not seen the movie as of yet. Suffice it to say that it was a common depiction of events that occurred between slaves and slave owners in the south during that period of time. As I watched, my mind immediately recognized the symbolism and parallelism between the events blatantly displayed in the film and the reality to this day. The emasculation of the African American male; the psychological and emotional destruction of the African American female and child; and the intentional separation of African American family unit are among the few atrocities that leaped off of the screen right away.  While this is not the first time that I have viewed films illustrating that time in history, it once again reminded me that while the actions of that time period were obvious, conscious and overt, that nothing has really changed other than now the same atrocities are occurring, only in a concealed, subconscious, and covert manner.

The opening of THE BUTLER forced me to realize once again how psychologically damaged generationally African Americans are based on the inhumane acts forced upon them as human beings, by human beings;  messed up psyches that could very well be in the words of President Obama, in our [African Americans] “DNA.”  Such psychologically damaging acts as the rape of African American women at will or the killing of African American men in front of their children and women (who in all likelihood had just been forced upon by their slave-owner). Yet, in spite of it all, the African American race has still managed to survive. When you think about the horrors perpetrated by humans upon humans (only because of the color of their skin), you can’t help but think, no wonder they [African Americans] appear to be so jacked up.  If indeed those horrible acts did make their way into our “DNA,” could it [being jacked up] not be understood?  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not one for excuse making or excusing any aberrant behavior by anybody whether black or white, but can you see where the “systems” that were put in place then and are still in place now are getting us what we are getting?

I am not well versed on our current welfare assistance system, but I do remember (and maybe it is still this way) a time when in order for the mother to receive the assistance, a man could not be in the home. In fact, social workers would visit to ensure that there was no male presence in the home (emasculation of the male, separation of the family).  Think about that and how it parallels the events that took place during slavery. The male was often sold to another part of the state leaving his wife children.  This same welfare assistance system also did not allow the mother to obtain any type of income or else she would lose the aid. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have the family stay together with both parents working with maybe a needed financial supplement to ensure that the basic needs of the family were met? What type of system forces the male to not be present? Then we now wonder why so many African American men have chosen to not be present in the lives of their families. They’ve been systematically cultured this way and are then blamed for being that way.

When discussing thoughts such as these that I am sharing in this post with friends, family and colleagues, many have said that I am looking too deep into the movie or event (I took real issue with the roles Denzel Washington and Halle Berry received Oscar Awards for).  I beg to differ. THE BUTLER was filled with historical and current insights as to why we are experiencing what we are experiencing in 2015, the racial hatred; the killings; the hypocrisy; the duplicity; and the overall lack of concern for mankind. In the words of the 1984 Prego ad, "It's in there."  There is a point in the film where the African American servants talk about this need to have two faces, one when they are serving and the other when they are not in the presence of those who they are serving. Is that much different today? It really caused me to think.

I encourage you who are reading this post to view Lee Daniels’ THE BUTLER and to indeed look beyond its entertainment value to see how conditions during the time frame depicted (which was not that long ago by the way) are not much different than now.  Interestingly enough, as I write this post, it seems as if we as a country (and world for that matter) are moving away from concealed, subconscious, and covert acts and back to obvious, conscious and overt. Don't believe me? Listen to the commentary and look at the actions. Just look at the news. There is so much more that could be written or said, but I will close here with a quote from Colin Powell's former State Department chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson. 

“The real reason a considerable portion of my party [Republican] wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to do with the content of his character, nothing to do with his competence as commander-in-chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin,” 

And the beat goes on. Something to critically think about…………  Hear me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET, as host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley, streamed around the world on gobrave.org and heard locally in northern NJ on WP88.7 FM. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We’ve Been “Huxtabled!”



Bill Cosby has admitted to getting prescription Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with, newly released documents show. (CNN)

Cosby titled a book COME ON PEOPLE and since I love a play on words, I would have to say Come on Bill! As strange as this may seem, this post is not about bashing Bill Cosby even though he may deserve bashing, but more about, what goes on in the mind of someone who sex is so important that he or she feels that he/she must take it from someone against his/her will or knowledge. It's also about self esteem and how we must stop all of this celebrity worship and placing our entertainers and athletes on pedestals.

I am truly disappointed in the latest developments because I sourced Bill Cosby on many occasions concerning education and the need for African Americans to take more responsibility for their own actions and consequences. I particularly championed Mr. Cosby’s Pound Cake Speech delivered in May 2004 during an NAACP awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision as I agreed with his message wholeheartedly.
Now unfortunately, all of his positive messages will be lost or discredited because of him the messenger. He as the messenger now negates his message. But this post is not about Bill Cosby as much as it is about the minds of the "Bill’s" and "Billeta’s" out there whose self esteem is so low that he or she feels that he/she must force a sexual encounter on someone. This post is also about us who are so star struck and so fame driven that we will go along with anything and anyone to get that “lucky break.”

As the father of four daughters, the thought of someone slipping a mickey or a pill to them for them to pass out in order to have sex with them without their knowledge, is appalling! Was The Coz’s self esteem so low that he believed these women would not have sex with him just because of who he was as a person, not to mention a celebrity? Did he honestly believe that because he was Bill Cosby that he was entitled to take any woman he wanted to sleep with whether she wanted to sleep with him or not? We are partly at fault because we mere mortals just ridiculously fawn all over “celebrities." I am sure having sex with just about any groupie woman would have been possible for Mr. Cosby without him having to drug her just because he was a comedian/TV/movie star.
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There are so many issues involved in this sad saga including the lack of self esteem and celebrity worship. Athletes, actors, actresses, politicians, etc. etc. are all human beings. The only difference is they make a whole lot more money and are seen by a whole lot more people as they do their job which happens to be on screen or playing with a ball in front of a crowd of people.  Sadly, most of the women involved in this Cosby mess were seeking that big break. Many of the victims had actually traveled around the country with Cosby because of his celebrity status and connections. Of course they did not expect to be drugged, but the potential for the casting couch was always there as it always is.

We must teach our children not to worship entertainers and athletes and to see them as human beings. The Cosby revelation once again shows us that fame and fortune are not all that they are cracked up to be. Because entertainers and athletes are humans too, they are subject to flaws and failures like anyone else. My disappointment with Mr. Cosby does not stem from judgment, but because of all the positive messages and images that are now overshadowed because of this scandal and because of the pain all of those women suffered as a result of his actions.

It’s a sad day for everyone involved. My heart goes out to the women and I truly hope that this is the overused “Wake up Call” cliché for our women (and men for that matter) of what can happen on a date. Do not take a drink from anyone. Always stay with your drinks and food and never take any pills offered by anybody. Something to critically think about. You are invited to hear me live each Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET around the world on gobrave.org and locally in northern NJ on WP88.7 FM as the host of The Reading Circle. You are also invited to visit my website at www.thereadingcircle01.com and follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01.

How to Avoid Raising Codependent Kids - All Pro Dad

How to Avoid Raising Codependent Kids - All Pro Dad : All Pro Dad

by Derek Maul



It may not seem like a big deal today, but shielding kids from consequences can have long-term consequences for parents. The following true story connects the dots on how we literally can’t afford to raise codependent kids or be enabling parents.



The quarter in which the Florida housing market crashed was also the quarter my friend’s brother Bill closed on a house he clearly couldn’t afford. He financed 110% of the purchase price, spent the extra cash on cosmetic upgrades, immediately put the house back on the market, and waited for his big payday. Bill’s salary wouldn’t nearly cover the mortgage, so his parents bailed him out. Within a year, the house tanked 40% of its value – long story short – Bill lost both the house and $50,000 of his parents’ money.



Bill is 45 years old, and he’s gone through a lot of his parents’ savings over the past 25 years; but there’s little chance he’ll change until they’re as broke as he is. Why? Because they’ve been codependent since the enabling started in the first grade.



It started small, such as Mom doing his chores so Bill wouldn’t get in trouble with Dad. Quickly, it moved to homework cover-ups and “science project by parent.” Then it graduated to Mom covering when he skipped school; Dad lying to the police when he wrecked a car he didn’t have permission to drive; and increasingly large financial defaults. By the time Mom and Dad let Bill move back home after failing college (no questions asked), he felt entitled to every bailout that came his way. The bailouts just kept getting bigger.



Naturally, we’re all concerned about keeping our kids safe and happy. But we raise our children to fly, not flop around the nest. [Tweet This] One day, we’re going to have to let go and, when we do, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re equipped and ready. Or they’ll end up like Bill: pushing 50 years of age and still suffering from failure to thrive.



1. Expect more of them:


We all tend to rise to the level of expectation. A two-year-old can learn to pick up toys. A three-year-old can help to set the table. A four-year-old can take dirty clothes to the laundry room and learn how to operate the machine. The more, and the earlier, we train children to contribute, the more self-reliance will become a part of their DNA.



2. Allow (managed) natural consequences:


Typically, there is no better learning tool than to experience the consequence of behavior. A five-year-old refuses to clean up the toys in the middle of the floor? The toys visit the attic for a prescribed amount of time. A ten-year-old curses? Get a dictionary, then handwrite five acceptable words that mean the same thing, plus their complete definitions. Establish a direct line between behavior and a real world result.



3. Be consistent:


Mom and Dad need to be on the same page because learning thrives where children know what to expect. When children understand that what they do, or do not do, makes a consistent and measurable difference in the quality of their life. They will become more likely to accept responsibility for themselves and work to impact the outcome more favorably.



4. Be clear:

Leave no doubt as to the outcome when encouraging children to accept responsibility. Then having made ourselves clear, we need to follow through. This is why it’s important not to threaten beyond our willingness to enforce. If we say, for example, “If you do that again, I will take away your phone for a month,” but then only take it away for one day, we have created a problem.



5. Trust them:


Having made ourselves clear, we must demonstrate trust by getting out of the way. We can’t expect a child to grow if we treat them as if they are incapable of doing what we ask. When they succeed, we congratulate. If they fail, we follow through on consequences because we believe they could have done better.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Bad Kid Behavior Issues That You Need to Break Early - All Pro Dad : All Pro Dad

5 Bad Kid Behavior Issues That You Need to Break Early - All Pro Dad : All Pro Dad



I hate going to the dentist. I know it’s necessary, but I always put it off. It is the last thing I want to spend money on. After several years of avoiding it, I was forced to make an appointment because of intense tooth pain. The result was exactly what I expected. Small cavities had grown into larger decay which eventually led to infection. Ultimately, smaller and cheaper cavity fixes turned into an expensive double root canal with two crowns. Routine checkups and maintenance would have prevented all of it.



In the same way, kids can develop bad habits early. Engaging those habits with consistent correction and guidance can be tiring. It can take thought and energy that can wear parents out. However, if left unchecked, they can grow into major problems down the line. It is important to engage the problem now in order to save us and them from more intense pain in the future. Here are some bad kid behavior issues that you need to break early.



1. Lying

This leads to a life of secrecy. Growth and maturity come when we deal honestly with our mistakes and shortcomings. We learn responsibility by owning it. Others see us as dependable, faithful, and authentic. Trust is built leading to healthy relationships. Lying has the opposite effect. Distrust and immaturity take root. On a personal level, in our house, my kids know that this is offense receives the steepest consequence because it, more than anything, causes relational separation in the family.



2. Disrespectful to Authority

We are all people under authority in some way or another. Parents, teachers, government officials, elders, bosses, and police officers are some of the authorities in our lives. An attitude of disrespecting authority creates a dangerous habit in a child. It will lead to an attitude of entitlement and a lack of proper humility. They will end up suffering for it as their options are limited. Children need to learn a respectful disposition to those in authority over them. This doesn’t mean they can’t disagree with that authority or challenge it, particularly when the authority abuses its power. However, it is important to teach children to always submit to or challenge authority with grace and respect.



3. Unkind Words

Words are important. Clearly, the words we choose affect those they are directed towards. Unkind words cause deep wounds in people. However, they can also lead our general attitude or our feelings about someone. I once made a decision to go an entire year saying only positive things about someone I had a hard time getting along with. After the year, I felt completely different about that person. There may be time to disagree, argue, or even fight, but there is never a reason to be unkind. The earlier our kids develop a vocabulary of kind words the better.



4. Aggressive Behavior

Intervene as soon as possible to prevent other children or animals from being hurt. There are many reasons for a child exhibiting aggressive behavior. It is important to find out the reason by observing and listening. Many times, it is a coping mechanism in dealing with stress or feelings of insecurity. If the behavior is allowed or reinforced, it will continue. It is best to stop it immediately when it happens, remain calm, listen to the child, and enforce consistent nonphysical consequences.



5. Laziness

Children need to be taught to take responsibility for themselves early. [Tweet This] Otherwise, they can come to expect that their parents will do everything for them. Instilling a good work ethic starts by giving them chores to do around the house at a young age. Start by teaching them to make their bed and clean up their toys daily. When they develop a habit of taking care of their things, add a chore pertaining to a common area. Encourage and reward their work only when it deserves it. This will teach them to value and strive for good work. Starting as early as possible will make all the difference.