Thursday, September 3, 2020

Give Them A Sense Of Pride


As we start this new school year filled with challenges, I am encouraging all of us, particularly educators and parents to be intentional about instilling a sense of pride in our children. I find this to be especially 
needed in the communities who are considered “People of color.”  

During the summer I had the opportunity to read BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY by Na’im Akbar, Ph.D. and while the book is copyrighted in 1996 and on its Twelfth printing of September 2019, the content contained on the pages are more relevant now than ever. We are living in a world where one race/ethnic background is valued and highlighted while the others are demeaned and debased whether consciously or subconsciously. Whether through codes, obvious remarks or "dog whistles." This has occurred historically, yet with the plethora of media and social media platforms, the blatant disregard for anyone who is not of European-American descent is smack dab in our faces up close and personal on a minute by minute basis. Make no mistake, this constant barrage of hurt, harm, and danger to people of color is impacting our children both of European-American descent and children of EVERY OTHER family/nationality origin. 

Given that we are in a world that is constantly showing by its actions that people of color don’t matter (hence Black Lives Matter - BLM) or are nothing, we must, particularly in the communities comprised of people of color, intentionally give our children a sense of pride. The following excerpt below is from BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY.

“We must learn to comfortably celebrate ourselves. Self-celebration (we must again emphasize) does not necessitate the degradation of others. It does unapologetically, sing the greatness of our accomplishments and special blessing to the world. It tells each new generation something about the value of the fabric from which they are made. Cultures and institutions put considerable resources into creating images and opportunities to sing the praises of their accomplishments. This process is an essential part of maintaining a free mind, but it becomes even more fundamental in freeing a captive mind. Certainly, one of the major strategies for enslaving the mind was the degradation of the Black/African self.  The story of natural Black inferiority and ugliness were constant stories told to destroy the worth of the Black mind. The fantasies of African backwardness as incapable of technological development and characterized by superstitious and humanly regressive acts of cannibalism and savagery were all constructed in Tarzan stories, Little Black Sambo images and thousands of other derogatory ideas and illustrations to destroy the Black person’s self-image and to further the idea of Black incompetence and deficiency.

Celebration then becomes a healing. If Europeans could comfortably identify themselves with every image from Santa Claus to the son of God in order to celebrate who they are, why shouldn’t we find images (both real and imagined) that communicate to Black African people something about our potential greatness. Perhaps, Kwanzaa is not an actual African Holiday, but why shouldn't we have a week-long celebration that brings pride and dignity to our culture. Why shouldn’t the entire nation stop on the second Monday in January to celebrate the battle for human dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. If black people decide to call an assembly of one million black men in Washington, D. C., on a Monday in October 1995, then why question the celebration since the very structure of the city of D. C. so emphatically celebrates the greatness of European-American accomplishment. The hundreds of statues, museums, galleries, libraries, plaques, and monuments which blanket the city consistently celebrate the greatness of being European-American. One could very easily walk around D. C. for an entire day and conclude that only European-American males built this great country. It is not accidental that European-American males continue to run the country and that the celebration and information they receive continuously reinforces their greatness.

We must unashamedly display our images and great ancestral figures throughout our environments. From pictures on the walls to statues in the park and street names, we should celebrate our heritage and those people who have distinguished themselves as African people of greatness.”

To contribute to our children’s sense of pride, we must direct their attention to strong images like themselves to help them grow in self-respect and love for themselves. This must be intentional and not left to happenstance.  The histories of ALL cultures must be studied and taught with their heroes and sheroes put on display. While there is nothing wrong with being an athlete or an entertainer, we are so much more than that. The display of greatness has been lopsided for too long. An African-American male is just as worthy as a Caucasian male and the same holds true for women and people of every other ethnic group and culture. At the end of the day, we are ALL human beings with one race, culture, or ethnic group not being any better than any of the others. 

Our children need to know the flaws of research that claim that any group is superior to the other. Our children need to know the contributions that people who look like them have made to build this country and the world for that matter. Our children need to know that there is nothing wrong with skin being dark or light. Our children need to know that they are loved and are somebody regardless of their being Caucasoid, Mongoloids, or Negroid. They need to know that red, or yellow, black, or white, all are precious in God’s sight.

So as this school year begins amidst this pandemic, let’s make it our business to give our children a sense of pride. 



 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

BLACK

Guest post by Miles Jaye


Negro is a fundamentally simple term. In Spanish, it’s negro, in French, negre. The pronunciations differ but they all mean Black. Colored is equally simple. Even African American is a fairly simple concept to grasp. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized the complexities of the term Black. 

James Brown declared, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.”. It was a clarion call, a boldly liberating call to action, it was 1969. It never occurred to me that it begged the question, who was James Brown speaking to? It didn’t occur to me, but I should have asked, aside from people in fros and dashikis, who responded to that call? It certainly never occurred to me to observe, as indeed I should have, who did not respond-- who remained conspicuously silent.

Being a Brooklyn kid, growing up in the proverbial melting pot of New York, I assumed brown-skinned people, as an unspoken rule, identified with Black. That included my brothers and sisters from the West Indies, the Caribbean, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Puerto Rico, the D.R., Haiti, Cuba, Brazil Columbia, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Guyana, throughout Central and South America, and of course, Africa. These were my neighbors and my schoolmates. If you were brown-skinned and riding the train or walking down Flatbush Avenue and I didn’t have the benefit of hearing an accent to indicate otherwise, I assumed you were Black. 

S.I.P. Chadwick Boseman

A new Black family moved onto my block this week. Actually, they were here before me, but I thought they were Indian. In spite of the fact that the dad is as dark as I am, it never crossed my mind to think of him as Black. In fact, I didn’t think of them as Black until Kamala Harris declared herself so, in her DNC convention acceptance speech. Prior to her announcement, I had never known East Indians to identify themselves as or align themselves with Blacks. Even now, I can’t imagine myself congratulating my new neighbors on the first Black woman to be selected as a major party candidate for V.P. They might be offended, indignant. Indians are very proud people and to them, Kamala Harris is Indian, Southeast Asian-- not Black.

This new Black thing is beautifully orchestrated and equally complicated as it allows us, or forces us, to explore cultures outside of our normal experiential sphere. It pushes us out of our comfort zones, expands our playlists and opens our eyes to languages, music, foods, art, philosophy, religions, and history we may not have otherwise had a reason to explore. For instance, we speak of slavery as though it only existed in the Triangle Trade, when in fact, slavery, though illegal throughout the world, is still practiced in India today. Women are bought and sold into forced labor and sexual servitude in 2020 in towns like Mewat, not far from New Delhi, the capitol. Perhaps Southeast Asian women have their own reasons for celebrating Kamala Harris’ success. 

Indian food and music are wonderful, but the caste system is so deeply entrenched that it is virtually impossible to elevate from one level into another-- it’s oppressive, it discriminates and it’s generational. India is a huge continent, thousands of years old, with language, culture and history so intermingled with other cultures from Africa to China that this whole Kamala Harris/Black thing should be our excuse, our license to delve deeply into the world to discover the true scope, scale and extent of the human condition and experience as it relates to color. We’re bound to color in America. We’re so distracted by Black that it can only be a conspiracy. 

We’re tethered so tightly to a psychology, sociology, history, religion, education, economy, and political landscape designed to suffocate, that it’s no wonder we can’t breathe. White Supremacy is the knee on our collective necks, and it exists on both sides of the aisle. Systemic racism, which some say doesn’t exist, might better be identified as tactical, or strategic racism. We are prisoners of war, and Blackism is the shackle that binds and confines us. James Brown meant well, but his clarion call could have shaken the earth off its axis had he spoken to the world, not just America, and demanded the Black world reply. So now it’s our turn, it’s on us to call on the Black world to say it loud. 

Kamala, like Barack, chose to be Black. That she attended an HBCU, joined a Black sorority, collects Converses, and likes to dance, is all well and good. However, I insist, I demand that she is honest with us about her Southeast Asian culture. Don’t play us! Bring something new to the table. You claim Black, you have to represent Black. That’s the deal! Barack misspoke when he said; “Democracy is not transactional.” Of course, it is Sir, or did you mean not for us? Kamala laughed when she said it is not her intent to make special provisions for Black people. Do! From now on, you have to pay to dance!

And, while I unapologetically take issue with the exclusion from the halls, corridors, and towers of power, deserving Black folks whose lineage date back to the American slave experience, folks like Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, whose ancestors for centuries, have drenched this soil with blood, sweat and tears, and filled this air with screams and cries of horror, for the appointment of folks with skin color just brown enough to appease us, I welcome the opportunity, the challenge, to choose culture over color for my thesis, my protest. I contend culture, not color is where liberation lies, and where justice will be found. Just as all peoples of the world, Asians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, Gentiles, White, Black, Red, Yellow, were at one time or another slaves, let us not forget that we, Black peoples of the world, were mariners, explorers, inventors, scholars, merchants, gifted artisans, astronomers, brilliant scientists, skillful linguists, warriors and great spiritual leaders. Say it loud…

Black… it’s complicated, but so are we. Genius is always complicated! 

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College. An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics. While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY. Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances. Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here. Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s. In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE. Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools. Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.

Website: www.milesjaye.net
Podcast: https://bit.ly/2zkhSRv
Email: milesjaye360@gmail.com






Sunday, August 9, 2020

My Review of the Book Too Much and Never Enough on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous ManToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Believe Every Word In This Book

Mary Trump's book is the culmination of all of the books I have read about Donald Trump. While I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, she confirms everything that I always thought was driving Mr. Trump's aberrant behavior. I've always said and believed that what happens in our childhoods greatly impacts our adulthoods. I can't think of a better example than this story. The truth of the matter is Donald Trump needs help and truly does not belong in the seat of the most powerful person in the free world. It truly is a sad story about a very dysfunctional family that has now impacted the world. Ms. Trump's book corroborates with so many authors who have written about their experiences with Donald Trump. Everyone can't be lying with only Donald and his sycophants telling the truth. I applaud Mary Trump for putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together for readers (and hopefully there are many) to make an informed decision when going into that voting booth or mailing in that ballot in November. Mary Trump, job well done and as an AV geek and former jet engine mechanic for the United States Air Force, I salute your father as flying is a calling unto itself and a very noble profession.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

It's Not Cute No Matter How You Spell It Or Say It

The photo below appeared in a post on my Facebook timeline. My response below the photo is this blog post. 






Saturday, July 18, 2020

"If We Begin To Direct Our Children's Attention To Strong Images Like Themselves, They Will Grow In Self-Respect"


The title of this post is a direct quote from the book Breaking The Chains Of Psychological Slavery written by Na'im Akbar, Ph.D. Dr. Akbar has been described by Essence magazine as "one of the world's preeminent African American psychologists and pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology. 

I write this post the day after the passing of a living legend, Congressman John Robert Lewis and two days subsequent to the passing of yet another legend, the Reverend Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian. While not a betting man, I am willing to wager that our children, particularly our African-American children do not know who these two African-American heroes are. I would be willing to bet that if you approached an African-American high school senior who just graduated in June of 2020 or perhaps even an African- American Class of 2020 college graduate and asked them about these two gentlemen, they would not recognize their names much less tell you anything about them or what they did. Why??? Because they were never taught about them, that's why. They were not taught about them at home or at school. 

While I love the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (and I do), our children must learn about more than just him and Rosa Parks. It is incumbent upon us as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, principals, superintendents, pastors, and preachers to direct our children's attention to strong images like themselves in order for their self-respect to develop and grow. According to Dr. Akbar, we must honor and exalt our own heroes and those heroes must be people who have done the most to dignify us as a people. I could not agree more. Your average Caucasian or African-American child can only name Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks when pressed to name an African-American hero. In most instances, you will get the name of an athlete or entertainer. Quoting from Breaking The Chains Of Psychological Slavery again: 
"Entertainers and athletes are the popular heroes of the African-American community. Physical prowess or comic exploit are the only characteristics Black heroes are permitted to express. Intellectual acuity, prophetic vision, moral integrity, technological know-how, and managerial efficiency are characteristics seldom, if ever, portrayed."
The African-American community must do a better job to educate its own children. Black history curriculums, Amistad laws, and teaching mandates have their place; however, they do not surpass the teaching that is handed down from generation to generation from parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  We [African-Americans] must help our children connect the dots between themselves and their ancestors. 

Last week I visited for the second time in a number of years the Ferncliff Cemetary in Hartsdale, New York. It's only about 30 miles away from my home and a nice little drive just to relax. There are many notables buried in Ferncliff including Malcolm X and his wife Betty, Paul Robeson, James Baldwin, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, Adolph Caesar, Whitney M. Young, Jr. and Northern J. Calloway (I visited all of their gravesites). Many more notables such as Judy Garland and Cab Calloway are also entombed there. As I visited each grave, I literally felt connected to each one even though I had never met any of them in person. 

I placed flowers on the grave of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and his wife Betty. As I visited each grave, I reflected upon his/her contribution to the world. Now I know for some of you reading this, it may seem strange to walk around a cemetery, however, for me, it is an experience of connecting with my ancestors. I know the spirit speaks because the very next day someone posted on Vero - True Social, a social media platform similar to Instagram, a debate between Malcolm X and James Baldwin (see below). 

I had literally been at the gravesites of those two men one day prior to the post and whoever posted that post on Vero did not know me from Adam's housecat, yet that post appeared. It was as if Malcolm and James were letting me know that I had visited them the day before. 



"to handicap a student for life by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless, is the worst kind of lynching. It kills one's aspirations and dooms him to vagabondage and crime."
I'll wager another bet that most of the names that I listed above would not be familiar to a teenager in 2020. Maybe Malcolm X and that's a maybe. Folks, we must do better in educating ourselves and our children in terms of where we have come from and the great contributions that African-Americans have made to the world. By doing so, the self-esteem and self-respect of all of us and particularly our young African-Americans can do nothing else but increase. Let's get out there and make our ancestors proud.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 


 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

"KING"



Guest Post By Miles Jaye

 

I have a recurring dream in which I imagine where we might be had they not taken our King. King, like David, had a heart for God. In the Old Testament, the book of Judges and both books of Kings illustrate the fate of a people whose hearts stray from the will of God. When corruption, idolatry and greed infect God’s people like a virus, the punishment is horrible, the outcome-- predictable. It was the job of the prophets to remind them of the consequences of disobedience and unfaithfulness. In my dream, America was Judah, America was Israel and King was our prophet.

King was always recognized as a legitimate Negro leader. He was respectable, predictable, and his peaceful protests posed no threat to the status quo or the power elite. His rhetoric and methods may have been considered weak and ineffective by some, but the government found him useful, pliable, so they indulged and tolerated him. 

What may have been overlooked is the fact that a true leader, a gifted tactician conceals his strategy until time to strike. Also underestimated was King’s willingness to interact with other influential Black leaders. In this essay, which I admit is more of a collection of timely and relevant quotes, I share the wisdom and warnings of a prophet to his people. My comments are simply an attempt to apply a 2020 context.

“Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or obtain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community, but most of all, alienated from society and knowing society cherishes property above people, by abusing property rights.”  

Here he stresses their value of property over human life, begging the question, do Black Lives Matter?

“We suffer domestic colonialism. We must achieve self-determination.”

If, according to Webster, colonialism is: “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”, what is domestic colonialism and how do we apply it to our condition? How do African people best achieve self-determination within a Western societal construct? Diasporic Identity? Diasporic Double-Consciousness?

“Throughout our history, laws affirming Negro rights have consistently been circumvented by ingenious evasions which render them void in practice. Laws that affect the whole population-- draft laws, income-tax laws, traffic laws, manage to work even though they may be unpopular; but laws passed for the Negro’s benefit are so widely unenforced that it is a mockery to call them laws.” 

Yes, it is a mockery, as they were never actually for our benefit, nor are they now.

“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.” 

Agreed, but is the issue democracy or capitalism and can the two co-exist?

“I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to “justice”; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…” 

I suffer no such disappointment. If the “justice” I seek is fair treatment from the very one, the very system which benefits from my oppression and maltreatment, I’m disappointed in my own naivete.

“I’ve come to the realization that I think we may be integrating into a burning house.” 

Yes, and either we are so resolute, so determined to demonstrate our fidelity, by attempting to extinguish the fire, or we simply enjoy the smell of smoke.

“White people view Black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the Black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls. I don’t see school integration successfully happening right now and being beneficial… It will be disastrous.” 

It amazes me that we agonize over leftovers and hand-me-downs as though whatever they have is better? I waste no time with their low opinion of me or of my race. What white people think of our intellect is irrelevant. It’s what we believe that is relevant. Have we not educated the world? Do we now beg for participation in a brain-numbing education system that perpetuates the perception of our inferiority? 
 
“There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who will seek profit for themselves from the struggle. There are even some Negroes who will cooperate with their oppressors. The hammer blows of discrimination, poverty and segregation must warp and corrupt some. No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy.” 

So sad, so true! No names please! Have one of those hammers handy?

“The trouble is that we live in a failed system. Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we’re going to have to change the system.” 

Fifty years later and we haven’t changed the system. The question is, has the system failed or has it worked perfectly well for descendants of the small privileged few you call Framers and Founding Fathers. I don’t hear them complaining.
 
“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low-interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm and they are the very people telling the Black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. This is what we are faced with and this is a reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this Poor People’s campaign, we’re coming to get our check.”

Once King’s strategy became evident, his “neutralization” became inescapable, a foregone conclusion. Already a target of Hoover’s COINTELPRO program, King was no longer deemed harmless, but was now a clear and present danger-- an enemy of the state. Regrettably, the speech he planned for the Poor People’s Campaign, “America May Have to Go to Hell,” was never heard. 

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College.

An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics.

While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY.

Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances.

Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here.

Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s.

In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools.

Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.


Friday, June 26, 2020

What’s on Miles’ Mind?


“TIRED”
By Miles Jaye

In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer, one of this country’s greatest folk leaders ever, made famous these humble,
yet powerful words; “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I say, in 2020; “I’m suffering from a
severe case of rhetoric fatigue.” Different times, different words, same fatigue.

I’m tired of the same rhetoric, the same questions, the same answers, the same interviews with the same familiar names and faces, the same broken promises, and the same fake empathy. I’m tired of the same old analysis of racism and the “problems that plague America”, as though we don’t know. We know! It’s inconceivable that we do not know!

I’m tired of hearing about a few bad apples, or about the good cops. I’m tired of having MLK quotes
thrown at me like smoke bombs. I’m tired of White folks cherry-picking good Black folks to interview. Interview Pence, Barr, McConnell, Graham. Interview Joel O’Steen, not T.D. Jakes. Interview the KKK Grand Wizard, not Kamala Harris or Cory Booker. Give Van Jones and brother Bakari Sellers a break. Give me a break! I’ve heard it all... all my life, and I’m tired of it. And please, Stop Begging! Stop begging evil, hateful folks, for kindness and humanity. Stop it!

If you’re not Black, but you’re human, and you somehow do not understand why we are sick and tired, spiritually and emotionally fatigued, then read the words spoken by Ms. Hamer dating back to the early sixties. If you have a heart, if you have a soul, you may find that you too will feel some degree of spiritual exhaustion, your heart heaving, your soul weak and weary, your eyes swelling with tears. If not, I know I’m supposed to pray for you, but I’m tired. I know I’m supposed to love you anyway, but I’m tired.

I suggest you pray! Study the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew and you pray. I’m tired!
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

These are the words of a simple, but brilliant, and courageous, country girl, who ‘shook up the world’.

“See Mississippi is not actually Mississippi’s problem. Mississippi is America’s problem. Because if America wanted to do something about what is going on in Mississippi it could have been stopped by now. It wouldn’t have been, in the past few years, between 40 and 50 churches bombed and burned. You see, and this leads me to say, you know, all of the burning and bombing that was done to us, and the houses, nobody never said too much about that, and nothing was done. But let something be burned, you know, by a Black man, and then my God. You see, the flag is drenched with our blood. Because, you see, so many of our ancestors was killed because we have never accepted slavery. We had to live under it, but we never wanted it. So, we know that this flag is drenched with our blood. So what the young people are saying now, give us a chance to be young men, respected as a man, as we know this country was built on the black backs of Black people across this country, and if we don’t have it, you ain’t gone have it either, ‘cause we gone tear it up. That’s what they’re saying. And people ought to understand that. I don’t see why they don’t understand it. They know what they’ve done to us. All across this country, they know what they’ve done to us. This country is desperately sick, and man it’s on the critical list. I really don’t know where we go from here.”
 
“It wasn’t too long before 3 White men came to my cell. One of these men was a state highway patrolman. He said, ‘we going to make you wish you was dead’. I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two negro prisoners. The state highway patrolman ordered the first negro to take the blackjack. The first negro began to beat. And I was beat by the first negro until he was exhausted. After
the first negro had beat me until he was exhausted. The state patrolman ordered the second negro to take the blackjack. The second negro began to beat and I began to work my feet. The state highway patrolman ordered the first negro had beat to sit on my feet. To keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one White man got up and began to beat me in my head and to tell me to hush. All of this on the count of we want to register to become first class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America, is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to
sleep with our telephones off of the hooks, because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings in America. Thank you”
I’m tired, but I still pray for peace, justice, and righteousness! M

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College.

An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics.

While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY.

Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances.

Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here.

Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s.

In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools.

Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.

Website: www.milesjaye.net

Email: milesjaye360@gmail.com


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Has God "Damned" America or Has America "Damned" Herself?


Has God damned America or has America damned herself? is the question and topic of this post. In 2008 the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, then pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and who now serves as the pastor emeritus of the church used the words "God", "damn" and "America" in the same sentence. He was juxtaposing this line with what is commonly said, which is "God Bless America."  The attention to this sermon came as then Senator Barack Obama was seeking the presidency as Senator Obama was a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ. Pundits tried to use Reverend Wright's sermon as one of the reasons that Barack Obama should not become President of the United States. The rhetoric surrounding the sermon was a usual divide and conquer tactic as well as yet another way to share distorted and "alternate facts" with the American Public. Thankfully, the tactic did not succeed even though it did cause some uneasy moments given the relationship between Senator Obama and his pastor. Ultimately, Barack Obama did become president and served for two terms and Reverend Wright's words have manifested into reality over and over again even up to the writing of this blog post in May of 2020. 

Definition of Damn


That's the Cliff Notes backdrop to this post today and my question that is an offshoot of Dr. Wright's statement in 2008. My question though is, Is God the one doing the damning, or is America damning herself? As a child raised in a Christian home, we were taught never to take or use God's name in vain and to steer away from profanity; in fact, of all of the profane or blasphemous words that could come out of one's mouth, "Goddamn"  was at the top of the list. That word you just did not use. You might be able to get by with "Hell," "Ass," and maybe even the "F" word; however, you just did not say the word "Goddamn." Yet, Rev. Wright was using the term in his sermon in a church, and in my view he was absolutely, one hundred percent correct. 

I had the honor of meeting Reverend Wright on a few occasions and he made a lasting impression on me each time. My first experience with Reverend Wright was at a Hampton University Ministers Conference in the late '80s or early '90s on the campus of Hampton University. His sermon title was Prophetic or Pathetic? and it was taken from 1 Kings, Chapter 13. I've never forgotten that sermon and have cited that very book of the Bible, chapter, and verse in prior posts as I see parallels between Trump and the character in that story Jeroboam. 

Will Smith
So here we are in 2020 making our way through a world-wide COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic while at the same time racial atrocities are continuously on the rise. Those of us on social media are encouraging readers to "Say the names" of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who have not received major media coverage. Protests have broken out all over the country eerily similar to the protests during the '60s. I even wonder if Making America Great Again (MAGA) meant taking us back to the '60s because it is so strikingly similar. I guess Will Smith said it best where he is quoted as saying "Racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed." And even when it is filmed dating back and beyond to Rodney King, people of color wind up with the short end of the stick. The video of the gunning down of Ahmaud Arbery was immediately questioned upon release. Even when we are "seeing" it, the oppressors try to make us not believe what we are seeing. 

Going back to the Bible again, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, it reads:

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
In my view, America has not turned from her wicked ways nor has she humbled herself. If anything we have become more wicked even during this pandemic crisis. So to paraphrase this verse and put it into context and for the premise of this post, since we [America] are refusing to turn from our wicked ways or humble ourselves we are indeed "damning" ourselves. What else can you call it but damning when we are not hearing from God/Heaven because of what we keep refusing to do? It is not necessarily that God is damning America, however, we are damning ourselves with our behavior and lack of love for mankind and each other. Ahmaud, George, Breonna, and so many others were human beings just as their perpetrators are human beings. In a previous post, (There Are A Lot Of Things Wrong With This Picture) a woman held a sign that read something to the effect of her being human compared with a dog and a slave who I guess are not considered human. A dog is not a human; however, slaves were humans. Sadly, there are folks out there who treat dogs and cats better than they do fellow human beings. Amy Cooper, a Caucasian female had absolutely no reservations whatsoever about making a hysterical call to the police accusing Christian Cooper, a Black man (no relation) of harassing her when he was not knowing full well how the police would react to a White woman calling about a Black man harassing her (sound familiar - Emmett Till). That's what I mean by wickedness or us not turning from our wicked ways. The misery, hatred, and wickedness that is spewed from the White House whether it is by Tweet or from the microphone is the wickedness and not humbling of oneself that I am referring to. From where I sit, unless some big league or "Bigly" changes are made, our land is not going to heal and this pandemic may only be the beginning. I'm sure you Bible scholars out there know about the 10 Plagues. 

When I share THE CRITICAL THINKER across platforms, I always ask folks to read, think, reflect, and share. I really do not care if you agree or disagree; however, I encourage you as the reader to at least think about the premise of the post. Where are you based on the information that is written in the post? Are you a part of the problem or the solution? Are you the oppressor or the oppressed? I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and as always, thanks for reading, and of course, this is something to critically think about. 


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Racial Oppression Groundhog Day


I was reading HOW WE FIGHT WHITE SUPREMACY by Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin and came across a line in one of the essays in the book that read "Why do people refuse to learn the lessons of our abundant history of racial oppression?' kind of Groundhog Day." With all of the current events related to race occurring as I write, this line leaped up at me from the page or in my case the Ipad screen. I thought the phrasing of the question/sentence was a perfect description of where we are racially in 2020. So, I went online to do a quick research of the movie Groundhog Day and found the following synopsis:
 
A cynical TV weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again when he goes on location to the small town of Punxsutawney to film a report about their annual Groundhog Day. He needed to see his disrespect of them through many incarnations of the day and change his attitude. Only when his attitude was proved to be changed by his love of Rita, was he able to escape the time loop.
Needless to say, I intentionally bolded and underlined keywords in the synopsis to emphasize the parallels with our society and world today. Like in the plot of the movie, sadly, we are reliving the blatant display of racism, racial hatred, and supremacy over and over again. Every day we are seeing on the news and through social media the brutalization of People of Color by Caucasians that is no different than what occurred historically hundreds of years ago and what I am calling based on that line in the book, "racial oppression groundhog day." 

Let's read just three (as I am sure there were many more) of the headlines appearing over the last few days, shall we...

  • Four Minneapolis officers fired after video shows one kneeling ...
  • Ahmaud Arbery killing being investigated as federal hate ...
  • White woman fired after calling police on black man who asked her to leash her dog
In the first two instances, an African-American male was killed (Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd) and in the third, Christian Cooper, an African-American male could have been killed as an intentionally deadly Emmett Till like scenario was set up by Amy Cooper (no relation) a Caucasian woman. 

Ironically, Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback started protesting police brutality and the treatment of minorities by kneeling during the National Anthem during the opening of the NFL games. The movement caught on with players around the league. Kaepernick went on record saying "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." Kaepernick and his colleagues were lambasted by Donald Trump as he blasted them saying "Get that son of a bitch off the field."  I find it interesting that the officers in Minneapolis nor the good ole' boys in Georgia were referred to as "Son's of bitches"  by the president. I'm sure they fall into the category of "very fine people."  It was not okay for the protesters to kneel while the anthem was being played, but it was okay for that officer to kneel on a Black man's neck. Something is wrong with that picture. So very, very wrong. 

Okay, let's parallel our racial situation to the Groundhog Day synopsis. 

  • Cynical TV weatherman ------------- Racist/Supremacist
  • Rita ----------------------------- Everyone else who is not like or different from the racist/supremest 
In the movie, the change did not occur until the cynical weatherman was shown and realized how disrespectful and hateful he was and made the conscious decision to change his disposition; his view of everyone else who was not like him; his attitude. Then he had to "prove" that he was really changed and that proof was in his showing love to others. It was only then that he was able to escape the time loop. 

We will not be able to escape the racial time loop until all of those who are racists/supremacists either make the change like the cynical TV weatherman did or we will have to wait until they all die off of the planet with the hopes that the following generations know better and refuse to be a part of any type of racist/supremacists views and beliefs. Love is the key to escaping the time loop. 

It seems we have gone backward in time where it is open season on Black men or anyone for that matter who is not a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) male. Something has got to give, otherwise, Rapper, Ice Cube may have a point when he states  “How long will we go for Blue On Black Crime until we strike back?”  Something to critically think about. 




Monday, May 25, 2020

When You Seriously Think About It, How Much "Freedom" Has Been Lost?

 Okay folks, let's get real. In all seriousness, how much "freedom" if you will, have been lost as a result of the Covid-19 shelter-in-place? I mean seriously, when you think about it, have we really "lost" freedom or have we been temporarily inconvenienced? Slavery?  Really?

Like anyone else, I am more than ready to get out of the house and go about my normal routine; however, our current situation restricts me from doing so. I don't consider this a loss of my freedom though. We have been dealing with and are still dealing with a virus that is highly contagious and one that carriers of it can be asymptomatic. Yes, you can be infected and infecting others and not know it. It can be unbeknownst to you and to the people around you, hence the wearing of masks and the social distancing policies. 

I've been watching this rebellious nonsense by many who quite frankly if they were to become ill due to their selfish behavior, I would not have one wit of compassion. I have lost colleagues, and friends due to this virus who had their entire lives ahead of them. One was only forty-six years
old had just received his Doctorate degree and leaves behind a wife and two young daughters. (photo to left)

These rebels without a cause (at least they think they have one) are endangering their own lives and the lives of others to go to a beach? A nail salon? The boardwalk?  Again I say, really? Seriously? We have been in this situation for over two months now and we still do not have a handle on how it is spread, who catches it, how various bodies react to it or whether or not it is mutating or stabilizing. We are still trying to figure out if you get it and survive it, are you now immune to it?

The folks in these photos willfully defying the Stay-at-home recommendations and being all up in each other's faces are playing with an element that they know not of. They think they are being smart, funny, or that they know more than the scientists and doctors who made the policies.  They are listening and following a president whose vocabulary taps out at "good," "bad," "sad," "many" and a few more kindergarten words. Oh and lest I forget the word "Obama."  That word he knows backward and forwards. However, I digress.

These are crazy times and we will not be able to move forward if folks keep behaving in ways that are going to set us back. As sure as I am writing this, the areas in which these folks in the photos live are going to quickly start showing spikes in the number of COVID-19/Coronavirus cases. Mark my words. It did not or does not have to be but for the blatant defiance of things that have been put into place to help us to stay safe and for the virus to move on or at least slowdown.

With foolish behavior as shown in these photos, there is no telling when we will come out of this because we will keep going in what I call a "stupid loop." Okay, so what you got a chance to go outside and go to the beach, get some sun and walk the boardwalk, but the question is going to be, was it worth your or your loved ones' life? If you were to ask my colleague's widow or two daughters, I doubt if they would answer yes.

We have crazy demonstrators in Kentucky who hanged an effigy of Democratic state governor Andy Beshear from a tree. Folks going out in droves saying "To Hell with social-distancing and staying home," coughing intentionally on people in stores and restaurants because they are asked to wear a mask, and then we wonder why the country is not healing. It is not going to heal with behavior like this. Something is wrong with too many Americans who can watch our death toll rise above one hundred thousand and still act as if going to the beach is a top priority. There are some seriously seared souls and conscious' out there. Sadly, under our current leadership (or lack thereof) in the White House, we are getting worse and not better.

I need someone to tell me what freedoms we have lost. Yes, we are definitely being inconvenienced. Yes, we are frustrated and tired of being in the house, but a loss of freedom? I don't think so. I can still go to the grocery store; I can cook the food that I purchased at the store; I still have a roof over my head; I can still take a walk or ride my bicycle; I can still call my loved ones and see them on Zoom, FaceTime and Google Meet; and I can cut or wash my own hair. I just don't see what freedom I have lost. There is a difference between losing freedom and being inconvenienced. I'll stop here. I really do not care if you agree or disagree, however, I would have you the reader think about some of the points brought out in the post.

Something to critically think about.





Wednesday, May 20, 2020

There Are A Lot Of Things Wrong With This Picture

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across the post you see in the picture to your left. Immediately the "What's wrong with this picture?" phrase arose in my mind. I noticed the layout of the two photos before I read @UjuAnya's words written above them.
I hadn't gotten to the words in the post because I was fixated on the words that appear on the sign "MUZZLES ARE FOR DOGS AND SLAVES. I AM A FREE HUMAN BEING."

I cannot express for you here in this blog post the mix of emotions and thoughts that seeing that woman carrying that sign with those words, brought up within me. Follow me here in the story and keep in mind my emotions began stirring BEFORE I read the words or shall I say the history lesson above the photos given by Uju Anya. I was already silently yelling "The last time I looked, slaves were human beings too!"  at the red bandannaed, sunglassed clad caucasian woman holding the sign. I was yelling at her for placing the slave woman and a dog in the same category while identifying herself as a "free human being." I found myself still yelling at this woman with the question, "So, a free human being is a human being but an enslaved human being is not a human being?" Yeah ok, message received. I was literally yelling at the computer screen.  I noticed how in that woman's eyes a slave and a dog are in the same category.

Now, I have already addressed the issue of our having to shelter-in-place for our safety being compared with slavery and the right to protest and attempt to force states to re-open being compared with the Civil Rights Movement in a previous blog post I HAVE HAD IT WITH THE NAMES OF ROSA PARKS AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BEING INVOKED IN THE STAY AT HOME ORDER PROTESTS and podcast Why We Cannot And Must Not Compare Our Current Health Precautions With Slavery And Anti-Lockdown Protests with the Civil Rights Movement, so I am not going to rehash that here. You can liken this latest atrocity to being in the same ballpark but sitting in different sections of the stadium. This pictorial layout in the Twitter post and the wording of the sign are historically and presently indicative of what far too many people believe and it is because of these beliefs that we are experiencing and witnessing these aberrant behaviors. Folks have become empowered and emboldened due to the behavior of the current president. Hatemongers are living vicariously through Donald Trump's vanity, insensitivity, roughness, and rawness. They secretly wish they could do what he does, so to them he is their hero.

When it comes to our racial history in terms of the interactions between Caucasians and African Americans/People of Color, I am nowhere close to naive and was not shocked by what I was seeing in that Twitter post. Shocked, no. Saddened, incensed, insulted, enraged; yes, hence the mix of emotions I was referring to. Nor am I playing the "race card." If anyone is playing the race card, it is the woman comparing herself to a black slave who in her mind is not human and holding a sign referring to her "free" whiteness also known as "white privilege." Her wording, not mine. If you are following me, then you know I have not arrived at the point in the story where I read the words ABOVE the photos.

After re-reading and yelling at the computer screen, my eyes went above the photo and read the history of Anastácia the slave woman. When I read the words "Her mistress ordered that iron spike torture device put to deform her face and squeeze her neck out of rage and jealousy that her husband would not stop raping Anastácia," that's when I saw it. Saw what? Well, I'm glad you asked. I saw the pattern. The same exact pattern that I'm seeing from Donald Trump in terms of Barack Obama, or George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, or the recent Ahmaud Arbery slaying and so many countless others. The same pattern. Blame the African American for something that is being done to him/her. It was the mistress's husband who was doing the raping yet the mistress took punitive action against Anastácia the victim and not her husband the perpetrator. Donald Trump since his Birther nonsense has been placing the metaphoric iron spike torture device to deform Obama's face and squeeze his neck out of rage, jealousy, and racism. Like Anastácia, Obama was raped by Mitch McConnell when Mitch proudly proclaimed that they were going to block everything Obama put in place and make him a one-term president. Mitch and the crew blocked what they could over the eight years (two terms) and what they didn't block then, Trump has been overturning since he has been in office. Again, only because Obama is an African American man. Donald Trump is obsessed with overturning and obliterating everything Barack Obama put into place not because it was necessarily bad, but only because Barack Obama is an African American. He is pathologically lying and making things up about Obama when in reality it is him [Trump] who is the incompetent one.

Think about that for a moment, Anastácia was tortured for having to suffer the torture of multiple rapes. She was now wearing a torture device as a result of her being raped! We continue to see the same thing happening to People of Color by white supremacists in 2020. The woman in the photo had absolutely no problem at all carrying a protest sign that defined herself as a human being while implying that a slave was not a human being and at the same level if not less than a dog. I'm sure she is a very fine person.

Yes, there are a lot of things wrong with that picture and I bet if folks were asked to pick out what was wrong, they could not. Sadly, it is in the DNA. It is in the subconscious. It is in the subliminal. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

I HAVE HAD IT WITH THE NAMES OF ROSA PARKS AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BEING INVOKED IN THE STAY AT HOME ORDER PROTESTS


The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for blacks to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. The Civil War had officially abolished slavery, but it didn’t end discrimination against blacks—they continued to endure the devastating effects of racism, especially in the South. By the mid-20th century, African Americans had had more than enough of prejudice and violence against them. They, along with many whites, mobilized and began an unprecedented fight for equality that spanned two decades.  Source: History.com  https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement

I have had it with folks comparing the Civil Rights Movement and its major participants, particularly Rosa Parks and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Stay-At-Home Order protests. They are not the same thing nor anywhere close. One had to do with people fighting against being blatantly and arrogantly brutalized mentally, emotionally, and physically while the other is a protest to break restrictions that are designed to keep the masses healthy and safe. It feels like we are metaphorically trying to outrun a tsunami. By staying home we hope we are outrunning the virus. The question is, can we do it? Yes, this too shall pass; however, we are trying to ensure that WE don't pass before it passes.

This was the title of an article in TIME magazine. White House Advisor Reportedly Compares Protesters Fighting States' Stay-at-Home Orders to Rosa Parks. This was another article appearing in THE DAILY BEASTHouston Official Compares Anti-Social Distancing Protesters to Rosa Parks. This tells me once again that White privilege, racism, and ignorance are in play. In fact, it supports my theory that Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. are the only two names of African Americans that many White folks know (Okay, Barack Obama by default). It also shows me that any efforts or achievements that are gained by people of color (African Americans) have not been and are still not taken seriously. Look at the efforts made by this president to totally erase the accomplishments and achievements of his predecessor who was an African American. It's the same old pattern repeated over and over again.


How can the desire to lay up somewhere on a beach; get a manicure; get a haircut; get a massage; work out at the gym; eat in a restaurant, and the list could go on, compare to being beaten, killed and having no rights simply because of the color of one's skin? It does not! Yet, the names of Rosa Parks and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. keep being invoked as a comparison to what the foolish protestors are doing in response to the Stay-At-Home orders that are in place to keep us alive. The Civil Rights Movement was about keeping Black folks alive because White folks were killing them while the Stay-At-Home orders are about keeping White folks and Black folks from dying in a pandemic. Is it that these folks have a death wish? This virus is not a plaything. This is not some video game where when the COVID-19 all-clear sign is given that the folks who died during the pandemic will come back to life. They are gone forever. People are losing their lives to this virus and you have some worrying about not being able to get a haircut. Give me a break, please!!!!  Folks need to understand that there are beauticians who work at funeral homes who give haircuts when preparing a body for final viewing and the funeral.

This is probably one of the more scathing and harshest posts that I have written only because it is so serious. Daily, I receive news that someone else that I know/knew has passed away from COVID-19 related complications and we have these "Yahoos" and highly insane criminals (HIC's) who are more concerned with a damned haircut or lying on the beach than keeping themselves and their fellowman safe. Staying home is not just about you. It is also about the folks who you will come in contact with when you are lying on that beach.

This pandemic has really exposed how foolish and undisciplined people can be. I saw a meme that said the United States is nothing more than a third world country wearing a Gucci belt. Sadly, our reaction to this pandemic pretty much confirms the meme. At this point, we really aren't doing much better than as the president would say, the "shithole countries." And then to top it all off, some have the audacity and unmitigated gall to compare their actions with the actions of Rosa Parks. I have had it with the names of Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. being invoked inappropriately!! These Stay-at-Home protests are not even on the same planet as the Civil Rights Movement and not one of the participants in these current protests can carry the handbag (and I'm being nice when I use the example of a handbag) of Rosa Parks. This post is not to offend; however, if the shoe fits, wear it. I end with this photo that has been appearing on social media:



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

It Is My Prayer That This COVID-19 Experience Will Make Us More Appreciative Of Everything

 Initially, I was going to post the words that are now the title of this release on Facebook as a general post. But then it dawned on me that the thought was bigger than just a one-liner on Facebook. Now I may still post it as a one-liner; however, I believe the notion needs to be expounded upon with the hopes that it will actually happen.

The idea came to me as I was returning home from a task that prior to this COVID-19 experience I dare to say was a task that not much thought was given to by anyone even though it is something we all have to do at some point and could be considered mundane or routine..........grocery shopping. For a little over a month now, life as we know it changed quickly and drastically as a result of the coronavirus lockdown that was put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Lockdowns occurred around the world as more and more cases of the coronavirus and deaths occurred. Schools, churches, stores, malls, restaurants, movie theaters, amusement parks, local parks, gym chains, massage/skincare franchises, travel & tourism businesses and anything else that was not deemed "essential" were suddenly closed. Everyone with the exception of those who worked for an essential business was told to "Stay home." Talk about a pattern interrupt. Routines changed seemingly overnight. Just about any type of face-to-face interaction was and is now being conducted virtually by video or telephone. Masks and gloves are worn when you must venture out to the supermarket or bank and food can only be ordered via the drive-through or as take-out. Even funeral services are conducted virtually if at all. Yes, life changed in an instant. 

It is for this reason that I am praying and hoping that once we have made our way through this COVID-19 experience, that every one of us is more appreciative of the most minute detail and activity. I hope that we appreciate every person, meeting, activity, and experience like someone who knows what it feels like to be restricted from doing these things. During this COVID-19 experience, we are restricted from being with people, going to collectively worship, learn in a classroom, go to our jobs or say our last goodbyes at a funeral. We are restricted from eating in restaurants or enjoying a movie or riding a rollercoaster. We are restricted from receiving a massage, manicure/pedicure, or hair grooming. We are restricted from working out at the gym, playing basketball in the park or seeing our children play in that same park. We are restricted and once these restrictions are lifted and we have worked our way through this COVID-19 experience we ought to be more appreciative of these things than ever before. It has been said that "You don't miss your water until your well runs dry," and there is some truth in that statement as I am sure we didn't realize how much we would miss the people, gatherings, and activities mentioned above and more until they were taken away from us. 

Let us not take people, activities, things, and abilities that we have been blessed with for granted. Let us be grateful now and once we are beyond this COVID-19 experience take our levels of appreciation and gratitude to unseen heights. Let us experience each experience as if it were our first time. 

Without a doubt, we are a part of history as I cannot recall in my lifetime ever experiencing anything like this. There have been many other crises, yet none required the world to simultaneously shut down. When we are done we are to be more thankful than ever. It is my prayer that this COVID-19 experience will make us more appreciative of everything.

I invite you to reach out to me at marcamedley.com




Monday, March 30, 2020

Be Careful Who You Choose To Follow

"Don't forget, no matter what others do, Think For Yourself."   Those words were a part of what my mom signed in my high school yearbook in 1980. In fact, she went on to say that that was her motto. As a child, this "motto" was drilled into me and my younger sister. This whole notion of not following the crowd when they were doing something wrong was taught over and over again in our home. In fact, when I and my sister were growing up, we were told that if a fight broke out in school or on the way home, that we had better not be in the crowd watching or trying to see what was happening. We were instructed to keep moving, go around it, or if necessary turn back and go in the opposite direction. In other words, we were not to get caught up in the crowd of onlookers.

I start this post with that based on our current crisis with Covid-19. Based on who far too many voters chose to follow [Donald J.Trump], we are losing lives to this pandemic because of that choice. We have the absolute worst combination possible with one of the most devastating viruses of our time coupled with one of the most inept leaders of our time, a leader that folks chose to follow knowing from the beginning that the man was corrupt and incapable of leading a country. There was red flag after red flag prior to the election of 2016 and yet like sheep, enough Americans voted for this man to take office. Even if the Russians interfered and Trump found a way to cheat, there still had to be enough voters voting for him in order for him to win. Russian interference and Trump's cheating alone would not have been enough to get him into the White House. 

This is not the first time lives have been lost due to the followership of some cracked pot leaders who somehow convinced masses of people to do what they [the people] know was not right. They did not think for themselves. They allowed someone else to do the thinking for them. In 1978, Jim Jones was a so-called preacher, faith healer and cult leader who conspired with his inner circle to direct a mass murder-suicide of his followers in his jungle commune at Jonestown, Guyana. More than 900 Americans – members of a San Francisco-based religious group called the Peoples Temple – died after drinking poison at the urging of their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones. 900 people lost their lives because they did not have the ability to think for themselves.

At the time of this writing, there are reports that some Trump supporters 'delight' in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals. Placing yourself in harm's way.....that's really sticking it to 'em boy! This blind followership just does not make sense and really causes one to wonder what goes on in the minds of people who think this way. It is amazing how there are a significant number of people who willingly fall lockstep with a "leader" who is blatantly leading in the wrong direction. A leader who is unapologetically asking people to do what is unethical and immoral.  The fact that Trump was elected actually speaks more to the mindsets of far too many of America's inhabitants than it does of Trump. People are dying and the only thing Trump is concerned with is his television ratings. That is absurd, yet there are still people willing to follow such foolishness.

America is in a sad state of affairs based on who she chose to be her leader. Countries suffering as a result of their leadership choice happened in the Bible on more than one occasion. For example, in 1st Samuel, Chapter 8, Israel asks for a king so they can be like everyone else. Let's see how the story unfolds. Pay close attention to the highlighted areas.

8 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”
Referring to the Bible again, The Ten Plagues of Egypt (10 disasters that God brought on Egypt when Pharoah refused to let the Israelite nation leave; water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the killing of firstborn children) is another example of the sufferage of a country due to its leader. What's to say that this Covid-19 is not plague number one in our modern era? With Trump as our leader, there could be more to come.

I couldn't imagine anyone voting for Trump in 2016 and after everything we have been through with him as our leader, I really can't imagine anyone voting for him in 2020, yet there will be those who for some reason do not have the capacity to see that what the man is doing is wrong. He only cares about "he, himself and he." So goes the head, so goes the rest of the body. America is sick today because it is sick at the top.