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When asked to define “home,” most people will agree that their home is where they are most comfortable and feel most relaxed.  In fact, they often volunteer unsolicited information about items within their home that maximize their comfort level.

From leather recliners to chaise loungers, everyone has that one piece of furniture that puts them most at ease.   Even with differing taste in furnishings, varying size of the homes etc., the dwellings still promote the same feelings of security and pleasure to the owner ​regardless of social standing.

Interestingly enough, during these discussions, most people never mention putting anything in their home that makes them feel uncomfortable or unappreciated.  In fact, even with limited funding, most people go out of their way to make their homes their sanctuaries.

That same need for security within your home is also needed when you exit said home for work or play and, when properly in place, promotes overall health/wellness.  And most people would acknowledge this.  After all, we have laws and rules on the books to protect people from “hostile working environments.”  However, this basic and often taken for granted level of comfort is routinely denied to black people in the United States everyday, resulting in a very different and difficult life for blacks compared to their white counterparts.

If it isn’t harrowing enough, not knowing if law enforcement will see you as a criminal today as a direct result of your skin color,  hairdo, or outfit, you have to contend with walking passed innumerable statues and shrines that pay homage to the slave masters (both past & present) of your people.

Blacks in the US have no choice but to attend institutions that bear the names of the same individuals who not only enslaved their people but who fought then and whose followers fight now to have them remain slaves in some fashion and listen to the cries and murmurings of those who wish to celebrate that legacy of barbarism under the guise of maintaining the integrity of history and tradition.

What’s even more amazing, if possible, is that this particular level of insensitivity has flown under the radar in a country such as the US, which claims religious, cultural and moral superiority over other countries with differing religions, gods, languages, etc. Yet, somehow, from members of Congress to ordinary individuals on the streets, so many people believe it’s okay for blacks to live with the reminders of these and other atrocities every single day.  Not only that, but if blacks bring these points up in any sort of conversation, those on the other side claim that THEY are the ones being persecuted for being who they are and that it is black people who are oppressing them because of their whiteness.

With all of that being the case, I don’t find it a quantum leap to conclude that black people are being told through situations—such as the excused, if not celebrated, murders of blacks by law enforcement officials, as well as the continued overlooked acts of daily cruelty, as discussed above—that the United States is not their home.  If it were, the individuals who run this country and who are in positions of authority in this country would own up to the truth about its history of flagrant mistreatment of black people.  They would make reparations to them, as other nations guilty of genocide and enslavement in the modern era have to their victims.  They would make every effort to ensure the comfort of ALL the nation’s inhabitants and not just a few.  In other words, they would do everything in their power to make sure blacks Americans would “feel” at home in America.

Not tolerated…and certainly not like they should feel grateful for the consequences of the enslavement that cut them off from their native lands and history.

But at HOME…right HERE.

The cultural differences of blacks would be nurtured and celebrated the same as other cultures of people within the US.  Perhaps there would even be areas of town set aside for the advancement and encouragement of black pride and business, which would be especially important for a group of people who arrived to the US on slave ships as opposed to other groups of people, such as the Chinese and Indians, who arrived in the US of their own volition and with their memories and histories intact.  To be clear, I’m not disparaging them.  I’m trying to make a point.

So, let’s think about it.

What is the underlying message to black people, who continue to be disrespected, murdered in the streets by law enforcement and forced to endure daily cruelty at work, rest or play?

What CAN it be?

America is making it loud and clear that this land is not your home.  If it were, at the very least, the same attention to detail currently in place to make other cultures feel at home when they choose America as their new home would be extended to black people who didn’t choose America in the first place, but had it forced upon them.

To recap, when you are at home, you feel welcomed…not alienated.  You feel at peace, not that little concern is being shown for the continued damage to your spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological and financial capability.

Can anybody hear me?

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After watching recent episodes of Jeopardy, I had a real Aha moment.

Approximately every two out of six episodes had at least one category related to African Americans.  The rest of the game board categories contained a combination of academic subjects such as spelling or mathematics and a host of random facts regarding White American interests and/or other history.

To my chagrin, I noticed that each time a category regarding all things African American was included, it was prefaced by the words: African American this or African American that.  The same was not true for other categories.  In fact, the other categories in the game were labeled quite differently and often quite humorously.

I further noted that even when all the answers pertaining to the other categories in the game were regarding White authors, White actors, etc., the categories were never labeled as White Authors or While Actors or White Philosophers.  Author, Actor or Historian were enough.

Why?

Why did and do questions relating to African Americans have to be singled out and specified…both on the show and in life?

Inevitably, after THE category (because it was only one) specifically​ labeled as African American this or African American  that was completed, the remainder of the game board contained information specific to situations celebrated, revered or sometimes even considered less appreciated by white America.  But, regardless of the associated emotion—from love to abject horror—the topics were merely categorized as History, Actors, 18th Century Authors, etc., with only the locations to give them away.

I had no other choice but to, once again, conclude that anyone versed in “White” History—or, as it is usually called, “History” in general—can do well on this particular type of game show as well  SAT/ACT exams and the like, since these mandatory tests are little more than mini-episodes of Jeopardy, minus the musical interlude and snappy comebacks from the host.

However, if that same individual focused on historical matters pertaining to their own history or race of people, they would not do nearly as well in any of these things.  In fact, they would probably not even be considered bright.

Militant maybe…even hateful.  But bright wouldn’t be listed.

Meanwhile, White Americans can and do finish school having learned barely anything about African Americans other than the occasional Black History Month studies.  And let’s face it, even if that is adhered to, it often showcases the same Blacks—e.g. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Charles Drew, etc.—or emphasizes African American athletes and entertainers over the past and present-day contributions of African Americans to Science and Technology.

In 2017, students can finish school with minimal knowledge of African American life while it remains mandatory for these same students to know almost every facet of “White” life in order to be successful on any level of society…including game shows.

And what galls me even more is that, even when African Americans were directly involved in “White history,” we are still overlooked and left out of the history books.  The movie Hidden Figures is just one outstanding example of the squashing of African American contributions to America.  There are many, many others.  Somehow, the story regarding the Space program is included in American History.  However, the African American females integral to the mission were omitted!

Why?

Was this an innocent oversight or a deliberate attempt to white out (pun intended) the contributions of African Americans to society?

I’ll take “deliberate attempt to white out African American contributions to society” for 1000, Alex!

I guess we’ll just shuck and jive or play a few quarters while White Americans make history.

Can anybody hear me?

It seems that every once in a while, something has to happen to remind people that race relations between blacks and whites have not changed much since the days of slavery. As with any point regarding human nature, someone has had to die in order to get it across. The latest, publicized victim is Trayvon Martin. For those living on a different planet, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old kid who, while visiting his father in Florida, was gunned down by a volunteer Neighborhood Watch warden named George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was later acquitted of any wrongdoing.

In fact, some people are saying that young Trayvon contributed to his death as much as Zimmerman. After all, what right did he have to strike another human being? Here’s the thing they fail to consider. For all the talk of whether Martin was a street thug or a scholar, we seem to forget that he was, above all else, a child. He was a young, dumb kid who responded in an immature way to a perceived threat. In his young mind, he was defending himself against a lurking presence that wished to do him harm. He was defending himself as much as Zimmerman claimed to be.

No matter what side of the verdict you find yourself falling on, I think we can all agree on one thing: the entire incident could have been avoided. Zimmerman could have had some identifying factors such as an ID or official uniform that would have revealed his identity to Martin. Consider those worn by the Guardian Angels. They are immediately recognizable as individuals working for the common good. Uniforms and badges give validity and purpose to the people wearing them. They let others know that these are people who, while in positions of some authority, are able to be depended upon.

If this is too over the top, Zimmerman always had a trump card. He could have taken the advice of the dispatch and not have followed Martin in the first place. He could have stayed in his car and “watched” to see what Martin was doing and/or where he was going. After all, Zimmerman was the neighborhood “watch,” not neighborhood “security.”

However, he chose not to do that. Instead, he chose to put his faith in his OTHER trump card—the gun that he was carrying. As a result of his decision, a young man is dead . . . forever!

I guess as a consolation, one of the jurors is now saying that Zimmerman got away with murder.

Okay, tell us something we don’t already know.

She goes on to say that Zimmerman will not escape God’s judgment. Seriously?? Isn’t that the same for any situation or crime? Who can escape God’s judgment? No one. The people were not asking for God’s judgment. The people were asking for man’s judgment. In particular, they were asking six women to judge Zimmerman right here on earth! Now is simply not the time for platitudes and hokey religious sayings. Frankly, I’m not trying to hear them. That kind of thinking is what got us into this mess as a people and will continue to get us in situations such as this. Yes, God is in control of this universe. But constantly eschewing the responsibility of working for justice in this world just ensures that there is never any real accountability for crimes of this nature. Can anybody hear me?

What do you think would happen if the terms, “Christian” or “Christianity” were mentioned every time a crime was committed in the United States. by an everyday, church going American citizen?  For example, the “Christian Rapist” or the “Christian Bomber” committed this crime today.  I mean, this is what happens when a Muslim or someone from a non-European country who falls outside of the Christian faith commits a crime.

For example, whenever a terroristic act occurs, we frequently hear that the perpetrator was Islamic or a Muslim terrorist or an Islamic extremist.  This is often followed by a litany of well-chosen words designed to instill fear in the listener.  If this treatment was the same in all cases, how do you think Christianity would be viewed?  Might it be viewed in the same vein that Islam is today?  With that in mind, we have to ask ourselves if there a campaign to give Islam a bad name while preserving the name of Christianity?

Let’s face it; a lot of our understanding of our society is largely shaped by television and other mass media.  Our views are framed by what we have been told.  Whether you admit it or not, when you are on the train or on a bus and someone of Middle Eastern descent boards, you instantly feel nervous, especially after 9-11.  If the Middle Easterner has the audacity to be wearing a backpack, he could clear off the entire front row if he just pretends to be even slightly agitated!

Nevertheless, when it is a homegrown terrorist, such as Timothy McVeigh, religion often does not come into play.  Why not?  Timothy McVeigh was labeled a lone devil and Christianity got to maintain its good name even while its members continue to commit egregious crimes and horrible social offenses in the United States on a daily basis.  Somehow, Christianity is never discussed when any crimes occur.  So, when a crime is committed by a good old, Sunday-going Christian, their religious background is simply left out.  We may hear that the offender was “slightly off” or “bored” or “socially disaffected/awkward” or simply “wealthy” with nothing better to do then to construct a bomb and use it in a crowded arena.  The one thing we won’t hear is whether the criminal was Baptist, Catholic etc.  No, we won’t hear that.

Can anybody hear me?

The other day, a co-worker came running towards me shouting that she is about to become a grandmother for the first time.  Needless to say, I was excited for her  . . . that is . . . until she went on to say that she was glad that the baby would be going home with the girl and the girl’s mother since her son and the girl are not married.

That’s when I exploded.

I mean, aren’t we women first, and the mothers of sons second?  When did we lose our empathy for the women that we supposedly were teaching our sons to love and cherish?  When did we forget the treatment that we received at the hands of no account men and condone, if not outright encourage, that same behavior in our sons towards young women?  How did it happen?  When did it happen?  How/when did we become so uninterested, so uncaring, so maliciously unconcerned with regard to the girls that our sons mess over (during their learning/experimental phase) while simultaneously nursing our own bad relationship and abandonment wounds?

I confess… I am sorely disappointed by my sisters.  Not all of them, of course.  My disappointment lies solely on the women who have sons (not daughters) and allow their young “men” to devastate the lives of other females without repercussion.  This is particularly sad given the fact that more than a few of these same women are single parents themselves.  Whether abandoned, despised or just plain ignored, they have found themselves in the same position that various young women have been left in by their trifling sons.  These same women raise sons but somehow don’t get the message across to them that it isn’t okay to engage in casual sex with females, make a baby and then go on their merry way, leaving the mother of the child sidelined.

I know, I know, it is important that we make our daughters understand that it is they who are taking the majority of the risk during intercourse (most often, not even good intercourse but, that’s another blog).  Men can participate during the pregnancy; the rearing of the child; and the financial, spiritual, emotional, psychological and educational development of the child if they “choose” to.  Women, on the other hand, don’t have that same level of choice/flexibility.

This is not to say that women are saintly, innocent and/or don’t make mistakes.  Neither do I mean to imply that women are always good parents or bereft of responsibility when it comes to sex.  On the contrary, I mean to emphasize that women are the ones who end up pregnant, not men, so any decision she makes (be it to give birth, to give the baby up for adoption or to abort) will have a lifetime effect on her that it will not have on the man.

In this generation where females have more birth control options at their disposal than ever, there is really no excuse.  Yet, women continue to play Russian Roulette with their lives.  They continue to take unnecessary risk with their futures by depending on and believing in a male (yes, I said male, not man) who makes a lot of pre-sex promises but will fail to deliver. So, perhaps, the mothers of sons can take a different approach.  Perhaps, our sons can benefit from being forewarned that the reality of their momentary need for pleasure is the merging of two families, FOREVER.  I mean, is just any girl worthy of carrying on your family lineage?  Or maybe mothers can teach their sons that the bitterness they feel over the absence of their own father is the same as the child feels for their absence.  Is your absence somehow more reasonable and right than that of your own father?  Can anybody hear me?