Who Are You? Part #2

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 8.48.19 PM.png(Photo Courtesy of Damon Mackin)

Thoughts from a white male. No introduction need because his thoughts were well received.

“Let me preface this with two things…thanks for valuing my opinion enough to even ask me this question and I am approaching this with black men in mind….I have no idea what it means to be a woman in this country, much less a black woman, so I’ll stick to the gender I am familiar with, my own.

I think I can sum the question up in one word…Pressure. And the Pressure is all encompassing. Every responsible adult has a certain amount of pressure upon them, especially if they have children. There’s the pressure to be responsible etc, but that’s all very normal. The Pressure that comes with race however is over and above what’s normal.
To be black in America means to know that a certain segment of society will see race first rather than the human being and in that instant, the first impression is one of race rather than human. A black child grows up with the ability to think, to learn, to love, to hate, to care, to sympathize, to empathize, just as any child does. But at some point in childhood the Pressure starts in. And what I mean by that is despite the individuals ability to think as a stand alone human being, that very thinking is beginning to be judged not just by whites, but by fellow blacks as well. Both races will now judge the individuals thinking based on their own worldview. If a black man thinks he needs to kneel during the national anthem, he’s judged as unpatriotic by whites because he’s suddenly thinking on his own, not following the whites transcript of American life. However if a black man stands up and says I disagree with kneeling during the anthem, it’s disrespectful of the flag, he’s also branded by his own race and being some sort of traitor to the race (Cam Newton took a lot of grief for not fully coming out in support of this very thing).
A black (man) in this country is expected to think a certain way by his racial peers (Pressure). It’s been stated that the black community is not a monolithic one, and that should certainly be true. But to think outside that “norm” gets that same black person derision and labels from a by gone era that in turn create more Pressure on the young, growing, maturing black person. That growing person doesn’t want that same derision from his/her peers because they do not participate in this massive “groupthink”. Some don’t care and forge their own path not necessarily in line with the prevailing patterns of racial thought.
Others however, buy into the “groupthink” without ever exercising their own individual ideas as to what life is about and how they want to conduct themselves as not black individuals, but rather HUMAN individuals. Some honestly believe in it and that’s fine, but my point is some are pressured into it rather than moving in that direction through any individual initiative of their own. The definition of peer pressure, only this time it’s based on race. And then the Pressure comes from the other, white side. They are labeled again, and again with labels perhaps of a by gone era and they are judged just as harshly.”
Hood Citations:
L. Trott – thoughts
Good Articles to Read:

Who Are You? Part #1


We are often plagued with winless fight to true equality because we think we should fight this fight on our own. Dr. King knew we could not win this alone and to this day we must understand we need others by our side; those who sympathize with us, understand what it means to be discriminated upon, those who are willing to risk their comfort to fight alongside the cause.

I have always understood the “fight” is not just ours – it’s about humanity. A friend of mine asked me a question once about ways she could help the plight and I could not give an answer because it’s difficult to ask someone to risk their level of comfortably for the lives of others however, it begged to question what does it mean to be “black.” Not the publicized tv series where rich people walk around with cameras to find those who are willing to give an answer just for the sake of an answer but from one common person to another common person – what does it mean to black to you?

(Photo courtesy of D.Mackin)

Answer from 30+yr old White Woman

“So, I don’t know that this truly answers your original question, but I sat down to write and this is what came out….

I am not black. I don’t know what it’s like to have ancestors who were enslaved by other people. I don’t know what it’s like to teach my children that unless they behave perfectly in interactions with police officers, they might be killed (and that even if they do behave perfectly, they might be killed anyway). I don’t know what it’s like to struggle to find Band-Aids in my skin tone. I don’t know what it’s like to have a museum dedicated to my heritage and culture finally open on the National Mall — 400 years after the first black people arrived in this nation. I don’t know what it’s like to be called exotic, or thug, or the n-word. There is a lot that I don’t know. There is a lot that I can’t know.

I am not black, but I am a human being. And being black in America is something I observe, if not experience, every day. I absolutely know that I cannot speak for black America — and I also know that there may be no such thing as one single black America, simply due to the incredible diversity within a community that’s often painted with one broad stroke of the brush. But I saw Dae’Anna Reynolds comfort her mother as Philando Castile bled out in the passenger seat. I saw a murderer successfully defend himself after shooting a black teenager carrying nothing but Skittles. Just today, I saw a black female doctor recount a story of being ignored on an airplane when the flight attendants called for medical assistance and she volunteered. I see the anguish and exhaustion of black Americans who have simply had enough — and yet it keeps on coming.

But lest you think that, like Donald Trump, I only see being black in America as something to be remedied — to be pitied — I also see joy, and community, and power. I saw Black Lives Matter come together and make its voice heard when its members were too frustrated and angry to continue living in silence. I saw #oscarssowhite become a trend when black Americans and their allies grew tired of black invisibility in film culture, and I saw Hamilton rocket to the top of the cultural zeitgeist for its portrayal of our founding fathers as black and Latino men. I see joy in the face of Zoe, the two-year-old black girl who became Internet famous when her mother posted her first-day-of-school picture on Twitter, her eyes alight and her tongue poking out of her mouth in a goofy grin.

I can’t experience it myself, so I can only see being black in America through these glimpses, and thousands and thousands of other glimpses like them, into other people’s lives. I know that my countrymen are struggling, and that I could be doing more to help. I don’t ask that they educate me in what I could be doing; I know that’s my responsibility to discover on my own. But I also know that black America has its successes and triumphs and happinesses, and I refuse to discount those. For now, I can continue to pay attention to the people and the culture around me — to Zoe, to the cultural significance of dreadlocks, to that female doctor on the airplane, to the black/white wage gap, to Philando Castile, to Michelle Obama, to the black man who panhandles on my street corner — to so much and so many who help make up the rich fabric of the world in which I live. And I can pay attention to, and learn from, the millions of Americans whose struggles and joys I cannot begin to truly understand, but with whom I nonetheless share the most important trait of all — humanity.”

-A.L.D 2016

Our Dream


Throughout the years there have been the brave, the bold, the many; each willing to risk their lives for the African/Black American Community.  They fought for unity, they fought for respect; they fought to live, they fought for life – they fought for us.

From the dawn of Africans enslaved to now, we pay/should pay respect to those who have paved the way to make it possible for “equality.”  From Elizabeth Freeman, the first former slave to win a freedom suit; Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, writer, activist; Harriett Tubman, a humanitarian and activist; Edgar Nixon, Montgomery Bus Boycott Organizer and activist; Bayard Rustin, civil rights, socialism and gay rights; Rosa Parks an activist and inspiration to Montgomery Bus Boycott; Malcolm X an activist; and W.E.D. DuBois founder of the NAACP.

Today, we pay our respects to a man who sacrificed his life for the plight of our community, for America, for the dream.  Today we pay respect to man who gave us hope that one day we could be equal.  We pay respect to a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the former President of the SCLC.  We pay respect to a man who had a huge impact on the Civil and Voting Right Acts being passed.  We know him for his iconic, “I Have a Dream” speech.  This man brought all creeds, color, religions, and backgrounds together.  We pay respects to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

(Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com)

Over 13 years, he was the leader/face of the “American Civil Rights Movement.”  African Americans achieved more progress towards racial equality in America than the previous 350 years.  “Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s prominent advocate of non violence and one of the greatest non violent leaders in world history (The King Center).”  Drawing inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi he found alternative ways to protect/fight without violence.

  • E.D Nixon head of the local NAACP chapter met with Dr. King to plan a city wide bus boycott lasting 382 days (walking and carpooling to get to their destination) that led to the Supreme Court ruling to integrated public transportation in Montgomery.
  • He stood behind the college students who used non violent “sit – in’s” at segregated restaurants – leading  to a successful ending of segregation at lunch counters in 27 southern cities by August 1960.
  • Due to his increasing national notoriety he became a target for unjust harassment from “authority,” but that did not stop him giving up on us; it did not stop his dream.  “On August 20, 1963, the historic March on Washington drew more than 200,000 people in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial (bio.com),” when he gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
  • 1965, after the infamous “Bloody Sunday” and various obstacles placed in their way, he, once again led his follower cross the Pettis Bridge, kneeled to pray, then turned back with the support of President Johnson. The march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery (over 250,000) – we shall overcome.  From this, President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “He wanted to broaden his base by forming a multi race coalition to address economic and unemployment problems of all disadvantaged people. (bio.com)”

Dr. King’s life was ended too soon but his dream never faded.  He was that spark of hope for equality and justice for all.  Because of him, many have stepped up to fill his shoes; become another beacon of hope.  The gauntlet has been proverbially passed down.  While we are “equal,” we still have more to accomplish.  While we celebrate his day, his birthday, let’s also look to ourselves to ensure we think about others, share sympathy, find our path – whether it be standing up for someone you see being wronged to finding ways to provide knowledge/substance to the community.  Let’s channel our inner King.

Hood Citations:
Transcript – I Have a Dream Speech  courtesy of archives – https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Audio – I Have a Dream Speech courtesy of npr.com -https://www.npr.org/2010/01/18/122701268/i-have-a-dream-speech-in-its-entirety



Devices repossessing us and gouging souls. We do it to take our pain and problems away. The instant gratification we achieve we strive to feel the sensation again and again. Only to realize when it’s too late that we have abused ourselves, taken away a piece of our lives each time we attempt to fill that void. Each time, we play a game of Chance – will death finally win? Will the last piece of our soul be snatched? Will our family’s finally lose someone they luv?

Then, one day it clicks. I want to live, I want to do better, I want to be better, I want my family… I choose life! This is the dream we want for those whom we luv; we want them to see there is so much more to live for. We want them to understand that with their flaws and all, we are and should be their rock to stand on. They don’t have to look to the outside for help but, search within their family for the answer. The answer is luv, support, strength and it’s never yielding or undying. We want to see them as they once were – we want them untainted – WE WANT THEM!

Sometimes their understanding of this is enough to win them over and show them the light. And, then there are times when the battle is lost and they finally found peace – it’s not the peace we wanted but at least they are now at rest and the demons no longer chase them. I hope they understand that even during their last hours, our luv for them never swayed.

This is for those we lost to demons who repossessed and gouged their souls. You will always be luv’d and never forgotten.

(I do not own the rights to his song)





Religion has been around since mankind has been in existence. Along with religion has also been Agnosticism and Atheism. However comma as soon as you mention the latter, those who associate with them are immediately judge. It’s funny, as much as I think I have an “open mind” and try not to judge – I find myself judging associates of mine because of who they are. Is it because I grew up in a semi religious household? Certain religions have taught us not to accept homosexuality, races, Atheism/Agnosticism, or anything and anyone that does not agree with the “rules” of their religion. It wasn’t until I went to the 13th grade and took a “Religion of the World’s” course, that I began to learn about other religions and what they have to offer. Even with the new found knowledge, I still hadn’t learned, truly, about Atheism or Agnosticism. Not until now, now that I have people in my life who associate with these ism’s.

Atheism, the absence of belief in the existence of deities – there is no higher being. The etymological root of the word means without god. French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre believes, “Atheism existentialism are concerned less with denying the existence of God than with establishing man needs to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God.”

Agnosticism, is the view that the existence of God, a divine being, or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. William Rowe is quoted as saying, “in the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exist or belief that God does not exist.”

Religion does not need to be explained. In fact, one could say it has been over explained. It is what drives many decisions, what the majority associate themselves with whether it be the various forms of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, Taoism, and many more. If however comma we wanted a more formal context… according to Webster Dictionary: “the state of religious; the service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

What does all this mean, I gave formal definitions with no real world context. I think I can sum it by quoting one of my newfound favorite scientist. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The moment someone attaches you to a movement or philosophy- they assign all its baggage and all its philosophy to you. And, the moment you begin having conversation they insert that know everything important about you because of your association. That’s not the way to have a conversation. Why not just have a ‘real-time’ conversation and explore each other’s ideas/thoughts rather than assign a label to it and insert you know what’s going to happen in advance…I’d rather not be associated with anything.” All of this is exactly what I did. I had a preconceived notion of cynicism being synonymous with atheism and from this I had to take a step back, understand what these forms of ‘isms meant and respect those who associate with them. While this post may be superficial/lack depth I think one could surmise the importance of judgement.

There is a lot of knowledge I have gained from those I meet because of the respect I have for them. Do I agree with everything they say? No. But, I am willing to have an open conversation and understand the various points of view without a pre conceived notion that their view is one way because of who they are associated with rather, the facts they provide regarding the point they are trying to make.



(May not fit entirely with the post but, still a good listen.)

Continue reading



My skepticism has always been whether or not Luv truly exist. I have written several blog posts about and still remain clueless…at times. Given the numerous times I have seen cases of false luv, my notion was that I was correct and everyone who tried to convince me otherwise were wrong. However comma as I mature and have experienced bouts kismet energy, my previous truths have altered slightly. Now, I tend to focus on why people settle, those who were once in luv fell out of luv and why, and how do you keep luv alive.

In the times we live in, the idea finding the perfect soulmate/kindred spirit is slowly fading from the hopefuls. Because of this, people meet, skip dating and go straight to courtship. Erase a lot of things they once would have never tolerated (e.g smoking cigarettes) and within 6 months to a year holler they are engaged or expecting. They settle because they are afraid of being old and alone.

Then there are those who thought they were in luv, they fell out of luv and why? Could they have been a part of the group that settled? Could they have originally fallen in luv with lust or the idea of luv? Or, could it be that old say ringing true, “People come into your life for a reason, for a few a few moments or for several seasons.”

So, let’s say you truly fell in luv with someone; they matched your fresh, and somehow you two fell out of luv. Is there a way to keep the luv alive or try to revive it? Role playing, spontaneity , going back to what attracted you to the person in the first place? Talking? Philosophy? Poetry? Whatever it may be. Does counseling really work? I know a lot of times when kids are in the relationship the mother takes on another role and loses herself in the process and for that we apologize. Or a man comes to the realization he has so much more life to live and decides to leave. But, how…how do we keep our luv alive? Or is it as simple as once it’s done, it’s done.

I remember when I was a little kid, I kinda knew my parents were getting a divorce but, I thought I could fix it. I created a dinner for them, had their favorite song on the record player as they entered the house and my sister and I went upstairs. As time went on, you could see they weren’t happy but, you saw (through rose colored glasses) that they were trying for the sake of us. There were happy moments but even as a kid I knew it wasn’t going to last. Needless to say, they eventually divorced.

I find someone who truly understands me however comma is betrothed to another. What is this, the universe playing hide and seek? Or, out of the blue, I am reacquainted with my past but, are stars don’t align. He is not from my planet. He doesn’t understand what luv or self worth means but; do I settle because I don’t want to be alone? Because I don’t like the options that are out there? Because the person who has my soul – is from my planet but possibly from another life time? I can’t. I won’t. I have too much self worth; too much self luv. I don’t want to be that person who settles then, years down the road realize I made the stupidest mistake and wasted time I will never get back.

This post is clearly not about some insightful knowledge that can make you re-assess all of life’s wonders about luv but begin the topic of conversation with a starter on how we can keep luv alive. From a lot of those I’ve witnessed in relationships, mutual understanding, respect, appreciation, friendship, uplifting, and caring nature for one’s being we’re traits I hope to take with me when I am blessed with a bountiful relationship of my own.

So, I guess I will leave you with this question. What have you found that works in your relationship? How long have you two been together?



P.S. Take a listen

I️ Reject Your Reality


I️ defy the odds,

My reach is amongst the stars.

Don’t set my limits

Don’t give me goals.

That’s not how I️ work

For only I️ know.

My sight is set on what has not

Been found.

History, happiness, luv, philosophy

That which is profound.

Knowledge is never ending

So, why should I️ concede?

My drive should not intimidate you

Instead, paint a scene.

Try matching my fresh

Let’s take a ride,

Go on a journey

To space; a futuristic time.

Alternate realities are meant to be challenged

It’s only fair.

Just don’t tell me I️ am wrong

Because I am not you

And to tell the truth,

I️ really don’t care.