Conviction

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Conviction: a firmly held belief or opinion.
I guess you can say growing up I was not raised to see color; instead people’s actions are what constituted how you should act towards them. In high school I knew I was discriminated against but never fully comprehended it. When I began working, segregation was created in an unconventional way but in order to get your check, you dealt with the conditions you were in unless you lucked up in your position and found a group of coworkers who treated each other as equals and gave respect. In the meantime, you do what you have to do in order to get to where you want to be. It wasn’t until a few years ago I found my conviction, my beliefs, my voice, my passion, my purpose with caveats. Now, how do I hone in? Relay my truths? Affect the masses in a positive way? Reach the youth? Keep my sanity? Keep my mind clear? Stay balanced? Support my family? And be true…to me?
I wrote a while back that being an Aries is a tough job, because we want to succeed and accept any challenge life gives us. We want to take life’s lemons and create a wonderful lemonade to share with others but, it’s a tough/daunting process. And sometimes trying to reach that zen like feeling especially, when you have dual hats – family provider and a want to be the voice of the community becomes a struggle. How do you choose? Or, do you have to?
So, before I go so far off the beaten path that I lose you, let me explain. Over the last few weeks I have asked various people  “What it meant to be black in America?”  The further I did my research, it should come to no surprise that there are others who have sought this difficult and unyielding quest. I tried anyway because again, I like the challenge.  And while the answers received were somewhat no different then other answers or views I’ve read, I still found them to be unique. I realized this is an open ended question because, answers can change from one persons experience to the next. I also listened to several interviews to give me another way of looking at the reality; giving me another perspective. For that, my eyes have widened and my plate is now the size of a Thanksgiving dinner.
With that being said, over the next few weeks, I will be posting people’s opinions, questions and truths. Conduct more research in hopes that I can condense people’s truths, make it palatable, and the work towards figuring out how we as a
whole can come together and show those who do not believe in unity that unity is as not as bad as you think it is.
Something for you to think about, “What do you think it means to be ‘Black in America’?”

The Black Diamond

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As I sat waiting for a transcribe

I knew wouldn’t come

My soul became heavy

Reality won.

Erykah Badu’s

I guess I’ll see you next lifetime

Was on constant repeat

In my mind.

I don’t know what happened

Over the short time

We connected,

Was it real?

Was it fake?

You’re just too good to be true

Can’t take my eyes off of you

The Four Seasons sang

And there it was

All taken away.

Why do we play this game called life

Only to think we found the meaning

But, does it truly exist

Maybe it does

Maybe it doesn’t.

I thought I found it

Then, I lost it.

I get it,

It was never mine

The Dark Side.

Eventually, I’ll be okay.

As I write our last transcribe

I know you

As much as you know I

I know where your heart resides

So, I guess I’ll see you next lifetime

We’ll meet on The Black Diamond

And, this time say, “Hello!”

Every moment,

We will not let pass us by

Pharcyde

For now,

I guess,

This is good bye

Glass Half Full

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True or False – Am I scared of the times we are living in?  True.

True or False – Am I scared for my son? True

True or False – Does racism still exist? Hell mutha-cussing yeah

True or False – With all that is going on, would I change the color of skin? – False

True or False – Would I change the times I live in? False

True or False – Do I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel? True

 

The Past

The Civil Rights Movement was a myriad of needed changes for women, minorities, the disabled, gay rights, and or otherwise discriminated.  “The most important achievements of African-American civil rights movements have been the post-Civil War constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and established the citizenship status of blacks and the judicial decisions and legislation based on these amendments, notably the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”  http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (the major faces of the African American Civil rights movement) while different in their methods wanted a better life for generations to come.  We, black people, overcame some obstacles and thought we won the war.  We became complacent because we were able to get jobs and were treated “equally.”

The Present

Because we never overcame our pass we didn’t understand what it meant to respect and luv each other.  Now, we have issues with black on black crime, an internal problem that only we, black people, can correct.  Yes, we have a lot to work on in our community however, with the recent shooting caught on video and extremely difficult to watch, I fear for my son.  Those who have done right, died.  Those who were in the wrong were never able to be tried by a jury of their peers, died. And, these shootings took place from those who swore to protect and uphold the law.

#BlackLivesMatter.  Everyone gets upset when black people say, Black Lives Matters but, guess what?  They do.  We say it because, guess what? We are black and we can only speak of something that is happening to our community.  Two wrongs don’t make a right and there is an issue in the black community of needing to be united however, we did not swear under oath to protect and serve.  Officers did, and the strings of incidents taking place are showing SOME officers being the judge, the jury, and the executioner.  I am not a statistician by no means but, when you have websites being created to map “Police Killings” whether they were right or wrong makes you wonder about SOME who chose to protect and serve and if you are truly safe. http://mappingpoliceviolence.org/unarmed/

The Future

The Civil Rights Movement came about because of the inequality and unjust behavior amongst people of color and rightfully so now, the Black Lives Matter movement has come about because inequality and unjust behavior amongst people of color.  Tupac said, “We don’t need more rappers, we don’t need more basketball players.  We need more thinkers.”  The Black Lives Matter movement can be a beautiful thing if we work together, if we set plans, goals, and proper courses of action to ensure equality for all.

I think the recent string of events is finally awakening the eyes of our celebrities to stand up for the true meaning of equality.  I feel as though, those who did not know where they stood in life are accepting their calling and answering it with, “What do I need to do?”

And Me

It use to be a time when I would wake up in the morning and thank the Lord for allowing me to see a brand new day…lately, I have been praying to keep everyone safe from harm.  I am waking up scared of what may happen to the “man” standing next to me.  I am scared that I could be the next Sandra Bland.  Change needs to happen.  We don’t need instant satisfaction but change that will last a lifetime.  Don’t give us the crumb of hope but, the full loaf that we’ve always asked for.  Equality and Justice for all.  People questioned Jesse Williams speech…let’s question officers who are never brought up on charges for killing innocent lives, let’s question the judges who do not give fair sentences to suspects who black or white committed a crime, let’s question those who hate “people who are different” so much, they shoot up churches and clubs, or shoot people without hesitation.   Let’s understand the real reason why your Jesse Williams, Martin Luther Kings Jr, Officer Tommy Norman, are standing up for us saying there has to/will be another way.  Let’s understand they were and are one of many willing to stand up for what they believe in.  Let’s respect their courage and embrace the truth.  There is a lot of work needing to take place in this beautiful country.  If we are supposed to be “Big Brother” why aren’t we acting like it?  Change needs to and will happen.

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P.S. If you are stilling wondering why Black Lives Matter and couldn’t understand it before and still don’t get after this weeks recent events, then I don’t think you will ever get it.

And, for those idiots who are taking matters into their own hands killing innocent police officers, please have several seats, you are not helping the cause.   You are hurting it.  I understand you are angry but, there is always another, peaceful way.  The peaceful march/demonstration in Dallas was meant to show that we must unite and demand justice.  Instead, it was turned into a massacre of innocent lives, innocent cops who were doing their job by protecting, serving and ensuring the safety of others.

Taking life is never the answer.  That is what we are fighting for, the respect of life.

 

Larger than Life

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Popular Society has a way the ideal person is to be, look and act, and if you do not fit that mold, it becomes a little more difficult for you or, can it? As a child you are your truest. You have not been jaded by what society, your parents, and peers want you to be. As you begin to develop, you begin to ingest all of what life is about; the truths, the lies, the good, the bad and the ugly. You live, and in the midst, you can sometimes begin to lose the true you as you take on the "burden" of popular society. For those of you who are wondering, I am talking about Lost Identity Syndrome© or LIS©, something that affects many Americans and if broken down, women in color in particular. Note: This is not real in the clinical sense but true all the same. And, I am quite sure we suffered or know someone who is suffering from this syndrome. The funny thing is, it cannot be quantified, because most are in denial or don't realize they have the syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome can include, not fitting in, wondering if you are good enough/doubting self worth, constantly changing your appearance, and trying to hide from your past.

One comes to luv oneself by, accepting their past, acknowledging their present, and working toward their future.
-Mackin

For a lot of us, we have multiple personalities. I don't mean schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, more like trying to fit in with the "group of the season." We see this group we think we like so, we acculturate our personality to that particular group. Some of our identity slowly chips away as we gain another personality. We change our looks and how we act; anything that will make us more accepted. This is not done on purpose. We do this because we think this is who we are and in the process, we continue to find another identity/group until we feel comfortable, hence attaching another personality. Each time we change, we go deeper and deeper into LIS. For most of us who continuously change groups, we don't realize the damage we are doing to ourselves.

I watched one lady grow up with the skills of being creative, intellectual, the ability to grasp academia without effort, and to speak with elegance, to trying to fit in with the "cool kids" - who hasn't? Now, running away from her family, her past to finding solace in a completely different culture. Idolizing their lifestyle, "repping" it as is if she was born in to it. Clearly I am not a doctor nor do I know if this has anything to do with it but, because of this new chapter and not understanding the true background of the culture, she has lost several friends. And each time someone tries to reach out to her, it's as if we push her further away. The positive side...she is still young enough to enter the "loving you for you" phase with time to fulfill her life and potential dreams.

Then there are others who luck up and find themselves early on in life. I think because they were tired of constantly being rejected, they took a step back; analyzed their life, their dislikes, experiences, lessons learned, and apply them to there new or should I say, old identity and become the more powerful and true them. In this case, that's me.

I tried to be a part of the cool kids club but, because my parents purchased functional clothes instead of the latest fashion, I couldn't fit in; from that, I learned how to create my own style. Something that a lot people don't know about me, I used to get teased about the color of my skin and for a while I had a complex about being dark skinned. Yeah, the adults said my skin was beautiful but, kids are ruthless, and some of the kids I knew were rough. What was even crazier, it was black on black discrimination which made it worse. And during that time, their opinion mattered more than the adults did. It wasn't until my late 20's and I became plus size that I began to embrace the beautiful chocolate skin God blessed me with. There was a glow that came with my confidence. And finally, I used to get teased about speaking properly so, I began to speak with slang and sound more urban. In this case that actually kind of helped, I can now speak with proper diction when need and change it up when I need you to understand my frustration.

I share all of this to say to Lost Identity Syndrome© is not a bad condition. Especially, if you learn from the paths life has taken you. In the case of the young lady, she is still trying to find her, the true her. And, when she does, she will be a force to reckon with. And, if I continually try to step in and help her, I would be doing nothing but hindering her growth. I now understand why my mother allowed me to "fall and bump my head" a few times. As for me, I survived LIS© by beginning to not give a cuss what others thought about me, to an extent. I began loving me for me, having the confidence of the gods, I have come to accept my randomness, eclectic, artistic, painfully truthful, introvert/extrovert, high off life, pessimistic, optimistic self and I would dare anyone to challenge themselves to find who they are and introduce their present self to their future more stronger self.
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