Wise Words Wednesday – King

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This past weekend some Neo-Nazis took to the street to protest a racist statue’s removal in Charlottesville, VA. In the midst of the stupidity, several people were injured and 3 lost their lives. Though this is not something new to blacks in America, but it may serve as a wake up call to those who have remained silent on the subject. I urge you to get involved!

Being involved does not always look like a protest or screaming at the top of your lungs.  It may be something as subtle as a song, poem or a quote, etc. Whatever way you choose to admonish racism, I encourage you to do so!

Racism: Product of a Sick Mind

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Today is the final day of May, and all month we have been honoring Mental Health Awareness Month here at Rebirthoflisa. For my final entry of the month on this topic, I would like to address a theory that has been floating around since the 1950s, and that is Racism is a Mental Illness.  We’ve discussed the impact of stigmatism in the community and how it hurts people who suffer from any form of mental disease. A quote I posted in my #wcw challenge from Adam Ant alludes to the fact mental illness is the final taboo and needs to be addressed. Well this is my contribution for the month.

Growing up a black female in the South, you would automatically expect I would have faced many issues with racism, but you would be wrong. From the time I was in first grade and through college, I went to school and mingled with people from all backgrounds. Of course the differences were noticed, as they should be, but I can honestly say no one was discriminated against based on the color of their skin; at least not to my knowledge. People tended to gravitate toward others who shared commonalities like sports or fashion, but everyone was accepted. I played sports and my teammates and I were always welcomed where ever we traveled and the community embraced us.

I never experienced out right racism until I was an adult in my early 20s. I was working as a lead cashier in a grocery store and this lady wanted to write a check, but had no id on her. Store policy prohibited me from taking the check because there was some fraud going on in the area. I had my instructions “NO EXCEPTIONS”! Well at that time in my life I was a stickler for rules, so that meant nobody was giving me a check without the proper identification. We required a picture id and no starter checks were accepted. Well it just so happened this particular customer had no id and a starter check. There was no way I was putting my initials on that check and accepting it. I checked her out and her groceries were bagged when she started writing the check. I asked for her id and she immediately said she did not have it. Well, I was no fool who writes a check and doesn’t have id? Looking at the check, I noticed it was a starter check and she had only written in her name; no address or phone number. I nicely informed her that I could not accept a starter check and I would need id to accept any form of check. Long story short the lady tried to use her status as a lawyer to bully me into accepting the check. When that didn’t work, she began using racial slurs that made my ears bleed. (Not really, but they should have)  At first I was shocked and appalled that anyone would be brazen enough to talk like that; especially a so-called lawyer. Of course I read about racism and heard stories, but not until I experienced it with such fury, did I understand the pain and shame that goes along with it. I remember thinking to myself, “Why would she say such things to me when I was just protecting her? What if someone had stolen her checks and was trying to pass it off? She would have been extremely upset that her bank account was empty. Why would that cause her to use such hateful language?” I didn’t fully understand in my 20s, this being my first bout with racism. I was trying to rationalize her behavior, but what I didn’t realize was there is nothing rational about racism.

It is my belief, all people are similar creatures. We have the same hopes and dreams no matter what culture we grew up in. Everyone has the basic need to be loved, understood and appreciated for the gifts they bring to the table. Every individual is unique and must be treated as such. People cannot be lumped into a category because they look a certain way. Stereotypes are one of the worst things ever thought up by humans. They all stem from a small truth about a couple of people in a certain group, but then they become the poster behavior for a specific race or culture. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina in the projects. Most people would stereotype me as being ghetto and violent, with at least three kids by three different men and uneducated. I should in fact have low self-esteem and live off of welfare with no future to speak of. I should have no ambition and no appreciation for culture. In fact, I went to college, albeit on a basketball scholarship, was on the honor roll each semester and have grown out of my combative stage most of the time. I am now a beacon of positivity who loves museums, all genres of music and love to read and learn new things. I have no children, and have been married to the love of my life for close to 15 years.  I am so not the stereotype some people would believe me to be. My personality contains bits and pieces of the stereotype, but I am so much more.

I am not alone in this. Everyone is complex and we all have layers to our personalities. If racists could understand this concept and really appreciate each person as the individual they are, the world could be cured of this terrible, debilitating disease. Racism is like diabetes in a since. It is caused by what is being fed to you. If you absorb all of the negative traits about the one person you know of a different race, you will get sick. However, if you consume the nutrients of positivity and get the whole picture, you will start healing the disease.

Since racism is an illness, it can be cured. Here is my prescription:

  • Step 1 -Recognize you have a problem
  • Step 2 – Talk to a therapist or clergyman
  • Step 3 – Pray for guidance
  • Step 4 – Make amends for wrongdoings (if any)
  • Step 5 – Open your mind and heart to different people and cultures
  • Step 6 – Travel to distant lands and learn about their lives and culture
  • Step 7 – Have honest conversations with people who look different than you. You’ll find you may have more in common than you thought.
  • Step 8 – Enjoy life instead of walking around angry at someone for just being themselves.
  • Step 9 – Learn to love yourself
  • Step 10 – Realize when someone else dares to love themselves, it is not a threat to you. They are simply planting seeds of self – esteem. It’s not about you.

If we all stop trying to be better than one another and realize we are stronger working together than apart, we could really make an impact in annihilating this disease. Won’t you help spread the cure?

Staying Positive in the face of Racism!

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Negativity Free Zone!

Hi Guys,

Just a quick blog to let you guys know about something disturbing that happened to me via this blog. Yesterday I wrote a post about the civil unrest in the country called “Call to Action”. This post was my way to release some of my angst about the situation in our country today. On this blog I try to remain positive while expressing my opinions because no one can hear you when you are angry and yelling. Plus I am trying to do better in my life, and anger is something I am working on.

When I wrote the article, I figured there would be people who had varying opinions, but I thought we could discuss them in a mature manner like adults. I never expected it to escalate to the point where I would be attacked by someone spouting racist mantras, and threatening to take out the “Black Trouble Makers”. Now I refuse to allow the negativity and hatred of others to change my positive attitude. I also do not want it to taint my blog. As a result, I blocked the comment and will not allow it to infect the rest of my readers.

I wanted to address the person who made the comment. My blog is a place of peace and positivity where all people are accepted and valued. Racism will not be tolerated, but can be cured here. I have nothing but LOVE for you and I will pray that you are healed from your racist and hateful mind. Peace and Blessings!

A Call to ACTION!

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CALL TO%0AACTION

I’ve watched for several months as the media runs video of riots and people protesting in the streets as a result of civil unrest. There is no shortage of articles written about the so called “Thugs” in the streets and dangerous protesters. I for one do not understand annihilating your own communities as the result of misplaced anger. I do however understand the feeling of anger and isolation and even desperation as to how to change what is happening in our country. Baltimore is simply the boiling point right now, but this could be any city in America. This country has made so much progress, but it seems like we are going backwards. People are angry yes, but we must find a way to use this anger in a way that is productive to help stop this regression.

Contrary to popular belief, the answer does not lie in the elders. Our illustrious leaders, who led the country during the civil rights marches in the 60s, cannot lead this generation. We have to go directly to the source, “The Millennials”. Our answer lies with this new generation of young people who are no longer going to sit by, and let the world run over them. We need to look to the core of this group and pull out the leaders of today providing them our full support, if we want to change our world. This is not a new idea; as a matter of fact this is usually how changes to infrastructures are made. The next generation makes their mark on society. Now is the time for this generation to put its best foot forward.

I must caution this generation to stop the violence! It must stop in order to move forward. Your voices will never be heard when you are shouting in anger. You must fight this battle with your brains, not your brawn. Instead of looting and burning down establishments in your own communities, how about trying to change the laws from the inside? Go to school and learn about the government so you have the knowledge to go along with your passion. Start organizations in your local communities and online to organize peaceful protests and petitions. If that is too old school for you, develop your own concepts. The point is, you won’t be able to change any of these laws and injustice if you are dead or locked in jail for violence. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. King wasn’t afraid to go to jail for his beliefs, but his non-violent philosophy was the reason he was able to get out of jail to continue the fight. You don’t have to use your fists or weapons to beat your enemy. Violence begets more violence.

That being said, there was a peaceful protest that was happening at the same time as the looting that was blasted all over the news. There is footage out there of people chanting, singing and using their voices in unity and for a purpose. Because the media will not show the peaceful images in mainstream news, it is up to everyone on the side of justice to ensure the images are seen. We can no longer allow the people who control the airwaves to pollute the reality of the situation. We all have the internet and smart phones have become very useful tools. Use them in conjunction to share the truth, and to unite the country. Instead of using the web for useless banter and bullying each other, how about we use it to make the world a better place?

Now elders, the younger generation cannot do this alone. It is up to us to assist them, and help guide this generation to the promise land Dr. King and all of you fought for in the 60s. This is not a racial divide; we all must work together for this change to come about. To quote Dr. King “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.” We won’t allow this country to regress into a hateful, useless nation. We must demand for our country to do better, and become the “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” we want the rest of the world to believe in. WE MUST DO SOMETHING NOW!

The Stress of the White House – FLOTUS Edition

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Thursday I wrote a post about how stressful life must be for the POTUS while in office so today it’s the ladies’ turn. It appears the First Ladies lead a less stressful life and age more gracefully than their husbands. Take a look:

Michelle Obama:
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Laura Bush:
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Hillary Clinton:
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Barbara Bush:
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Nancy Reagan:
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Rosalynn Carter:
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Betty Ford:
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Pat Nixon:
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The Stress of the White House

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Lately I’ve noticed a picture going around the web of President Obama in 2009 and a split screen of him in 2014. The vast difference of the two men in those pictures started me thinking what it must be like for the man on top. Indeed the job is stressful, that’s a given, but I never thought about how the stress manifests itself physically. I knew this was not unique to our current president so I decided to do a picture comparison of every POTUS who has held office in my lifetime. Each one looked soo very young at the beginning of his term and so old at the end. I ask you, is it really worth the stress and wear & tear on the body to have the chance to be the leader of the free world. I wonder if these men could do it over, if they would have opted out. Look for yourself:

President Obama in 2009 and 2014:
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President George W. Bush 2001 and 2009:
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President Clinton 1993 and 2001:
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President George Bush Sr 1989 and 1993:
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President Reagan 1981 – 1989:
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President Carter 1977 and 1981:
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President Ford 1974 and 1977:
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President Nixon 1969 and 1974:
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Candyland – NaBloPoMo #6

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The world continues on its crazy downward spiral and social media is not helping. While I love the ability to mass communicate with friends and strangers at the same time from the comfort of my home, some people are abusing its genius. One such person is comedian Artie Lange. This man took to Twitter with his sexual fantasy of turning ESPN Host, Cari Champion into a slave and attempting to whip her. He also very vilely addressed his need to masturbate while watching this very professional woman on a morning sports talk show. Lange has now been banned from ESPN as a result of his conduct that he now claims was a joke.

I have no doubt he intended this as a joke, but here is where he fails: If you are a member of a race of people who once oppressed the race of the other person you cannot tell jokes about slavery and it be taken as just a joke. The shit just ain’t funny! Lange issued a weak apology in a statement, but also said “I know black women who could join me and handle it.” If that’s the case those women are a part of the problem. Your black female “friends” should have checked you for spewing such venom and let you know it is not cool.

Let’s take race out of the equation for a second and say he never even mentioned slavery; The fact that he feels it is ok to joke about masturbating and fantasizing about Ms. Champion, or any woman for that matter, on Twitter and calling it a joke is just plain stupid. The reality is he did both of these disgusting things and tried to hide behind his job as a comedian when he got called out.

I am a pretty liberal person and tend to have an eclectic sense of humor, but his so called jokes touched a nerve. It’s bad enough that women have to fight tooth and nail to get the respect they have earned; Ms. Champion is a respected co-anchor of a sports talk show who holds her own with two of the most prominent men in sports broadcasting. Sure she is beautiful, but I am sure that is not what she wants to be known for. In a male dominated world she has made a name for herself by working hard and being very knowledgeable about all things sports related. It’s clear that she is great at her job and looks good while doing it. Why is that a problem for men? If she were less attractive would they take her more seriously? Why should she have to put up with this horny, childish man’s Django Candyland fantasy? Women should be able to go to work without having to worry about men’s inability to control their sexual urges. At least before social media, men were smart enough to keep those thoughts to themselves.

Here’s a tip for Artie Lange, USE YOUR FILTER! Everyone has one and it’s usually a big help before posting to Twitter. Fantasies are just that, keep them to yourself. Better yet, try controlling your urges and grow up. You are not a 20 something college boy with raging hormones, you are a grown man who is supposed to know better. I would hope he learned his lesson, but after reading his Twitter page I now see there was no responsibility taken. Even though I am a huge optimist, I have realized you can’t destroy Candyland!

Unwatered Flower?

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Writing 101: Day 18 – Don’t Stop the Rockin’
On this free writing day, remember the words of author Anne Lamott: “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.”

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

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I read somewhere that “the black woman is the most unprotected, unloved woman on
earth…She is the only flower on earth that grows unwatered.”

Well I say we are not unwatered because we make our own water. We may grow
crooked and sometimes we have stunted growth, but we are the only flower that
waters herself!

We are strong and stable because we have to be, not because we want to be. We
have dreams to fly, but will set them aside so our children can live theirs.

We raise those same children often times alone…. no man of our own. Playing
the role of mother and father puts a strain on the resources of our community
and causes a shift in the quality of care. Forced to work or starve, we are
hardly there…to raise the ones we love the most.

In our attempt to be the head of the house we lose our true selves, but still
manage to survive. We know we can’t raise a man so our sons suffer in the
process. What choice do we have?

We water ourselves with tainted water, but we are watered just the same. It’s
called doing what we have to. Say what you want about us, but one thing stays
true, us sisters always keep up with our dos.

Sharp as a tack you see us walking, riding the bus or rolling in our whips. And
don’t forget that swing in our hips. We’re known for having some junk in our
trunks. Fashionistas at heart that keep it crunk. Our haters are always looking
to us for inspiration.

Black women are one of the most BeaUtiful creatures on the planet
We just don’t know it.
Too busy worrying about the next one
Instead of lending her a hand
We talk about her because she has
Something that’s missing in us.

We need to complement each other and validate
Our worth before anyone else will.
We are missing out on a huge opportunity
To build the self esteem in our sisters

Brainwashed by the world
Never seeing our own value.
Leaders, innovators and admirable souls
Regal in our natural state
There’s no need for disguises.

I believe if we use our powers for good
That is; stop hating on each other
We can become super heroes we were always meant to be
And save the world!

Save the Black Woman, Save the World!