What’s being done about “Black on Black” violence?

I know you’ve heard that question, or some variation of it, in response to protests against police killings of Black people. You may have even asked it yourself. Continue reading

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Ironic Flags

I spotted the flag above being flown at the end of a driveway while driving around Trump country (A.K.A. rural America with Trump 2020 signs on every other house, truck and mailbox).  I checked when I got home and it’s apparently available online from a place called “Cooter’s”. That sounds right.

The CSA wasn’t the only country to attack the United States on our own soil. I wonder why nobody flies flags in tribute of some of those other battles:

American Revolution

Mexican American War

Attack on Orleans WWI

Pearl Harbor WWII

9-11 Attacks

I’ve seen people flying both flags from pickup beds before and that always boggled my mind but, I allowed for the fact the two occupants could each support a different country. What’s the meaning of this blended flag? If the US flag looked like pac-man it could be eating the Confederacy but, that’s not it… it was blended. Truthfully, that’s probably a more accurate flag of the United States right now… two distinctly different countries, with distinctly different values, crudely blended together.

Or, maybe people that fly that flag are hyphenated Americans. Confederate-Americans giving a shout-out to their country of ancestral origins. They’re proud of their ancestors for seceding from the United States in order to fight for the rights of wealthy White people to own Black people.

It’s also possible that they’re just trolling and trying to own the libs. You know, confusing a snowflake like me enough to write a blog post about their ironic flag.

Probably they’re just racist.

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Feel cringey about being labelled “Woke” or an “SJW”?

It’s all part of the game.

Go read this post by Black Face.

Also… Don’t be a toilet person!

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How did Kyle Rittenhouse Survive?

I’m not asking how he survived his shooting encounter with people who were quite likely not even protesters. I’m asking how he survived his encounter with police Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter

They do.

If you feel the need to push back against that simple statement, please tell me why.

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Freddie Taylor – Urban Intellectuals

Freddie Taylor grew up outside of Detroit and, according to the story he emailed customers recently, he was never satisfied with the Black history being taught in schools.  He also knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur.  So, he combined those passions to form Urban Intellectuals, a company that sells Black History flashcards along with other products.

The flashcards are awesome!  Each deck contains familiar names and stories as well as people and stories I guarantee you haven’t learned about yet.  I’m confident that regardless of how much you think you know about Black history, you will discover something new.  Honestly, sharing the additional knowledge you may have with people that look through the cards, exchanging stories of when and how you came to know their history, is all part of the joy of them.  Having a child pick a random card and then spending some time learning about the individual, looking for documentaries on Netflix or wherever is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Freddie Taylor came up with an innovative way to help educate us all and ensure the histories of so many others are not lost to time and whitewashing.  So, learn more about Freddie Taylor and be sure to take a look at Urban Intellectuals.

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Trump Impeachment – ‘Unprecedential’

It’s a word… kinda… maybe… ok, it’s not… yet.

So, the Senate voted to acquit Trump of both counts in his impeachment. I feel like there were a few people that thought it might turn out differently. I wonder if those people have a better understanding of American politics now. Anyway, I have a couple of thoughts:

Trump’s acquittal was a foregone conclusion. Continue reading

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ElenaReads.com – Making Black History

There are so many historical figures we need to learn about, learn more about and even learn the truth about.  But, I’m also a big believer in the idea that history is being made every day.  I want to take a minute to direct your attention to an impressive young person who’s championing diverse books.  She has been reviewing books featuring diverse characters and interviewing authors on her blog for a little while now.  She’s even hosting a book giveaway for Black History Month!

I first became aware of her as she stepped up to a microphone to ask questions at a public event a couple of years ago. I remember being inspired by how passionate she was.  Her questions were also very insightful and yielded some deep responses. So, if you’ve got kids that might enjoy reading some of the books she’s reviewed or maybe you’ve been thinking of compiling a reading list for your classroom… maybe you’ve even got the means and desire to donate books to increase the diversity of reading material at a nearby school… I don’t know. What I do know is you should  go check out her blog; ElenaReads.com, her Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

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Racial Dynamics of Occupying Space

There are all kinds of stories in the news about White people aggressively asserting their desire to occupy or control public spaces by calling the police on Black folks for all manner of everyday activities:

However, the point of this post is to explore the more subtle aspects of our daily interactions.  Have you ever taken the time to reflect on how you interact with the people with whom you share space throughout the day?  You know, the people in the room with you, people you pass on the street, sitting next to you on the bus, plane, subway and people in line with you at the store, etc…?  Does race play a part in those interactions?  If so, is it a positive influence or a negative one? Is that influence different for them?

I’ll share a simple story for your consideration:

I was squeezing down a row in a theater when I bumped a young girl’s foot as she crossed her legs. (I’m White, she is Black.) Neither of us was paying attention, I assume, and the accidental contact occurred. Her mother swatted her foot and gave her a disproving look as I was apologizing. I took my seat nearby, but couldn’t get the scene out of my head. I couldn’t help but wonder if my Whiteness played a part in her mother’s reaction or if she was simply scolding her daughter for not being aware.

It doesn’t impact my life if her mother assumed I felt entitled to the space and bumped her daughter’s foot on purpose, or if she believed I was conditioned to treat Black people as invisible, or maybe that I was simply looking in the wrong direction at the last second as a previously clear path became occupied by her daughter’s foot. However, the messaging to her daughter is dramatically different with each of those variations.

So, I offer this to any other White folks wandering by: Would it kill you to consider that a situation might be perceived entirely differently by POC due to the history and legacy of racial oppression?

The morning after that occurrence, I read a post by Hannah Drake which discussed the issue of ceding space to White people.  You should definitely check it out.  The White tears in the comments alone are worth the visit, but I urge you to accept her challenge as well.

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Buy Black

Killer Mike did an episode on his Netflix show where he tried to “live Black” for a short period of time.  There were certainly parts of the episode that were satirical, but the overwhelming point was that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible to live a life consuming products from 100% Black-owned businesses.  He mentioned some statistics regarding how little time a dollar spent in the Black community will remain there.  The stats are widely repeated, but difficult to truly nail down.  However, the underlying premise stands, that it can be very difficult to find Black-owned alternatives.

So, try.  The more we actively try to support Black-owned businesses, the more successful they’ll be and the more entrepreneurs will be able to start their own businesses.  Whether it’s switching to Figgers Wireless or choosing the Black car sales consultant so that they get the commission, there’s lots of little opportunities to make adjustments to our buying habits. One little thing, and I know it’s really little, is always making a purchase from Black-owned vendors at craft fairs and farmer’s markets.  If you find yourself wandering though an event like that, it’s fairly easy to pick up a gift or something you need for your home.  I just make it a point to shop Black.

I realize these are small things, and with a little research, they’re not even an inconvenience.  I also realize that buying candles from a vendor at a craft fair isn’t going to make up for centuries of economic oppression.  But, not buying those candles is guaranteed to perpetuate that oppression, so it’s one of the things I’m choosing to do.  There’s even websites like WeBuyBlack.com and others to help you find products and businesses to deal with.  There’s even a company making toothbrushes that you could introduce your dentist to.

Also, I realize that this could come off as paternalistic racism.  If it does, by all means, call me out on it.  To me, this is just simply one small way of introducing a little balance in an otherwise unbalanced World.  Killer Mike couldn’t live Black for a week because those resources simply didn’t exist.  When they do, I think it’s critical to support them.  I’m not even suggesting you choose an inferior product just because it’s from a Black-owned company or vendor.  In my experience, these products are often superior and/or offer a significantly better value.  So, there you go… that’s my pitch… Buy Black.

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