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Showing posts from 2015

No Guilt. Do Better. (Because Guilt Is A Wasted Emotion)

There are a lot of things in my life about which I feel guilty.  Too many to share.  Too much shame.

Looking over my goals for 2015, I realized that I didn't achieve a single one.  Not a one.  I had successes in areas I hadn't planned for, though.  Successes that are intangible.  But the guilt was still plaguing me.

The funny thing is that I remember popping off (to borrow a turn of phrase from President Obama) pearls of wisdom in my 30's and 40's that are more relevant to my life now than they were then.  One of those pearls of wisdom was this:  Guilt is a wasted emotion.

I remember the late Joan Rivers saying that.  For whatever reason, it stuck with me, and I'd liberally share that little pearl of wisdom with friends and family who felt guilt about their past.

Guilt doesn't change the past.  Guilt doesn't undo what you did, nor does it do what you should have done.  It doesn't make the person you wronged feel any better.  An apology might, but guilt,…

A Darker Shade of Cardinal (Stanford Black Alums Coming Back to the Farm)

You will never meet Black folks like this again.

~ A Stanford Black alumnus, Class of 1978

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my Stanford Class of 1985 Reunion.  Yes, it's been thirty years since I graduated college.  Well, not really, since I didn't graduate with my class.  The beauty of Stanford is that Stanford doesn't care about when you left; what matters is when you came and with whom you identify.  For me, that's the Class of 1985.

But I don't identify with all of the members of the Class of 1985.  I didn't then, and I don't know.  That became painfully clear to me at my reunion.  More on that later.

There's a reason why Stanford ranks so highly among African American students, and it's not its location in Silicon Valley.  Stanford embraces "microcommunities," and it is because of that embrace that I was able to have what I would call a Black college experience in a predominantly white institution, with absolutely no pressur…

Donald Trump and the GOP's White Privilege Moment (The DNC Says "Thank You")

Tell me what you pay attention to, and I will tell you who you are.

~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

~ Maya Angelou

The GOP is paying a lot of attention to Donald Trump.  In the process, GOP Trump supporters are telling the nation exactly who the GOP is, and I'm believing them the first time.  And for that, the Democratic National Committee says, "Thank you, GOP."

At first I thought the whole Donald Trump thing would die out, especially after he made misogynistic remarks about Megyn Kelly.  I thought he definitely could not continue to pick up steam after using the term "anchor babies."

Not only did he pick up steam, he got Jeb Bush jockin' him and using the term, too.

Poor Chris Christie wants to avoid paying attention to Trump, but he can't seem to do so.  Yesterday on CBS This Morning, Christie said it wasn't his job to talk about Trump but to talk about his own ideas.  He did, however, take a sw…

An Inherited Mindset? (Or Why You Shouldn't Marry a Sharecropper's Child)

I had the good fortune to sit down with my 87 year-old uncle, whom I will refer to as "Uncle B," because of extremely bad fortune:  The death of his brother, my Uncle F.  The reason why this sit-down was such good fortune is because I learned a lot about myself from learning from him about his mother, my grandmother who I never met.

My grandmother died before I was born.  She appears in the 1930 census in the rural Deep South as a twenty-seven year old widow with young children.  Because my grandfather owned his own grist mill, a shoe cobbler shop, and the land his shop and his house were on before he died in 1928, my grandmother was a property owner in the Deep South during the Great Depression when she was widowed.

Which means she could vote as long as she paid her 50 cent poll tax. She paid, and she voted.

Mind you, this was no small feat for a widowed black mother in the rural Deep South during the Great Depression.  History tells us that black folks were getting killed …

If You Wait Long Enough, Good Things Will Happen (Charleston, Forgiveness, the Confederate Flag, the ACA, Gay Marriage, and Amazing Grace on My Mind)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:

Sometimes, I think God talks to me.

No.  Really.  Like when I heard a little voice tell me, "Put away some money.  You're going to need it."  I did.  The next month?  BAM!  Hit with major car repairs.

Or when Black Man Not Blogging and I were coming back from a day trip and stopped in a McDonald's in a South Stockton neighborhood.  He went in, I stayed in the car.  A little voice told me, "You need to get out of here."  I called him on his cell phone to tell him to get out of the McDonald's, that we needed to get ghost.  He did, and we did.  The neighborhood just felt unsafe.  If I recall correctly, the next day there was news of shootings that occurred in South Stockton.

When the Charleston shooting occurred, I was at a loss for words.  I couldn't believe that someone would gun down church members at a prayer meeting.  A PRAYER  MEETING! Could there be anything more demonic?

Then, in an act of what ca…

Mad About the Faux Sistah in Spokane? Really, White People? (White Hypocrisy and the Appropriation of Blackness)

I haven't been following closely the story of the Spokane NAACP president who is allegedly passing for black.  I'm not bothered by it, not at all.  As long as she is working for the greater good of black people in America --- and Lord knows, I wish more people would -- how she identifies is of no moment to me.

What is bothersome is the hype and outrage by the predominantly white media that this white woman is passing for black.

Really?

Here's where the hypocrisy and/or lack of self-awareness comes in:  White people have been appropriating blackness for their own for decades, and not necessarily for the betterment and advancement of black people.  At least this sistah faux sho' is trying to do something positive with it.

White people, here's a small list of all the blackness that white people have appropriated with little or no benefit to black people:

You appropriate our language.  Hell, you even trademark it.  You trademarked or appropriated "Let's roll,&…

Fear of a Growing Black and Brown Renter Class (On the Power of Ownership)

As an African-American woman, there are some things I fear more than police brutality.

Like a growing Black and brown renter class.

There's  a relationship here.  Bear with me.

My office is the across the hall from a realty.  There's a Latina realtor there who I speak with occasionally in the hallway.  I can tell she works hard.  We started talking about home ownership among black and brown folks.  She's scared, too.

She's scared that the foreclosure crisis, and the intentional targeting of black and brown people for subprime mortgages by Wells Fargo, Countrywide/Bank of America and other major mortgage lenders, will permanently scare off black and brown folks from home ownership.

She's scared, as I am, that if our people stay away from home ownership, the wealth gap that currently exists between whites and black and brown people will widen even more.

She's scared, as I am, that if our people stay away from home ownership, the harder it will be for them to get …

Doesn't Take Much to Make Me Happy

Doesn't take much to make me happy . . and make me smile with glee . . . .

~ "Best of My Love," The Emotions

Although I'm viewed by many friends and family members alike as a driven, high maintenance, Type-A perfectionist with high standards and equally high anxiety, the truth of the matter is this:

It doesn't take much to make me happy.

No, really.

This year, I told myself that I would use what I have and enjoy what I have.  Many of the things that make me happy are low cost or free (at least free to me), easy, and/or within my possession or reach.  In honor of the near-beginning of my favorite season of the year, summer (YAY!), here's a list of the little things that make me happy, in no particular order:

1.  My husband, Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB).  No, this isn't to say that he's perfect or we're perfect, but we're good enough together.  We laugh ALOT.  We have some insider stupid jokes that have been running between us for years.  Never …

Time for President Obama to Return the Favor (Black Folks Ridin' Hard for POTUS)

Dear President Obama,

I listened to your comments on the looting going on in Baltimore yesterday.  All I could think was, "Here we go again."

Let me get to the point:  You're quick to criticize black folks when we don't live up to your standards, but you're slow to criticize non-black folks when their failure to live up to any standard of decency leads to the murder of black folks.

As one reporter noted, you did not walk the streets of Ferguson.  You were silent about Eric Garner.  I've not heard you utter the phrase "Black Lives Mater."

But the minute that black folks -- young black folks at that -- begin to loot and riot in response to the racial transgressions you barely acknowledge?  Then it's on.  You jump on the obvious bandwagon and, despite your race, fail to add anything to the conversation that non-blacks don't already think and say.  You fail to add the context that your experience as a black man in America would cause to come to …