We don’t know how to help each other

blackwomen

Written by Gregory Meriweather

 

What can be said when the biggest news in the 14th largest city in the US is a fight between two girls’ high school basketball teams?  The news has become so huge that ESPN W has it featured on their page. The images are distasteful, and display a picture that would cause one to call these young ladies common hoods, thugs or criminals.

But isn’t it the job of the media to tell a juicy story that makes you come to some sort of conclusion?  Yes, we have social media, we have cameras, we have phones to take pictures and share videos, but does that mean perception is reality?   My answer to that question is NO!  Reality is reality.  Perception to me is lazy man and woman language.  Perception to me means that you are afraid, or too lazy to take the next step to find out what is real.

Before writing this, I could not seem to go to sleep last night, because my mind went beyond the fight.  My mind went back to that angry kid who lived on 21st street, that had a father who abused his mother, and some nights when food was limited, or nights when the lights were turned off, or the furnace was bad so the gas man turned off the gas. I thought about still going to school every single day, and not missing a day.  Were there days when I was mad at the world? Absolutely, but I found a place that was therapeutic, and that place was a basketball court.

When I stepped on that court, I let it all loose. Did it take the pain away?  Well for a small period of time, it did. I was able to use that game to get me out of a place that brought me so much pain. For the people who don’t know what it takes to be a student-athlete, understand that it is not an easy task at all.  Generally, you are practicing when people are doing homework.  You have games on nights when your friends are hanging out.  You have the responsibility of maintaining a good image, even when things are not going well in your personal life.

Well if no one else will say it, I will…WE MADE A MISTAKE.  We made a mistake for looking down on these children instead of finding out the problems off the court.  We made a mistake for comparing these student-athletes to the common thugs that roam the halls wreaking havoc on teachers, and students alike.  We made a mistake for not providing these young ladies an avenue to say that they’re sorry for this terrible altercation.

We are upset about our precious daughters being on the court throwing punches, and stomping as if they were Ronda “Roudy” Rousey.  I do believe that these young ladies should be penalized for their infractions, but to take the entire season is a bit much in my most humbled opinion. 

What will these young ladies do now that their season is over?  What will their days look like if playing basketball kept them from being home by themselves for a long period of time?  What about that person who does not have siblings and the team has become family? What about the senior who may have been on the verge of getting out of the turmoil of the neighborhood? What about me?  What about the kid who went home to abuse, stomach rumblings, and no heat or lights?   

Who will become pregnant?  Who will be sexually assaulted?  Who will die?  Turning the lights off and putting the chains on the door may be simple to some, but to me, this is more than just a game.  This may have been a big brawl to some, but to me it was an old school fight that we televised. Now the adults have to take the position to do some preventative maintenance (to prevent further damage), and help teach a lesson that builds these young ladies back up. Rehab these ladies. Don’t let this be a death sentence for them.  My heart is hurting for them, because I truly understand that hurting people, hurt people. 

There is a lot of self-righteousness floating around these days, especially in the Black community.  Let me say this, “You didn’t get caught!” I can bet a dollar to a thousand that you did something that could have ruined you, if placed in the right eyes or hands. I reached out to a lot of people to help bring these young ladies together, and the response to come to their aid has been repulsive. I have even had people who know some of the parents, who have informed me that the parents are just giving up on the situation. We need to learn how to help our people when they are down, because if we don’t learn how, we are just a wrong as any young lady kicking her opponent while she is on the ground. Kicking a man or woman while he/she is down is not just a literal term. 

How many of these young ladies have you kicked now that they are down??

hugs (1)

 

Misinterpreting “The Dream” has been detrimental

drking (2)

As we prepare to celebrate the day for one of the country’s greatest heroes, I began to think about the famous speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, called “I Have a Dream.”   At the beginning of this great speech, Dr. King spoke of the Emancipation Proclamation.  He stated that even though this document had been manufactured, and signed, that the Negro was still not free 100 years later. Dr. King then went on to elaborate on the subjects of segregation, and discrimination.  

The more I listened to these profound words over, and over again, I realized that we in 2016 had not reached a mark that would consider the dream fulfilled.  

When I look at the status of Black America, I find that we may not have fountains with signs that prohibit us. We may not have restaurants that will not serve us. We don’t have to sit at the back of a bus when a white person gets on, but there are still some things that we endure which prove that “The Dream” has not been fulfilled.  The national unemployment rate for blacks remains higher than it does for whites.  The killing of blacks by whites is still a problem (including law enforcement), but the fratricide, and sororicide has taken over. 

When we take a look back at 1963, we find that blacks were in an all out war for equality.  The one thing that I saw then, that I don’t see now, is that they stuck, and worked together for the common good of every black person. In 2016, we do not follow the same code. 

Black men are losing ground when it comes to education.  There was a time when our grandfathers and grandmothers had to work in the fields of a plantation instead of getting an education. There was a time when the National Guard had to escort us into schools. Now we have children dropping out at an alarming rate.  We created our own Universities and colleges, and now fewer black men are going to college each year. 

During the civil rights fight, blacks cared about their brothers and sisters.  Blacks were happy when one of us received a chance to integrate a company or a profession, because we believed that individual was going to fight to open the door for others.  Now we have blacks who are happy to be the only engineer, doctor, attorney, or manager in the office. They feel like they are more special, or brighter than the rest of the black folk.  

We have become so selfish.  We have become a race that has segregated ourselves from our own people.  There was a time when we took care of each other. We used to open doors for one another.  We used to make sure that the young were given a chance to do better than us. Now all that has changed. Now, we stand over our brothers, and sisters while looking down on them.  

We are reckless with our money, and would rather look like we have it instead of actually having it. “The Dream” was not about buying Jordan’s, or carrying Gucci bags. “The Dream” had everything to do with the Black race as a whole having equality on all fronts. I am sure Dr. King would be pleased with the progress that we have made.  I also believe that he would say that we have a long way to go to fulfill the words that he delivered on August 28, 1963. 

Barack Obama is not “The Dream.”  I will repeat this again….Barack Obama is not “The Dream.”  “The Dream” would mean that the President would be able to be looked at as just another President, and not just a black one.  “The Dream” would be that the 1st black president would not have just happened in new millennium.  “The Dream” would be that there are so many black CEO’s in fortune 500 companies that having one would be the norm.  “The Dream” would mean that there are more than 3 black billionaires in the US.  “The Dream” would be that you can not only play in the NFL, or NBA, but that you can be the majority owner of a team (there is only 1 majority owner of color in the NBA).  “The Dream” would mean more black banks, businesses, schools, etc.  

I am sure you get the picture by now.  So before you wear that T-shirt with Barack Obama and Dr. King on it that says, “I have a dream/ I am the dream,” think again.  Don’t go on your Facebook page and show some simplistic view of this magnificent dream. Take some time and actually Google the speech.  Once you have read it, place it in your head, and heart.  Once that has been done, go out and help this wonderful dream come true, because this was not only a dream of a common man, this was the dream of a King.

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

We may have the same skin, but we’re no kin…

blackministers (1)

During a time when racial disparities are tremendously visible, black people are desperately seeking guidance and leadership.  There are many people saying that they are in the fight to help, but are just playing the role of an advocate. In reality these individuals are just wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Who are these wolves? These are our city and state government officials. These are our Pastors, and other members of clergy.  These are our so-called activist, and so-called leaders. Why can’t they move out of the way, and let some people who really want to do work get busy?

You know that you are dealing with nonsense when you can’t call your city-councilor, and ask what is going on in your district, or the city as a whole.  It is unfortunate that these individuals look at you as if you are bothering them with your concerns.  There are so many people that are sitting in a seat, but will not lift a finger to make sure that there is true equality or growth.

I must be honest, and say that I have been an absolute nuisance to the companies which I have worked in.  The reason for my actions is because of the lack of diversity, racial inequalities, and blatant racism.  In some cases there were racial statements made towards me. What happens when you are the only black person in a room, and you are the one being reprimanded? Who can you turn to?  Who understands? Who even cares?   I have been that person standing or sitting there with no one to turn to.

What did I do to fight for change?  I began documenting everything that seemed immoral or unethical, and placed it in my own personal file. Once I felt that I had enough proof to file a claim, I made a call to the Civil Rights Commission. Now, when I made this call, I was under the belief that this was going to be an organization that truly understood what it is like to be an oppressed person, and boy was I dreadfully wrong. This group is so much like the EEOC.  They are the gate to the community, the fence to the yard, the guard dog, and the door to protect the people who are in the house mistreating you.

The sad part about it is that there are people of color who are visible in this administration. Isn’t it ironic that white America always places Black people in the positions to protect them from being called racists?  Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Could she have not said something before the Oscar nominees were presented?  Could she have said that this is not an equal playing field?  Yes, she could have, but she may have been exiled for doing so.  This is why there are no people of color nominated for an Oscar this year. So many Black people are afraid to lose the little they have while standing up for the masses. 

I worked for a major grocer in Indianapolis, and had a Black manager who treated me like I was the scum of the earth. He talked down to me in front of white people.  He made everything my fault.  He allowed them to talk to me like I was nothing, and when it was time for me to file a complaint against the company with the Civil Rights Commission, my old manager was the main person used to protect the company from my claim. 

It is sad that we don’t protect each other. It is even sadder that we play a role in making sure another Black person is penalized with the help of another Black person. When I say we, I don’t mean all of us. I am speaking about the wolves in sheep’s clothing.  I am speaking about the Pastor who collects from the people, but those same people can’t get a bill paid to prevent disconnection. I am talking about the Black restaurants, and businesses that don’t provide Black people with the same elite services that they provide for White customers, but will complain when Blacks stop supporting them. 

There are policemen who treat Black people worse.  There are politicians who will show up in the neighborhoods, and the church to get our votes, but never come back until the next campaign season.  If you don’t want to be bothered with us, just leave us alone. There is an old saying that says, “I can do bad all by myself.”  Before we have to continue dealing with people that play both sides against the middle, tell them to just stop and join the ranks of the opposition.  The unfortunate part about this is that we know that you are only going to last for a short period of time before the tide turns on you. 

It is our job to start calling these people out.  We need to start making sure that these people are recognized for being bad for the advancement of our people.  If we do not make it our responsibility to call these people out, or hold them accountable, then we are just as much to blame as the wolves that are actually hurting us.

 django-jackson

Yes he is your baby, but one day your baby will be a Man…

Let me start by saying that there are too many absent fathers. Their absence definitely plays a role in the struggle that our children have which carries on into adulthood. We must do better as fathers.  I will definitely be writing about that soon. Now let’s get to the topic for today.

There are many mothers raising young men by themselves.  This is an unfortunate fact.  It is a dangerous one as well. In spite of the mom being upset with their sons, you always tend to hear them say, “But he is my baby.” 

There are so many young men who don’t even know how to get themselves up in the morning. What is going to happen when he is a grown man?  What is it going to look like when you are expecting him to be responsible for doing this simple task on his own? 

Life for a Black man is no cakewalk. As bland as this statement is, I feel compelled to say it. The world is not going to be easy on him.  There are so many people who are already against him. He must be prepared to be ridiculed, and mistreated.  He must get used to having many doors closed in his face.  He must get used to hearing “No.” How do you go about raising the most hunted creature on the face of the planet?  This is why fathers are so important, because the hunted can teach a youngling where the traps are, and how to move around them. But if you have a man in your home who can give good guidance, then this is not for you. 

Mom, I know that he is your baby, but you have to do something to increase the caliber of man these young men are becoming. If he is wearing $200-$500 jeans, $200 gym shoes, and does not work, or have a job that can afford him these items, let me be the first to tell you, HE DOES NOT NEED THEM. What lessons are you teaching him about money?  What are you teaching him about being able to earn for himself?  He will more than likely grow up believing that material things define who he really is, like most of us do. If he gets used to a woman providing for him now, what type of woman do you think he is going to look for in the future? You guessed it, one that will provide for him. You hear so many women saying, “I am not taking care of a man.” Yet there are so many already doing it, and creating the exact man that they talk about so badly. 

Growing up, I knew that my mother loved me.  I knew it because she provided me with a decent living, and made sure that I was able to survive without doing something immoral, unethical, illegal, or dangerous. I grew up in the Jordan era, but my mother refused to buy me those shoes because she said that I needed to know the value of a dollar. She also said that she wanted me to understand how long it took to make $110 dollars. Unfortunately, there are too many parents who were not taught this lesson, and now we have adults who well sell drugs, rob, steal, and kill to have material things. 

I urge mothers who do not have men in the household, to raise the type of man that she would marry.  Stop doing everything for him, and believing that one day he is going to change from that privileged lifestyle to becoming a provider, and caregiver to his family. He won’t take out the trash, clean gutters, cut grass, wash, and gas cars, and fix things that need to be fixed if you are always doing it for him.  Sleeping until noon is INSANE if you are not working 2nd or 3rd shift.  It’s even worse if you are not working at all. The likelihood of your son growing up to maintain the lifestyle that you are providing for him is slim to none. There are rich people who do not wear $500 jeans, and $200 gym shoes.  Teach him lessons while you have the chance. If you wait until he is used to it, and is now almost an adult, he just might become disrespectful towards you.

Don’t force him into a lifestyle of wrongdoing to have material things. Going to prison for chasing a fictitious lifestyle, makes absolutely zero sense. Dying to maintain a fictitious lifestyle is just unimaginable. 

Again, we do need fathers in the household, but if he isn’t, that doesn’t mean ease up on how you are raising your baby.  One day he will be a man, and a whole new world will be waiting on him. Will he be ready?

The Meaning of 2016…

 

 

New Year

5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!!!!!

Well, 2015 is now gone, and 2016 is all ready for whatever we give to it.  The big question is; what are we going to do?  What are we going to change?

Many people have made many new year resolutions, and unfortunately, most of them are thrown by the wayside by the end of February. I personally feel that we should just strive to be better each and every day that we live. If we happen to make it to another year, we should start the year off by doing an inventory. So I have taken it on myself to do an inventory on my people.  There are many things that we do that should have been over a long time ago.  So here are my do’s and don’ts for 2016.

Do’s

  1. Increase your knowledge in the Lord
  2. Learn to love yourself
  3. Love your brother’s and sister’s
  4. Learn the value of a dollar
  5. Take care of your neighborhood
  6. Men respect women
  7. women respect men
  8. Take care of your children
  9. Hold the people we elect accountable
  10. Do your best regardless of the situation

Don’ts

  1. Kill each other or anyone
  2. Poison yourself or your community
  3. Waste your money on unecessary or unaffordable things
  4. Believe everything you hear or see without research
  5. Keep making other people rich
  6. Sag
  7. Withold important information (especially murder)
  8. Feed what doesn’t feed you
  9. Expect help. It’s not coming.
  10. Give up

There were a lot of things that went on in 2015 that we need to immediately get straight.  We must make sure that the killing that we are doing to each other stops.  We must also get to the bottom of law enforcement killing us as well.

The unemployment rate for Blacks is still twice that of the nation, and we must take a stand against Corporate-America and Wall Street.  If they are not hiring our people, then we need to stop supporting their businesses.  There are many companies that sponsor Black initiatives, but do not highly employee Blacks.  We must expose these companies.  These companies not only need to have Black workers, but Black leadership as well. There are still only 5 Blacks leading Fortune 500 companies, and this is a sad reality.

Our elected officials should know that 2015 was the last year that we are going to give our blind vote simply based on their color.  I was once told by a wise man, “Everyone that is your skin, ain’t your kin!”  That has truly stuck with me since I see a lot of Blacks sitting in the seats of influence, but are doing nothing to bring about change for our people.

Finally we must get back to understanding the whole concept of, “You are what you eat.” We must do a better job of taking care of our health (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial). We need to feed our minds healthy thoughts. We need to feed our bodies healthy foods, and exercise. We need to feed our emotions with positive reinforcements, and rest when necessary. We need to feed our souls more God than man, and more God than myself. We need to feed our pockets or accounts, and Black businesses before we give our monies to someone else.

I know that nothing that I have said is going to be easy to do.  The point is for us to begin getting ourselves used to trying to do this every day of every year until it becomes the NEW WAY for Black people. When things get tough, just remember that you are a product of a kidnapped people, who did not know the language, who did not know how to get home. People who were raped, beaten, sold, executed, and opressed. Then take a look at the little or lot that you have and think of those same people that made this happen for you, and get busy, because you have the same drive that they had living inside you!

Happy New Year!