Category Archives: In the News

What Has Always Bothered Me About 12 Years A Slave

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First let me say that I have not seen the movie. I have a copy of the book that I haven’t read yet. So I am not commenting on the acting at all. I’m quite sure it’s a magnificent film. 

A friend posted the following article on FB:  Lupita Nyong’o And What It Means To Be Black

This was my response in her status:

This is a great article. I must admit that while I’m thrilled that Lupita won, it makes me feel some type of way that it took a British director, a British actor and a Kenyan actress to tell a Black American story about slavery. Other blacks in the Disapora love to look down their noses at us ‘regular Blacks’ without acknowledging that they were the ones who sold us down the river. Then they come the US and don’t bother to understand the racial dynamic in play while they benefit off the sacrifices on my ancestors. I’ve written a book. I shouldn’t have blogged in your comments! Lol!

As a descendant of American slaves, this bothers me. A lot. It’s like having a small pebble in your shoe while you are walking down the street. And I probably sound petty but were there no Black American actors and actresses who were considered for the roles? Maybe there were..maybe there weren’t, I don’t know. And yes I realize that slavery existed in quite a few places, like the Carribean and Brazil, but this ain’t about those places. I’m glad the movie got made, I’m certainly glad Solomon Northup’s story was shared with the masses but still…it just doesn’t sit too well with me.

Stand With Jordan Davis

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Another day in Florida, another case of a young black teenager getting shot and killed simply for just being.

Today the trial begins for the man accused of killing young Jordan Davis while he was with his friends, seemingly because their music was too loud.

You can find out more information about his case here.

Please pray for a fair trial and for his family. Pray for competent judges and attorneys. Pray that justice for Jordan is rendered as it should be correctly THIS TIME.

Jordan-Davis-21

How Not To Be Afraid

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MLK

This was floating around my Facebook feed this weekend and rather than put up a picture and quote for MLK Day, I thought I would link to this piece from Daily Kos, which is much more impactful, IMHO. It’s a bit long but I hope you will take a few minutes to read it, as it touches on Dr. King’s impact on everyday lives.

Happy King Day.

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This will be a very short diary.  It will not contain any links or any scholarly references.  It is about a very narrow topic, from a very personal, subjective perspective.

The topic at hand is what Martin Luther King actually did, what it was that he actually accomplished.

The reason I’m posting this is because there were dueling diaries over the weekend about Dr. King’s legacy, and there is a diary up now (not on the rec list but on the recent list) entitled, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream Not Yet Realized.”  I’m sure the diarist means well as did the others.  But what most people who reference Dr. King seem not to know is how Dr. King actually changed the subjective experience of life in the United States for African Americans.  And yeah, I said for African Americans, not for Americans, because his main impact was his effect on the lives of African Americans, not on Americans in general.  His main impact was not to make white people nicer or fairer.  That’s why some of us who are African Americans get a bit possessive about his legacy.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, despite what our civil religion tells us, is not color blind.

Read the rest right here.

Sacrificial Lamb

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There was a meeting last night to discuss the fact that Houston ISD is planning to close the high school I went to and merge it with another high school, build a new school and then adopt the mascot and name of the other high school. Folks in the community are upset and rightfully so. Who wants to see their alma mater shut down??  This meeting was supposed to be to gather community “input” but many folks acknowledge that unless a miracle happens, it’s pretty much a done deal.

However, many of the more recent graduates pointed out  in comments on the FB meeting invite that the community around my high school is in decay (and to be frank was always low income when I was there 20 years ago), the school itself is bad shape as it was built right after World War II, and the enrollment is less than half (530) of what the capacity can hold (around 1200 students).  Test scores are horrible and there has been a revolving door of administrators.  Parental and alumni support has been negligible. In fact, many of  more recent alumni commented that they welcomed the merger and subsequent building of a new facility as they felt it would benefit the community and future students.

I feel somewhat guilty because I agree with them.

I did not grow up in the community where my high school is located. I got up every morning to catch a 6:20 AM bus crosstown because of the gifted and talented program located there. That was the only reason I went. I enjoyed my time there and the friends that I made, but I don’t really have a strong connection to my high school at all. In 2002, the parents of the students in the gifted and talented program lobbied the district to move the program out of my high school to make it a stand alone one, first at an unused elementary school and finally to a brand new high school located in a gentrifying area right near downtown Houston. When the GT programs moved, the death knell basically sounded for my high school.

I feel bad because I felt like perhaps I should have done more as an alumni, that perhaps I should be more up in arms about this. After all this is a predominately Black and Hispanic community that is about to lose their neighborhood school. On the other hand, my practical side thinks that if the school has basically gone to shit, why shouldn’t the folks in the area, who DO pay school taxes like every other resident of the District get a decent school for their children? Why should their hard earned dollars continue to be used to put lipstick on a pig??? But even worse, why are the people in the community getting outraged NOW? Especially when it’s pretty much too late.

I’ll always cherish the memories, but Myron made a good point when we were talking about it, sometimes growth requires sacrifice.

I wonder if I should have sacrificed a bit more myself.

On A Centennial

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Today is January 13, 2013.

One hundred years ago today, 22 college educated black women conceived an organization for the betterment of women, the African American race and on a larger scale, mankind. The fact that they were even able to visualize such an ideal during a time when most woman and all blacks were considered lesser than in greater society is amazing itself.

I’m not going to go into the history of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. You can go online and look at our website or pick up the excellent book, “In Search of Sisterhood” by Soror Paula Giddings. I’m not going to get into the struggles that affect black Greek lettered organizations, because what affects one, affects them all.

Instead, I’m going to tell you what being a Delta means to me. I was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. via the Eta Beta chapter in the spring of 1994. I was 20 years old. I was a finance major and active in several clubs on campus. I was watching the Deltas like a hawk. The Deltas on campus were the bomb..they were the president of this club and that club, our campus queen was a Delta, top administrators were Deltas and I wanted to be just like them.  I went to the rush, along with several hundred other girls, and submitted my application. I waited on pins and needles for a call for an interview and when it came, I cried. But I wasn’t there yet. I interviewed and waited some more. It was make or break time. Did my service, grades and recommedations speak enoiugh on my behalf?? It all came down to the vote of those women in that chapter. It did. I “made line” and entered into the sisterhood with 28 other women on that spring day in April.

I reflect on that day nearly 19(!) years ago and I think of the hours of service to those less fortunate, the thousands of dollars collected in dues in fundraisers for scholarships and donations to other non-profits, the hours spent planning and meeting thinking of programming that assist our communities and youth and I don’t think people really truly realize that all this WORK is done by an ALL VOLUNTEER ARMY. This is not a boast or a a “humble brag” but simply the truth. While it is certainly true that you don’t need to be in a sorority to do community service, I certainly believe that the collective efforts of my sorority have a greater impact as a whole.

Growing up without any sisters, my sorors have become the sisters I never had. Whenever I have needed a listening ear or to be tapped on the shoulder because I may have been getting out of line, my sorors have been there for me. Through college and grad school, marriages, babies, divorces and deaths, we’re still standing together. We all get busy with life, but one phone call is all it takes to reconnect. That type of bond is invaluable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Sorority life is not for everyone, and I respect that. But it was for me and I am glad to be in the fold.

Happy Centennial to my beloved Delta Sigma Theta!!! My first love is, and will always be..D-S-T!!!!

The Great Debate Is Over Today

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The sprint to the finish line is almost done, a BILLION dollars has been spent, a ton of mud and accusations have been slung, hundreds of speeches have  been given and after 4 nationally televised debates Election Day is tomorrow. If you have not early voted already, I hope you get out and vote tomorrow. I hope that you assist someone with getting to the polls or babysit so someone can get to the polls. I hope (because I am biased and it’s my damn blog) that you will consider President Obama as worthy of your vote. I hope that you will be encouraged and not disgusted by the potential for long lines and will stand in them anyway, despite others attempts at suppression. I hope that if you are black, brown, yellow or a woman, that you recognize how important your vote is, because in the very recent past a lot of us could not vote all, or died trying, or were swindled out of a vote by a test or a tax.

I hope you look down the ballot, because after all politics is local. I voted to pay a few cents more in property taxes this time because all kids deserve to have better schools and some parents can’t afford private school, although I am not a parent. I voted for state representatives that represent my values and thought process even though I live in a state that routinely goes crimson. I might be outnumbered but I can’t be unarmed.

I hope you recognize that as a voter you have rights, that poll watchers are supposed to just watch and you should not be disenfranchised. If you have an issue at the polls, contact Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

I hope that you recognize that every vote counts, even yours, and because this race is going to go down to the wire, that you will be steadfast and not let nobody turn you round.

It’s election day today. To the victor goes the spoils. May God bless the United States of America, no matter the outcome.

Stuck On Stupid

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I was reading over the weekend about the ongoing battle royale between R&B superstar Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Foster Raymond. According to the always on point folks over at TMZ.com, Usher has given Tameka a 60 day notice to vacate the house that she has been living in since 2009, rent free mind you, because he intends to sell it. Woe is her, right? I do feel for Ms. Foster. She recently lost a child in a tragic accident, and to add insult to injury primary custody of her two youngest was awarded to Usher. But for me that’s where the sympathy train runs out of tracks.

I don’t think Usher is a saint by any means, and he didn’t help matters much with that Oprah interview. However, I do think he’s tried to reach some sort of settlement several times with Ms. Foster, which she continually rejected. The couple have been divorced officially since 2009. You read that correctly, 2-0-0-9.  I don’t really know whose fault it was that they could never come to terms on custody but Tameka lost that war in the end. You see, I have a little theory about this case (and also the Siovaughn Wade-Dywane Wade divorce), and my thoughts are this: the longer the mother dragged the father back and forth into court; the more the court saw her as unstable which weakened her status and led to the father being granted custody. I mean think about it. Family court is inherently biased toward placing minor children with their mothers and giving fathers visitation. A mother has to be blind, crippled or crazy to lose custody of her kids. I’m sure the fact that both fathers are tremendously wealthy also factored into the court’s decision.

I’m getting to a larger point here so follow with me: As women, we have to stop being stuck on stupid. Whether a woman is in a marriage that is ending or a committed relationship that’s gone kaput, we have to realize the end game. The end game is, IF the man doesn’t want to be in the relationship, has no intention of trying to working to save the relationship, has moved on and gotten a new woman; then what is the point to continually being evil and bitter about it, especially if there are children involved. Of course, I can sit here and type these words because that is a lot easier said than done. However, I have been lied to and cheated on and held bitterness in my heart for a very long time, while the object of my ire, had moved cross-country with the chick he cheated on me with, living his life like it was golden.

How does that saying go, Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Well after I realized dude was kicking it strong and was giving me nary a thought; I decided to stop killing myself.

Maybe Tameka Foster Raymond should too.

It’s Trouble, Man..

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I come up hard baby/and that ain’t cool/I didn’t make it sugar, playin’ by the rules/I come up hard baby, but now I’m fine/I’m shakin’ trouble sugar, movin’ down the line/I come up hard but that’s okay ‘Cause trouble man, don’t get in my way – Marvin Gaye, Lyrics from “Trouble Man”

My grandma used to stay that there was a “stirring in her spirit”. Some folks might say something just “doesn’t feel right”. For me, I’ve been walking around for the last few days humming the words to that Marvin Gaye song up at the top of this post.  My spirit is troubled.

We have men who believe that rape is legitimate.

We have children who get shot for wearing a hoodie in the wrong neighborhood.

And let me not forgot, handcuffed suspects mysteriously commit suicide.

There are those who want to take back America and suppress others right to the ballot.

I hate to be uninformed and go unplugged but it might be time to take a break from consuming all this negative media. Trying to keep up with it all is like drinking from a fire hose. It can get quite overwhelming. Just so much trouble, man.

Instead, I’ll just listen to Marvin sing:

Open Letter to the NBC Network Cause They Suck

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Dear NBC Network:

Like many of my fellow Americans, I am excited about viewing the Summer Olympic games in London. I was ecstatic to be able to watch hours and hours of coverage of those mens in tights out on the track and in those tiny briefs in the pool..sorry I digress..I was proud to be able to watch these elite athletes represent the great United States of America at the highest levels of sport!!!!

However, NBC..your coverage sucks. Donkey balls. Let us bullet point the ways.

  • Let’s start with NBCOlympics.com. Don’t advertise that you can watch all events live over the web when you really can’t. If you don’t have a cable subscription, you are shit out of luck. Some people don’t have cable, NBC. That’s foul.
  • Let’s move on to the smartphone apps that work when they want to and tend to die at the very moment you are trying to see the end of an event. Special shade is thrown to the cell phone carriers with their jacked up networks.
  • Bob Costas. Need I say more?? Dude is just terrible. Overly fake and smarmy.
  • The dude who was doing ALL of the gymnastics coverage..I don’t know who that was but he sounded WAY too critical..Let’s not invite him back, k?
  • Why is Ryan Seacrest giving us social media updates? All of us are on Twitter and FB? We already know what the people are saying. Better yet, WHY IS RYAN SEACREST PROVIDING COVERAGE AT THE OLYMPICS IN THE FIRST PLACE??
  • NBC you really suck majorly for making people like me, who have to go to work in the morning, wait until nearly the break of dawn before showing the men’s 100M dash final. Yes, I know who won already but stop milking shit for ratings and show the damn race so I can go to bed!
  • NBC you also suck for not having taste. Showing the ad for the new sitcom that stars a damn monkey in it, right after Gabby Douglas won the gold…no bueno. Who’s running tape back there?
  • NBC..swimming is over now. Can we get some interviews of these mens from track and field?? Can Sanya Richards-Ross get some damn shine??
  • Lolo Jones is overrated. She’s probably not going to medal. Less chatter about her please.

And a special “you ain’t shit” goes out to the Associated Press for thinking that the financial issues of Gabby Douglas’s mom and Ryan Lochte’s parents is “news”. It’s tacky and classless for one thing and seeks to diminish the triumphs of these fine athletes. However, in the words of that great philosopher, Dave Chappelle, both Gabby and Ryan are about to be able to say: “I’m rich, bitch!!!” and shake all the haters off.

NBC, it is my sincere hope that you don’t take this constructive criticism personally. I’m only trying to build you up, not tear you down. I’m all about the positivity. *big cheesy grin*

With all my love,

TIH

Link Love Special Edition: Trayvon Martin

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Some of the bloggers I’ve been reading and their reactions to the Trayvon Martin case:

The Black Snob: No Apologies: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin and Being “Good”

Nineteen Sixty Nine: Heavy Heart

Average Bro: Random Thoughts About Trayvon Martin

Carolyn Edgar:  CNN Blogs and on her personal blog

Los Angelista: All her posts related to Travyon Martin

Very Smart Brothas: Let’s Talk About Trayvon Martin Today

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Sham Investigation Into Trayvon Martin’s Killing

Andrew Cohen: Travvon’s Martin Killer Was Looking For Trouble…And He Found It (a legal perspective on the case that will go to the grand jury)

I hope this is informative to all who read this. I am praying that there is justice for Trayvon and his family.