Working SMART!

A lot of my friends have been sharing a well written article with the gist that  telling your child they are smart is damaging to them and how it is better for them to praise their hard work and effort. If I was raising my children in Nigeria, I would agree with the writer. Unfortunately as a mother raising black girls in America, I WILL continue to praise my children’s intelligence.  Why? Because everyday they are bombarded with negative stereotypes telling them that they are not smart. Images that tell them that being black or female means not being capable of excelling in science and math. Images that tell them that the stereotypical African American child underperforms in every subject. My daughters know they are SMART because I remind them that despite anything others may say, they were gifted with intelligence. However my daughters also hear and see from me that being SMART means working smart.

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I call Bull Shit

A church opens its doors to a young man and he massacres 9 members of this church. He is a hate filled murderer but the excuses have already started.  Even before the  bodies are cold, blame has been shifted to everyone except the killer and the culture that nurtured his hate.  So before you scream lone wolf and insanity, remember that this man like Tim McVeigh and many others before him is a product of his culture. A product of hateful generations of privilege. A product of a society that has more severe penalties for kicking stray animals than killing certain types of people. The fact remains that privilege allows you not to see injustice because it does not affect you.

The revolution is being televised?

The past few years has seen revolutions and uprisings all over the globe. From Cairo to Baltimore people are rising and rioting, in reaction to a trigger of some kind, police brutality, oppression by leaders. People are reacting! The 99% marched in reaction to the status quo. But then what? What has changed? What has improved? Revolutions cannot be sustained if they are reactionary, they have to be nurtured and purposeful. They have to be driven by goals and these specific objectives must be focused and deliberate otherwise after the fires stop burning, if they do, the resulting anarchy is often worse than what was displaced.  Sadly all over the globe folks are relearning this.  But then should people just sit and do nothing? Of course not, because if they do nothing the rage just simmers and grows and the riots are simply postponed. Ideally we would address the root causes of the problems and find solutions. Solutions that recognize that human lives are more important than property and $$$. But getting there will be difficult if we wait for elected leaders. Many of these elected leaders are too privileged to relate to the poor or even the middle class. They are clueless about the needs of the people they should serve and cannot comprehend the effect of their words. So in addition to marching, shouting and praying, register to vote. Field your own candidates that will change the status quo. Think before you act.  Remember if all you do is burn your own neighborhood, 20 years from now it may still stay burned. And no one will give a damn until the burning starts again.

What I did on my spring break vacation

So I am doing an ancestry search on mini-me’s African American family. So far I’ve found FreedMen of the Chickasaw tribe of Oklahoma and a relative who was mulatto one decade and showed up as white? the next. I discovered black ancestors that were landowners in 1900 and domestic servants by 1920. I followed one branch of the family to a Stephen Miles who was born about 1856 but then I hit the wall of slavery. I think the European line may be easier to follow but it’s important to confirm which slave holder is the right one. Reading slave schedules and seeing ~ 6 year old slaves born in Africa is quite painful when I realize this may be my baby girl’s ancestor. So now you know what I did on my vacation.

Along party lines

If you are deathly sick and need major surgery do you ask your doctor for his or her political affiliation? Common sense dictates that you chose the most qualified surgeon that you can afford. What if your car or house needs extensive repairs, do you choose an incompetent contractor because he or she shares your religious or political beliefs? So why do we continue to elect idiots by voting  along party lines? Why are we electing incompetent sheriffs, school board members, land commissioners, tax assessors, etc based on their political parties? A treasurer should have the ability to do the job and at the primaries does it matter how many guns he or she owns? How dare we empower illiterate  people who have demonstrated clearly through their utterances that they have no clue about history, education or even basic mathematics with the power to determine educational curriculum? Folks we need to stop electing idiots. People complain about problems but do not take the time to vote at the local level. Some of these elections are determined by less than 100 votes. Apathy is not the answer nor is voting along party lines, do your homework and prevent the continued erosion of the collective intelligence of the next generation. Let’s stop electing idiots and choose the best candidates for each task.

Know your rights, get out to vote:

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

Not Good For the Gander! #StoptheKilling #StopBokoHaram

There are videos circulating the internet showing Chadian soldiers and Nigeria soldiers with (suspected / captured) Boko Haram fighters, I refuse to watch these videos but I have Facebook friends who have posted before and after screenshots and the pictures are brutal. Killing combatants during a fire-fight is one thing, but going out of your way to brutally torture and kill a captured enemy is extrajudicial murder. Yes Boko Haram is brutal and they have killed over 13,000  in just Nigeria alone. Yes many of these Boko Haram extremists are willing to die for their cause as evidence from their affinity for suicide bombings and missions. But I refuse to celebrate the torture or death of another human not even a suspected Boko Haram warrior.  More baffling to me is that some of these Boko Haram warriors look like children who should be in school  not actively involved in killing or getting killed. An unanswered question remains how do we stop this cycle of violence of misguided / ignorant / fanatic / militarized / extremist fighters? Our tears are not yet dry from mourning the dead at the hands of Boko Haram. The Chibok girls are still missing so we continue to chant #bringbackourgirls. Boko Haram continues to kill and fight a brutal war against innocent villagers and the numbers of the internally displaced and refugees continues to grow. Boko Haram has to be stopped and it is a brutal war, but in the quest to stop Boko Haram the soldiers should not become worse than them. I fear that based on these videos than it may be too late for some of the soldiers.