Archive for the ‘Social Rants’ Category

The front page of today’s Statesville Record & Landmark.

This is the front page story from my hometown newspaper, The Statesville Record and Landmark. As you can imagine, it’s elicited quite a response in the community and on social media. This “White Unity” event is ironically set to take place in a small town called Harmony. I guess they forgot to poll the Black folks.

Growing up in that part of the country in the 1990s and 2000s, I can’t say that I ever saw any explicit Klan activity. Every now and then the old folks would talk about the Klan marching downtown or something, but it seemed like something from the history books. But as they say, history repeats itself.

Some are angry at the paper for placing the story on the front page, above the fold. They say it’s as if the paper is endorsing the rally. I can see how someone would look at this on the front page and think that, but inside the paper there is an editorial titled “Evil in our midst can’t be ignored,” which states the editorial opinion that people need to see what hate looks like in 2012. I totally agree.

For those who think with an African-American president in the White House we are in a post-racial society, this may come as a shock. For others, this is sad confirmation of the fact that we have a long way to go before all people are truly equal in this nation. For those who only now feel compelled to speak out about , it’s about damn time! But we must realize that the regressive policies currently being instituted by conservatives on the local, state and federal levels are more destructive than any gathering of backyard bigot barbeque could ever be. We progressives cannot fall asleep at the wheel like we did during the 2010 election cycle this year. Not with so much at stake. Stay vigilant and stay up. I’m out…

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A new poll by The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation reveals African-American women put less of an emphasis on the importance of marriage then their White Counterparts.

We’ve all read the news features attempting to illuminate the reason as to why there are so many single African-American women.  A recent survey by The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation  suggests that African-American women place less of a value on marriage than their White female counterparts and both Black and White men.

In an article titled Survey Paints Portrait of Black Women, the Post revealed that just 40 percent of Black women polled viewed getting married as “very important” compared to 55 percent of White women, 47 percent of Black men and 54 percent of White men. They were also the most likely to think that marriage was not important at all. Very interesting stuff. The study also showed that Black women place a higher value on free time, being religious and being attractive than the other three demographic groups polled.

This very revealing study leads me to question whether the reason for the marriage gap in the black community is the cause for these attitudes or whether these attitudes are the reason for the marriage gap? Have three hundred plus years of attacks on the Black family structure, by both internal and external forces, made African-American women give up on the idea of marriage as a real possibility for themselves? Listen to the analysis of Towan Isom, a 39 year-old who owns a public relations firm in D.C.

“I can go to school. I can be successful. I can make money. I can have a career. That is in my power to control,” she said. “Finding a husband — that would be great, but that’s not in my power to control.”

Certainly one can live a good, fulfilling life without being married. But I would argue that out of all the ethnic groups in America, African-Americans would benefit the most from a two-parent family structure. The two parent structure not only provides children with the best change for success, it also allows the pooling of financial resources which is especially critical in times of financial crisis such as these. Just look at the chart on this page.

I find it very disheartening when women feel that marriage is less important than men. Not because I’m a chauvinist, but simply because I think women under-estimate their impact on men. I’m convinced that when it comes to relationships, a male’s standards are largely determined by the demands put on him by the pool of females he interacts with.  If women up their standards and expectations, men will follow suit.

But that’s my two cents. How important is marriage to you in the year 2012? Does this poll accurately reflect the views of yourself or African-American women you know.

So in less than 12 hours from now, the year 2012 will be upon us. It’s probably been the most anticipated changing of year’s since 2000. This is the year that has been speculated on endlessly ever since the Mayans ended their calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 thousands of years ago. If we believe pop culture, this is the next trendy date for the end of the world. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe that no man knows the day or the our of the end. I’ve always liked to view each new year as a fresh canvas, waiting to be turned into a cosmic masterpiece by the Creator.

This year, I’m really focusing on getting my financial life together. I’ve always been kind of a by-the-seat-of-his-pants-type of guy and in these tough economic times, that just isn’t getting it anymore. I’m determined that by this time next year, my financial situation will be markedly better than it is right now. I plan on making my money work for me, building up my savings and setting myself on the path to financial independence. Here are a few things I either already do or plan to practice in the coming year.

1. Pay your tithes-first and in full.

This has to be my first priority. I believe when you give God ten percent up front, he will carry your 90 percent much further than the 100 percent you would have without obeying him. The times when I’ve stepped out on faith and paid my tithes on time and in full, I’ve seen God do miraculous things.

2. Go pre-paid.

If you are under contract with one of the major carriers, you’re probably paying way too much for your phone. And no doubt, you’re getting less for what you pay every day. Most traditional carriers have eliminated unlimited web usage while making you pay more to use it. If you’re a serious techie, have no fear–you can still get a quality smartphone without emptying your pockets. Prepaid companies have really stepped their game up in the last few years. For music lovers, Cricket’s Muve Music Plan may be the best thing since the invention of iTunes. It allows unlimited, free downloads without have to sync them to your computer.

3. Cut your own hair.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…This brother has gone too damn far! This might sound like blasphemy to members of the Barbershop Brotherhood but give it some consideration. Depending on where you live, including tips, the average haircut can run anywhere from $15 to $20. You gotta stay fresh, so let’s say you go at least twice a month. That’s $40. That’s almost five hundred dollars in a year. Sure, you say, everyone would like to keep an extra $500 in their pockets, but is it worth the risk of looking crazy? Well I’ve been cutting my own hair for three years now. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of times were rough, but luckily for you, there are plenty of good youtube videos.  Invest $30 to $50 in a good pair of clippers and keep some money in your pocket.

4. Get Thrifty

Forget what those lies purported by 90s Sprite commercials , image does matter. Everyone wants to look good, but going to the mall and buying a new outfit (or two or three) every week just isn’t in my budget. I started going to thrift stores about three years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. The great thing about thrift stores is that whatever brand you favor, you can find them there for less. I’ve gotten just as many compliments on pieces that I’ve picked up in a thrift store as I have for things I brought fresh out of the rack. I would really recommend this if you’re a recent college grad trying to build up your professional wardrobe on a limited budget. I’ll post more in-depth about my love of thrift stores at a later date.

5. Save Your Change

In a time where people barely carry cash, let alone change, this may seem like an antiquated, Leave It To Beaver type idea. Over the years most people have probably lost hundreds of dollars worth of pennies,  nickles and dimes. A dime here and a quarter there doesn’t seem like much, but when the bank account gets low, it’s nice to know you’ve got a couple of bucks to fall back on.

Have any other money-saving tips? Comment and share them with the world! Happy New Year everyone!

The Old Soul Blues

Posted: November 13, 2011 in 80s Babies, Social Rants
Tags: ,

What defines an old soul?

So the other day I’m driving in my car, listening to the local hip-hop station when some generic-ass, I-got-money-song comes on the radio. Instinctively I clicked over to the old-school/R&B channel and was delighted to hear my favorite New Edition song “Sorry, You’re Not My Kind of Girl.” In the middle of the song, I began to think to myself…Does this make me an “old soul?”

At 26, I’ve been called that dozens of times. And that isn’t just based on my musical tastes. In the last few years, I’ve gone from wearing baggy jeans and jerseys to fitted casual clothes and fedoras. I love retro pieces of art and seem to have more in common intellectually with women in their mid-30s than mid-20s. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a time warp– too mature for the hip-hop club crowd but not ready to be the young guy in the oldies club.

When an older person calls me an old soul, I feel like it’s a compliment. Since they do so much complaining about what’s wrong with the younger crowd, I feel like they’re saying I’m different in a refreshing, positive way. When someone my age or younger says it, I feel like they’re saying it I should be out hanging with the retirement crowd. Can’t I be youthful yet still enjoy music, clothing styles and women who came along before the internet? Just because I prefer music with substance, wear my pants at my waist and sometimes find myself attracted to women who discuss more than just the latest episode of Basketball Wives, does that make me an old soul? What’s your definition? I’d love to hear from everyone, but especially those who also find themselves labeled this way.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years or so, you’ve probably read or heard dozens of news stories and features on marriage and African-Americans. To me, they all pretty much read the same…They give some horrible statistics and talk about how hard it is for Black women to find “good black men. (You know, since we’re all either in jail, gay or dating outside of our race.)

Adding fuel to the fire is a new book by a Black Stanford Professor named Ralph Richard Banks. His book, Is Marriage For White People?  is getting a lot of attention, both in the black community as well as in the mainstream media. In an interview with Time, Banks said educated and successful black women are more apt to look “down” (for black men in blue collar jobs) than “out” (as in out of their race). The conclusion Banks comes to is that it is time for Black Women to start looking outside of their race for potential husbands.

It’s a theory that I’ve heard expressed plenty of times, but usually within the confines of the Black Community. It’s not so much the thought of masses of black women dating outside their race that bothers me as it is an uneasiness with the mainstream media’s interest in a book with this type of editorial slant. There just seems to be something very condescending about it, like they are embracing the idea that dating White people is the solution to the problems for the Blacks. It smacks of paternalism to me. Why no coverage of books about Black Love?

In almost every story, I see all these pictures of beautiful, smiling sisters snuggling up with white men while reading that it’s damn near impossible to find a black man who can read and keep his ass out of prison. I know that as a group, African-American men have alot of areas to improve on, but is there anything positive has ever come from these types of stories?All they do is divide black men and women and continue driving a wedge between us instead of bringing us together.

The problem with stories like this is that they play out like some type of dark, adult Fairy Tale. In order to be saved from the brutish Black man, Black women must lay aside their natural preference and submit to the White Knight, who will wisk them away to a beautiful castle where good credit and children with “good hair” await them.

It’s not only the media who portray this falsity, it’s also black women themselves. After decades of choosing the wrong Black men, they date outside their race, find a white man who meets their requirements and then suddenly become the “expert” on these matters. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a frustrated black woman threaten to “go to the other side.” The truth of the matter is that men are men and all of us are capable of being equally trifling.

Let me leave you with this scenario: There are two equally attractive, educated female black accountants. One steps outside her social circle and falls in love with a black carpenter. The other decides that since she can’t find a black man that meets her requirements, so she marries a white man she hopes she can learn to love…Who settled more?

 

So I was watching CNN a few minutes ago when I came across this video. Last Saturday, a couple dozen kids walked into a convenient store in Montgomery County, Maryland at 1:47 a.m. These overgrown BeBe’s Kids proceeded to grab candy, drinks and other items from the store’s shelves and walked off without paying for it.

I wish I could say that I’m shocked, but I’m not. First of all, what kind of parent doesn’t know where their teenager is at damn near two o’clock in the morning? There’s just no excuse for that.

What did catch my eye was the use of the term, “Flash Mob.”  Basically, it’s a large group of people, usually connected via social networking sites, in a public place to do something silly and then haul ass. Apparently police in Philadelphia and other major cities have been dealing with it for a while, but this is the first time authorities have had this type of activity was caught on tape.

Call it what you want, I think it’s a damn shame that even if parents don’t know where their children are, they haven’t instilled enough of a sense of right and wrong for them to know that behavior like this is unacceptable. My grandmother used to say there was something very different about kids born after 1990…I used to think this was just talk, but the older I get I see she was right. But I think what’s changed most about children in the last 20 years is their parents.

Of course, there are the parents that just don’t give a damn. These apathetic-types have always been around, but seem to be increasing in numbers. Then there are those who neglect their children in the pursuit of a better life for them. Parents spend so much time working to give their children the things that their parents  that they were denied as children, they deny them the things that they were given-ideas like work ethic and a sense of concern for the world outside themselves.

Moral of the story: RAISE YOUR KIDS!

 

Being a reader and a writer  (not to mention a communications major) I take words very seriously.  With that being said, there are certain words and/or phrases that make me cringe every time I hear them. I’m all for the First Amendment, but I would not be upset at all if these words were permanently erased from pop culture language. These words make me re-think the term “Freedom of Speech.”

1 . Haters

Etymology: Late ’90s.

Usage: I love my haters.

Diagnosis: This should have died ten years ago. You aren’t doing anything with your life! What is there to “hate” on?

2. Conversate

Etymology: Mid-’90s.

Usage: Aye, girl. Let me get you number so we can conversate and get to know each other.

Diagnosis: Don’t get me wrong, I love Pac, but this ain’t no kinda English (Pun intended).

3. Swagg

Etymology: Mid-2000s

Usage: You can’t touch my swagg.

Diagnosis:  Gets my vote for the most overused slang phrase of 2008-09. When 65 year-old sports announcers are using the word, it’s time to put it to rest!  I think this one is slowly dying out.

4. Deuces

Etymology: Late-2000s

Example: He said he ain’t wanna be with me anymore, so I told that n*99a, deuces.

Diagnosis: This one is a recent addition to the list, but it’s moving up rather fast. This one seems too dismissive to me, which just might be the point. Remember the good old days, when people just said “peace?”

5. Gucci

Etymology: Late-2000s

Example: Nah, I’m Gucci.

Diagnosis: How was this phrase ever cool?