Eccentric and Bent

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Atticus and Me

The Phoenix:

In my youth, and up until now, I had never read “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I rejected the “classics” because they rejected me and my lived experiences. They were typically written by people on the other side of the tracks. They wrote about the view from the good side of town while my spiritual ancestors came from the Bottoms and the Hollers. I was and am a voracious reader but I read on my terms. I devoured Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Wole Soyinka, Octavia Butler and the like. I endured the casual bigotry of Mark Twain, Stephen King and Elmore Leonard because I enjoyed the way they wove their tales. I read E.A. Poe because I love a dark mind. I read JD Robb/ Nora Roberts because I enjoy the magic she adds to her worlds. I read Sunshine Taylor Reddick/ Stormy Reddick because she is a kickass Sci-Fi writer following in the footsteps of Octavia Butler and Tannarive Due. So I am neither surprised nor disappointed in what folks are discovering in Atticus Finch. What I am curious about is how so many intelligent folks were able to divorce this character from his era. As an outsider looking in, I wonder if this is why they can’t see the casual bigotry and, in some cases, the outright racism of their contemporaries. Is this why they disregard the reports of POC who have been victimized by bigotry? Are they, like me, so invested in seeing themselves in the protagonist that they cannot fathom a flawed multi-faceted character who may harbor ill feelings about those lower in the hierarchy? Maybe this new book in the Finch canon brings up uncomfortable feelings about self. I don’t know because as I’ve stated I never read the book. The only comparison I have is the ongoing saga of Bill Cosby.
I watched all of his TV shows. I ate jello pudding pops because he endorsed them. I dreamed of going to an HBCU because of his influence. I disagreed with many of his speeches on Black Americans. And I now believe that he is a serial sexual abuser. I was able to divorce the man from the characters he played. I can enjoy the entertainment without turning the man into a false idol. He came from the era of respectability politics. While I do not respect Bill Cosby, I enjoy Cliff Huxtable.
I say all of this to say, we all look for ourselves in the characters we fall for. But those characters are just sketches of life in a particular time and space. They are reflections of us but they aren’t us. Reality is much more complicated. As such, we should never be surprised when they reflect our own ugliness back at us.
By the way, because of the uproar of the new Finch book I will be picking up both tomes. I want to see if there was casual bigotry that was overlooked in the first book that should have clued folks in to the fact that Atticus was as rabidly racist as his era.

Originally posted on :

I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” the summer between 8th and 9th grade. It was a hot, Southern summer and my mom and I went into a bookstore to look for some indoor reading. She bought me the book, and I took it home and devoured it.

I was transformed, both in a moral and literary sense. I would never forget the idea that standing up for the right thing, even when you know you are going to lose, is noble.  And, in no small part due to that book, I became an English major. (I had entered college as a pre-law student, but once I realized that I couldn’t be Atticus Finch, I gave that up.) Even today, when I’m asked to list my favorite novels, Harper Lee’s book is on the shortlist.

We even have a cat named “Atticus”.

So when I heard about “Go Set a Watchman”…

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I Am a Native American Woman With White Privilege

The Phoenix:

Bravo! This young lady has experienced the “light bulb” moment. While it may be uncomfortable for those with lighter skin to accept this fact of American life, this awareness is needed to truly fight for equality for all. We all have to look behind the smoke and mirrors to see that the wizard is just a man. Once we get over our awe of the system that “American Exceptionalism” created we can start to fill in the chinks that keep darker skinned folks out in the cold. This fight for equality won’t just benefit the darker folks but our entire society by allowing more ideas to be heard, by allowing more minds to be nurtured and by allowing families to add to the economic base. Examine your privilege and determine if it can be used to help us all.

Originally posted on Yes, I Said; Yes, I Will, Yes.:

First off, I think it’s important to say that I do not, and have not ever primarily identified as white. On my mother’s side, I’m Native American, enrolled in ghostmy Tribe, and, to a large extent, raised in my culture. I was born on the reservation and lived on or near reservations for much of my life. Indigenous cultural signifiers are important to me – I love Coastal designs and canoes. I love to eat Salmon, attend gatherings, and socialize at potlatches or powwows. However, due to genetics (while both my grandparents on my mother’s side are Indigenous, my grandmother is light-skinned, and my grandfather, of mixed ancestry) it so happens that I am light. Like, really light. Light as a ghost, let-me-put-my-arm-next-to-yours-and-compare-whiteness light. Some people call me glow-worm because they think I’ll be florescent under blacklights.

There are a lot of ways in which it sucks to be a…

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I am racist, and so are you.

Originally posted on Being Shadoan:

And the sooner we both acknowledge this, the sooner we can begin to address the problem. So let’s talk.

“Wait just a minute here, Rachel. You’re like, the least racist person I know. You’re always sharing stuff about race and racism. You couldn’t possibly be racist.”

Here’s the deal. Racism isn’t just guys in white robes and Paula Deen shouting racial slurs. Racism is subtle, racism is insidious, and our culture is so deeply steeped in it that it’s impossible to grow up in the US and not be racist. It’s a kind of brainwashing: a set of default configuration files that come with the culture. It’s a filter, built up from birth, that alters our perception of the world. (Literally–racial bias makes people see weapons that aren’t there.) Racism isn’t just conscious actions; it’s judgements that happen so fast that we may not even be aware of…

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Azealia Banks Goes After Erykah Badu & We’re Like, She Needs A Time Out

The Phoenix:

When you are young, you tend to be brash. Sometimes you forget that you are not invincible. In this case, I feel that Ms. Banks is doing more harm to her fledgling career by alienating a known entity than any of her previous twitter antics. She has not learned some valuable lessons and as long as she continues to play the game this way she will only achieve infamy instead of the fame she seems to crave.
While this may seem like just another celebrity post this is actually another way of looking at workplace dynamics; your attitude expressed can hinder achievement if your team leader does not believe that you have appropriate interpersonal communication skills. If you make your coworkers uncomfortable with unfounded negative claims they will not trust you to work on projects with them. So understand that taking personal shots could get you fired quicker than time management issues. In all things be judicious in the way you speak to others.

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful:


Once again Azealia Banks is on a Twitter tyrant and this time she’s set her sights on Erykah Badu of all people. A few days ago, a fan of Ms. Badu’s asked if she ever listened to Azealia’s music, to which Erykah replied:

Seems innocent enough right? Well Azealia didn’t take it that way and got all up in her feelings and decided to launch an attack on Twitter against the singer and replied:

How’s Erykah shading though? She didn’t diss Azealia’s music, Erykah just said she attempted to listen to it. Anyways, that just wasn’t enough for the Broke With Expensive Taste rapper who followed up with:


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Howard Morgan: Black Chicago Cop Shot 28 Times By White Officers Still Fighting For Justice

The Phoenix:

Even being a fellow law enforcement official does not protect Black Lives.

Originally posted on News One:

Howard Morgan Case
Lawyer Benjamin Crump depicts Howard Morgan’s (pictured) case as the height of calumny, or the slander of an innocent man. Illinois Cook County Public Defender Lester Finkle says the case represents the epitome of racial bias in America, and Rosalind Morgan, Howard’s wife, is calling for the courts to right a wrong committed against her husband, the Black former Chicago police officer who was shot 28 times by four White officers on the way home from work. And to add insult to injury, Howard ended up being the one convicted of attempting to murder them.

RELATED:Help! Chicago Wife Fights To Free Husband Who Was Shot By Police 28 Times

Last month, the Illinois State Appellate Court upheld Morgan’s conviction on four counts of attempted first-degree murder of the police officers. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, although he was shot 21 times in the back…

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‪#‎MikeBrown‬, ‪#‎Ferguson‬, & ‪#‎EricGarner‬ has shown that even your own family won’t get it, if they aren’t Black too.
I’ve seen #MikeBrown and the protestors depicted as criminals. I say even if he robbed a store (and that is still in doubt as the cashier of the convenience store initially denied that) that was not a death penalty crime. But we will never know because Darren Wilson stopped his life before we could find out.
While some protestors may have committed criminal acts most have not, yet they are all considered criminals. Even Dr. King knew that riots were the reaction of the powerless and voiceless.
The decision not to indict Darren Wilson is suspect based on the asst. DA’s “mistake” in giving the grand jurors a copy of a statute describing the justifiable use of force that had been ruled unconstitutional in 1985 by the U.S. Supreme Court. And to compound that, she never completely clarified that before they began deliberations.
Everybody wants to focus on the criminality of the residents but no one wants to focus on the conditions that led to the situation.
Then we have #EricGarner. His death was ruled a homicide by the coroner. His death was videotaped. The officer was using a chokehold; a technique that was outlawed by NYPD. But once again, no indictment.
Folks are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are tired that our lives mean absolutely nothing. We are tired of being told that we are playing the race card; hell I don’t even play spades. We are tired of our friends saying “yes, that was a terrible thing that happened but it happens to women, disabled, gays, etc. too”. I am tired of spending my day praying that my sons and daughter make it home whole. So if you don’t get it now, you never will. Just hope that folks are more understanding if it happens to you.

The Two Races in America

The Two Races in America

Growing up I was told that I would need to work twice as hard to get half as far. I needed to learn to live in two societies: the mainstream and my home community. I had to learn two ways of speaking, thinking and acting so that I could achieve my goals. I was subtly shown that my home community was considered less than by those in the mainstream. Folks were astonished with my elocution, intelligence and interests because they were unaware that my “kind” was just like their “kind”.

In the 90’s, my “kind” was told that the playing field was level so we no longer needed the hard fought protections of certain laws. We began to be accused of reverse racism. We lost so much of the ground that our ancestors fought for.

In the new millennium, we were told we should be colorblind; that we lived in a post racial society. We were told that we were playing a hand of cards from an era that no longer existed. I knew better though because I had been in this race a long time. I knew that as long as me and mine were considered hyphenated Americans instead of just Americans that all the rest was smoke and mirrors. For too long others have determined that the narratives of their fellow citizens were only the fairy tales of race baiters. For far too long others have tried to prove to us that skin color had no effect on perceptions. Now as 2014 turns into 2015, the blinders are being forced off by the actions of the military organizations masquerading as civil servants that protect and serve. I, for one, am glad.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of trying to adjust the rules for my sons so that they can make it home alive. I’m tired of denying my daughters full confidence in their feminity so that they aren’t viewed as typical wanton belly warmers. I am tired of over thinking what I put on to run to the grocery. I’m tired of my husband being passed over for promotions even though he has more credentials than those directly above him on the corporate ladder. I’m tired of being turned into the suspect when I report crime to the police. I’m tired… I’m also mad as hell that some of the people I love more than oxygen just can’t seem to understand. I’m mad that I have to question the motives of my Mexican and White relatives because they don’t get it either. I’m mad that my children will eventually have to navigate this course.

Hopefully by the time I meet my grandkids, their race will be easier.

Charlo Greene, Alaska television reporter and pot activist, investigated

The Phoenix:

I thought there were laws in place to keep folks from being forced to self incriminate.

Originally posted on theGrio:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A campaign-finance investigation is moving forward against an Alaska television reporter who quit her job on-air and vowed to work toward legalizing marijuana.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission wants to know whether Charlo Greene used crowdsourcing funds to advocate for a ballot initiative to legalize recreational pot use. Greene challenged the commission’s request for documents.

The commission on Wednesday rejected her objection to a subpoena, the Alaska Dispatch News ( reported. That gives the agency the authority to continue the investigation to determine whether money that was spent would trigger reporting requirements.

Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, said the order should be worrisome to those who take a stand on any issue. “If you publish your personal stance on any issue, then this government agency believes they have the authority to ask for emails, bank-account information, all of your records,” she said. “That’s scary.”

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Normally/how this thing works/ smoothly/ no fits, rattles or/ jerks/ but as you turn/ to walk/ away/ my breath/ catches/ caught/ in my lungs/ unsteady/ as old rotten/ ladder rungs/ no air/ I laughed/ when Jordan said it/ now/ I stand instead of it/ in spite of it/ no air/ as I think of/ all of the should’ves/ I am holding/ it all together/ now/ somehow/ with my breath/ knowing/ I must remember/ or face death/ but I just breathed/ you in/ how can I/ let you go/ I must/ or you can’t return/ so that I can/ believe/ and remember/ to Breathe.

Be Nimble, Be Quick: The Only Tips You’ll Ever Need To Be A Creative Genius In 5 Minutes

The Phoenix:

I know you’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, it is true in any endeavor. Many times we forget to practice the things that lead us to new thought patterns. I would say it’s as simple, and hard, as reigniting your childhood wonder. When we were children our imaginations told us that anything was possible and we played towards the possibilities. If we succeeded then that was great. If we failed, then we tried other ways to succeed. For example, when we wanted sugary treats but our parents said no, we would think of ways to rephrase the question a thousand times. We pushed at our parents until they reached their breaking points or gave in. Now, as adults, at the first sign that things aren’t going as planned we will give up. We have allowed the box to trap us into linear thought lines. A can only lead to B in our worlds. Yet, for children and creative geniuses, where you start does not necessarily predict your endpoint. Embrace that flexibility and jumpstart your creative possibilities. The linked article has some great suggestions to do that. Just remember to not fear failure. Some of the greatest innovators failed repeatedly but never gave up. Who knows you could end up as the next Trump, Gates or Winfrey.

Originally posted on Black America Web:

What the heck does it mean to be a creative genius? Being a creative genius is the best quality that you could have in every aspect of your life, especially at work. The new measure of success is a leader’s ability to spark creativity, shift thinking around old issues and define new prospects for forward action.  A creative genius has an appetite for novelty, they’re innovative and most importantly, productive and yes, you can be one too!

Genius is not about scoring 1600 on the SATs, mastering fourteen languages at the impressive age of seven, finishing Mensa exercises in record time, having an extraordinarily high I.Q., or even about being smart. Being a creative genius is about having a visual mind, creating more than one solution to any given problem and they’re just…awesome. You want to be a creative genius, trust me. And honestly it’s not that hard.

We attended

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