December 5, 2014
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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.
April 9, 2014
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She wore her scars like armor but if you got passed it, it was amor. Battle ready at all times but full of that LOVE DIVINE. The battle between light and dark is damn sure what gave her that spark. A smile on her lips could disguise the murder in her eyes. See she could kill your dreams with kindness, never a cruel intent, she was just a warrior that said exactly what she meant. And if you crossed her, it was yours to bear. Call up your gods, say a prayer but to her love nothing compared. Like a roller coaster with dips and crests, she lived this life, doing her best. And finally she is at rest.
March 26, 2014
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It’s been a while since I posted. The last posts were related to the death of my grandmother, Mrs. Irene Lujan Primous. From that point until now, I haven’t written anything more than some FaceBook statuses. Poetry left, my essays dried up and my short stories have no imagination. I thought I was just going through a down cycle, as they have happened occasionally in my life. I always viewed these cycles as times I was subconsciously recharging my creativity. They have been viewed as periods of rest for a super active mind. I have just recently had what some may call an epiphany; I may just be depressed. I battled with what a doctor diagnosed as manic depression from the childhood until about age 27, when I decided to take life as it comes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those who believe that therapy is a racket dreamed up by folks to push pills and make money. I just knew that constantly rehashing the BS of life wasn’t helping ME. I needed something different and eventually I found it. I guess the reason I am unsure about whether this is depression or a motivation issue is because the only “symptom” I am exhibiting is a lack of desire to partake in some activities. Yes, these are the activities that make up the facets of my personality but they aren’t the sum total of me. I’ve still been eating, laughing and spending time with my loves. I’m not withdrawn or angry. I just haven’t had any desire to engage in my god complex. 😜 I’m still putting out (what I think is) inspiration. I still feel happy on the surface so could I really be depressed? I really don’t know but I hope whatever this season is ends soon because I have another death to deal with. I know I would be able to process my grief better if I could “create” it out of existence. So what do you think my problem is: depression or just unmotivated? >
August 7, 2013
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Lately, there has been a conversation going on in America about crime. It exploded during the George Zimmerman trial. On one hand, you have those bemoaning the apparent lack of equality in the criminal justice world. They point to the statistics of how often minorities are tried and convicted as opposed to those who are recognized as the “majority”. They also point to the harsher penalties that are handed down to those “minorities” as opposed to the “majority”. They say it points to the institutionalized racism that is entrenched in American society. They are demanding a change to the laws that disproportionately affect minorities and the poor (which can be one in the same). They feel that a white person can get away with murdering a brown or black skinned person. They feel that the system is saying their sons lives are worthless and they are demanding accountability and justice.
On the other side are those saying that as long as 96% of Blacks are being killed by other Blacks then they should just shut up. They trot out the term “Black on Black crime” (BoBc for the rest of this posting). They say fix your problems within your own community before you rail against the “so-called” issues within American society. They imply or flat out state that those who are calling out the justice system don’t have the same fervor when BoBc occurs. They imply that as long as the minority community doesn’t care what happens amongst its members then we have no say in how the world views the community as a whole. These same people use BoBc as a weapon. You see it from the O’Reillys, Hannitys, and Nugents. You even get it from the Lemons. But those same people get very quiet when you point out that most crime is statistically intra racial. Such as Whites are killed by Whites 84% of the time. Yet you never hear the term White on White crime or Chinese on Chinese crime. Those are just crimes. Until now, I read this article about Chris Hayes and his appearance on TV. I was amazed by his approach. I applaud his efforts to get people to understand that the media is complicit in this debate by what they choose to air.
If all you hear is that green elephants with pink polka dots are dangerous but pink elephants with green polka dots are safe and friendly that will be your point of view.
I believe that crime is crime, no matter who commits it. I know that the laws are applied more harshly to those with more melanin. I think that it is mostly due to the misperception being fostered in society that minority males are more dangerous just because they are minority. I know that there is a whole host of things going on that contribute to criminal activity. I also know that as Americans we cannot sit back and be mute when our government entities engage in bigotry. I will speak up and out. And from now on, whenever someone tries to shut down the conversation by trotting out BoBc, I will counter with statistics about White on White crime.
April 4, 2013
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I wrote about losing my phone. I told you how I was disappointed to lose pictures and information. I don’t remember if I told you about trying to remember my passwords to change them to new passwords. But I had to do that too.
I have a new phone. I have new passwords. What I don’t have is complete control over my email address. Someone has been sending out mass amounts of spam in my name. I have changed the dang password several times due to not being able to access my mail from my phone. I changed it on the 28th and actually restarted a paid account. I tried to open my email today and could not. I went to the desktop site and saw that my account had been suspended due to suspicious activity. I then was able to set up another password.
My issue is why can’t AOL suspend my account without me being a paying customer? Why does $6.95 a month make such a huge difference? Does the “hacker” now have my credit card info? Losing my phone was such an small thing but the ramifications can be huge. I am frustrated by the lowest common denominators of society. If they want people to buy their crap, be honest. Because as PT Barnum purportedly said, there’s a sucker born every minute.
February 21, 2013
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Quick Tip: Stay Regular.
Blogging is like exercising, in my opinion. Some days I am highly motivated. Other days it’s a fat day. (Disclaimer: I do not have a structured workout scheduled. I leave that to those peppy cheerleader types. So my comparison comes from the comments of others about their workout routines. Heck, I chase a 2-year-old around for 15-18 hours a day and horseplay with the others from 5PM – 9PM most evenings. Who needs a structured workout. )
As a result there is no real schedule above trying to post at least 2 days a week. I typically don’t get on the interwebs on the weekends because I am fully focused on family time then. I also post less frequently during school vacations because there are 7 people in line for the desktop. Once I get a new laptop that will change. If a good blog is like a healthy colon then my blog is probably more like a college kid’s colon, healthy enough but subject to occasional abuse. This could result in constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. Constipation of the brain may cause me not to post as frequently. That is why I created the Ask Me Anything…Seriously page. Your questions may be the laxative needed by me. If I suffer from diarrhea of the blog I will post until the situation remedies itself. Hopefully this blog never suffers from hemorrhoids because I will shut it down. I will try to maintain a healthy blog because I don’t want to bore you. Just understand that, like you, I live a real life and that is my most important task.
February 7, 2013
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What’s Your Style?.
Style affects everything from fashion to home decor. Some styles are just fads and then there are the classics. In fashion, neon colors tend to be the fads and Chanel’s LBD is a classic. In writing, dialect or slang can be seen as fads. Even choosing to forego proper punctuation or capitalization have been fads among certain groups of writers. An academic standard such as MLA is that Chanel dress. I am a denim girl in both daily clothing and writing. I wear and write what is comfortable. That means I write exactly as I speak and think. I don’t embellish with a lot of baubles, lace, or doodads. Sometimes I am vibrant, sometimes I am very casual, and other times I have to be more formal. But I am never fussy, completely frivolous, or dull (at least in my humble opinion.) Unless you are a technical writer, I don’t believe that it is necessary to maintain a formal distance in your writing. That is one of the great things about writing, being able to share yourself. So go try on some of the fads and classics. Who knows you may enjoy getting into some neon.
February 4, 2013
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I decided earlier this year that I would start to take my crafts more seriously. One of the items on my list was my writing. That is why I am trying to take my blogging more seriously. To that end I have started following some writing blogs. One of the writing prompts that I received today came from The Daily Post as a weekly challenge. The the prompt was to write about something divisive. I immediately thought that I would write about something near and dear to my heart, “Race”.
As an American who is also Black, race is part of my daily life. Even when I am not actively thinking about race and the issues that come with it, it is a part of my day. People will interact with me based on their preconceptions. One of the easiest ways to categorize me, after gender, is by the color of my skin and the kink of my hair. And we all know that humans like to take the easy way. Hell, I do it too. I have preconceived notions based on a person’s skin and hair. I automatically assume that the peach colored chick with the sandy blonde silky tresses is not Black. I automatically assume that the dude with Dreadlocks and Mocha skin is Black. I would approach them with these notions in my head. I know that there is chance that I am wrong in both cases, for I have met Latinos who look black and Blacks who look White. I also know that “race” is a purely sociological and psychological construct invented to prove the superiority of Europe over the rest of the world. Yet, the talk of “race” does not offend me.
I am more offended by those who claim to be “color blind”. By you choosing to be an enlightened liberal, you are taking away my ability to speak my truth. You don’t see race, so how can you see me being followed around a store when I am doing nothing more than trying to find a way to spend my money? If you don’t see race, how can you see the inequality in education? How can you see that the media contributes to institutionalized racism? How can you even see the institutionalized racism? You are color blind so when I mention an injustice based on race you say I am throwing out the race card. This is not a game so why would I throw out a card? There have been books written about the color blind phenomenon. Most of them agree when Blacks say that something is racist, Whites deny it. But if the same topic is reviewed by another White person it is like a veil is lifted from the eyes of the others. I am not bitter just aware that this is my lot in life. I can either embrace race or try to pretend it does not exist.
I choose to embrace race. I define my race as Black American (sometimes Negro American). I am not African American. I am not dissing Africa or Africans because those are my “cousins”. It is just that I have never been to Africa. I have not spent a lot of time around the different varieties of people from Africa. I have a few friends on FB that are Naija or from S. Africa. I was raised in a family that stressed learning all of the history I am entitled to have. I know that I share history from the African Continent but my experience and life has been purely American. As such I would not feel right claiming something that is not totally mines. I claim America as my own because I am the perfect example of America. I an admixture of a few cultures, but I am most definitely Black. I am proud of the accomplishments of the Americans who look like me. I try to be good example of Americans who look like me. I am raising my children to be the best examples they can be. I am instilling in them a sense of pride for their brown skin and kinky hair. I let them know that they should be Black and Proud. I know I am. What else can I be.
July 24, 2012
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Sometimes in life we suffer loss and grief. Some people seem strong and unshakeable. Others quiver and shake like gelatin treats. But we all will go through it. This past month has shaken me to my core. In a week’s time, my Aunt died, we buried her, my sister went into labor 4 months early, the baby died within 3 days of being born, my son became suicidal and had to be committed for his own safety and then I went to the baby’s funeral. At the time I was going through this I did not know how I would make it to the other side. Now that I look back, I see that it was more about determination than strength. I got up every morning and put my feet on the floor. I followed those steps with other steps until they led me back to my bed at night. Each day that I did that everything became easier to face. I don’t know what comes next but I know that I will have the determination to face it. I say all of this to say, you don’t have to be a superhero (although that would be totally cool) you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will eventually make it to your destination.
May 21, 2012
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I have had people talk about my perfect life. They compliment my perfect marriage or my awesome children. They tell me that they wish they could be a “Kept Woman” or a “Woman of Leisure”. I just look at them and wonder what in the hell they are talking about. Just because I am happy in my life does not mean that it is perfect. It just means I am satisfied that things are going as well as can be expected.
My husband and I will be married for 18 years in August and we have been together for almost 20 years. That does not mean we have a perfect marriage, that just means we have worked through the bullshit that could tear us apart. I love this man with all my heart. I would not trade him for another husband. But that does not mean that he doesn’t work my last nerve. He is a neat freak and I am not. I would probably be a hoarder or at least a serious pack rat if he didn’t keep throwing my shit away. He reads my fucking journal because he wants to know what I am thinking when I don’t feel like talking about it. I know I get on his nerves. My mouth is filthy and caustic. I don’t think before I speak and therefore some of the shit I say makes me cringe. He accepted that I left in our 7th year of marriage and had a child outside of our marriage. He gave my child his name, love, and fatherhood. So while not perfect it is still a great relationship.
My kids are awesome but they are still assholes. I mean I am their mother. Yes they are honor roll students but that just makes it easier for them to be smart asses. I have one who has chosen to be homeless at 17. He has spent time locked up for tresspassing. I am on probation right now because he is an habitual truant. He uses any and all drugs that come his way. I love him with all of my heart but I don’t like his ass. I hope that one day this will change but I don’t know. I have a 20 year old who is spoiled beyond belief. I don’t see her and her girlfriend getting their own spot anytime soon. My 14 year old keeps trying to tackle me because he wants to prove his gangsta. ( He is taller and more muscular than I am, so it pisses him off that I am still stronger and quicker. That is left over from my time as a hoodrat gangbanger.) My 12 year old is a sarcastic motherfucker that makes me want to break my rule about calling folks “bitches”. I have a 10 year old who has regressed in behavior due to the fact that I had another boy 18 months ago. And my 8 year old has split personalities like the Gemini she is. I also have two dogs and two hermit crabs. These motherfuckers keep me on my toes 24/7 because if I slip, it will be mutiny.
I say all of this to say no one’s life is perfect. Everyone has issues and stresses. Some people just choose to focus on the great parts. I am one of those. I love my life and would not change it for anything. Not even to have a perfect life because where would the fun be in that?