Archive for June, 2012

More for Less

By. Nargis

 

For some reason it seems like we have a serious issues with ‘lessness’ in this country. What I mean is that many people, including myself, are struggling to pay a simple phone, light, gas, or rent bill. Why is that? because people with education are working for ‘less’. Most are job’less’ and some end up home’less’.

    Down here in Atlanta, GA there is a staggering number of homeless individuals walking around. Some have disabilities, some are addicted to substances, and others just don’t know how they ended up on the streets with their kids. There is currently a community living under Hwy 20 at least 10 families out there, some have been helped by organizations that gave out tents and food but that is simply putting a band-aid on and open bleeding wound. People are losing their houses left and right with literally no where to go. And if they do manage to get a job there is not enough income generated in order to sustain a household. Minimum wage is a joke, and it leeches off of peoples desire to simply make it through the day without being hungry, and to pay a cell phone bill. The cost of living is going up and is it becoming a necessity to have the internet and a cell phone, those who do not are looked at as failures.

I don’t have a solution to this issue but I want our eyes opened to the current circumstances of our country and the class gap is widening instead of closing. I can only speak for what I am observing over here but I feel it should be an issue of national attention when children are starting to be involved. My cousin had a neighbor whose daughter came over to play and talked about her stomach hurting but that it feels better when she sleeps or eats food.After speaking to the mother she broke down crying saying that there simply isnt enough food to go around for everyone and that she is losing the house she’s just trying to sell off things in the house.

A man in my God Mothers affluent neighborhood in PG county was shot down by the SWAT team in front of his own house because he robbed a bank after realizing his house was going to get foreclosed on. And he wanted to keep up appearances to keep it from his family and decided to commit a felony rather than admit he needed to downgrade and start over. So he was killed and his family is worse off than before.

An Ex of mine is now locked up for a weapons possession in Baltimore, MD because every job he had fired him once it was time to downsize. And every other job he applied to looked at him and said no. He had not had a  stable roof over his head since he was 16 because his mother was on crack. He hopped around to different peoples couches.  So since he had 2 other mouths to feed other than his own he went back to trapping and got caught up.

How do people get in these situations? There is not one finite answer to that but the state that we are in is ridiculous, the land of opportunity is drying up. The expense of living is rising intentionally to create a greater divide so that there are more Nots, instead of Haves.

How do people get in this situation? There are many answer

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I have a serious question about this pic

By: ADAM

Warning! there is an actual question in this post! I rant for a few minutes so bare with me, but I do want to know what you guys think.

 

Ok so many of you may know I have film called “I’m Single Because” which explores the “Civil war” or disconnect between black men and women. We also have a discussion board dedicated to the film and the topic. Well a few weeks ago I decided to check up on my ISBC fam and saw that one of the members posted the picture shown above. I also found out that this pic has been floating not only all over my Facebook and Twitter timeline but all over the net causing all sorts of drama!

The picture shows four different couples all of different races (Asian, Hispanic, White and Black) bench pressing. The men lifting and the women spotting the man serving as a metaphor for couples supporting each other and women basically having their mans back. Now many of you may notice that every couple is super supportive of each other except for one right? Yeah that’s right except for the black couple. This cartoon is exaggerated and  bring up a major issue in our community. I have always said there is a major disconnect between us (Black men and Women) this picture proves that. It seems to put all the blame on the women when we should know by now that it is not a one-sided thing. We should know by now that we ALL need to do better. There are Major issues between Black men and Women and I hate to say it but this shows you how a lot of MEN feel. This is why I began working on the movie and started that discussion forum. So we can discuss the issues between us and start to fix them. In order to do that we CAN NOT be afraid to discuss the issues no matter how tired we are of hearing about them. We can’t run away from our problems. I know many men that feel like this sometimes but the problem is that we DO NOT TALK TO EACHOTHER. All we do is complain to other folks  or try to make fun of the issue by creating cartoons like this. This why there is a disconnect, this why I use the term Civil War.

 

We have come to a point where the converstation has regressed  to a basic child like blame game. A conversation  that should be progressing at this point. Blame games and pictures like this  do nothing but cause Women ask questions like this “so for those of us that DO support our men…. we get what again?” or cause men to say things like this “Smh. This is so true.” By the way those are actual Facebook comments on this picture. It is pointless. How many times are we argue over this? At what point are we going to ask the opposite sex why they are so angry with us? Do we even care? Or am I wrong.  Let me know what you guys think.

‘Race’ still matters….right?

By Nargis

 

I recently saw the documentary “Slavery by Another Name” based on a book by Douglas A. Blackmon. And it exposed a period of time after slavery when petty laws were created in order to target African Americans imprison them with felony charges and rented out as manual labor to businesses. I immediately saw the early on conspiracy to trap Black men in order to keep from the greater society. I generally have an issue with White people writing on Black topics but this was a very though provoking film. What it caused me to of think was how the more time that passes between when Blacks were enslaved and the reality that exists for Blacks today the farther away we want to get away from certain types of language.

I was raised in a household that promoted Black pride and knowledge of the history our family came from. Black authors and book topics filled my childhood library. As I have entered the education field and interact with the new generations coming up I realize that pride is not what they are receiving in their households. As generations are born further away from the time when Blacks were enslaved I recognize a disconnect with the youth and finding a purpose in their lives. I expressed to a professor once that the reason kids no longer rally and protest is because they do not feel a connection to struggles from the past. They have not witnessed blatant prejudice and racism, nor do they have the opportunities to hear stories of Jim Crow South and the Great Depression from their elders because they are not being brought up with actual elders who lived a separate generation from them.

The ‘White’ mans system of oppression has been transferred to our ‘in’justice system. Race however cannot be attached to this new system because law officers come in all shades of ethnicity. Just as slave owners saw they could use other slaves as overseers and other prisoners to commit violent acts on suspects arrested on trumped up charges. Law enforcement saw the necessity, the diabolical brilliance of simply changing the face of the crimes and injustice committed upon Blacks and their communities.

I get disheartened when I meet children who do not want to have a connection to Black history and have little knowledge of a world larger that the 5 block radius of their neighborhood. I am not a world traveler or a jet setter but I have a desire to learn and to understand and discover connections with history to the present. I recognize I come from a biased place but I feel that if we develop an appreciation and understanding for history then we can make strides to prevent it from repeating. There are days when I can observe t he world around me and point out modern day practices of slavery working overtime. Watching the documentary it showed documentation that our Black men have been targeted for imprisonment since the 1860’s after the Civil War. Misdemeanor offenses were changed to felony charges and Black males as young as 16 were imprisoned. I would think by now in 2012 that our community will have more insight into preventing long term imprisonment for male figures from the Black community.

I guess my question is, should race and race relations still be something that we need to discuss and resurrect to work towards undoing these centuries of abuse. Or does the center of dialogue need to continue in its natural shift to discuss other facts that are utilized in systems of oppression such as class status? Because if that is to be the case we still need to observe the historical trends. The last time people in positions of power found themselves on similar economic standings as the ‘have nots’ thats when the Jim Crow laws and the Klan emerged. So as this new generation is emerging, educated , but still unemployed how will they respond to the necessity in seeking government assistance, unemployment, or food stamps? Who will join together to address the glaring issues of inequality to make society a better place and who will step on the backs of others and hold then in the place they ‘belong’ for individual profit and success?

Reading is not “Fun”damental

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By: Nargis

I love to read. Fans of Mindstream Radio know that I did the weekly book reviews on the show hosted by my two friends; Adam and Paul. I believe strongly in promoting literacy and encourage people around me to acquire and appreciation for the art of the written language. As a proud book worm and an educator I am consistently disappointed when my students express a dislike for reading. This eagerness begins to flicker around the 5th and 7th grades so that by the time they reach high school the light of imagination has been extinguished.

The unfortunate thing is people within leadership and mentoring positions are not encouraging our children to use their brains and exercise their minds. The other day I was at a community center for the city of Atlanta. As I was packing up my things the counselors were settling the kids in with a snack and they were going to turn on the TV. The head counselor began to threaten the kids with reading books if they didn’t quiet down. She said, “Yall have been reading all day, I want you to do something fun today but I guess yall just want to read…” I could not believe my ears, literally my jaw dropped (yall know I’m dramatic) but it really did I could not believe that somebody would encourage that type of ideology that reading is equivalent to a punishment, therefore they believe that reading is bad at an early age and get discouraged from exercising themselves mentally.

I developed my passion for books at a very early age. I will confess my childhood nickname was ‘book’ because I climbed on the shelves and tore the pages from the bound covers. I was encouraged to read, and had stories read to me. Using my imagination is an active part of my childhood memories and I know that it helped develop my appreciation and interest in writing, journalism, storytelling, etc. I am so grateful to come from a family of educators, writers, and dreamers because I believe that thought should be free. No child should have a limitation of ways to see their dreams and believe anything is possible. Promoting otherwise in a sense is crippling that kids future.

It frightens me that there are adults who have lived life and see how difficult the world is working with our kids and feeding them negative habits that could be detrimental to the success of their adulthood. Our ancestors fought and died, suffered and were maimed for the ability to read and write. Now we suffer through the failure of our children in the school system when education and knowledge are only being sought through Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Don’t get me wrong I do believe there is a balance and that all TV is not bad, everyone deserves a guilty pleasure especially kids. But there should never be a conflict of opinion when it comes to value and worth between zoning out in front of a TV or reading a book.

 

Shackles on my feet

By: Adam

Ok so by now you have all seen the Adidas “Shackles” sneaker online and if you haven’t then just look at the picture above. Listen, I can see why you would look at this and scream  “WHAT THE F@C*!!!) at the computer screen. I also understand that Shackles on sneakers would make most black people have a serious roots moment; I get that. However I don’t understand how something this silly has become this serious. How did a pair of sneakers spark a black history moment? How did we get here?

Incase you didn’t know, Adidas has decided not to release the shoe due to a major public out cry (See Story here)  ok great, we did, we got Adidas to stop selling the racist sneakers. Now I agree the shoe is stupid and extremely ugly ( I would never rock those joints) but to be honest with you they don’t make we want to protest. Honestly I couldn’t care less about them. What I do care about and what I never see posted on Facebook twitter or anywhere else is the Number Black men that are gunned down everyday in our own backyard or some of the other major issues in our community. Now ok let me slow down. Let me at least explain to you all why I feel like this. I’m a radio host and two years ago the area I lived in had 17 murders within 20 days into the new year! That was a record and this was driving me crazy. So I decided to do a “countdown” on air and on my Facebook and twitter pages. Everyday I would close out the show or update my status with an update on the number or murders we had in the county. I would say “Oh by the way folks we are at 15, what are we going to do? Where is the outrage?” I did this for several weeks and a few people responded, but not a lot. After awhile I started receiving tweets and messages asking me to stop. Asking me to focus on the positive things  happening around me. Some folks even told me that I shouldnt bring it up because “There was nothing we could do about it” and “This is just the world we live in”. This left me feeling lost. I had to ask myself several questions. Is this just the world we live in? Is there nothing we can do? Should I just shut up and stop being negative? Then I remembered Don Imus and the “Nappy Headed hoes” Situation. Or how everyone spoke up for Micheal Vick, or how vocal we can be when someone white person says something racist on tv. We DO know how to speak up and we DO have power to change things. We are just focused on the wrong things

Now let me be clear, I’m not saying that you should be happy about those shoes. The design is insensitive and plain stupid. I just can’t figure out why I always see folks making a big deal about things like this but make no noise over crime and violence in your own backyard. Are we afraid to speak up? Is this issue so big and scary that we would rather just act like it doesn’t exist? Well let me remind you that it does! It’s out there and it IS scary, but we have to deal with it. We can’t sweep it  under rug any longer. We have Shown the world that when WE care we can create major change. When we speak up folks listen! Don’t underestimate yourself. Take that energy and focus on something that matters.  Here are some stats for you

Top Ten Killers of Black men

1. Heart Disease (24%) 6. Diabetes (3.9%)
2. Cancer (21.9%) 7. HIV/AIDS (3.0%)
3. Injury, Violence and Safety (6.5%) 8. Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema (2.8%)
4. Homicide (5.2%) 9. Kidney Disease (2.6%)
5. Stroke (5.0%) 10. Conditions Perinatal/Newborn (1.9%)

Notice something? Most of them have to do with the way we eat and live and two have to do violence! Most if not all of them are preventable!

 (Source)

The issues are real family. I know we get tired of hearing about them; trust me I do too but we cannot run from them any longer. We are dying and our youth are dying before they even get a shot at life. If we are gonna outrage over something lets outrage over that!

The image of the Black man in America

By: Adam
Have you heard about  Darius Simmons? He was a 13-year-old boy  who was gunned down by a 75-year-old man named John Henry Spooner (full story here) Sound familiar?  I couldn’t help but think about Trayvon Martin. I remembered that this time two or three months ago we were fired up about Trayvon’s death and the fact that his killer George Zimmerman was a free man . I remember how everyone spoke up and eventually George Zimmerman was arrested. Now not even three months later another young black man is dead at the hands of someone who thought they were doing the right thing. A man who probably believed that Black men are violent and will rob and Kill without thinking twice. He believed the stereotype and this bothers me.

I take this personal because I am Darius Simmons, Trayvon Martin or any other Black male that is a victim of a stereotype. Most Black men feel this way, but where does stereotype comes from? Why do PEOPLE see thug when they see me in “Urban clothing” but not someone of a different race? Why does a hoodie look different on me a 6’4 black male than say ummmm Geraldo Rivera (Geraldo’s views on Hoodies on Darkskin men)? Why are PEOPLE afraid to ride the elevator or walk past me at night?  Why did a BLACK woman seem afraid to get out of her car when she saw me walking in her directions? Why do Black men assume I sell drugs or work with Hip Hop artist?  Help me out. Does this come from, Racism? I know what its like to be a black man in America and have people look at me like the enemy. I remember being a teen and getting harassed by cops for nothing. Or having a group of goons staring wondering why I was on their block. Sometimes you just laugh it off and other times you can not! But you do eventually just live with it.

 I’m not saying whats right or whats wrong right now, I’m just sharing my story, Fighting a stereotype is not easy, but it’s not just white people’s fault. It’s an image of the Black man in America that needs to be dealt with. How do they view us and how do WE view ourselves? I just want us to get deeper with this conversation so maybe we can begin to save our young men.  Thats just my opinion, what do you guys think? We would really love some feedback on this subject.

Daddy’s Girl

By Nargis

Good Morning Monday Fam!

I hope this finds you all well and people are in high spirits looking forward to the upcoming week. For the kickoff blog of ‘thetransferpoint’ I decided to write on a topic that was in discussion over this past Fathers Day weekend.

I grew up with a father in my life. There have been times in my adolescence that I was not happy about this fact and wished he would disappear forever. But, with age comes maturity and I can say that I have developed a deep and profound love and appreciation for my dad who I affectionately call Pop. As a teenager I found myself listening to my friends and classmates Bad Daddy stories. As an adult I actually had a group of my high school students who sat together call themselves the “No Daddy Crew”. We have all had to bear witness or in some cases tell our stories about the man who was never a figure or factor in our lives. I used to feel so guilty when my friends would literally be a round table discussion of everyone trying to top the others daddy disappointment tale of woe and I had nothing but praise for Pop. I know some would count me blessed and I wouldn’t argue with them but I would add that others who do not have their biological fathers in their lives are equally if not more fortunate. It is not my ability to say my father was in my life that allows me to count my blessings but the type of men I have around me that I cherish.

Quality role models are a priceless commodity. A person who carries themselves with character that transfers to the people surrounding them is in high demand and my role model happened to be my Dad. It was not because he came together with my mother and created my siblings and myself but the character of my father that I had surrounding me all my life that I feel so appreciative of. He is the most dedicated man I have ever met in my life, painfully loyal (to a fault at times), crafty and a tenacious worker. I would like to say that I have inherited these traits from him. Others may look to different figures in their lives to emulate; a neighbor, a friends’ uncle, a teacher. We cannot take these societal positions for granted. Part of the reward of being a teacher for me is the ability to develop close mentor relationships with my students that they otherwise may not receive, even if their father is in their lives. I guess the point that I want to get across is that being appreciative for what you have is greater than being angry and depressed about what you don’t. Dismissive comments about not having a father or caring about a father riddled my facebook and my though is, are you going to be bitter about it or look at the figures you did have that were positive and be appreciative of them?

I know some people may think it’s easy for me to say this because I have a father figure and all that. I’m not saying I’m right, I’m just saying I have an opinion so please feel free to add yours.