GLORY BE TO CUBA: What Now After Fidel Has Died?

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“Where do they go from here?”

November 25th 2016, Cuban leader Fidel Castro passed away at the age of 90 in Santa de Cuba Province. He has been out of the spotlight for some time now, passing the reigns over to his brother Raul Castro. Why, well his health has been deteriorating over the years. But that is not what’s important at this point in time. The most important question is, “What do the people of Cuba do moving forward?” Do they continue with the Communist country or do they start cutting deals now that he has passed? I have some views regarding the next move.

My first view is, maybe they should go ahead and open up flight availability to other countries, mainly the United States. Since he was the man standing in the pathway of families visiting long lost relatives, maybe this is good. Maybe this will mean that the longstanding issues that have kept the United States and Cuba at arms length will be mended. What could come of this new relationship? How about a new form of commerce for the Cuban people? How about knocking down yet another Communist system? This was one of the last places on earth that have held on to their political ideology, with exception of North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and China.

But on the other hand, are there some issues that could actually hurt Cubans. Cubans are a proud group of people. If America comes into the country, there could be a hit to the culture of the country. In China, you have Starbucks coffee houses not too far from ancient sites that are close to the people. Have the franchises moved, no. Why is culture at risk? Because Cubans are not America, so there is no real reason to preserve the culture. Ask Native Americans about all the treaties they signed. Yet look at what they’re dealing with out west at the moment with the building of an oil pipeline. Cubans might wind-up with the short end of the stick.

So what do they do. There are mixed emotions among Cubans: in Miami, there are celebrations, but crying in Cuban for Fidel’s life. How will this effect the relationships between Cubans. Especially if the ones in Cuba feel he was doing good things for them. President Elect, Donald Trump stated that we can open up communication, but only on his terms. That could mean a lot of different things. It could mean, allowing American companies into Cuba to capitalize. Or it could mean allowing the FBI into Cuba to retrieve Americans such as Assata Shakur who was convicted in New Jersey of killing a police officer.

In the end, we don’t know the future of the country. Who knows, Raul might stay leader in the country and continue Fidel’s policies. Or, Raul might make some deals that his brother would not make. All we know is there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the future of the country. I myself would love to go to Cuba; something I wanted to do all my life. Well, hopefully, this will be soon.

HOOP DREAMS: WHY SPORTS IS THE TICKET FOR BLACK MALES

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“A gone make it!”

“With the number one pick, of the NBA/NFL draft, the ________ select _______ of the University of ________.” These are the words young boys dream of hearing as we prepare to walk that stage, receiving that hat from the commissioner. Then soon after, celebrating with family as we bask in the glory of making to the league. Our dreams have come true and we can start our career. Now these are the experiences the very few will get a chance to see. As for the rest, it is just a dream which will never come true. But is that really the end. I mean with so many young boys dreaming and only a limited amount of space, only a chosen few will get a chance to even get drafted. Even fewer will play and fewer will have lengthy careers.

But why, why are so many Black males wrapped up in the idea that sports is the way out of poverty. There use to be a lyric in hip hop artist Notorious B.I.G. rhymes, “You either slangin rocks or got a killer jump shot.” Could it be that we aspire to play ball because so many Black men are in the league that we see. Black men are in other career fields, but these are the public figures we see. And we only want to be the men we see and seek to become who we see as making big in their careers. There are Black doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives, but we want to be the ball player. But could it all be about seeing these men. What about income?

Income has caught the attention of so many Black boys because what other career is this lucrative this young. Name any other profession where a 19 to 22 year old could become an overnight millionaire. Especially a young Black man from an inner city neighborhood. The only guys that age with a lot of money are the drug dealers. It’s one of the reasons we purchase the items we do once we get money, almost as a homage to these guys. We also think that money will fix so many of our problems that we try to escape from when we were poor. But why is sports so shoved down the throats of Black boys. Even with knowing the majority won’t go pro.

One of the reasons is that winning high school games makes the school and coach look good. So Black males have dreams pumped into their heads about being the next Jordan or Kobe or Lebron. Yet no one is telling Black boys to focus on more academics. In today’s society the idea of a college degree is thrown our way. But you don’t need basketball/football to go to college. So academics take a backseat to sports. And what happens, so many Black boys read at levels that kids half their age are reading. Which leads to so many Black males majoring in communications once we get to college. It’s one the easiest, yet one the most vague degrees in school.

In the end, we are pushed to play sports because no one expects you to do anything else. Young White males are not pumped up with sports on a daily basis. Plus, we are also inundated with constant images of successful White men in other career fields. As a matter of fact, the entire Forbes rich list are comprised with majority White males. To White guys, sports is fun, as a career objective, there are fewer. Young Black boys should be exposed to more as children to know more is out there. That’s why Barack Obama played such a pivotal role in the image of Black males. Now more than ever politics is an attractive career path for Black males. An environment which will effect Black males more than any athlete can effect change.

I CAN’T FIND A MATE! NO, YOU CAN’T FIND WHAT YOU WANT!

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“Are we worth what we ask for?”

I can’t find anyone! I’m tired of being with these losers! Is there anyone out there for me! These are some of the complaints men and women have when looking for someone to be in a relationship. Well, why is it so hard? Is it because there are so many people out there not worth your time? Or is it that people are overreacting and that it’s not as bad as we think? There are a few theories that I have for this issue. Maybe it has to do with the person you want not wanting you.

We all have someone in our minds that we want. But if you are not what the other person wants then you’re at a lose. Then we get defensive, what’s wrong with me. Well what’s wrong with the other person. Meaning I know I am everything somebody wants, but you are not what’s on my list. Whose to say you got it all together. Just because you think you got things right don’t mean you do. For instance you are a woman with a nine to five, with your own car, home, and responsibilities. But if I am a guy who wants more from you, you may see it as unrealistic, but you are unrealistic as well.

Which brings me to my second theory. We all think our expectations are realistic. But we dismiss those who we see as not on our level. And a lot of times it is connected to finances. She makes $75,000 he makes $30,000; not on her level. He makes $200,000 she makes $75,000; a good fit. But wait, you’re not on his level. Our levels come down to finances because living in society can be expensive. So we want this relationship to work from living in such an environment. Meaning, expectations living in NYC could be different than living in Cleveland; expectations for Miami are different than Des Moines. Then there are the social aspects of expectations.

This is now my third theory for why we can’t find someone to be with; societal viewpoints. People in society have a major impact on how we choose the men and women we date. Because God forbid we walk the streets with someone that America won’t like (as if they care about our existence). So if we come outside and society can’t look in adulation, then it must not be capable of working. But have we taken a look in the mirror ourselves. Which leads into the next theory.

Physical attraction is another reason why we can’t find anyone. You close your eyes and picture a person. Then that is what you want, but what about you. Do you look at yourself as desirable? Too often we look at someone and go you are not my type, but get defensive when our looks are on trial. Why is it so easy to critique others yet no one can do it with us? My guess is that we seek out attractive people because we know how we look. Yet we want to take the faces from our flaws onto the person we are with who looks good.

In the end, the reason we have it hard is because we want what we want. You see there is somebody for us all, but it’s not who you want. We want to dismiss so many, but we don’t want to deal with rejection ourselves. I don’t think it’s all bad at times. As humans we all want to shoot for what we feel is the highest height. But we should also strive to be what we want. You want a woman or man in physical body shape, do the same yourself. You want a certain income, be able to rise to the occasion as well. And that’s what it boils down to, be what you want.

GIFTS: How So Many Of Us Miss Our Calling

“What is your purpose?”

Gifts, we all have them, but not the one, one receives on holidays. I’m talking about the gift given to you in life. Some people spend their entire lives not utilizing their gifts. Whether its because of a personal fear or our outside influences. Having a gift and not using it is not only robbing yourself but others of great opportunities. Well, what opportunities?

What about the knowledge that is not used. You know how many Albert Einsteins have been born since Einstein, yet never attempted to engage in anything remotely scientific. Imagine where this country could be scientifically. Or better yet, there is a Steve Jobs working a nine to five that he/she hates. For whatever reason they refuse to attempt at using that gift. Imagine where we could also be technologically. Steve Jobs believed that those feel they can change the world most often do change the world.

And sometimes it’s not all math and science. Look at Martin Luther King Jr. What if he was not interested in human rights? What if Michael Jordan had not have picked up a basketball? You see, a gift is something precious. I can’t fully explain it in words. But it’s this feeling that I have to do this in life. It’s my duty, my calling. Initially, its hard for people to see, but in time they will. It’s hard to get people to see what thy can’t see. Why is that? What’s it about your gift, that people can’t initially see? Well, the problem is that its not a gift to others, but your vision. Telling people your calling is this vague existence. You say, to people, you go, “I have a calling to be a humanitarian.” People say, “Quiet, go get a day job.” Now at this stage you have a choice. Should you take this advice? Or, should you pursue your interest?

This is a tough stage, go through with the gift or quite. Now, in my opinion, I say go for the gusto. Because when the lights go out they’re out forever. You only get one at bat, make it count. That’s the inspirational words, but what about the reality. What about not achieving your goal. How many people can live with not reaching that point where others can see the gift? What a painful feeling to be working so hard just to be let down in the end. But see to me, it’s worth it. Go for it all even in the face of failure. Because I can live with failure, but what I can’t live with is not trying at all.

FAMILY TIES: WHY WE’VE GONE IN SEPERATE DIRECTIONS

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“Why have people become so distant?”

You ever see those 1950’s images of the family sitting around the table having a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Everyone is smiling from ear to ear. People pass food and/or gifts as they indulge in giving and food. Well, note I said the 1950’s because those days are so far behind us. Well why, why have families become so distant over the recent years for the holidays? There are a few factors: work related, family issues, and distant living.

First you ask yourselves, what is this thing with work related? Well work has gotten in the way over the years. Living in society is so expensive that it requires people to now work during the holidays. Everything used to be closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, now businesses are open. People need the money, so they are opting out of visiting family. You now have to make so many decisions in life, the family or the rent. Catching up on old times or utilities. You have to make some tough choices in this world so not visiting family is something they have to understand.

But it’s not always about the job. What about the families that just flat out don’t speak to each other? This is a reality as well in our world today. When we’re young we are close to family, but as you get older you take on different views and ways of life. These ways can sometimes conflict with family causing people to not see each other. Another reason can be that the backbone of the family dies. This person was someone that was able to bring everyone together. But since they have passed away everyone go their separate directions.

Then again, it’s not all about fighting and work. Some people live far away from family. If you live in Los Angeles and family is in San Diego, great. But if family live in Miami and you’re in Los Angeles, well I’ll send you a postcard. Besides the sheer distance, the cost can run pretty high when trying to travel long distances. We go months, some people years without seeing immediate family. It’s nothing personal, but we just live way too far away.

See in the end, there are a lot of reasons why people no longer spend time with family. Some people are loners others would rather just relax. Whatever the case families aren’t like they used to be. A lot of it has to do with relationships as well. When you get married and have children, you see less of family. They split time with their spouses family, but also at home as well. However you view why families have parted always reach out because you never know when you’ll see them again.

AGE GAP: DATING SOMEONE OUT OF YOUR AGE RANGE.

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“How acceptable is age limits in relationships?”

You ever thought about dating someone who was out of your age range? Are you worried about how people will react? Are you worried the relationship won’t last? A lot of people have issues when it comes to age as it pertains to dating. But I think this could be because a few reasons: the age, income at the age, or the maturity at the age. On the other hand, there are some double standards when it comes to the genders. Society views it differently if a man dates out of range than women. But why is age alone such a problem?

The reason age could be a problem is because it’s pretty offsetting when a person says I am 40 years old how old are you. The person responds with, oh me I’m 25 years old. Then there are mixed emotions after that; well, depending on the gender. A 40 year old man dating a 25 year old woman is seen differently than 40 woman with 25 guy. Women who date older men make sense because the age she is ready to have children can be around the time he is ready. But on the other hand, 40 year old women are in more of a rush than a 24 year old guy.

This is when age based on maturity comes into play. When a man is younger dating older versus woman dating older, men mature slower. So women older have a harder time with a younger guy because it takes longer for him to grow. Now if he is 40 and she is 55 that’s fine, but if he is 25 and she 40 then it’s a different story. Now females dating older is not like men because she is more likely ready to settle down quicker than he. So a woman 25 to 30 could be looking for a husband and kids.

Well there is one more area and that is income and age. When a young man is younger than the woman and make less than a woman, it’s harder for the relationship to work. Because still in American society men are expected to play vital roles as a bread winner in the household. If the man is older and makes more than the woman she is applauded for finding herself a good man. On the flip side, men are considered irresponsible and women are considered enablers when he is younger and makes less.

In the end, the age seems as if it is important more so when the man is younger than the woman. We have certain standards in our society that we live by. Even though America is supposed to be this progressive place we still have these double standards. It has changed over the years, but for now it seems like we are going to keep things status quo.