THE SENSITIVITY THAT IS US: WHERE DOES THE FEELING OF AN ALLEGED RACIAL INTERACTION COME FROM

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“I feel this way and don’t even know why.”


Walking up the street, a White woman grabs her purse as I walk by; I instantly go into a space. A White man or woman tell me I look like someone they’ve seen before, then I go into a space. I am walking through the store, a White man or woman is following close by, I go into a space. And that is that; what is it about the United States that still makes me go into this head space of, “Did they just do hat because I am.” And it has a lot to do with this unspoken relationship that the two ethnic groups still have in America. An event takes place that we both witnessed before our very eyes, and yet we have multiple perspectives. Now, this already happens with humans as it is, but we are two groups that see things so differently.

I remember when former NFL running back O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his wife and her friend. The faces of White America went straight to shock while the faces of Black America went to rejoice. But this is not something that was agreed upon by the two groups. This was automatic, and it was swift. Neither of the two groups sat down among each other or separate and had a meeting. There was nothing of the like; everyone just knew how to react when it happened. I was only in elementary school when it happened and I remember the faces. Teacher at my school were enraged, and the people in the surrounding community where I lived was happy. And what formulated out of all this was one man’s life dictated forever and two innocent people dead. And that is the weird and uncomfortable relationship that is Black and White in America.

We all know the history, but this goes deeper than the past. It’s so disturbing how it effects you internally when you come across someone from another group. I’ve even asked myself like, “Wow, where in the hell did that come from?” Me speaking to myself, then you stop yourself in your tracks. But people who are unfamiliar might say, “Well why feel that way?” And reply is that I don’t. It’s as involuntary as sneezing. Meaning a situation can easily go from zero to sixty where the processing of what is going on takes place after the fact. I, still to this day have a hard time making eye contact for instance with a lot of law enforcement as t pertains to that weird racial dynamic. It’s almost as if the person doesn’t exist, until the person is no longer in my presence. Because in the end, the relationships are uncomfortable because no one expresses how they truly feel to move forward. America is an ignore it and it will go away country. Which is not how it should be dealt moving forward.


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CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: HOW AFRICANS RECEIVE AFRICAN AMERICANS IN AFRICAN ATTIRE

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“Is it and to what degree?”


There is this unspoken relationship that is between the indigenous people of Africa and those of us who were brought over to the Americas is ongoing. There is this constant disconnect that they really don’t care for us in the states. And the converse feeling is that we tend to look at them not as fondly. But lately I have noticed more and more of the African American population wearing traditional African attire. And then the question comes up regarding is this a form a cultural appropriation. And in my opinion, it is seen as cultural appropriation because it is not the culture in which we have here in America. Culture is not necessarily being the same skin tone.

But I want to know to what degree is this cultural appropriation? And how is it received when we as African Americans wear attire from Africa. Because from my understanding, the print in the clothing of African attire tells a story. In America it looks nice to those of us who wear the clothing. Me myself, I have never worn any clothing that is synonymous with Africa. All the clothing I wear is of this country that is America. Interestingly enough, I have been asked by numerous people before ever hearing me speak am I from Africa. And my response has always been no, but I found it interesting that people would ask. But this does not qualify me to wear such attire not of America.

This topic has always been brought up about us regarding everyone else in attire we created in America. But I never stop to ever think about it as cultural appropriation when we as African Americans wear the clothing of Africa. Then again, how do Africans receive non-Black groups such as Europeans when they wear African clothing. I will admit, I have seen European men and women wearing African clothing and it always appeared odd to me. And not odd like why are they wearing it. But odd in the sense of, “Hmmm, this is different.” And that feeling has come from the notion that I know that they didn’t create it. It just looks less authentic than when a non person of color is wearing the clothes. But this also goes both ways. I don’t tend to see African Americans bothered by Africans wearing clothing we made popular in America.

And in the end, it’s not about who wears the clothing of what other culture. A lot of people are protective because people tend to run it off as their own. And then they disregard where they found this idea. And now the world credits this person for something that has been in existence for centuries, if not longer. And what it does is that it cheapens the cultures identity. And to Africans as with many other groups, they don’t look at their clothing as a mere fad, but an extension of their identity.


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WHY WE FIGHT: WHY SO MUCH RACIAL TENSION IN AMERICA LATELY

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“Why we fight.”


This past weekend, there was yet more race related tension in America. This time
Related imageit was a clash between Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist versus protesters on the other side pushing back against the Nationalists. The main site was Charlottesville, Virginia, where Nationalist were opposed to the removal of a Confederate statue of former leader Robert E. Lee. Another separate site of tension was at the University of Virginia’s campus, where a large group gathered with Related imagetorches. These were also people who were in alignment with the White Nationalists in Charlottesville. And both sights were places of not only verbal tension, but physical altercations took place resulting in dozens injured and three people killed. And even with the president making a statement regarding the matter, it still didn’t calm anything down.

Today, on this Monday morning, we now have reports all over news outlets, which will be covering these two incidents. Conversations will be taking place over the days, weeks, and even months regarding where do we go from here as a country. My last post I was asking the question about a possible secession from the Image result for charlottesville tensionUnited States by the South. And if this were to happen, the economic implications of a country could be gravely impacting. But me personally, I don’t see that taking place. What I do see is more and more of a racial divide. And I have theories as to why the divide is taking hold, as well as why you aren’t seeing more Black people involved in the fight as you might have expected to see.

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Average American expected to look like by 2050

Here is a theory of mine as to why America is having all these problems with racial tension. See, the total percentage of White people in America is 65%, while everyone else falls into the group that is the 35% (Black people 12%, Hispanic/Latinos 14%, East Asians and other is 9%. And as time progresses, the numbers will fall for Whites and increase for everyone else. Meaning, White Americans will become the minority in the United States. But to who? Black people were only 10% of the population in 1950. And by the year 2050 we’re only projected to be 15-16% of America. So this is a Black issue, yet as an entirety it is not. White Nationalists have an issue with an influx of immigrants to the country.

The numbers of Hispanics will climb as well as East Asians, who by the year 2050
will have almost if not fully surpassed Black people in America. So America is becoming what I call, “Hispasia” or “Latasia.” The prevailing Hispanic/Latino population and the growing East Asian population as well. Who, what Nationalist feel, pose a threat to the natural order of America because they feel with a new group in control the narrative could be rewritten. So through all this fighting I say to myself, where are Black people? Because like I said before, we weren’t in Virginia at either of the sites. So how do we fair out through all of this? And what I have been hearing is not what you might think.

I have been hearing Black people aligning themselves with some of the same Image result for black nationalismthought processes as the Nationalists. But our sentiment is on the opposite spectrum in regards to our own economic growth. I’ve been hearing that maybe we should form our own unions, and erect statues of our own heroes as well. You might ask why, why would we speak of the same sentiment. Because when you have seen the same imagery, the same song, played over and over again, you get tired. And some of us have hit a breaking point where it’s like, “Hey, you guys want your space, we’ll give it to you.” “Anything to keep us from having to put up with your bullshit, especially with the government not responding.” Now, I don’t know if that’s the majority, but it exist.

Yet, in the end, what is to come of America? Will we see more tension, or is this the sign of things worsening because we are going through change. I don’t know, but where I stand as an African American, I have no clue regarding us. I should be more confident, yet I don’t see a positive outcome for us. Will we go deeper into the abyss of America, or will we eventually have to leave and start over elsewhere? Whatever the outcome, America is headed in a backward direction, and the push is growing by the day.


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COLORBLIND OPTIONS: WHY IT’S HARD FOR ME TO DATE INTERRACIALLY

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“I commend those who can do so.”


Living in New York City, you become accustomed to seeing interracial relationships. But me myself, I have never been in one. Not because I am not attracted to a woman of another group, but because of the social strain. To those that are able to do so, more power to them. Yet I have not been able to muster up the courage and date someone non-Black. And that choice is because it is easier dating someone within your ethnic group than outside. It’s not how I was raised growing up, but my mother also let me know the reality of doing so. Date who you want, but this is what comes with it. Didn’t make sense to me until I stepped into society and saw it with my own eyes.

When you see how people behave, it is very uncomfortable. And when I say react, I don’t mean stop and stare. I mean the actions of an individual that places me in a weird situation. As much as we say it’s none of people’s business, that doesn’t sink in that your life could be at risk. Dumb as it may sound, there are men compelled to react just by me being on a date with a woman from their group. And what is the woman to do; nothing. She can call for help, but physically she is at a disadvantage. Now, all of this sounds crazy, and to be honest it is. But when in that situation, it must be very hurtful. As for me, I have never been in that position, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to be. But what can you really do; nothing.

That is one aspect of dating interracial I couldn’t handle. But another is the parental/family aspect. There was a fashion model who not long ago opened up about her relationship to a Black man and what her family thought about it. They refused to communicate with him. Almost as if he weren’t standing in the room. But eventually they accepted him into the family. I couldn’t deal in an environment like that. If you can’t accept me for other more serious reasons, then yes, but not racial. And by me playing into you I am feeding the fire. But to him it must have been worth it, because him and this model are married now.

So in the end, to some it’s worth it, but not so much for others. To have to go through the strain of having to defend yourself constantly can work against you. And if you are with someone that could cost you a friendship, family, and even jobs, is tough to accept. We can’t hide the fact that it exist, and I don’t see the problem going away anytime soon. But until it does, this is just a reality.


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I OWE IT TO YOU: WHY NEVER FORGETTING THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS IS IMPORTANT

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“For those who died, I thank you.”


As a young man born in the year 1987, I did not experience those turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. Now my parents on the other hand saw the tail end, and there’s of course the generations prior. So as a child, I grew up going to school, eating where I wanted, and using public restrooms. Not once did I understand how I got to that point. All I knew is that when someone needed to go to the bathroom, you went. But what I didn’t know until my mother sat down and talked with me, is that it was not always like that in America. And that I should never forget why I am able to do what I do.

And she reminded of this because for the longest there were not only demographics of citizens, but an entire systematic push to keep me from having the basics of necessities. So as I went to school, I always performed well academically because she reminded me at one time how illegal it was for me to go Image result for white onlyto the schools I went to in America. Whenever I used a restroom, she not only told me, but we watched the video footage of Black men and women being attacked just for trying to consume a meal or urinate at public rest stops. So my reason for not getting into trouble is not mainly because of the enforcement of the judicial system, but more so by way of these men and women who died. There are unmarked graves of countless Black people who gave their lives, a lot of which you will never know their names.

So now as an adult, I do so much because they really didn’t have to pave that way. Still today, some of those individuals from that time period are here with us. People who were either teenagers or adults in the fight. And even at times when I see things differently than they do, I can never hate. I can never hate those who Image result for civil rights movementsacrificed so much for me. And no, these men were not the reason I got into my college of choice or landed a job I wanted. But it was because the pressure they placed that made companies even look in my direction. America didn’t want me to have those rights, and had it not been for these men and women, how long would Jim Crow have really lasted. 90 years,  100 years, 200 years; when was the appropriate time to end segregation.

We all would like to think that those types of events had to end, but why? If not for fighting for rights, whose to say? You have of course the critics, yet their voices are to a great degree irrelevant to me. A country tells you to go fight and defend your country, but when you return don’t sit at this table counter. Then you can’t Image result for al and jessesay my country, because in my country you eat where you choose. Otherwise it’s your country, and if I am the lesser, then why are you depending on a lesser to fight for what is yours. So thanks to the men and women who challenged the ideologies of what I am and what was expected of me. For it was you who reminded me before you’re Black, you’re a man, and before that you’re human. You weren’t fighting for my freedom of speech, but my freedom to exist. You did in the past, and still in the present. So despite what the critics think and feel you have my love and respect.

In the end, I dedicate this life of mine to you. Those who fought who are still alive and to those who died in the struggle: Al Sharpton, Alex Haley, Andrew Young, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Barack H. Obama, Bobby Seale, Booker T. Washington, Cornel West, Denmark Vesey, Dick Gregory, Dred Scott, Eldridge Cleaver, Elijah Muhammad, Fred Hampton, Frederick Douglass, Gabriel Prosser, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Harry Belafonte, Huey P.Image result for black historyNewton, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, James Baldwin, James Meredith, James Weldon Johnson, Jesse Jackson, Jim Brown, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Madam C. J. Walker, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Maxine Waters, Medgar Evers, Muhammad Ali, Nat Turner, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Stokely Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many others who were lesser known or even unknown, yet gave their lives for me. I love you, “WE” love you.


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NEWBO: IS THERE TIME FOR A CULTURE SHIFT

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“We carved one out before, why not again?”


In the 1610’s, the African American population was forced to the United States as indentured servants. Later becoming slaves, losing names, religions, birth place of origin, and overall identification. Once freed in 1865, we went from slave labor to still no so full citizens. And with limited citizenship, and no real ethnic identity, we began to carve out a face for our community. And a lot of the culture that has made up the African American community is in the music and food. But what if we decided to take it a little further. Let’s say we made a full conversion from where we are now. I named the title NEWBO, which in today’s society stands for the New Black Overclass.

When you hear the words New Black Overclass, you think of wealth and abundant resources. And how did that manage to take hold? There are many different factors that have influenced that over the years. From young Black children growing up watching the Cosby Show to the electing of America’s first Black president. We have taken what was a bad situation in the past and made the most of it today. Yet there are still so many of us that are still below the poverty level. And not only the poverty level, we make up a disproportionately higher percentage of crime in our community relative to anyone else. So with that said, we are doing better than the past in the area of success, yet lagging behind in other major areas.

And as much as I love Black culture, there is an aspect of our culture that have taken hold in recent history that has cast a dark shadow over the community. And that has to do with the crime in the community. Because of the introduction of Heroine, Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine, from the 1970’s in the 1990’s, the face of the community has changed to much. And it has become so impactful, it is rapidly becoming our culture. Yet when you look at the overall history of Black people in America, this recent violent culture is new to us. So, how about we begin to design a cultural identifier that is us. And when I say identifier I mean clothes we wear, food we eat, music, and behavioral traits.

Having an identifier shows not only togetherness, but it creates a sense of identity outside another group. Our problem as Black people is that we are too concerned and defined by another group. And for the longest, it has been the predominantly White community. So our vision for what success looks like has always been someone in position who is White. Yet when met with resistance by anyone White it boils over quicker than anyone else. Which never happens to any other group because they create their own identity. So what another really has to say becomes irrelevant because they have defined themselves for so long feelings are trivial. But if you have no name, to language, no religion, and you adopt ones culture that’s not yours, yet someone else’s, it could become a problem if not accepted into the culture.

And in the end, that’s a real problem with why there need to be a cultural identifier. Number one, you eliminate the care for what any other group thinks about you; their views are not relevant to who you are in scoiety. Number two, you begin to take pride in something that not only you created, but you’re accepted within. Which brings me to number three, the need to fit into a group. And I think this is why we as Black people cling to Hip Hop music so much. When you create something versus forced to adopt something the sentiment is different. Christianity was never a choice, names given weren’t a choice, and language wasn’t a choice. But the music we create was a pure choice. Though not liked by many, it goes on deaf ears when pushed against because the one major thing we created that we are fully included within. And if we created something impactful and global as Hip Hop, we can create a new identity of acceptance and not tolerance.


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RACIALLY CONSCIOUS: HOW BEING IMPARTIAL IN A DIVIDED NATION CAN BE TOUGH

Gray Scale Photo of Topless Man Covering Face

“It exist, but to what degree?”


Growing up in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, I never really thought about race. And when I say race, I’m not referring to the human race. I’m talking about being an African American male. I could visibly tell the students in school were different than myself, yet it was not much of a discussion. The schools were predominantly White, while I grew up in a majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood. I would hear things regarding issues with being Black. I heard how people would say it was harder to get employment, going to certain schools, or even dating in monogamous relationships. Yet it never quite sunk into my mind, until I got older. And that’s when the experiences started to take hold in my life.

Experiences ranging from looking throughout my childhood at how the teacher student relationship was different with the White students versus the Black students. Or even how walking up the street I noticed non-Black people were put off by my presence. But still, the relationships I had with students in school was quite enjoyable. No one treated the other person like an outsider. And all the kids in school would go over each other’s house on the weekends. So what was it that so many people were talking about really? Well, I began to see once leaving my mother’s house going to an out-of-state-college.

I attended two universities, the first being in the state of South Carolina. The school was a historically Black College in Columbia, South Carolina and most of the students came from the south. Attending this school was actually a culture shock because even though we were all the same ethnic group, I didn’t quite seem to fit in. And that’s when I realized, that even though I grew up in a majority Black community, I didn’t spend much time in the community. With so much going on that my mother didn’t want me apart of, I was in school and sports. So what happened, oddly enough, is that I lost a connection with other Black students at the school.

Feeling homesick, I returned back to Wisconsin to attend a university about twenty minutes from where I grew up. This rural campus was attended by multiple ethnic groups of students. It would be the campus where I graduated. But, while back in Wisconsin, I had a situation one time where I was eating in the cafeteria. Seeing a young White male I went to middle school with, we got our lunch and headed toward a table. Then I noticed a situation I had never come in contact with before. One table had mostly Asian students, one table had all Black kids, the Hispanics sat together, and the White kids sat together. My friend and I walked near a table that was mostly White, and for the first time in my life I felt uncomfortable.

Growing up, my mother raised me with the impression that you had to deal with every group of people. Yet now, I was forced to make a racial decision. Everyone else sat with what made them comfortable, but what was I to do in this space. So, for me, throughout undergrad, I kept my distance from a lot of people. And actually, I never really experienced a college life. But even after college, and entering graduate school, I started to see more of a divide. But not only the divide, but how important it is in society. I have sense taken on views that are different than how my mother raised me.

One of which is the idea of interracial dating. Growing up, I probably would have said sure, but seeing the strain of an interracial relationship, I’m not sure I could handle it. I couldn’t handle the family tension, nor making the woman choose me or her existence. My views changed where I live because I still live in a Black neighborhood. That feeling of safety is why I have decided to stay. That common bond that you share with the people. And it’s a whole lot easier socially as well. Yet I am trapped between how I was raised and the society I live in today. I was raised to be more impartial, but that’s not my life experience in our country.

And in the end, no matter how you’re raised you have to live in this society. It’s great to have these idealistic views of the world, yet they are not fully true. It shouldn’t, but ethnicity matters: where you live, who you date, friends you tend to make, and how you view society. It’s an imperfect society, but it’s the only society we have. Do I see it changing, maybe, but not in the foreseeable future.


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