Some of My Best Friends are White…

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I have to make a statement about race. I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of, if not all people. One side claiming to be pro-equality another pro-black. Don’t get me wrong, both sides are great and should be here without a doubt, but…like with most things, people take things too far. Since when has being pro-black meant you’re anti-white? Who voted for that? I swear I get the black newsletter every month and I missed that article.

Why must you be “anti” one thing to be “pro” another? It makes no sense. I am extremely pro-black, I believe we as a people have faced many hardships and still do and we should look for reasons to be proud of ourselves. I know I do. In my opinion, we have a rich culture that is unmatched. But when all the troubles facing black people today started coming to worldwide attention (finally), everything was looking better. We rallied together to show solidarity and to show why black lives matter, but then we started hating white people? What?

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I get where the anger comes from, I really do. For a long time, we were held down by white racists that ran all forms of government and law enforcement. These are facts and today we are still held down by the powers that be, BUT that is not an excuse to claim ALL white people are evil. I just can’t get on that train.

I often write about the fact that I’ve never met my birth mother and her family. Because of that, I created a family of my own and it’s comprised of people from all walks of life. My mother and uncle lived through the civil rights movement. They taught me, never to judge a man without first seeing his actions and listening to his words.

I will always remember what my mother said: “I was cautious of the white people I met, but I never hated them, that makes me no better than the men and women with the rope”. That didn’t stop her from making friends from different races, not at all. She saw how she was treated because of her complexion and chose not to return the hate with hate. Instead, she treated everyone as the people they are.

My mother’s words and actions guided me all my life. She told nothing short of the dirty dark truth, unedited and not sugarcoated. Of the beatings, lynching, profiling, and beatings. We are children of history and we must learn from it or be damned to repeat it.

She has always said she is cautious of all people but never hated them based on the skin God gave them. Racism is a cultural thing not genetic. That my friends, is history. She taught me to rise above and be better.

I’m not saying, “yay racism is over and done”, or “move on”. Racism is absolutely a thing. I have been profiled countless times, to the point that it’s just a part of my life. I’m judged by my name, the way I talk, walk and see life. I speak proper English and pay my bills on time and that somehow makes me “not black”. Something black and white people say but that’s something for another day.

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I have had wonderful people in my life who don’t look like me. The first man who took me into his house that didn’t share my last name was a white man. He was my best friend Sonny’s father. He never treated me as anything other than a son. He and my uncle are the only people I would ever call ”dad” because without them I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

Funny thing is, they both told me to be damn proud of who I am as a black man and as the unique guy I grew to be. I write this because fully loving myself as a black man should not have to mean I hate all white people. Those things aren’t connected like that. Can’t be.

My good friend, Ms. Barrow is black and proud, but loves a white man, who by the way, is just great. My best friend, whose father took me in, is mixed, should I hate half of her? My good friend Arthur is black, he’s married to a white woman and has children with her. My old neighbor Patrick is someone I can always openly talk about racial issues with and he might be more pro-black than most of my black power friends.

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Being pro-black should mean you love black literature, music and history. A celebration of culture. Don’t get it twisted you should study the oppression and subjugation of the black populace as well. Without understanding how low we have been, we can’t fully understand where we are now and how much we have overcome.

My Family is comprised of White, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. I will never forsake my heritage for anyone, or to be liked. But I won’t hate or judge anyone without understanding who they are as a person. Not every black man represents all black people, same is true for white, Asian, middle eastern. I’m just asking y’all to think before you talk and talk to someone before you judge them.

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But, that’s just my two cents

-Your Vocal Local Jason

Blog Contributor: Jason Shawn-Carl, host of the Comic Jaunt Podcast

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The Rise and Fall of a Know It All

Few changes in my transition from “young woman” to “woman” have been quite as tectonic as the decline in my need to be right.Im-always-right

In my youth, I aggressively pursued arguments, intellectual conversations, hell, even book club discussions because I craved knowledge. More than that, I aspired to demonstrate my knowledge to anyone who would listen. I liked to learn (I still do) and I like to help people out. That’s not changed, but, in my youth there was a marked arrogance in my demeanor. I worked for a successful and fast paced law firm with people that had been in the field longer than I’d been out of high school. As such, my credibility was a little low, I didn’t have the life nor professional experience of my colleagues and it plagued me daily. I got into arguments that were WAY above my pay grade and would argue a point into ashes just to make a person acknowledge that I was right. I could make a case for anything, unfortunately. You like Nordstrom? Oh, I prefer the exclusivity of Bergdorf Goodman. You find Microsoft Excel to be the best data organization tool available? I much prefer FileMaker’s ease of accessibility and intuitive development tools. You prefer I-45? I like the Beltway…. The list goes on and it was just as insufferable as you’re imagining. I was a real prick.

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I reached an impasse with myself, though, soon after my husband and I bought our first home. A coworker was telling me some life lessons her mother had passed on to her that included not taking your old broom to a new home. I literally scoffed, yall. Told her that was ridiculous and that a broom was just as effective no matter where I put it. (I told you I was a prick) She was older than me and far more gracious. She acknowledged that I was right and softly told me it was just a thing she told all her friends when they got new homes because it reminded her of her deceased mother.

It stopped me in my arrogant little tracks. She’d said two things that resonated deeply with me: 1) she called me her friend and 2) she was telling me something from a person she cherished deeply. At that moment the clouds parted! My eyes began to open! And, most importantly, I grew up a little bit. Would my same old broom work in my house just like it did in my apartment? ABSOLUTELYYESWITHOUTADOUBTITCERTAINLYWOULD! Did I have to rub this lady’s face in it? No. Would she be just as happy being able to honor her mother’s memory by sharing with a friend? Yes. At that point, the true decision to be made became crystal clear. Did I care more about being right or being decent? The answer is self-explanatory. Though the lesson was a tough one and I still cringe at my behavior, I’m better for it and it hasn’t failed me yet.

Being right (for me) doesn’t just mean being factually correct anymore. Being right means being right for the person you’re talking to, being right in the advice that you offer, being tactful, being present. Sometimes you aren’t just arguing facts. Sometimes the other person just needs to be heard. Sometimes they just want somebody to look them in the eye and acknowledge their point of view. It takes nothing away from me or anyone else to be present, to be respectful. I’m still moved by how simple a point it is to listen, to acknowledge, and to be in the moment but it’s truly the best gift you could give anyone…from a coworker to your own kids. I still like to be “right” but I’m eternally grateful that I was able to reshape my definition of the word.

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Now, that’s not to say I don’t still get a wild hair from time to time but I’ve learned to channel that energy into the people that deserve it the most….internet trolls 😉

Blog Contributor: Astria Devenport, check out some of her other writing on her Blog

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Shad! …Moss

LsLet’s face it, born with a name like Shad Moss, the former Snoop Dogg protégé, formerly known as “Lil’ Bow Wow, was destined to a life of L’s.

Think about it, with just the right amount of urgency and a pleasant English countryside lilt “Shad” could easily come across as “shat!” Which given his progressively worse losses at life, Mr. Moss should be exclaiming on the regular.

From his unfortunately short stature, a starring role in Like Mike, to the avoidance of faux fan hysteria from people that don’t know who he is, or worse yet, don’t care who he is; our future Unsung episode with the light eyes, seems to have taken the L of all L’s this week, in the form of catfishing us with, of all things, an aircraft.  I don’t know if he has two-foot balls to make up for his lack of height, or if it’s just him being a desperate jack ass, but he actually did this. In. Real. Life. Ya’ll.

Here’s the condensed scoop. While traveling from ATL to NYC for a Growing Up Hip Hop (there’s a joke in there somewhere) press tour, the 30-year-old rapper posted a picture of a private jet on Instagram, with the caption: “Travel day. NYC press run for Growing Up Hip Hop. Lets (sic) go”. BUT, Jesus be a plot twist!!  The interwebs wouldn’t let our young washed up star be great.  His post was followed up by another, from a social media user that shared a pic of Shad chilling on an everyday, regla (that’s how regular it was), no-frills, commercial flight. Busted. You tried it boo, Bow.

In the immortal words of the great philosopher, Sticky Fingaz…bu-bu-bu-but wait it gets worse!!

I guess if you’re 30+, you forget how resourceful the internet allows people to be.  Somebody popped the private jet pic into the magic that is Google Images, only to reveal that the picture LBW posted, was in fact a STOCK PHOTO!!! From an airport that’s not even in Atlanta!! This deserves a hearty laugh in my non-native tongue – jajajajajajajajajajajajajajaja!!!!

Of course, Mr. Wow tried to deflect by calling the rest of us broke and unable to “afford a buddy pass on Spirit” (the Greyhound Bus in the sky) but alas, the damage has been done! I almost called him a N****, with an a, but in his long list of L news, he disowned us some time last year, so somehow it doesn’t feel right. But still, Mossy, what is you doin’ baby??

This whole stunt reeks of desperation and caused me to wonder why there’s such a need for relevance in our society? Why do we want to matter to people that don’t matter to us?

What say you Buggies??

Blog Contributor: Ms. True

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Bae or Faux Bae?

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I was having an interesting conversation with some girlfriends today and we started talking as women do about relationships, and someone mentioned an account they had heard of a woman they knew fabricating an entire relationship. The rest of us laughed and said that surely that couldn’t be true because who has the time and energy to start something like that and keep up with it?

I think we all know that once you tell a lie you have to work on that lie like it’s a job, you have to nurture it and make sure that what you are sharing about that lie makes complete and total sense. Otherwise, you’ll be discovered and have to come clean. Ultimately we decided that there must be some sort of mental illness connected to this kind of behavior, but on the off chance a woman is not crazy and she has a fauxship here are some possible reasons why:

  1. She’s just that desperate for a man—this is the most likely reason, she wants a relationship so bad that she is willing to risk it all for fake John and she don’t give a damn what happens. They go together, and if you question it you might get cut off. Can you imagine being caught making up something like this just because you don’t want to be alone? You might as well head over to the nearest convent because you’re going to be marked nutty for this one.
  1. She’s looking for attention—It’s the season, everyone is getting married or engaged. Approximately 33 women in my own circle have recently tied the knot or accepted a marriage proposal. It can get overwhelming being the last one in your group of friends not wearing a ring or gearing up to share your life with someone, but let me tell you faking a whole relationship will get you attention, but if people find out that you’re lying it’s not going to be the attention you hoped for. Your ass might end up on suicide watch, just say no. Besides, if what you want is a ring you ain’t getting one from Casper, boo boo. Have a seat.
  1. She’s actually mentally unstable—There’s a possibility this woman may really believe she has a boyfriend and if this is the case there is nothing you can do to save her. Only Jesus can handle this one. You need not try to understand, and please do not get in the way of this woman and her relationship. I don’t want to see you on the news. My mom told me about a woman she knew that created a whole engagement and eventually started believing that she was getting married—had bought her own ring and everything. Don’t do it, Ms. Celie.

My advice for those reading this post and thinking about starting a fake relationship is not to do this. That shit only works in the movies. As a matter of fact it doesn’t even work in the movies, remember Jan Brady and George Glass? How about Cher Horowitz and her faux beau that she was using to attract a gay man? Just don’t do it, it’s OK to be alone until the right man comes along. You’ll feel much better if your relationship is authentic and something you can be proud of. Not something out of a teen movie.

Blog Contributor: Michel Roy

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