Do We Really Have Nothing To Lose

Donald Trump made a statement recently in his effort to gain the African American vote. “What do you really have to lose?” That is a very interesting question considering we are in the process of choosing a new president coming off of the nation’s first Black president. Black president where there was so much optimism in the environment. The feeling of our work is complete and maybe, this is the beginning for what is going to be the first step in moving forward. Moving forward from the past few centuries of harsh treatment, segregation, discrimination, ostracism; in a country that is suppose to be the land of the free. Everything looked optimal; the present and the future.

Or at least that is what Black people thought. The last 8 years of Barack Obama’s political career as president didn’t feel like much of a change. Don’t get me wrong, the energy that got him elected was so powerful, you felt this new feeling in America. It was as if the past never even happened. His first election was one of the best ran presidential processes in American history. Obama checked off all the boxes: Black, White, Latino, East Asian; Young and Old; Heterosexual and LGBT; Poor and Wealthy; High school diplomas and PhDs; Male and Female; and Cops, National Guard, and US Military.

But as I sit here I go, what has actually changed. All presidents have some sort of policy, but when I say change, I don’t mean just policy. What happened to the internal change, that social change? What about the employment situation? How about the race relationships? In Obama’s second term, the race relations popped up multiple times throughout the years. A lot of which had to do with law enforcement in the Black community. Along with a high crime rate in major inner cities, mainly Chicago, his home base. Or how about lack of support to impoverished areas in America which has hit mainly Black families. Now I go back to Trump’s comment, “What do you really have to lose?”

Do we; could our lives be any worst as Black people? I mean look at history for a moment. Transatlantic Slavery, Jim Crow, Heroin, Welfare, Powder Cocaine, Crack Rocks, High Crime Stats, Poor Education, and lack of employment opportunities. Not to mention a whole host of other issues related to our health in the Black community. So I say, for just one moment, what if he won? What would happen if we voted Trump over Hilary? For starters, Black people would see immediately that Hilary doesn’t care. Oh trust and believe, she would remember this one. Second of all, from the moment he is sworn in, then what. Are we moved to the side, shipped out the country, or killed. My guess is neither, Black people are nearly $3 trillion of America’s $17 trillion. You can’t lose those domestic dollars, any economist will tell you that is suicide. And if so, our White men and women prepared break their backs for each other to pick up the lose. Meaning become even more of slaves to the system just to make the system better, not necessarily their lives better; I say no.

Now, this is a hypothetical to the highest degree. Why because removing an ethnic group is indeed suicide, especially nearly 20% of the country’s economy. So what for us, what do we do. Could he maybe provide the change that the Obama administration couldn’t? If he did, how would that shift the vote for elections to come? Can you imagine Black people becoming better off under Trump than Obama or any other Democrat. I don’t think he will win because the push to keep him out is too strong. Bu if he did, maybe he’ll be just as status quo as the rest; business as usual. Comments have been flying as to whether is was racially charged regarding his comments to Black people. It sound to me like he was saying, “Hey, I may not have a plan to benefit you, but if you do better than you are now, it’s a home run.” That just isn’t promising enough, not just for us, but the country as well.

Whatever the case may be, Trump has touched on something that could make this election go in a lot of directions. Like I said, I don’t think he will win, but wouldn’t shock me if he did. Only time will tell as we move closer and closer toward the general election.

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Kevin Hart Effect

Aversion, what is the meaning of aversion. The meaning is a strong feeling of dislike. Well what does this have to do with the title, “Kevin Hart Effect.” If you’ve been hearing lately, a lot of people have come at Kevin Hart with such an aversion. Now, for those of you sleeping under a rock for the past few years, Kevin Hart is a very successful comedian. His career has took him from small comedy clubs to motion pictures and full on comedy tours selling out soccer stadiums. Great job for a young man coming from Philly’s roughest inner city neighborhoods. Yet now that he has come into his success I’ve noticed the hate. And when I say hate, I don’t mean haters, I mean pure hate. You would think him and people who attack him had some type of personal relationship together.

You ask yourselves, why would anyone have hatred toward someone who built their life from poverty to prosperity. Especially if your life is going so well. Generally, these are people who lives are not going well, or in the direction they would like. In the words of Sir Charles Barkley, some people need to blame others because their lives suck. Don’t get me wrong, having an opinion by stating you’re not a fan of someone’s work is not hate to me. But their comes a point where it’s very obvious it goes further than just an opinion. Recently, another comedian has gotten a taste of the Kevin Effect; Leslie Jones. She was ripped to shreds because a Hollywood studio chose to remake a film that people were against.

I just don’t understand where were these people when you’re struggling. How come no one pays attention to you when you’re at the bottom? My guess is that want to see you one way, usually below them. Once you rise, especially above them, then it becomes a conspiracy as to how you made yourself a success. My earliest memory of Kevin Hart was not in a comedy club, but 14 years ago when he played in a movie called, “Paper Soldiers.” Since then he has starred in television shows, comedy standup specials, and a number of films. Yet, I never heard of people’s comments then. It’s odd to me how people become comfortable with you being in place in life, but progress is some sort of penalty. And the sad thing about it, there is no real rational reason.

If you sit someone down and have a conversation with people regarding Kevin Hart, or anyone else who has taken his path you can’t get a straight answer as to their hate for these comedians. It’s interesting that these individuals receiving such disdain are comedians, but it stretches further than that. You hear the dislike for Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Tom Brady, who by the way was drafted in nearly the last round of the NFL when he came into sports. There’s something about people who start at the bottom, rise, and then the group that wants to see the rapid decline. Which brings me back to how you see yourself. If you see yourself in a positive light, then how do you find the time to go after anyone else. This is for people too much time on their hands because they spend their entire lives just existing. Whatever the case may be, who will be next to deal with the Kevin Hart Effect.

The Rio Most Will Never See

“What they won’t show.”

As the Olympics games are in full swing in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, there is something most people  don’t know or won’t ever see; favelas. For those of you who are uneducated in what this word means let me explain to you what it is. The favelas is the name of the slums where the poorest of people in Brazil dwell. When the games opened just over a week ago, there was a sight that people living in the slums witnessed that was a lot different than the spectators in the crowd or us at home.

The photo to the right shows the view of how most Brazilians saw the opening ceremonies. If you notice, the young people are observing the fireworks from slums. Their clothes are caked with grim and graffiti are sprayed on concrete blocks. From this view, the Olympic games seems like a world away. As a citizen of the United States, I have a better view of the Rio Games from my flat screen television than citizens in Brazil.

So that leaves the question, who is to blame? Why, in a country where such poverty and crime exist would a nation spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to prepare for sporting events. Events which will only last a little less than a month with athletes who most likely are never stepping foot in Rio again. Well, it’s not about the athletes, or the games, or even the citizens. It’s about the money generated.

The Rio Olympics are expecting to generate billions of dollars through a variety of corporate sponsorships and multinational television network deals. What you don’t see is the negative impact it has on its citizens. Well what do I mean by negative impact, I mean the money spent to keep the various facilities going after the games. It is estimated that millions of dollars will be spent just for maintenance alone on facilities once the games are over.

Now I ask the question, who built these facilities? Were the citizens in Rio offered an opportunity to work and build these facilities. This way income is generated for poor families who will then in turn contribute to their nation’s economy. My guess is very little if any opportunity was allotted to families living in areas like the favelas. Private contractors and private investment pumped money into these games and even dubbed the games, “The Green Games for a Blue Planet.” How dare they, how dare they promote green initiatives. All the while you walk a few miles up into the hills where children frolic in raw sewage. Drug cartels and municipal police face off in the streets and protestors take over the streets.

As for the athletes with a platform, why don’t more of them step up. Is it that they are aware and don’t want to lose their corporate dollars. Or is it because they don’t know at all. Whatever the case may be, we will have to add Rio to the list of many countries vying for an Olympics in 2024 and beyond consisting of poor citizens that will never benefit from the Olympic games. Nations where they come up with money for Olympic games, but not enough to feed and employ its own citizens.

BLUE CODE, BLACK CODE

“Will it ever end?”

It has ben a little over 5o years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 48 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1968. And I ask the question, how much has really changed since the 1960’s. And I am not just speaking of the laws, but a relationship. A relationship between two groups of people who have shared land with each other spanning a total of 300 plus years. Yet the relationship between the two is still polarizing. And what do I mean by the two groups; I’m speaking of Black and White Americans.

Let’s start with the term White and Black Americans. I focus on this first and foremost because these two colors have been used as more of a social construct rather than a real ethnic focus. In this country we like to place emphasis on skin color, not to promote diversity, but it’s almost as if we use this to designate enemies. This is why the whole idea of radical Islam terrifies people because you really can’t put a face to the belief. But in the case of Black and White, where does this fragmented relationship come from.

I ask this question because there has been yet again another shooting of a Black male this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now you’ll get some Black people on one side that say he disobeyed the police orders. And on the other side, you’ll get a few White men and women that will be on the side of the Black male shot. But for the most part Black will say innocent Black male was shot and Black Lives Matter, White will say do as you’re told and Blue Lives Matter.

I tend to believe that this reaction is more than just a coincidence. In addition, as much as the media places emphasis on this issue, it goes deeper than the television or internet. My belief is that racial bickering (and when I say race I’m not talking human race, but race socially), comes from how this country was designed. Black and White fighting isn’t the failure of America, but it’s actually the success of what the building of this country was intended for in the beginning.

To better gauge why the two ethnic groups still differ we must look at the beginning and work our way forward. In the early 1600’s, there were an original few Africans brought to what is now the United States as Indentured Servants. What does that mean? That means that they had to serve for a small period of time, serve meaning labor. After that time period was up, the indenturee was not bound by the indenture. Now what’s interesting is that there were White men and women bound to the same indentured servitude. The only problem is that the market viewpoint was that Africans were cheaper. Because slavery was coming to fruition. This meant that the Europeans who were indentured were not held forever and it was merely choice. Why invest money in them when there is a system of forced labor against ones’ will taking hold? Economically it made since, so White indentured servitude declined, while Blacks in slavery increased.

All throughout slavery, the relationship was outlined and accepted. Blacks were the underlings who served and bowed to Whites. The Whites were the masters who enforced their will and beliefs. Even the poorest of White men and women in America were still above the Blacks. Very important this previous sentence.

Why was that sentence so important about poor Whites being above Blacks. This is why. Once slavery ended, there was a lot of animosity. Not just at the idea of Black people being freed, but at the Union from the Confederate South. Confederates saw the Civil War as nothing more than a way to cripple the south and not about freeing Black people held against their will. Also very important because Abraham Lincoln himself owned slaves, yet they were not freed even with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Now how does this all fit into poor Whites.

Well after slavery, at least being White meant they had an upper hand over Blacks. But with slavery over now there is this feeling of, “really.” “You mean to tell us we are no better than them.” Factions of Whites broke off, mainly individuals still with a bitter taste over the war and the freedom of slaves. From this you have such organizations like the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that born and rapidly spread. We see them today as a group of poor angry White men and women who can’t get over the past. But what we must realize is that in their heyday, these men and women had power, so much power that they could politically influence the presidency.

Yet, that too came to pass with the signing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. Once again, another monumental documentation that left mixed feelings not only from White people, but Black as well. Keep this in mind about Black people getting angry. We will discuss this later in detail as to why Black people might be upset about the ending of Jim Crow. As for now, with the ending of Jim Crow, there was also another problem brewing. This problem was something no one saw coming. That was the issue of narcotics entering the Black community. After Jim Crow ended, prosperity looked promising, but instead there was an era of drugs and crime taking shape in Black communities nationwide. Mixed with the lack of jobs and various other opportunities post Jim Crow, young Black males turned to selling drugs as a way into generating an income.

Well you ask yourself, what about all those good Black fathers? Around this time another problematic systemic policy took hold in the Black community, and that was the welfare system. A policy that doled-out government funding to working poor mothers. The catch was the father couldn’t be present. So now you have narcotics, fatherless homes, and young boys with no guidance. This was a perfect recipe for disaster. This was an in, an in for what would be described as a new era of Jim Crow relationships.

Law enforcement was brought into the equation, and not just any. Cities like Los Angeles and Oakland recruited police preferably from southern cities who had experience dealing with Black people. Note how I said experience with dealing with Blacks. This was not a very good relationship and would create a new host of problems. After heroine hit from the late 1960’s to the late 1970’s, powder cocaine in the 1970’s into the 1980’s came next. From the 1980’s into the 1990’s a new drug hit called Crack Cocaine. So here you go, young Black males with absentee parents, policed by predominantly White male cops, and both having views of each other over throughout history already. Black males finding themselves growing up in the middle of gang and drug zones and police who didn’t discern between those who were criminal and those who weren’t. 

This all brings us to today. With the recent shootings from the police we ask ourselves, what’s the end game. There seems to not be one because every time it seems the White, Black relationship is getting better something else pops up. But remember when I said after Jim Crow, there were Black and Whites upset. Well for the Black people who were upset you look back. Blacks had their own schools, hospitals, banks, small businesses, and host of other jobs during segregation. Fast forward to today, and it seems things are worst now. So in a way there seems to be this discontent feeling. Maybe ending Jim Crow was a bad idea considering we had our own stuff then. Once we became equals we relinquished a lot and became fragmented.

Whatever the case may be, with this latest shooting, it seems like that clock has been set back yet again. From my understanding, it has to do with a feeling. To change people’s mindset, you have to change sentiment. That is a lot harder to do. How do you get Black and White people on the same page? You have to eliminate the terms White and Black from the American psyche. So much so that when a Black or White person look at each other we see American, and not a hue. How do you do that in a country where we have been made to feel like opposites for so long. I wish I knew; I truly wish I knew.

Bullying: Sorry Kids It Doesn’t Stop At Childhood

The topic of school bullying has been a subject of debate over the recent years. But it’s not your conventional that has taken hold in society. Cyber bullying is now added to the list of bullying categories. That’s right, now children are resorting to attacks via social media as a way to further ostracize and embarrass their fellow schoolmates. For the longest bullying has been a bigger stronger kid takes your lunch money and/or chases you home from school. Now kids are creating Facebook groups and posting Instagram photos of their schoolmate in compromising positions. Because it’s not enough for kids at school to see, now the world has to know.

You would think I would write about the negative impact this has on a child’s life. But I have chosen to write about the fact that it doesn’t stop after you leave school. The bullying doesn’t stop there, it continues into adulthood. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not bullying like loosing your lunch money or getting beat up, but people screw with you on more of a business level. Let’s take a look at celebrities for a moment.

A woman like Hollywood actress Leslie Jones faced such harsh criticism for her role in the new Ghostbusters film. What’s crazy is that people ganged up on her, but they would never attack a major boss at a studio. People attack those they feel they can touch.  We go after the athlete of entertainer because it’s an easy attack. We know we’re powerless to effect change at a much higher level. So in this regard it becomes easy to attack the face, rather than the boss. It’s easy to tell the public figure apologize, but not the guy higher up. That’s because it’s a bully mentality; only bullies go after people they feel they can touch, never anyone bigger.

Then that means bullying exist in other realms of society, like the workplace. The workplace has a high school sort of feel where everyone has their nuclear group. These individuals clique together, and disassociate from those not in their inner circle. They’ll at times get together in their group and gossip about those not in the group. Yet they utter words they’ll never say to the person’s face. But for some reason people feel since it’s impersonal and indirect it’s ok. But since we’re on the topic of work, why not upper levels of the workplace. That’s right, in the workplace, sometimes it’s not your coworkers, but rather the boss who screws with you on a more business level. For example, I was once asked on a job what process was I comfortable using. I wasn’t choosing a comfortable process, but one that was told to me. But confronting the matter could have gotten me written up. So you have to deal with the fact that your employer tries to make you feel incompetent.

Well let’s go a little bit deeper, how about relationships. Is their bullying in a relationship; of course there is? In relationships, your job is not to tell someone what they better do or don’t do, rather what you don’t go for in the situation. But for some reason men and women are dealing with someone controlling them; what they wear, what they eat, and when they leave the house. Yet since it comes from a loved one, we don’t perceive it to be controlling. When in actuality, they would never go attack someone seen as stronger.

So as you can see, bullying is not only in school, but other facets of life as well. We try to dismiss these occurrences, but they effect you more than school because it lasts longer. School is a small part of your life, but work, relationships; these are much greater in life. So I am not saying allow school bullying, all I’m saying is teach kids that these people will come bac full circle. And once you become an adult your life will encompass dealing with them. Maybe not fighting and having valuables taken from you, but more personal and business matters.

Losing Mentalities

“I’ve been meaning to, I’ve been wanting to, I’ve always wanted to, I’ve been thinking about….”

It’s interesting how so many people want to be successful, but they are not willing to put in the time. The same line comes from their mouths: I’m thinking about or I’ve had this idea to. It never formulates into anything that leads anywhere. There is a reason why because they never were going to do it anyways. For some odd reason people have this mentality that is either a losing mentality or the idea of living in this fantasy world. They sit around and daydream about what they could be, yet never put in the time to make it work. It took me until I became an adult to realize that some people are not meant to do well in life. Some people need the conformity in their lives where they’re being told what to do.

Then you have the bunch that just won’t do anything even getting a job being bossed around. What do I mean a job being bossed around and told what to do. I’m talking about not following your passion. Where are you here on earth? What is it you’re meant to do. There are so many who will live their entire lives; their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and even 90’s never knowing what their life truly meant. But you have one life on this planet and one life only. Make it count because when those lights go out they go out forever. So what is keeping people from pursuing their true passions.

A strong reason that points to so many people not living to their full potential is family and friends. You would think fear plays a role, yet that is such a small aspect. We live in fear, mainly of failure. But failure is one of those things that only is a given, but expected and accepted. Plus that failure is worth it if you learn from your lesson the second time around. The thing with family is a few hurdles you run into. Number one, you assume that since it’s coming from friends and family, then they must be giving you advice that’s good for you. Yes and no. Yes because these are the people in your life who look out for you most. On the other hand friend and family or neither; no one should push you into a path unless they know you internally. Meaning, if they don’t know what drives you as well as you skills you possess, then it’s an assumption. Now you can follow their guidance, but if you do and aren’t content with the outcomes it’s your fault. Because ultimately it’s your life. And no one wants to claim responsibility for your unhappiness.

Number two reason, if you are taught to listen to your family, especially parents, disobeying your family may be a good or bad decision. And that is something no one tells you about being an adult and following your dreams. Sometimes you may have to disobey to be happy in life. That ultimate freedom and happiness cannot be replaced with any amount of money on earth. You want ti still be able to care your yourself, but no amount of money is worth your happiness.

Who Really Owns Our Country?

“United States of Saudi America.”

Congress met and proposed a bill that will allow September 11th victims access to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for harboring those linked to the World Trade Towers, The Pentagon, as well as the passengers deaths on the airlines. Saudi Arabia came back and decided to put out a statement saying that if America passed such bill, they would unload as much as $750 billion of American assets into the open market. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I have some questions regarding the Saudi’s response. Why do they own three quarters of a trillion dollars of American assets? And what are these assets connected to: land, natural resources, currency, our debt of other nations, or us the people. Could it be our land?

Land makes a lot of sense to me. Since America was founded, the land has been in use to mainly grow crop and sell domestically; occasional international sales. Is it possible that they own the very land we are living on? Interesting because I’ll see these men walking around with their rifles in hand saying going on about their first amendment. Stating that no one will take their guns nor their land. But if the land is the most valuable resource, then what land on yours are these men with guns referring to? If the Saudis own so much money in assets, and the land is the asset, are they majority American land owners? Maybe the reason the militarization of the police is such because the government has to protect it’s debtors assets. Can’t have groups of Americans running around town with guns, ruining the investment of it’s Allie.

Well, what if not land and instead the asset is natural resources. I mean America is leading the world in the production of so many minerals like copper, iron, bauxite, and coal. In addition the USA has large quantities of nickel, gold, and silver. Saudi Arabia on the other hand is also a major in the production of copper, iron, gold, and petroleum. So if the assets are $750 billion owned, how much are in our natural resources? so much of our infrastructure is dependent on the construction industry, energy, and forestry. But wait a minute, America has oil fields as well; with fishing as a major industry as well. What if a great deal of these resources are owned by the Saudis? This means they are the drivers behind so much of our employment in these various industries. What does the future of America jobs means under this type of ownership?

What about for instance our currency? The American dollar has been strong for decades, but has been surpassed by a few currencies (Euro and British Pound). Could that be the asset? The Saudi Arabians may own a lot of our dollars. With this being true, it could mean all kinds of financial implications for the United States. Our dollars being effected could mean the market place going haywire. As a matter of fact when the Saudis threatened to release $750 billion of US assets the US government also warned of the windfall on the world economy if this were to happen. This also means our dollars as well as global dollars of other nations as well.

But wait a minute, did I say other nation’s currencies. In addition to owing debt, Americans are debt holders as well. Well, who are those debt holders? The majority of the countries that owe the United States in debt are European nations. But the biggest countries are China and Japan. The total global debt owed to the USA is around $6 trillion. With America holding so much debt and Saudi Arabia holding our debt, then I understand the American government’s concern. This could not only cause global problems, but adversaries for Saudi Arabia as well. Some which Saudi Arabia may not want.

Now let’s think for a second, we have went through all the checklist of what they could own. But there is still something open. That open asset that Saudi Arabia could own would be manpower or us as the people. Now I know you’re thinking, come on, why would America give it’s people to their allies. Well, let me give you a little bit of a history lesson. There was something called slavery in which people were owned and forced into subjugation. Forced to work the land for free making America the richest nation on Earth when it ended. Could it be that slavery is still here, just in another form. Could it be that our hard working time put into our jobs is really to make Saudi Arabia a better nation? Hopefully not, because if so, we are nothing more than slaves, given the illusion that this is our country. An illusion that has been kept up by speculation and promises. Promises that will never be delivered.