PERCEPTION PERSPECTIVE: HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD THROUGH OUR SENSES

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“What makes us see the world as we see it?”


OUR SENSE OF EXIST

The human mind is able to process so much information. We have five major senses that we can use to understand the world around us. Those major senses are smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing. Through these major five senses, we shape our perception of the world around us. The brain is central to the human body as well as aiding us in knowing what we perceive to be real in life. Before we go any further, let’s quickly observe our senses.

SMELL

We use our nose as a place where the smell of anything gives us a sense of pleasure or disdain. The smell of food makes us feel hungry, even if we’ve eaten already. But if we walk up the street and come across a garbage can, we quickly become displeased. This displeasure and pleasure has aided us in evolving over time in human history. We were able to bring into our exist that which gave us pleasure such as these sweet smells and expel the bad smells.

TOUCH

Our sense of touch as people gives us the ability to not only eat, hunt, and build, but also as a signal center to be sent to the brain. Meaning if we grab a hot pot’s handle, we immediately yank our hands away. The instantaneous sensation has evolved in us so we don’t further injure ourselves. The same goes for feet, you step on a tack, you immediately feel the pain. Our touch aids us in surviving against any attacks formed against us.

TASTE

The taste allows the brain to give us information that something is fine to consume. We refuse food or beverages that don’t taste pleasurable. It’s the reason why over time in human history we have added sugars to the food and drinks we consume. Because food in and of itself has no real taste. So we develop seasonings to give our meals a better flavor to consume. Otherwise we would reject the majority of food we eat.

SIGHT

The vision that man is given has allowed us to evolve into predatory creatures and not prey. Our eyes are in front of us and not on the side. We see danger coming head on and can rationally deal before the situation intensifies. Our vision also allows us to make out shapes and colors so we can classify what it is or eyes are viewing. Without sight, our other senses are forced to work overtime to make up for the eyes not working properly. 

HEARING

As far as our hearing, we evolved to hear so we are not picked off as prey early in our human evolution. And the more aware of a threat, the better we are at understanding how to survive. We also need our hearing for communicating with each other as people, as well as how to decipher when we hear a familiar voice to create a bond with our close friends and relatives.

PERSPECTIVE

Our perspective on the world is shaped by the perception we have in the world. Meaning, by using our five senses in combination with our life experiences, we develop a perspective. So, for example, if I grew up in a community where the father wasn’t present in a child’s life(see), men would scream at their wives in relationships (hearing), it might effect views on marriage. If you grew up in a household where macaroni and cheese was disgusting (taste) and it didn’t bring an aroma you enjoyed (smell), the thought of macaroni would turn you off as an adult. Let’s say as a child you were burned by the stove (touch). Now anytime you walk into the kitchen you approach cooking very carefully. Our perception and perspective are a hand in hand relationship. And when one is effected, they are both effected.


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LEVEL TO LEVEL: HOW GOING FROM ONE SOCIOECONOMIC POSITION TO ANOTHER FORCES A NEW PERCEPTION

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“Once you know better, you do better.”


I come from a socioeconomic environment known as the working poor. And I have been in his space for my entire life. But in the recent years, I have been working to remove myself form this space of poverty. And what does that mean, it simply means changing your perception in how you see the world around you. Once that perception changes about the world, new opportunities open up to you. Now in the beginning, it may seem like you’re not making any strides. But rest assured, if you’re putting in the time and energy necessary for the climb, then you are in position to do better in life. You are in position to do better financially, physically, and spiritually. Yet, what is it about people that never leave their position and why must you change the way you see the world? People not leaving their position has to do with a state of mind, but why you must change your perception has to do with understanding the repercussions of your actions.

What do I mean by the consequences of my actions? Well, once you cross over into the new socioeconomic environment, you have no choice but to shift your perception. And there is a reason, it’s because you had to shift your perception before getting to this new point. So if you grew up poor, you had no choice but to change to become Middle Class and stay in the middle. Now, here is the bit of hole in the logic I just stated. You have to shift your mind to make more money, not really. Because you have lottery winners, athletes, and entertainers. Now the lotto winner won by luck, but there had to be some form of shift to be great athletes and entertainers, but the monetary build really falls by the waist side. So when they make a lot of money, they go broke quicker than it took to get the money. Because they fail to put themselves in the know to shift their perception on money.

Now once you go from Middle Class to Upper Class, you have to really structure your mind. The way I see it, it’s like crossing a bridge. The poor person says, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” The person in the middle says, “I’ll plan for that bridge, even if it’s there, I still plan in case it’s not present.” And lastly, the man or woman that is rich are the ones building the bridges everyone beneath them are going to have to cross. So when you are making wealth for yourself, taking business advice from someone who is poor may not be the best decision to make in life. Because if were as simple as they think it is to make money, they wouldn’t be poor. They might say it’s because they don’t have money, and that statement explains why they’re poor. You don’t need money if you have great ideas that have value. You’ll get the money if you have something that can make money. Why, someone will invest in you.

And in the end, we have to shift our perceptions anyways with regards to the world around us. People who don’t, possess a lack of growth in their lives. That lack of growth will quickly turn into self-loathing and depression. Next, they’ll start to reject the people around them who have went off into life and planned. Remove yourself from these people because they mean you no good.


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PERSONAL PERCEPTION: HOW YOUR PEERS SEE YOU VERSUS HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF

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“You’re never who they think you are.”


We all have this idea of how someone sees us in life. But how can you be for certain if people actually like you or if they are just putting on airs to get in good with you. Because you are never the person you are to you as you are with others. No matter how much you try to convey that you are someone else, they see you as something else. So which one is right; their perception of you or your perception of you? Well, this depends on the image you project outward to people. Sometimes how people see you is on the basis on what you show them. If you show them this person that you’re not, then they’ll believe in what you show them. And what’s crazy is that no matter how much you tell them you are different, they’re still going to believe the person that they have come to know the longest. But then there is the other side of things.

You have people who view you in a light that has nothing to do with what you show them, but who they think you should be in life. And if you want to see how someone really views you, then ask them to introduce you to someone on a date. You will get a full idea of what they think of you. From the physical aspects of who they introduce you to, to the mental conversation the person has on a date. After the date, you should make it your business to meet the person you want to date. Then once you do meet the person, bring them around the people who had a hand in hooking you up on a date. They had the person they wanted you to be with, and they might grow to resent you because you have more than what they felt you deserved. This is how you find out who your true friends are and how they really feel about you.

Like I said earlier, you’re never to others who you are to yourself. What is it that would make a person feel like you don’t deserve the person you want to date? Because people feel that based off their own inner workings, they observe you. And to them, you fall into an equation somewhere below where they stand. So if you exceed the expectations of what they feel you deserve they have to evaluate two ideas in their mind. Number one, they are not as smart as they thought they were at pin-pointing a friend, and you as the successful friend makes them feel mediocre. But instead of figuring out a way to move away from the mediocrity, they want to stifle your growth. So in the end, be prepared in life to lose people that are not meant to be in your life. Not everyone is, and that could even extend into family.


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BREAKING FREE: MOVING AWAY TO GROW

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“Get away to grow up.”


In the year 2011, right after undergraduate school, I moved to New York City. Coming here for graduate school from Kenosha, Wisconsin was a new experience. You go from living on a rural campus to a major metropolitan hub. Yet graduate school wasn’t the only reason I decided to make the leap out on the East Coast. Another reason I chose to move to the East was because I needed to also be in a city where I could pursue my goals the best way I knew how to do so. And I also wanted to shape my identification. Growing up for me in a household where I was not only the only boy among siblings, but male in the house. And there are certain aspects of being a man that my mom and sisters don’t quite understand. So in my mind, it made perfect sense to create a whole new identity for myself and pursue my goals.

So I ask you, is there ever a moment in your life where feel you need to getaway to grow in life. Now don’t get me wrong, you are suppose to leave an environment in search of something better. Not run away from problems that you perceive to be external, but are really internal. Because internal problems only follow you wherever you go. I am referring to you having to leave because what the world has to offer you elsewhere is far too great to stay where you currently reside. And that could mean better schools, a better job, and overall better existence. For example, I come from a small city with a population of about 75,000 people. And now living in New York city, there are three to four times that many people in my Harlem neighborhood. So it has been a major leap in me getting acclimated to the city. But luckily for me, I have been here almost six years.

As for me taking the leap and living in a more open and conscious city, my mind has grown with it. So my writing has improved since leaving my small town. Now, does that mean I encourage everyone else to do the same; no. I just feel for me, the borough of Manhattan has an energy that inspires me to write everyday. Some days I will just walk around the high populated areas just to get in a mode and come back to the computer lab and write. So for you, a small town might be the place for you to push out the greatness that is inside of you. But moving away gives you a different perspective on how other people live their lives. You are given an open door into how others different from you think and feel. This may aid in your endeavors whatever they may be, to propel yourself forward in life.

In the end, moving away forces you to mature at a quicker rate than if you were at home. Because even  with a support system back home, you have to step up to the learning curve quick. For me, coming from small town Midwest and now in the Big Apple, you grow fast. If you don’t, you sink fast. The city will swallow you up and spit you out. And it is a true testament to how resilient you are in life.


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CELEBRATED NOT TOLERATED: WHY BE SOMEWHERE YOU’RE NOT WANTED

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“I wouldn’t want to belong, unless I belong.”


I was recently reading a story regarding Hollywood actress Gabrielle Sidibe’s visit to the high-end Chanel retail store. While in the store, Sidibe said that she experienced racial discrimination while seeking to purchase a few items. And it wasn’t until the other Black employees in the store saw who she was, that the tone of the store clerk changed. She then began to act in a much nicer manner. But my question is why didn’t she leave the store? Why would you want to shop at a store if you feel they are discriminating against you based on race? Well, I have a few theories on some of those reasons.

One of the views I have on people who patronize places where they are not celebrated, but tolerated is because a self-respect issue. Your self-respect comes into question when you are willing to belong to a place or spend your money in a location where you are not accepted. Purchasing items in this business actually reinforces a feeling of your lack of self. But more so, the individuals treating you in this manner know that you are willing and able to deal with it. A way to show people is to not patronize, not to add to their growing business. Your actions speak louder than what is being said out of your mouth. So you can’t demand respect and go to people where you are disrespected.

But to me, this is a bigger problem than just racial concerns in America. We as a collective love being apart of something that is perceived to be this great thing. And would love to put emphasis on the word, perceived. Perception is a big reason why we seek to be a member of a group that doesn’t accept us. You see it in school where the kid is ostracized from the group. But instead of hanging around kids who want to be your friend, we want to hang with the kids who don’t like us. It’s because the ostracized at times tend to be the people who ostracize others themselves. Now we want the respect that we are not willing to extend to other people. Yet there is still another theory I have on wanting to belong to something that rejects you.

And that reason is lack of self-actualization; not realizing your true wealth. You have very financially wealthy people who command more money than the businesses they frequent. Yet they act like the business is doing them a favor. It comes from not knowing your true value and what your money can do for you. If you really did know what your money does for you, you don’t go back to the business. You think if Bill Gates walked into a store and they mistreated him, he would make a fuss. He most likely wouldn’t return because he knows the true value of his dollar. He has shown this through the various initiatives he has been apart of globally. My money growing a civilization is more important than buying trinkets. So when he does walk into a store, it’s festive because he doesn’t need you. You’re not doing him a favor, he’ knows he’s helping you.

In the end, you will always have people who want to belong to something. And like I said before, it has to do a lot with perception. We perceive something to be great and yet it really is not. But we hold things up in society to be special that are not. Food, water, air, shelter are important, not tote bags and cars. But that is the power of perception in our society.


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THOUGHT

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“Are your thoughts your thoughts?”

“I think therefore I am.” “Your thoughts become reality.” “I believe this to be true therefore it is.” We as humans always want to feel that just because I think something is true makes it true. Now, this has a possibility of being true because like I said prior, your thoughts become reality. You think something, it becomes your process, then your action, and then it’s what your life becomes. Well, when does the thought become unreal? It becomes unreal once the thought blocks you from logical thinking.

What I mean by logical thinking is that we want to think that our belief systems mean something just because we believe it. The problem with this frame of thought is we don’t realize certain thoughts and feelings exist because things have been laid out for us in the past. And the past at times dictate the present. Meaning, 100 years from now, Gay marriage won’t be a topic of discussion. Why, well people will think they agree because it’s their thought, but won’t realize it was put in play 100 years ago. The same is for dating in certain age ranges. 100 years ago a 16 year old marrying a 30 year old man was normal. But today we frown on it not because we feel that way, we were born in a time where the laws changed.

With what has been said, why is it so hard for people to acknowledge the truth? People find it hard to do so because they can’t stomach the fact that their belief system means nothing. If what they believe means nothing, then what else is not true in their lives. Ultimately they have to live with the idea that their lives may have been a waste. This is fine if you are in your early adulthood; there is still time to change. But if you are toward the end of your life, then yes, your life may have not meant anything. So how does one keep this from happening?

You keep it from happening when you open up your mind to learning new things. Having new experiences in life on a consistent basis. Your learning will force you to challenge new thoughts and you gain new insight into the world around you. That is a major issue with the world is that we don’t like putting ourselves in the know. We reject so much new information because we get set in our ways. The problem with getting set in a way is that if there is any new information presented that is needed to replace the old and you are still on the old, you are left behind. Meaning it’s nearly impossible for you to function in the general population. This renders you obsolete in society.

So in closing, when your thoughts become reality, this can be good, so long as the thought align with rational thinking. The problem is we all think we are rational. We all feel that we have that one magic word which will change everyone’s mind. But it never quite pans out that way. But the thoughts we harbor can also be a killer if we retain thoughts that become antiquated. making it impossible to live in the world.

BECKY WITH THE GOOD HAIR!

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“Don’t assume it’s all good.”

“Here they go, always gotta be with a White girl.” “He must not love his momma.” “Any Black man who would hop, skip, and jump around all these Black women to be with a White girl, I can’t respect.” These are a few of the quotes I have heard from the mouths of Black women throughout my life. In addition, the most famous is, “How come they keep stealing all of our good Black men.” Now, me as a Black male wanted to break down this line of thinking to try to have a coming of the minds. But when I did break down the line of thinking, something more sinister began to formulate in my mind.

Let’s look at it from the standpoint of how Black women see the situation. Well, when you turn on the television, an athlete is with a White female. An entertainer, is with a White female. Even the professional Black men in day-today society are with White females. So if you are observing through the lens of Black women, the logic makes perfect sense. For example, Adam Silver of the NBA who is the commissioner stands before everyone and says. “With the number one pick of the NBA draft, the ________ select __________ of _______ University.” Next you see his mother, no father, his sisters, then the White woman. And you go, oh, now I get Black women’s frustration.

Now, that has been said, let’s look at the reality. I have been a fan, a die hard fan of sports since 1st grade. I can name the players at times just by looking at their jersey numbers. And sometimes, some obscure player that no one really knows. To a large degree I know a lot about these guys. I have followed so much, I have even seen their families. And I will be the first to say the vast majority, probably 70% – 80% are in relationships or married to Black women. But we name off the few top guys that aren’t as a template for the league. For instance, 53 players on an NFL team, and 85% Black. Of the 45, 70% are with Black women, 30% not. Black women look at the 13 or 14 because that’s what is shown, and base the league off of that number.

Now the same exist for the NBA, MLB, and there aren’t enough Black men in the NHL to calculate the amount. That’s just athletics, but what about the other professional work environments: doctors, lawyers, engineers, physicians, etc. Well, statistically speaking, over 90% of Black men, when we marry, marry Black women. But all that has been said still does not answer the question, “Why do they take all our good Black men?” There is something fundamentally wrong with that line of questioning. And the problem is in the word all and good.

Now, the problem with the word all, has been laid out previously. The problem with the word good can be subjective as well. 5 year $75 million; 3 year $50 million; and 6 year $100 million. Is this the reason he is considered good? I mean, Black women tend to say, she’s only with you for your money. Now let’s observe that for a moment. When you look at these beautiful White women with Black men, there is a correlation between her looks and his money. But to say he’s a good Black man being taken, doesn’t that place you in that same realm as a Black woman. There are average Black guys who walk the street everyday who don’t get any attention. Using your logic, as a Black woman, then we should never go without a woman because it’s pure on the home front and about money outside our ethnicity.

For you to want him for money makes both of you the same, only difference is she got him first. Yet there is something more psychological when I hear the word, “GOOD.” I live in Harlem, and I rarely have Black women make eye contact. But if I walked the street with a White female it could potentially be a problem. So me, I broke the psychology down for a second. If I am uninteresting because I’m me, but considered a good Black man being taken by her. I would have to assume there is an internal struggle taking place. Meaning, you see yourself as not able to pick a good man, so if the White girl got him he must now be worth something. You don’t value your judgement, but hers is spot on because they know a good man, yet I don’t have the sound decision making to get one.

Well, hold the phone, let’s observe White females for a second. Even though there is this whole outcry for why Black women who are so single, have you checked White women’s statistics. More single White females than Black females. Now yes, population makes that possible, but do you think they are cruising town chasing us (Black men). Or are they looking for the same goodness to be found in White males as Black women do in Black men. I know Black women want the hegemony of power over love for their men. But every woman is down for the men in their group more than other men. Why, because women’s loyalty is stronger than ours.

So why don’t we hear White women outraged. Because there are a lot of White men who date Black women, Asian women, and Latin women. But the anger is not there like Black women. Could it be because the pickings are more vast than Black women? No because White women are not marrying these heavy hitter White guys with 7 figure salaries. The men are just as regular as Black men. It’s all about perception. Black people see a colonial style home, the kids, cat, and dog and automatically assume she living it up. When in reality they are combining incomes and building a life that looks big to us, but actually it’s quite normal.

You see the problem in the Black community lies in the fatherless situation as well. Black girls raised by momma and grandma fill her head with ideologies about what a man will do and won’t do. Now she grows into a woman, full blown from mom and grandma’s imagination, with a perception of men because daddy wasn’t present to show her reality. Now we as Black men feel the total force. So she sees Black men now with White women and the perception becomes real. But it’s just that, a perception. White women got it good makes Black women sound as if they are lacking something in comparison to White women. And that itself can be perceived as envy. When in reality, you are only in your frame of thought with regards to Black men dating outside our ethnicity because the perception you have is a false equivalency, “She has him, he must be good.”