RACIAL DISCOMFORT: WHY ARE BLACK AND WHITE PEOPLE SO OFFSET IN EACH OTHER’S COMMUNITIES

Image result for black and white people

“Still discomfort after so much time.”


not your community

I live in Harlem, NYC, and I can tell you first hand there is a discomfort and a heightened awareness when White people are in the presence of Black people. But that awareness increases with us in predominantly White environments as well. How does two groups who have been in a country for so long still feel such discomfort around each other? Now, you can point to the idea that most people feel more comfortable around people that look like them than those that are different. But there is real social construct to the American landscape.

segregation alive and well

Like I said earlier, I live in NYC, a city with an array of diversity. And if you are someone not a fan of diversity, you are going to be miserable here. Because you are constantly in a position to have to deal with someone different than yourself. But I am from the Midwest, and you really don’t have to deal with too many people that don’t look like you. So the tolerance is a lot lower elsewhere in America. So for the most part the vast majority of your daily life is communicating with your own group for the rest of your life. From your school life, to social life, to dating, to what neighborhood you raise children within.

everything isn’t bigotry

Wanting to live around that share the same culture as you is not all hatred. Everything has to be looked at in context. But in a society where context is slowly going away, saying anything that is not the status quo can land you into trouble. But who decided being comfortable was bad. Like I said, context, if you are forcing someone from a neighborhood because ethnicity, now you’re in a really weird position. But discomfort will always exist in America because of the social construction.


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COLORISM: RACE RELATIONS

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“2018, and still relevant.”


a month of race

The month of August will be on the topic of race relations in America. In the recent years we have seen a surge in conversations and issues across the country. So what I am going to do is aim at trying to understand why, as well as breakdown why we still have these types of issues in America today.


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REGIONAL SEGREGATION: WILL REGIONS EVER WANT THEIR OWN ECONOMIES AGAIN

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“What was in past may be our future.”


united areas

The United States borders as with any other country has went through multiple transformations over the past two hundred years. But could we be seeing another shift in the years to come? Could the United States borders change that could effect the overall economy? What would happen if the United States wanted to have a separate economy based on regions?

It happened in the past at one point in time. That is when the Confederacy ruled in the South. But the cash cow was slavery, and I don’t ever see America returning back to those ways again. But what about other means of commerce.

political strife

Designated areas of America have long been associated with certain political views which are rapidly changing over time. Alabama, for instance, election which recently put a Democrat into power is a landmark victory for them. But a lot of the change came not just because of allegations against senator Roy Moore, but also because of the party associated with Roy.

Yet, the victory rubbed a lot people the wrong way. But also, the victory was great for a lot of people. And elections like this have taken place all over the country which could lead to people removing themselves from certain aspects of American society.

nothing to lose

It all boils down to what do you truly have to lose. Because there are so many areas in America where the employment is drastically low. There are no signs of jobs coming back to these areas, so why not create your own economy. Especially when you observe the Midwest; a region that was dominated by the automotive industry. Now the region which once was the face of America has  been long forgotten.

Because if something does not happen to improve the lives of individuals in certain regions, we could slowly see a rebellious viewpoint of citizens to remove themselves from each other.


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DYING SENTIMENT OR THRIVING HATRED: HOW MUCH OF MY ETHNICITY REALLY PLAYS A ROLE IN MY SUCCESS

“Sins of the past don’t have to be the future.”


The above photo is of a woman by the name of Vivian Malone. Vivian Malone was the first African American student to register for classes at the University of Alabama as an undergraduate student. The university was racially segregated, and up to this point no had been successful in entering the school. Even the governor at the time, George Wallace, stood at the door, blocking her entry temporarily before she was allowed access inside. Now, this topic is not about Vivian Malone, this topic is in reference to how much has changed since that time period. That was back in 1963 when she was denied entry, and my mother was only 3 years old herself. Since then, a lot more students have been admitted to Alabama, and no one thinks twice about Black children attending. But we still have conflicts in America today, as exemplified in Virginia a few weeks ago.

So my question is, how much does my ethnicity even in today’s society contribute to my success. Because I see so many men and women that look like myself that are successful, but then you see what has been going on in the country today. There are marches for White Supremacy in America, yet there are counter protest on the other side. And the counter protest are bigger than the supremacy groups. So yes, racism does exist, but on what scale. I have experienced it in life and still do. But what role does it and will it play in future success? A lot of the sentiment, I am not concerned with at this point in America. Because if you don’t like me by this time, then you never will. My only obligation is working to succeed how I want to succeed. I’m not in this world to convince everyone to love me, that’s not practical.

Yet, you have to deal with these types of people. I was reading somewhere that only 10% of the American population are supporters of these Neo-Nazi groups. Now, looking at this from a percentage basis we say, “10% is not a lot of people. But the American population is close to 320 million people. With 10% of these people following hate groups, 30 million people are a lot of people. But see, I am not trying to win those individuals over. I know they have and never will like me. My goal is I don’t want to have to come into contact with them. Yet when you see the Virginia march with tiki torches, you say to yourself, some of these guys were professors and even worked in the medical field. It creeps me out that some of these people could be my doctors. Black men already have and adverse feeling when looking at doctors.

Yet, in the end, I still look at my life with hope. Though in the back of my mind, the thought never leaves. When I come across someone and have what I perceive to be a racial experience, and I say to myself, “Did they because; nah, maybe not.” Nonetheless, I am hopeful; for my future and the country. We like to look in the past and say that people were so awful. But I think there were just as many good people today as in the past. It’s just that we all excepted life as what it was then. And the more we pushed against the grain, the more we look back and say, “You know, this wasn’t ok at that time.” For me, I look at photos of separate water fountains that said, “White Only and Colored Only.” It seems weird to look at, but for older people in my family that was life at one point in time. I feel life is changing, it’s just in real time we don’t see it. We never see life while in the paradigm of living it; humanity never will. Only when you look back over time we become convinced of the changes.


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

Image result for civil rights

“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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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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1619: HOW FAR HAVE WE COME AS AFRICAN AMERICANS

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“What happens when identity has to be recreated?”


Two years from now will be the year 2019, which will mark the 400 year period since the first Africans were brought to America. So much between then and now has happened, and the question now remains. How far have Black people come in America and how far do we still need to go? Let’s take a look in the past for just a moment. Imagine, each person, coming from their respective tribes, with their respective cultures. Being dragged to a new land, not knowing what was in store once you got there. Trying to understand why looking out into the sea you can’t find the river banks from which you came to return back home. And now you’re in this new place for life, with people you don’t know.

Fast forward to today, where we have been for almost 400 years. But, we have really only had rights since about the early 1970’s. That means African Americans have been experiencing freedom for roughly 45 – 50 years. You america, architecture, famousmight say, how so? Well, freedom allows you to vote, which we couldn’t do until coming into the 1970’s from the 1960’s. Freedom says you can go to any school you want to attend. But in the 1970’s and even as early as the 1980’s institutions were resistant in letting Blacks attend. Freedom grants you housing wherever you want to live, which is even more recent than the right to vote. Freedom grants the privilege to marry who you want without question. Laws on books forbid interracial marriage in various states in this country. The only progressive environment that has moved with more pace has been sports and the United States Armed Forces.

But what still needs to happen. Because we have poor education in inner city communities. There is a disproportionate number of violent crimes and a breakdown of the family. What’s interesting is that this is more of a recent phenomenon. If you look into the past, two parent households were the norm in the Black community. Black people had close nit communities, crime was nearly nonexistent, and overall morale was in tack. So what does that mean, we have to back track and lose our rights again to have control over our communities. Is there some sort of trade off, “You go back to segregation and then life will change.” Or is it more simple than that?

For example, I look at Chicago, a city that is plagued with crime, and also my father’s place of birth. And he has stated that it is a mixture of heavy Whtie and Black Police Car on Roadgang recruitment and lack of establishment by the law because of politicians not doing their jobs. It has been a rogue city for quite some time and with more and more schools closing, yet children are not being placed in other districts, problems are going to really climb. Which brings me to my next question. If schools are closing and countless kids are left in these inner city areas without a school home, should we start to home school as a community? Should Black people disregard the public school system in cities like Chicago? I mean, they’re shutting them down anyways, why not.

And that is the lead in to my next question, What is in the future? America is changing more and more everyday, and if we are not prepared issues will worsen. And not really on just a racial side, but economic. In today’s society, there is still not adequate access in poor areas to a lot of opportunities. Or is it? Black people are one of the largest demographics of smart phone users. That is a tool for learning all on it’s own. Which brings me to the next phase, putting yourself in the know. Those who are willing to put themselves in the know can and will elevate no matter what their economic circumstance or ethnic background. Having that mobile device means you do now have access to a lot of opportunities.

You may say how so? Well, this is not your mother and father or grandparents generation. Google search engine and YouTube has allowed access to what was once the unknown the know. For example, I Black Samsung Tablet on Google Pagelearned to write screenplays, my books, setup my website, and build social media all through tutorials on YouTube and searching through Google. So if we are big smart phone users, then we have the access in hand. All it takes is the attempt to sit and learn. Open yourself up to the opportunities that lie ahead. So, in the end, we have to do something. Life is getting harder by the day; and not just for us, everyone. Adjusting to the major technological shifts that will happen is a must in succeeding in life. If you are not bent on learning and broadening your base, then that America dream you want will no be anywhere within your sights.


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