Guest Blogger Post: PERCEPTION vs REALITY

You all know that I love posts from guest bloggers.  Today, I will be sharing a post from one of my favorite male feminists: Robert Isaac.  He had somethings he wanted to share with you guys and upon completing my first review of the article, I knew that you would enjoy.  I hope that you read with an open mind and motivated heart: 

PERCEPTION vs REALITY

We know that the deck has been stacked against us for as long as we have been in this country. We know that the value placed on the lives of people of color, in this country, is minimal at best. Two sets of rules have long been the standard when it comes to interpreting the rule of law: for these reasons, it is imperative that WE stop worrying about the latest shoe that’s coming out, the hottest song on the radio, the latest drama on the Real Housewives…the list goes on and on. We have to focus on the things that will actually make a difference for us: EDUCATION… In addition to working to elect politicians who have a sense of what the needs of African-Americans are, we need to actively prepare our youth to become these politicians. Instead of steering clear of police officers, we should be preparing our kids to go to the police academy. Instead of fearing the practices of judges who legislate from the Bench, we should steer our kids to an undergraduate degree in criminal justice, and motivate them to go on to law school to become the next generation of lawyers…and then the next generation of judges. We have to put an end to the way people perceive us by showing respect for ourselves. Pull your pants up! Speak clearly and intelligently. Promote the good being done by people who look like you instead of spreading the negative things that happen. The news does enough of that for us.

I know that not everyone has the financial means to go on to college, but that isn’t the only avenue to pursue higher learning. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to grace the halls of an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to spread that information to anyone who will listen. We have no right to withhold this information from our neighbor who wasn’t able to go to college. At the same time, we have no right to waste our time waiting on other people to do things for us. If you stand by and do nothing to make things better for us as a whole, then you are just as responsible for the dismal conditions and the continued faux perception placed on us as those who are actively trying to make the world see us in this light. No, you won’t be able to do it alone. But if you reach out to a few people who are undoubtedly in your circle of friends who could benefit from your knowledge and each of your friends did the same, then it won’t be long before you notice that everyone close to you will be in a better situation on some level.

The “trial” of George Zimmerman in Florida should shine a spotlight on “perception vs reality”. The perception of “us” was on full display by the defense attorneys throughout the case, it was on display on news channels like FOX News, and it was on full display via Conservative talk radio. Instead of making the case focus on Zimmerman, they successfully put Travon Martin on trial as if he was to blame for his own death…And they won because the perception of what a black person is all about in this country overruled what we as African-Americans know to be the reality…no matter what “Reality TV” suggests. Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO was portrayed in the same manner. Conservatives often suggested that Mike’s death was his own fault and immediately pointed to his actions BEFORE he had even encountered the police officer in the street. The reality is that what matters is what happened while he was in the officer’s presence. Unfortunately, perception won the day. Conservative talking heads in the media are doing the very same thing with Sandra Bland. It has even been suggested that her refusal to put out a cigarette was the catalyst for the escalation of events on the day she was pulled over for a traffic violation. The perception is that she was non-compliant, when in reality, the police officer overstepped his boundaries, violated the public trust, and used his lawful authority in an illegal manner. While we have been, and continue to be, wronged in our supposed just society, we must also look inward to whole-hardheartedly change the perception of how we are viewed for the sake of our friends and families.

Our lives, and our children’s lives, are literally at stake.

Robert Isaac

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From The Internet: What I’m Reading: FrenchieDee’s Book Review of the Essential Gwendolyn Brooks

If you’ve known me for a long time, you already know that my favorite poets consist of Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allan Ginsburg, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.  I’ve always been especially inspired by the works of African-American poets because they capture experiences that I can relate to in the language, style and incidents that they encapsulate in their poetry.  As a child and young adult studying Literature, I read tons of Gwendolyn Brooks and as I grew older and started working, I drew further from this beautiful art form that was birthed by her mind and pen.

As I began my day, I decided to watch one of my favorite naturals and YouTubers FrenchieDee and was astonished that she covered the work of Ms Gwendolyn Brooks in a book review.  All of the feelings that I had about Ms. Brooks as a young adult flooded back into my memory and I just had to share this with you guys!

Here is the review by Frenchiedee:

Please if you like the video, rate, comment and subscribe 🙂


If you are interested in a good read from one of the best American Poets who has ever graced our history, please check out the works of Gwendolyn Brooks by clicking the photo below:

GwendolynBrooks


Here is one of my all time favorites by Gwendolyn Brooks:

The Bean Eaters

by Gwendolyn Brooks
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, 
Tin flatware.

Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.

And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that
          is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths,
          tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Until Next Time 🙂

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Why History Should Be Considered One of Our Most Important Mechanisms for Building a Strong Future

It appalled me…really appalled me when I read my Facebook and Twitter feed the past few days.  People were so enthralled in the ‘twerking’ of Miley Cirus and the reunion of N’Sync…they totally forget that this week marked one of the most pivotal milestones in 20th century American History.  The crazy part was, that this history is so recent, we should be talking about it…sharing it with our children…teaching them that the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was not just a catalyst for Dr. King to give his ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech, but it was a time for enlightened and strengthened people who were ready for a change to show this country and this world that we needed better opportunities for the poor and more advancement for minorities 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. 

                 I wondered why I was the only one making posts about the anniversary of this event.  Surely, it was being talked about on the news…snippets of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech played everywhere I turned…but for some reason people of the X and Y generation seemed to forget or not care that this event occurred.  We are so consumed with the happenings of Miley Cirus and the VMAs, we forget the significance that history plays in our current lifestyles and forget that the struggle of these people was not fought in vain.  We also forget that a lot of the people who were around during this time are still around today:  people like my parents, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers…co-workers.  50 years is a long time…but not that long, and as long as there are people still around to tell the tale of what happened during the civil rights movement, we should listen…take note… so in the next 50 years history won’t repeat itself in another form.

                We have no doubts that the last 50 years have shown a lot of changes for blacks and civil rights in general.  It seems as if our focus for civil rights always was looked upon to other countries but not for the US.  We tend to note all forms of human deprivation and manipulation in other countries but never talk about what happens on our own soil.  We forget that less than 50 years ago, schools  and public places were segregated, people were discriminated against…people were lynched, beat and killed because of where their ancestors descended from.  We forget that the most gruesome of human cruelties occurred in this country…we turned a blind eye to the fact that we were perpetrators of the same treatment that we cast judgment on other countries for doing and it was alive in well less than 50 years ago…and that it still occurs today, though hidden in a form that is not as easy to identify as it was in the past. 

                Readers, this is why it’s important to talk about history.  This is why it’s important to teach our children the correct history of this country and not a romanticized, condensed portion of it that is being fed to them in their American History classes.  If you ask a child today who A. Philip Randolph or Bayard Rustin were, they would not be able to tell you.  If you asked them about the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, they would probably just tell you that’s where Dr. King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.  If you asked them about the history of the Civil Rights movement, they would probably regurgitate the actions of Rosa Parks and the words of Dr. King but never talk to you about the plenty of other figures who risked their lives for the life that we take for granted today. 

                The fact is that Dr. King would not have risen to the man he was at the time if it wasn’t for the actions of Rosa Parks and the teachings of non-violence learned from Ghandi and taught to him by Bayard Rustin.  The March on Washington would have never taken place if it wasn’t for the work done by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Ruston… and half of the civil rights movement that occurred during this time would have ceased if black women were not in the background doing a lot of the work needed to get a lot of this action going.

                Generations X and Y are responsible for teaching our children the importance of history and why we need to be aware of the actions of people of the past who have gathered a way to provide for the conditions that we take for granted now today.  We need to show them that the watered down history that they are provided in school—especially during February–is not the history of blacks in its entirety and we need to research on our own to learn the history of African-Americans to instill pride in our future.  If they think that the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was just a place for Dr. King to give his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and not know the complexity of this demonstration, then the whole purpose of it will be lost for generations to come. 

                In order to build a better future for this country we all need to know the ugly truth about American History.  The exaggerated history of this country that we are teaching our children is only distorting what really occurred and making it look like it wasn’t a big deal…it made it look like some of the worst forms of human rights violations were nothing at all.  And once again, I find it very strange that the country that perpetuates itself as the world leader for Civil Rights was—less than 50 years ago—one of the biggest countries that perpetuated violations of human rights to a people who built this country with their own hands, blood, sweat and mostly tears.

                Today on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, let’s begin a dialogue with our children about our history—American History.  Let’s talk about what really happened in this country and not keep feeding them with things that make the struggle that this country went through seem like a scene from ‘Gone with the Wind’.   My African-American and Black American brothers and sisters, let’s take a moment to teach our children about other Black leaders that were produced out of this country.  Let’s instill in our children that we come from a strong group of people…that our ancestors were not just un-educated workers who sharecropped and then later found success in sports.  Let’s teach our children about the literary, scientific, political and educated leaders in this country that were all Black.  Tell them how A. Philip Randolph proposed an idea of a March on Washington 20 years prior to when the march actually occurred and how he brought the march into fruition.  Let’s tell them how that same man helped the Pullman porters to get recognized in White American labor unions.  Let’s remind them that the teachings of Ghandi were motivators for Dr. King’s nonviolent approach to civil rights but was enforced and taught to Dr. King by Bayard Rustin.  Let us teach our children that Black Americans in our history are more than what history teaches them. That our strength was built from the oppressions of slavery, built from the oppressions of Jim Crow, built from the oppressions of segregation, built from the oppressions of constant attacks of our human and civil rights for centuries. Let us teach our children that the wealth of this country was mostly built by the hands of Black Americans and the freedoms that we enjoy today are the fruits of their labor, sweat, blood and mostly tears.

Today is an important day for us as Americans.  It’s a time for reflection, dialogue and ideas for change. It’s time for us to invest in our children some history so they can be interested in more than just the present…but also in the past…so they can harvest in a fruitful future full of the constants of Americanism—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness no matter what color you are or where you come from or who you are…

 

So…I Hope You Have the Oprah Winfrey Network in Your Cable Line Up!

If you have the OWN network, don’t forget to watch the documentary ‘Dark Girls’  this Sunday evening…

I love this documentary because I can agree and remember life experiences to almost 100% of what these women are attesting to. I also believe that we should take this information and nurture our dark-skinned, kinky curly-headed children to learn in self beauty and pride to stop this ugly cycle of dark skin versus light skin.

The black cat always stood for bad luck.
The black sheep of the family was always the ‘bad guy’.

The only way to reverse these stereotypes is by education, acknowledgement and teaching generation now that no matter how dark they are…they are beautiful and no matter what your complexion is…to others, you are still BLACK.

So make a promise to me, if you can Sunday evening, tune into OWN and learn, acknowledge and vow to inspire. We are the only way we can make a difference in ourselves. Waiting on others is not an option.

OWN TV Listings for Sunday June 23:

http://www.oprah.com/own/tv-schedule/index.html?date=2013-06-23&stype=daily

Love Always,
Fleur de Curl

…we need more of:

400 Years Without a Comb

John shared this with me last evening and I thought that I would share with you guys. “400 Years Without a Comb” was a written documentary published by Willie L. Morrow (creator of the California Curl) in 1984. This is the video that was created from the fruits of his essay.  It highlights what Morrow calls the creation and planting of the ‘inferior seed’. If you have some time, this is a nice review of the history of Black American hair and Morrow’s idea on how negative views of our hair was created through historical accounts. Even though this documentary is pretty dated and the acting is over emphasized in some parts, it should provide a general idea about why this natural hair movement is so important to us right now and why we place so much emphasis on the overall styling and look of our hair in the global Black community.

There is also a museum that has many exhibits that highlight the history of the tools that were used by Black Americans in history to achieve their hairstyles. The video regarding the museum is included below.