Black Social Media: Help or Hindrance

I am Black and a bit of a social media junkie. Social media outlets have pretty much figured out that I’m Black and they suggest pages, channels, people, places and things that other Black people frequent. I follow them as do others in my demographic. It creates little virtual communities and there you have it, the Black social media sphere. It has been fun, entertaining, and educational in good ways and bad. Black social media can be a useful and entertaining tool. But it can be very toxic.

I’ll start off by saying that Black people are not given enough credit for being so witty and creative. When I was a big Facebook and Twitter user my brothers and sisters would absolutely have me cracking up with their unique takes on various hashtags. Some social media users reminded me of the glory days of hip hop when being a little street or ghetto or whatever you call was meshed with intelligence and insight. We don’t get to see that much in the media anymore. I miss it.

Black social media users have also brought attention to injustices in America such as police brutality and racism in common places. Cell phone video and social media has given justice to many Black people that never would have gotten it otherwise. I think that is wonderful and heroic.

But I’ve decided to not follow a lot of Black social media pages due to the nature of the speaker or his or her followers. I blocked The Shade Room on IG years ago and my quality of life immediately improved. I stopped following the 1990s rapper David Banner because I got tired of being a defender of the faith. I blocked The Amazing Lucas on You Tube because he is trying a little too hard to prove that he is a conservative Black man. It’s sad to watch a Black man pander to people that way.

It’s difficult to build a social media following unless you already have some sort of claim to fame, an amazing talent or you fit a particular beauty standard and decide to flaunt your body for the sake social media popularity. I’m guessing that it may even be more difficult for non celebrity Black people to build a large following because I rarely see Black people discussing things that wouldn’t be considered a Black interest on social media. I’ve figured that the best way for Black people to gain a social media following is by being controversial within the on line Black community.

I think Black men have it the hardest in the social media world. It’s a little harder for them to find their social media niche. Many Black women and feminine Black men have gained social media notoriety by creating celebrity gossip outlets, make up and hair tutorials.

But I don’t see many Black men creating channels that aren’t about dissecting matters in the Black community. It seems to me that the easiest way for a Black man to gain a large social media following is by talking about such matters and blaming Black women for them. Some of the most successful Black You Tubers that I’m aware of are men that think that Black women are solely responsible for every single problem in the Black community. Like, seriously every – single – one. The mental gymnastics these guys do is impressive. Actually buying into it is a personality disorder of some sort.

I’ve never followed members of the He Man’s Woman Haters Club but men that follow these ideologies show up in the comment sections of other vlogs such as gossip channels or a channel that is talking about current events to a Black audience. They drop nasty remarks about Black women’s appearances, marital status, “attitude” or whatever. They even put Black women down for going to college and pursuing careers. I would like to think that most of these remarks are coming from trolls in Moscow but I know my people and this can’t all be blamed on the Russians.

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It’s like some of these guys (to be fair, I’ve had Black women make rude remarks about my appearance, especially my hair as well) know that Black women are trying to avoid them so they come to where we are in order to insult us in some way. I’ve made what I thought was an innocuous comment and have had my personal appearance attacked by my fellow social media users. People like that are usually hiding behind an anonymous profile so I can’t be sure of who they are but I’m guessing a lot of the insults based on skin color and hair texture are coming from people with similar skin color and hair texture.

After degrading Black women these gentlemen go on to put fairer skinned women on a pedestal. I don’t understand why they didn’t do that in the first place and just left us out of it. No one needs to justify their dating and marriage choices to anyone. And you shouldn’t have to put someone else down in order to express your love for someone else. Black women return the vitriol. They too have set up channels and make comments tearing Black men apart. There is no way to have a community if men and women hate each other.

Another topic that’s caught a lot of traction on Black social media is “woke” Black people telling Black Christians to stop believing in Christ. I had to block the 90s rapper David Banner for this reason. People like him are arrogant and patronizing and always use the same two or three reasons to justify their opinions.

Their reasoning displays their ignorance about the Bible, geography, human history. This “woke”, afrocentric community are the ones that believe in a White, European Jesus. Not those of us with the understanding that Bethlehem isn’t in Europe. Once again, all they need to do is follow their heart. There is absolutely no need to degrade someone else in order to justify a personal choice. Leave us out of your personal choices and I’ll leave you out of mine.

I ran across a You Tuber named The Amazing Lucas one day and I decided to follow him. After watching a few of his videos I blocked him. I don’t need anymore of his videos. He’s a young Black man that would probably describe himself as being conservative. But after a while I guess he had to work harder to prove himself.

He’s too emotional about things that aren’t that big of a deal such as the political opinions of NBA players that he’s never even heard of. Lucas is of the belief that racism is all a figment of Black America’s imagination which I find to be a very condescending and delusional view point. The Amazing Lucas doesn’t seem to understand that racism is an economic and sociological matter.

I don’t know who runs The Shade Room but they are a horrible human being and their followers are complete morons. It’s hard to find a dumber group of people on social media than what you would find on that IG page. I blocked them a long time ago because they were on there making fun of Simone Biles body. That’s right. They body shamed a world class athlete.

People that enjoy The Shade Room only like women that look like strippers. It’s all they care about or respect. They absolutely love people from the Love and Hip Hop Series and various young rappers that I’ve never heard of. But they trash an Olympic champion because she’s not so called slim thick. They trashed Gabrielle Douglas as well. I believe they came for her because she mentioned something about women should dress modestly and they went berserk. I don’t share the values of most people in The Shade Room so I had to block them.

The death and funeral of rapper Nipsey Hustle and the trials and tribulations of TV personality Wendy Williams have dominated Black social media the last few weeks. Meanwhile three Black churches in Louisiana burned mysteriously and the son of a police officer was arrested for the crimes.

I was on a You Tube channel yesterday that fashions itself after a news broadcast. The host discussed the church fires and people in the comments section were talking about their disdain for Christianity, especially Black Christians. They are clearly missing the point. But if they are that stupid why bother talking to them. I blocked the channel. I think we need to shift our values a bit. Our community suffered a terrorist attack and

I understand that the death of Nipsey Hustle is yet another urban violent tragedy but last weekend six were shot at a baby shower in Chicago. I haven’t heard Black social media say a word about that. I didn’t know who Nipsey Hustle was until he died so his death is no different than all the other murders that happen in the Black community.

I think that we should use the powerful medium of social media to discuss that to the point of beating a dead horse like we do stupid topics like fake hair, inter racial dating and twerking. And men that are obsessed with women that they don’t like need to be the ones doing the talking instead of blaming everything on single mothers.

I wish that Black social media communities would just stop trying to tell others in their community what to do. Stop thinking you know what’s best for someone else. If we all do our part, Christians, Israelites, Agnostics, LGBT, feminists, etc. we can all make improvements to build a better future for everyone. But this intra racial at least snarkiness and at most hatred should stop. We need to learn to respect each other more. I don’t feel like Black people appreciate our differences.

Some of these conversations that take place have been going on for years and we have come to no conclusion or made no progress. They are trivial matters anyway so we should just move forward. I think there are a few things we should be able to agree on such as if you’re mad at someone you shouldn’t shoot up their baby shower and let’s discuss those matters. The rest of if is all just drivel and a huge waste of time and I refuse to participate in it anymore.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was Friday, March 8.  I thought nothing of it on Friday because I don’t know how to observe the day.  Do we go shopping, bake a cake, have a parade or what?  Beats me.

But over the weekend I ran across a video on YouTube of an Air Force service woman complaining about her subordinates having bad attitudes.

 

The soldiers post is bad enough but as always the comments underneath the video were far more extreme.  I read dozens and dozens of comments expressing disdain for and superiority to Black women.  YouTube is a haven for those who hate Black women.  Insults to Black women can be found underneath videos that have absolutely nothing to do with Black women.  I read this stuff and I’m like, sheesh can I live?  I’m just minding my business and trying to live here.

There is a YouTube host by the name of Tommy Sotomayor that has been preaching his hatred of Black women on social media for years now.  His success has inspired copy cats and their sentiment is repeated all over YouTube and Twitter.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest way for a Black man that isn’t a celebrity to gain a large social media following is by degrading Black women.

tommy sotomayor Tommy Sotomayor

Stereotypes are usually based in truth but I still don’t find the perceptions that people have of Black women to be fair.  I am familiar with “Black attitude” and have encountered it.  I’ve dished some out.  So I’m not saying that “Black attitude” doesn’t exist.  I’m just saying that it is misunderstood and sometimes justified.

Hostility towards Black women has been very open in the media for years.  As I pointed out before it is all over the place and the Black community is not even a safe place from it because Black people often hold the most hostility and do a lot to perpetuate the harmful stereotypes.

Black women are often described as terrible mothers, terrible domestic partners, terrible people and ugly.  I’ve seen numerous social media posts telling Black women  that we are the so called bottom of the barrel women.  With so much negativity aimed at Black women I don’t understand why anyone is surprised that they would have attitudes or feelings of bitterness and resentment.  It is inevitable that all of the negativity would affect the image of Black women and girls.

Black women are often put down for the way they present themselves.  A lot of Black women wear hair weave around the world.  In countries outside of the US skin bleaching seems to be common.  Men that enjoy degrading Black women by telling them that they need to learn to love themselves.

What people choose to ignore is that European features are the standard of beauty globally and women of African descent that alter their appearance to look more European are trying to compete.  They are competing for economic opportunities and the affection of men.  Black women often feel that they need to make themselves look more European to gain the attention of Black men.

Black women are human beings and like all human beings they are seeking out validation and love.  Black women are fighting to gain economic resources in this modern economy.  Most of us are raised to believe that we need to alter our appearance to look more European in some form in order to do that.  Anyone that says that looking more African and less European in this world is an asset is not speaking the truth.

So that covers the why of some of the actions of Black women but that’s not where the bias stops.  I admit.  Some Black women have an attitude and are easy to trigger.  But so are a lot of other women that aren’t Black.  Why aren’t those women stereotyped as having bad attitudes?  In fact, when certain races of women have temper tantrums men think it’s cute, sexy and exciting.

 

If you take a gander at my profile pic you can clearly see that I am a Black woman.  I think I’m a pretty nice and easy going person.  I don’t like to be at odds with people or have conflicts.  But I’m not afraid to stand up for myself.  And I’ve noticed as a Black woman there are times when I have had to struggle to be heard.  When I don’t stand for being treated poorly or I feel the need to make myself clear so I can ensure that I am being heard and understood people often like to act is if I am the aggressor and they are the victim.

All a Black woman needs to do is stand up for herself or assert herself and many people will be offended by it because the woman that they deem as beneath them or bottom of the barrel is asking for fair treatment.  Others actually enjoy the nasty stereotypes of Black women.  It gives them a fool to laugh at and someone to make them feel superior.  I have had problems in the American workforce for not fulfilling the Black woman stereotypes.  A Black woman will be left in peace if she plays the role that others thinks she should play.

I grew up in the Detroit area and now I live in Kansas City, MO.  I’ve always lived places with sizeable Black populations.  So indeed, I have met unpleasant Black women but I’ve also met a lot of sweet as pie, smart, professional, family oriented, hard working, feminine, full of personality and drop dead gorgeous.  In fact, I think that most Black women are lovely people.  Most of the people that I have been close to and supported me in my life have been Black women.  I have absolutely no reason to put down Black women or try to put a different race of women on a pedestal.

Black women are like everyone else and should be judged as individuals.  Give us a break.  And no, I’m not pleading with anyone to like or love us.  That is a personal matter.  But I don’t think that we deserve the constant degradation that we receive.  It’s not even as if we are being accused of pulling off mass shootings or drive bys.  Even if you buy into the stereotypes we still really aren’t all that bad.  How can we be?  Black women don’t hold much power in society so we aren’t even able to hurt anyone.  I don’t understand how we became the boogeyman.

As far as the soldier that made that video I have some theories about why she has a problem with her subordinates but I will keep that to myself.  My hypothesis is not politically correct and would do nothing but hurt feelings and spread negativity.  I know when to keep my mouth shut.  I only know what this soldier shared in her profanity laced tirade which said a lot about her.

This woman clearly loves drama because there are other, less public, more professional and mature ways that she could deal with disrespectful subordinates.  I’m sure the Air Force has some sort of disciplinary system in place to deal with valid complaints.  And this lady said she wanted to fight the Black women that reported to her.  For goodness sakes that’s not lady like at all.  Is violence really necessary?  I’m thinking that she is the problem here.

So anyway the world really needs to back off of Black women and girls.  We don’t deserve the hostility.  We’re just trying to live our lives.  In the past year or so I’ve heard of about three stories of elementary school aged girls committing suicide because of bullying at school.  One news report said that a girl was being teased because of her hair.  She looked like an average little Black girl with two Black parents to me.  This negativity has consequences.

The mainstream American feminist movement rarely addresses the concerns of Black women.  Body positivity and other modern feminist causes exist to improve the conditions of affluent White women that only seem to have cellulite to worry about.  So in honor of International Women’s Day please, give Black women a break.  We’re having a hard time out here.

Social Media Censorship

Today I tried to log into my Twitter account and I received a message that I had been reported.  I was told that I wouldn’t have access to my account for twelve hours.  In order to begin the countdown I needed to provide Twitter with my phone number.

This is the damning tweet that I made in reference to a story about the Covington High School students.  In order to clarify I want to say that I think that those boys exhibited disrespectful and thuggish behavior.  I’m appalled at how they acted in our nation’s capital and the way they treated a man three times their age.  I still believe that the ring leader of the incident would have been deserving of a punch to the chest.

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I would never give Twitter my phone number due to privacy concerns.  I tried to give them the land line number at my job but they wouldn’t accept that.  There is no way I’m going to give Twitter and the FBI or whomever the opportunity to track my moves through my cell phone.  So I guess I’ll never use my account again.

I really enjoyed Twitter.  I got a kick out of being a part of mass viewing parties of sporting events and reality TV show broadcasts.  A lot of Twitter users are quite clever and I enjoy the way they create their own entertainment.

There are Twitter users that I wouldn’t call friends but I have enjoyed my interactions that I’ve had with them over time.  I feel like I’ve gotten to know a few people a bit.  At times I’ve thought of deactivating my account in order to avoid some of the stupidity and nastiness but I decided that the good outweighed the bad.

I’ve been banned from Facebook as well.  I made a remark that some snowflake didn’t like on a video that was posted.  It involved a White man with a gun bullying a minority.  I don’t exactly remember what happened in the video.  I must have said something about the man needing his a$$ beat or something.  I don’t recall.

When I got into trouble with Facebook they locked my account and asked me to send them a picture of a government ID.  Nope.  There was no way I was doing that.  Facebook is clearly in cahoots with law enforcement and I don’t need the FBI thinking I was a part of some sort of pro African American insurgency.  Honestly I wish I was but I’m just another insignificant person, opinionated person on social media.

It seems to me that large social media platforms are more likely to censor African Americans than they are Whites.  I remember a time when there was a shooting on or near a college campus in northern Florida at a historically Black college.  Lives were lost.  I was looking at the schools Facebook post about the incident.  An anonymous racist account was on the page heckling the incident.  I reported the remarks to Facebook and they quickly responded that they wouldn’t do anything about the racist and mean spirited posts.

My remarks were not racist because I was giving my opinion about an individual.  Both of the individuals in the social media conversations that I mentioned were being arrogant bullies.  I can’t stand arrogance or bullies.  I also enjoy seeing people get what they deserve.  I don’t think I said anything wrong and I’m not sorry.

Honestly my account is not bad.  I avoided using profanity and I didn’t say anything vulgar.  I know I may have said things that are objectionable but I didn’t demean anything while saying it.  It’s a surprise that my account would get blocked meanwhile there are accounts showing porn, people committing suicide and the aftermath of bloody car accidents that are functioning.

With that being said I can’t think of a time other than the person that was heckling the Black college after a mass shooting that I’ve ever reported an individual.  Usually I just block objectionable accounts and move along.  It hasn’t occurred to me many times to prevent someone else from broadcasting or viewing what they choose.

But I learned long ago that the world does not really like to hear the opinions of Black women unless you are a clown of some sort.  I’ve also noticed that the fastest way for a Black person to gain a social media audience is to market themselves as pro Black and go on to degrade other Black people or glorify Whites.  I’m not interested in making that kind of presentation.

Perhaps I’ll be better off without Twitter.  I got a kick out of it but it also drove me nuts at times.  And being an avid social media user is kind of like being schizophrenic.  There are a lot of voices in your head.  Well, at least I still have WordPress.  For now.  And maybe now I’ll have time to get through the stack of books on my nightstand.

 

The Last Days of the NFL

I think we are witnessing the last days of the NFL.  I don’t think it will die out in a year or two or even five.  I say give it ten to fifteen years and the NFL as we know if will be history.  I don’t think any boycott on either side of the national anthem debate will hurt the NFL.  They are way too big for that and I doubt the sincerity of those that claim to be  boycotting.

I think the demise of the NFL is going to come about because of today’s young athletes.  When I say young I mean 10-17 years old.  Children are always listening and they are hearing and seeing the conversations adults are having about the flag, patriotism and police brutality. If football doesn’t fascinate an American boy in his youth the passion will probably never be there and that will affect the fan base and NFL recruitment.

I grew up in the Detroit area and I have vivid childhood memories of Detroit Lions games being viewed in my home.  I recall one game when I was around three that I was watching with my dad and he threw a shoe at the TV.  (If you know anything about the Detroit Lions you can understand my father’s frustration.)  My mother was a Detroit Lions fan when they had their 0-16 season.  And I remember many Thanksgivings being ruined because of the way the Lions performed on national TV.  These memories never leave a person.

I live in Kansas City now and I’ve developed a fondness for the Kansas City Chiefs but the Lions are always going to be my team and the Chiefs are my backup team.  But if  the adults around me as a child weren’t interested in football or were angry at the NFL I don’t know that I would have much interest in the sport as an adult.

As a Black woman if I was the mother of a young son I don’t think I would encourage him to play organized football.  I’m not sure I would encourage my son to play any sport for anything other than exercise and socializing.  I’ve felt this way for years due to the rough nature of football and the fear of my son suffering permanent brain damage due to concussions.  But I don’t think that pro sports is a good career choice for Black men anymore.  Despite the money, fame and passion for the game I don’t think it’s worth it.

Black men in the sports world are treated terribly these days.  Cam Newton is one of my favorites and he has been treated like garbage by fans and the media.  My favorite Chief Marcus Peters gets dragged on social media after ever game despite being a key player on a 5-0 team.  He has consistently sat down for the national anthem this season and does not explain his reasons for doing so.  I think he’s smart for that because he would be criticized for anything he said.

I’ve read stories about high school athletes being kicked off of their football teams for taking the knee.  I saw a different story about a high school student that protested during the anthem and he was bullied on social media for it.  I see no reason to encourage a young Black boy to participate in organized sports.  There’s nothing in it for them unless they swallow their pride and become a prized animal of sorts for another man.  It seems that America wants its pro athletes to perform for them,  take the pictures but keep quiet like one of the horses in the Kentucky Derby.

I saw a documentary on TV once about football and concussions.  An expert on the program said that if a small percent of American mothers refused to let their sons play football it would change the game.  I can see many American mothers refusing to let their sons play football because of the national anthem controversy regardless of the side they fall on.

But if Black women refused to let their sons play ball or if Black boys decided to take interest in the arts or choir or horticulture the NFL as we know it dies.  It will not survive.  In ten years I will be fifty two.  I will probably still be alive and completely coherent.  I will remember men, athletes, performers named Neon Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Megatron, Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham that lit up the football field.

The field of athletes that feeds into the college system and into the NFL will be weakened if American Black boys are disinterested in or hold disdain for the NFL and their fans.  There won’t be many if any exciting, charismatic athletes like those I mentioned earlier in the future.  And even if there are a few they may not have much competion which leads to the downfall of America’s favorite sport.

There are some good White football players.  There are some great White quarterbacks, some good defensive players, kickers and punters and then there is Gronkowski and the man who makes my heart go pitter pat, Travis Kelce.  But the NFL’s personality, style and soul has come from Black men and they aren’t going to find it again outside of Black Americans.

Without African Americans the league will be much slower, more reserved and honestly dull.  No one, not even the fake hillbilly patriots are going to watch that.  But the NFL juggernaut will go down without a fight.  They will do something to try and reclaim their brand.  In the future the NFL will probably be like gladiator matches in ancient Rome.  They will probably release wild tigers into the stadium in order to speed up the slow pokes.

Or perhaps they will draft athletes.  By that I don’t mean “Yaaay, I’m a first round draft pick so now I’m gonna buy my mama a house!”  I mean please show up to this office at the appointed time or face consequences Marquiese.  Marquiese will probably end up wrestling tigers too.  In an ever increasing callous society that is infatuated with violence and doesn’t love people I think it could happen.  At that point the NFL will be desperate for ratings and will do anything to recoup lost revenue.

I’m sure the NFL is at the end of its golden age.  I’m going to enjoy it while I can and watch it’s slow downward spiral.  I can’t be alone in having resentful feelings toward these controlling racists that demand that Black men salute “their” flag.  I can’t be the only person that is appalled by the way so called fans talk to athletes on social media.  Even with the promise of fame and riches it seems like a dead end and I wouldn’t want any son of mine entertaining hateful Neo Nazis or aveage Americans, it’s getting hard to tell the difference, while sacrificing his body.  Nope, I’d rather my son be a dentist.

I’ve always enjoyed sports because it’s objective.  There beginnings, religion, political and social connections were irrelevant.  Athletes earned their spot in the NFL because they were the best and the team managers wanted to win.  Now athletes are getting picked off because of their beliefs.  The league won’t be as competitive and everyone that actually knows the sport will be aware of it.  The NFL, just like American democracy itself is another institution that is suffering because of America’s commitment to racism and White supremacy.

Black on the Fourth of July

This week America celebrated the Fourth of July.  I don’t do a lot to observe the holiday because I do not have a lot of family in the area and I don’t have much experience cooking on the grill.  I don’t have children so I don’t buy fireworks.  But I did enjoy the day off and even when I have had to work on the Fourth of July I enjoyed the holiday pay.

This year on social media I saw numerous posts and tweets being circulated encouraging Black people not to celebrate the Fourth.  Some of the social media messages even criticized Black people that do observe the Fourth of July.  I found these memes to be annoying and arrogant.  “Woke” people on social media often come across that way.

Look.  I get it.  I totally understand why so many Black people feel the way they do about the Fourth of July.  Blacks were enslaved in 1776 and the freedoms that this country is supposed to offer her citizens were never intended to be enjoyed by Blacks.  When you consider the culture of America when the Bill of Rights and the Constitution exposed how hypocritical and callous this country is towards Africans.

But despite what Blacks have faced throughout American history we are the greatest patriots of all.  America as we know it would not exist without Blacks.  The U.S. has the biggest economy the world has ever seen and it was built by Black labor.  In history class American students learn the phrase “Cotton is King” which refers to the juggernaut which was the cotton industry in the 1800s.  It wasn’t savvy business decision that made cotton king it was slave labor and brutal, savage force that made cotton king.

The cotton industry of the 1800s supported the textile industry of the early 1900s which was closely related to the northern Industrial Revolution.   The Industrial Revolution gave opportunities to European immigrants in the North East.  Without Blacks immigrants never would have had an America for which to come.

African Americans are only about 12% of this country and we only live in a few areas but we have influenced the culture in many ways even though we often don’t receive recognition for our contributions.  Blacks have influenced American music, cuisine, sports, fashion, politics, fine arts and sciences.  Without us American culture would be bland an utterly unrecognizable.

I’m not sure that the world had ever or has ever seen anything quite like the American Civil Rights fight of the 1960s.  A group of people that have been reviled and thought of as farm animals in the land where they were born stood up to the U.S. federal and state governments and won in mostly peaceful demonstrations.  People that have had their features mocked and ridiculed proclaimed that Black is beautiful and the said loudly that they were Black and proud.  That took bravery.

Since the 1960s other groups have mimicked the Black civil rights movement.  I don’t believe the feminist, LGBT or immigrant civil rights movements would have ever taken shape without the Black movement first.  Once again we provided inspiration for others in this country.  As far as immigration is concerned Blacks once again paved the way for the way for the next wave of newcomers in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Most of these immigrants come from brown countries and they would not have stood a chance if African Americans hadn’t stood up to White racism first.

We’ve been here trying to make America great all along.  No one really has tried to hold America accountable for her actions they way Blacks have.  We believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights more than anyone.  Because we actually support all Americans having the same rights.  So if you don’t want to celebrate the Fourth of July then don’t.  But if you see other African Americans enjoying fireworks, a cookout or a day at the lake don’t judge and spare us the self righteous “woke” routine.

My family has probably been in this country about seven generations now and they sacrificed greatly for me to have the opportunities that I have in this country.  I’m proud to be an African American and the Fourth of July can be seen as a day to salute patriots and freedom fighters such as Harriet Tubman, Malcom X and Angela Davis.

We deserve to be protected by police instead of targeted by them.  We deserve equal opportunities and access to quality jobs and education.  And se deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this country that those that came before us suffered greatly for.

 

 

Why I Love Gabby Douglas

Simone Biles is the gymnastics star of the 2016 Olympics.  She performed beautifully and is as cute as she can be.  The story of her road to Rio is an inspiring American dream that will bring tears to your eyes.  Simone deserves to be the belle of the ball.  But I absolutely love Gabby Douglas.  She is a mature champion that has represented our country well.

During the Olympic trials I could tell that Gabrielle had changed since the London Olympics.  She has matured and become a young woman as opposed to the bubbly, eager girl we met in 2012.  Gabby Douglas is reserved, poised and focused.  She carries herself like a sophisticated lady that is in Brazil to win medals, not entertain or be anyone’s pet.

Gabby Douglas is a refreshing change from many of the young women that are paraded in front of us and lauded as celebrities.  She is not a young woman that is on TV or in magazines for the purpose of arouse men.  She is not there to be funny or cute.  She is there to win.

There is something a little steely about Gabrielle Douglas this go round.  But I love it.  I see the same character in Russia’s Aliya Mustafina.  Aliya competed in the London Olympics and has probably completed her gymnastics career.  She and Gabby are not little little girls any more.  They are veteran champions with youthful, beautiful stalwart exteriors.  God bless them.

It seems that Gabby Douglas has been criticized during the Rio Olympics.  I don’t take Twitter jabs very seriously because I know that people will complain and find fault in anything.  The criticism of Gabby Douglas is rooted in sexism and racism.  American culture wants Black women to be clowns on some level.  Attractive young women are asked to be bimbos.  Black Americans prefer to put light skinned women with European features on a pedestal.  Gabby Douglas is none of that but still successful and there are some that hate it.

All I can say is watch out Simone Biles.  Today you are America’s sweetheart.  Enjoy it because you deserve it all the spoils of victory.  But I hope the fickle American public will be kind to you when you when you compete in Tokyo in 2020.

Proposition L

This November voters in the Kansas City area will be asked to decide whether a small tax increase should be implemented in order to improve the Mid Continent Public Library system.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t think twice about a measure such as this one.  I always vote in favor of improvements to schools, mass transit, parks and other city services even if I do not benefit from those services directly.  I think that libraries are important public resources that should be supported and utilized by the public.

However, I worked for MCPL for more than two years.  I was very disappointed by my observations and the way I was treated when I worked for them.  I will say that MCPL is a great library system.  They offer many invaluable resources to their patrons and I loved being a part of that organization.  I wanted to have a career there and I could have happily seen myself working there for many years to come.  But I am an African American woman and there is a strong hillbilly factor in Missouri that can be a barrier to progress.

MCPL is run by a bunch of hillbillies that do not appreciate diversity on any level.  They don’t support it in their collection and they don’t support it in their staffing.  If you need proof stop into any MCPL branch and you will most likely see White women.  That’s all they really want to hire.  I am an avid reader, I have years of customer service experience, I love literature, have three college degrees one of which is a Masters degree.  During my two and a half years as an employee of MCPL I applied to work as a full time employee around forty times.  I think I was interviewed twice.  I was never offered a full time position.  I was never told that I needed to improve in any area in order to become a full time employee.  I don’t think I fit their image of what a librarian should be.

I think that the lack of diversity in the library branch employees is a problem.  Minority communities have lower literacy rates than Whites.  I think that a library system that serves communities with large African American or first generation American population should do more to reach that community and increase literacy in those communities.  The Mid Continent Public Library System is primarily concerned with White soccer moms.  I am not White nor am I a parent so there is not reason for me to support an institution that is not looking out for my interests.

I think that it would be a powerful message to young minority patrons if they see a more diverse staff at the library.  As it is now it would appear to young eyes that literature is solely in the hands of White women and it is not for a young Black or Hispanic boy.  I think that it is the responsibility of librarians to encourage literacy and readership for everyone.  The library system should do more to recruit more male and minority including bi lingual library staff.  There should also be more programming that will encourage reading among young boys and minority children.  They will never do this at MCPL because they are uncreative, racist, Mid western hillbillies with one track minds.

Their collection lacks diversity.  Last May my hero Cam Newton was on the cover of “Ebony” magazine with his mother for Mother’s Day.  I wanted to save myself a few dollars and look at the magazine in the library.  They didn’t have it.  “Ebony” magazine was no longer on their shelves.  “Ebony” is a very old and widely read publication in the Black community.  The that MCPL no longer makes copies available to their patrons in print tells me something about their feelings about diversity and their African American patrons.

When I worked there African American patrons would ask for help finding popular African American Authors.  Quite often the books were not in the libraries collection or there were very limited copies that were not available due to loss or damage.  I had similar experiences when patrons wanted books in Spanish.  Of course the library has some books by African American authors and some books written in Spanish.  But if MCPL really wanted to encourage literacy among groups that fall behind in literacy they would do a lot more.

If MCPL did not think it was important to support African American or Spanish speaking authors and readers I have no reason to think that they will be any different with a bigger budget.  They will just continue to do more of what they’ve been doing.  I’m going to vote no on Proposition L.  If you’re not doing anything for my community I would rather keep my money to myself.  Let the White soccer moms pay the extra taxes.  MCPL lives for them anyway.