Gobble Gobble!

I am thankful for:

The wife
Who says it’s hot dogs tonight
Because she is home with me
And not out with someone else.

For the husband
Who is on the sofa
Being a couch potato
Because he is home with me
And not out at the bars.

For the teenager
Who is complaining about doing dishes
Because it means she is at home,
Not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay
Because it means
I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party
Because it means I have
Been surrounded by friends

For the clothes that fit a little too snug
Because it means
I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work
Because it means
I am out in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing,
Windows that need cleaning,
And gutters that need fixing
Because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining
I hear about the government
Because it means
We have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot
I find at the far end of the parking lot
Because it means
I am capable of walking,
And I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill
Because it means
I am warm.

For the lady behind me in church
Who sings off key
Because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry and ironing
Because it means
I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles
At the end of the day
Because it means I have been
Capable of working.

For the alarm that goes off
In the early morning hours
Because it means
I am alive.

And finally, for too much e-mail
Because it means
I have friend who is thinking of me.

Tday

What I’m Thankful For Today! (Wednesday)

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Here are more things that I am grateful for during this week of Thanksgiving. It’s hard to narrow it down to but here are my five for today:

My friends – I love my friends, I mean my good friends. They are there for me when I’m down, give me a good laugh when I’m crying & help me to have fun when I’m bored. They let me talk their ear off & love me enough to tell me when I’m wrong. I have a small circle of close friends & for that I’m grateful.

I have a couple of dollars in the bank – Money makes the world go round. Thankfully, I have a few dollars in the bank so I’m able to pay for my necessities and even some of my needs. There is nothing more stressful than not having enough money and I thank God every day for the ability to take care of myself financially.

Transportation – There are over 200 million licensed drivers in the United States (wow, that’s a lot!). But just because they have licenses doesn’t mean they have cars. I am blessed to have both! You never know how valuable it is to have reliable transportation until your car breaks down or you lose your car altogether. Fortunately, I have a car that runs well and gets me to where I need to go. Thank God for that!

My 5 senses – People are born every day with disabilities but luckily I was born & still am perfectly healthy (with the exception of a few cavities here & there). I can see, hear, speak, touch and taste any & everything around me. So I am grateful to be able to use all of my God-giving senses.

Readers like you – I love my readers! (And I love it even more when you leave comments) Without you, this blog wouldn’t be worth writing. Your “likes” or your “shares” mean the world to me & for that I’m thankful!

 

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. What will you be thankful for?! Please share in the comments section below -

Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand #Ferguson

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The shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the anger poured out in response by Ferguson’s mostly black population, has snapped the issue of race into national focus. The incident has precipitated a much larger conversation, causing many Americans to question just how far racial equality and race relations have come, even in an era of a black president and a black attorney general.

Polls since the incident demonstrate that black and white Americans see this incident very differently. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll finds that while Americans overall are divided over whether Brown’s shooting was an isolated incident (35 percent) or part of a broader pattern in the way police treat black men (39 percent), this balance of opinion dissipates when broken down by race. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of black respondents say that the shooting is part of a broader pattern, nearly double the number of whites who agree (40 percent). Similarly, a Pew Research Center poll found that overall the country is divided over whether Brown’s shooting “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed” (44 percent) or whether “the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves” (40 percent). However, black Americans favor the former statement by a four-to-one margin (80 percent vs. 18 percent) and at more than twice the level of whites (37 percent); among whites, nearly half (47 percent) believe the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

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Clearly white Americans see the broader significance of Michael Brown’s death through radically different lenses than black Americans. There are myriad reasons for this divergence, from political ideologies—which, for example, place different emphases on law and order versus citizens’ rights—to fears based in racist stereotypes of young black men. But the chief obstacle to having an intelligent, or even intelligible, conversation across the racial divide is that on average white Americans live in communities that face far fewer problems and talk mostly to other white people.

A 2012 PRRI survey found that black Americans report higher levels of problems in their communities compared to whites. Black Americans were, on average, nearly 20 percentage points more likely than white Americans to say a range of issues were major problems in their community: lack of good jobs (20 points), lack of opportunities for young people (16 points), lack of funding for public schools (19 points), crime (23 points), and racial tensions (18 points).

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These incongruous community contexts certainly set the stage for cultural conflict and misunderstanding, but the paucity of integrated social networks—the places where meaning is attached to experience—amplify and direct these experiences toward different ends. Drawing on techniques from social network analysis, PRRI’s 2013 American Values Survey asked respondents to identify as many as seven people with whom they had discussed important matters in the six months prior to the survey. The results reveal just how segregated white social circles are.

Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 91 percent white.* White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).

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For me, a white man, hearing accounts of how black parents teach their sons to deal with police is difficult to grasp as reality. Jonathan Capehart’s Washington Post column after the Brown shooting contained a personal and poignant account of his mother’s lessons to him as a young black man:

How I shouldn’t run in public, lest I arouse undue suspicion. How I most definitely should not run with anything in my hands, lest anyone think I stole something. The lesson included not talking back to the police, lest you give them a reason to take you to jail—or worse. And I was taught to never, ever leave home without identification.

And national survey data suggests that the need for this kind of parental coaching persists in the black community today. When given a choice between two traits that respondents believe their child should have, a 2012 PRRI survey found that African Americans are far more likely than white Americans to favor “obedience” over “self-reliance.” By a margin of three to one (75 percent to 25 percent), African Americans preferred “obedience” to “self-reliance;” among white Americans, only 41 percent preferred “obedience,” compared to 59 percent who preferred “self-reliance.”

In discussing these survey findings during a panel discussion, Michael McBride, an African-American pastor who directs Lifelines to Healing, a campaign to prevent neighborhood violence, related his personal story of being beaten by two white police officers in March 1999. He described it this way:

This happened because they felt like I was not being obedient enough. The way they saw the world and me in their world created a certain kind of fear and reaction to my actions that caused me harm. I live with that experience as many folks of color live with that experience.

But these are not stories most whites are socially positioned to hear. Widespread social separation is the root of divergent reactions along racial lines to events such as the Watts riots, the O.J. Simpson verdict, and, more recently, the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. For most white Americans, #hoodies and #handsupdontshoot and the images that have accompanied these hashtags on social media may feel alien and off-putting given their communal contexts and social networks.

If perplexed whites want help understanding the present unrest in Ferguson, nearly all will need to travel well beyond their current social circles.

Updated, November 25, 2014: Since I wrote this post, PRRI gathered new data that shows a few other dimensions of the racial divide over Brown’s shooting. PRRI’s American Values Survey was in the field before and after the shooting, and it captured a snapshot of divergent white and non-white reactions. Before the shooting, there was a 15-point gap between the attitudes of white and non-white Americans: 44 percent of whites agreed that blacks and other minorities receive equal treatment in the criminal-justice system, compared to 29 percent of non-whites. In six days of interviews conducted immediately after Brown’s shooting (from August 10 to 15), the gap had doubled to 32 points, with 48 percent of whites, compared to just 16 percent of non-whites, agreeing that the criminal-justice systems treats blacks and other minorities fairly. There’s more information on the results here.

 

*Article originally published on The Atlantic.

What I’m Thankful For Today! (Tuesday)

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Here are five more things that I am grateful for during the week of Thanksgiving. Instead of keeping them to myself, I thought I would share. Enjoy!

  1. My sanity (or at least a portion of it) – People joke about going insane but it is an all too real possibility. With the lackluster economy, multiple homicides and suicides & recent health scares, there are so many reasons to “lose your mind”. This world is harsh enough so thank God I still have my wits about me!
  2. Insurance – For some odd reason, I’ve had a lot of medical ailments lately. Ranging from some mild dental work to a ‘sprained’ wrist to some back problems, I’ve been running to the doctors an awful lot lately. But thankfully, I don’t have to stress out about paying for a doctor or a dentist because my medical bills are covered by my insurance. There are plenty of people who don’t have or can’t afford insurance like I can, so for that I am thankful!
  3. My parents – Unlike a lot of people, both my parents are still living. Thank God for that! I have both my mom & dad still alive and still married (to each other). How many people can say that?! Nowadays, not too many. While I had nothing to do with them getting married, staying married or even still being alive, I am grateful that I have two wonderful parents!
  4. My height!I’ve talked about this before. As much as I may wish I was a little bit shorter (because all the cute guys aren’t that tall), I am thankful that God made me the height that He did. I’m tall enough to reach the top of the shelves in the kitchen and I feel like a supermodel when I through on a pair of heels. If I ever had sons, I know they benefit from my height. I automatically get attention because of my height & all my shorter friends say they wish they could be tall like me. I am thankful for my height.
  5. Salvation – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) This is one of the most important quotes/Scriptures there ever was. Because of God’s gift to us – Jesus Christ – I have been redeemed and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will have eternal life in heaven. Salvation occurs when you genuinely ask Jesus Christ into your heart, believing that He is the one true Son of God and repent of all your sins. Saying the words “I repent” or “I believe in Jesus” is merely not enough. You must truly believe with all your heart. And because I know that if I were to die at any moment, I will live in heaven forever & forever, I AM THANKFUL.

Thanksgiving is almost here! What are you thankful for?