#IfTheyGunnedMeDown

The media has a way of portraying young African American males in a very negative light. With everything that has been going on in Ferguson, MO the pictures that we see of Michael Brown Jr. are ‘gangster-like’ and don’t show him to be the innocent victim that he is. White people are shown in a completely different light. Instead of selecting a photo of Michael Brown Jr. smiling or with family, they keep showing the picture of him looking mean outdoors in a sports jersey, whereas Whites are often shown fully clothed, smiling and ‘full of potential’ (think of the Columbine shooter, or the Aurora movie theater shooter). Why not show Michael’s high school graduation picture? Or a family photo instead? They didn’t even mention in the headline that he was a soon-to-be college student. Case & point below:

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There is a hashtag “#IfTheyGunnedMeDown” that has gone viral on Twitter, showcasing 2 different African Americans with 2 different looks – one “hardcore” look and one “regular” look. The whole point is to make a mockery of the negative stereotype that the media CHOOSES to portray of African Americans.

Take a look:

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The White guy below tweeted that if he was gunned down, he was sure that the media would choose to show his picture on the right, not the one on the left. I won’t argue with that -

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 Do you have any “gangster” looks that the media would use AGAINST you? Let me know what you think in the comments below -

See How Poorly African Americans Are Portrayed In The Mainstream Media

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Mike Brown

The vicious slaying of Mike Brown by Ferguson, Mo., police has once again shown that the narrative the media paints surrounding black people in America more often than not includes depicting us as violent thugs with gang and drug affiliations. It’s safe to say that Brown has become a victim of what I like to refer to as the “Trayvon Martin effect” in the media.

Trayvon, who was killed by George Zimmerman, was depicted as a gold-grill-wearing, weed-smoking teenager in the photos used by the media. There were no photos of Trayvon smiling with his family members or being just your average happy teen, which his family members said he was. Similarly, the photos of Brown that have been picked up by the media included him throwing up a peace sign, which conservative media has translated into a “gang sign.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find mainstream media showing Brown at his high school graduation or with members of his family. Ironically, all of those photos exist courtesy of Brown’s Facebook page. Unfortunately, because of Ferguson police, we’ll never be able to see a photo of Brown attending his first day of college today.
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Mike Brown Twitter

As tensions remain high, not only in the town of Ferguson but also on social media, Twitter users created #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to make a statement on how the media draws a biased narrative when it comes to telling the stories of black men and women. The following images not only tell a truthful story but also prove that we, as black people, know what our narrative is, but we are also not blind to the fact that the media will, of course, be biased in showing the truth:

The New American Man Doesn’t Look Like His Father

This summer, All Things Considered is exploring what it means to be a man in America today. In some ways, the picture for men has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. More women than men are going to college, and the economy is moving away from jobs that traditionally favored men, like manufacturing and mining. Attitudes have also changed on the social front, with young men having more egalitarian attitudes toward women and expectations of being involved fathers.

Pedro Noguera, a professor at New York University and head of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, says the biggest shakeup has been in education. In 1962, men made up about 65 percent of college enrollees; today they make up about 43 percent.

The other side of that figure is the dropout rate for men. Noguera tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that in some states, it’s twice as high as the female dropout rate.

“These patterns speak to a larger problem, because we know now that the jobs of the future require college degrees,” Noguera says.

The education imbalance between men and women is also having an impact on the dating scene, Noguera adds, something that’s been already true in the African-American community: “A growing number of well-educated, professional women … are unable to find men of similar education.”

But sociologist Michael Kimmel, a professor at Stony Brook University and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, says the changing landscape hasn’t come with changed attitudes about masculinity.

“Survey after survey shows that 60 to 70 percent of men still agree with the notion that masculinity depends on emotional stoicism — never showing fear, never showing pain,” Kimmel says. “So, the world has changed dramatically, and yet most men still cling tenaciously to an ideology of masculinity that comes off the set of Mad Men.”

But Kimmel says today’s boys and young men have a much better sense of gender equality than many of their fathers did. He sees a clear example in cross-sex friendship. For 25 years, Kimmel has asked his students if they had a good friend of the opposite sex. When he first started asking, about 10 percent would answer yes. Today, almost everyone does.

“Think about that. You make friends with your peers, right? You make friends with people you consider your equals, not your boss or your servants. I mean, my students today are more experienced with gender equality in their interpersonal relationships than any generation in our history,” he says.

Noguera also has seen men become much more involved with raising their children and general housework.

“But what hasn’t come with that is a new definition of what it means to be a man as a nurturer in the family,” Noguera says. “Can you be strong and be a nurturer? Well, many women have figured out, yes, they have to be, in fact. Because they have to raise the kids on their own, and they can’t afford to just expect some man to save the day.”

He says today’s men are searching for a way to reconcile old ideas related to strength with the need to be better listeners, more cooperative and more open to others.

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*Article originally published on NPR.

Remembering Alice Coachman Davis, The 1st African American Olympic Gold Medalist (1923-2014)

Track and field star Alice Coachman made history at the 1948 Olympic Games, becoming the first black woman to win an Olympic medal.

Early Years

Born in Albany, Georgia, on November 9, 1923, Alice Coachman made history at the 1948 Olympics in London when leapt to a record-breaking height of 5 feet, 6 and 1/8 inches in the high jump finals to become the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She now supports young athletes and older, retired Olympic veterans through the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation.

Alice Coachman was born on November 9, 1923, in Albany, Georgia. One of 10 children, Coachman was raised in the heart of the segregated south, where she was often denied the opportunity to train for or compete in organized sports events. Instead, Coachman improvised her training, running barefoot in fields and on dirt roads, and using old equipment to improve her high jump.

At Madison High School, Coachman came under the tutelage of the boys’ track coach, Harry E. Lash, who recognized and nurtured her talent. Ultimately, Coachman caught the attention of the athletic department at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, which offered the 16-year-old Coachman a scholarship in 1939. Her parents, who’d initially not been in favor of their daughter pursuing her athletic dreams, gave their blessing for her to enroll.

At Tuskegee, Coachman blossomed as a track and field athlete, competing in and winning her first Amateur Athletic Union Championship in the high jump—all before she’d even begun classes.

Over the next several years, Coachman dominated AAU competitions. By 1946, she was the national champion in the 50- and 100-meter races, 400-meter relay, and high jump. For Coachman, these were bittersweet years. While probably at the peak of her athletic form, World War II forced the cancelation of the Olympic Games in both 1940 and 1944.

Olympic Success

Finally, in 1948, Alice Coachman was able to show the world her talent when she arrived in London as a member of the American Olympic team. Despite nursing a back injury, Coachman set a record in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 6 1/8 inches, making her the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, awarded her the honor.

“I didn’t know I’d won,” Coachman later said. “I was on my way to receive the medal and I saw my name on the board. And, of course, I glanced over into the stands where my coach was and she was clapping her hands.”

Post-Olympic LifeFollowing the 1948 Olympic Games, Coachman returned to the United States and formally retired from athletic competitions, but her star power remained. In 1952, the Coca-Cola Company tapped her to become a spokesperson, making Coachman the first African American to earn an endorsement deal.

Later in life, she established the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to help support younger athletes and provide assistance to retired Olympic veterans.

In the decades since her success in London, Coachman’s achievements have not been forgotten. At the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, she was honored as one of the 100 greatest Olympians in history. She’s also been inducted into nine different halls of fame, including the National Track & Field Hall of Fame (1975) and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (2004).

Coachman, who married Frank A. Davis and is the mother of two children, resides in Tuskegee, Alabama.

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10 “Skinny Girl” Problems

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You all know how much I hate hearing the word “skinny”. (Ew!) But I came across this post & thought it was quite hilarious so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

 

  • We can barely give blood – We want to do good in the world and give back sometimes. So when we go to donate blood, we often get met with side-eyes from workers who don’t think we meet the 110 lb cut off. And then they make us drink extra juice just so we can get our weight up at the moment and not pass clean out. I mean, yeah sometimes their concern is legit, but I’m saying #doe. I e’em ate a steak before going to make sure I was good. You ain’t gotta look at me that hard. Hmph.
  •  We’re always cold – ALWAYS. Without much fat on our bones, we’re always left shivering. We can have on a tank top, sweater, scarf, leggings under our jeans, and our favorite wool jacket and we’d still be freezing. While everyone else is all “It’s just so nice out!” Lookie here… I have no buffer so ignore me while I shiver.” This is a REAL struggle. Living in Chicago winter is even tougher when you’re skinty. Needless to say, the amount of our electric bill is directly proportional to how skinny we are.
  • We always get reminded that we’re skinny – Folks feel the need to let us know we’re skinny, as if we don’t already know. And they feel no qualms about it. They’re all “Damb you skinny as hell.” You won’t like it if I walked up to you talmbout “Damb G. You fat as shit.” Not ONE bit. So why must you throw my skinty in my face? This is especially true for family members.

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  • And then folks always gotta come up with a plan to “fatten you up.”
  • Our pants get baggy midday – So we put on our pants in the morning, and they’re all fitted and cute. We’re feeling ourselves and going “Heyyyyyyy…” But due to the stretching of the fabric, by noon, our pants are looking like wide-leg. And this makes me sad. How’d my jeans get 2 sizes bigger in 6 hrs??? That’s just disrespectful. It’s all saggy in the booty and our segzy is totally compromised. Then we gotta wash the pants in high heat to get them back tight. And the cycle repeats itself.
  • We make terrible cuddle buddies – Lack of meat on our bones make certain joints and parts of us sharp, like elbows, knees and chins. Have you ever placed your head on his chest and he goes “OW!”

You: “What?” Him: “Your chin just stabbed me” You: *cries in tea*

  • Gusts of winds are dangerous – A really windy day is our kryptonite. Have you ever had to battle a strong gust of wind that almost swept you into traffic? That joint is embarrassing. And let it be raining, so you have a punk umbrella with you and it turns inside out. It becomes a struggle to stay standing. Unless you find a pole or something heavy to hang on to, it might be deuces. REAL struggles!
  • It’s hard to find knee boots that fit our calves without space left – We go shoe-shopping and try on some dope shoes, only to find that we still got a 2-inch gap where the boots don’t touch our calves. TOO disappointing. We look like fishermen in their rubber boots. And then we get sad. This is a REAL struggle. Especially for us shoe heads. I take that personally.
  • People pick us up to test their strength – Skinty girls get picked up randomly by people who want to see how strong they are talk about “Hey lemme pick you up. Bet I could.” Yeah AND? I’m not a toddler! Put me down, fool!
  • We have to prove to folks that we eat – We’ve been asked countless times “Do you eat?” Nawl… I get sustenance off oxygen and the occasional cracker. YEAH I EAT!!! So anytime we go to restaurants, we feel pressured to clean our plates and almost lick them. When we don’t, folks be talk about “See that’s why you’re that skinny now.” HMPH! Can I be great??? How you know it ain’t because my metabolism is on crack? HUH??? And let us not pick a super fatty dish…
  • We can’t exercise without being judged – We mention to folks that we’re gonna start exercising and they look at us up and down with this look O____o. I am skinny and out of shape. YES, it’s possible. So excuse me for tryna make sure my heart is right. Being skinny fat ain’t bout that life!
  • And as a bonus…

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And then folks make us sit in that part of the backseat because we don’t need a lotta space. By the time we get to the destination, we’ve been assaulted by the hardness. RUDENESS!

 

 

 

There are COUNTLESS skinny girl problems! Which ones did I miss?

 

*Article originally published on AwsomelyLuvvie.

Help! I’m A Woman Who’s Afraid To Get Married!

Last year I wrote about things in marriage I don’t think I’ll like. Things like having to share a bank account, taking on a new last name & dealing with in-laws (oh boy!). But there are many more reasons why I am afraid to get married. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Sex with the same person over & over (and over) – It’s no secret that doing the same thing with the same person repeatedly can get boring. Even if it is your favorite thing to do! It’s hard to keep things fresh over the years and even women fear being stuck in a routine.
  • Dealing with his shiftless friends – Every man I’ve ever dated seems to have at least 1 no-good friend. That friend who keeps him out late, tempts him with his bachelor-like ways and doesn’t have much regard for married life. Sometimes that friend can end up in your guest bedroom or unknowingly ruin your marriage.
  • Loss of my independence – Men aren’t the only ones who are afraid of losing their freedom. Before getting married, women can come & go as they want, dress as sexy as they please and spend their money how they want. We don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings into consideration. If I want to exercise every day or cut off all my hair, I can! I can use my vacation days how I want & don’t have to clean anything until I get ready. We can even leave the bathroom door open!
  • Missing my girlfriends – I love my girlfriends! They mean so much to me as a single woman & I can’t imagine the day when I won’t be able to call them at midnight for a little ‘girl chat’. When I get married I can’t talk to them for hours & hours on end like I do now. Not to mention, I would have to be mindful of the information I’m sharing with them & consider my husband’s feelings instead.
  • Adultery – This is probably my worst fear because there is little I can do to keep a grown man from cheating. There are so many stories of men cheating and everyone knows how much that can tear a family apart. A lot of other transgressions can be forgiven but breaking our marriage vows will not be taken lightly. I haven’t stayed single this long to end up with a man who disrespects me & my body so adultery is definitely grounds for divorce.
  • My body – Even the Scripture says “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband.” This means that when a woman gets married her body belongs to her husband (and his body belongs to her). Whether the couple decides to start a family, or even to fulfill her wifely duties, she is surrendering her body to the marriage. Men don’t seem to understand how serious that is. I don’t think they know how scary that can be for a woman to have to yield what was once hers to someone else. Men, think of it like your bank account: Before getting married, you were the only one who had access to your money & could do whatever you wanted with it. But once you get married, your wife has access to your account and it is no longer just your money. You may not want her dipping into your bank account all the time but in the interest of making her happy, you let her. It’s the same way with our bodies. That’s deep!

Ladies, am I leaving anything out? Do you have any fears about marriage? How do you plan on handling them (if you haven’t already)?

Men, how would you handle these fears that women have? Do you have any advice for women who might be facing these fears? I’d love to hear them, so please share in the comments below -

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Preparing To Become A Husband – 10 Tips For Single Men

Found this great article geared towards men. It seems to be some much-needed and very good advice!

Last week’s article,  Preparing To Become A Wife ““ 10 Tips For Single Women, gave great tips for wives-to-be and inspired me to sit down and write out my thoughts on being a great husband. In no way am I proclaiming perfection in any of these areas, but like any relationship you have to work hard on the positives in order to become an ideal partner.

Prior to my marriage I would’ve never been able to construct a list like this and I hope my experiences can influence someone to develop positive habits prior to saying “I do.”

1.  Develop An Intimate Relationship With God: (as seen on Preparing To Become A Wife ““ 10 Tips For Single Women)
You cannot enter into a successful covenant with a husband wife if you don’t first have one with God. Seek biblical wisdom, study the word, develop a life of prayer and be dedicated to living for God. This will strengthen the marriage covenant when God allows you to walk into that season. A three-cord strand is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

2.  Be Faithful:
Being faithful isn’t just restricted to being a “one-woman man.” You have to be faithful in every aspect of your marriage. Be faithful in the way you budget your finances as well as the time you spend with your wife and family. Your wife will always respect you when she’s able to trust you to be faithful to the life that you’re trying to live together.

3.  Plan Together:
Your wife is counting on you to have a realistic vision for the rest of your lives. Your marriage should include goals and a purpose that you two can openly discuss and achieve together. For example, if you two are planning to buy a house, how are you going to do that? To get the ball rolling, try writing down some short-term goals and post them on the fridge. When a goal is achieved you should acknowledge and celebrate it together.

4.Constantly Remix Your Love Language:
Your wife will appreciate your creativity when it comes to showing her how much she means to you. Remember to date your wife and always keep her guessing when it comes to how you show her that you love her. Get clever with the gift giving and remember that even though it’s the thought that counts they can always tell just how much thought went in to a gift.

5.  PDA Is Much More Than Being “Hands-On”:
Express your feelings for your wife in public often. PDA is more than just locking arms or lips at the mall. When you’re around your friends give compliments to your wife, praise her cooking, her outfit, or how proud you are of her recent accomplishment. Use social media to tell your wife and the world how much she means to you. (I love you @lcnurse10).

6.  Be a R.E.A.L. Man:
Realize that you have a responsibility to set the standard of living inside your household.
Earn the right to call yourself a man by displaying Godly standards of headship.
Always put your marriage first.
Love unconditionally and eternally.

7.  Make Sure Your Roots Are Solid:
Having deep roots makes you dependable and gives your wife assurance. Be rooted in your faith, marriage, and job. Your wife should know how dedicated you are. Having deep roots will show that you are committed and reliable even during adversity. The trees that survive a storm are the trees with the deepest roots. As your roots deepen, your branches will grow and you will bear nothing but good fruit.

8.  Adapt To Your New Environment:
When you’re married the adjustment from the single or dating life can be a challenge. You’re going to be spending more time (a lot more) with your wife than with your friends. Leaving your gym shoes in the middle of floor might have been ok at your bachelor pad but with marriage comes new rules on household etiquette. Adapting smoothly into married living will make your wife more comfortable and ease any nervous feelings that she may have. Discuss with your wife on how your household should be run. This will help alleviate future arguments.

9.  Be A Leader:
As a husband it is imperative that you demonstrate the characteristics of a good leader. You must be patient enough to listen, confident enough to decide, and worthy enough of submission. If you don’t have the right answers, seek them out. If you can’t find the right answers, ask for help. Your wife is your helpmate and her opinion and input is just as important as yours. All decisions should not be left up to you alone. Tag-team often on problem solving and decision making with your wife. Be a president and not a dictator.

10.  Pray Out Loud:
Here’s a quick secret: one of the sexiest things you can do is randomly grab your wife by the hand and say, “Let’s pray.” Having a bold prayer life shows your wife that you’re not the end-all-be-all and that though you are the head of the house you still answer to a higher calling. Your willingness to pray out loud will inspire and increase the faith of your entire family.

What tips would you add to the list for single men?  

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*Article originally published on Black and Married With Kids.

When Does Being Single Become My Issue Instead Of Everyone Else’s?

I was talking to a friend earlier today about how I don’t think most people are willing to change until they meet someone worth changing for and not a moment before. He tried to convince me that women need to “fix” themselves first if they wanted to attract the right man. Specifically, I needed to fix the things that aren’t right with me or at the very least the things about me that haven’t worked in the past before starting a new relationship. The problem I have with his argument is that if I haven’t met anyone I want to be in a relationship with, why on earth would I want to change now?

Of course, the argument could be that I might not meet a man I want to date until after I “fix” myself. But unless I was a pathological liar, highly unattractive or just plain crazy, I don’t think that “fixing” myself will help me find a good man any faster. I look at everyone I know who is married & they all have plenty of flaws! They just found people that could deal with them all. It seems to me that having flaws shouldn’t prevent anyone from finding a good mate; after all, how many people in this world are perfect?!

I have no problem bettering myself. I have no problem acknowledging my flaws & working on them. I don’t even have a problem listening to others tell me about my flaws (I may not believe them, but I’ll at least listen). The problem I have is making a bunch of changes that aren’t necessary. Would you throw away a completely delicious meal just because it wasn’t perfect? Or would you allow someone to taste it first, see if they like it & then make improvements only IF they didn’t like it? Well, that’s how I feel about relationships. Why correct anything until you know it needs to be corrected?

I know I’m not perfect – I don’t have a lot of patience, I’m not the best housekeeper & I like my alone-time a little too much to be in a relationship sometimes – but these are the types of things that I don’t  necessarily think should be changed. A lot of people struggle with not having patience. Not saying I shouldn’t work on it but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. I’m not a good housekeeper, but so what? Isn’t that what maids & housekeepers are for? Surely, a man wouldn’t get rid of a good woman just because she leaves a few clothes & shoes lying around the house. And yes, I like my alone time but that just means I’m not clingy, which I thought most men don’t like anyway. My point is this – why should anyone “fix” themselves when what they’re already doing may work for the right person that just hasn’t come along yet?

My friend argued that as long as I wasn’t working to fix myself then being single will continue to be my problem and no one else’s. I can’t blame being single on not finding a good man because when I meet him I wouldn’t be ready anyway. I can’t blame my ex’s for things not working out because I didn’t do what it took to make myself a better girlfriend. After all, men want what’s already fixed not what’s already broken.

I’m not saying I should never strive to be a better woman, but what should that motivation be? A man shouldn’t be the reason for me to change who I am, so if I am comfortable in my own skin then why change? My future husband may be perfectly fine with me not cleaning so why bother changing that about myself? He may not care how tidy our house is and would much rather pay a housekeeper than to have me stressed out over cleaning up all the time. Because I don’t know what my future husband will & won’t like about me, I prefer to stay as I am.

So, is my friend right? Should I “fix” myself first & then concentrate on finding ‘Mr. Right’?

Or do you agree with me? Should I stay just the way I am and not worry about changing myself until I meet a man worth changing for?

Please share your comments below -

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