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:

Is She His Friend or “Our” Friend?

When two people get married is it really necessary to become friends with your spouse’s friends? There are some women who would contend that her husband’s female friends are no longer his friend but now a friend of the couple. So as a woman, should friends of your husband also become your friend?

I have a girlfriend who swears that married men should no longer have female friends once he’s
married. Instead of just being his friend that woman should then become “our” friend.  I think that’s ridiculous, but I wonder how many women & men actually enforce that. I mean why should I have to be friends with some woman just because my husband was friends with her first? And same with my male friends – why should my husband be forced to make a new friend just because I was friends with him first?

If you think that married people should befriend their spouse’s friends do you make it a point to have that friend’s phone number as well? Instead of calling his cell phone to speak with him privately, should all female friends call the house phone?  And would you make it a point to friend his female friends on Facebook too?

Take it one step further – is it ever okay for a single woman to give a married man her phone number (or vice versa)? Where I live I meet a lot of guys who work in various industries. I meet businessmen, singers, comedians, etc. who all have showcases, throw parties or networking events so what if I want to share my contact info (or get theirs) so that I can attend? I’m certainly not trying to holler at them or anything like that but what’s so wrong with exchanging contact info? When those men get my phone number does that mean they should tell their spouse right away? What about when they give out their contact information – should they tell their wife every time they give their number out even if it’s only for networking purposes? I would hate for a man’s wife to check his pockets only to find my card and he forgot to tell her that he met someone new. I’m certainly not interested in a married man, but I guess his wife doesn’t know that.

I don’t think that anyone should be forced to be friends with someone that they don’t know. If my husband has female friends before we marry then those should be his friends & his friends alone. Of course, I’m sure I’ll end up meeting all of my husband’s female friends, I just wouldn’t want to be forced to befriend them just because we’re married. After all, if I couldn’t trust him I should’ve never married him.

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When Do You Tell Someone That You’re Not Going To Sleep With Them?

Last week I went to an event that focused on Black relationships & Black love. One of the emcees kicked the night off by telling us this story:

He cooked dinner for this girl & after they ate they started making out. She abruptly stopped and told him that she was waiting to have sex until she met someone that was “deserving”. He respected her wishes, but needless to say the date went downhill from there. The question he then posed to the group was: “Shouldn’t a woman tell a guy right away if she’s not giving it up?”

So then I started to wonder, when is the best time to tell a guy that you’re celibate? I’ve always been afraid that if I volunteer that information too soon he might reject me before deciding if I’m worth the wait or not (and I am worth the wait). Of course, a man reserves the right to decide if he can handle celibacy, but isn’t it up to me to decide when to break the news? I certainly wouldn’t want to lead a guy on, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell a guy that I’m not sexually active during our 1st phone call or date either. Truth be told, I would love for a man to tell me that he’s practicing celibacy before I tell him, but that’s another story.

What about those women who have some sort of 90-day rule? Do you tell the guy up front that he has to wait 90 days before you’ll sleep with him? Or do you just keep fighting him off until Day 91? That doesn’t seem too effective because most men would probably just put in their time until “payday”. I don’t understand the point of announcing the exact date that you plan on having sex with a person anyway (Day 93, Day 100, etc) but that’s just me.

So, then the discussion flipped on the men. Someone asked the emcee, “When would have been a good time to tell your date that you wanted to have sex with her on the 1st date?” LOL! The emcee didn’t have a good response but it was still a very good question. If a woman is expected to “put out” because you provided her dinner, shouldn’t you tell her in advance that those are your expectations?

We all know that men want sex and they want it as soon as they can get it. Most women would be turned off if a man was up front with them about sex, but the man still has a responsibility to be completely honest about his expectations (and desires). Men, you set the tone for the relationship and if the tone is off there won’t be any harmony.

Just like a man won’t tell me exactly whether he’s expecting sex on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd date, I shouldn’t have to disclose exactly when I plan on sleeping with him.

This topic is certainly something about. Hhhmmm…

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“We Are All Oscar Grant”

Today I went to go see Fruitvale Station. Unfortunately, it wasn’t playing in a theater near me so I had to travel a little ways to see it, and I am so glad that I did.

If you’re not aware of this film, here’s the back story: Twenty-two year old African American Oscar Grant, III was brutally shot & killed in Oakland on New Year’s Day in 2009 by an overzealous White transit cop named Johannes Mehserle. Johannes was sentenced to 2 years but ended up serving only 11 months in prison. That’s right – 11 months in jail for murdering an unarmed young man.

Not knowing much about the story of Oscar Grant, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I walked into the theater. But 2 minutes into the movie, I was enraged! The movie started off with the live shooting of Oscar Grant (what I’ve attached here) and sets the tone for the rest of the film. This movie shows the kind of man that Oscar was – an imperfect one, but a seemingly good father and completely innocent young man. His whole objective that night was to celebrate New Year’s with his friends and get home safely by taking the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) instead of driving. But he never made it home. Transit cop Mehserle claims that he was reaching for his taser to calm Oscar down but instead grabbed his gun and shot Oscar in the back while he was lying on the ground defenseless.

Riots & protests ensued in the days following Oscar Grant’s murder, some peaceful and some violent. I can only imagine the heartache that Ms. Wanda Johnson felt in losing her son Oscar considering that he was unarmed & not dangerous. Barely old enough to drink, he simply wanted to ring in the New Year without any trouble. There can’t be any worse way to start off your New Year than to learn that your son’s life was unexpectedly & unjustifiably taken. But through it all, she still fights for hope in our justice system and redemption for her son’s execution.

I did feel as though the movie was incomplete. Before the end credits rolled there was a status update letting us know what happened to Oscar’s family & the transit cop that killed him. However, the battle shouldn’t end with his death. Connect with the Oscar Grant Foundation, whose mission is in part to “Provide comfort, needs assessment, emergency counseling and resource referral information to assist the family through the initial aftermath of a traumatic event caused by violence and treatment for the emotional injuries sustained at the hands of law enforcement officers.”

Fruitvale Station won two awards in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature & the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film. This film stars Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer and is playing nationwide in a theater near you.

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Minivans Depress Me

This weekend I went to Lowe’s (Home Depot’s little brother) to get some supplies, looked around and saw a lot of families there. I was in the paint section and saw a family of five – a real buff looking dude probably in his late 30’s with his wife, young daughter & two little sons – looking at paint samples for one of their kid’s rooms. One of the kids was playing a video game while the other two chased each other around the shopping cart. The mom was pouring over the paint samples but the dad was looking around and seemed bored, probably wishing he was somewhere/anywhere else. Observing this, I chuckled to myself. I’m sure that 15 years ago, this man would have never imagined that he would be standing in a hardware store looking at paint samples on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Poor guy!

I feel the same way when I see a MLF driving a minivan with her kids in the backseat. I know we can’t all be young & hot forever and that growing up and starting a family is only natural, but every time I see a soccer mom they always look so unhappy. I know they love their kids and probably very happy with their current life but there’s got to be a part of them that yearns for their youth, their sex appeal or at least their pre-childrem days. There’s something about driving a minivan that screams, “I’VE LOST MY FUN!” And that, my friends, scares me.

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I Want References!

Studies show that most men think that they are better in bed than they actually are. But what is that based on? Is it based on the reaction of the woman? Or is it all self-scoring? I wish there was a way that women could know what they are really getting themselves into before sleeping with a man. It would be great to have some references on a man’s sexual prowess before taking things to that level. Perhaps I could talk to one of his exes, interview him, or even see some performance “footage”. (Of course, I’m kidding with that last one!)

Seriously, how can I tell if a man is good in bed? Every time I ask a guy this question I’m always told “Hey, I can show you better than I can tell you. Heh, heh, heh!” Now, I certainly can’t go around “testing” every man that comes along. Sure, there are signs that are supposed to give you an idea of a man’s performance such as – how well he kisses, if he’s in good shape and whether or not he is selfish in other areas. Also, I think that men who brag about their skillz aren’t that good either because if you’re all talk then you can’t be all action.

Not only do I want to know how well a man performs before we get involved, I also want to know how “often” he can perform and what his “approval rating” is. This would really help in determining whether or not he is worth it.  If it were up to me, all men would come with references.

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DISCLAIMER: I am by no way condoning sex outside of marriage, this is simply a thought based on my conversations with some male friends.

Break Up Survey

I think every relationship should end with a break-up survey. You know something that tells you in writing what went wrong, how the breakup could have been prevented and maybe even some tips on how to keep your next relationship intact. Wouldn’t that be crazy?! (But in a good way)

Here are the categories that I think should be on the survey:

What went wrong in the relationship – Sure, there are always red flags in a relationship but we don’t usually see them until things are over and by then it’s too late. But sometimes things end without closure so it’s good to know what went wrong.

What could I have done differently – When things end without closure, there’s no way to know what could have been done differently. How did I mess up? What words should I have taken back or never uttered to begin with? I can’t improve myself if I don’t know what I should have done differently.

My good qualities – I’d like to know some of the things that my ex actually liked about me. Obviously, I have some positive qualities but it’s good to know which ones I should emphasize in my next relationship

Advice for the next boyfriend – Is there anything that you would tell my next boyfriend? It wouldn’t hurt for him to have a “head start” when beginning a new relationship with me. The do’s & don’ts of dating me would help ensure that our new relationship gets off to a smooth start.

Can I reapply for the position? – Sometimes relationships end prematurely. When this happens it’s always good to evaluate whether or not the relationship can be mended. Perhaps not right away but maybe after some time has passed and the anger (or blame) has subsided, you can reconsider whether or not the relationship is worth another go.

And of course, no survey would be complete without this last section: Additional comments

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I Want The Perfect Man, But Would He Want Me?

As I think about the type of man that I want to be with and the qualities I would like for him to have, I wonder whether or not I have the qualities that he would want. I do believe that just about every woman has some wifely qualities in her but are they the right ones? I would love to not have a “perfect man” but I man who is “perfect for me”, even though I’m not perfect.

I want a man who is -

Good with money: As the potential head of my household I want a man who is responsible with his own finances. I want a man who knows how to make money and protect the income that we have together. I want a man who not just saves money but is also financially savvy even though I’ve had my share of money problems.

Able to fix stuff: A man who knows how to fix things is sexy. Fix the toilet, change my flat tire, own a toolbox, anything – I like it! I believe that a man should know how to repair things but as a woman I’m not so good at housekeeping. I don’t like to clean & only do it out of necessity. I know a woman should be domesticated but cleaning isn’t really my forte.

Interesting: I am strongly attracted to a man that I find interesting & intellectually stimulating. And even though I’m pretty good at holding up my end of the conversation, when it comes right down to it I’m not always very exciting.

Attractive: I like men who are polished and well put together. Now, I don’t want him spending more time in the mirror than I do, but I think it is important to look as good as you feel.  I like a dapper looking dude even though I’m not always looking my best every time I leave the house.

A good listener: What woman doesn’t like a man who listens? Yes, I know we women talk a lot but it’s great to be with someone who is an active listener. But as much as I talk, I don’t always like to pay attention. I get bored when the conversation isn’t interesting enough.

Romantic: What woman doesn’t like a little romance? I expect a little romance every now & again, but I’m not very romantic myself. Why you ask? I’ve always thought romance should primarily fall on the man so that’s never really something I’ve put too much effort into.

Sane: There are a lot of weirdo’s out there so it’s not easy to find & connect with somebody who is not crazy! I am moody but I chalk that up to being a woman. J

Even tempered: I don’t want a man with a bad temper or someone that I have to argue with all the time.  I have my own attitude but I chalk that up to being a Black woman. J

A Gentleman: I like a man that opens my door (actually, that’s a requirement) & gives me compliments, even though I’m not always lady-like. For example, I talk about my menstrual cycle sometimes and have been known to put my feet up on the dashboard when I’m sitting on the passenger side.

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Shouldn’t My Future Mother-In-Law Kiss Up To Me?

Sometimes I think about what my mother-in-law will be like. Will she & I get along? Will I like her? Will I call her “mom” or by another name? (Hopefully not something that rhymes with witch) Will she teach me the family recipes or back me up when she knows that her son & I have been arguing? Will she be proud to call me her daughter-in-law? Will she & I hang out together and talk often? Or will I despise her and complain to my girlfriends about her? Maybe I’ll dread the holidays when & if I come to visit. Maybe she and I will be complete opposites or worse yet, she’ll think I’m not good enough for her precious son. Whatever the case may be I know that once I get married, I’ll have to deal with (or put up with) not only his entire family but also his mother.

Of course, if my mother-in-law (MIL for short) & I don’t get along I would think that it would greatly affect my relationship with my husband, especially if he’s close to his mother. I wouldn’t want him to be stuck in the middle but that just may end up being the case. Who should a husband side with – his mother or his wife? I say his wife, because according to the Bible, “…shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” (Gen 2:24) Plus we all know the saying: Happy wife = Happy life. Not to mention as his wife I am the one that is committing to him for the remainder of my life, sticking by his side through sickness, times of poverty, bearing & raising his children and will be there for him when he puts his mother in the grave. Yes, that’s morbid I know but that’s all a part of being a wife. So with that said, if I happen to have a MIL that I don’t get along with wouldn’t it be in her best interest to make a special effort to get along with me?

Just think about – if I knew that someone had the power of possibly putting me in a senior home once I got older or letting me move in with them instead, I would try my best to be on that person’s good side. If I knew that someone else was largely responsible for my child’s happiness and my grandchildren’s wellbeing, I would do everything in my power to build a good relationship with that person, especially being as the elder. Sure, there needs to be mutual respect between me & my MIL, and deference on my end since this is the woman that created the man I love & have pledged my life to be with. But don’t think that just because I tolerate you that I like you because those are two totally different feelings.

Until I get married or have children of my own that one day get married, I won’t know what it’s like to have a mother-in-law or to be one. Hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with my own mother-in-law but if not, I may have to prepare to not have a relationship with her at all.

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Would I Be A Good Mother?: Maybe You Don’t Know What Kind of Parent You’d Be Until You Are One

On the heels of Mother Day, I started wondering whether or not I would make a good mother. I mean, I’m not sold on having children in the first place but in the event that the Lord sees otherwise I don’t even know how the whole motherhood thing would work for me.

I have so many hangups on what motherhood is supposed to be like that I don’t even know if the actual role would match up with the job description I have in my head. From what I can tell raising a child properly takes a lot of ingredients that I don’t have:

  • Patience – This is probably the largest trait that I’m missing. I have patience for children (after all, they’re just kids and they don’t know any better) but I don’t have patience for adults with kids. How am I supposed to deal with all of the parents of my children’s friends? What if I don’t get along with the other parents in the PTA or on the playground? I can’t deal with people who aren’t good mothers.
  • Housekeeping skills – I’m just going to come out & say it: I don’t like to clean. I do it out of necessity but don’t really enjoy it. I feel like there are so many other things I’d rather do with my life than to clean up after a kid and their friends (after a large birthday party or sleepover)
  • Time management – I usually have a pretty crowded schedule. Where on earth would i find time to include a child’s activities? I know, I know, I would HAVE to adjust my schedule and sacrifice some of my activities because we all know that children should come first. It seems so much easier said than done though. Seriously, after a long day at work, going to the gym, running errands and cooking dinner I just don’t see how I would have time to be a good mom to my kids by doing things such as checking their homework, reading to them, after-school activities and the like. Because we all know husbands aren’t good for much around the house (lol)!

Would having these things make me a good mother? No of course not, but I do think that you need more than just “love” to be a good parent. So how is someone supposed to know if they would be a good parent? There’s no checklist or survey to fill out. There’s no application required or background check that will determine whether or not you’ll be a good parent. Do people think that just because they consider themselves a good aunt or a good uncle that they would make a good parent even though having nieces & nephews is nothing like having your own children?  How is a man supposed to know if the woman he wants to marry will make a good mother? How does any woman know that she’ll be a good mother to all of her children and not just her favorite? The conundrum is that you don’t know what it takes to be a mother until you are one. But the problem I have with parenting is that once I decide to become a mother, I can’t take it back.

So all in all, I guess I’ll never really know what kind of mother I’ll be until I become one (Jesus, help me!).

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