Tag: February

What Is Your Ideal Valentine’s Day?

With Valentine’s Day being today, my friend asked me last week what my ideal Valentine’s Day would be like. Honestly, I never really thought about it. Partially because I’ve always thought of it as the man’s job to plan Valentine’s Day & also in part because I didn’t have a date so it didn’t really matter either way.

But for kicks & giggles, I thought I would indulge so here are some of the things that would help to make my Valentine’s Day a perfect one:

  • Start the night before – any good event always begins with excitement & anticipation! By a man doing romantic things the day before & the week leading up to, it would really set the mood for me to have a nice Valentine’s Day.
  • The day off – it would be absolutely amazing if my (future) husband called my manager at work to request the day off for me without me knowing (hey, I’ve seen it happen before!). But if not, me taking the day off to enjoy my entire Valentine’s Day would be great!

 

  • Hire a private chef – going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be costly, not to mention crowded. While I do enjoy having a reason to get dressed up, it would be incredible if my boyfriend or husband booked a private chef to come to our home to cook us a nice dinner. A customized menu along with a personal touch would be a great way to wind down Valentine’s Day.
  • Something handcrafted – homemade gifts are nice, but when they are made specifically for the person it’s for, that’s even better. Whether it’s something with my initials, in my favorite color or hand tailored to my exact size, that’s the type of gift that would make my Valentine’s Day extra special.
  • A getaway weekend – it’s always nice to go away, especially for a little romance. Whether it’s just a weekend drive or a quick flight, I would love it if my significant other booked a trip for us & presented it to me as a total surprise.
  • Something to wear – it goes without saying that women love clothes! Whether it’s in the form of a shopping spree, gift cards or freshly purchased clothes found hanging in my closet, buying me something to wear is always a nice gift for Valentine’s Day.

  • Plan something! – a day off, a weekend trip, a nice dinner & beautiful clothing is all good but nothing trumps a “man with a plan”. Whether it’s a concert, a picnic, a play or some other type of activity, I would love to have somewhere to go to celebrate Valentine’s. I’ve found that most men don’t plan too well (whether it’s a special day or not), so knowing that he went through the trouble of researching to find something that we both can enjoy would mean a lot to me. Having a plan for the day or for the entire weekend would be the best Valentine’s Day gift of all!!

 

What would your ideal Valentine’s Day look like? Let me know in the comments section below –

#FridaySmarts: Nobel Prize Winner Ralph Bunche

Ralph Johnson Bunche (August 7, 1904-1971) was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father, Fred Bunche, was a barber in a shop having a clientele of whites only; his mother, Olive (Johnson) Bunche, was an amateur musician; his grandmother, «Nana» Johnson, who lived with the family, had been born into slavery. When Bunche was ten years old, the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the hope that the poor health of his parents would improve in the dry climate. Both, however, died two years later. His grandmother, an indomitable woman who appeared Caucasian «on the outside» but was «all black fervor inside»1, took Ralph and his two sisters to live in Los Angeles. Here Ralph contributed to the family’s hard pressed finances by selling newspapers, serving as house boy for a movie actor, working for a carpet-laying firm, and doing what odd jobs he could find.

His intellectual brilliance appeared early. He won a prize in history and another in English upon completion of his elementary school work and was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, where he had been a debater and all-around athlete who competed in football, basketball, baseball, and track. At the University of California at Los Angeles he supported himself with an athletic scholarship, which paid for his collegiate expenses, and with a janitorial job, which paid for his personal expenses. He played varsity basketball on championship teams, was active in debate and campus journalism, and was graduated in 1927, summa cum laude, valedictorian of his class, with a major in international relations.

With a scholarship granted by Harvard University and a fund of a thousand dollars raised by the black community of Los Angeles, Bunche began his graduate studies in political science. He completed his master’s degree in 1928 and for the next six years alternated between teaching at Howard University and working toward the doctorate at Harvard. The Rosenwald Fellowship, which he held in 1932-1933, enabled him to conduct research in Africa for a dissertation comparing French rule in Togoland and Dahomey. He completed his dissertation in 1934 with such distinction that he was awarded the Toppan Prize for outstanding research in social studies. From 1936 to 1938, on a Social Science Research Council fellowship, he did postdoctoral research in anthropology at Northwestern University, the London School of Economics, and Capetown University in South Africa.

Throughout his career, Bunche has maintained strong ties with education. He chaired the Department of Political Science at Howard University from 1928 until 1950; taught at Harvard University from 1950 to 1952; served as a member of the New York City Board of Education (1958-1964), as a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University (1960-1965), as a member of the Board of the Institute of International Education, and as a trustee of Oberlin College, Lincoln University, and New Lincoln School.

Bunche has always been active in the civil rights movement. At Howard University he was considered by some as a young radical intellectual who criticized both America’s social system and the established Negro organizations, but generally he is thought of as a moderate. From his experience as co-director of the Institute of Race Relations at Swarthmore College in 1936, added to his firsthand research performed earlier, he wrote A World View of Race (1936). He participated in the Carnegie Corporation’s well-known survey of the Negro in America, under the direction of the Swedish sociologist, Gunnar Myrdal, which resulted in the publication of Myrdal’s An American Dilemma (1944). He was a member of the «Black Cabinet» consulted on minority problems by Roosevelt’s administration; declined President Truman’s offer of the position of assistant secretary of state because of the segregated housing conditions in Washington, D. C.; helped to lead the civil rights march organized by Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965; supported the action programs of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and of the Urban League. Bunche has not himself formed organizations, nor has he aspired to positions of administrative leadership in existing civil rights organizations. Rather, he has exerted his influence personally in speeches and publications, especially during the twenty-year period from 1945 to 1965. His message has been clear: Racial prejudice is an unreasoned phenomenon without scientific basis in biology or anthropology; «segregation and democracy are incompatible»; blacks should maintain the struggle for equal rights while accepting the responsibilities that come with freedom; whites must demonstrate that «democracy is color-blind»2.

Ralph Bunche’s enduring fame arises from his service to the U. S. government and to the UN. An adviser to the Department of State and to the military on Africa and colonial areas of strategic military importance during World War II, Bunche moved from his first position as an analyst in the Office of Strategic Services to the desk of acting chief of the Division of Dependent Area Affairs in the State Department. He also discharged various responsibilities in connection with international conferences of the Institute of Pacific Relations, the UN, the International Labor Organization, and the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission.

In 1946, UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie «borrowed» Bunche from the State Department and placed him in charge of the Department of Trusteeship of the UN to handle problems of the world’s peoples who had not yet attained self-government. He has been associated with the UN ever since.

From June of 1947 to August of 1949, Bunche worked on the most important assignment of his career – the confrontation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine. He was first appointed as assistant to the UN Special Committee on Palestine, then as principal secretary of the UN Palestine Commission, which was charged with carrying out the partition approved by the UN General Assembly. In early 1948 when this plan was dropped and fighting between Arabs and Israelis became especially severe, the UN appointed Count Folke Bernadotte as mediator and Ralph Bunche as his chief aide. Four months later, on September 17, 1948, Count Bernadotte was assassinated, and Bunche was named acting UN mediator on Palestine. After eleven months of virtually ceaseless negotiating, Bunche obtained signatures on armistice agreements between Israel and the Arab States.

Bunche returned home to a hero’s welcome. New York gave him a «ticker tape» parade up Broadway; Los Angeles declared a «Ralph Bunche Day ». He was besieged with requests to lecture, was awarded the Spingarn Prize by the NAACP in 1949, was given over thirty honorary degrees in the next three years, and the Nobel Peace Prize for 1950.

Backhanded Compliments African American Women Hear All The Time

Compliments are supposed to be praises about some of your best attributes. Who doesn’t like being complimented? Unless, of course, the other side of the compliment is a glaring insult. There are many different kinds of reprehensible perspectives (i.e. ageism, sexism) but today we will focus on backhanded comments that are loaded with racism. In the words of Kanye West, “Racism’s still alive, they just be concealing it.”

The saddest part about these kinds of backhanded compliments that are submerged in racial bias and prejudice is that the people offering the “compliments” are often unaware of how offensive their words can be. Their intent is to point out a seemingly positive attribute, when in actuality they are being terribly disparaging.

1. “You’re beautiful for a dark-skinned girl…”

… As if typically the darker your complexion, the more unattractive you become. Thank you for identifying me as an exception to that rule. Really, I’m humbled.

Psych.

First of all, as soon as you insert the preposition “for” you should know that you are about to go off the charts on the obnoxious scale. It’s like my favorite saying, “I don’t want to be racist or anything, but…” The universe should have sounded a buzzer and hologrammed a gigantic “X” into your peripherals to warn you to stop. Since it didn’t, here’s some advice — telling a girl that you aren’t usually into black women but that you’re into her is NEVER a compliment. It’s colorism at it’s finest.

2. “Your hair’s amazing. Can I touch it?”

I didn’t realize I was an exhibit on display, but sure. Afterwards, can I touch your belly button? I’ve never seen such a penetrating and complex midriff opening.

I get it, I really do. Our society has a fixation with all things “exotic” and “foreign.” You don’t mean to be offensive and you’re even asking permission! But here’s the truth. Asking a woman if you can touch her hair like it’s some kind of pet dog is racist. Staring at her hair like it’s the eighth world wonder is uncomfortable. If you like it, tell her it’s pretty and MOVE ON.

3. “Wow … You’re so articulate!”

Ummm … thanks? I’m overjoyed that you find my ability to form complete sentences so impressive. Just wait until I actually start discussing my views on Donald Trump. You’re going to think I’m a genius!

This is a tough one because you might be saying this with sincerity; however, it’s essential that you ask yourself why you’re making this comment. Are you truly moved by the way she speaks or are you really impressed because you believe that other people that look like her are usually aren’t eloquent and are uneducated?

Unless she just finished summarizing her doctoral thesis for you, you may come off as condescending. The connotation behind this compliment is that you are surprised that she is well-spoken and well-informed because she is a woman of color.

There is a misguided perception in America that most blacks speak slang and are  “ghetto.” Whether or not you agree with this perception, it’s one that exists.

Don’t sound so surprised when she speaks sensibly and just enjoy the conversation.

4. “You’re beautiful. What are you?”

I was once approached by a woman who stepped away from a group that was apparently debating my possible mixed race combinations. Despite being prefaced by how striking I was, it felt a little weird that they were taking bets on “what I was.”

Approaching someone and asking them what they are as if they are some kind of science experiment is just rude – that’s it. Don’t do it. That’s all there is to say about that.

5. “You look just like (insert celebrity minority that looks nothing like you)”

Unless someone is a doppelganger for a celebrity, in which case they hear the comparison all the time, you’re better off staying away from this comment. The best example I can think of is when a news anchor interviewing Samuel L. Jackson confused him for Laurence Fishburne. It’s that same attitude that caused the news anchor to generalize and not take the time to research the celebrity he was interviewing that can be offensive when you compare people to black or mixed celebrities.

At the end of the day, not everyone will be offended by the same thing or in the same way, but in most situations it’s better to air on the side of caution. If your intent is truly to give a compliment, steer clear of these inadvertent insults that camouflage as admiration. And ladies — if you receive said “compliments” you can and you should say how you feel. People will continue to make ignorant mistakes if no one ever calls them out on it.

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*Originally published on Blavity.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH IS HERE! (Yay!)

I am excited about February! This is the time of the year when I get to talk about Black History & all the contributions Africans Americans have made to this country. After all, if I don’t talk about it, who will? I think it is imperative that our accomplishments be highlighted all year long but I really enjoy emphasizing them during the month of February. Since it is February, I will also write about dating, relationships and love. Not to fear, I will keep it spicy!

Here’s what Chocolate Vent will look like this month –

  • Question of the Day: These will be replaced with quotes from famous African Americans. However, I will post QOTD on my Facebook site. Follow me on Facebook for more details.
  • Sunday: I’ll continue with weekly scriptures, however, the quote of the week will be from an African American preacher.
  • Monday – Saturday: These posts will be a mix between African-American related topics and dating/relationship topics.
  • Facebook: Any articles posted here will be related to Black History or dating & relationships. I will post open-ended ‘Question of the Day’ on my Facebook site.
  • Twitter: My tweets this month will be stricly an ode to Black History Month (with some occasional “randomness” sprinkled in)
  • Instagram: Expect to see more photos posted on my Instagram page. They might be pictures from my neighborhood, a funny meme, my friends hanging out or maybe just a strange street sign. You just never know!
  • Pinterest: I’m still building my following on Pinterest. This month I’ll be sure to pin photos relating to Black History Month.

If you aren’t already, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. You won’t be disappointed. Happy reading & more importantly Happy Black History Month!!

BHM

My Ode To The Importance Of Black History Month

Black History Month is upon us so I will be dedicating some of my posts towards its significance and the achievements of African Americans in this country. Everyone needs to be enlightened about the contributions (some of which were voluntary, some were involuntary) of African Americans in this society.

Most people in this country know that February is Black History Month, but they may not know the origin. Why February? Why an entire month? So, I’ll start with the basics…

The idea to set apart a special time of year to celebrate the achievements of African Americans was conceived in the early twentieth century by the father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard educated man, was intent on raising awareness of African American contributions in American society. Originally called “Negro History Week”, Woodson chose the month of February because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglas & Abraham Lincoln, both of whom had contributed greatly to the advancement of African Americans.

Following the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s the consciousness of Black history greatly developed. In honor of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, the celebration was expanded to the entire month of February. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations and people all around the country continue to promote Black History Month.

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