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Black|in America|Part I: A Positive Review

From what I saw on the program, they did go over some  positive aspects of Black America. I wouldn’t say the entire show was aimed towards this, but all the same there were very positive aspects. Can we ignore the bad in search of something good? Were we expecting an entire show dedicated to the positive aspects of black America when half of black America is, indeed struggling?

Since most have already pointed out the negatives of the program, I’ll point out the positives that I saw:

The black family with both parents and 5 children, all of which they successfully sent to college, except one because she/he was not of age yet and the parents have their own family business.

They covered a child who successfully made it out the “hood” and went to Julliard for dance and we all know Eric Dyson’s success story.

I remember them talking about the rapid increase of black business (up 45%, I believe) in the last decade which often the media ignores.

I remember them covering a large family who annually held family reunions, strongly stuck together and helped each other, and knew their family history tenfold.

They talked about the large number of black sisters who hold a degree. They talked about the many intelligent, financially well off sisters who are doing  very well for themselves.

They covered the 2 year experimental program in NY for less fortunate children which actually pays children to go to school and is designed to help motivate young black children in learning and give them a more promising future that would probably otherwise be bleak. So far , it has proven to be a successful motivation tool for learning.

I’d give the program a chance to play itself out before I denounce it. I’ll be tuning in tonight @ 8pm central time for the Black Men segment.

Besides this, I was watching it with some family members (cousins, aunts)—some of whom fall into the category of single parent mothers and they were very pleased to have an open dialogue about these issues and it opened their minds to many other things mentioned on the program. I think overall, it was more helpful than harmful.

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Following|in Her Footsteps|and in His Shadow

Approximately 70% (66% to be more precise) of single black women are raising children. A disheartening 50% of these single black mothers live in poverty, and if one lives in poverty it is very likely that they will stay in poverty. This is increasingly becoming more of the rule than it is the exception. Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America  Part 1  on CNN only confirmed what I have always known and that is that the children of single parent households generally  follow in their parents’ footsteps, or shadows  when it comes to the absent father.

Black children who grow up in single parent households are more likely to:

  • Go to jail (mostly males): It’s no secret that many young, black men are incarcerated.
  • Get pregnant at an early age/Become “Baby Mommas”: With no father figure around, a lot of them go looking for a father figure and the love of a father that they never really had. Despite some women’s best efforts for their daughter not to make the same mistake she made, this seems to be the trend, especially for young girls whose mother had them at an early age.
  • Become “Baby Daddies”:  Considering this is, more or less, what his father did to his mother, this is the example his father set for his son by default.
  • Drop out of school: Nearly 50% of black students drop out of school and never graduate.
  • Join a gang (mostly males): 80% of black males who join gangs are those who have no father figure in the household. A lot of them look up to “OGs” or Original Gangsters as father figures. The OG is merely his name’s sake, and only cares about increasing his money through drugs and elimination of his competition through murder—-enter the young black troubled mind looking for a fatherly figure.
  • Get caught up in drugs: A lot of the black men in jail are there because of drug-related crimes. Murder, rape, and theft are also reasons.

The other side of this is some children know the mistakes their parents made and want to avoid them at all cost so that they can have a better life and future for themselves and family, however, statistics show that these are a small minority.

I am reminded of my two small cousins, one is 1 ½ and the other is 2 ½ —both are girls. Of course, I only want the best for both of them but I fear for them that they may very well following their mother’s footsteps or linger in their father’s shadow. God knows I pray that they are a part of that small minority and that the minority one day becomes the majority.

Now…why were/are some people mad at Barack and Cosby again?

Taking Care|of Self|Loving Self|Free Yourself

         Take care of yourself and actually indulge in taking care of yourself whenever you get an opportunity. Instead of taking a 15 min shower, take a 30 min luxurious bubble bath with music, candles, beads and all your favorite things. Instead of grabbing just anything to eat before heading to work, stash some of your favorite treats, drinks, foods in the refrigerator to grab that are actually enjoyable and nutritious on your way to work. Instead of jumping out of bed and rushing to work everyday, get out of bed stretch and take the world in by taking a walk outside, enjoying the morning and fresh air, listening to the birds, relaxing for a few minutes, then get ready for work while listening to the radio. On your lunch break, instead of gulping down fast-food, eat some fruit, something that is salubrious, yet something that you actually enjoy. Instead of watching TV when you get home or getting on the internet, take a nap, do something fun and exciting with friends or family, or try something new to you.

 Although work, family, friends, school, etc are all things that need attention, it is important to remember that YOU NEED ATTENTION as well. Make the time! I think it is especially sagacious for everyone to make room in their lives for themselves. This is especially essential for women. Often times we find little time for ourselves because we are always taking care of someone else or something else. With school, work, friends, and family, it can be hard finding time for self. Women new and old to motherhood suffer mostly from this. More than this, when they do take out time for themselves, some even feel guilty for having done it. There is no need for guilt, you as a mother and as a woman….but more importantly as a human being need to take time for yourself…breath…look around you…rest….and appreciate the beautiful things in life, the things that make life truly worth wild and the beautiful things within yourself that doesn’t involve anyone else but you. This should be done often, if not everyday, not just on Mother’s day! Plan and make time for yourself and during this time… it’s all about you and what you want to do. Don’t neglect yourself!

Mothers that typically take care of home, children, husband, and seemingly everything else and everyone else while working all at the same time often find it a daunting task to find time for themselves because at the end of the day, she is simply drained—often forgetting and neglecting her mind and body’s daily needs and attention. Her hair is often not kept, pajamas and “around the house” cloths  began to be normally worn outside of the house, and all together fatigue is set in her face and around her eyes. It’s the same old sad song— the husband complains that she is not as “attractive” as she was before. Uh, Hello! Perhaps she’s overwhelmed with things you (as a husbandbarely think or act to give a helping hand in. Is a marriage not supposed to be a partnership where you help each other? Now a days, it seems so alloy.

Simple guide that anyone can follow (Just do it!):

  • Give yourself time and space just to think
  • Make it a habit to get up early in the morning before anyone else, before starting your day, allowing time for yourselfalso do this in the evening or before going to sleep. During this time, it is important to be away from  all disturbances—so that means be alone. (30-60 mins).
  1. Take walks
  2. Do relaxing exercises (Mediation/Yoga)
  3. Read some pages of your favorite book
  4. Write down positive thoughts while in open, clear, clean space.
  5. Write poetry
  6. Take long, luxurious baths/showers
  7. Enjoy the sun rise/set, fresh air, gaze at a stand (group of trees) and the rest of nature
  8. Get and maintain a garden (flowers, fruit, other food, etc)
  • Sometimes, even though you can get a few things done, it can be fatigable even irritating trying to relax while having to watch kids, so sometimes leave them with their father, grandmother, or babysitter for a while and bring them back a treat.
  1. Drive to or lock yourself in a quiet space and get some things accomplished
  2. Go to the spa
  3. Go shopping…
  4. Go to the hair/nail shop…
  5. Go out with friends every now and then to relax
  6. Go to social events/take up a hobby (swimming, salsa dancing, instruments, belly dancing, etc) that you commit to once or twice a week
  • Eschew overwhelming yourself, if you need help doing something or a break, tell someone!
  • Having to cook, clean, and take care of kids everyday after pulling a 8-5 job can be tough try sometimes…
  1. Letting your children and husband do the cooking  (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  2. While you are cooking, let your husband wash the dishes or vice versa
  3. Cooking with your husband/boyfriend (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  4. Letting your husband/boyfriend cook for you (breakfast, dinner, or lunch)
  5. Letting your husband get the kids ready for school
  6. Letting your husband go out with/spend time with the kids

  • Take real vacations and travel, not vacations where you will be at home having to deal with cooking, cleaning, etc. Get away for a while either by yourself, with your husband/boyfriend, or with the whole family.
  • (Personal favorite) Watch/walk into/listen to the rain as it falls to earth
  • Sometimes just enjoy doing nothing…take reverence in just being alive.