Getting To What We Want From Where We Are Pt 2

Alrighty, picking up from where we left off yesterday, the first step at progress is changing our perspective, our point of view and our outlook as encompassed by our mindset. How we see what’s before us makes all the difference in the world. If for example you think something doesn’t have value that may in fact be helpful you’ve just eliminated a source of inspiration at the least or what could have been your breakthrough path. If you’re reading this thinking, “Ok Faith how do I change my mindset?”. Well let me share this with you: we must RENEW our minds.
Romans 12: 1-2

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. The Message

I decided to use the Peterson verse translation as I think it’s the most plainly spoken i.e. less “religious”. One can insert whatever your own individual practice into this to what works for you. I am trying to offer this as an assist, not something that will trip others up in incorporating. This is also for those of us who’ve been burned by the fake religiosity of others which is something I’m personally working through. I’ve come to realize you can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak which brings me to the next step.

2. We must access spiritual power

If we think of this in exercise terms it’s building your abdominal muscles to sustain you. It’s strengthening your core. Believe me as I’m writing this there’s a part of me that’s surprised if only because it’s something I’ve fought against. People have used and misused various religious tenets to control and harm people since the beginning of time. For many of us it has a particularly misogynistic bent as well that’s being used to subjugate women. We also have to figure out how to place into proper context sacred texts and how it applies as well as knowing there has to be boundaries and consequences for going against our best interests. That could be an entire post in and of itself! Perhaps it will be, but for NOW this is in relation to finding our path in life and staying the course.

We all have our own paths in life. Since no two people are alike our experiences will be different. I’m reading Oprah’s September message in What I Know For Sure (it’s the last page of each O, the Oprah magazine) where she states: “When you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire, or whatever you chose to call it [they’re all the same thing]. When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful. And you may stumble, but you will not fail.”

How do we access spiritual power? I think we have to ask for it first and foremost. There can be no assumptions. Just like doing inverse crunches will strengthen your body we must find a set of spiritual “moves” that will yield results. Having a trainer to guide us can certainly help but in the end the work is solo and the efforts must be our own. We have to push through the discomfort and be consistent. We have to exercise AND change our eating habits to things that sustain us. We may have to limit our intake of certain people/thoughts/circumstances that are of no benefit to us. We have to be willing to change and be vulnerable.

We all have an inner voice, an intuition that guides us if we listen to it. What ways do you know for certain you can make changes in your own life?
Bookmark and Share

Getting To What We Want From Where We Are Pt 1

Have you ever felt disappointment?

If you’re a living, breathing human being of course you have! The difference between how we react to it is what distinguishes success from failure in achieving life goals. Well…I may have assumed a bit here. The first thing we need to have ARE life goals.

So if you want something how do you go about getting it? Mind you I have much higher goals in mind than material acquisitions. This is such a consumerist society that even those part of the underclass get the latest gadget, shoes or electronic goods. The issue is whether that energy was spent doing something that builds wealth and sets you up for a higher quality of life or if you end up digging a hole to fall into.

1. The first step is changing one’s mindset.

Not only to be more positive but to think in the long term. That disappointment is an indicator that we want to reach for something. Now whether it’s beneficial for us is another issue entirely, but in general terms it’s an opportunity to aim higher. One popular interview question asked is, “Where do you see yourself in five years.” When I researched techniques there were a list of acceptable answers all related to telling a potential employer that time would be spent with them of course, but that was never my intention. I was always going to be on the lookout for a better position. How many of us get complacent, thinking long term employment at one job looks good on a resume? There’s something to be said for stability – if you’re looking for that type of job at that type of company and expect to live that type of life. That also worked until five years ago. Or less.

As we see in this volatile market all of the old rules are out the door. People who would have stayed in positions have been downsized. The ones who’ve stayed are doing the work of three now. Many positions are gone forever and will never return.

Education is very important. Typically that would mean a degree from a nationally accredited program. That’s an important caveat to mention as there’s been an explosion of degree mill schools that basically print up a diploma if someone’s willing to pay for it. Employers have apparently been flooded with unqualified graduates who don’t have basic skill sets. At the other end of this are the school snobs who place importance on those graduating from name schools. Everyone can’t attend a name school. Some may have to think prudently, attending a smaller school or gasp! Community College before transferring to a larger state or private university. Some institutions are simply coasting on their reputations and may not provide much value to an individual and their specific needs.

Others may be best served learning a trade or starting a business. We shouldn’t limit ourselves in anything that we do. There’s more to education than sitting in a class, however. Keeping up with changes in technology and trends in society is equally as important. For example there’s are early adapters of these changes and there’s everyone else. There’s people who may be highly skilled in their area of expertise who flourished under the old system but are not able to incorporate newer methods. Like social media.

It is now required for Public Relations specialists to know this medium. It’s also necessary for those who were relying on their government or private industry position that hadn’t originally required much more than a high school diploma (and the means to pass an exam). As more of those positions people assumed they’d have for life are eliminated (I mean who thought a Post Office would ever close?) those that cannot adapt will be left behind.

For example, the blogging platform has been available for a few years now. Many journalists have incorporated blogs into their work out of necessity. Citizen journalism is going to continue to grow as newspapers and magazines struggle to operate under the old model. Their overhead is killing them: the expensive rent of prime real estate to house employees, the expense accounts and other perks are destroying their bottom line.

There’s another aspect that hasn’t been discussed. These entities have been actively engaging in employment apartheid for years. When a company has intentionally hired a majority one gender, one race, one or two ethnicities within that race construct, with similar mentalities they’re not really interested in reaching a wide and diverse population. They expected the larger audience to be serviced by a small minority. So as that very narrow appeal has shrunk it can no longer support such segregation. Hence certain companies have gone under or have to consolidate. Thinking of it strictly in terms of survival it is how it should have been a long time ago. Eventually their “preferred” population would not hold the same clout or retain the necessary numbers to sustain the business model. So I have little sympathy.

Now this is where the adapters of technology and trends come into play. Once the basic skills required have been obtained adding the flourish is easy. In the case of news media stories that didn’t have “value” to some – more likely it was a case of intentionally ignoring things – we can now cover them. Whether it’s an individual who decides to start a blog and write about it or directly hiring a skilled professional who has been downsized we can now ensure the diverse population has a voice. That’s a powerful thing.
  • What ways can we begin to think outside the box?
  • Where do you see needs are not being met?
  • Have you thought of an area that’s lacking but are waiting for someone else to address it?

Bookmark and Share

New Music Artist Deals Provide Key Strategies For Black Women

We can look to the latest trends in the music industry as an example of ADAPT OR DIE. The old model doesn’t work anymore and those companies that still try to do business in an outdated way will not survive. The RIAA can’t keep suing individual users for file sharing forever – though they may still insist on trying. After my research on Gates’ support of 2 Live Crew unearthed the RIAA’s involvement and support as well I wish them all the failure in the world. 
There’s a new venture called Polyphonic run by three music industry veterans. They want to pair with emerging artists as well as those disgruntled with the state of business as it stands. They’ll invest a few hundred thousand dollars into these artists who will then in turn actively engage in building their audience. The artists are responsible for cultivating relationships and must take a greater share of duties. They won’t get an advance but they’ll own all of their masters. In other words they’ll have to work hard and make strategic decisions. Artists with any sense of entitlement or those looking to be carried won’t cut it.
This lesson can apply to anyone but it is especially useful for African-American women who wish to maximize their appeal on the global stage. As many Black Women Empowerment (BWE) bloggers have discussed one of the first steps must be removing yourself from unsafe residential areas. So let’s say you’ve done that, had a chance to reorder your thinking and are ready to move ahead? Perhaps you’ll be attending one of the Free Your Mind events to meet an eligible bachelor or some other uplifting expansion of your dating pool. Now I think we need to continue with our efforts at having multiple income streams. This economy is NOT going to settle down anytime soon.

Now, with the structure of the music business shifting radically, some industry iconoclasts are sidestepping the music giants and inventing new ways for artists to make and market their music — without ever signing a traditional recording contract.

“Artists are at the point where they realize going back to the old model doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Message said. “There is a hunger for a new way of doing things.” NYT article Artists Find Backers As Labels Wane

So let’s retranslate that to apply to the state of the average AA woman: The structure of the black community has completely dissipated from the pre-Civil Rights model. Some of the older generation’s wisdom may still be left and needs to be put into practice immediately. In the meantime you must remove yourself from all people who don’t use any common sense and are immersed in pathologies. More and more black women are at the point where they realize the black community model is dead and beating a dead horse doesn’t make any sense. The realization that it’s time to get out is dawning on more and more of them. Reciprocity is key to building all future relationships and endeavors.
Reciprocity is the key to all of this, including the new business model supported by the Polyphonic endeavor. This is a good example of a new world order where we can also apply the laws of attraction. Being positive but taking active steps and requesting help will surely result in success on various levels. We can have the 360 degree life that encompasses all the things we need from personal liaisons to spiritual fulfillment. We don’t necessarily have to know all the steps but we have to try. There will be no handouts or hand-holding.

Bookmark and Share

Calm Heads Must Prevail When Reacting To Iran’s Election

I really wanted to title this post “Before We Show Our *sses Making Assumptions” but I think you get the point. We need to be careful how we discuss and engage North Korea as well. We had better think carefully about how easily we are manipulated by the United States corporate media. Also do I need to mention the not entirely implausible potential involvement of the CIA and other foreign government agencies? How do we know Mir-Hossein Moussavi doesn’t have ties to a counterintelligence group? We should also remember Ahmadinejad may be President but he still has to answer to the cleric(s) with the real power. I believe that is Ayotollah Khamenei. So perhaps we should think of the Iranian President as a more powerful member of the UK Royal Family who defers to the Prime Minister if there can be an adequate comparison. 

I’m especially cautioning some Black political junkies to not overreact as a few seemed quite invested in the media coverage and found it to be wanting. This was part of the larger #CNNfail hashtag generated as many expressed their frustration on Twitter yesterday. I’ve singled out the POC because of our lovely history of being on the butt end of bad press, slanted media coverage and subterfuge. So don’t fall for the okey doke with this election. We need to review how COINTELPRO works and the very effective tactics used to make organizations the government considered a threat implode upon themselves. It’s simple history. 

The more things change the more they stay the same. Anytime something “fishy” goes down that makes the news I always give it the smell test. As we should be aware most of the foul actions that occur, the coups, assassinations and such are NEVER reported on the news and if they are it’s always a cloaked in a half-truth or reported as an accident. Does anyone still believe Kenneth Lay of Enron died of a heart attack? How about the CIA declassifying that they’d put a hit out on Bob Marley for writing songs – when those songs got poor people to begin thinking critically and had the potential to mobilize them politically – he was considered a threat to be removed. A “mere” musician. How much more of an effort would be made for those considered formidable?

People had better start thinking about how much of what we do is being monitored or has been co-opted by the government on some level. I remember the difference in coverage of the Iraq raid-fest from the near media silence in the US to the very shocking detail in the UK. Are we still calling it a “war” when it was an annihilation? There’s a reason why AIG keeps getting money, Google is so strong and even now Twitter is all the rage. Even the blogging platforms we use. Nothing we do hasn’t been vouched for by “Oz”. Despite all of our hopes and dreams for “change” President Obama is still a politician  – not a Magic 8 Ball. There are people behind the curtain. Dismiss this as tin-foil hat, conspiracy theory lunacy if it makes you feel better or prepare yourself to a life that requires some scrutiny.

Besides, the United States has its own sordid history of rigging elections, stuffing ballot boxes, throwing out votes (Tom Bradley’s 80’s Gov. race), phony recall elections (any wonder why CA is so messed up now), poll taxes, ID requirements, Electoral College and such. I mean if people are going to get so worked up over one sovereign nation’s election maybe they should be looking at their home country instead. I say this is one big fat distraction. *Ask some of those Laker fans how to throw a proper riot (smashed windows, torching cars and other fun stuff) cum celebration. All for a basketball game. This is the “real” priority of some. 

Now that’s not to say the Iran election wasn’t rigged, but we don’t know by whom. We don’t know all the details – nor should we. It’s not our country. It’s time to put the thinking caps on and ask who benefits from this chaos and why would they be stirring things up? I will say it once and say it again: today’s friend is tomorrow’s foe; yesterday’s freedom fighter will be called a terrorist. It just depends on who likes – or doesn’t like what that person does. 

The United States has a lot of nerve fueling the flames talking about stolen elections after the last 8 years of Bush, after Osama Bin Laden, Pinochet, Pol Pot and a host of brutal dictators/military leaders who were trained/supported by us. Well…”them”. No I didn’t have anything to do with it, nor you personally but we have a say in what happens now. We can control what our government does in our name. Yeah it’ll take a lot of effort but it can be done. It’s how we got Civil Rights, a 40-hour (in theory) work week and a host of other things many of us consider necessary…and good for us. There was always a group of people who would’ve preferred otherwise.

So perhaps we should be putting our efforts in that instead of crying foul about another country. Unless the United States is willing to look into balancing its ties to the Israeli government they should expect resistance from other countries that feel they’re getting the short end of the stick. As unpopular an idea as this may be for some, if the situation was reversed many would be making this very argument. 

Some see this election blowback as a potential Tienanmen Sq. but we don’t know that. “We” also couldn’t do anything to stop it not while it was going on if it was. This is one of those scenarios where some of us can get outraged but aren’t really going to do anything.  Where was this outrage when Rwanda happened? Journalists Lee and Ling could be pawns or they could’ve been spying. Current TV isn’t CNN or ABC after all. We just don’t know. There are plenty of people being held against their will by foreign governments that get zero media attention.

As popular an idea as it may sound we the United States have NO moral authority on anything. We haven’t begun to pay for the crimes we’ve committed on foreign soil. Just because we haven’t heard about it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened! Surely we’re not that naïve. I’d love to see some of this energy being spent here in this country say dismantling the airwaves of the constant bombardment by hatemongers and their bully pulpit. Let’s clean up our own house first that’s all I’m saying.

Bookmark and Share

Tavis Needs A Better Cheerleader

I hope Krissah Thompson has learned the meaning of the word reciprocity. For all her sticking her neck out and taking professional hits that have left her credibility questioned over her not-so-secret ‘promote Tavis Smiley article’ from last week, she lost a golden opportunity for serious and thoughtful commentary. In Blacks At Odds Over Scrutiny of President the question asked is whether Blacks place race loyalty over legitimate criticism of the President. 
Her first mistake was in frequenting blogs that those who saw this article read. So we knew her to be misrepresenting those blogger/activists featured from the very beginning. After it has been revealed that she’s lifted writings from other blogs, where the blog host specifically restricts access to copying content, Ms. Thompson just looks like a plagiarizer as well. So she already had the side eye from me before I even read this latest….work. Is it a fluff piece, prop piece or garbage liner as suggested by one of the bloggers who was misrepresented?
The title of the article is a legitimate question though that begs to be evaluated. Per the article:

As the nation’s first black president settles into the office, a division is deepening between two groups of African Americans: those who want to continue to praise Obama and his historic ascendancy, and those who want to examine him more critically now that the election is over.

Unfortunately Ms. Thompson never discusses the topic of the article and instead circumvents it. She continues on to cover Tavis Smiley and his book and how he has been (rightfully) lambasted for his obvious bias. She mentions the work of other bloggers/journalists/activists in an attempt to push them to be just as critical of the President as Smiley has been. Except Smiley’s criticisms have largely been without merit, without specifics and are woefully one-sided. Arguing for the sake of arguing is just as foolish as blindly acquiescing to anything the President does.
I can’t recall any high-profile opposition positions being levied against the Clinton or Bush administrations. Do you? Also Smiley has a huge conflict of interest with his corporate ties to companies that routinely exploit Blacks. His State of the Union event while somewhat entertaining for its cast of characters jockeying for tv time, is woefully ineffective in leading to any long-term change in the communities (such that they are) he claims to be serving. I mean after 10 years if you have nothing to show for your efforts, you can’t be doing much. 
So although many people may have read the article, it has been widely panned. There are many Blacks that are wearing Obama blinders who don’t want to hear anybody talking bad about their “baby”. It’s the same mentality that cripples any progress at rooting out the criminal elements in many residential areas and addressing police brutality and railroading. It’s why conflicts over innocent Black men getting shot are conflated by guilty criminals shooting the police. It’s why the focus is too rigid by not including the sheer violence that Black girls and women have to face at the hands of those Black men remaining in those neighborhoods. Or the Black men killing each other as well. 
We need political free agency to be able wield power effectively. Being a professional contrarian is not the way to go even if the short-term payoff seems worth it. That’s not real power: it’s paternalistic reliance on others to reward us for being “different”. That reward can be given….and taken away. We can’t demand accountability from others for standards that we’re not willing to hold ourselves to. We haven’t defined who our allies are nor identified our enemies. 
We haven’t built solid enough coalitions that can withstand a battering. We don’t have consequences at the ready for a “betrayal”. We’re not prepared for the fact that our President is a politician first and foremost. There is no “race” loyalty or “fairness doctrine” and to expect Obama to offer that to a group of people whose very loyalty is questionable at best is just crazy. Remember the majority of Blacks didn’t support Obama until after whites gave their seal of approval. That’s not thinking out the box. Now to try to claim him as “one of our own” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) looks very silly. If we think we’ve arrived we’re in for a rude awakening. We’ve not crossed the finish line and are barely in the race quite frankly and failure to realize that is the biggest travesty.

Bookmark and Share

Why Are So Many Blacks Unwilling To Offer Valid Critique of President Obama?

In responding to this post by blogger CPL at Jack & Jill Politics, “Does the POTUS Have Problems with African-Americans In His Cabinet?” you’d think she asked if Obama was the anti-Christ. Here’s an excerpt:  
I have said (and got shot down for my efforts) that who Mr. Obama chooses for his Administration would indicate how he intends to run the country, and who he thinks are the best people to help him govern. I stand by that statement, because I would hate to see the first African-American President be no better than his predecessors in terms of pulling the wool over our eyes and we not see the devastation of their policies until years after they have vacated the White House, and earning fat paychecks on the speaking circuit and writing memoirs.

I am well aware that MRS. Obama is surrounded by some quality sistas IN THE WHITE HOUSE – so don’t throw Desiree Rogers’ or Mona Sutphen’s names at me, please, when we have this discussion about the lack of African-American nominees in the Obama Administration. I don’t care to have second-in-command people pointed out to me, either; all that means is that if something happens to the Head Person-In-Charge, the Second-In-Command just assumes the position and hopes he gets invited back to finish out the term (someone should ask New York Governor David Paterson how’s that working out for him these days).
Oh the howling that begins every time CPL posts something that’s mildly critical and asks the “difficult” questions. I can point out several Black bloggers who get so much grief for merely suggesting that President Obama does not walk on water. For the record there are those that have critiques that they’ve never extended to other Presidents, do so out of animus and offer no alternatives. We all come from different walks of life and have different perspectives. What I find is that most people aren’t able to engage in a serious disagreement and offer counterpoints without allowing emotionalism to take over or to go into full-on attack.
I allowed myself to invest emotionally in an argument with a commenter at another blog over Prop 8 and their using what I’d term a fake religiosity to derail an entire conversation and support the equivalent of gay bashing. The reason why I did it was because so many were silent in addressing how Blacks tend to gravitate towards using the “church” to talk about how sinful it is to “engage” in homosexuality and how they’re not hating, they’re following God. Well there’s some wiggle room with that argument but the bulk of that is bull. Not when people fornicate, get drunk, do drugs and have illegitimate children without skipping a beat, but suddenly put on the cloak of the holy when it comes to the latter. Don’t even get me started! 
There are also some Black bloggers who take a much more firm stance in calling out Obama’s practices than what appears at JJP. They may or may not like him but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate their evaluations either. I’ve questioned his policies as of late and I was very invested during the primaries. I volunteered, I attended the Nomination and the Inauguration and then the bloom faded for me as I’m sure it did for him. Now that he’s got the job I expect results. I know how jacked up the situation is – wait, actually I don’t. I’m sure it has to be far worse than I can imagine. 
It’s just that I see Black people sputtering in my opinion. The idol worship is way too intense. The Civil Rights organizations are useless. I don’t know how we can force them to change their do-nothing agendas when we can’t even agree on what needs to be done. Scratch that – we can’t even agree that ANYTHING needs to be done at all. Too many have adopted a “wait and see” attitude and get highly offended when you even question them why they’d do that instead of demanding he prove himself by his actions. Those demands have to be carried out in an effective manner of course, but I haven’t seen individuals or any group put together an agenda or strategy method. It’s very frustrating!
I’m aware of the impact of systematic racism but as I keep asking: when are Black people going to kick *ss?! Not just a few individuals who may then distance themselves from the masses (which may in the end be prudent) but a large swath of people causing the tide to rise and carry many boats?
Who am I? Just one lone woman. Yeah I’m happy that Michelle Obama and her “scary toned biceps” occupy the West Wing. Some question what she has done for Black women that’s tangible. I’d like to see how she wields the power of the First Lady and as the one person who can bend the ear of the President at all times. The image is powerful and symbolism alone is as filling as dust when you need a meal instead, but it still offers something powerful when people think there’s nothing in its place. When things are broken we have to start somewhere. I just question whether people will walk, trot, run, get in a car that works or stand in place with their finger in the wind. Are we victims of circumstance or do our circumstances make us victims?
Here’s how I responded: 

I wonder if this is the type of conversation that can be engaged at here. There seems to be a missing piece of critical thinking skills where people feel personally threatened by the idea of asking what should be standard questions about Black appointees and what Obama owes Black people. If people place the bulk of the value in emotionalism and symbolic gestures expecting reciprocity would seem like asking for the moon. If you consider yourself an equal partner and have high expectations of course you’d want to see the proof being in the pudding, not a speech or singling out a student though those are nice gestures as well. Let’s just say the opposite had occurred and Obama had 7% white appointees in his Administration: white people would be howling and Obama would be under fire. But let’s be clear: it would never happen. Blacks voted for Obama at a 97% rate. No other group of people gave him that unconditional support. He has not specifically promised Blacks anything. So while I’m glad he won and I want a successful Presidency we need to be a little more ruthless and clarify what our position is and demand it. But that’s not going to happen because people are waiting for a hero to do all the heavy lifting and those that would be more critical who are doing so w/o animus are always challenged by those that want to tell them they’re asking for too much and settling for crumbs (look at what he’s done so far, blah blah) when it’s simply expecting the same thing that EVERYBODY ELSE IS GETTING. Since when is that too much?

The protestations were immediate. 
I, for one, don’t feel threatened by anything said on this blog. Sometimes disgusted, sometimes outraged. Often overjoyed. Never threatened.

As for the subject at hand: I have no aversion to a question being asked about the composition of the President’s cabinet, even as I express a sense of “here we go again” when the question arises. Again. If I did, I’d skip the discussion altogether.

But if the person asking the question has discounted facts when asking the question, which means the questions isn’t based on accurate information but, well, emotionalism, then how much critical thinking can rule the debate? If we are going to be ruthless, as you suggest, we must begin by being ruthless in gathering all the facts first. If not, we’re simply bloviating. Which is perfectly fine, of course. But that’s not going to bring about much critical thinking on the matter. 
Those “facts” were that other Blacks are serving in his administration, but the original post didn’t discount that. The point was about who was at the highest level and whose job would have the most impact on the lives of the majority of Blacks, not just in this country but around the world. It seems people aren’t considering that either. If you will recall Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky drama and the US public was riveted by that because corporate media made it look like such a big deal, but millions of people were being slaughtered in Rwanda while the gov’t stopped the United Nations from intervening. It’s very easy to miss the boat. Too much is at stake right now and people have got to be more actively engaged. I don’t consider myself even remotely knowledgeable about how to move in these circles but I have my opinion and this blog format to ask questions. It would seem that many people who consider themselves active would in fact choose to do nothing.

Bookmark and Share