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1968 Olympics

In light of the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, many are questioning their prejudice, bias, and role in perpetuating systemic racism. It is not enough to not be a racist, you must strive to be anti-racist. Being anti-racist is a daily commitment to standing up to racism (overt and covert) and microaggressions. It means taking a stand when someone says something off color and having uncomfortable conversations at home, in the workplace and places of worship. In the 1980s there was the acronym “WWJD” — what would Jesus do — to keep people on the straight and narrow. …


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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”–George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.

What history teaches is that men have never learned anything from it.” — Hegel

Movies and television programs in the 1960s had us thinking that by the year 2000 we would be living a futuristic Jetsons lifestyle. Although there has been technological progress, we have regressed as a society as we refuse to learn from history and ignore the warning signs that threaten life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and democracy the Constitution intended.

Spanish Flu 1918 & Coronavirus 2019

2020 has dealt us a horrible reminder that history will repeat itself. COVID19 is a new pandemic, yet the U.S. government and Trump’s response is exactly the same as Woodrow Wilson’s response to the Spanish Flu of 1918. …


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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” — US Declaration of Independence

Unfortunately, America does not seem to believe all men are created equal as evidenced by its treatment of blacks in this country. African Americans have fought on behalf of America in every war (Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, etc). The first martyr of the American Revolution was a black man, Crispus Attucks. …


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During the protests, people are talking about systemic racism, over-policing, school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality and defunding the police. You need to understand where this is coming from. This is but a primer to understand a small portion of the issues leading to cries for defunding the police. Whenever a politician says “law and order” or “tough on crime” or “zero tolerance” it means increased policing and arrests. This is reflected in racial profiling (stop and frisk) targeted at minorities regardless of socio-economic standing. It means arrest quotas that affect promotion and advancement within police departments. It translates into the school-to-prison pipeline that allows police (with no college degree nor training in child development/education/sociology) to arrest children for minor infractions causing a juvenile record. Over-policing allows police to use excessive force and brutalize disenfranchised neighborhoods and target people of color indiscriminately. Ironically, as politicians take a “tough on crime” stance, violence has actually gone down, but police budgets and presence have increased. …


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I wanted to be silent because anger and rage is high. I am fed up and tired of being sick and tired of America’s racism, prejudice, faux political correctness, liberal whites who only give lip service to the black community but want our votes and other people of color who remain silent at black oppression until they become a targeted group then all of a sudden want black support. I am sick of white people who are “colorblind.” That is a convenient cop out because if you do not see color then you do not see my oppressors or the systems in place to keep racism alive. I do not want to hear All Lives Matter when you turn a blind eye to the brutality daily administered on the black community. For years, the white community ignored the pleas of black America about police brutality and white supremacists in the ranks of law enforcement, acting as if it was a figment of our imaginations. Even with cellphone video of police brutality, there is still the age-old white fallback “but we don’t know what happened before they started recording.” White people armed with rifles, guns, and automatic weapons stormed state capitols. No one was tear gassed or arrested even as they yelled at police and threatened medical workers. Yet, when we peacefully protest we are tear gassed. George Floyd was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Amy Cooper weaponized her “white damsel in distress” privilege against a black man in Central Park the same as the woman who lied about Emmett Till. I am tired of white feminists who talk about equality for women but silence black women’s voices — mansplaining why they cannot stand with us on issues of police brutality etc. Jane Elliott’s question to white America makes it clear, you know that America is unfair to black people and do not wish to be treated like black people, yet you allow the injustice to happen. That is white privilege and entitlement in a nutshell. You understand if the police are called and there is a white person and a black person, the black person is presumed to be the aggressor. My apartment was robbed and Chicago Police had the audacity to ask me if it was my boyfriend because the robber was black. …


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Erykah Badu and Jill Scott; Artwork by: Jeff Manning Art

Even before quarantine, my soul was weary. I hungered for that sweet communion of fellowship. I heard about a new service a few weeks ago that they called battles. The first battle was between kings Babyface and Teddy Riley. I have loved Babyface since Two Occasions. Teddy Riley’s “new jack swing” was the soundtrack of my coming of age from teenager to college student. I did not want the bravado of a battle but yearned the elixir of nostalgia remembering a time when I was young, hopeful, and ready to conquer the world. Babyface versus Teddy was like pitting the archangel Gabriel against Michael. …


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I watched ESPN’s The Last Dance featuring Michael Jordan (MJ) and the Chicago Bulls 1997–98 team. Amidst this, I read about excerpts from The Chiffon Trenches, André Leon Talley’s upcoming memoir which references his relationship with Anna Wintour. I love black people and our culture. We are resilient and trendsetters. However, I noticed that we can be harder on our own than those inflicting real harm to our communities. When non-black people write memoirs or do a documentary about how the industry treated them, no one says “well that happened a while ago why bring it up now?” Yet, we do it to our own people. In The Last Dance, the first two episodes touch on the pay disparity that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen received compared to their counterparts. Snippets of The Chiffon Trenches highlight the frenemy relationship between Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley. Unfortunately, there were comments on social media suggesting that the pay the disparity did not matter when by the end of their careers MJ and Scottie Pippen made money. The other comment was why André Leon Talley is talking about Anna Wintour now? Why do we give a pass to bullies and their tactics, but when someone finally stands up and tells their truth, that person is vilified for taking control of the narrative that was previously dictated by someone who financially profited off them. It can be argued that André Leon Talley’s relationship with Anna Wintour mirrors that of Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson and the general manager Jerry Krause. Initially, Coach Jackson and Jerry Krause had a good working relationship, but things turned when Krause ended Phil’s coaching career at the Bulls. I have heard that Andre is nasty or a diva, but so are many famous people, especially those in the fashion industry. …


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I am not a 420 participant. It is the smell. It reminds me of leaves burning in the fall. For me, texture and smell can be a turn off. The smell of cannabis is not pleasant. Maybe if it were more aromatic then I would be inclined to try. Although I am cannabis-curious about cooking with cannabis oils. Food & Wine had an article on a cannabis restaurant. I might be cajoled into a visit. However, for those that enjoy a little puff-puff give, this playlist is dedicated to you.

Also, I would like to bring attention to the injustice of over-incarceration and longer sentences received by African Americans and Latinos for weed possession. Now that it is legal, due to their criminal record, they cannot open a legal cannabis storefront. Ironically, several politicians who were vehement supporters of three strikes for personal possession of cannabis are now board members of cannabis companies. John Boehner now claims that his understanding of cannabis has “evolved” to explain his appointment to the board of a marijuana company — more likely capitalism incentivized him. The hypocrisy is appalling. The previous laws that Boehner and others enacted had a disparate impact on African American and Latino communities. Now these same people want to profit from marijuana. JB Pritzer, governor of Illinois, pardoned 11,000 low-level marijuana offenders. Please encourage your elected officials to pardon records for those incarcerated on low-level possession of cannabis. I would also like to encourage African American and Latino entrepreneurs to invest in legal cannabis operations. …


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During holidays and breaks, there was family time. That typically meant board games with my family. This was never a simple matter. Even as children, it was competitive. My dad did not believe in letting us win. He said that he wanted us to know that when we won, we out skilled him. Whether it was chess, checkers, a snowball fight or getting the eight ball in the corner pocket, my goal was to beat dad. I knew if I could beat him, then I was good. Even when my siblings became adults and nieces and nephews entered the picture, holidays were filled with board games. The kids knew that the adults would not let them win. They knew grandma was best at Spades so if they learned from her, they would win and could be her Spades partner. Granddad was the chess master. Uno, Spades, and Monopoly was cutthroat so picking the right partner was key. You had to be strategic. My parents liked games that had a teaching component that reinforced math, thinking, and spelling. As we’re social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, it’s time to pull out the board games out and put the cell phones down. It’s rather nostalgic for me to see my college nieces and nephews pull out the board games. …


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Reuters

March is Women’s History Month. I am always conflicted about it. It follows Black History Month and there’s a natural angst because I rarely see feminists highlight the contributions of women of color. Every election cycle there is an interesting spectacle of candidates who claim to be allies interact with communities of color while courting the vote. It illustrates my frustration with being a black woman and dealing with white feminists who use words like ally, lean in or partner, but are nowhere to be found for issues that affect our communities until they need our vote. When we mention the disparity of this exchange, we get “Hillaryed” or “Bloomberged” — yeah I know that I have done some things that hurt your community, but you don’t want “so and so” in office so forgive my “super predator” comment or “stop and frisk” policies or Biden’s fabricated civil rights involvement and Mandela association and let’s rally together to save democracy. Or we get Buttegieg, who was not concerned about the black vote as mayor of South Bend, but as a presidential candidate tries to cast our dislike for him as homophobic. Some white male associates who consider themselves enlightened or liberal commented that they would be willing to set aside values and work for Trump or his associates for the right price. Maybe this was in jest (side-eye). It was a reminder that 53% of white women voted for Trump and that is why we are where we are today. …

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