Category Archives: Life Skills

The Life Skills category establishes an understanding about the “sandbox of life”. Everyone is in the box, young men of color have to understand how to conduct themselves in it.

BLM vs Black on Black crime

This is a  is NOT mine…this is a repost authored by Maceo Willis…I don’t know the brother but thank you.

“This is long but I really don’t give a damn because I’ve had it with these idiotic “Black on Black crime” statements. So you know what? I will break this down, just this damn once. You read it? Fine. You don’t? Fine too. This is therapeutic for me because I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a long time.

There is no such thing as Black on Black crime. To understand the social and psychological construct and intention of this term you have to go back to the end of enslavement. When enslavement ended there were three things that the white Anglo Saxon power structure feared:

1. Black people getting revenge for being enslaved.

2. Growth of Black communities in the South

3. Growth of Black political power in the South.

White America also had to answer the question of how they were going to replace their free labor. They came up with the answer in the form of sharecropping and the 13th Amendment. The loophole that allowed any person convicted of a crime to be sent to jail and served in forced labor. While that took care of that in terms of policy (also policies such as the pig laws, black codes, and of course Jim Crow) the challenge was creating the narrative to justify such actions.

And with that comes the movie “Birth of a Nation.” There is no movie ever created that has had more of a long-lasting influence and impact on the moral and psychological consciousness and policy construct of America in history. In one felled swoop it framed Blacks in government as corrupt, Black communities as lazy and ignorant, Black women a subservient and yes, the big one, Black men as evil, bestial, vile criminals and rapists.

And with this movie, the incarcerations of Black men skyrocket. Lynchings catch on like wildfire. The destruction of middle-class Black communities such as Tulsa, Rosewood, Wilmington, strike in tactical precision. Even when Black people tried to leave the south they were met with Redlining in the north. The economy and some can argue far more evil and sinister twin brother of Jim Crow.

So let’s get into that.

The reason for Jim Crow in the South and Redlining in the North was to contain Black communities in areas where cities can cut off their access to the economic centers. To INTENTIONALLY keep these communities in poverty. Why? For one, whites did not want to see their economic status threatened. But secondly, because the “ah-ha” moment came. Poverty is profitable. In the case of crime, where there is poverty there is crime. This is not a Black thing. This is a universal law. When you cut off people’s access to those limited resources necessary to live people go into survival mode. The more scarce the resources the more human beings act in a primal state.

So now, if I create communities that are INTENTIONALLY cut off from those resources, I have INTENTIONALLY created a state of scarcity and survival. If I do that, then crime is going to happen and when it does, the powers that be can profit off that.

Don’t believe me about poverty? Take a look a Dublin Ireland, Mumbai India, towns in China, the Middle East, etc. etc. etc. Give me any country and its poorest towns and I will show you where the highest rates of crime happen.

So if that’s the case why call it Black on Black Crime? Because the narrative created isn’t about bringing awareness to crime in the Black community but to psychologically equate Black people with crime (Black = Crime) as a way to justify the policies of injustice, inequality, and incarceration against Black people without consequence. THAT’S WHY.

So when you repeat this narrative, which seems to only pop up when Black people start getting close to attacking the systems of oppression that created the state in which many Black communities live, you reinforce the psychological perception that to be Black EQUATES to being a criminal. Thus you become an unwitting accomplice to white supremacy and white oppression of Black people and render invisible the policies that have been enacted and still on the books for over a century that have created these environments.

So if you really want to do something about the CRIME you see in the Black community don’t attack Black people. Attack the City Council, attack the mayor, attack the policies of redlining. Attack the remnants of Jim crow. Attack the banks that purposely devalue homes in the Black community. Attack every policy and system that cuts off access to the necessary resources and opportunities the Black communities need to grow and evolve economically. ATTACK those.

Not your own damn people.”

 

MPM

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No one listens to WHY!… Black Lives Matter

Black men have understood police brutality and abuse for centuries.

Most, if not all of us, have had to deal with the hyper scrutiny of police as a part of life, I’ve known it through verbal testimonies of grandfathers, uncles, cousins, friends and coworkers.  I’ve become impatient with the discussion because there’s always a counter-narrative that justifies police behavior.

In spite of social media allowing anyone the ability to now PROVE the subjective nature of police, there still is defending discussion of the mistreatment of black people.

A close friend spent an early morning, 1AM, responding to a woman about BLM. I love her response…it provides patience and understanding to a problem black men know all to well.

The response grants patience where I’ve exhausted mine.

“…the reason that many people are protesting (at times even violently- and this is assuming that all of the “violence” is done by BLM supporters/protesters because in many cases it is not- is because Black people have spent decades trying to have conversation and education. PEOPLE ARE GETTING KILLED AND HUNTED DOWN IN THE STREETS!! PEOPLE ARE USING THEIR GENDER AND WHITE RACE AND WEAPONIZING IT (Ie. Amy Cooper against chrsitian Cooper in Central Park) And this is all done with reckless disregard of any pursuit of justice and acts are swept under the rug as “procedure” or with justifiable cause. It is only after people protest when incidents are properly investigated. Sometimes all we want is a proper investigation! There have been documentaries, movies, speeches, campaigns, news reports, and straight pleas, you name it- and no one seems to listen. So like many things in life, sometimes you have to scream to be heard. That is the only time when people stop and listen. So while I don’t condone the “violence” or anything related to it, I do think people are tired and talking is not getting anywhere. NO ONE LISTENS.

I live in Washington DC- and do well for myself and my daughter is in a private school and I am a lawyer and a professor at a University but I can give you an entire book chapter about the ways either myself or my family members (all equally educated and financially secure ) have suffered merely because of the color of our skin. This is not only about police brutality, but about systemic racism which impacts economic prosperity- this is why many “smart blacks” cannot get ahead. Our country and its system are not designed for us to get ahead. And I am not writing from a “victim” perspective. I’m considered as someone who is “making it”. Take a look at the 13th amendment. It abolished slavery except for while imprisoned. And that might be ok except for the fact that Black and brown people are imprisoned differently and at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Post slavery it started with the Black code (if you don’t know- look it up) then later segued to Jim Crow laws and now it has morphed into mass incarceration as a result of way Black and brown people are charged with crimes and later sentenced. While we may have the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act 1965 there have been current attempts (and some success) to dismantle pieces of that. Redlining still exists. Redistricting based on race (but of course they don’t say it’s for race) still exists. And while BLM missions stems from brutalities by vigilantes (Ie. Trayvon Martin or Ahmad Arbery ) or police (George Floyd and sooooo many others to name), the affects of the “cause” stems farther. I invite you do some objective research rather than simply looking at the heightened emotions that follow a killling, then you will see the broader cause. https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

And John Yawn This is NOT about Black on Black crime because we are not discussing the systems that place people in such a degree of dispair that result in such acts (and I am so tired of hearing that argument- Black on Black crime has nothing to do with police brutality and to a lesser extent, two wrongs don’t make a right). This is really about the fact that you cannot have a whole (All Lives) without a part (Black Lives). It is the fact that most people, and in most cases, white people, have the privilege, power and standing of being able to separate themselves to be able to make such a dismissive comment. In essence, if it doesn’t affect you, then You can deflect. Or to say that “the blacks are just as smart..”. (The audacity of that comment is astounding, by the way!!) I don’t think anyone is looking for validation of their intellect. I know i surely am not. At the very least, my 3 degrees gives me that validation among other things. But the thing is, none of my pedigree matters if I get pulled over by the police. It doesn’t matter where i graduated from , what kind of car in drive or who my kid goes to school with, or how many properties I own. What matters in that instant is how I submit (notice i say submit- because submission is what is required) myself before an authority figure who wants to make sure that i know that they have complete authority over me and everything that happens from that point. And that reality of inherent fear is extremely unique to black and brown people. And when my 10 year old highly privileged child can take note of this, and can speak about it in school when they are asked to speak about a time where they have experienced or witnessed racism, then it is something to take consider.

So Black Lives DO Matter. And whether you want to outwardly support the group or not (and note, I am not a “member” of the group) it is important to completely educate yourself. Watch The 13th on Netflix. Read the New Jim Crow or the Color of Law. There are countless others. Then talk to severel African Americans (both men and women) about their experiences. And to be honest, many of us are still processing our experiences because there are some things that happened during our youth that we didn’t even realize were problems until you look back on them. We are now realizing how these experiences have shaped our perspectives. (It’s kind of like the rape victim who didn’t realize that they had been raped). And know that Black people are not monoliths- we do not all have the same experience.

Come to DC and really experience the National African American Museum of History and culture. Go back the next day. Go back the next day (you can’t do it all in one day- or two- or three). And then talk to people again.

We Black people know white culture- we live it every day. We learned it in school and now are trying to unlearn it because we realize how narrow the perspective was. It’s time for you all to take the time to learn ours (and don’t look for us to teach you because that is exhausting too— and some of us are still learning). I hope this gives you another perspective.”

 

Please do as I did…copy/past this response when people find some reason to contradict BLM.

MPM

Thank you Nicole!

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You’re not working hard enough, get a side hustle.

LaTanya J. , a close friend of mine, had just come from her hair appointment. She said, “Man we have got to get on our hustle.” I was confused…I said, “What are you talking about?!” She said her beautician had a store that she managed and she had two Super Shuttle vans in her parking lot. “Why two?” …because if one van broke down, she could still make money while the other was getting repaired.

“Wow…and she did hair?”

“Yup…in the back of the store she managed.”

LaTanya and I were both engineers with Lockheed but I immediately thought to myself…

how I could make money if I lost my job?

Currently, I have a couple of things I’m working on with real estate but what else? I have a bartenders certificate and I’m a certified rescue & master scuba diver. I’m working on some writing projects also. I could always apply to Chic fil a…I love Chic fil a.  :o)

So, I pose the question to you, What is your plan A, B, C or D?

Another way of looking at it, what hobbies or volunteer activities could you turn into money earning activities? How could you get that second revenue stream?

Think…most latino students have one quick advantage, they’re bilingual. Do you know Spanish? Are you handy? Are you interested in an apprenticeship?  I know plenty of people that have their own business and make a good living.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was convinced early to go to college. Looking back, I don’t think that’s the best thing…not for everyone. If you don’t go to college, learn a trade or start doing something legal that’s going to allow you to become a business owner. Even if you don’t start a business with an apprenticeship you will have the skills to get a job. My experience has been that my piece of paper (bachelors degree) helped me attain a job…but, after graduating, the 3 jobs I worked while in college helped me keep the job. Not everyone I know, after graduating, received a job and if they received a job it wasn’t always in their career field. I know one thing, all of them had a mountain of debt.

You can start your own business, possibly take a loan for truck and tools, and be working towards financial independence. A degree is banking on getting a job that might not be there after graduation.

I say this to reiterate…What is your plan A, B, C or D?

Hobbies:

Like working on cars = Get an ASE certification, become a mechanic

Like cooking = Learn to cook an entire menu, buy a food truck.

Like to drive = Get a loan for a car, drive for Uber

Like to dream =  Become an inventor

Good at lying = Go into politics (Joking)

All these hobbies are things you can do on the side. So in pursuit to become a doctor, lawyer, pilot a side hustle wouldn’t hurt. With multiple income streams, you can attain financial independence faster.

Regardless of the path you start on, have a plan and goals along the way.

To be honest, my plan A is really working out but I’m close to realizing my plan B and C…but it’s MY plan…get yours!

MPM

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Ask yourself, what are you doing today to get you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.”

 

Shout out to LaTanya  owner of Pink Piggy Sweets ~ Organic Baking at its Best.

Historic Downtown 125 N. Center St, Goldsboro, NC 27550

 

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Blog of blogs: 2019 NYE Resolution, Almost movie review: The Green Book, Murder of Nipsey Hussle

NYE resolution…Help unite and support my brothers.  Yes I’m late…very late.

My previous New Years blogs…

https://middlepassagementor.com/2018/01/07/2018-annual-new-years-resolution-living-free/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2017/01/02/new-years-resolution-step-out-of-my-self-and-be-better/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2015/01/08/my-only-annual-blog-new-years-resolutions/

https://middlepassagementor.com/2014/01/14/new-years-resolution-self-improvement/

…have always been about incrementally getting better.

Every year we all commit to resolutions to make our lives better, eliminate bad habits, be successful, etc. Every year we either fail or succeed and every year…without fail, we make the attempt.

This year and every year forward I want to be about helping promote any positive black endeavor…help my brothers out. There’s been a consistent deliberate conscious and subconscious negative narrative about black men and women for that matter…just about us as a whole. We’ve been smothered with all the negative stereotypes and unfortunately, it seems we’ve come to embrace them. It’s almost like we now believe what people show us about us…like we are cooler or stronger because of the bravado. Our music is gangsta, our behavior is ratchet, our life is thug…all of it doesn’t make us cooler or stronger, it makes us week as a community and weak as a people. I’m just tired of it. So…I’m going to fight it with just my positive…wherever it may occur. That’s my NYE resolution.

Movie Review: The Green Book

Ok…so I saw the Green Book…good movie. I always have an appreciation for the bond or brotherhood between men. Like the movies, “Life” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence or “Uptown Saturday Night” with Sidney Portier and Bill Cosby or even “Bad Boys” with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.  Green Book, as with all those movies, transition the friendship through the forming, storming and norming. That was corporate speak, what I mean is you meet someone, you assess them, they assess you, you assert your position, then you respect and protect each other. Now…he’s your homie, anyway the story is based on…

Wait…

I just did a google search and they don’t even list the black actor in the 15 cast members listed on google…wait he WON the supporting-actor for his portrayal and he’s not even listed?! I’m talking about Mahershala Ali who portrays the real-life jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley.

Wow…maybe my algorithms are off.

Anyway…know your history, the Green Book is a real book that detailed where blacks could travel safely in the south during segregation…it’s an actual book. It’s displayed in the African-American History Museum, I saw it.

So…search on Mahershala Ali and Dr. Don Shirley but don’t go see the movie…apparently Mahershala Ali wasn’t in the cast according to google. Dang…threw my whole review off.

The murder of Nipsey Hussle…why him?

I don’t even know where to start. I’m so sick of this $%@#!

I mean when Nipsey got killed, I was like, So what…next week another black man killed over something completely stupid.  It might even be something serious but again NOT worth a life.  Oh he’s a rapper… ex-gang dude, whatever, it will be someone else next week…but let’s get mad at the cops first. I mean come on, what makes Nipsey’s death any different. Someone will get killed next week over something like an almost gold chain, Nikes, my girlfriend likes you, your phone…some stupid s#1+.  Shoot…we don’t have to wait until next week…tonight I bet money, some black male will get killed TONIGHT! What?…you don’t like what I’m saying?!  I bet you won’t bet me. I make that bet any day of the week in any city. What…?  You didn’t think the same thing?! What US city do you live in where we aren’t killing each other…where do you live? I wanna move there.

You don’t understand…this is what EVERYONE sees us doing to ourselves…but “Black Lives Matter” right?!

Then I actually listened to Nipsey and got even angrier…Nipsey was a positive dude…about to get married…talking about investments…Yo this dude was making changes. That’s why I say, “Why him?”  Why is it that when the positive influences come and get snuffed out almost immediately…why is that?  Why is it that our beacons that challenge us to get better get snuffed out. I don’t know man but something has to change.

Rest in Peace Nipsey….really sorry I assumed those things about you.

Anyway…if anything is going to change, it has to start with me.

…that google search really put me in a foul mood.

MPM

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