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Ask the USA: “Why Do Americans Make A Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

14 Apr

Hello readers!

Early in February, I introduced a new series to my blog called “Ask the USA”. In that introduction, I explained the purpose of this series, what inspired this series, and why I feel qualified to answer these questions (to the best of my ability, of course).

With that being said, one of the questions I’ve been receiving from foreigners all over the internet is:

“Why Do Americans Make a Big Deal About Race and Ethnicity?”

Let’s just get one thing straight here. The USA is full of diverse people with diverse opinions. When it comes to race and ethnicity, people handle it differently here. Obviously, there are many people who don’t make a big deal about it. There are people who are actually prejudiced and don’t care about it. There are people who make a big deal about race and ethnicity and see them as serious issues. There are people who use these issues to “progress” in life and use it as an excuse to do whatever it is they want.

But those who understand “prejudice” will act against it, right? That group may not include those of a minority racial group. It may include those of alternative sexual orientations, minority religions, feminists who feel oppressed, and ethnic groups who live alternative lifestyles. With all of these people acting against prejudices of all kinds, they will obviously loudly act or speak against racism.

However, there are people in the above category (including those from a minority race) who really don’t care about racism either way.

Yet, we still have to acknowledge that people do make a big deal about these things.

So, let’s begin with a little history lesson…

How Did All of these Race Issues Begin?

America is still a young country in comparison to most other countries. It is exactly 238 years old (if we’re not counting when the settlers first arrived on the land and the thousands of years the Native Americans have lived on the land).

With that being said, many of the early issues that affected the USA still sort of affect us because they really didn’t happen that long ago (if you consider the fact our history is more recent than the histories of other nations).

This nation has a majority white population. But it wasn’t always that way. The Europeans did a lot to make sure it became that way. Their actions left a lot of bitter and resentful people. Unlike other countries, the USA began as a melting pot, with a majority Native American ethnic group, and ended with white people as the majority. It was never homogeneous. Let’s start with the original people.

Native Americans

The ancestry of these people trace back to Asia, so they weren’t always on the land, but they discovered it first, thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

Before the Europeans arrived on the land, it was owned by the various indigenous tribes within. They divided the land up their own way, just to keep the peace among them.

They learned to work on the land, they hunted and/or grew crops, fished, and developed their own cultures.

The first Europeans to arrive were from Spain. Most were explorers. They were helped by the Native Americans. The Spanish traded with them, which was how horses were introduced into the different western tribes.

Eventually, though, they fought with the many Native tribes on the west coast, some of the southeast coast of America, and in present-day Mexico and took over the land. Most of those settlers were greedy for land. “Hollywood” now resides in one of those lands.

However, even though Spain fought many tribes, they also befriended many tribes, including the Pueblo. Eventually, some of the Spanish mixed with many indigenous tribes and formed the ethnic group of Mexicans (Mestizos) we are most familiar with today. They learned from the other indigenous tribes and lived peacefully for years.

Mexico eventually fought and won independence from Spain in 1821 (after years of revolt against Napoleon’s occupation of Spain). Mexico won all of the west coast from Spain and continued to live peacefully soon after.

The French came as well, but they were overtaken by the English. They had issues in their own nations, a feud with Great Britain, and Canada to manage as well.

When the Europeans from England arrived, they were escaping religious “persecution” in Europe, sent over to the land to chart it out, or sent there as a punishment for crime (since it was considered the “wilderness”, fairly with large forests and mountains and unfamiliar wild animals).  This means that most were looking to spread their own religious values, were sent to conquer the land, or were criminals.

Many of the criminals were trapped as indentured servants. Orphans and other lost people were sent to the land as well.

When the Europeans arrived, they didn’t literally have a thing. During the Starving Times, some people ate their own shoes.  The Native Americans helped out their foreign invaders, even though the Europeans had no business on their land “illegally”.

The Europeans were so brainwashed by their religious leaders, they truly believed “God sent them” to the New Land. With that being said, they also believed the Native Americans were heathens that needed to be “civilized”, like they felt they were. This attitude led to Europeans setting up missionaries and trying to baptize the indigenous tribes. Most tribes didn’t have a problem with this…until the missionaries started whipping people, even adults, for “breaking God’s law”.

Many of the Europeans also just didn’t understand other cultures. They weren’t exposed to anything different, but they had knowledge from books and affinity with writing. Most of the information was full of prejudice. They abused many Native people for not converting to their religions and yet consumed the resources of the land. The Europeans began to over hunt and over plow, overstepping the cultural rituals regarding hunting and agriculture. They were like guests who overstayed their welcome.  They were also not clean (hygiene especially) and were full of disease. That wiped out many indigenous tribes.

As more and more white people arrived, and shortly after the American Revolution (the colonists’ break from Great Britain), it was harder to divide the land. Europeans began complaining about the Native Americans. The Europeans eventually fought with the tribes on the East. They depleted their population and drove the natives out. They indigenous people were forced to the land west of the Mississippi.

Later, around the 19th century, the new Americans felt they deserved ALL of the land, even the land to the west of the Mississippi. They were greedy, experiencing several economic issues, and trying to fit all of these immigrants in the land. They made treaties with the Natives to the west, but broke ALL of their promises. Eventually, wars broke out. Some tribes were just killed off without even being involved in wars. The Native people surrendered, tired and looking for peace. The United States set aside land for these people called “reservations”. They were not considered citizens, they were just allowed on the land.

But when Americans found gold on the reservations, they kept making the lands smaller and smaller, just to get hold of the resources. They tricked, cheated, and harmed many tribes up until the 20th Century (1900s)!

They put most of all the Native children in boarding schools, forcing them to dress like Europeans, talk like Europeans, and prevented them from seeing or living with their families and friends. The children were brutally punished if they showed any connection to their culture. This is why the languages are hardly spoken to this day and why many cultural practices are lost.

To add insult to injury, the Native Americans were never granted citizenship until 1924.

Why does this matter to Native Americans today?

1.The reservations still exist to this day. The US government has yet to be apologetic about the land they stole, the promises they broke, the people they cheated, and the people they’ve murdered. The terror that they caused to these people has been tremendous. Sadly, many of the reservations are impoverished, crime-ridden, and full of drugs (like most low-income areas in the US, where minority groups often reside, thanks to years of prejudice and oppression). The reservations were stripped of resources, so many of the people couldn’t thrive. Their hunting practices were lost because they were often put out of their original hunting grounds. Unapologetic Americans, quick to release themselves from guilt, often retort “Just leave the reservation, then you’ll live prosperous”. Many Native Americans stay on the reservations as their last stubborn fight for justice. Unfortunately, it feels more like a losing battle at times.

The land the First Nations people were allowed to live on were stripped of resources, and if resources were found on any of the lands after the reservations were drawn up, the government would make them smaller just to access the resources.

The U.S. and state governments are still trying to take the little land they have away, just to get more resources and to build more homes over their lands. They are still breaking promises and still disrespecting the people by trying to take their lands away from them. They don’t care. They are getting rich, fat, and comfortable off the land they stole.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/new-north-dakota-wants-congress-modify-indian-reservation-system-turn-power-states/

This isn’t a historical problem, this is a MODERN-DAY problem.

2. Many grandparents and great-grandparents experienced the boarding schools, are living on the reservations, still are scarred by those times in history, and pass their stories down to their children as warnings, as teaching tools, and as truth. Those children carry those burdens with them. It eventually turns into anger, sadness, and bitterness that continues on with loved ones for generations. Who wants to hear that grandpa and grandma were harshly beaten in boarding schools just for speaking their own language? That’s frightening and fear leads to anger.

3. They are no longer the face of their own land. Thanks to most of the media, most of Hollywood, other countries, especially in far east Asia, consider America to be a land full of “blonde hair and blue eyes” or black people. And they aren’t wrong. Most of the Native people were wiped out by Europeans.

Therefore, the Native people get little respect and little representation. Without that representation, their struggles are forgotten, their history rewritten or unwritten, and their culture disrespected time and time again. From the late 19th century to the 1950s, some Native Americans, along with Africans, were kept in zoos!

To them, when they watch people across the world explain what an American is to them, it is likely to make them roll their eyes because they constantly hear descriptions of white people instead of them.

4. History books teach a distorted view of Native Americans, if at all. Thanksgiving is even taught all wrong to children. Many children even believe Native Americans (often called “Indians”) are fairy tale characters…

Arguably, before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans didn’t get along with one another, and one tribe may have just as easily conquered the others much the same way the Europeans did.

But I don’t think the issue is so much that they were conquered. I believe it was the way they were conquered. It wasn’t through a fair fight. There were lies and cheating involved, which was not the way many Natives fought. And the fight continued even through to the modern century, which made this more of a modern history issue that affects Native Americans today.

African Americans

Many African Americans are descended from various western tribes in Africa. The African and Arab slave trade was practiced for centuries before Europeans arrived on the continent of Africa. During wars, many of the losers would be taken as slaves. Around the 15th century, slaves were being sold outside of Africa.

There are many different kinds of slavery. The kind of slavery the Europeans introduced was different than much of the slavery practiced in Africa (though Northern Africans practiced a similar form at times). In many African nations, people would be enslaved as punishment for a crime or to pay off a debt. They would have certain rights and it was more like indentured servitude. Slave families could buy their freedom and become a part of the master’s family. Many dressed nicely and were fed well. Many were sent to work gold mines, to tend the land, or work in the master’s homes.

At first, enslavement was just on a small scale. But the demand for slaves in Europe and many Arab nations increased. Wars increased and slavery increased.

Many of the African Americans living in America today are descendants of the slaves bought by Europeans from Africa.

Europeans practiced a kind of slavery called “chattel slavery” where a slave had no rights and was treated like property or like an animal. America had the longest history of slavery in the world, practicing it up into the 19th century (1800s).

African Americans helped build the USA with their labor and brains, but they got little recognition or respect for it and often times white people took all the credit for things they did, which made black people appear as if they weren’t contributing much to American society. Many families were separated and unacknowledged. Their heritage was stripped from them, they were beaten for speaking their language and practicing their culture, and so the cultures were lost. Many African Americans don’t even know where their ancestors came from in Africa and are completely removed from their nations’ cultures.

There were some African Americans who came to America as immigrants but most came as slaves.

The American Civil War is what changed things for African Americans.

The Civil War was mostly about the division of territory, but slaves were swept up into the debate. Certain states were slave states. The South mostly relied on slaves. They were more agricultural. The North relied on factories and immigrants to thrive. They wanted to move America into the future with machines and technology. They felt the South was holding them back. They felt the way to force the South forward was to get rid of the slave trade, which would cut into the southern economy. The South felt that the North had no right to tell them what to do. As Americans expanded west, they began to debate over which states would be slave states and which would be free states. It moved from a debate into a war.

Eventually, the North won the war. African Americans were freed, but they still were not treated equally. They were given the right to vote, but hard tests were put in place to discourage African Americans, who couldn’t read, from voting and holding public office. Many places were segregated or didn’t allow black people inside, so many black people had nothing to call their own. They were forced to move into run-down neighborhoods with immigrant families.

The South made living there difficult when they put Jim Crow Laws in place, which were designed to prevent African Americans from progressing.

Many white people murdered black people from the end of the Civil War to the 1970’s, and no justice was served. Some cases didn’t reopen until the 1990’s, like in the case of the Birmingham Church bombing that killed four little girls, and by that time many of the criminals had passed on, living most of their lives comfortably and guilt-free. Many cases still aren’t resolved and have gone cold.

The people who lived during that period lived in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and are still living as parents and grandparents today, and were greatly affected by the period mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.

A lot of people feel these issues have ended years ago and don’t realize how the past can affect the future. If a war between North and South Korea still exists, and the feelings are still holding true, what makes the feelings from those harsh racist times in America any different? The past affects the future.

How does this affect African Americans today?

The slave trade has had an affect on all of African Americans except the ones who migrated to America on their own. African immigrants wouldn’t relate to the actual history.

The history has affected the culture in various ways:

1.It influenced the way African Americans speak. African Americans grew up in the South. Much of the South was owned by France and Spain. African Americans developed a “cajun” accent. Even when the English took over, the accent remained. They weren’t taught to read and write, so many learned English simply by ear. Many spoke broken English as a result.

Once slavery ended, many slaves still didn’t have access to schools, as white people still kept schools segregated and made no efforts to build schools for the newly freed black people. Many had to migrate north for schooling, but many didn’t have the money or health to make it that far. So, the manner of speaking stuck. It traveled all the way to the present day.

Nowadays, African Americans receive an education and are taught the proper way to speak English. However, if their grandparents spoke that way, their parents did, too, and so the manner of speaking carried on into many African American households. Many black people return to the manner of speaking to relate to other people within their race.

2. It influenced African American music culture, American music, and their place in the music industry. Blues, rock and roll, pop music, and much of the modern music we listen to came out of the African American community. Black Americans didn’t have much to call their own, but they were able to make music. They used music to express their feelings in ways they were not free to express.

Unfortunately, many white people hijacked the genres and denied African Americans airplay on the radio, causing people to acknowledge white contributions over black contributions. For instance, Elvis Presley is considered the King of Rock and Roll though he did nothing to truly contribute to the genre other than moving his hips on stage. He stole the songs of many African Americans and brought them to the “mainstream” which was really just the “white audience”. Many African American rock and roll artists didn’t get respect until the 1990s and many still aren’t respected in the rock community. The Beatles get more attention and they aren’t even American.

That’s why African Americans today get so butthurt when white people get famous from things they’ve invented. They don’t feel appreciated or respected. They feel treated as inferior. This is why they are the first to pull the cultural appropriation card. They are afraid of their contributions being wiped under the rug like it once was before.

Even in movies, white people would often portray African Americans, and sometimes they would play up racist interpretations. This is where the “black face” stemmed from. Many of these interpretations put African Americans in inferior positions to white people. They put African Americans in a negative light and made fun of African Americans’ station in life, their culture, the way they spoke, etc.

When there were roles that honored a historical figure of color (like an African Queen), a white person would portray the person. This caused most of the world to believe that all the major royals of the world were white and that black people were always inferior. Movies were segregated and black people were not invited to play roles in major movie productions or in major playhouses. This whitewashing happened up until the 1970’s. Many of the executives and/or the families that approved of the whitewashing are still in control today.

This is why white-washing is so looked down upon by black people. This is why so much of a stink is made when white people are put in roles that could potentially go to other races of people. Many people of different backgrounds already feel undermined.

And then racism really does still exist. When the role is reversed, white people don’t like it either.

3. Like in Native American communities, parents and grandparents are still around to remind the younger generation of harsher times in history. They remind their children to be watchful of racism because they were victims of it. Of course hearing these stories are enough to make the newer generation more defiant of a system they felt betrayed them. It’s enough to make them angry and bitter.

4. It is the reason so many still live in low-income, crime-ridden neighborhoods. Many businesses that are major in the USA today began as early as the 1700s. African Americans were enslaved during these periods, putting them behind everyone else in the job and business market. Laws interfered with their education and racism had a major impact on families. Even with the inventions created by black people, many had to go through white people to get it sold or to get it off the ground. They had jobs, but were underpaid and were paid less than white people up until the 1970s.

Angry about the injustice, many black people turned to a life of crime to take what they felt they deserved. They learned about gang life from the Irish and Italians who lived in the inner cities (before they learned how to integrate into wealthy and middle-class American society). Anger groups sprung up to fight white supremacy.

The “gang” mentality influenced the black community and eventually influenced the culture in both large and small ways.

As mentioned before, racism in the 1960s and 1970s had an affect on the grandparents and parents that are still alive today. Even when the Civil Rights Movement ended, some people were still bitter towards black people and found ways to keep them away from the working world. Most black people grew up in homes with parents who had low-income jobs as a result.

The children of these people grew up with little, which set them back. Many of them found success in the 1980’s and 1990’s, but if there were any other problems in the domestic structure, many continued to struggle. Poverty often leads to poverty, and it’s the very reason many African Americans are still in poor situations.

This made a lot of African Americans bitter towards white people.

5. Certain standards in a Eurocentric society come out of systemic racism. The European standard of modesty, beauty, manner of speaking, and even living washes over the nation and around the world. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with that standard is “odd” or “eccentric” or inferior. Black people get called “ghetto” or “uncivilized” if they deviate from the norm.

Black people deviate the most from these standards, simply because their culture is different and their appearances are different. This stands in the way of getting good jobs or getting elite positions in society, especially in an industry where presentation is important.

Black hair is considered unprofessional.

6. It is the reason so many African Americans struggle in school to this day and have a hard time achieving in society.

Before slavery ended, they weren’t allowed to read and write. Slave owners did this so slaves wouldn’t learn how to buy their own freedom and so they wouldn’t run away to free places.

Some black people taught themselves secretly, stealing books or overhearing conversations or listening outside of school yards. Some of the house slaves (slaves that worked in the master’s house and not in the fields) passed notes from house to cabin.

But most black people resigned to the fact that they would never learn how to read and write the language they were forced to speak. To cope with this fact, many developed pride in their ignorance, using it as humor and resisting White education altogether. After all, they felt, “Why should we have to learn English? Why should we learn at a white man’s designed school? Let’s resist them by resisting their education.”

Unfortunately, this established a rebellious attitude in the culture and made it difficult for them to assimilate into American society once freed.

Even after they were free, the Southern part of the USA, the part of the USA that mostly practiced slavery before losing the war, refused to establish schools for black children and some schools for blacks were burned down. Teachers and students were killed for helping, white and black. This scared black people off from an education.

Even after school became mandatory at the turn of the 20th century (early 1900’s), many schools for African Americans had little money to provide books for each student. Poor kids still had to work, so many black students worked while attending school. Many kids had to drop out to help their parents make ends meet. They couldn’t fund raise in the black community because most didn’t even have adequate jobs. White people were unsympathetic and felt freeing them was enough, so must didn’t put money behind black schools. And schools were segregated, or separated, between blacks and whites.

All-black schools continued to suffer up until the 1970’s, after the Civil Rights movement. But even then, progress was slow. The government began funding the money after schools were desegregated and everyone got their legal rights, but they were still way behind schools with a majority white population. And still some people were against the integration of black kids and didn’t want to help black people, just like some don’t want to today. They felt it was up to black people to fix themselves. But the problem was it was difficult to start at the bottom in a society with white people at the top. Progress would have to be slow if black people were to fix themselves.

And The Civil Rights Act didn’t end actual racism. Racism is an ideology that produces feelings, something the law can’t change. Racist feelings continued. The people who were mostly at the top found ways to implement that racism without being caught by the law. Many were successful at segregating black people from communities and businesses, using other means of discrimination.

Many black kids just gave up on trying to receive an education and gave up trying to assimilate into American society. That’s why we ended up with a culture heavily on welfare, strongly against authority, and uninterested in education as a whole. In many ways, it’s a courageous stand, but foolish, and it sets many black people back. The attitudes and behaviors that came from slavery give white people a reason to ignore black people and establish racist rules.

Racism still exists as a result. Because of racism, segregation still exists. Black people still end up with the short end of the stick. This is why black people are some of the most defensive minorities in the country. Many of them don’t trust white people, and it doesn’t seem many white people care to earn that trust and would rather ignore the issues.

Segregated Proms Just Ended in 2014 in Georgia

My Experience

I am a very open-minded person, and I have friends of many different backgrounds. From reading my various articles, most people know I’m not the first to pull the race card or jump on the “black power” bandwagon. But I know from experience racism, especially systemic racism, exists and/or has existed in the 21st century.

I graduated from high school about 9 years ago, but I still remember this incident.

All my life, I lived in an all-black community and attended all-black schools. Yes, my school was the stereotypical violent school. The school performed poorly academically (only 50% of my class graduated) and the behavior was off the charts horrible. I personally had good grades, but everyone around me didn’t really appreciate school and didn’t really respect the teachers or administration in place. Gang life was common. I was in a school full of people who glamorized thug life and would start a fight with each other if they were stared at the wrong way.

Of course, not everybody was like this. Some people were peaceful and involved in school. But they were considered lame or stuck-up to the other kids in the school. My clique was called the “Lames”. We liked rock music, anime, video games, and tried to have fun with school and such.

One year, I was taken out of that school and placed in a relatively mixed school, with the majority of students being white (though that majority wasn’t that large). Almost all of the teachers were white. In fact, I only remember there being one black teacher in the whole school and no black administrators at the District office.

I was really excited to go to this school. The school’s academic stats were high, they had fun activities that I was eager to get involved in, and I wouldn’t have to worry about people picking fights with me, threatening me, or any other nonsense like that. In my mind, I assumed that being at a black school was the problem. I used to be one of those people who acted like a coon, bad-mouthing black people and feeling resentful because I was bullied for being different. So, I was excited to be around people who might actually appreciate rock music or anime like I do.

After attending the school, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I did make friends of all races, don’t get me wrong. But everybody was so divided into cliques, it was hard to mingle. And then by the time I moved there, I was a Junior in high school, so everyone had already made their friends. Still, mostly it was peaceful.

However, I ran into this one group of girls (all white clique) who seriously looked down on people. They were racist, but they also looked down on poor white people, too. I remember one time, one of the girls bit off her cookie during lunch, came over to me and my friends’ table, and said, “Here you need this” to one of my poorer white friends, handing her the bitten-off cookie. This girl and her friends also used to make fun of a Middle Eastern boy at the school. I remember they would pronounce his name wrong on purpose and tell him he smells. He got so fed up one time, he almost dumped his tray on their heads.

And those girls were just laughing.

They would talk about my black friend, saying she tried to act white, talking about how ugly she looked, etc.

They didn’t bother me because at the end of the day, they weren’t in charge of my grades. And then they weren’t a bowl of cherries. They all had this ugly orange fake tan they got at a cheap booth, so there was a lot to discuss regarding them. 😛

But then, second semester, I ran into a racist teacher. That’s when it got tricky.

Because I was so excited to go to this school, and because I’d never been around too many white people, I assumed everybody was going to be normal or nice. Even if I knew some teachers might be mean or strict, I never expected them to be racist. Not in the 21st century, oh no.

Initially, a lot of black students warned me about her, but I didn’t listen to them because at my old school, kids would say teachers were racist all the time. And all of the teachers they said were racist would turn out to be nice to me. So, whether they were racist or not, this didn’t affect my grades. What racist teacher would want to work at an all-black school, under all-black administration, anyway? And some of those students were just awful bad and used the race card to avoid taking responsibility.

I didn’t personally have this teacher, but my sibling did. My sibling and I are the same age and we felt the same way about the school. At first, she didn’t listen to anyone around her who told her about this teacher. I didn’t either and just brushed it under the rug.

But when my sibling walked into this class, right away she felt something wasn’t right. My sister would say good morning to the teacher, like she did all her other teachers, but the teacher would never say anything back. But when the white students came in and greeted her, she would get into long conversations with them. My sister didn’t think anything of it at first, assuming maybe she didn’t say it loud enough or assuming she rubbed the teacher the wrong way. I assumed that, too.

The class didn’t have assigned seats, but the majority of the students of “color” or of a different ethnic group (black, Asian, Hispanic, Afro Latino, Muslim, etc) sat at the front of the room, while the white kids sat all over the classroom, with the majority sitting in the back. One time, my sister wasn’t feeling good and decided to sit at the back of the room. The teacher told her to sit at the front. My sister asked her why, and the teacher said she’s used to her sitting there and wanted to keep track of everyone in the room for attendance purposes. So, my sister didn’t make a big deal about it. But the next day, a few of the white students, who normally sat in the front, moved to the back, and the teacher didn’t say anything to them. In fact, the white students switched seats all the time.

Still, my sister just listened to what she said and didn’t really think she was racist. She thought the teacher didn’t like her for some reason, but she didn’t think she was racist.

The teacher would focus on the black and Mexicans kids, but some of them were bad.

But there were far more black students that cared about their education in this school. One of the black girls in the class was in the top 10 of her graduating class.

The first sign that the teacher was racist came with this student.

The white students in the class were talking in the back of the classroom. Whenever the other students of color talked, the teacher would issue consequences, but she never did that with the white students. In fact, she would laugh and joke along with them!

One day, they were talking during a lesson. She pointed out a black student, who had the highest grade in the class, and told her to stop talking. This student was very quiet and was writing her notes. She looked up surprised and said she wasn’t talking. The teacher told her not to talk back to her and she wrote the student up! The student was trying to explain that the students in the back were talking, but the teacher said she didn’t want to hear excuses.

Fortunately, the principal and administration weren’t racist. The student was able to talk to them and get the referral thrown out.

But it didn’t stop there.

The second incident came when a Mexican student in the class received a D as a grade in the classroom, even though he turned in all his work and said he’d gotten good grades on his work. He asked to look at his work and review it. The teacher refused. He stormed out of the classroom, yelling, “Racist bit**!” The teacher shrugged and said “whatever”.

The third incident came when the teacher kept telling one of the other black students to be quiet and the student refused. Of course, the student was being disobedient, which was bad. But the white students in the back talked throughout the whole lesson. The black student brought this to the teacher’s attention, stating “Why don’t you talk to them in the back? I can’t wait to move back to the city.” And the teacher said “Me too. I can’t wait until all of you go back.” My sister was thinking, “all of you”? What does she mean by that?

The final incident, the final straw, was when a final project was due and my sister almost failed the class because the teacher lost her assignment.

My sister and I have always been conscientious about our work. There was a big assignment that determined the final grade in the class. This assignment was to write a letter to Red Lobster. If the letter got to Red Lobster, they would send a letter back. So, there were supposed to be two copies: one for the teacher and one for Red Lobster.

My sister turned her letter in a week before the due date. Red Lobster sent a letter back to her; that’s how she knew she turned it in.

The teacher comes up to her and says she didn’t receive the letter. My sister reminded the teacher that Red Lobster responded, but the teacher said that if she didn’t receive a teacher copy, my sister would fail the class! My sister kept a couple of copies in her locker, and asked the teacher if she could go and get it out of her locker. The teacher said no, and said that that was that. My sister asked if the teacher could look on her desk again and check around. The teacher refused and told her to sit down. My sister was panicking, afraid, worried, crying.

Then a white girl comes up to the teacher and asks the teacher if she can get a pass to go the library to DO THE PROJECT. Girl didn’t even do it and it was passed the due date. And guess what the teacher said? “Oh sure, I’ll write you a pass.” SAY WHAT? It was then my sister realized the teacher was racist. She immediately told an adult, my family.

After that, you know fam jumped on the phone with the school board and the principal, explaining the situation.

They asked the teacher to search her stuff again. Guess what? She found it. Interesting… She told my sister it was somewhere on her desk…

After that, my sister realized she had come face to face with her first racist experience.

It’s not a big deal when it’s some person who can’t affect your life in any way, like that clique of girls I mentioned in the beginning of this story, but when it’s someone in authority, someone who can potentially stifle your growth, like a teacher, or put you in jail, like a police officer, that’s when racism is scary. That’s where it should be stopped. That’s when it gets serious.

After that, I never questioned whether racism existed. I don’t see racism in every incident, but I know it exists. Even though things may have changed since 9 years ago, I’m still watchful, still prepared to be disliked simply because I’m black. It taught me to pay attention to my surroundings and not to assume things have changed just because we’re in the “modern era”.

In that classroom, none of the white people realized how racist the teacher was. She treated them nicely. Of course, they thought we were all just pulling the race card. They assumed that because she treated them nicely. Some of them turned a blind eye to what was going on, just happy they were getting special privileges.

I think they had a hard time believing it because one half Mexican half white boy got away with sitting with the white kids. He dyed his hair, was pale, and didn’t have a “Spanish” accent. He blended in well, so the teacher treated him nice. He concealed his ethnicity the whole time and she never found out he was Mexican. I think that’s why my sister questioned herself.

But eventually it became clear.

People of a minority group are taught early on to recognize signs of racism as a result of the stories they’ve been told by their parents and the experiences of other people of color. Some miss the mark, paranoid of being treated unfairly, but others are very aware and on point.

Watch the movie Get Out. It’s really good about pointing out how deep racism can be seeped into the hearts of individuals and shows how black people are taught to recognize the signs.

Mexican Americans

At one time, the whole west coast of present-day USA was owned by Mexico. The Spanish settlers were the first to settle in the land. Many mixed with the indigenous people forming the Mexican ethnic group we know today. After they won independence from Spain in the 1800’s, they opened trade with the USA. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I already mentioned that white Americans felt they should own all of the land west of the Mississippi River. Eventually, Americans went to war with Mexico and managed to take much of their land. They didn’t take all of their territory, which is why Mexico is still standing today, but they down-sized it tremendously.

When cowboys and other outlaws entered into these territories, they tricked many Mexicans out of their land and stole their resources. Many Mexicans had been living on their lands for years and lost the papers to prove their ownership. Most didn’t speak English and were tricked into signing contracts that relinquished their control of their land. Mexicans lost their rights and were considered foreigners in their own land. They didn’t get citizenship until 1910, several decades after many of the states they lived in became a part of the US!

There are still signs that Mexico once owned the west coast. The states once owned by Mexico have Spanish names. California, Florida, and Texas were just three of the territories owned by Mexico. Many of the buildings and cultures within these states originated with Spain and Mexico, and there are visible signs of that cultural influence.

Nowadays, Mexicans are associated with illegal immigration. This deviation from their original station on this land has caused many Mexicans to resent full-blooded white people. Many Mexicans feel that the land should still be theirs and they may resent the takeover of Americans.

Many Mexicans work hard to assimilate into American culture, but are still treated as inferior in many ways. Mexican Americans aren’t honored or respected in the USA like they should be. Their language is now considered foreign. Their culture isn’t considered “American”. Their businesses and riches were stripped from them during the war and many of them had to start from scratch, amid prejudice. Some turned to a life of crime to make ends meet. This is why crime also seeped into their culture.

Asian Americans

Asian Americans haven’t had it as bad as other races and ethnic groups. Many came to America as immigrants, hoping to assimilate into society. But they brought their rich culture and language with them, mingled with westerners, and still had a nation to call home in case things didn’t work out in the USA (unlike many other races and ethnic groups).

Still, within the nation, America made it hard for Asian Americans to enter the land and grow. When Japanese people first started coming into the USA, most came illegally. Many were brought over by contractors who needed someone to work the land in Hawaii. The Chinese came to strike it rich during the Gold Rush and send the money back to their families. They were trying to escape harsh conditions after China lost the Opium war to the British, which allowed the British to take over different cities/provinces in China, placing many Chinese people in poverty. But even in America, they were placed in subservient roles and prejudice stopped many of them from getting the riches they wanted.

Still, Asians played a large role in the building up of America.

The Chinese especially gave their strongest efforts in America. Many helped with the Transcontinental Railroad project. When they first arrived to find gold, they were well-received. But when competition got stronger, many Americans began to dislike any immigrants coming into the country–including Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

The Chinese helped California’s economy tremendously, but they were still driven out of many cities. Eventually a ban was put in place.

After the Chinese Exclusion Act, many Chinese weren’t allowed into the USA. This affected other Asians, who were often confused for Chinese or pit in the same category. Later, another Act banned all Asians from entering the country. This is partially why Asian Americans are still the smallest minority ethnic and racial groups in America.

As such, they are largely underrepresented and unacknowledged. Without proper representation, ignorant stereotyping persists.

Most people today just consider them as foreign. Eastern culture is widely different from western culture, and some Americans (black, white, Hispanic, etc) are ignorant towards them because they don’t understand them. Many Americans associate the “look” of Asia with foreign or alien, even if the person was born in America. This greatly alienates Asian Americans, making them feel odd and out-of-place.

Today, middle easterners and west Asians are catching a lot of fire because of recent radical attacks in the USA. Even the people that aren’t Muslim are being scrutinized simply because they came from or their families came from a middle eastern or west eastern country. All Muslim people are categorized in the same place as one another, which causes frustration for the ones who are truly peace-loving.

People from the middle east and western Asia came to America between the late 1800’s to the 1920’s, escaping war and economic hardship. Because of the Johnson-Reed act, all Asians were prohibited from entering the USA. Again, this is why, of all the races and ethnicities, Asians are the smallest minority. They weren’t as welcome in the USA because they provided competition for White Americans.

Middle Easterners and West Easterners were normally darker-skinned and confused for being black. Many people treated them the same way they treated black people.

The act was repealed in the 1960s, which brought over many more Asian Americans. Still, by then, they were the smallest minority, which makes their ideas and interests largely underrepresented in politics and media.

White People

The modern white people have had to shoulder a lot of what their ancestors did. Because many of their ancestors from the 1950’s and 1960’s are still alive, some of them have carried on the same attitudes.

While there are now more sympathetic and open-minded white people today than there have been, many either ignore racism, have deep-seated racist attitudes, or just avoid getting involved with minorities and any issues regarding them for fear of offending them.

There are several reasons why this racism, indifference, and segregation continues:

1.Some white people have deep-seated prejudices. Even though nowadays most white people won’t treat another person of color mean or won’t openly discriminate against black people (though some do), many have in their minds that a Eurocentric way of thinking is the superior way to think. Many white people feel this is “their country”, the one they conquered, and they can’t understand a culture that’s different from there’s.

For instance, in black culture, it is customary to shout out loud when excited or congratulating someone during celebrations (like graduations, weddings, etc). White people might shout when excited too, but they tend to be more toned down. When black people are shouting or cheering, white people may think they are being “rude” or being “ignorant”. The cultures have differences, but white people may have been taught that their way of expressing happiness or excitement is the “proper” way. This often makes black people look bad when they might just be misunderstood. That’s just an example of a culture clash. But because the majority rules, the scales tip in favor of one over the other.

Some may also look down on tribal living, finding a progressive way of living, with Eurocentric laws, manner of dress, and manner of speaking to be the best way of living, while looking down on people who don’t live that way. And don’t get me wrong. Many people enjoy living in the land we call home with the freedoms we have, with the Europe-inspired laws and everything. But then again, most of us minorities were raised here and never experienced anything different.

2. Some white people are fed up with trying to be nice to minority groups, especially black people. There are some white people who feel that it doesn’t matter what they try to do for other communities, they will always come out looking racist or not doing enough. Many are still not aware of which phrases or words are racist and which words aren’t. They may know the obvious words like “ni****” and other such words. But they may not realize that generalizing all black people in certain categories could come off as racist, even if white people feel the generalizations or stereotypes are true in their perception.

And that fact makes them feel uncomfortable around other ethnic and racial groups, especially when they feel they have a real concern regarding these people. This gives them a reason to exclude other races and ethnic groups from certain events, schools, or businesses. Some don’t want the “damage control” issues that could follow.

Some white people do want “white only” spaces, spaces where they can talk comfortably with people who are similar and share the same culture or music. They may not necessarily hate other races or ethnic groups, they just want to spend time with people like themselves. Unfortunately, this increases segregation and causes controversy.

Admittedly, some minority groups do get angry over every little comment towards them or another person like them. Even a judgment of character is often referred back to racial issues at times. Some minorities do try to profit off of racism and “racist” situations and try to bring attention to themselves. Some minorities just find it easier to blame racism for some of the issues in the community instead of doing more to build up their communities.

This makes it frustrating for the white people that may not have initially had prejudices per se, but may have formed them based on reactions from minority groups. For instance, Mackelmore, a pop artist in the USA, marched in Seattle for the issues going on in Ferguson. Many black people criticized him, asking why he was there and stating that he just wanted attention. They were mad at him for taking home the best Hip Hop artist award at an awards’ show when he is 1) not considered a Hip-hop artist by most Hip-hop experts and 2) not considered the best Hip-hop artist to many in the Hip-hop community (who are mostly black and Latino). Most black people felt the award should’ve gone to Kendrick Lamar, but felt that Macklemore won because he is white. They felt he didn’t speak up then. So they felt he was only marching for the show.

This made a lot of white people angry, who felt that black people would find a way to criticize them no matter what. This disconnects them further from minorities and makes them just want to ignore issues. Some feel it’s better to ignore than to address it to avoid having their words and actions criticized.

3) There are white people who have been victims of prejudice, even crime, at the hands of those of a minority group, and so have a fear of them, which leads to hatred.

Remember I told you I attended a all-black school? Well, it’d be unfair to say no white people attended. It was a majority black school with two white people and one Asian girl. There was one white girl and one white boy who went to the school.

The girl was raised around black people. But the students, teachers, and administration made it hard for her in school. They were racist towards her, oh yes, racist.

The other black students would talk about the way the white student spoke, saying she was trying to “sound black”. She couldn’t help it because she grew up around black people and so she picked up their vernacular. But they wouldn’t let up.

Some black students would pick fights with her, intimidate her, and exclude her from things. And whenever she would tell the administration, they did nothing about it and asked her whether she “provoked” the situations. I literally saw one incident where a girl pushed her down for no reason.

This is what happened when she became the minority. Many white people are afraid of being a minority in this country because they are afraid of being treated this way by bitter people, but it would be on a larger scale. They are afraid of their rights being ignored. Then, they would have to face and carry the burdens of their ancestors.

How do you think this white girl fared? I’m sure that if she had became angry enough at her situation, she would’ve turned into a severe racist person.

The good thing about it is she did manage to make a few black friends. That made her realize not all black people were evil and pressed. I was one of those friends. Still, I don’t know what feelings she carried throughout her adult life.

And the ones whose family members were victims of crime by minorities will also resent them. They may attack everything about the criminal, including the race of the individual. This may cause them to be scared of minorities, and fear leads to hatred.

Are All White People To Blame?

No. The newer generation didn’t create the mess. It’s messed up that they are getting dumped on because of things their ancestors did or allowed. Many white people today treat others fairly. There are still ignorant people everywhere, but there are also nice white people out there, too. Everyone in America is diverse.

I think the issues started with minorities’ anger towards the government, a system that failed to issue liberty, freedom, and justice to minorities, but preached about liberty, freedom, and justice. I think most are bitter towards the system. However, mostly white people are in that system, and that is creating a modern-day race problem.

However, there are some white people that support that system and refuse to listen to any rhetoric that makes them feel guilty. And racism still exists. There are still people in power (very few though) like teachers, police officers, and mayors that are racist and use their power to execute discriminatory acts. But it’s important for those of a minority group to sift through foolishness and find the real racism, otherwise they risk losing any support to their causes.

Some minority groups get pretty triggered over little jokes or comments that may not even be racist and may just be “racial”. Some minorities may assume that any person like them getting arrested by a white police officer was “racially targeted”, which isn’t always the case.

Some people can’t handle history lessons and have formed prejudiced views of modern-day white people based on what they’ve learned about the past. Of course, this annoys many white people.

I think all ignorance would be diminished if people learned to walk in other people’s shoes. But maybe that’s way too idealistic.

I think in many cases it seems to some people that everyone else can learn to walk in a white person’s shoes, but it doesn’t seem white people are capable of walking in another culture’s shoes without judging or comparing it to their own culture.

For instance, other cultures and races around the world can watch a movie with a white lead and with European culture (like Game of Thrones) and relate to the humor and story of it, along with movies with lead characters of their own races. But white people can’t relate well to movies with black themes and leads, Asian themes and leads, or Native American themes and leads. To many people, they seem to be the only group of people who don’t know how to assimilate or adapt.

Even in Asia, Asians often speak of running into white tourists who are often confused as to why certain signs aren’t in English and why the people just don’t speak to them in in English. Some ethnicities have had bad experiences.

In South Africa, many white people protested against black girls wearing braids and Afros to school. IN AFRICA.

But there are many white people that do connect with other cultures and races. There are some that can switch between Harry Potter and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. It’s senseless to put everyone in the same category. But sometimes these white people might feel rejected by the group of people they try to connect to. They get labeled “appropriators” or attention-seekers.

Some people use the race or ethnic card when convenient but have no real intentions on making changes. That’s when it becomes less effective and irritating. That really hurts the actual organizations out here fighting for true equality.

Why Would Something From Over 100 Years Ago Affect People?

Does Thomas Edison’s inventions affect us? Yes. Do we realize it all the time? No.

Without him we wouldn’t have light bulbs, movies, or sound recordings. We forget about his importance because other people have upgraded it, but he invented it and it still affects us today because we use these things.

Does the Korean war still affect South Koreans? Yes. In the same manner? No. The war happened back in the 1950s. However, because only a ceasefire was issued, the threat still exists.

History has an affect on us as humans, especially history that is 100 years old or less. As long as grandparents and great-grandparents live, history has an affect on everyone’s social, emotional, mental, and even economic health. It affects their children and grandchildren. Events in history just don’t happen, laws get put in place, and then it’s over. There is always an aftereffect. The aftermath can last for centuries, depending on the actions of all involved.e

So, Should They Be Mad At Each Other Forever?

Of course not.

However, some people have to overcome their pain and start the process towards healing. When people are suffering, it’s easy to try to find someone to blame for their problems. Many of these people need to find the courage to let go of the past, pick up where they left off, and make a new start.

The biggest reason these issues still exist is because there are no real solutions floating around. If people came together to actually discuss solutions, things might actually improve.

I hope I was able to answer all questions about this topic! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think or what you could add to the discussion!

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Black History Month For Children: Learning Black History Through the American Girl Beforever Collection

1 Feb

Martin Luther King’s birthday has passed, and black history month is here, and so the focus may be on “black pride”.

Many children today really don’t understand their history, or rather don’t care about it, whether they are African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, Native American, Jewish,  etc. It’s a shame that I even had to witness African American children fall asleep during Dr. King movies. I’ve witnessed this recently at a school. They really take for granted the privileges they have obtained thanks to him. MLK would roll over in his grave if he could see how some of our young African American children are today.

The American Girl dolls and books to me are a great way to educate children about their history in a way that relates to them. Through the eyes of three nine to ten year old girls, children can learn to value their history, to be proud of themselves, and to work hard to achieve great things. I’m proud to announce that American Girl has added three African American characters to their Beforever line: Cecile, Addy, and Melody.

I’m not telling you to go out and purchase an expensive doll for black history month. But maybe you could read a story with your child, or get them one of the books from the library. Some parents don’t realize how important it is for children to know their history, but knowing what others have gone through helps them to develop admirable and likable qualities, such as compassion, empathy, understanding, and intelligence. They realize that everything isn’t going to be handed to them, and that it is up to them to make a future for themselves, no matter how challenging life gets. Children who understand history learn to appreciate what they have and to be content. Every privilege we have today-modern technology and political/social freedoms-we have because someone from the past worked so that we could. We also look to the past to learn for the future.

All of the characters in the American Girls series have something to teach kids. This month, we’ll be focusing on the African American characters.

Meet Cecile

Cecile‘s stories take place in 1853, centering around New Orleans, Louisiana during the worst outbreak of Yellow Fever in the city. While the story is fiction, many of the events in the stories really happened, such as the Yellow Fever epidemic and the city-wide Day of Prayer. Cecile is a wealthy French girl of color living in the French Quarter. Cecile shows a new side to African American history. While most children know of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, many do not know that there were rich black girls living prosperous lifestyles in the South. They are often not taught about the rich black culture that has existed in the USA prior to the Civil War. Cecile’s story focuses on the struggles she faces trying to help her family and her city find healing during a traumatic epidemic that hushes the lively spirit of New Orleans.

Though Cecile’s stories are shared with Marie-Grace, a poor white girl, Cecile still has a significant role in each story.

There may be several things that may concern readers when observing reviews of the stories. I always say consider what you can take from the series rather than focus on the negative. Perhaps I can give some suggestions that may make the introduction to these American Girl books easier.

“I don’t think this is good for black history month. Her stories are shared with a white girl.”

Cecile’s stories teach several things about black culture, even though her stories are shared with a white girl. While most of the world thinks most black people were either poor slaves or oppressed individuals who could only find poor housing and poor education, Cecile’s stories introduce a whole new side to black culture. Denise Lewis Patrick herself said that while researching, she found it surprising how freely people of color interacted with other races and how some black people lived in lavish circumstances.

Having a white girl share her story further teaches girls how different things were for black people in New Orleans before “Americans” entered the city. Though places were still segregated, people often mingled together at public events. And black people often had no strong desire to mingle with white people because it truly was “separate but equal”. Schools, ballrooms, stores, and other places were just as amazing for black people as they were for white people!

Slavery still existed, and of course slaves felt inferior. But wealthy black people owned large plantations in New Orleans full of slaves as well.

Through Cecile’s friendship with Marie-Grace, both girls learned to set aside their differences and see each other for the “content of their characters”. This is not only a good lesson for black girls, but girls of other ethnic backgrounds, too. I think this was exactly what MLK would’ve wanted. I think the series still teaches black history while bridging the gaps between two different races.

Some people may be concerned that Marie-Grace outshines Cecile in these stories. I can assure you that isn’t the case. Three books are dedicated to each girl. And Cecile plays a huge role throughout Marie-Grace’s stories as well. Just seeing how Marie-Grace reacts to Cecile can also give insight into the character and the time period.

“This book seems to gloss over the actual struggles blacks have experienced in the USA.”

Black history doesn’t only consist of struggle and hardship. Just as it’s important for children to recognize how hard black people fought for equality, it’s important for children to know that they can rise above any oppression if they work hard enough. It’s important for black children to recognize that they also have a rich history with a rich culture.

Many black people may not be able to relate to this era in time. That doesn’t the series has nothing to offer children. This is an opportunity for them to actually learn.

I think one of the most interesting things about Cecile, the main character, is that she speaks French. This series shows that African American girls of that time period were well-rounded and quite cultured. Who knows. This may encourage other black children to learn French. Even though these stories don’t teach about racism largely, the books have many other things to teach children regarding black history and culture.

But I would like to point out that racism is discussed, along with other forms of prejudice, throughout this series.

“Cecile, the main character, acts a little spoiled and self-centered.”

The American Girl stories, like any stories in the world, are full of a diverse group of characters. Of the three black characters offered in the line, Cecile stands out. I think it’s great that she isn’t “Miss Perfect” in every way, just like real girls. But throughout the series, Cecile learns to be more thoughtful, compassionate, and generous. Children today are pretty privileged in comparison to many girls who lived in the past. We all are! Children today don’t have to work. They can go to school. Most children can ask their parents for toys, games, I-pads, cell phones, new clothes and shoes, and other luxury items. They are very much like Cecile, where the smallest things can mean a lot to them. I feel that Cecile relates to black children in this way.

I think Cecile’s stories can help children of all backgrounds step outside of their comfort zones and learn about other cultures. These stories promote tolerance and diminish racism and cultural ignorance. By promoting these values, we establish peace. The next generation can move into the future with open minds if we help them open their worlds. Why not start with a story like Cecile’s? Keeping this in mind, I think her faults are forgivable.

Events like the Yellow Fever brought different people together, even those who were unlikely to be friends. This shows that all of mankind has the ability to pull together when it matters most. During disastrous events like Hurricane Katrina, another event that struck New Orleans hard, and other natural disasters, children can relate to the struggles Cecile and Marie-Grace had, but can also find healing much the same way the girls did. These stories can help young girls cope with these events through child-size perspectives.

Reading along with the American Girl curriculum guides can really help teachers and parents as they read the stories to children: Cecile’s Book Guide

Meet Addy

Addy‘s stories take place from 1864 to 1866, centering around Raleigh, North Carolina and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the Civil War. While the story is fiction, many of the events in the stories really happened, such as the Civil War, Robert Lee’s Surrender, and The Grand Review. Slavery also existed, as we all should know by now. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to have freed the slaves in 1863, the year before Addy’s stories, much of the South saw themselves as a separate nation. So they ignored the Proclamation. Some slaves didn’t know about it because they couldn’t read about the news and no one would share information with slaves for fear they would run. But word eventually got around, prompting many slaves to try and escape their plantations. Many slaves were eventually freed by Union soldiers. Addy was raised a slave girl during this time. She and her mother planned a daring escape North in her stories. Addy’s stories focus on her life as a slave and her struggles as she and her family try to build a life for themselves as newly freed people of color.

There may be several things that may concern readers when observing reviews of the stories. I always say consider what you can take from the series rather than the negative. Perhaps I can give some suggestions that may make the introduction to the American Girl books easier.

“My child is very sensitive. Some of the things in the stories are too harsh for young children.”

Think about this: While your child is too “sensitive” to hear about real events, little girls like Addy actually had to suffer through torture and pain during this era. No one was around to “shield” them. Many children today go through such things, especially in other countries. “Sensitive” children are the ones that can make a difference in the lives of those suffering. I don’t think it would be right to try to “protect” a child from learning about events that can help them become a mature, compassionate adult. It’s best to protect them from things that will actually make them bratty and spoiled or physically harmed. Addy’s stories may hurt your child, but that shows that the stories reach your child. It’s not hurting them in a negative way. It’s teaching them to appreciate their freedoms. It will inspire the child to think outside of the box and grow a love of tolerance rather than hate. More than likely, your child knows wrong from right, and with you reading the stories with her or him, you can explain how some of these things are wrong.

While there are a few sensitive moments throughout the series, there are many happy and positive moments, too. There are also scenes that children can relate to. If you can get over the beginning of Addy’s stories, she really does have some happy endings.

“My child is still learning English. Addy doesn’t speak the proper English and I don’t want her speaking the way Addy does.”

“I can’t read this book. The vocabulary is horrible.”

Well we’ve reached a dilemma. How can someone teach the realities of slavery to a child when slaves didn’t really speak the way we think they should have?

This is exactly what has always been the problem and why black history is hardly taught in schools or anywhere else. And this is exactly what slave masters wanted long ago.

Addy and other slaves couldn’t receive an education, so they learned English by ear. Because of this, white people would look down on them. They wouldn’t hire them for jobs or listen to them when they spoke up on political issues. They sounded “uneducated”. So even though many were freed, they were still barred from living prosperous lives because they were looked down on. This was a part of racism.

I don’t think that parents should encourage such prejudiced attitudes by refusing to read Addy’s stories to their children. Instead, I think this presents an opportunity to teach your children how valuable education really is. After all, this is a history lesson, not an English one. History is taught through the accounts of many people, whether they spoke the way we think they should have or not. Even museums have journal entries written by people who don’t quite speak what we would consider “proper”. If your child already recognizes that Addy’s speech isn’t quite right, then there’s no reason to be afraid that Addy’s stories will make him or her speak “horribly”. They must already be at an age where they know the correct grammar. So, it’s your job to help your child understand Addy’s situation and help the child to understand that Addy really wanted to learn so people wouldn’t look down on her. And you can encourage your child not to look down on people just because of the way they speak, act, or dress. Perhaps you can also discuss how her snobby desk partner, Harriet, looked down on Addy for those very reasons, which further shows how hard it was for newly freed people.

The reality is that slaves lived this way. If you hide it from your child, you are allowing the child to grow up ignorant anyway. What would you rather do: Read about history and have a discussion about things the child doesn’t understand or prevent the child from learning about an important part of history to shelter the child from Addy’s “speech”?

Some time in your child’s life, your child may run across people who don’t speak English so well, even in school. There are no slaves in the USA today, but there are immigrants that come into the United States. Perhaps this can open up a discussion about helping students who don’t speak English well or a discussion about children who have been barred from receiving a decent education in the USA and worldwide. Perhaps you can encourage your child to develop a tolerant and empathetic attitude.

I want to add that while Addy and her family don’t speak English “properly”, the narration is quite solid.

Addy’s books are targeted to girls 8 and up, an age where they can understand the material, so reading it to any child younger would make things more complicated as well.

“Addy fits all stereotypes and makes all black people seem poor and uneducated.”

Let’s face it. Whether you hate or like stereotypes, this was the way many African Americans lived in this time. This isn’t like some Disney princess story. This is based on real history. Most of ALL black people came to America as slaves or indentured servants, and they all had to fight to be seen as “human” in the USA. There is no reason to be ashamed of that. It only shows how strong African Americans really were and only shows how far black people have come. To have endured such oppression and still thrive and survive is something we all should admire. There are other African American characters in the line that aren’t slaves, but we still have to face the fact that slavery existed. There’s no sense in brushing it under the rug, as the saying goes.

Though black people didn’t receive a “European-style” education, they weren’t dumb. They had to be very clever to outwit their slave masters and escape. Addy is very smart herself. She struggled hard to learn, but she worked hard and learned fast. She was able to rise to the top of her class in less than a month, even winning a spelling bee! She kept her mind sharp by solving riddles and guessing games. Her father was clever enough to devise a plan to help his family escape. Though slave masters tried to keep slaves ignorant, they couldn’t take away their ability to learn. Children today who struggle in school can learn from Addy’s example. Addy struggled but, by studying and asking for help, she was able to be a great student.

There are also black characters in Addy’s stories that have shown they were not poor and uneducated. Miss Dunn was a teacher and Addy’s desk partner, Harriet, was the smartest and wealthiest in the class. But should we look down on people who are poor and uneducated?

Addy’s stories teach girls not to judge people by outer appearances, status, or even the way someone carries themselves. By judging based on such superficial information alone, we create the same dividing lines that destroyed our nation during the Civil War. The North looked down on the South. The South looked down on the slaves. None of the sides could understand each other.

I really feel that through Addy’s stories children can recognize how lucky they are to have freedoms other children didn’t have. They can also learn tolerance. Help open your children’s minds by sharing Addy’s stories.

And she’s such a sweet girl to boot.

Reading along with the American Girl curriculum guides can really help teachers and parents as they read the stories to children: Addy’s Book Guide

american girl melody

Melody is American Girl’s newest African American character. Her stories take place from 1963 to 1964. Her stories focus on life in Detroit, Michigan during the Civil Rights Movement and 1960’s culture. While the story is fiction, many of the events really happened, such as The Walk To Freedom, The March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom, the Children’s Crusade, and the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing. Famous figures make cameos throughout the stories, such as Langston Hughes, Diana Ross, Berry Gordy, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Melody is a normal, suburban African American girl. She goes to school, plays with her friends, and attends her church every Sunday, much like children today. She comes from a large family (Baby Boom) and shares a connection with each member of her family. Her stories focus on black people’s struggle for equality in the USA and the role children played in the struggle for civil rights.

There may be several things that may concern readers when observing reviews of the stories. I always say consider what you can take from the series rather than the negative. Perhaps I can give some suggestions that may make the introduction to the American Girl books easier.

“The events in these stories are too scary for my child.”

Keep in mind that the children in these stories have had to face far more than reading a book about harsh realities. Many of these children fought for equality bravely and deserve to be honored. Many of these children gave up their lives. Perhaps these stories can be inspirational for your child. Perhaps these stories can teach your child to appreciate the freedoms we have in the USA. Push your children to inculcate love in their hearts for people who are different. Instead of shielding them from reality, help them to cultivate qualities that can help prevent some of the tragic things that happen in the story.

Many children in the 1960s were like children today. They were innocent. But events happened that tore children’s lives apart. It’s better when their parents hand it to them with an open discussion rather than “protecting” them with false expectations and lies or worse-the power of “omission”. There are ways to teach children important events without traumatizing them. There are ways to teach them about history in an empowering way. But we can’t act like these things didn’t happen. It’s best to teach our children early, when they are impressionable, events that will help them grow into respectful, compassionate adults.

You can’t get any more censored than the American Girls. Of all the history books in the world, they truly give history in a way that doesn’t sugar-coat the truth, but also in a way that relates to children. Don’t be afraid to introduce harsh subjects to children.

Still, these stories are geared towards children who are 8 and up. Though events can happen to any child, keep in mind that is the target age.

“I’m apprehensive about reading the Civil Rights era. Most stories and accounts make all white people seem evil.”

White people may have this concern. I understand it may be hard to face such evil scenes mentioned during the stories. Everyone knows that this wasn’t the fault of all white people. Still, such hatred existed and such attitudes even exist today. Looking to the past is important because it helps us to fix our mistakes and create a better future for humankind. If we all worked together and overcame our differences, imagine what we really could accomplish as a HUMAN race. Of course, we don’t want to stay stuck on the past, otherwise we’ll never create a future. Still, by reading about the Civil Rights Movement, we learn to develop love and tolerance. That is the black story. Through all of the African American characters, love and tolerance are important themes.

Civil Rights wasn’t just for black people, either. Imagine how many white people couldn’t marry a black person, or an Asian person, or someone Hispanic, even if they were in love with them. Segregation and racist laws even infringed upon the rights of white people! There are many white people who suffered and died because they said something that seemed “tolerant” towards other races or spoke out against racism.

Other nationalities were also oppressed and benefited from the Civil Rights Movement, such as the Native Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish families, and those of Latin American descent. Black people were the leaders of the movement, but it wasn’t a movement that only benefited black people. This is why it was an important event in the USA.

Women may have also felt inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. Many women had to push through gender boundaries in the 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Many women today are still striving to make their mark on the world, so girls today can still relate to this movement..

Why did people have to fight for something so simple as civil rights? This is a question you could ask your children to make the topic easier.

Luckily, for you more sensitive souls, Melody lives in the North where legal segregation no longer existed. Still, racism did.

Aside from the topics on racism, though, Melody is actually a normal girl that I think any children can relate to. She likes flowers, music, getting pampered at a salon and spa, and spending time with her sisters. In fact, I think she and American Girl’s Maryellen, the 1950s red headed character, have a lot in common. If people didn’t make such a big deal about race, I imagine girls like the two of them could have been the best of friends!

Children may find that the events in Melody’s stories mirror some events they hear on the news in modern times. Melody’s stories can help children transition into serious subjects that they may even hear in their daily lives. Events in the story can help girls cope with modern day events that have affected children, such as the Sandy Hook tragedy or even some of the rioting going on right now on behalf of race and against police brutality or even the Charleston church tragedy. Children may have questions about such events, and Melody goes through some of the same trials children face today-only she lived in the 1960s!

Reading along with the American Girl curriculum guides can really help teachers and parents as they read the stories to children: Melody’s Book Guide

Even if you readers don’t want to jump on the American Girl book bandwagon, don’t forget to honor all of the black leaders who,through intelligence and courage, found a way to make life more free for everyone. If you ever want to learn about black history, now is the time to do so.

Though all of these girls come from different times, their feelings, struggles, and victories are very similar to children today.

Black History Month: The American Girl dolls, Addy and Cecile

1 Feb
Addy (left, 1864)and Cecile (right, 1853)

Addy (left, 1864)and Cecile (right, 1853)

MLK’s birthday had passed, and black history month is here, and so the focus may be on “black pride”.

Many children today really don’t understand their history, or rather don’t care about it, whether they are African American, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, Native American, Jewish  etc. It’s a shame that I even had to witness African American children fall asleep during Dr. King movies. I’ve witnessed this recently at a school. They really take for granted the privileges they have obtained thanks to him. MLK would roll over in his grave if he could see how some of our young African American children are today.

The American Girl dolls and books to me are a great way to educate young girls about their history in a way that relates to them. Through the eyes of two nine to ten year old girls, little girls can learn to value their history, to be proud of themselves, and to work hard to achieve great things. I’m also happy to note that American Girl has honored Addy and Cecile for MLK’s birthday.

I’m not telling you to go out and purchase an expensive doll for black history month. But maybe you could read a story with your girls, or get them one of the books from the library. Some parents don’t see the importance of their young girls knowing history, but knowing what others have gone through helps them to develop admirable and likable qualities, such as compassion, empathy, understanding, and intelligence. They realize that everything isn’t going to be handed to them, and that it is up to them to make a future for themselves, no matter how challenging life gets.

Question: Which story is better for my child?

Well, I feel both stories are important and can help in the development of mature young ladies. But both stories have different vibes about them.

Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of slavery in general. And I must warn you that from Meet Addy, it doesn’t begin nice at all. While most parents think this is too much for their kids to read or listen to, and they worry about it destroying their child’s innocence, I feel in this case innocence needs to be pierced for the sake of an education. This is why I recommend Addy strongly. Addy’s stories are the main heart of all African Americans, whether many want to face it or not. Over half of the African Americans living in the USA had ancestors who came to the USA as slaves. I encourage people to teach their children such an important topic, especially if their schools aren’t focusing on it.

The main thing that turns other African Americans away is that they find Addy to fit into what they call “stereotypes”. Many black people want to teach their children “the best” or more “positive” history, and want their African American children to see that blacks weren’t just a bunch of “uneducated, poor” slaves. Well, I feel this view is distorted. Whether black people want to face it or not, African Americans were slaves in the United States, and there were slaves all around the world at that time and before (African or not). I also find it distorted to say that Addy proves to be “uneducated”. Addy didn’t speak the “proper” English throughout her series, considering she spoke the language of the “South”, but it didn’t make her dumb or less educated. That goes for Addy and all the other slaves in Addy’s stories. It took not only courage, but a clever mind for slaves to outsmart their masters when running away. This is more than I can say about Cecile, who hates her private lessons more than anything. And she’s considered more educated? No way. Addy has proven her intelligence in school throughout the series, even being invited to a prestigious school. Addy appreciates school, and values her mind above all else. It is truly distorted to consider Cecile more educated, as I’ve heard many African Americans saying.

I think Cecile is a lovely doll. She teaches people about the lavish lifestyles of African Americans in New Orleans. And while I think this history shows how far we’ve come in what we teach about African Americans, relates more to girls today, and is more positive, I hardly consider Cecile to be a better influence than Addy. While Cecile develops into a compassionate, brave character, she reveals a spoiled and bratty behavior in the beginning. I would hardly consider her the role model Addy is in the beginning of her series. While, true enough, this relates to the spoiled children of today, Addy’s stories encourage hard work and love.

And not all of Addy’s stories are depressing. Once you get over the bump of Meet Addy, you get a feel of some Civil War history and life in freedom. Many of Addy’s stories have happy endings. People also have the misconception that Addy wears rags throughout her stories. False. Eventually, her mother makes sure Addy has pretty things to wear. Addy’s mother is a hard-working woman, like many mothers today. Unlike some children of today, Addy appreciates her mother. On Christmas, instead of begging for something and getting an attitude when she doesn’t get what she wants, she was planning to buy her mother a beautiful gift with her own hard-earned money,  just because she recognized how much her mother deserved it. Not once did Addy think to ask her mother for anything. Much more than I can say about Cecile, who throws a tantrum because her brother got two outfits for his homecoming, and she only got one ball gown for Mardi Gras! We also see in Addy’s stories that not every African American was a slave, as we see in Addy’s desk partner, Harriet. Yea, true enough, Harriet was a snob, and made rich black people look bad. But would you be any better than Harriet to overlook Addy’s story because she doesn’t fit the African American ideal? Another thing that irritates me is when people consider Cecile better looking than Addy. So African American girls are less pretty when they have thick hair and wear their hair in braids? Or maybe it’s because Addy has darker skin? Another distorted idea, and really the catalyst to why so many African American girls have low self-esteem. The beauty behind African American girls wearing braids is that they get to decorate their hair anyway they want with pretty hair barrettes. In Addy’s day, with pretty ribbons. Wearing one’s hair loose doesn’t make a person any prettier.

I’m not here to discourage you from reading Cecile. Like I said, she’s lovely. Throughout her stories, she shows true empathy, compassion, and courage. Ceciles stories also encourage girls to bridge the gap between themselves and someone else who is different. Many African Americans go around hating white people for years as they reflect on “how the white man treated them”. But when you hear Cecile’s stories, you recognize that not all white people, even in the South, treated black people harshly. You also begin to see that other African Americans owned slaves, and treated them harshly, as Cecile’s rival Agnes does. This helps African American girls to be open-minded. They might find they have a lot in common with someone of a different ethnicity. Remind them not to be so insecure. Not every little comment is racist or prejudiced. Teach your child to avoid racist or prejudiced comments. Black or not, it is unacceptable. This doesn’t end with ethnic backgrounds, but also social class.

I end this article by hoping you guys make the most of Black History month by honoring the black people in the world who made a difference in the lives of many people. Perhaps you can start with the American Girls. There are very few doll collections and books that are wholesome, and produce good role models. American Girl is rarely criticized for it’s messages, except from people who try to find something wrong with everything.

If only they had something like this for boys. Some of these males need it severely.

All New American Girl Historical Dolls Cecile and Marie-Grace Have Been REVEALED!

12 May
Cecile and Marie-Grace, New Orleans, 1853

Cecile and Marie-Grace, New Orleans, 1853

 

News has been circling around about the new historical American Girls due to be released this year, 2011, and possibly next year, 2012. There is also rumor there will be another historical next year. These dolls took the American Girl fan base completely by surprise. There are many things different about this line of dolls than ever before. The characters focus on being from different worlds but becoming friends (a bit like the Samantha and Nellie story). The main historical focal point is the break out of  Yellow Fever in 1853.

The first significant factor is they FINALLY have another girl of color. Many fans say they have been asking for an African American girl in New Orleans or for Civil Rights. And many fans are actually looking forward to her more than the other one! I guess Mattel was probably wrong to wait so many years to release another African American, assuming she wouldn’t sell. From my understanding, the African American girl’s name is Cecile Rey, and the other girl’s name is Marie-Grace Gardner.

Another significant difference in this line is TWO girls are the focus instead of one. They are not “Best Friend” dolls. Best Friend dolls are considered an “accessory”, as one fan put it, to the MAIN dolls. These dolls are a part of the main story, and each have three books dedicated to her to complete the six book series. They both come from different worlds and backgrounds but they happen to become friends. They also will probably have a huge fashion line considering they have to come out with outfits together for promotional reasons. That will cost some money for Mattel, eh? I wager they will have a movie soon, yes?

The normal “title” changes have already been made with the introduction of Kaya, but now there are even more changes to the outline of the books. Now it seems these books are following the pattern of the Girl of the Year Dolls. The popularity of the Girl of the year dolls have influenced the American Girl historical dolls to only focus on one event and direct it from one era to one year.

The changes to the books and story don’t stop there. Instead of the year focusing on the traditional “4” pattern, they’ve set it back to “3”, breaking the pattern and tradition. These dolls have broken all of the traditions of American Girl, and have adopted the Girl of the Year patterns. The year is around Kirsten’s. This is very confusing. It’s public knowledge that the Kirsten doll has been archived, but I was told the books were still being sold. I wonder how they can promote them differently? With the new books being around the exact same time as Kirsten’s, it seems to me that these stories will not focus on American history as a whole but New Orleans history as a state.

That is another difference. The former American Girls focused on eras that affected the nation as whole, such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. This series seems to focus on one event that happened in only one year, and mostly affected one state. It is also not a very distinct moment in history, as some of the other American Girls have been. It would have focused more on a broader history if the story took place in the west, as everyone thought it would, but everyone was in for a surprise. Maybe next year it will be western themed.

Personal Opinions

Pros:

1) I LOVE the idea of two different girls, different social classes, having their own sides of the story! It really shocked me in a good way! I was hoping they would be twins, but I am still happy that they are two girls who learn to settle their differences. It will be interesting to see half of the series told one way, and the other half told another.

2) I’m so happy Mattel decided to create an African American Girl. This was another shocking thing they did. I NEVER thought they would even consider it, considering most of their best-selling lines have been Caucasian dolls. It really surprised me, almost as much as Julie did, but for different reasons…Anyway, it’s also good she is not stereotyped and most people will learn that not ALL African Americans were slaves. Some were very well-to-do.

3) The doll dresses are lovely and so are the characters. It gives me hope that they will be lovely dolls. I’m really excited to see how the dolls look in person.

4) New Orleans is an interesting setting. The pictures are sure to capture my eye. It’s also good that American Girl is trying to focus more on Southern American Girls. Most of the American Girls have been from the North. It’s great that they’re giving a little Southern history as well.

Cons:

1) I am not too fond of the historical focal point. As lovely and well planned as the dolls might have been, the historical value seems mushed together, just for the sake of selling the dolls. I feel that American Girl company is trying to pull away from it’s historical value. This is all due to the success of their Girl of the Year dolls, who are not as realistic neither do they educate people on the day-to-day lives of American Girls, mostly because it’s only one book, so they can’t work with it much.

Yellow Fever was not an era in history. It was an event, it took place mostly in New Orleans. The year also overlaps Kirsten’s year so badly it just seems like they didn’t care at all. I understand she is archived, but her books are still being sold, and people recognize Kirsten as coming from that time. This stomps any chances for Kirsten EVER coming back. It’s important that each girl has their own year so that no one will be confused as to each doll’s era, which is the main promotion of the doll (such as Addy is the Civil War era doll, Samantha is the Victorian Era doll, Rebecca is the pre-WWI doll, etc). These dolls are the…Yellow Fever Epidemic dolls? Not going to cut it for me. Next they should make the Cholera epidemic dolls too…And the era doesn’t even relate to the story. Like Felicity was trying to find her own independence and loyalty at a time of the Revolutionary War, where independence and loyalty was being questioned for the first time. So what is this story? Two girls find their differences among the social classes, and oh, there’s an epidemic. Huh? How does their relationship teach us about the epidemic? I can’t say I can judge the story totally, as I haven’t read it yet, but so far it seems like Mattel completely forgot about researching enough history. The story has morals like all children’s stories. But what is making American Girl unique anymore? What makes them different from Magic Attic Club and Global Friends dolls? American Girl is neglecting their historical fans because the majority fan base is dense when it comes to history and keep asking for short periods in time like the Roaring Twenties. Only ADULTS were affected by the Roaring Twenties. But how much you want to bet Mattel will find some ridiculous theme to put behind it?

2) What happened to the American Girl that used to focus on the unique part of the girl as relation to the history rather than the girls being “pretty”? Their last couple of lines have been a bunch of “pretty girls”. Whatever happened to dolls like Molly and Kit, dolls who relate to REAL girls. These dolls just seem to fit more and more into mainstream America, which promotes wealth, fame, and superficiality. In fact, the last three dolls have all had long curly hair. Talk about a lack of variety, ya?

3) Now that there is an African American doll, I’m most CERTAIN Addy will be archived next. I thought she would be safe because of her ethnicity, but now we know that no doll is safe, and she might be the next to go because she’s not as “pretty”. I dislike the “pretty” emphasis, but kids today are taught to be superficial. The weird part is the most important times in history, such as American Independence, are being archived, for a time in history as inadequate as this? The birth of America vs the Yellow Fever Epidemic of only New Orleans? Mattel is really twisted for this one.

Well, that’s my spin on the new dolls. What do you guys think? Post your comments and let me know!

Obama Got Osama

3 May

Scenario:

Obama: yea nigga, I’m a find you. When niggas come around, bullets fly! yea boy! I been in da hood before, I know where that nigga be. I will FIND that nigga, cuz I’m a nigga. Simple as that. (sniff some clues) Oh, I know where that nigga is. He ain’t in no cave. He in the same place all drug dealas is: a million dollar mansion. Yep that’s where all the real niggaz is. (bust down doors of all mansions) (find biggest mansion) (Osama is eatin his peanut butter and jelly)

Osama: Oh…Sh-

Obama: Yea boy! We gotchu now boy! Shoot him! Shoot him! Yea nigga know where nigga reside! (Osama shot up)

Later….

Bush: So Obama how is your presidency going? It was a little bumpy towards the end for me, but I had really popular ideas in the beginning, one of them being tax cuts. What about you?

Obama: I got Osama, yea son! I got Osama. I knew where dat nigga was and his whole fam. Yea son

Bush: wait…you mean you put him in Guantanamo?

Obama: Naw, I killed that nigga, boy!

Bush: You idiot! You weren’t supposed to kill him! You were supposed to make sure he gave us the secrets to the oil! Oh man! You killed my boy! Oh, this country was going to be rich!

Obama: Oh yea, I forgot about that. But nigga had to die cuz he was taking my cousin’s drug ring nah wah I’m saying?

End of Scenario

Okay, that’s a story that was told to me by someone in my class. It’s pretty interesting that Obama was able to get a hold of Obama…I mean, Obama was able to get a hold of Osama…man they’re names are similar.

So tell me, do any of you think this will make Obama’s reelection polls skyrocket? I mean, his popularity was dwindling for a while because it seemed his ideas were a bit unpopular for awhile. But, this seemed to put a smile on many people’s faces. Some people have said one reason Obama was able to get Osama is because most black people know where all the criminals reside (stereotype). Some people said Obama knew where Osama was because Obama was born in a different country (speculation).

So do you think Obama will become more popular? Do you think this boosts his chances of reelection?

What do you think this will mean for national security? Do you think this will anger Osama followers?

Leave your comments and discuss!

How to Have a Royal Wedding

29 Apr

One of the most eventful moments of time, besides the World Cup, is the royal wedding. Many people still remember the wedding of Princess Diana, one of the most beautiful and loved princesses of all time. BUT this year, we have a new princess: Kate Middleton. She is poised, elegant, and certainly a fine example of a princess bride. Many people can learn from this wedding, especially about how to throw a fabulous wedding. Of course, everyone doesn’t have the money or means for it to be as glamorous as this one was. Still, there are certain things that made this the perfect wedding even without  all of the glamor.

1) It started on time. From the moment the procession began, the movement from limo to Westminster Abbey, and onward, it began and ended in a timely fashion. If everyone planned to watch it, whatever time it began in your particular country, no one had to worry about whether it was on time or not.

2) A unique thing to add to a wedding would be dress code. Many of the women wore hats and the men mostly wore uniforms. Add a simple, yet elegant touch to every wardrobe to make the wedding unique.

3) Carriage ride to the wedding. Of course, the bride also took a limo. However, the carriage ride is one of the most unique ways to have a royal wedding.

4) Special family church or building of importance to your family should more than likely be the choice as it makes the wedding more sentimental and shows the seriousness in the matrimony. Outdoor weddings are fun, but indoor weddings ensure that everyone will not be bothered by outdoor nuisances, such as insects or bad weather.

5) Walk with children not after them or before them. It shows that the bride loves children and is willing to start a family. Have little ring bearers wear matching uniforms to the older gentlemen.

So these are just some of the things I noticed about the wedding that was very important and to me represented a real ROYAL wedding.

Let’s take a look at a blast into the past princess weddings, starting with Princess Elizabeth and then onto Princess Diana.

Princess Elizabeth

Princess Diana

Such beautiful weddings in history!

Now going back to the invitation list…Guess who wasn’t on the wedding list? Mr. and Mrs. Obama. I wonder why…Many Americans are offended by this, if you haven’t noticed. The very symbol of the United States, the president, was not extended an invitation. How does that make many Americans feel? Well, some black Americans, of course, pulled the race card, just as the world expected them too. However, many regular Americans were offended, both conservative and liberals, felt this was a stab at America. Why isn’t the American president not wanted at one of the most important events around the world? Especially considering how many Americans tuned in to see such a fine and glorious wedding? What does this tell the world? Many don’t think it’s a race factor, because they saw a black couple in the audience, sitting close to the front of the wedding. Many just feel that Obama didn’t feel like going. It’s difficult to say.

Post your comments about the wedding! What are some things you noticed about the wedding that impressed you or that you would want in your wedding? What do you feel about the Obama’s absence at the wedding?

The Modern-day Princess of Soul

17 Jan

Janelle Monae---Princess of Soul Today!

Janelle Monae! Really feels good to say that name!

Really she deserves more recognition than that. Aside from today’s (America’s particularly) crap of wack music, that sells out sex, mainstream, and autotunes (selling out for some odd reason)….not to mention a fashion that is equivalent to “Gaga”, this lady has her own style, her own sound, and a good one at that. She not only has talent, but an original and impressive performance and look. She is artistic in all sense of the word. This is an example of a great artist. And they’re so many in the UK! I was recently scoping out more music on amazon’s UK section (since I’ve given up on America) and just found so many great artists worth mentioning! This singer was introduced to me by someone who is from the UK, tophatal, another fellow blogger. And this singer is amazing! I started listening to her and couldn’t stop! Check her out!

1) She can sing. How many people can do that anymore? How many do without autotune aids?

2) She has real instrumentalists in the background, people who really use real instruments, with their own talents. Not some computer designed beats, the work of cheap people and sell outs.

3) She is original in style and presentation. Her videos don’t have to be super New age or “gaga” or sexed up to be beautiful works of art. Whoever is in charge of producing her videos and whoever is her fashion designer, they need an award of honor. She has a unique style that is incomparable. She takes fashion risks, but it’s perfect for what kind of image and feeling she wants to express.

4) Her live performances are spectacular and she sounds just like she does on the CD.

5) Her lyrics are meaningful, and she truly seems to believe in them. She sings with emotion, making you understand where the music is coming from. She’s just not spurtting out nonsense just because she knows the masses will listen to anything catchy, even if it makes no utter sense, has no meaning to the person singing it, and it’s not something that everyone can sing or imitate. That’s true blue style.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that people don’t like good music anymore. She’s not that popular. Wanna know why? Because she’s good. It used to be the other way around. If you couldn’t sing or didn’t have any talent, you didn’t make the cut. But now, it’s the truly talented ones that don’t make the cut. What is this music industry looking for? A face and body to sell. I’m telling you, the music industry is now the modeling industry. What’s the point of there being music when most of the people are selling their looks and not their talent?

I say support this girl. Her album ‘Archandroid’ is already out. You definitely should give it a listen.

I have to thank Tophatal for introducing me to such talent! I’m now a big fan! If you ever want an example of how music should be done, take the cue from her, she knows how to bring that music and that talent out!

Anybody can be called a singer, but very few people get the privilege of being an artist.

Lebron pulls the wrong Card again—this time, the Race Card

1 Oct

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/LeBron-James-should-put-away-the-race-card-and-just-apologize-093010

Let’s see. In the philosophy of basketball, there are only so many bad moves you can make before you totally whack out on the game. That goes for on the court and off the court. On the court, a wrong move can cost you the game. Off the court, it can do the same–only on the court, the fans will still respect you, even if you suck. But if you move wrong off the court, you could even lose the respect of your fans.

Lebron James has pulled too many wrong cards in the card game of basketball:

1) When given the chance, he left Cleveland because….no reason. Because he could be a dick if he wanted to be. He knew how much Cleveland wanted him to stay. Heck, even Betty White pleaded for him to stay. And yet, he chose to move to Miami because…Wade and Bosh were there?…no…maybe…nice weather? Well, none are legit reasons for leaving a team that has sponsered you and helped you make it as far as you did. He was merciless in his “decision.” Therefore Cleveland hates him, and many other fans even hate him just because of his attitude. He is so arrogant now. His head has blown up. And some people feel he’s a traitor. There was nothing wrong with the team. It’s not like it was giving him any problems, he just simply wanted to be a dick and show how much he didn’t care. Well, that was his first mistake.

2) He pulls the race card. He claims that the reason for all of this hate against him is because “white people don’t want to see [him] take charge of his career.” What? Okay, I admit, after he made that stupid decision, some racial remarks were flying. But even black people were calling him nigger that day, and chances are he deserved the “nickname”. They weren’t calling him “nigger” because he was black. They were calling him nigger because he was dumb. That’s judgment on the content of his “character”, not his “color” . There were other names that flew out like bi*** and fa***. People were angry. Expect a few negative and derogatory words to fly out. But to blame your shortcomings on “racism” not only shows how little you know yourself, but shows that you are too blind to change your inadequacies, Lebron. You are using a scapegoat. Pulling the race card isn’t going to work this time. Yeah, maybe the NAACP will side with you when it’s all over. They like to show up when the damage is done in hopes of getting spotlight attention, though nowadays, they have become an almost pointless organization.

If he was smart, he would’ve listened to the white people. They gave him some good advice, and he diarreaed all over it. Now, his image is destroyed. Maverick Carter, manager and friend, is just saying what you want to hear so he can get a piece of change.

I’m sorry Lebron, but you have just pulled out any last loyalties you had. Maybe when you grow up, you will be a little wiser. But for now, you are just a little boy who is caught up in his taste of fame. Hope fame will be good to you. Expect to see a drug-addict in the next couple of years out of him.

“Single-Parent” Homes, “Latchkey” Kids….

2 Sep

This is a growing concern for most people in the world today. There are more and more single-parent homes than there ever was bfore. Since the 70s, when divorce was officially accepted by people, children have had to take on more responsibilities in the home, dealing with the absence of the parent that once took on some of the load. Where mommy used to cook and clean in the home, children are left to cook for themselves or make their own afternoon snacks, take on more chores, and take phone calls and important messages for parents. Some are even expected to do the grocery shopping. Sometimes, if there is only the father and no mother around, the oldest daughter is left to care for the younger daughter, brushing her hair and picking out and buying clothes. With single women, most times the son cuts the lawn at a younger age, learns a few domestic skills, and protects younger siblings.

In many ways single-parent households can be good for children, depending on the child. It teaches independence, responsibility, and instills hard work in children. Most children who come from single-parent homes tend to not act as spoiled and don’t fall a part during small issues, such as having to work for the first time. Contrary to what most people believe, single-parent homes don’t always have negative effects on children. Sure, they might have to grow up quicker, but it causes children to mature and to look at the world in a realistic way.

Of course, there are negative effects, depending on the child. Some children take the extra responsibility differently. Some children use the little “freedom” they usually have after school, while a parent is at work, to their advantage. At that point, we get situations such as this one:

8 Year Old Boy Accidentally Shot

Also, family.jrank.org states other negative effects single-parent homes can have on kids. More aggression, tension in the household, lower grades in school, less sleep, higher stress levels, psychological disadvantages, and many other issues.

Single Parent Families Effect on Children

Of course, when I was growing up, I lived in a single-parent home. I was a latchkey kid as young as 9 years old. I made my own lunch when I got in from school, and learned how to boil a hot dog and at least make cheesburgers and soup on the stove. My mom didn’t make breakfast every morning, as she was rushing out the door, so I made my own breakfast. I was responsible for doing my homework after school, and when my mother got home she expected at least some of it done so she could check the progress. During father-daughter days at school, sure, I would feel left out, but I had other male figures in my life, like my uncles who took on good supporting roles for me. My mother was always stressed, so I tried not to bother her, and often times, I wouldn’t tell her about my problems or if I had issues. I would keep them to myself or try to solve it, which was bad. My stress level was high. I lived in a big house and had to clean the whole house. It was hard, but I did it. The kitchen had to be clean everyday by the time my mother got home. Bathroom had to be clean, too. Most of the time, me and my sis had the house to ourselves, and we were responsible for ourselves during that time. Answering the phone was crucial. My mother would panic if we didn’t.

So I understand how different it is to live in single-parent homes. If one parent isn’t as patient or understanding, it’s a good thing to have two. At least one could be good for communicating feelings. I would sometimes look at children with two parents and long for a father, but from my growing-up experience,  I’ve learned we always have to make do with what we have, and learn from our different experiences.

“Hide yo Wife, Hide yo Kids, Hide yo Husbands, we gotta rapist in Huntsville”

9 Aug

Check out this video about a guy who climbed into this woman’s window.

And check out his reaction to his fame:

O…..M…G…

Wow. You know how they say they always get the most ghetto person when it comes to black people to be on TV. LOL But this guy is straight serious.

LADIES AND GENTS, THIS IS NOT A JOKE. This really happened. Some crazy guy climbed into this woman’s window and tried to rape her and got beat up by this gay guy.

People have gone crazy! They climbed all the way up a garbage can and into a window just to get some sex? Wow. Desperate times, calls for desperate measures…I suppose….

Out of everything that has happened to me over the past week, with two funerals, I don’t know how to respond to this…but it’s pretty funny and somewhat brightened my day, and halfway made me more aware of my surroundings.

OMG Again…

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