Letter from a college student (reprint)
The other day, a friend of mine visited me in the lobby of my dorm just to chat while her laundry was drying. As we were chatting, two young freshmen came by. One of the 2 boys wanted to 'talk' to my friend (as in date). She asked him how old they were, and both of the boys replied 18. My friend and I both laughed hysterically because we are both 22 years old.
After my friend left, the young men were still hanging around and one wanted to know how he could gain her interest.
The first thing I told him to do was to pull up his pants! He asked why, and then said he liked saggin ' his pants. I told him to come over to my computer and spell the word saggin'. Then I told him to write the word saggin ' backwards.
I told him the origin of that look was from centuries ago. It was the intent of slave owners to demoralize the field workers by forbidding them to wear a belt as they worked in the fields or at any other rigorous job. In addition, men in prison wore their pants low when they were 'spoken for'. The other reason their pants looked like that was they were not allowed to have belts because prisoners were likely to try to commit suicide. And, saggin' pants prevents you from running.
We as young Black people have to be the ones to effect change. We are dying. The media has made a mockery of the Black American. Even our brothers and sisters from Africa don't take us seriously. Something as simple as pulling up your pants and standing with your head held high could make the biggest difference in the world's perception of us. It is time to do right by ourselves. We need to love and embrace each other. No one is going to do that for us.
It all comes down to perception. What people perceive is what reality to them is. We have to change not only the media's perception of us, but we need to change our perception of ourselves.
Remember all eyes are on you Black Man. All eyes are on you Black Woman. All eyes are on your Black Child. People point the finger at us and expect us to engage in negative and illegal activities, to manifest loud, boisterous behavior, to spend our hard earned money in their stores, buying goods we don't need, or really want. We have allowed not only the media, but the government and the world to portray us as a 'sub-culture. ' They have stripped our culture down to the point where the image of Black people is perpetuated as rappers, athletes, drug users, and consumers of junk food, expensive tennis shoes, expensive cars, expensive TVs, cell phones and not investing in homes for our families.
We are so much more!!!!!!!
To all our Black Men : It's time to stand up. There are billions of Black Women who want to do nothing more than worship the ground that you walk on. We are so in love with your potential. We want to have your back, we want to love, support and cherish every ounce of your being. But with that you have to show that you are willing to be the head of our households. You have to prove yourselves worthy of our submission. We need you to be hard working...Not a hustler. We need you to seek higher education, to seek spirituality. We need you to stand! And trust us; we will have your back. We know that it gets hard. We know you get weary. Trust and believe that there is nothing that a Black Man and a Black Woman can't handle with GOD on their side.
To all our Black Women : It is also time for you to stand up. It is time for you to stop using our bodies as our primary form of communication. It is time to be that virtuous woman that Proverbs spoke of. You cannot sit by the wayside while our men are dying by the masses. You are the epitome of Black Love. It starts within you. You need to speak with conviction to let not only our Black Men know, but the world, that you are the Mothers of this world. You are so powerful. You are so beautiful. You need to love and embrace every blessing God has given us physically, emotionally and spiritually.
For all our Black Children : We need to love them. We need to teach them. We need to stand up for them. We need to protect them. We need to show them that there are no 'get rich quick' schemes. We need to tell them that they WILL die trying if they submit to a life of crime and deceit. We need to teach our children that no one will love them the way we can.
And being a basketball player, a rapper, or a drug dealer is not reality. It's not realistic and only a small percentage of people ever make it as a rapper or professional athlete. We need to teach our children that we can be more than rappers and athletes. We can be the owners of these sports teams. We can be the CEO's of OUR fortune 500 companies. We need to believe in literacy.
Please Keep This Going & Have a wonderful day
'This is the year of empowerment.. ' God will empower us to accomplish things this year that will be mind blowing'.
1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Memorize your favorite poem.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, "I love you", mean it.
5. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slow but think quick.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?".
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Call your mom.
16. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
17. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
18. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.
19. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
20. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in in your voice.
22. Marry a man you love to talk to. As you get older, his conversational skills will be as important as any other.
23. Spend some time alone.
24. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
25. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
26. Read more books and watch less TV.
27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.
28. Trust in God but lock your car.
29. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.
30. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
31. Read between the lines.
32. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
33. Be gentle with the earth.
34. Pray there's immeasurable power in it.
35. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.
36. Mind your own business.
37. Don't trust a man who doesn't close his eyes when you kiss him.
38. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
39. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.
40. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
41. Learn the rules then break some.
42. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
43. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
44. Remember that your character is your destiny.
45. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
ACCEPT THE PAINS. You must get in touch with your situation. Sometimes people deny their hardship, thinking that if they don't face them, they will be happier. But it's the other way around. Allow yourself to go through the pains.
CHOOSE NOT TO STAY IN PAIN. They say this is "self-empowerment". You can either be bitter about the pains and feel very powerless. Or you can do something and feel powerful enough to handle them. It's a choice to live with or without pain.
FORGIVE YOURSELF, OTHER PEOPLE. But before forgiveness comes in, think about how other people hurt. Then realize that you can see yourself for what you actually are and not how they want you to be. So finding happiness is no longer rooted outside, but it's inside you - what you see, how you view things, what you want. Then it leads to your choice : to live your life with yourself.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE. We sometimes allow ourselves to let other people, circumstances, or pains in the past to rule our lives. So we become very unhappy and very bitter because we live blaming others on who we are, where we're at, or how we should be. It's an exhausting process because you'll forever be blaming other people. Don't be bothered by what others think who you are or the standards they set. Take responsibility for your life.
LEARN TO LET GO AND TRUST YOURSELF. To be happy means learning to let go of expectations from yourself or from other people. You can't always have your way. At work, you can't always be sure your strategies will work or your plans will happen. But before you let go,have a deeper trust in yourself.
LEARN TO RECEIVE BLESSINGS. Think of the little things that make you happy or the people that give you assurance where you're good at. This is called receiving. Most of us have reasons to be happy,only that we don't see them or we take them for granted. We need to have little eyes and little hearts too, and realize that all things that make us happy have been there all along.
HAVE SOMEBODY TO TURN TO. Even if you're in turmoil, there are people who will support you. But often we stick with people who make us very unhappy. If you're unhappy, seek people who will nurture you or look for a partner who will serve as a well-spring of inspiration.
BE HOPEFUL. Hoping is better than being optimistic since it's whole and real. Because sometimes, one's optimism can be a denial of hardship. It's easy to be optimistic about things, but inside you,you're anxious about them. Hoping is deeper. It's something you look forward to even when you recognize the difficulties and pains. The more hopeful a person is, the more he recognizes how bad the situation is, and lets himself to bear it. In the end, he knows it will bear good results. You don't deny difficulties. You're touching ground instead.
KEEP THE FAITH ALIVE. There'll be points in your life when you can't handle problems alone. Think about SOMEONE who's more powerful,and who loves you dearly to take care of you. Having faith in GOD will give you hope.
SHARE YOURSELF. You can actually give intangible gifts even without your conscious effort. People will tell you later that you've helped them, and gradually, you will feel you're making a difference in their lives. That's a deeper gift. When you help others, they affirm you by saying, "You're good." Then you realize that you're a good person and your goodness is not merely based on meeting deadlines or getting a raise. It's more of proving your self-worth based on being loved for who you really are and not simply for the result you can deliver or the money you can contribute to the company. This strengthens your positive attitude towards difficulties in life.
BE GRATEFUL. You have to develop in yourself the sense of gratitude. You should be thankful for what you have. But you should recognize that there are things you can do to improve your life.
IT'S ALL IN THE MIND. We are unhappy because we think we are. Unhappy people are attached to their unhappiness. They refuse to change. When one thinks negatively, then he attracts negative thoughts. If you think that a tragedy will fall on you, somehow you fulfill it. Unconsciously, you make it happen.
MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING. People accumulate more and more money but the amount of happiness they can "buy" gets smaller and smaller. Although more money may bring greater feeling of empowerment, studies show that personal relationships, spirituality and feelings about oneself most directly influence well-being.
DISCOVER THE BEST FRIEND IN YOU. We can all change for the better. You can be happy even with yourself by discovering the best friend in you. Get real. Don't be hard on yourself with those high, unattainable goals. It's time you don't look for happiness outside you.
THE RULES FOR BEING HUMAN
1. YOU WILL RECEIVE A BODY
You may like it or hate it but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
2. YOU WILL LEARN LESSONS
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life.
Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant or stupid.
3. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, ONLY LESSONS
Growth is a process of trial and error: experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".
4. A LESSON IS REPEATED UNTIL LEARNED
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go to the next lesson.
5. LEARNING LESSONS DOES NOT END.
There is no part of life that does not contain its lesson.
If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
6. "THERE" IS NO BETTER THAN "HERE"
When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will, again, look better than "here."
7. OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate in yourself.
8. WHAT YOU MAKE OF YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU
You have all the tools and resources you need, what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. YOUR ANSWERS LIE INSIDE YOU
The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
On dating scene, some black women seek something new
One of the last barriers of interracial romance -- black women dating white men -- is finally being eroded, thanks to a popular movie and innovative dating services.
SPEED DATE: Juan Carlos Rodriguez, 34, meets Lissette Labrousse at O'hara's in Hollywood,
Shari Johnson looked around the dimly lit room inside a Hollywood restaurant, took a deep breath and stepped through the door.
All at once, the 30-year-old nurse from Miramar had visions of scenes from romantic movies like Boomerang, Hitch, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? and Something New.
Johnson tried but couldn't suppress a big smile. Twelve other women and 13 men were taking seats at the tables.
This scene was a speed-dating party -- where men and women ''date'' for three to eight minutes and then rotate to the next candidate. And the daters on this Tuesday night, who paid $37 each to attend, were African-American women and white men.
''I didn't know what to expect,'' Johnson said with a chuckle. ``But this is nice, Something New.''
Johnson's reference to that particular movie was no coincidence. Ever since it drew critical praise and big box office receipts a few months ago, the story of a black woman who breaks a personal barrier and falls in love with a white man has resonated with Johnson.
''It hasn't been so much about race,'' she said. ``It's about being willing to look in different places to maybe meet someone nice.''
Johnson's philosophy isn't just reflective of a popular movie, social experts say. It is an indication that black women being romantically involved with non-black men -- frowned upon until recently, even by those who are OK with interracial relationships -- is becoming more acceptable to society at large.
''Where black-and-white interracial unions are concerned, black men are still more likely to marry interracially than black women, but the numbers of black women in such relationships are noticeably increasing,'' said Jaslean La Taillade, a race and relationship expert and professor in the family studies department at the University of Maryland-College Park.
According to La Taillade, for decades black women shied away from such relationships because of a lingering stigma that dates back to forced sex between white slave owners and black women.
So what has changed? The workplace, for one.
More highly educated black women are climbing the corporate ladder, where near the top they almost exclusively find white men, La Taillade said.
''The result is common. When you spend a lot of time with someone -- like office hours every day -- you get to know them better,'' she said. ``And when you get to know them better, traditional notions fade and you develop close friendships. And close friendships can lead to romance.''
And while Hollywood has often embraced the black heroine, it has only been in recent years that mainstream films -- watched mostly by white men -- have made black women sex symbols.
''With black women like Halle Berry, for instance, being cast in leading roles, romantic roles, opposite white men, they are being held up now as symbols of desire in much the same way many white women always have,'' La Taillade said.
Larry Davis, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, and author of Black and Single: Meeting and Choosing a Partner Who's Right for You ($13.95 Agate) agreed, saying that ``white America has recognized that black is beautiful -- by way of leading roles, beauty pageants, etc.''
Perhaps more significant and most unfortunate in the public acceptance of black female/white male relationships, Davis said, is the fact that there are fewer black men for single black women.
In recent years ''black women have had a terrible market,'' Davis said. ``When you think about a half-million black men incarcerated, falling behind in graduation rates, not gainfully employed, black women have been forced by circumstance to broaden their scope in a very tight market to find men.''
A third factor in burgeoning black female/white male relationships is ''white women are also driving a harder bargain,'' Davis said. 'So white men are saying `Why limit myself to this group, when that group [black women] has equally high standards and just as much to offer?' ''
As for the Tinseltown influence, ''the reason that Something New worked was not so much because the couple was interracial, but because the two love interests were from different socio-economic backgrounds,'' said April Masini, author of Think & Date Like a Man ($15.95 iUniverse, Inc.) and relationship advice columnist on www.AskApril.com. ``Finding love with the gardener [the male lead in Something New] is like finding love with an employee. There are lots of differences and comedic opportunities in socio-economic backgrounds, like in the original comedies based on this idea, like Pygmalion, Pretty Woman.''
But while many of those at Tuesday's speed-dating party said race played almost no role in their attendance, some admitted it was the only reason they came.
''I just appreciate black women,'' said Marcelo Ponce de Leon, a 40-year-old trucking company owner from Miami Springs. ``I have dated black women before, and I think they have more family in mind than some other women.''
With that, Ponce de Leon shrugged and gave Johnson a wide smile. One warm handshake later and the two were engrossed in chatter about favorite movies and music, ethnic foods they've tried.
Two minutes into their speed date, they put their heads together and laughed like school kids with a secret.
Then the little bell rang, and the date ended.
''Time to move on,'' called out Darren Waldholz, bell ringer and president of Lock & Key events, the company that hosted the event.
''I've found that people really are looking for variety,'' Waldholz said. ``We get the same type of single, busy professionals, regardless of the party category, whether it's interracial, or short guys and tall women, or different religions, bald men and the women who love them.''
Lissette Labrousse, 29, and Juan Carlos Rodriguez, 33, hit it off too, but insisted there was nothing too complicated motivating them.
''Something New,'' she said, smiling. ``You can't say you're open to something different and then not do anything about it.''
Rodriguez, a Miami real estate broker, said he wanted to meet black women simply because it would be a new experience for him.
''For me this was the easiest way to meet women who you might not come across everyday,'' he explained.
It was clear though that for every pair like Johnson and Ponce de Leon and Rodriguez and Labrousse at the party, there were others who hadn't seen recent polls that show a majority of Americans are OK with interracial relationships.
Two-thirds of the party attendees declined to be interviewed: ''I just can't. You don't understand,'' said one worried-looking woman.
''I have a reputation at work, and you know how people can make assumptions,'' said another woman.
''We have come very far, but there is still reluctance and opposition by some -- enough to scare people from sharing their relationships with their own families,'' La Taillade said.
Rosemarie Shaw, 35, also a nurse from Miramar, admitted she had misgivings about attending the speed-dating event and talking about it.
''You don't know how people are going to talk to you, what they're going to expect of you,'' she said. ``Most of my friends told me they were going to want to know what it was like later. I'm shy. I had jitters. I was asking myself if I was doing the right thing.
``In the end though, what I found was that being here with other people who were also curious and open-minded made me more relaxed and gave me a little strength to maybe try to meet different guys again, maybe next time in a different way.''
Psalm 30: As a deadly tornado ripped through Will County, Illinois, a young father sat cradling his infant child born just 2 weeks before. When the fierce, howling winds finally subsided and calm had returned, the man's house was gone- and so was his baby. But according to the news report, the father found his child in a field near his house-alive and well! And so was the rest of his family.
When asked by a reporter if he was angry that he had lost everything he owned, he replied, "No, I just thank God I have my baby and my family. Some people don't have that. Nothing else is important.
Often it takes times of tragedy to remind us what really matters in life. When things are going well, we can easily get preoccupied with what we own. we become tied to so many nonessential unimportant things. We tend to grow overly concerned about cars, houses, furniture, appliances, clothes, and countless other trappings of modern life. But when life is reduced to the essentials as it was in the Illinois tornado, we recall again that life itself is enough reason to praise God or being thankful for what you have.
Have you taken time today praising God or being thankful for your life and for the people he has given you to share it with? That's what really matters.