Category Archives: Uncategorized

Women in Tech – What’s the Real Story?

The good people at Toptal.com reached out to me and asked me to share this article with you about gender and technology…because a blog about marriage, motherhood and the conflict of the African female with her environment has everything to do with programming languages and dev/design.

I can just hear the powerful Enyonam Kumahor and/or Kinna coming for me with shouts of, “Yes, of course the two are related, you ninny! The person is political! All women… and yes, African women… must thrive in tech spaces too! Post it and shut your mouth!”

So that’s what I’m doing.  This is a powerful info-graphic (or graphic-article) about the gaps in gender parity in the field of technology. The stats are quite worrying, but hardly surprising. Please do click on the article below and share!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 8.47.13 PM

 

Why Can’t We Have an ‘African Bond’? Okay, Since You Asked…

First of all: Happy John Boyega Day! Today –and forevermore, quite frankly – John Boyega belongs to all of us, not just Nigerians. Just like sister Lupita is for Africa. Kenya alone cannot commandeer all her shine!

john boyega

Much has been written and commented about Black representation (or the lack of) in film, particularly in the realm of fantasy and fiction. Even to the casual observer, it is obvious that actors of color get the most work on big budget films when there is a slave narrative to be told or the haphazard biopic depicting our two kings: Mandela and MLK. That’s what has made John Boyega’s casting as a Storm Trooper turned Jedi so exciting for many of us. I mean, according to Hollywood and science fiction, there are no Black people in the future… and certainly none in space! This notion has led to an outcry from entertainment critics and consumers alike. We want to see more people of color starring in iconic roles! We want to see actors and actresses of color portraying complex characters beyond the tired tropes we’ve been dished out to date! We want Idris Elba to play ‘James Bond’!

James Bond, eh?

This is where discord rears its head in our collective chorus. While we do want more representation in the mainstream arts, we can’t decide how to achieve that goal. Should roles that have traditionally been played by white actors be opened up for Blacks, Asians or – gasp – people of Middle Eastern descent? For instance, could Shah Rukh Khan convincingly played Matt Damon’s role in The Martian? (Personally, I don’t see why not. After all Chiwetel Ejiofor played a scientist named Venkat Kapoor, which is about as southeast Asian as a moniker can get.) Or is it up to Bollywood and other non-western film industries to produce their own versions of The Martian and cast the lead with their preferred ethnicity? Some people say yes, emphatically! We have a duty to stop feeding off the fruit of Hollywood and build our own industries!

That’s all well and good, but back to Idris and the ‘James Bond’ question.

Perhaps of all theoretical casting possibilities, this has given folks on both sides of the divide the most angst; has caused the most perplexity. There is no doubt that Idris Elba is a fine actor (a fine MAN, period), a great box office draw and has all of the qualities of a leading man. He would make a far better Bond than Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby, in my humble opinion. The only problem is Idris is Black. Blackety- Black. True, African Black. And a lot of people can’t see past his color and allow for him to portray a Scottish spy who serves in Her Majesty’s most clandestine intelligence agency. Because Black.

I understand and appreciate the struggle that these people find themselves trying to navigate. It’s far more comfortable and convenient to neatly categorize people and put them in a tidy box where they “fit”. Unfortunately, migration patterns and global integration mean that fewer and fewer people are able to identify as one thing specifically. So as Black as Idris Elba is, there is no escaping that he IS a British man – of African descent – and therefore could in real life function in the role of an intelligence operative. However why people are more comfortable with Black men performing the duties of an ‘everyday superhero’, but find discomfort with a 2hr 38min fictional flick portraying the same responsibilities is something only they can explain. It’s beyond me.

Personally, I do think it’s time that we developed our own iconic characters and I would love to see a globally recognized spy of African descent and origin in film. Of course, developing such a character would not come without significant challenges. Part of what makes James Bond such a universally loved character is that his existence is plausible and all of his feats –although Herculean – are feasible. A lot of that has to do with Bond’s supporting cast. Moneypenny is as efficient as she is dedicated to the cause of national defense. She is always at her post as you expect. Q has a first-rate lab in which he designs and develops gadgets for James in order to make each mission a success. But most of all, James Bond has the benefit of traveling around the world with a British passport in white skin.

Ei. Can an African man enjoy these same benefits and manage to get his spy work done? Let’s be realistic.

First we’ll have to pick a country in which to build our African James Bond. Such a man’s effectiveness will really depend on the country of origin. Mauritius James Bond would most likely be the most successful, since that country has the infrastructure and international integrity to support spy work at this level. Ghana James Bond? Not so much.

His passport would only allow him access to certain countries without a visa, and even then he may face discrimination at immigration. Ghana James Bond would frequently find himself selected for “random security” checks, have all his belongings confiscated and summarily his cover blown. Constant power failures means Ghana Q would be perpetually behind in his R&D for Ghana Bond. No R&D means we would constantly be putting Ghana James Bond at risk. As for Ghana Moneypenny, the less said about her, the better. Poor woman is probably rocking herself to sleep after dealing with the constant sexual harassment and requests from her family for money because she’s the ONLY one amongst the lot who’s managed to get a job in Ghana’s dumsor ecomini. Ghana Moneypenny is never at work.

And as far as field work? Kai! There would be no high speed chases to catch the bad guys because traffic patterns would always be clogged. The roads and networks in Ghana make no sense. If Ghana Bond were to rely on the services of the local police force for back up, he’d be S.O.L because the government will have spent the money needed to purchase police vehicles to brand city buses with NDC colors, thereby allowing Ghana Bond’s quarry to escape into the ubiquitous bush. Every thief and armed robber escapes into a ‘bush portal’ that materializes at just the critical moment. True story. Read the Daily Graphic. We don’t catch thieves in Ghana because they always find a bush to escape into.

bush

Oh! And let’s not forget the perpetual requests from Ghana Bond’s relatives to “carry something small” upon his return/departure to abrokyi. The sniffing airport dogs would have a field day with the koobi. This would only lead to further detention.

Ghana James Bond will never be great…or at least not as great as British James Bond. He could find some greatness at his job, but only within the confines of his office. He can be a superhero of spreadsheets, or something.

And that’s not his fault. It’s his government’s fault. If we were to develop such a character given out current realities, he’d be a tragic, uninteresting cartoon of a man…and that’s why no one has written a script for Ghana James Bond today. The struggles he would face are just not worth it, and no movies-goer would appreciate (or believe) the depth of lies and fabrications that Ghana Bond’s creators would have to descend to in order to make Ghana James Bond remotely interesting.

The struggle. The spy struggle is so real.

Did you enjoy this post? Then you’ll LOVE my new book “Madness & Tea”, coming out on e-books on Christmas day!

Viola’s Emmy Win and a System of Salt and Shade

 It’s Monday morning and two days before the official beginning of Fall. I won’t be keeping you for very long, MOM Squad. Like you, I have coffee to procure and a wardrobe that needs rotating. Before I begin, I want to send hugging and high five vibrations to Viola Davis for being the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress in the award’s 67-year history! That moment, her speech, that dress and THAT HAIR were historic. *Shakes under the weight of the presence of God’s glorious handiwork*

 

Let me ask you a question since we only have a few minutes. Have you ever sat back, looked around you and marveled at how unrelated events or the experiences of strangers seem to mirror your reality?

 

Take this post from HONY, for example:

FullSizeRender

Now, this was the follow up post in this nameless man’s saga. In the previous one, he spoke about how he found himself homeless after a he failed to make consecutive sales in his real estate business. Cue the “awwws” and broken heart emojis from the HONY community. Of course there were the offers for a solution to his dilemma, which is one of the reasons I follow HONY: to watch out for those members of the community who ARE problem solvers. They give me hope. I don’t know what question Brandon asked the Nameless Man to prompt him to respond in the manner in which he did…all I know is that it got a lot of folk of a certain persuasion pretty riled up. Folk who probably think of themselves as “good people”. After all, only good people follow HONY, don’t they?

 

I wish I had a gentler way to put this: There is a psychosis that Good White People have to grapple with, but they can’t do this until they recognize their ailment first. The Nameless Man was not incorrect in his assessment of his interaction with Whiteness as a man with dark skin when he said “…when he’s crushed down one thousand times, and when he absolutely needs it, he will play that card to save his self-esteem vis-à-vis me. I’m not saying it’s a choice. It’s not a moral thing. I’m saying it’s a feature of his soul that he doesn’t know is there.”

Those of us who have ever spent time working in a professional setting know exactly what the Nameless Man is talking about. If you’ve ever had a White woman claim credit for the execution of a marketing campaign (as I have), or had a white male boss posture himself as the originator of a theoretical approach to a scientific or mathematical problem that was brilliant (as my sister, my former room mate, several people on this very blog have revealed to have suffered the same thing), or watched in horror as folk still insist that Elvis was the originator of Rock n Roll, then you have a sense of what the Nameless Man is talking about. History bears out this ugly trend as far back as “Eli Whitney’s” Cotton gin (whose design he reportedly bought from a slave for a nickel) if not before. And if this blatant robbery were not bad enough, the victim is accused of racism for pointing out that the overwhelming perpetrators of these thefts is in fact, white. But Good White People don’t see it this way.

What does any of this have to do with Viola’s win last night? Oh, everything. A soul on Twitter hopped onto the social network to illustrate the complications in the relationship between the races, the Nameless Man spoke of, as though Providence herself lent a hand in this unmasking.

In the opening remarks of her brilliant acceptance speech, she quotes Harriet Tubman:

In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.

The largely white audience, filled with Good White People claps politely…or in some cases, not at all. They don’t get the significance of what she’s talking about. In fact, Nancy Lee Grahn took to Twitter to express umbrage with Viola’s choice of words and ultimately claiming that this should have been an “All Women” moment.

She even went so far as to opine that the Julliard graduate should have let Shonda Rhimes write her speech for her!

As always and never to disappoint, Twitter showed up in the full magnitude of its dragging glory and returned fire with this magnificent response:

In one of her tweets, Nancy Grahn goes on to intimate that Viola has never been the “victim of discrimination”, making her use of Araminta Ross’ address in her acceptance speech insincere.

As you can imagine, it only gets worse from there. I don’t think I’ve seen a Good White Woman flaunt this much cluelessness since Justine Sanco’s tweet about landing in Africa and not being able to catch AIDS because she’s white. Of course Mizz Nancy is all contrition and remorse now, and has duly apologized for any “offense she may have caused” and we are expected to shuffle along like good Negroes…until this happens again at a Kroger check out lane or water cooler near you.

It’s maddening that Good White People can’t see how damaging this behavior is. These are the moments when I wish Wal-Mart sold a tote-along, press my belly Flava Flav doll that sang “You can’t see what I can see!” to emphasis the depth of their willful blindness to the fact that many things are not equal and that every occasion can’t be an All Lives/All Women/All Rainforests time to shine. But none of that matters because this entire discourse was about “me” anyway.

Whatever.

I want to conclude by thanking Viola for using that moment to show the world a different side to Black womanhood. The side that CBS news and Maury and VH-1 and the hoard of other networks make it a point to bury. The side of Black womanhood that is graceful and gracious. That shares her shine with her sisters. That honors the memory of those sisters who have gone before us. And for reminding me of the importance of my craft when she said:

“…the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

This speech should be dissected and taught in class for its power despite its brevity. I have been tempted many times to stop writing because I didn’t see the point. But if I give up on my craft, I can’t get mad because they keep casting us as maids, or whores, or illiterate junkies…compelling as those stories may be. It’s my duty to write about the many Black women who are lawyers, or homemakers, or secret taekwondo assassins to bring balance to our story. I thank Viola for subtly reminding me of that.

 

 

 

What If We All Conducted Ourselves Like American Police on Our Jobs?

With the constant bombardment of images and videos depicting police brutality, it certainly feels like it is a trend on the rise. I don’t believe we will ever truly know how many people have died at the hands of the American police, since the force and the judicial system itself has staked their collective souls in shielding the institution from any sort of accountability. On the rare occasions that police officers do find themselves on trial for obvious human right’s abuses, the verdict frequently results in the officer(s) complete exoneration. It’s a never ending cycle.

According to the Code of Conduct for law enforcement officials adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 where the term “law enforcement officials”, includes all officers of the law, whether appointed or elected, who exercise police powers, especially the powers of arrest or detention, these persons are required to adhere (but not limited) to the following:

Article 2:

In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

Article 3:

Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.

Article 5:

No law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, nor may any law enforcement official invoke superior orders or exceptional circumstances such as a state of war or a threat of war, a threat to national security, internal political instability or any other public emergency as a justification of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

I’ve highlighted these in particular, because they demonstrate the contravening of these international laws by the American police force as modeled through homicides of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd and hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives to a bullet, beating or strangling in America.

The now-accepted explanation by those invested in the maintenance of this form of social lawful disorder – as it serves either to their benefit or because it affects their communities by a miniscule extent – is that because police officers interact with criminals and a “hostile public” all day, they themselves are prone to (re)act violently, depending on who they are interacting with. In other words, a series of bad days can lead up to the ultimate bad day for any American citizen, depending on how the boy in blue is feeling that day.

cops

Oh really? Do these people think police officers are the only ones who experience stress when interfacing with the public whom they are PAID to serve? Well, what if ALL the people who work with the public had the liberty to use force when we “deemed necessary” to bring about a speedy resolution to a sticky or unpleasant situation? What if those actions resulted in the same “repercussions” that the police typically face? I’ve talked to a number of people who have fanaticized about it. Come with me. It’s time for…

 

****MOM MODE!****

It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon at America’s favorite place to buy shoes. A throng of suburban moms and their caffeinated teens mills through the aisles inspecting items, sometimes putting them in their right place, sometimes not. Store associates are working desperately to keep up with the pace of the mess that is being created in the wake of the back-to-school shopping weekend. Lisa has been working at the store for 6 months, after being transferred from another location for disciplinary issues. She looks across the store and sees a woman and her young son try on 8 pairs of shoes. They have left a pile of paper, boxes and plastic all over the area.

Lisa takes a series of meaningful strides and is at the mom’s side in moments.

“Who left this pile of trash here?” Lisa asks, already knowing the answer. It’s not a crime to leave trash on the floor, but it IS rude.

“What?” asks the mom. “There was paper in the boxes. We took it out to try the shoes on.”

Lisa is miffed. Her question has not been answered appropriately. She repeats herself.

“I said ‘Who left this pile of trash here?’ I didn’t ask you about the nature of the stuffing of the boxes! You left a pile of trash here and you’re going to pay for it!”

Indignant, the mother retorts. Never in her life has she been spoken to this way by a store associate.

“There’s no reason to yell!” she screeches. “You are making a scene, and you are frightening my son!” She points to the young boy for emphasis.

Feeling threatened and irritated, Lisa wrestles the mother to the ground and grabs her by the throat, demanding that she confess to putting the paper mess all over her store floor. But the mom can’t speak. She’s having the life choked out of her.

2 weeks later, there is an inquest and Lisa’s conduct has been ruled appropriate. The mother did pose a threat, since she raised her hand and became erratic during what should have been a simple Q&A session. Lisa has been transferred to the administration department where she will spend 9 hours a day off her feet enjoying donuts and water-cooler conversation.

 

****

John works at big box retailer in its tech repair department. His shift is unpredictable. Some days he works from the time the store opens until it closes. Sometimes he only works 8 hours a week. It just depends on how much crack the manager on duty has been smoking when he did the schedule. On this day, John has pulled a double shift. He’s been in the back of the store – an area the staff refers to as The Cage – for 16 hours already.

John doesn’t mind working with laptops and cell phones. They don’t talk back. It’s when he gets called to the front to deal with customers that gets him particularly irate. Today, a man in dark washed jeans, a pale blue buttoned down shirt and a silver bangle on his wrist is standing in his line. John already knows his type: high maintenance. He sighs and calls for the next customer to come forward.

The bangle wearing customer already has an attitude when he approaches John. He drops his Blackberry on the tech desk and leans in during his conversation.

“I brought this device in 2 weeks ago, and the problem hasn’t been resolved!” the customer seethes.

John takes a step back, decides he doesn’t like either his tone OR his attitude and picks up the Blackberry. He then smashes it into Bangle Boy’s temple. It’s been a rough week already, see? John is not to blame. There is an investigation and soon media reports are released to show that the bangle wearing customer had weed in his system. How was John expected to behave when the client had weed in their system???

 

*****

Pots are banging. The floor is slippery. None of the orders are coming out on time. Food is being served cold. When Alara took the job as a waitress to help supplement her income, she never thought it would be like this. She imagined a quirky life making frivolous conversation while serving meals to sanguine lovers in a dimly lit dining room. Sadly, there are no such eateries in her small town, and her big city dreams and demeanor have made her somewhat of a misfit in this diner where she works for tips.

Uninterested, she asks two men who are seated in her section about their beverage choices.

“What will you have to drink?”

The gentlemen are doubled over with laughter. Alara assumes they are laughing at her. She takes a scalding hot pot of coffee and tosses it into one of the men’s face. He screams in agony. His compatriot jumps to his feet and demands that Alara explain herself! What does she think she’s doing! How does is laughter pose a threat! Alara, feeling attacked, pulls a knife and threatens to stab the screaming man. When the sight of the knife only makes him scream louder, she plunges it into his chest.

There is an investigation and Alara is not only given a raise, but is promoted to manager. The customers should not only have been more attentive to her queries, but should not have engaged in any form of merriment in her presence. She was trying to carry out her duty, for crying out loud, and they were interring with that! (A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Alara so that she can retire on a million dollars whenever she’s ready. She’s earned it for her bravery.)

 

Oh. Laugh! Feel free. There is a certain irony to all this that warrants dark mirth. Of course, we can’t allow this sort of behavior to run rampant in American society. We would quickly fall into total anarchy, which is why I am a bit befuddled as to why state and federal officials aren’t doing more to curb the shenanigans of the police. The ideals of white supremacy must be protected at all cost, I suppose.

Have you ever wanted to slap the taste out of someone on your job? If you could get away with it, would you? Do you think the police continue to brutalize (certain sections of) the public because they know they can get away with it? And finally, should Obama be out there chastising African nations about human rights abuses when there are clear (daily) violations of those same rights on the nation that he presides over? Discuss!

HANDBOOK FOR AFRICANS 1: You see only the worst in you

Today, I am honored to feature another post from the inimitable Field Ruwe. Comments are always welcome and feel free to share and reblog.

HANDBOOK FOR AFRICANS 1

You see only the worst in you

By Field Ruwe

 

We, black Africans, seldom feel the urge to jump into the river and swim across, more so if it is infested with crocodiles. Yes, when we stand by the riverside, the first thought that comes to mind is the fear of drowning or being attacked by a crocodile. This mortifying psychological faintheartedness is in the majority of Africans. We are gripped with so much fear, we are afraid to make that most crucial jump out of the nest and fly into the challenging world. It is this feeling of inadequacy that affects our upward mobility, and allows non-Africans to condition us their way. They have managed to make us see only the worst in us.

For centuries we have been victims of a camouflaged psychological warfare, covert and overt racism, that have left many Africans mentally indoctrinated. The belief that Africans have low intelligence remains in the African psyche and is passed from one generation to another. This has resulted in low-esteem, loss of scholastic motivation, and lack of great imagination. Today, there is even a much more sophisticated and massive furtive effort by non-Africans to portray Africans as failures. As a result, many Africans continue to believe that all non-black people are intellectually better than them. This has contributed to the continued deteriorating image of Africa.

 

I am working on a handbook that’s meant to change this perception and bring the best in Africans. It is a psychological conditioning book for Africans that attempts to remove the devastating feeling of self-contempt, self-hatred, self-doubt, self-loathing, disunity, dislike of the other African, and instills self-confidence, admiration, respect, trust, and unity. It urges Africans to rid of negative pathologies embedded within them and turn their thinking around and look at themselves as a brave and intelligent people who deserve to be part of the cognitive elite.

 

Beginning today, once a week, I shall use this platform to confront our Achilles’ heels—the weaknesses that have resulted in the loss of our unity, racial pride, and educational aspirations in spite of our physical and mental strengths. I offer ideas, suggestions, and recommendations that can gain us the acceptance of the world. The benefit of reading this column will be a change from feelings of hopelessness and despair to an awareness of the most urgent issues of our time. We can no longer survive as Africans hanging on to intimidation and humiliation. In order to succeed, we need to engage in critical thinking, reexamine some of our most basic beliefs and prior assumptions.

My first task this week is to prepare you for the most provocative and grueling topics ahead. In doing so, I table ten self-development techniques to help build your self-esteem and self-confidence.

 

  1. Self-acceptance: Know that you will never be the color you are not. Accept who you are and display optimism and confidence. Realize that you can’t change the color of your skin or your features, but you can take personal responsibility and change how you think and feel about yourself. If you accept the way you look, your body accepts you. Always say to yourself: “I’ll not change the way I look to accommodate the people who hate me. I’ve been black all my life and will proudly live with it.” When you hate the way you are, you surrender your willpower to your tormentors. They will gladly kill you. Remember there is absolutely nothing wrong with black skin. It is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with your broad nose. It is no worse than the noses of many non-blacks. There is nothing wrong with your thick lips. In fact they are the admiration of many non-blacks. So, reject the senseless feelings of self-hate that have been forced on you.

 

  1. The Dominance Motive: Understand that the color of your skin and your appearance are tools of intimidation, oppression, and suppression, used by non-blacks to dominate you. The majority of non-blacks are driven by dominance motives because they have been conditioned from childhood. Many non-blacks have made a pledge that a black person will never be their equal or above them. Not because he is brainless, but because he possesses the two most vital qualities of dominance—power and intellect. Overcome by your physic, they have gone after your mind and reduced it to the size of a marble. Driven by their ego and dominance motive, they have managed to replace your self-love with self-hate. It is up to you. You either reclaim your self-love or allow self-hate to consume and kill you.

 

  1. Responsibility: God put you on earth for a purpose. You are responsible for that purpose. You are your own purpose. Teach yourself to shoulder the responsibilities of your life. You find yourself overburdened by self-hate because you have allowed other people to take control of your responsibilities. Develop the courage to be responsible of NOT your self-hate, but self-love. Take control of yourself and begin to love everything about you. God loves you.
  2. Positivity [the quality or state of being positive]. Believe in yourself. Begin to chip in your negative thoughts by filling your mind with self-affirming thoughts. Tell yourself “I’m happy with the way I am. I need not bother about other people’s thoughts and actions.” Fill your mind with black people who inspire you or those who have made it to the top. Put yourself in their shoes and emulate their positivity. They became successful against all odds, and so can you. It will take time, but it is worth it.

 

  1. Understand the psychological motive of your tormentor. Always bear in mind that your tormentor is waging a war against you; that his/her negative attitude toward you is meant to remind you that you don’t belong to his group/race. By doing so he is boosting his own self-worth. When in public study, even for a moment, the people around you. Know that not all have negative feelings about you. Those who do will display their prejudicial attitude through body language. It is their only way to maintain their self-esteem. Always remember that racism is the underlying motive behind the actions of your tormentor. He may not be a racist, but he/she truly thinks he/she is of higher social status. Don’t forget that bigoted behavior can be expressed through words, actions, body language, love or hate, knowledge or ignorance. Most of the non-black people in your presence have been told that black people are bad or dangerous. Don’t show anger or emotion when you encounter any of these attributes. Being angry or emotional gives your tormentor a sense of victory.

 

  1. Isolation: In isolation understand that the people who carry biases are shielding their failures. Take a look or a glance at anyone who is trying to bring you down. On public transport, ask yourself why they are on the same transport, going in the same direction as you; in class, is their intelligence exceptional? Look at their grades, judge their participation and contribution. At work, are they the company’s Einstein? What spectacular contribution have they made—that you can’t make? Let them not intimidate you because of the color of their skin. They could be worse than you. It is possible that they exude confidence in public and curl in misery in private. Remember, tormentors are tormented people. They typically inflict their torment on others. Bare this in mind, and in your seat, keep a smile on your face.

 

  1. Blame: Don’t blame God. Don’t blame your parents. Don’t blame your fellow blacks. It is not their fault that you despise yourself—that you think you are black, ugly, bad, mean, inferior, primitive, and intellectually deficient. Blame those non-blacks who work night and day to ensure you feel the way you do. They are the ones that have imprisoned you and turned you into an object of hate. They have succeeded in making you hate yourself. They have made you dislike anything and everything black—the color, culture, music, sports, and other talents. Understand that you have enough wisdom to realize that self-hate is not doing you any good. Begin to appreciate yourself and your own people.

 

  1. Outlook: Build your self-image by taking care of yourself. Always take a bath/shower, brush your teeth, and kill any unpleasant smell on you. Dress well – clean shirt, underwear, and pants. Remind yourself that your tormentors could be avoiding you because they, themselves, are not clean and do not want you to know.

 

  1. Hope: Always think that you will be much better as a black person someday; that the future is bright for all blacks on earth. Think about where you have come as a black to where you are now. Whereas before you were not allowed to be on the same bus with non-blacks, you are now separated only by a seat. Soon a day will come when all black people will enjoy life in all its richness.

 

  1. Love: Replacing self-hate with self-love is all about loving oneself, caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself, and knowing oneself. You must go further than that and share the same feelings with others. Love them for who they are, respect and appreciate them for their effort and talent in class, sports, etc.

 

 

Remember: The psychological impact of racism and discrimination has long lasting effects. The enormous personal stress that you experience when you are shunned, ignored, snubbed, feared, discriminated against, creates a deep wound in your soul. It gets even deeper when you pay too much attention to what non-blacks are doing to you or saying about you. When in such a situation keep your head high and smile in the face of unpleasantness.

 

Please Note: The reader must understand that this is not an attack on a particular people or race, but an honest attempt to make Africans understand who they are, where they came from, what their history is, where they went wrong, when and why, where they are today, and what to do about their future. An African who reads this article and shares with another African, spreads the word one African at a time. Next week I tackle the history of the color black and why religion takes a chunk of the blame. Don’t miss it.

 

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website www.aruwebooks.com. On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012

 

How can Africans on the continent and in the diaspora find common ground and collaborate?

Bullied for her looks, Kyemah McEntyre claps back at critics for her "African looks" by embracing her heritage and showing up at prom looking like 150% pure African ethereal royalty!

Bullied for her appearance, Kyemah McEntyre claps back at critics for her “African looks” by embracing her heritage and showing up at prom looking like 150% pure African ethereal royalty!

I have to confess, where African and diaspora relations are concerned, I thought that it would be simpler to frame my thoughts and present them than the task has proven to be. I have been – in a word – naïve. There is nothing simple about the factors that separate or, conversely, bind people of African descent in the least. The numerous conversations I’ve either participated in or witnessed have borne this out.

First of all, one has to account for the fact that people of African descent in the diaspora are not even unified around what to call themselves. Names and verbal identifiers have power, something that virtually every African society recognizes, understands, and takes pains to execute with meaning and honor. In the same way, Black people in the diaspora are very conscious of what to call themselves as a group. Some within this microcosm of the African family are comfortable with being identified as “African American,” while others rebuff the label, stating that they are simply “Black.”

Continue reading HERE.

What Happens When You Trap Death in a Basket?

Yaa Traps Death Cover

Greetings MOM Squad, Random Readers and Lurkers!

You are shocked by this question, isn’t it? After all, who would so something as foolhardy as to trap Death in a basket? No one you or I know… but once upon a time, a fearless girl named Yaa did just that.

Yaa Traps Death in a Basket is my latest children’s book – although you adults seem to love them too – and it’s available to pre-order internationally now when you click this link!

Want to save a little bit of money? Enter D4S35P6H at check out to save 20% on the list price of the book. I know, I know! It’s all so thrilling. Check out this video for a peek at the fabulous illustrations done by Poka Arts.

Yaa Traps Death in a Basket from Malaka Grant on Vimeo.

Yaa Traps Death in a Basket will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks in May. It will also be available from the trunk of my car if you’re in Atlanta, and Writers Project in Ghana will have some copies on hand in June  if you’re in Accra and want to scoop up a few. Contact them on twitter @writersPG or on their website at writersprojectghana.com

I ain’t gon’ lie. The book is pretty dope. This is one of those rare times when you guys will call/inbox/email/drum beat me to tell me how great it is, and I won’t reply with a humble “Oh, eheh eheh. Thank you. Na God ooo…”

I will simply reply with “Yes. I know!”:)

Peace!