A year ago on Mother's Day I wrote a blog post titled Some Mother-Daughter Relationships are ComplicatedIn it, I talked about the challenges I faced with my mother throughout her life. I wrote about her negative behavior, which I thought was some type of mental illness and our fractured relationship, which has been that way as long as I can remember. But today when I went to church and listened to the Pastor's message, I began to see my mother in a different light. I think I gave her too much credit for knowing exactly what motherhood meant. That would have to be difficult if you had no one to nurture you, especially since my aunt (who was five years older than my mother) always took credit for raising her since their mother was dead and as the Pastor pointed out, we all know there is no training manual on How to be a Mother. It is on-the-job-training so if you aren't trained properly, then you will go through a baptism by fire and hope you come out unscathed. Personally, I don't think my mother ever came out of the fire but I do believe she gave what she could with what she had mentally.
As I reflect back on my life, there are things I clearly remember about my mother going to bat for me as a child. When I was in elementary school, they used to do something called "tracking." That's where you separate kids by their academic abilities. When it was time for second grade, I noticed that all of the kids I thought were smart (and white) were all in Miss Malone's class. I, on the other hand, was put in Miss Glendenning's class with the average kids (most of whom were black). I went home crying because I wanted to be in Miss Malone's class and felt I deserved to be there. My mother took me to school the next day, met with the Principal and the next thing I knew I was transferred into Miss Malone's class. That was MY mama's doing I'm sure.
Another incident occurred when I thought I should be in the 3rd grade Bluebirds reading group (for the BEST readers) but I was in the Redbirds (a step below). I complained to my mother. She made another trip to the school and I was moved up. That was my mama's doing AGAIN. And I'm proud to say, she didn't live to regret her decision to fight for me.
Since I went to a neighborhood school within walking distance, many times she and other parents would rotate and open up their kitchens as the cafeteria and become the "lunch mom" for us. She treated my friends as well as if they were her own---and yes, they got yelled at and spanked too!
She was active in the PTA and never missed any school events or performances I was involved in. She made sure I did my homework before I could go outside or turn on the TV.
Before every High School Speech tournament, I would practice my Original Oratory in front of my mom. She didn't offer much feedback but she did listen.
When I went away to college, she would call me every year on my birthday at 3:11 p.m. to remind me that's the time I was born. She did that for many, many years and then all of a sudden just stopped one year shortly after my dad passed away in 1983. She also came to my Homecoming Weekend to support me in my quest to become the Homecoming Queen (I was 1st runner up). And what I remember from that was, she rolled her eyes at the person who won. But that's who she was.
She and my dad made me go to church every Sunday and I always remember her telling me to "look up and know where your help comes from."
My mother was bold and brash. She didn't take anybody's mess and once you got on her bad side, you stayed there forever. She wasn't the most forgiving person and she didn't bite her tongue about anything.
So instead of using this Mother's Day to reflect on my mother's negative qualities, I choose to remember the good things she did. This is a part of my healing---letting go of the anger and bitterness I've felt and choosing, instead, to reflect on her redeeming qualities. Just as the Pastor said, "moms give what they can in the best way they know how." And why should I blame her if she just didn't know how to give it the way I felt I should receive it? I may not have gotten the Mom I wanted but God gave me the one I needed.
I wanted to share something that happened to me recently because it restored my faith in the decency of human beings---despite the fact that we are living in a nightmare called Trumpism.
During lunchtime on Friday I sat in the food court debating what I wanted to eat. I never made a decision so my lunch period came and left without me eating. An hour or so later, I was looking through my purse and realized I didn't have my wallet. I assumed I left it at home. I didn't dare want to think or believe that someone at work stole it. Besides, most of the people I work with are retirees and white and they probably have more money than I do. Our job is probably "spending money" for many of them.
By the time I got home I was exhausted and ready to wind down so the lost wallet never entered my mind for the duration of the evening. But on Saturday morning, I woke up with the wallet on my mind. I immediately went downstairs to see if I could find it. It wasn't around. Then I went out to my husband's truck, which I've been driving to work , to see if it had fallen on the floor or something. It wasn't there.
So then I thought about the last place I remembered having my wallet and it was on Thursday at Kroger. I called their customer service and,sure enough, the wallet was there. Someone had turned it in. So after working out at the gym, I swung by the grocery store and picked it up. And guess what? NOTHING HAD BEEN TAKEN. I had about $47, all of my credit cards, my social security card and some other momentos and it was all there. At that point I couldn't hold back the tears because I was just thinking about the honesty and kindness of a perfect stranger. Even if they had taken the money and left everything else, I would not have been upset. Money can be replaced. Credit cards and social security cards can too although that can be somewhat of a hassle. I asked the customer service person if they had gotten the name of the person who turned it in but they did not.
What I experienced today is the best of my community. People looking out for one another whether they actually know each other or not. What I experienced reminds me of something I say all the time: "We are blessed to be a blessing." Someone blessed me today because of what's in their heart. .
Despite the negativity and hatred that Donald Trump and his so-called base want to spread, I know there is still decency among us. The good thing is we can choose to surround ourselves with positivity or be sucked in by the naysayers.
"Every time you do a good deed you shine your light a little futher in the dark." By the way, April 15 is Good Deeds Day
First of all let me clarify something, I am NOT a psychologist who has done any type of research on this subject. I can only speak from experience, which I'm almost sad to say.
Until recently I never considered, to any real degree,the dynamics of white men working under the leadership of blacks. Yes, President Barack Obama had a large staff of folks who were predominately white but I saw them as people who were just happy to be working for the President and had his genuine interests at heart. I, on the other hand, have always worked for white males during my long career in radio and television news. It's a given that your news manager will more than likely be a white male.
Last week I was promoted to a project leader position within the company I am currently at. I was given a team, which includes one white male. Once he realized he was on my team and not the team of my white male counterpart, our relationship became adversarial. From day one, he made it clear through his mannerisms and arrogance that he didn't respect me. When my white male counterpart passed out reading materials for the project, he made it a point to say "thank you" loudly enough for the entire room to hear him. When I passed them out, his silence was deafening. On another occasion, he asked ME to step out of the room so HE could have a conversation---a conversation he could've easily dealt with at my desk. Then to add insult to injury, he sent me a note using incorrect grammar (slang), which I saw as INTENTIONAL and totally unnecessary. I kindly told him, with a big beautiful smile on my face, that I had a journalism degree and he could feel free to use some of those $10 words he had stored in his vocabulary bank. My guess is he doesn't have any but that's beside the point.
THE POINT IS: Because white men come from a place of privilege, some of them have a tough time respecting the leadership roles of blacks in the workplace. They are used to running the show or working for someone who looks and acts like them. They don't see us as their equals so having to take orders from us is beneath them. Some think the only reason we're in the positions we're in is because of affirmative action. What some white fail to realize is their being white has provided them with significant benefits. They don't understand or could care less about the fact that we have work twice as hard and go above and beyond to prove our qualifications while their "good ol' boy network" works well for them. They don't have to worry that their credibility as a leader could be tarnished in any way by the implicit racial bias that people have. They can also rest assured that any conflict they might have with a Supervisor of a different race won't impact them as much as it will on their leader.
To be perfectly honest, his behavior does bother me because he seems to feel emboldened by this ne political era ushered in by Donald Trump. But in the end I will have the final say when I do his evaluation and recommend if he should be considered for new projects. He still has time to turn it around and I will definitely give him that opportunity. But there is a saying about KARMA.......you know, right!
The Center for Disease Control hasn't released statistics on the effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine, but it acknowledges that getting it is no guarantee you'll avoid getting sick. As a matter of fact, last season's vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent. (Source: Allure) That's probably why I've never been a fan of the flu shot and the last time I had one was more than 30 years ago.
For nearly a month I have been battling some flu like symptoms. Because I don't appear to be getting better with my own homemade recipes of tea with lemon and honey, plenty of fluids, and Robitussin, I decided it was time to see my doctor. Unfortunately my Primary Care Physician was unable to see me because he was booked solid, so I had to see a Nurse Practitioner. I had never seen her before so I was reluctant but I figured she was better than going to the Urgent Care (next door) which was overflowing with sick folks.
I'm not exactly sure how much of my medical history this NP read before she saw me but she immediately apologized for being more than an hour late in seeing me for my scheduled 9:20 am appointment. She indicated she was seeing patients back-to-back and two people had to be taken from the clinic to the ER.
Right at the beginning I wanted her to understand my concern because of my congestive heart failure diagnosis more than 10 years ago. I'm already dealing with an enlarged heart so additional fluids around that area can have a negative impact on my overall health. As result, she ordered a bunch of tests. Moments ago, I received the results, which could've been in a foreign language because I didn't understand what they were for and the necessity. Furthermore, there was nothing in the results that indicated what was wrong although the flu was definitely ruled OUT. But here's the kicker: She prescribed some medication for a "possibility" of what I might have. Who takes medication without knowing why? I certainly don't!
Why am I sharing this? Because there are people just like me all over the country who see doctors and don't get definitive results or they're misdiagnosed. This is especially true in the black community, where the quality of healthcare often depends on your skin color. (Source: HuffPost)
Once I read the results in my email, I immediately sent a note to the NP. I also sent a :cc to my PCP.
Ms. NP, I have looked at the test results from my office visit today. Since the results are unclear to me, can you tell me what the medication is actually for? I don't see anything in my test results to indicate what my diagnosis is. All I know is I continue to feel bad with a tightness in my chest and coughing and congestion. I will not take the medication until I am clear on the reason why. The reason for this is several years ago I was given antibiotics for what a doctor thought was pneumonia. It turned out to be cardiomyopathy. Terrible misdiagnosis! Thank you Don't be afraid to challenge your medical provider. While you're in the office, take the time to ask questions:
1) What is the test four?
2) When will I get the results?
3) Why do I need this treatment/medication?
4) Will this medicine interact with medicines I'm already taking?
5) Are there any alternatives
I'll be sure to follow up to this blog post with the response I receive.
First of all, let me say, the media ought to be ashamed of itself! Every news program I turned to this morning was talking about the possibility of Oprah running for President in 2020. This came as the result of her powerful and I do mean POWERFUL acceptance speech upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes awards show Sunday night.
Personally, I have never seen Oprah give a speech when she wasn't powerful and inspiring with something extremely relevant and thought-provoking to say. She's a journalist by profession so she knows how to use words and use them effectively. That's what we do. The major difference between Oprah and the rest of us is she went on to create a media dynasty that opened doors for many in the process. Folks like Tyler Perry, Ava Duvernay, her gal-pal, Gayle King, former President Barack Obama and a host of authors, along with one of my hometown friends Delores Pressley, all owe some debt of gratitude to the former Queen of the Daytime Talk Shows .
But here we are now, thanks to the media, thinking about the possibility of Oprah becoming the next President of the United States. Sources close to Oprah allegedly told a CNN correspondent that she was "actively thinking" about it. We all actively think about a lot of things so what does that actually mean? Every morning when I get out of bed I "actively" think about going to the gym. I don't always "actively" get there though. Every day I "actively" think about what I might make for dinner and most times end up changing my mind to something else or not to make anything at all. I also "actively" think about my next vacation to St. Lucia but my bank account says otherwise.
Here's my point: Most of the news programs have become nothing more than sensationalized entertainment shows designed to boost their ratings. We all know how well they did with making Donald Trump our latest President. They went out of their way to give him more air time and credibility than he ever deserved and now spend their days and nights gawking over how he could've possibly won. These days every story they run is to tear the same man down that they spent a whole campaign building up, all for the sake of some "good soundbites." Now they've got their sights on Oprah Winfrey.
One thing we all know about Oprah is she is very media savvy so she knows what she'll be up against during a knock down drag-out campaign. But we also know the media too. We know you can be their darling one minute and they'll be out to destroy you in the next. As a matter of fact, right after her rousing speech at the Golden Globes, some old, cozy photos of her and alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein showed up on social media as a reminder that if you live in a glass house you may not want to throw any stones.
Here's another perspective on Oprah for President by the LA Times: OPRAH
The sexual harassment scandals involving old white men in power just keep on coming. Now we have Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson offering to sell the team now that an NFL investigation involving his workplace behavior is coming to light. Not only is he accused of sexual misconduct but he is also accused of using racial slurs on at least on occasion. And thanks to an investigative reporter with Sports Illustrated, we now know there were several payouts over the years, also known as "hush money."
When it was learned that the NFL was taking over the investigation that was initially started by the Panthers internal investigative team, Richardson immediately announced he would be selling the team at the end of the year. How convenient for him. His value has skyrocketed to over $1 billion since he first bought the team in the early 90's for a little over $200 million.
The sports world is stunned. Say it ain't so Joe! Oh, but it is and probably a lot more prevalent than we know. Let's look at what we do know in this case. Jerry Richardson is 81 years old, which means he was born in 1936 and he was raised in a tiny town known as Spring Hope, NC (outside of Fayetteville). Heck, they were still lynching black folks so he grew up in that type of environment and the only exposure he had to blacks during that time period were as maids and other slave labor.
As Richardson was climbing the ladder of white male privilege, he became CEO of a company known as Flagstar, which just happened to own the Denny's chain, which had been sued by the Justice Department for refusing to serve black patrons. In 1994, Flagstar agreed to pay more than $50 million to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of black customers around the country. All under Richardson's helm.
Now I know there are people who will say that was a LONG time ago we should judge him on his merits now. After all, he's got a black quarterback and a head coach who is of Puerto Rican descent. Richardson had a chance to be a shining example of what it means to be an owner who values diversity but these allegations just goes to show you, you can't teach an old southern dawg new tricks.
Furthermore, here's what else we also know about Richardson. When black NFL players were taking a knee over racial inequality, Richardson threatened to punish anyone on the team who participated and he made it clear that he didn't want to see any of his "boys" on the team wearing dreadlocks.
Publicly, Richardson presents himself a Traditionalist---a conservative Christian man who stands for moral values but behind the scenes we are learning about a different side. Much like the "behind the scenes" comment made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair when he said "We can't have inmates running the prison!" While he swears he wasn't referring to the NFL players, they majority of people who heard about it took it that way.
We all know the NFL owners are the Good Ol' Boy Network and they pride themselves in being an exclusive white male privilege club.
How will scandal impact Richardson's legacy or will it have an affect at all? We'll let the Football Hall of Fame committee tell us.
With the holiday season upon us, more and more people are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if they can't be with them in person. Social media sites like Facebook have seen an influx of baby boomers in recent years and with the holiday season here, more and more of us are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if we can't be with them in person.
While it's wonderful to use social media to make connections, it can have a downside. Here are holiday social media tips to keep you relatively safe:
1) Do not make public announcements about where you're going. No one needs to know you're leaving your home to go away to visit your children in another state. As a matter of fact, no one ever needs to know when you leave your home because that means it could be unattended and an open invitation to thieves.
2) Don't tell people where you are. On Twitter, people are known to post where they are while they're there. Once again, that's an open invitation to burglars.
3) Don't announce your shopping expenditures. Why brag that you've spent several hundred dollars on Christmas gifts this year? That's a signal that you HAVE money and could become a target for a robbery---or something far worse.
4) Advise your children and grandchildren not to go public with your business. While the family may be excited that you're coming to visit, it isn't necessary to put the information on their Facebook page or "tweet" about it. You don't know who they're connected to that might be interested in such information.
5) Finally, don't click on links from people you don't know. People may try to send you a holiday greeting in disguise---which could actually contain a nasty virus. You may be connected to the friend of a friend of a friend but if you don't know they personally, don't click on the link. Instead, just go their page and post a personal greeting and thank them for thinking of you. If they didn't post the link, you'll be doing them a huge favor.
By following these tips, baby boomers, their families and friends can enjoy the holidays and stay safe at the same time.
Now we can add Harvey Weinstein's name to the list of dirty, old, white, arrogant, privileged men who's accused to sexually harassing women. He has now joined the elite white male privileged club that also boasts names like 71-year-old Donald Trump, the late former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, and 67-year-old Bill O'Reilly Their abuse of power and their lack of respect for women doesn't shock me, as a black woman, because history tells us that's what white men have always done dating back to the years of slavery. The only difference now is that white women are the victims. They're speaking out and getting paid big time. My great-grandmother, on the other hand, had no voice and would've probably been murdered if she spoke about it.
The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke when an article by the New York Times in October detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him. Actress Rose McGowan was the first to come out publicly followed by Ashley Judd and a host of others. So, once again, I am supposed to be outraged and disgusted by the actions of these white, arrogant, privileged, dirty, old, white men. When the news of all of the settlements Fox News had made on behalf of Bill O'Reilly white women were up in arms raising all kinds of hell about his male privilege and why Fox News kept it quiet for so long. Now with the Weinstein scandal I am supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and say "enough is enough." I get that and I am glad these women decided to come forward but I also wonder why the voices of minority women have never been heard in a similar situation.
Sexual harassment against women on the job has been going on for a VERY LONG time. This really isn't anything new. It's just that women now feel they have more of a voice to come out an publicly denounce the perpetrators using various media platforms, which are all very willing to "break the story."
But, like with everything else, there are always two sides to a story. There are women who actually use their sexuality to get to the top. You can be shocked and appalled to be reading this but it's the truth. Now, don't get this twisted. I am not saying any of the female accusers did anything to aggravate whatever situation they found themselves in. Sexism, like racism, should never be tolerated in the workplace. But I can tell you, first-hand, that I do know of white women who used their "feminine wiles" to get a man's attention at work. I was there. I was a witness. This one particular young lady, fresh out of college, always wore provocative clothing in the newsroom and flaunted her best assets in our New Director's face every chance she got. And yes, she did get a promotion. The same goes with Weinstein who reportedly promised to advance their careers in return for sexual favors.
According to a Center for Work-Life study, conducted some years ago, 37 percent of the women questioned said the sexual affair they had resulted in a career boost. In a blog post written by Samantha Brick she said, "The truth is, I’d much rather work for a man than a woman. I’ve always dressed with the express intention to please and gratify my male bosses in the workplace. If I had a choice of how to spend my ideal lunch hour, it’s a no-brainer. Each and every time I’d choose to flirt over lunch with a male superior rather than engage in mindless gossip with the girls..."
So yes, there are women out here who intentionally turn on the sex appeal and they flirt with a goal in mind. As Samantha pointed out, "I learned very early on in my career how to clock within seconds who the important male was in any room and pandered to him accordingly. And it paid off."
So the Samantha's of the world have made it hard for those women who are truly trying to advance based on their own merit, talents and expertise. And as long as there are Samantha's on the job, there will be dirty, old, arrogant, white, privileged men abusing their power.
So that brings us back to Harvey Weinstein, who comes from that dirty, old, arrogant, white male privilege fraternity. So now he's lost ALL of his Hollywood privileges, while he claims to seek help for his "sickness." But is he really gone? That remains to be seen.
I am reminded of Anita Hill and what she was subjected to by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Humiliating, degrading and broadcast on prime time TV for the world to see. What did she get out of it? Perhaps, a chance to let everyone know who this man was that Congress was so gung ho about. What did he get? A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Oh, but wait a minute. She was a black woman and Thomas was supported by the dirty, old, arrogant, white privileged men of the republican party.
As the mother of a Millennial, I became concerned when I read the results of the annual Truth About Abuse Survey conducted by Mary Kay. Yes, I'm talking about the same Mary Kay Company that created an empire by making women of all ages look beautiful and developed many entrepreneurs who show off their financial success with their trademark pink cars.
The survey implies there is a new epidemic spreading among our young people and it's called Digital Dating Abuse. So exactly whatis this type of abuse? According to The Women's Freedom Center website, Digital Dating Abuse is "a form of verbal and/or emotional abuse, which can include unwanted repeated calls or text messages, pressure to send nude or private pictures or videos, and the use of social media networking sites to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a girlfriend/boyfriend.
Some of the signs of digital dating abuse include a boyfriend or girlfriend who:
Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on Facebook or other sites
Sends you negative, unwanted, insulting or even threatening email, Facebook messages, tweets or other online messages
Uses social media sites to keep constant tabs on you and constantly criticizing you
Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.
According to the Mary Kay survey, 1 in 4 young people say they have personally experienced digital dating abuse. So if you are a parent reading this, that means your adult daughter could very well be a victim or the young adult of one of your friends.
69 percent of young people believe their peer group is more likely to tolerate abusive behavior online than in person.
60 percent say they would not tell a parent or guardian if they were experiencing digital dating abuse.
76 percent of college students say they have been victims of abuse, compared to 61 percent of high school students.
The 2017 survey is part of Mary Kay's Don't Look Away campaign which works to educate the public on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship.
Did you know more than 70 percent of employers say they have been adversely impacted by prescription drugs, while less than 20 percent say they are extremely prepared to deal with prescription drug abuse. These are some of the findings based on research conducted by the National safety Council.
As I reported in my previous blog post, nearly one million people spent $50,000 or more on prescription drugs in 2016. The National Safety Council says a whopping 75 percent of people struggling with a substance abuse problem are in the workforce. A frightening thought!
While a large majority of companies have adopted smoke-free policies over the years, the NSC study says 81 percent lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy. More than 70 percent of employers believe prescription drug "misuse" is a disease but 65 percent believe it is grounds for termination.
Drug addicted employees, no doubt, can have an impact on an employer's bottom line. As a matter of fact, 7 out of 10 employers say they have felt some effect of prescription drug abuse. Incidents experienced as a result of prescription drug usage include:
Impaired or decreased job performance
Borrowing or selling prescription drugs on the job
Employees who abuse prescription drugs are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent, quit or be fired within the first year of their employment.
Perhaps the fact that over 90 percent of people addicted and dying from prescription drug abuse are white is why Trump is preparing to sign an executive order calling it a National Emergency. That's what covering his base is about.
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