Category Archives: Brampton
As a Canadian following the US “Shutdown of non-essential Government” or the forced furlough of government employees, It’s been a rather interesting week to say the least. This article is not to get into a political discourse but, in writing about the aforementioned topic, I feel that it is of value to highlight that the resounding message to Black people living both inside and outside of the US is this: The “free world” is controlled by people who generally hate poor and middle class people and would rather see them stressed, sick, poor and dead than give them a fair and equal fighting chance for peace of mind through extending them the most basic of human essential needs, accessible and affordable healthcare.
This ought to speak volumes to Black people living in North America because although we make up an impressive spending group as a whole, we are non-essential in the realm of organized political and economic power and control.
We are marginalized because of our race, our generalized inferior social class and because of our lack of organization and solidarity as a people. Even with a Black man presiding over the “Land of The Free”, there is no symbolic resonating of a power gain or of a growing respect toward Black people. (I’m shocked that people thought that there even would be) In fact, it’s obvious that the GOP/Tea Party/Republicans or whatever they’re called this week hate their own president more than they care for average American citizens. Common sense tells me that they must generally hate all Black people and would rather see their demise at the detriment of an entire nation rather than see a Black man advance a progressive agenda for the betterment of ALL people living in the United States. Call me dramatic, it’s how I see it. Period.
When colonizing a particular group, in order to get them to secede to “new” beliefs and practices, control must first be exerted over three very important and influential branches of society: The education system, law enforcement and lastly, religious organization. Control is extended over the institutions which ultimately warp the human mind, body and spirit. Typically, I haven’t lent much “creative attention” to the ideology of white supremacy but in order to truly engage learners and reinforce that systematic racism is indeed a living and breathing thing, we know that we cannot ignore the reality of North American society and it must be consistently addressed and worked on to dispel and unfurl. For those who don’t know, white supremacy is the ideology that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. White supremacy is the idea that if you are not white, then you are not right and white people naturally deserve to be dominant over you. It’s that simple. Do all white people fit into this ideology? Of course not but we aren’t concerned with that handful of people. Although we’ve been “physically free” for almost 200 years, through using systematic colonization tactics in North America, Black people are largely still in bondage of the most dangerous form; Mental slavery.
Currently, it is the schools that are majorly responsible for socializing, instilling values, moralizing and instructing Black learners. I believe that in handing near total control over to the education system, we are allowing for the systematic annihilation of our intellectual and therefore future potential. We are inviting people whose best interests it is to keep us ignorant, docile and complacent to have control and dominance over our minds. We are permitting our children to be systematically and purposefully prepared to be “larger” society’s worker ants.
Why do we do this? Because during the civil rights movements we naively and ignorantly fought to assimilate our education along with those who did not want us on their school property let alone in their classrooms. Those who never intended “formal” education be extended to us and furthermore, we put the control of our “mind building” into the hands of people who did not know anything about us and had no interest in learning or sharing any knowledge with us in the first place. We know that this was a huge mistake and now it’s time to rebound from years of mis-education and mind control.
For centuries, we have been brainwashed into believing that the natural order of humanity is the Eurocentric perspective and it’s this illusion that white supremacy is real which maintains the status quo. Living in Ontario Canada, we’re surrounded by a multitude of diversity and various ethnic groups have rightfully and responsibly taken it upon themselves to guard against this lie. The East Indian community works together to ensure that their languages, culture, heritage and various faiths are supported and maintained. The Jewish community to works together to ensure the preservation of their cultural norms, mores and values as do the Muslim, Ukrainian, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Russian and many of the other various communities. We must work cohesively to ensure that our Black children are also exposed to an alternate reality within our own respective communities now more than ever.
What factions of the US government is boldly and openly demonstrating is that the poor and subjugated deserve no voice. They deserve no benefit of communalism nor the sharing and fair distribution of resources. How long do you think it will be before Canada experiences something relatively similar? There is absolutely no guarantee that our future generations will have the security of a social safety net and therefore, it is our onus to ensure that they are prepared to be self-sufficient, useful and enterprising people. The resourceful and proactive thing to do is assume culpability for our own valuable assets as they do theirs.
Becoming aware of this reality is the first step in building a systematic approach to counter this oppressive phenomena. It’s worked hard and long enough to keep us stationary, stagnant and silent. It’s time to liberate ourselves and each other and to count ourselves as equal and deserving even when others would have us believe and behave according to the contrary popular belief.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Last night at ap. 8pm, we were asked to leave the Lone Star Texas Grill at 930 Dixon Road, Etobicoke because our baby was “too loud”. We were seated on the main floor in a booth and there were quite a few babies in the restaurant who were making the noises that children normally do. Nothing excessive, certainly nothing offensive and yet, the assistant manager waited until just after we were served our meal to approach the table and inform us that about 12 patrons had complained that our baby was too loud and that he would pay for my meal if I would leave with my son. My son is 1 year old.
Seated at the table were myself, two of my best friends and my oldest daughter who is sixteen. We were having a farewell dinner for our friend, Pte. Georgina N. Hamilton who had just graduated that morning after completing an 8 week Level Three Qualification Course at Base Camp Borden. She is a new Supply Technician with the Canadian Armed Forces and was leaving for Nova Scotia following our meal.
At first, the assistant manager who shall remain nameless for now approached us, stood at the end of our table and proceeded to communicate that he simply couldn’t have my son disturb the other patrons in his establishment as they are “…running a business.” He claimed that people were getting up and leaving the restaurant leaving their unpaid bills behind.
Yes, he claimed that my 1 year old baby, was making enough racket in a family restaurant during dinner hours that it was best if I left with him. He didn’t offer to reseat us. He didn’t offer to come down to my level at the table and speak to me quietly or privately. He didn’t smile in that “I know how kids are but, I just have to let you know what other people are saying” kind of way. He calmly informed me that it would be best if I left with my son and that he would gladly pay for it.
He avoided eye contact with the other guests at the table, he avoided speaking directly to them. He also made it clear that he would only be paying for MY meal and no one else’ as though he expected me to leave and my dinner party would carry on eating as if nothing had happened. One of my friends had already pre-paid for her meal so that to ensure she wouldn’t be late making her airplane departure.
The entire time the gentleman was at our table, my son didn’t make a sound. In fact, the restaurant was eerily quiet. We didn’t get loud. Nobody overreacted, we simply advised that if one of was being asked to leave, we are all being asked to leave and that all bills would be covered and for obvious reasons. When I mentioned to him that social media outlets can tell a good story, he then agreed to pay for all of our meals. Just as we’re gathering our things to leave, we heard a baby on the level just above us squeal loudly. He ignored this until we pointed it out and asked if he would be approaching their table too to ask them to leave the restaurant; He calmly said, “If I get complaints about that baby, then I’ll approach them too.” and he walked off as we ushered ourselves toward the front of the building where we then collected the business card of the general manager.
The only difference between my squealing baby and the other squealing baby was that my son, and the people seated around him are Black.
I am not naïve, yet although I am completely wide awake and understand how the world operates, I can’t help but be sickened that things like this still happen in 2013 and in my beloved Canada of all places.
I am waiting to hear back from the General Manager for that restaurant. After explaining to him this morning what happened, he explained that he would “investigate” and get back to me. I have spoken to the Human Rights Commission Tribunal for their advice in the meanwhile as we wait to see how this unfolds.
I had to share. I had to write about it; It’s what I do.
Tell me dear reader, do you think it’s fair to demand justice in the form of an apology. Demand the employee receive Sexual Harassment And Racial Prejudice training (S.H.A.R.P) as it pertains the code of the Canadian Human Rights Commission AND a monetary donation to Blacklit101 Education program fund? Doing nothing IS NOT AN OPTION.
What are your thoughts about this very un-curious incident?
I’m really interested to know your opinions on this. What are some of your stories? How did you feel? What did you do?
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
As a new school year fast approaches, I’ll be posting articles which may help students and parents get ready to put their best feet forward this September. Although anyone can learn from this particular post, I emphasize that this is for Black students simply because of the reality. Expectations for Black students reading and writing abilities are much lower than the median for their non-Black counterparts. That’s it folks. In terms of literacy, our children are expected to naturally fare worse than their peers. I want to change this phenomenon.
Even without formal instruction, young learners will gradually learn the correct structures and rules of the English language. When a child is learning to read, they may use a variety of strategies to decode and understand the text but, in accepting this rule, we are first assuming that the student already has a good “grasp” of the English language. In terms of writing, we typically tend to gauge our child’s functioning skills by connecting that it is a reflection of how well they speak. This is a common mistake that many of us parents make. Although verbal skills and written skill are correlated, good speakers do not automatically make good writers. We all know people who speak effortlessly but give them a pen and they can barely string two sentences together. How about those of us who would simply die of embarrassment if people saw our writing through the lens of the autocorrect or spellcheck tools.
Many factors influence what determines good writing. Here are a few tips to help us parents support our children’s literacy needs. Getting into the practice of incorporating the things below can help develop writing skills.
- Good writing is clear and has an easily identified point.
- That point is supported with information.
- The information is clear, connected and logical.
- The words are appropriate and the spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure are correct.
That’s it, four little tips to help our learners excel. In writing, practice might never make perfect but, it does help us to become better.
After the writing task has been assigned, it is helpful to begin with the basics; What are you writing and who are you writing for? Is it an essay? Short fiction? Book report? Research project? Thesis? Once the task is determined, identify the audience. Ensure that the target audience (teachers/peers/instructors/professors) can easily understand what they are reading. We may live in a ROFLMAO, SMH, WTF? Techno-social-media-short-form world but, in the realm of formal education; Spelling, grammar and punctuation all matter.
A learner who is in the habit of taking their time to write, then to proofread and edit will generally submit better written material.
Being able to identify and then connect the audience or reader to the content is very important. Writing which conveys emotion or feeling and even invokes sentiment within the reader demonstrates skill. Being able to hold the reader’s attention is an equally effective skill therefore, wording is paramount. In my experience, my students often try to impress me by using big words which isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact I encourage it. I am often affected and pleased by the effort however; Using relevant wording will often win over an audience easier than lofty wording or, by contrast using dull wording. These provocative tactics can sometimes backfire in either case by insulting the reader’s intelligence. I don’t know about you but for me, that’s usually an automatic turn-off. Students should be encouraged to explore language but, not craft sentences around words they feel will help them to show-off.
Don’t forget the content! The subject or topic being covered is the star of the show. The content must reflect the criteria of the assignment. I can’t name how often I’ve peer edited and at the end of reading I had no idea what the point was. This is a dangerous ground. Sticking to the point can be hard but, it ought to be the central theme.
The difference between being a mediocre writer and a good writer is a matter of semantics. It has nothing to do with talent! Being an effective writer is in understanding your own voice, identifying your weaknesses and writing around them. It’s being daring and risking being open in what you chose to write about. It’s about taking the task of writing beyond the course outline and using the parameters of the paper to do everything the instructor requires of you to get that ‘A’ and also revealing who you are as an individual.
Most importantly and I share this with my ESL students, but the rule is as true for native English speakers; The best way to become proficient in writing is to read, read, READ! I can’t stress this point enough. Avid readers tend to develop broader vocabulary as well as learn to identify and use various writing mechanics.
Parents, please understand that a good writing tutor might save you money down the road. Learning the mechanics of writing in grade 6, 7 and 8 will prepare your child for his or her academic future. By the time your child reaches high school and written communication becomes a major component of learning, they will already have the skills needed to easily express their thoughts, world views and opinions through writing. To write effectively is to communicate effectively which often translates into better marks and higher grades resulting in greater opportunities for bursaries, scholarships and other free money to put toward post secondary education.
It’s not that good writing requires formal education, it’s that formal education requires good writing.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
George Zimmerman has been turned free and now that a message has been sent to Black America that although it’s “illegal”, it is perfectly acceptable to be anti-social and to pursue and shoot Black children for sport. What is the recourse?
We know that perverse amounts of Black children are being lost to child endangerment, neglect, abuse, poverty and ignorance daily at the hands of other Black people.
We know that sadly, our children do not look brightly into the future and often feel that the streets can offer them more money, power and respect than an education and a nine-to-five can.
We know that our children often feel misguided, underrepresented and lost. We know that when people feel as though they have nothing to lose, they can easily become anti-social.
Black people, this is the bane of our existence.
But, you can’t cry foul when you’re doing foul and non-action is a foulness to my sensibilities.
We have to change the status quo. Point. Blank. Period.
In the history of man, there has never been a time where growth, development or victory was derived from inaction and stagnant compliance. Throughout our ancestral timeline and no matter the race, human tenacity has always been the driving force behind advancement and upward mobility. Behind every war, there is an ideology reinforcing an agenda and an opposing body of representation involved in the conflict. The conquering of nations requires a division of leadership and logistics in almost equal measures. Almost every act of human ingenuity whether it’s been the invention of the wheel or the simple lever, has been a response to a need or at least a perceived usefulness. The point is, in a social context, human evolution don’t just happen organically, we have to get our hands dirty. We can not sit idly by with our mouths agape expecting things to change through inaction. Complaining about the problems doesn’t solve them. Acknowledging the issues and designing a comprehensive course of action surely will though.
Until the 1830’s, which really isn’t a long time go when you think about it, the goal was freedom. Black people wanted to get “free”. After slavery was “abolished” freedom was ours at last but has it really been? What does it mean to be free? Is freedom being able to come and go as you please without requiring permission? Is freedom being able to live comfortably without the worry of not being able to meet financial obligations? Is freedom simply being without physical bondage or captivity? Does the idea of freedom live in being able to think, feel and openly express opinions that critique social standards and the powers who enforce them?
It’s important to have an understanding of the concept of freedom and what it means in order to truly embrace the condition and live to the full potential of this privilege. Freedom means many different things for many different people. In terms of Black people, I for one believe the term is used very loosely and have always regarded freedom in terms of relativity. For me, freedom is all of the above but it means also having power. Having power over my own social condition. Having political and financial might which diligently supports and advocates for social equality and balance within the Black community and which is level, as good as, and on par with the rest of the North American standard for the “majority”. In a loose context, I suppose Black people are free however, below the surface obvious complexities are frequent reminders of the brainwash that we’ve allowed to control our thought process for too long now. Brainwash that fools us into believing that we are powerless victims.
You know what we become when our minds are occupied with an agenda which isn’t a reflection of our own personal values and doesn’t make social sense for us? Cultural mercenaries. Victims of circumstances that you are too ignorant to challenge and therefore change.
I hate quoting famous people because it seems so cliche but, when Bob Marley wrote, “Free yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” he hit the nail squarely on the head.
Freedom isn’t purchased, it isn’t always a measure of physical confinement either. I know people locked away in prison who are far more free than I ever will be. They’ve got access to limitless education, three square meals a day, shelter, medical care and plenty of time for hobbies and self-reflection and all on my tax dollar. It doesn’t get more free than that… Freedom is state of mind.
Free yourself from mental slavery. Liberate your mind and as you awaken, everything else in your life will eventually fall into place because your actions will be guided by true knowledge and not the foolishness you’ve been lead to believe which keeps you captive and easily controlled and victimized.
What are we willing to do to get free? Are we willing to take the necessary measures to re-educate ourselves to defend against and change the status quo? Are we willing to evolve our language, attitudes and behavior to restore pride and esteem to our culture? Are we willing to support Black business and Black enterprise? Are we willing to take control over our own education? Are we willing to live by the same standards we set for others in terms of how we want to be treated and impose them upon ourselves? Are we willing to admonish the *N* word completely from our vernacular for people inside and outside of our race? Are we willing to be a strict in punishing those of use who display behaviors which cast a disappointing and embarrassing shadow on Black people and hold them accountable for cultural non-compliance? Are we willing to stop living up to the stereotypes? Are we willing to reach out to people with which whom we have nothing in common for support, to educate, to uplift and to embrace as kinfolk bonded simply because we are Black? Are we willing to be the keepers of our brothers and sisters and advocate for them at all times and not only when the national spotlight is shining brightly?
Black people don’t need a hero; We need to smarten up and stop living in the box that’s we’ve been trained to not think outside of.
The solutions for our race are reflected in the very problems that challenge us but first, we have to face the mirror and resolve to be better. Get determined to get free and open up the avenues for a healthier pathology. Freedom is having a voice and a choice.
I affirm to lend myself not as a martyr but as an example of what I believe to be the path to enlightenment for Black people of the North American variety. I have to BE the change I want to see in the world.
We can cry and scream and moan AND pray about the status quo and it changes absolutely nothing; Or, we can act, we can learn, we can evolve, we can BE the change we want to see reflected in our people and it changes everything.
There’s strength in community, there’s power in community. What are we willing to sacrifice to really get free?
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Yes that is the cover from the Dead Prez album “Lets Get Free” (one of THE BEST records ever) but I know sh*t about copyright law and am not trying to get sued so credit and respect to Dead Prez!
On my mission to re-educate myself and help to re-educate others, I think it’s time I share some of the theoretical myths which have been “debunked” and busted for me personally at least.
Throughout the generations, us Black people sure have been spoon-fed a lot of bullsh*t.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that the major reason we’ve been unsuccessful in collaborating as a People is due to the fact that our collective language, spiritual beliefs,cultural norms and mores were stripped from us in our initial committal into bondage. However, we know that people were kidnapped from various parts of the many countries in Africa therefore, the languages, spiritual beliefs, cultural norms and mores were never really a cohesive set of similarities among our people to begin with. We know for certain that the many ethnic groups within Africa have a multitude of differences which naturally set them apart.
Fast-forward to slavery. We were forced to cease communicating in our various native tongues and understand and communicate mostly in the English language. My point? Once English becomes the language standard, Black people living in North America now have a collective language bond. Furthermore, we also know that our ancestors were acute enough to create sub-languages or “jargon” to communicate amongst themselves to protect their vulnerabilities. Of course regional dialect was a natural bi-product of this evolution of words and depending on where you were from, colloquialism became another informal language bond for Black people and still is.
I’m from North Preston, Nova Scotia, unless I want you to know what I am saying, you won’t. We have our own unique expressions, terminology, slang and even definitions.
Although indigenous North American Black people have been brainwashed into believing that having no shared language is what separates us as a People, we do in fact share a language; and thanks to the Brits, it’s English. Myth, busted.
In terms of spiritual beliefs, I can’t even begin to explain the numerous taboos, deities, Gods, Spirits, rituals etc. More have likely been lost over time than there is my capacity for ever learning even a fraction of them. Understanding Africa from an anthropological point of view is amazingly vast. But, I do know one thing is certain; That Christianity was never the natural “religion” of the Africans brought captive to North America. If anything, as far as “organized” religions go, we know that Judaism and Islamism had spread throughout Africa prior to the 1500’s when the African “religious” systems were first introduced to the Americas because of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Once again, as the Bible and other relics of Christianity were imposed upon the Africans, they were eventually accepted and practiced, there is then created another tie that binds; Christianity.
Whether Protestant, Catholic or Lutheran, Christianity becomes a common denominator and the unity of Black people is solidified through Christian spirituality. Perhaps even more so than before because now, we have no choice. No matter the cultural background, Christianity becomes the standard practice and therefore we’re all united in Jesus’ name. Amen.
I’ve spent some time in Southern Africa and culturally speaking and of course, depending on where you are, be it South Africa, Zimbabwe or Zambia, there is a multitude of cultural differentials. Many Egyptians don’t even consider themselves Africans and especially not Black people! Tell most Somalians, Ethiopians and Eritreans that they are Black and your’re in for a very interesting conversation. Cultural diversity is a complex and beautiful thing and is not unique to Black people so again, the brainwash used to make this “issue” a cause for dissident is deceitful and detrimental to our race.
Think about what I’m saying here and examine all that you been lead to believe as a Black person. Think about the rhetoric you’ve heard countless times during Black history month. Think about the many times you’ve heard, “Well, the Africans sold their own people into slavery you know.” It’s contextual, it’s relative, it’s bullsh*t.
Every day in the news we see examples of how the West imposes their beliefs and attitudes internationally, deeming what is “wrong” and what is socially acceptable and what is within the scope of “human rights”. Really? After knowing what our own history has extended to Black people in North America, who’s zoomin’ who? We know that the “powers that be” value industry, corporate instinct over human dignity and ultimately the all-mighty dollar.
What is true is that we know Black people were forced to learn and communicate in a language that wasn’t our own. We know that at a point in the not so distant past, Black people were arbitrarily expected to assimilate as a labor force and collaborate, cooperate and work together. We know that we were given Christianity to save us from our savagery. We know that no matter which part of Africa our descendants were stolen from, they were in fact stolen and dehumanized for capitol gain. We know that collectively, us North American Black folk all have this in common.
So this platform of well orchestrated propaganda used to “explain”, justify and retain our social antagonism from each other is a fallacy.
We were taught these things to keep us from coming together in numbers. We were given this mis-information to keep us separated, dived and disjointed. We have been mis-educated on purpose.
Being realistic about our commonalities and celebrating them is a major step in realizing our full potential as a connected Black community.
I know I am simplifying things, but, I believe it’s what we share as a People that holds the key to uniting us as a People; We just have to learn to think right and that means un-learning a whole lot of bad information and re-educating ourselves and being fully in the know.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite
If knowledge is power than the ability to think, criticize, determine and communicate are the traits of a powerful and therefore dangerous person no?
More and more I am seeing a doe-eyed blank stare coming from the young people in my life when it comes to being able to self-advocate.
My nephews cringe at the thought of having to make a phone call to a professional organization for fear of saying the wrong thing, and my own daughter cowers and shrinks and assumes a child-like voice when expected to leave a voice message or is asked to order a pizza over the phone.
I suspect that this behavior is simply a reflection of their lack of self-confidence in terms of their communication skills however; part of being successful in life is having the ability to produce an independent thought and communicate it. They simply haven’t yet realized their divine power as humans.
Would you agree that it is imperative that our children learn to think and communicate effectively, eloquently and confidently in order to support their opportunities for success?
Our thoughts and opinions are largely influenced by our exposure to elements which evolve our vocabulary, develop our attitudes and challenge our core beliefs and value systems. Depending on the variables, these exposures not only help to formulate who we are as individuals but, ultimately strengthen our confidence as readers, speakers, writers and most importantly thinkers.
We must ensure that our children are provided maximum exposure to elements which will benefit their capacity for analytic output and the communication skill-set to animate their thoughts, emotions and opinions into the known universe. As adults, parents and mentors, we must encourage reading, encourage watching credible news sources, encourage travel, encourage the dramatic arts, encourage tasteful film, indulge their natural curiosities about the world and the people in it. Encourage calculated risk-taking. These things are needed for the learner to broaden the boundaries of the thought process. Open-mindedness is a key element for re-educating our children and placing them on the pathways to success and freeing them from the foothills of mediocrity.
When our children believe that they possess the know-how to think and speak for themselves, they can then be expected to grow up with the security of knowing that they can advocate for themselves and defend against the proverbial powers that be. They can be expected to negotiate. Arbitrate. Adjudicate. Mediate. Intervene. Collaborate. Compromise…
Relinquish the thesaurus, you get the picture. There is no limit to what they can do when we attune them to the value of knowing.
John Dewey held the philosophy that building strong thinking skills through education not only benefits the learner but, also the community and the democracy as a whole. I’m definitely in support of that school of thought especially in terms of building those skills within the Black community. Being able to think and to learn to fully exploit the benefits of effective communication is arming our children with powerful weaponry and this is beautifully dangerous in terms of the status quo.
Without effective communication skills, the components needed for critical thinking are lost on the individual. The acts of problem solving and decision making are compromised and I believe that this puts the Black learner at a major disadvantage both educationally and socially.
If it is true that “The process of critical thinking involves the careful acquisition and interpretation of information and use of it to reach a well-justified conclusion.”(Wikipedia) it obviously follows that a lack of critical thinking results in poor problem solving and decision making. If you disagree with everything I’ve written, I’m sure we can at least agree that our children deserve a fair chance at making the best possible decisions for themselves.
If our past is any indication of our future, as a People, we’ve come a long way and have the strength, courage and tenacity to face whatever future we decide for ourselves; it no longer has to be reactionary. Once we are armed with the power of wisdom and embrace cooperation, we are a force to be reckoned with and we can be in full control of our collective destiny as a People.
We must banish the relics of The Jim Crow era in terms of the expectation that Black people are doomed by an inevitable separate, poor and desolate outcome. That’s brainwash and couldn’t possibly be any further from the truth.
In hopes of shaping a brighter future for our generations, we must safeguard them in all possible facets. Thinking, speaking, reading, writing and ultimately communicating are the most precious commodities we can stockpile.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
Yesterday a fellow parent and I had an intriguing discussion on the issue of respect. It got me thinking about how important it is for our children to fully comprehend words and their value as necessary tools for efficient communication. Most adults understand the power that words hold but, are we truly transferring that knowledge onto our children? I often hear the teenagers, who manage to takeover our house on most days, talk about respect; who they do and don’t respect, and about being disrespected. It occurred to me that children often hear and use words most of which, they don’t understand the definition.
Consider this possibility; That we lack basic knowledge in terms of the language we use to describe ourselves and the ways in which we view world around us. Because of this, our perception and worldly views can be easily shifted askew which impacts our interactions and ultimately our experiences.
For instance, the word respect is defined as a feeling of deep admiration and also as expressing admiration therefore; the word respect is both a noun and a verb at the same time. Respect is both that which it is and it is that which we do. If our children do not understand the basic premise for the term respect, how can we then expect them to display it, practice and regulate their behaviors according to it?
Arming our children with an extensive vocabulary is one of the best things that we can do to proactively equip them with the knowledge they will need to be successful in life. Remember knowledge doesn’t only mean power, it also equals confidence. When a child possesses the vocabulary needed to accurately express their thoughts and feelings, it becomes natural to feel better about themselves and their place in the world. What are the words for that? To name a few: self-esteem, self-awareness, self-image and integrity. Integrity happens to be my very favorite among all of the words and I use it often with my students for literacy and self-awareness exercises.
There are many ways that we can help enhance our children’s expressive lexicon. Encouraging reading not only enhances a child’s literacy skills, it is nourishment for a learner’s vocabulary. “Can you even spell that and what does it mean?” is a running line in my house and the kids are often eager to show and prove that they can and do. In fact there are countless “teaching moments” to impart vocabulary lessons into your child’s routine and it’s really easy to make it silly and fun and educational all at the same time. You see, educate is a verb too and it’s inevitably what we do that helps to shape the future for our generations.
Thanks ever so much to my grade eleven Black literature teacher for instilling this powerful quality within me. Ms. Tynes, you really were a gem. I’m big on vocabulary, in fact, when I swear my mother is known to remind me of how much money was spent on my “first rate” vocabulary and that “cursing” only wastes it. I’m a scrabble-literati-words-with-friends-crossword playing word nerd. Needless to say, I can hold my own in the realms of oral and written communication and that dear reader is why sometimes, the pen really can be mightier than the sword.
What’s your favorite word?
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
I’m writing this article in response to the Paula Deen n*gger incident. First of all, let me start by saying that I am not the least bit surprised that a sixty-something year old Southern white woman is admitting to using the word n*gger. I’d be more surprised if she claimed that she’d never used the word in her life. I’d be even more surprised if this was never brought to light at some point in her career and I’d be extra surprised if it wasn’t causing a boisterous buzz within the Black community.
Now, this is not a pass and I’m not inferring that she should get away with what she did because our expectations of her should have been lower in the first place. What I am saying is that we must tire of these distractions and focus on the things which will inevitably propel us forward. Yes, I do believe this is a distraction. If this woman and her family are the biggest bigots in America; So. That’s their prerogative. As long as she isn’t cooking up and serving Black folks with some cheese grits and steamed collard greens, I couldn’t care less. She’s a branded millionaire. She can retire into obscurity and disappear from the public eye forever and my heart will never miss a beat. It effects me in no way and it effects you in no way either however; what it does do is spark useful dialogue to enhance the pixels of the bigger picture.
Get this angry when you spot structural racism within your respective cities, suburbs and communities. Cry foul when your local school district is still teaching Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” when Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is just as beautiful a love story and with just as challenging language vernacular to boot. Cry foul when your local business solicit our patronage yet they have nobody which looks like us working within their establishments. Which is why I prefer to support Black business but as usual, I digress.
You want to see change? Stop your own Black children and your friends from using this word. Stop giving our own people a pass! Black people have fought and struggled for freedom and to be physically free from bondage yet mentally enslaved with the verbal remnants of degradation is pathetic. I hate the word n*gger. I grew up in a black community where it wasn’t just taboo, it was unfathomable to utter such filth.
How degrading and I truly believe that when Black people say it, they are out of touch with their pride, identity and personal integrity. Further proof that re-education ought to be at the top our our collective priority list.
All in all, I’m upset that I can no longer cook along with Ms. Deen because I can’t in good conscious support an admitted bigot and I hear they fired her anyway. But, one monkey don’t stop the show and I refuse to allow this distraction to get in between me and my good priorities and those are to do my part in shaping a positive future for myself and the loves of my life; My People.
Oh and one more thing, the media is calling for her to donate millions to the NAACP and other “ethnic” institutions in retribution for her actions. I say BS; If money is accepted from the same hand that was only yesterday trying to dress Black folks up like a scene out of “The Help”, then we should stay on mute an sit idly by while the Paula Deens and the Ms. Hilly’s of the world say it like they mean it while we eat their sh*t.
Always remember, Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.