Tag Archives: language

#SolidarityIsForBlackWomenToo

Ankh

*I write this in response to a creeping Kola Boofs Twitter timeline and seeing a back-and-forth between she and Rosanne*

The women reading this Blog are gainfully employed, running functioning households, controlling successful businesses, busy being beautiful, whatever; So, I’ll TRY to keep this short and sweet 😉

Tommy Sotomayor IS sending a message which although particularly controversial, is one that some people feel is a motivating force within the Black Community. Many people understand the use of his platform to simply be a self-reflective mirror showing that we ought to be holding ourselves to higher standards of morality and ethics; A necessary evil of sorts.
Others at the polar opposite of the spectrum instead believe that he is a contagion; A deadly strain of ideological virus compiled of hatred and contempt toward Black Women in general and that he is set on propagating the lie that we are on a path of self-destruction. That we are ugly, matriarchal failures. Genocidal maniacs.

I’ve watched my fair share of TS YouTube clips and am familiar with the jargon of “Beasties”, “Snow Queens”, “Mixed Nuts” and “Hair Hatted Hooligans”. I’ve also become fluent to the language of “Simps” and “Madden Kings” and so, I well understand the “message of his media” and where both sides have formed their opinions from. Tommy Sotomayor openly and scathingly critiques Black Women and Black Men however, like him or hate him; His types have become an important enigma in the world of North American internet savvy Black People. Tommy Sotomayor and the like are speaking about us and therefore they are speaking to us. But ultimately, it is our prerogative to acknowledge, discuss, ignore or silence their condescension. That us being Black People however; These messages are far reaching and unfortunately not only falling into our ears, so instead of hitting home only within the realm of our particular communities, it’s breaching cultural “boundaries”.
I believe that the judgment that some white people are allowing themselves to openly express toward Black Women is a side-effect after also being exposed to TS type messages; Collateral damage so to speak. (As if having the loaded finger of detriment pointed at us isn’t enough.) You want to judge us? Fine, it’s your right but, I suggest you sit quietly by and in blood curdling suffocating silence.
Stop assuming that the world needs you to speak for it because you can’t and yes, you assume the implication right; It is simply because you are white and inexperienced with what it means to be considered “other”. As much as it’s your right to direct your misinformed judgement toward us, we’ve every right to call you out on it and demand that you miss us with your foolishness. When we catch you in blatant acts of prejudice and discrimination, it’s not a reflection of our inherent “angry”ness to reject your violation, it’s simple self preservation of which we are also entitled to. It forces to mistrust you and therefore sometimes refrain from truly connecting with you. I digress…

Though, I don’t presume to speak for all Black Women, I think it’s safe to illuminate the sacred sorority that does exist between us.
We are all our mothers daughters but we are her first born and therefore delightfully special and beautifully unique. I choose not to pretend to understand a hierarchy where you feel you deserve to be placed above us, undermining our right to exist within the norms, mores, taboos and boundaries of our own cultures. Undermine our own agency to navigate the complexities of our relationships. Undermine the acceptance, indifference or the critiques of our own men. Men who may not love us but of who we are by nature innately designed and bound to love in spite of ourselves. (A WHOLE other essay entirely…)
Understand that we do not consider you to be beneath us; For our Mothers taught us to be especially respectful of other Women but, if you continue to chose to NOT be beside us within our framework of true and inclusive sorority which protects the integrity of Women as a whole and does not cheapen the right to exist of certain individuals, then inevitably, you will subjugate yourselves invariably.
Contrary to your popular opinion, we do not need you in order to be relevant. We are not in juxtaposition with you. We do not worship you. We can and do reject your assumption of dominion over us.
White supremacist Euro-Judeo-Anglo Saxon superiority is an utter fallacy and if you refuse to see us as equals, as fellow She-People; We will refuse to see you at all. We have each other, the majority of us do not take it for granted. Intersectionality is simply a theory, a theory that can be bitterly rejected.

P.S. Some of You will deconstruct this and claim that I am defending Ts; Resoundingly, NO I am not. I’m saying that we are mindful enough to deal with the fallout of his ideologies on our own and are also intelligent enough to see through a White persons “co-sign” on his perception of us. We see that your support of people like that is simply you giving your-less-than-perfect-self permission to stereotype and paint all Black Women with the broad stroke of ratchetness without a) Knowing more than maybe two Black Women and likely not that intimately and b) Understanding ANY thing about us. So, unless you’re defending the right of all Women to exist, be silent.
Black Women can support and hold each other up magnificently therefore, where there are changes and areas for growth within our circles, we can help to positively influence each other and we do. We have each other to help Mother and Sister each other to self-improvement, striving to becoming better individuals so that we can be better Daughters, Sisters, Mothers, Wives, Lovers and Friends. Solidarity is nothing short of love.
TS is welcome to his opinion, but as we all know by now, opinions are like assh*les; Everyone has one and some are shi*tty 😉

The moral of the story is; Always think twice before You openly climb aboard some bandwagon full of bull sh*t because we can see through misogynistic f*ckey just as well as the next Lass.

Light Reflected is enlightenment infinite.
~R

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The Black Student And Writing

BlackApple

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.

Writing 101:

  • 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.

As always,

Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.

~Rachelle

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Filed under African Canadian, Black Canadian, Black Educators, Black Literature, Black Youth, Brampton, Education, Literacy, Parents, The Back To School Chronicles

Death in Silence

Shh

I would not go so gently
Down
None at all would hear my
Sound

Stifled silence alone I
Drown
Submersive waves to flood my
Ground

Choke me to the dark
Profound
Quiet carries way my
Crown

Loneliness in death be
Found
A silenced voice
A mind unwound

~Rachelle M. Turple

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Freedom has no space for victim-hood. Let’s get FREE.

Lets get Free

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.
~Rachelle

PS,
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!
RMT

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Some things that I have un-learned…

images
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
~Rachelle

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Weapons Of Mass Communication And Critical Thinking.

Think

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.
~Rachelle

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Vocabulary 101

Success

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.
~Rachelle

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A Mothers Journey

footsteps
The journey of a million miles begins with a single mother
Her weeping woes of wisdom seem to transgress like no other.
The open arms of honesty hold steadfast though they tangle
Her children cry obscenities as her love begins to strangle.

When toddling becomes crawling and walk turns into run
Every bump and bruised is kissed away still her grip becomes undone.
The nursling grows now a form independent of her plea
No matter of mere prayers or tears or pure tenacity.

Beyond the trials of motherhood she cannot bear to vision
But while she constantly constrains, her cubs become imprisoned.
Her love becomes ferocity and protection their division
The babes privately premeditate their eminent excision.

When soon her fledglings have enough and plan to leave the nest
She makes to mind a watchful eye in futility at best.
The world has opened up and swallowed all that she held dear
She cannot conceive a life without her babies near.

Space and time her allies yet she feels she is alone
Maturity and malevolence start to lead her offspring home.
They desire of the guidance and protection of their youth
Somehow she’s seen it all and they are honored by her truth.

A mother’s work is never done and seldom does she rest
She will worry when she sleeps, constantly in stress.
Her children will respect her when they learn that she knows best
For them she’d walk a million miles and for this she is blessed.

Rachelle M. Turple

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I am not an angry Black woman.

Mad Black Woman

Why is it when a black woman is passionate about something that she believes in, she’s suddenly mad or angry? Difficult? Obtuse? Rude? Defensive? Scary?

I recently had a conversation with someone about obtaining space in my community for a Black Literature workshop that I’m facilitating in the fall. I was contacted and asked to explain the nature of my workshop and the W5 on what it will be about. When I very patiently, pleasantly and professionally explained what the plan of programming would be, the conversation turned dramatically.

A ‘pleasant’ conversation went from 0-99 in less than 2 minutes. All of I sudden, I could tell that no matter what my plans were, they were not welcome at least by this one gate-keeper. Without getting into the meat and potatoes of the discussion, long story short; I was reminded of why I never wanted to pursue a career in the public school machine.

First and foremost, I make no apologies for my stance on how the public school system is designed for us to fail. I am a product of the aforementioned system and therefore can attest to the systematic foolishness promoted and “taught” from within. Therefore, if I am of the opinion that our Black children can and will benefit from the support of private programs geared specifically toward them and only them and designed by the very people who from whom they are the essence; That’s my prerogative.

This little run-in with this gate-keeper has simply reinforced my mistrust of outside influence from school board officials and people who do not belong to the Black community.

Allow me to clarify, in regards to this initiative; Any and all brainstorming, discussion, collaboration, financing, strategizing, planning and actioning will be completely FUBU and that is FOR US BY US. We have allowed too many hands to stir our pots for too long and it simply hasn’t gotten us anywhere. I can write my fingers to the bone discussing the reasons why I believe that there is a need to re-segregate components of our Black children’s learning environments to restore the educational deficit that have resulted from the public school and the traditional private schools but why?

If you are a Black person or Black parent reading this, you already understand because you’ve experienced it at some point or another no matter what level of success you’ve attained. If you are not a Black person or the parent of a Black child and you are reading this, then no matter what I write, you will never be able to comprehend the chasm of ignorance that is being purposely created in the formal education system in North America.  You have likely always been taught by people who look like you and attended institutions that were designed with your future in mind. We don’t have this in common and it’s ok. It is what it is but, I’m not going to be ‘inclusive’ for fear of being politically incorrect and making someone feel left out. If you’re being left out of the conversation, it’s on purpose because the conversation simply doesn’t concern you. I’m not angry, I just happen to love, care for and feel the innate need to protect and nurture my own and I value those things much more than I fear offending anyone else’s sensibilities or their insecurities about not being included.

 It’s foolish, naïve, silly and downright stupid to EXPECT middle class people who do not look like our children to educate our children. PERIOD.

Now, after having said all of that, I am still working on securing a venue for the first workshop that is completely independent of the PDSB school board or entity which is an obvious conflict of interest. Which segues into my upcoming article:

 “WE NEED AN INDEPENDANT BLACK PARENTS ASSOCIATION IN PEEL REGION!”

I haven’t written it yet but wait for it. It’s coming soon my people. One idea, one action at a time…

I’ll keep you posted and as always,

Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
~Rachelle

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Filed under African Canadian, Black Canadian, Black Educators, Black Literature, Black Youth, Brampton, Brampton Ontario, Education, Literacy, Musings, Ontario, Ontario Curriculum, Parents, Uncategorized, Women

She.

symbols

She is a Woman who is who she is

Does what she wants and lives how she lives

She is a Woman with so much to give

Open and freely she wonderfully gives

She is a Woman who wears what she wears

Treasures her body and looks as she dares

She is a Woman who sensually shares

Erotic to all she evokes to ensnair

She is a Woman who openly cares

Loves who she wants to and faces her fears

She is a Woman who believes in herself

Takes risks and chances because she trusts herself

She is a free spirit who knows that to Be

She must exist in a veracious pure state of She

She understands that she can’t possibly Be

An underrated cheapened shallow version of She

She is a believer in diligent prayers

Knows God is listening and comforts her tears

She is a warrior her victory clear

Always ready for action never caught unaware

She knows her lover must honestly be

The truest most masculine version of He

She submits to her man because she trusts that He

Will do what he must to take care of She

She respects her virtue and knows her true worth

Understands that as woman she mothers the Earth

She is crowned royal because of her birth

And celebrates life with a tangible mirth

How dare that Woman feel at home in her skin

Accept who she is both outside and in

If only all Women could beautifully be

Her truest and honest authentic own She

~Rachelle M. Turple

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Filed under Poetry, Women