The Black Middle Class is About to Get Trumped


Three days before Thanksgiving I must admit that there is not much to be thankful for. I am not talking about the election, that we have done ad nauseum, or my aching joints. I am talking about white men and women who are afraid of their black neighbors, co-workers, employees, students, patients, or friends. I am very saddened by this fact; a fact I wanted to disagree with at first, but now I can only sigh and accept.
I know white people who are afraid of black people and who might prefer them to be segregated again or in slavery again. That hurts my heart. I think of black friends over the years and I don’t feel this way and I want to protect them. I guess that is why we are friends.
I don’t want my 9 grandchildren going to school and learning that black people and others are less than. I don’t want them to grow up thinking it is acceptable to hurt anyone else’s feelings with racial slurs and pure meanness. I want them to know that there is nothing to fear. We are all children of the Universe, created from star dust. Some dust is golden, some is golden brown, some is ebony, some has a copper glow and some has a faint whitish glow. It is nothing to fight and kill over. Not ever.
To my friends and readers around the world, I know what Americans are going through doesn’t seem really important in your lives. God knows that life is pretty hectic for families, extended families and friends. When you add wars, bombings and hatred into the equation, well, it becomes a huge puzzle. Perhaps it feels to big to tackle right now. But, that is exactly why white people have to tackle it right now.
We, the white people, have always been the aggressor, the conqueror, the people who committed genocide on people of color around the world. In America, the first Europeans committed genocide, and stole the Indigenous Peoples’ land. Then we came up with the legend of the first Thanksgiving. Puritans and Indians breaking bread together in joy and thanksgiving that the white people were here.
The black people and white people have no such farce to act out. I, for one, intend to assist as many black or other people of color as I can in the next four years,  to help them be safe. I want to help them stand up to the alt-right and the KKK and the everyday bigot and hater. I want every American to live their life in freedom, equality and without fear. I get it that there is a long way to go before that can happen.
I encourage all white Americans, all Liberal Americans, who are not full of insecurities and hatred to spend part of Thanksgiving Day not eating but reviewing your inner landscape and discovering exactly where you are on this most basic of issues. Are you an open and light enough human being to forgive all the “slights” you feel you have experienced?  Can you walk away from anger, hate and racist emotions coming from the President-elect on down?  Can you extend a hand in acceptance and honest friendship to our black brothers and sisters and to the rest of our sisters and brothers of color, and give them the care, love and acceptance that is due them? I hope so. If you cannot, then our brothers and sisters can do nothing but to protect themselves in any way they can, and that only makes us less safe, not more safe. America will have lost much if that occurs.   White people do not get to carry all of the gifts America has been blessed with. We will lose many of those gifts, because your freedom is diminished every time someone loses theirs.  And those losses will be due to closed minds and empty hearts.
Namaste
Barbara
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The Black Middle Class Is About to Get Trumped

Everything we’ve been taught about “success” in this country and nearly every avenue we’ve used to achieve that success are now threatened by the same explicit racism that Donald Trump rode into the White House.

President-elect Donald Trump arrives for an election night party at the New York Hilton in New York City Nov. 9, 2016.

When Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign with a racist tirade against Mexicans, he began the short process of renormalizing the racist sentiments that white people had been taught to hide since integration started 60 years ago. He literallymade it cool for white America to be openly racist again: In just over a year, his campaign and election have drastically undermined more than five decades of integrated racial “progress.”

Now, as Trump fills key administration positions with white nationalist-sympathizing power brokers like Steve Bannon as chief strategist and Jeff Sessions for attorney general, it is clear that the black middle class is in for a very harsh, rude awakening. Because everything we’ve been taught about “success” in this society and nearly every avenue we’ve used to achieve that success are now threatened by the same explicit racism that Trump rode into the White House.

Black Economic Success Skills: Make White People Feel Comfortable

Making white people feel comfortable has always played a role in our survival. On plantations, making them comfortable meant we might delay torture, death or whatever punishment they were thinking of at the moment. During segregation, keeping white discomfort at bay meant avoiding or minimizing the racial violence of angry white mobs. But when integration began, black economic success began to be measured by how well we could integrate into white society, which meant making white people comfortable was now one of the most viable paths to black economic sustainability. That was a mistake.

We see this phenomenon earliest in schools. Black students who excel at making white teachers comfortable tend to be the students who can show their intelligence in ways that white people can easily recognize. It doesn’t mean that they actually are any smarter than the other black students, but that their teachers (80 percent of whom are white women) just feel they are different (i.e., less threatening) from the rest. These students get access to gifted-and-talented classes and opportunities reserved for “special” black children who show “promise.” This system replicates itself throughout higher education and the workforce.

All White Everything

As a result, our entire economic-success model relies on centering whiteness and accessing the resources it provides, which means our most brilliant students risk becoming incapable of addressing black needs.

For example, many “successful” black business students learn economic theory, but have no idea how much the black community spends annually. This means they are ill-prepared to create economic models that capture and reinvest black dollars. Black bankers can work in highly regarded financial institutions, but most don’t set up financial service centers to help generate, protect and grow black wealth.

Successful black doctors can work in white-owned hospitals, but they may never build hospitals that focus on diseases that impact black lives the most. Black research scientists spend their careers becoming experts on issues important to white corporations, but never get to use their expertise to explore issues related to us. Our best and brightest black workers can get jobs on Wall Street, but most can’t create jobs for anyone in the hood.

This “all white everything” approach to economic sustainability may have been fine (it wasn’t) when we had a government constrained by things like anti-discrimination laws and notions of superficial fairness. But that was before a candidate who was fully endorsed by white nationalist groups won the election and created a direct line of communication between white supremacists and the White House.

Now, because of the renewed surge of openly hostile racism stoked by Trump’s campaign, this economic model means the black community will be one of the least prepared for what will come next.

Black Economics in a Trump Era

Before Trump’s campaign, racism at work typically showed up as microaggressions: the “commonplace daily indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate racial slights and insults toward people of color.” If white folks let their racism step out of line, there were laws we could turn to for protection like the Civil Rights Act. These laws were enforced by agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which interprets them and defends victims from discrimination.

After the election, groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center have reported that schools and the workplace are the two places reporting the highest number of hateful harassment and intimidation incidents.

It’s not that white people ever stopped being racist, but a delicate web of political correctness, the fear of being called a “racist” (which many hate more than actual racism) and a legal system that espoused a commitment to multiculturalism helped to keep those public displays of racism down to a level most black people could tolerate.

In order for this system to work, however, black professionals had to play their part. Gaining access to white spaces and resources required us to leave our blackness at home when we went to work, attended work functions or otherwise interacted with white people. Each day, we put on “the mask”: the face we show white co-workers to prove we’re not angry, aggressive or any other word used to describe an emotional black person who makes white people uncomfortable.

But none of that will matter in a Trump era because the president-elect’s campaign has empowered the white community to finally be honest about how they really feel when it comes to race. If Jeff Sessions is confirmed as attorney general, his racist ideology will be in charge of the Civil Rights Division. A Trump-era EEOC will be in charge of evaluating claims of workplace discrimination. This means the legal framework that helps to keep workplace racism in check will vanish.

As a natural consequence, white people (whether they’re Ku Klux Klan members or merely harboring implicit bias) will be able to act on those feelings. Once civil rights protections at work fall, there will be no safety net wide enough to protect black workers or our economic security.

Remember, even under integration, white-owned corporations hired as few black people as the law required. Those same companies that can barely tolerate us now, soon won’t have to hire any of us at all. We are entering an era where the very laws that protected us from racial discrimination may become unenforced and essentially nonexistent.

The Solution: Centering on Us

Malcolm X was prophetic when he said: “The white man is too intelligent to let someone else come and gain control of the economy of his community. But you will let anybody come in and control the economy of the community—control the housing; control the education; control the jobs; control the businesses—under the pretext that you want to integrate.”

The only option the black community will have left requires us to center black people as our solution and re-create a culturally grounded economic system based on meeting our own needs. Blacks are one of the largest buying groups, spending over a trillion dollars annually. To protect our community from the threats that loom, we must turn that spending power into job and wealth generators.

According to Ron Busby, president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, “There [are] only 1.9 million African-American businesses, but of the 1.9, 1.8 million have no employees. So we only really have 106,000 African-American businesses that have employees. We have to increase that number, and we have to do it with more young people going to work for small businesses in order for there to be production.”

Author Maggie Anderson, (Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy), stated that 1 million jobs could be created if black households with incomes of $75,000 or more increased spending with black-owned businesses from 3 percent to 10 percent.  This is far better than any governmental policy could ever hope to promise or achieve.

A Trump presidency means that the days of relying on government for legal protections from racism are over. But if we take this opportunity to re-create sustainable black streams of income, job and wealth creation, we may be able to advance farther than many dreamed imaginable. Thankfully, as Marcus Garvey noted: “When all else fails to organize the people, conditions will.” This new age of open racism may be just the mass organizing moment that allows our community to thrive.

We Must Finish Fulfilling Dr. KIng’s Dream


Fifty years after Dr. King spoke of his dream.  We haven't been able to fulfill everything but we have President Barak Obama. The first man of color to lead the Western Word.

Fifty years after Dr. King spoke of his dream. We haven’t been able to fulfill everything but we have President Barak Obama. The first man of color to lead the Western Word.

We need to keep working for the dream. Dr. King was a great man in my eyes and I am a white woman. Color is nothing, ethics and morals  are the ideals worth discussing.

We need to keep working for the dream. Dr. King was a great man in my eyes and I am a white woman. Color is nothing, ethics and morals are the ideals worth discussing. Don’t let color continue to tear us apart. 

 

Maya Angelou and President Obama wanting peace

Maya Angelou and President Obama wanting peace

 

” Love is non-violent” —–Travis Smiley; PBS

Meet a Child Soldier


child soldiers forced to fight and kill

Child soldiers forced to fight and kill

You may have guessed, I am taking an online course on Human Trafficking. I have known about this terrible crime for a long time. I haven’t known anyone personally that has gone through this. Of course, when women and children disappear, they might be dead or sold into slavery.

In my research I found a book. It is called, “To live and to Tell, written by a young man named Francis Duworko. This boy was taken from Liberia. This country was founded in 1816, as a place of settlement for freed North American slaves. There were many issues that centered around the different groups of people. 1980 was the date for its first bloody coup d’ tat.

The first Liberian Civil War was 1987-1989. Then there was a second Civil War which lasted until 2003. Many people were wounded, killed, raped and tortured.

Francis was born in 1982 in Monrovia, Liberia. He was abducted to be a child soldier when he was eleven years old. What happens to these children? Francis tells about children being made to kill their parents, or die themselves. Children are forced to rape sisters and other female family members.

Frances got out and surprisingly he came out of it an optimist. My sense from reading his book is that is rare. He wanted to make a difference in life and help other children get away. Many of these children are still suffering from what they experienced.

” Never let people suffer what you suffered, when you can help them improve their situation.”
—–Frances Duworko

Somalian boy soldier

Somalian boy soldier

Frances puts everything in a positive light. He now lives in Canada with his family. He advocates that if we think we can change the present situation, it can be changed for the betterFrancis encourages everyone to have a goal, a dream and to write it down and focus on your dream.

This is a small book, with a heart that is open and filled with compassion. He even encourages people to meditate on their dreams. Learn to dwell on the goal and not on the past. The past is gone, and can’t be changed. Live in the present moment to make your dreams come to fruition.

Save children from hell on earth. Stop the wars. Then these children won't be at risk.

Save children from hell on earth. Stop the wars. Then these children won’t be at risk.

The Enbrace Of Life


The life of babies

The life of babies

The Joy of the youngest

The Joy of the youngest

I will be sixtythree in less than a month. Age,  the subject no one really wants to talk about but we do. We wouldn’t want anyone to imagine that we are worried about our age. From the teens years on I usually hung out with those younger. This wasn’t a conscious choice, but it was one on a subtle level .The sixties and seventies, were for me, filled with protests, loud rock and roll and many things I had no control over.

Those were the days

Those were the days

The idealistic teen years

I thought I would live to be 25. My goal was to have fun and make a difference in the world And I read and read and danced and read and listened to people when they talked. I tried to put it all together because I hadn’t found a “how-to” book for those wonderful, confusing and freedom making years.

A group of yound adults

A group of yound adults

Be free, be kind, have compassion

Be free, be kind, have compassion

As a young woman, I protested, I help to start a Domestic Violence shelter, I became a psych nurse, I learned to laugh until I couldn’t stand and to cry as if my heart were broken in two. I was on the board of directors for many non-profits and helped to start, “The Women’s Roundtable.” It was a networking group for business and professional women. I hiked in the Alleghanies and danced naked on top of a mountain.

I learned about the world and formed a strong dislike, nay horror of hypocrisy and injustice. I actually went through 3 major careers and learned which people brought good energy with them and who didn’t. Music was the tapestry of my life. I dated many musicians. They are still my favorite people. Never boring and filled with the same creative juices that I am filled with.

middleagedphotographer

middleagescuba

Middle aged woman trying photography

I feel I have lived a full life and have plans for more adventures and new experiences. These middle years have seen me change. I am still an idealistic rebel but when I retired for health reasons, I began to write and paint and dream. I am happy despite the fact younger people don’t want to hang out with me as much as before. I never expected to live this long but since I have this part of my life must mean more that the other parts together.I started winning awards in my young adult years. The one I am most proud of is “The Marquis Book Whose Who of American Women.” I won that in the late nineties.

I don’t have a “bucket list.” I never used to plan. I lived in each moment. Now that I am teetering into old age, I have decided to continue to embrace life, to love everyone as much as I possible can, to talk to teens and young moms. I don’t have a feeling anymore of when I will die, but I intend to go after living and loving fully. I will go out with a bang of color and noise. Wear purple ladies, do all the things your kids would frown on, laugh until you cry, may your final act on this planet be a kindness.

Give your love away and you will be continually filled.

Give your love away and you will be continually filled.

When it is your time, gather the memories, the love, the kindness and fly away. Your soul knows how to get home!

When it is your time, gather the memories, the love, the kindness and fly away. Your soul knows how to get home!

Children and Guns Part 2


I wonder how this works

I wonder how this works

Child's letter to President Obama about guns.

Child’s letter to President Obama about guns.

Guns instead of toys

Guns instead of toys

No guns sign

No guns sign

"The

Faces of the children at Sandy Hook School murdered by one lone kid.

Organization that attempts to protect children from guns.

An organization that attempts to protect children from guns.

Which sign would make you feel safe?

Which sign would make you feel safe?

Gun stats

Gun stats

So, the theory I am hearing over and over is that a gun is needed in the home for protection. Our society has degenerated to being more hate and violence than love and compassion. And especially when you have children you want to protect them. We lose children to accidents in the home every year. Accidental poisoning, dog bites, bullying, molestation, and abuse.

I believe that most people who have a gun say they are “for protection.” I understand the need to try and keep the violence away. In a home with children, the gun or guns are locked up in a closet or in a drawer in the nightstand. Heaven help us there are none loaded and under a pillow. Some people have multiple guns in the home. Some are revolvers and some are assault guns. I am not sure what they are expecting to arrive at their home.

Real life scenario: you are asleep and hear a noise and quietly get up. You hear another small noise and you unlock your gun and load it. In the dark, you tiptoe down a hallway and you can barely make out an outline. Someone is in the house! You shoot. There is a thud and the person’s body falls to the floor and you flip on the lights and see you have shot your husband in the shoulder. But at least he isn’t dead. He was away on business and got home before he was expected and didn’t want to bother you. Now the police are arriving and an ambulance and you are trying to explain to the kids and the police.

Here is another one. You and your husband are in bed watching tv. All is quiet in the house, suddenly you hear the sound of glass breaking. Well, maybe that is what it is. Fear grips you and your husband gets the guns and loads it. He hears a creak and goes down the stairs. You hear yelling and a gun fire. You are terrified but call 911. It turns out that a kid broke into your home. You find yourself looking at your husband who has just shot and killed a sixteen year old who was looking for money for beer. Did he commit a crime? He sure did. Did he deserve to be dead? He sure didn’t. Even though you might live in a state where the husband wouldn’t be prosecuted you both have to live with the fact that you killed another human being. Yes, we have the right to protect what is ours. Is it more important than a life? More important than a child created to walk this earth and has Divine energy within him or her?

There have always been people who have been the scum of the earth. There always will be.We will never end all of the hatred and violence. Do we ignore it?” I think not. I think we have a well regulated militia (police) who are paid to protect us. How about if we took all of the money spent on the purchase and use of guns and ammo and distributed it to cities to hire more police or pay them what they should be earning?

Again, looking to keep the conversation going. I want to hear from everyone. This is one of the most difficult questions we face right now as a country.

The Reason for Peace


Children deserve to live in a world where they are cherished, educated, loved and live in peace. We have the responsibility to give that world to them.

We have a world where some children will never even walk into a school. We have a world where some children will die of hunger in their Mother’s arms. We have a world where some children have no shoes or clothes. We have a world where some children die of smallpox, whooping cough, and malaria. They die because there is no medicine for them.

We live in a world where they live and die and no one knows or cares.

We live in a world where some kids go to posh prep schools, and some kids are bullied for being dressed differently. We live in a world where many bright kids can’t go to college.   We live in a world where no one really cares. 

We live in a world where we look for peace to protect our children and grandchildren. I look for a world where a grown angry man full of hate, with an automatic gun is his hand, isn’t the last thing that a child sees. I look for a world where we love the poor and hungry and homeless as much as we love our comfortable neighbors.

I pray for a world full of peace, not greed for money,oil, land, power and a world where people don’t die because they believe in a God/Goddess that is different than someone else’s.

I pray for a world where we put our arms around children and tell them how good and precious they are. I pray for a world where is doesn’t matter what color their skin is. I pray for a world where they will know only kindness and compassion. I pray for a world where we give love without restraint because we know we can never run out of love and it will only come back to us. I pray for a world where we can all hold hands and it is important that everyone on our planet has food and clean water. And that we will work to find solutions to make that possible. I pray for a world where everyone cares.

Beach 4; Presque Isle, Pa.;Photo by Barbara Mattio

Power of Peace in the World

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Chanting For Peace


“Oh music,
In your depths we deposit our hearts and souls.
Thou hast taught us to see with our eyes
And hear with our hearts.”
——Kahlil Gibran

“Before the world was, all was in sound.
God was in sound, we are made of sound.”

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

Conflicts in the Middle East are often distressing and frustrating to follow in the news. I personally, often feel such sadness. But there are things we can do to help. I believe prayer and chanting are ways we can help to bring about peace in our world. With chanting in groups. Chaotic images fall away and walls and barriers move apart to make room for love and acceptance. Prayers in these groups are aligned to magnify our relationship with The One. A deep Peace can settle over the situations and ease the tensions. There is a call for Jerusalem to once again become an abode of peace.

We are enveloped in sound. The vibrations of energy that we call sound pour through us whether we are asleep or awake. Whether we are in the midst of a noisy traffic jam or on a mountain top. Nineteenth-century philosopher Lorenz Oken stated, “The eye takes a person into the world. The ear brings the world into a human being.”

“Flowers and bees may be different, but the honey is the same.
Systems of faith may be different, but God is One.”
—Rig Veda

The words you use to chant, I do not believe are important. You need only use words which take you into the inner self where you can focus on peace and harmony. OM, Native American chants, Jewish chants, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian or Islamic chants will take us within to help to bring the peace and harmony the world needs so desperately into fruition. I will be following up with more blogs about this important subject.

Working for Peace and Harmony in Our Time