Reparations

If you are Black in America and have lived in any predominately White spaces… school, work, community… you suffer from racial trauma. What is racial trauma? Racism based stress responses “refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury. In the U.S., Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy.” (Mental Health America) It manifests in PTSD, physical reactions and mental shut-down. Racial trauma can be transmitted through ancestral generation, vicarious as a result of just witnessing racism, and direct acts of race based violence, discrimination, exclusion, punishment, negativity towards you. It’s pervasive and haunting. It is the direct effect of white supremacy and chattel slavery that has existed in this country since 1690. Give us us free!

Racial trauma is often minimized as discrimination, some natural unfortunate byproduct of race based distinction. It is posed as a simple legal phenomenon that if excessive you can bring lawsuit against certain people or entities for. Yet it’s impact on our physical and mental well-being is often overlooked. In fact, our mental well-being seen as something we control and are in control to heal via therapy, but racists aren’t seen as responsible for educating themselves on the realities of race-based distinction and the real reason for our skin color differences. It’s the quintessential victim blaming. We are asked to build resilience but the powers that be are never asked to stop the behaviors, policies, procedures that make that resilience necessary… ones built upon racist thought.

If you are Black living in America (or Latino, Native American, etc) and particularly if you are indigenous, you likely suffer from transmitted (generational), vicarious (witnessed), and direct (experienced) racial trauma. You carry the oppressed yet beautiful spirit of ancestral slaves; you are a child of generations of people who faced financial, social, housing, educational, medical, and professional inequality and discrimination; and you are the result of people who have been displaced, used, killed, maimed, hung, and disproportionately subjected to the lowest living conditions in the name of power and supremacy. You have watched videos of Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, George Floyd, and Philando Castile murdered by state actors, seen Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown’s bodies lying in the street, and heard of the murders of Botham Jean, Breonna Taylor…the list goes on and on. And you have likely been looked over, passed up, paid less, assumed you were not educated or stable, mistreated, or told what you’d never be or what the highest level you could aspire to was by some teacher ill-equipped for the culture.

We must start to look at methods to stop availing ourselves to white supremacy. Those of us in the thick of it have to promote attending Black colleges; training in a variety of skills and not just one; gaining skills in corporate America to then use in entrepreneurship and consulting; social leadership when we are pushed out of professional leadership roles; and taking on training and training development to be the subject matter expert on corporate knowledge to make ourselves more professionally valuable. We all need to educate ourselves on investing; home ownership; Black indigenous history; capitalism; life insurance; entrepreneurship; advocating for ourselves medically; marriage and long term commitments; saving and spending money; and being physically & mentally well.

The truth of the matter is that while we can help make the change through voting, we can start to feel more successful in and therefore more invested in America through life and financial success that we define. More importantly, we can embrace our natural communal nature to help one another, instead of abiding by the individualism we see. We are truly stronger together. So much of our existence has been this fine line between maintaining ancestral ties, to participating and integrating in America, and to living in and being proud of Black culture. We must live as authentically Black as possible moving forward. Our competition doesn’t consist of working twice as hard to accomplish what White people do. Instead, perhaps, we can do our best and live inside, outside, and all around Black culture. Time to get Plymouth Rock up off of us!

Stress is not just an emotional responses, it results in physical deficiencies, ailments, and can kill you. PTSD, anxiety, depression and mother mood disorders and some affective disorders perpetrated by stress. Eating high glycemic “comfort foods” regulates lower stress hormones, as do alcohol, nicotine, and stimulant drugs. Racism can increase adverse birth outcomes and maternal stress. Housing discrimination and white flight can lead to living in environmentally polluted areas. Increase in hormonal load can result in high blood pressure and diabetes. All of these responses are unhealthy and will lead physical health decline. Racial trauma can literally kill you. So we need to work hard to divert that trauma, and lessen these results, both behavioral and natural, to stress. Just say Nope to racism, stress, and trauma!

We need those 40 acres (the mule was actually just going to be loaned to each family) for pain and suffering.

She by She

Black Women are the kryptonite of the establishment.

We aren’t the socially superior. They only want the colorful, creative, Nicki Minaj voice over tik toks, cornrows, and asses minus oppression. Their oppression. We aren’t the femininely fair. Not willowy milky white or sweet, untouchable, and shiny. Our sun swathed skin and strong bodies the manifestation of our ancestors. Our bodies the result of having to fight instead of being loved, to toil instead of being bathed in coconut milk and manuka honey, and to assert in order to win, as it’s not our birthright in America. That was stolen from us. Both our bodies and our wins deemed unfair and unearned.

They will place rules on your
body, say it’s a distraction from
their game,
as if they know better than you
how your bones should wear your own body

Jessica Mans, Serena

Descendants of Maat, Lady Justice. But they don’t know justice. She is disguised by a blindfold and drapes of fabric hiding the body as if it’s femininity cannot coexist with its power and it’s genderless to negate the male gaze. Adorned in purity and holding balance in her hands, she is a source of false imagery not represented in reality. Yet, we live in this feigned utopia, where Black billionaires are bred… but even billionaires are Black. Still nigga. Justice, the epitome of who we are, doesn’t live here.

Your daughter’s face is a small riot, her hands are & civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear,
a body littered with ugly things but God, doesn’t she wear
the world well.

Waran Shire, Ugly

Gods and Goddesses. Queen and Kings. Mermaids and Mermen. The ancestors are of the spirit, swathed in royalty, and some even live under the sea. We are fluid. From our native land to the belly of the boat. Middle Passage. From our living room to our roof. Katrina. From the foamy river to our drinking glasses. The Flint River. The ghost of Queen Makeda walks through the 8th Ward. Oshun withholds and calls back the waters in plagued bodies. Yemaya, mermaid goddess, protects & swims the seven seas. The granddaughter of Poseidon welcomes any who prefer the ocean floor to the plantation.

When they tell the Black girl
She can’t play play mermaid ask them, what their people know
about holding their breath
underwater. About giving their bodies
to the current

Jasmine Mans, The Little Mermaid

We are unicorns. Our horns antennas to the heavens so we can dial into James, Maya, Frederick, and Sojourner. Our bodies stallionesque. Thick like Luke dancers. Legs strong enough to walk the Serengeti. Angel wings and rainbows, myths and legends. But like our music, our art, our minds, even our mythology is covered in the darkness of hatred. Superior yet inferior. Greater but lesser. Not fly despite their wingspan. Not colorful despite Mr. Crayola. Not a unicorn, just Mr. Ed. But we are not defined by their definitions. We determine who we are… our ancestors passed our identity down to us: braids, curls, bodies, color, soul, spirits, and magic.

The black unicorn is restless
the black unicorn is unrelenting
the black unicorn is not
free.

Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

We hold the key to our freedom!

Real Bad

Many women have wasted their youth on Diddy, while he ran the streets with his thugs. His hit list is long: Kim Porter, Cassie, Gina Huynh, Jennifer Lopez, Misa Hylton, Lori Harvey, Miracle Watts, and now Caresha, “Yung Miami” of the group The City Girls. He has children with the late Kim Porter, who he didn’t seem to appreciate until after her passing. They had three kids, Christian and twins , D’Lila and Jessie who are the same age as his daughter Chance, by another woman. He later dated Jennifer Lopez for several years; Cassie Ventura, a singer, for over a decade; and Gina Huynh since 2018. He’s simultaneously been dating Caresha since late 2021. Most of these women have been much younger than him, waiting to be chosen. But he remains unmarried. He is perpetually single. Real single.

Listen, everybody ain’t mean to marry. And based on his track record and the fact that he’s 52 years old dating a 28 year old, he likely is one of those men. And really this isn’t about him… it’s about young women not wasting their youth on men who have ZERO desire to marry them and they know the women desire marriage. I mean this woman declared publicly that they were a couple… to his surprise… she clearly is tryna get chose. Sadly he likely won’t keep it a buck and tell her that’s not his desire. If he knows -and you must make sure to tell him, that your purpose in dating is marriage and family- and he isn’t headed there or talking to you about it, it’s time to run. Real fast.

Men interested in commitment will pretty quickly during the dating phase ask you questions and set up experiences you can enjoy together that gear towards that end… to see if you align. They will want at some point to be exclusive, and make plans with you, talk to you like you’ll be a future fixture… if of course you are a woman who has readied herself to be a wife. And while commitment and marriage is nothing to be rushed, men that are interested in that will lead you with intention closer and closer to that until together you decide to take it no further or to meet him at the alter in your white dress. Real shit.

Now how that will look… won’t be textbook. All relationships are different. But be sure it’s a relationship and not a situationship, usership, sexership, or bullshitship. He will show you he is serious because his words and behavior will match. He’ll be consistent and excited to see you, and he’ll make time for you. He’ll also respect that you are choosing to spend your pre-midlife stress-free energy, flat stomach season, and yet to be ruined credit score on him. I mean let’s be honest, you will be fine as frog hair with Meg knees, and he that is worthy will not take of those years then leave you off his life insurance after a 20 year relationship. He’ll appreciate the value of your youth. Men with their shit together, if you are a likeminded woman and share a personality he can appreciate, are gonna scoop you like real Superman ice cream during a Detroit summer. Real hero-like.

Caresha, you are a young tenda and he’s a beyond middle age guy still trying to diddy bop his way into young ladies panties. Make him work to even look at you. The least he can do is treat you like the prize that you are. Ladies, demand what you deserve. He should always make you feel appreciated, desirable, and chosen… especially if he’s an old man you are blessing with the beauty and value of youth. And if he doesn’t, you make sure you do. After ten years of dating Diddy, Cassie was married with a child on the way in less than one year. Don’t waste your time on anyone who isn’t choosing you! You need a new boo. Real bad.

Periodt!

But if he is really gifting you $250,000 a month, carry on. 🤷🏽‍♀️

He-Man Woman Haters Club

I was rewatching A Handmaid’s Tale and after Serena is beat, with a leather belt, by her husband, Commander Waterford, their handmaid Offred says… “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” It’s actually a quote by the author of the book the series is based on, Margaret Atwood. I heard it and I had to go back to listen again, it struck me.

Men are socialized to be void of emotion and aggressive, it’s an age old fact. It is the topic of many a book, article, dissertation, and op ed. Likewise, women are socialized not to make men angry. From a young age girls are oogled, touched, commented upon by men in inappropriate ways and with undertones of violence. As young women we are taught to fear strange men, never be alone in certain places, at certain times, and certainly with men we don’t know very well. We are socialized to expect strange men to be verbally aggressive, and sexually interested in us. It seems like men aren’t taught to be the antithesis of this, but we are made responsible for our own victimization. Even as young girls. When your aunt asks you “Why were you smiling and being friendly with Mr. James?” after he touches you in your private body parts, we live much the rest of our lives trying to avoid grown men’s inability to control themselves.

And as times have changed and women have become more independent, fought for equity, exposed the victimization they have suffered at the hands of men, and taken control of their voice… that fear hasn’t disappeared but doesn’t necessarily stop us from expressing ourselves, our wants, needs, disappointments, expectations, feelings, and boundaries. But again the fear doesn’t dissipate. I’d like to think of it as living deeper down in our consciousness, as opposed to at the front of our minds.

It’s not as “simple” as a fear of being killed. It really manifests in more ways than just physical. In light of the aggressive tendencies boy children are inundated with, that results in some men being uninterested and unable to treat women well across the board. When you add to that boys lacking fathers, father figures, and positive male representations and being raised by bitter, angry, mistreated, misinformed, women who might cope with those feels with alcohol, drugs, sex in front of their boys… feelings of being valueless and devaluing women just heighten bad behavior. Women those men encounter often have to endure betrayal, control, emotional void, being hit, beat, raped, and maybe even killed. We see examples of it constantly. We all know a woman who has endured abuse. Most of us know a woman who has been raped.

Just yesterday, comedian Aries Spears, a sorry excuse for a man, who described himself as handsome (insert laugh track), went on a tirade about Lizzo, unprovoked. He went in about her health and body when he is diabetic and has bags under his eyes big enough to pack your luggage for a two week European tour and the antithesis of in shape. It was a very sad display of woman hatred. Kevin Samuels level fuckery. And this fool keeps talking. Who hurt you my guy?!?

And he’s just one of many displaying these types of aggressive and hate filled behaviors toward a woman. In 2019, 406K women were raped or sexually assaulted. In 2020, 7,320 women were killed by intimate partners or male family members, and over 50% of those women were 12-34 and 75% of those women are Native American. 4.8 million physical assaults happen to women by intimate partners per year. Those numbers should upset you. They are staggering.

The number of women who suffer coercive control; psychological and/or emotional abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse; harassment; stalking; and/or online abuse is often not reported but is typically the predicate of sexual and physical abuse. Aries is an abuser… and he hates women. Frankly, he should be scared women will laugh at him and not because if his bad jokes… but because he’s a certified clown. Aren’t you supposed to laugh at clowns… or are they to be feared?

If you hate women…stay far away from us!

Note: There are never two sides of the story when you prey on women. Just one fucked up side.

Social Madness

Picture it, Detroit, MI, 2010, I entered the world of social media as we know it today. Yeah I had a MySpace but I rarely used it and really saw no value in it. But Facebook…

Facebook was like this new frontier. I could see pictures and read posts about people’s lives, kids, trips, weddings, birthday parties, bad wigs, weight loss and gain, drunken moments and bad decisions… people I hadn’t seen since elementary and high school. It was fascinating, and daily new people popped up. Some whose hairlines were so, uhhh, absent, it took me a minute to figure out who they were. Others whose glow up was phenomenal. It was the best of times…

Then I got into Instagram, Twitter, and now Tik Tok is like my favorite past-time… mini 90 second movies about everything from dance challenges, to folks cleaning their houses, to stuff that’s one set from only fans but for free. I use social media to keep up with folks, post my thoughts, share inspiration, and promote my business. It’s become part entertainment, networking tool, marketing tool, den of foolishness… a smorgasbord of uses… great and no so great.

One of it’s biggest downsides, second only to promoting unrealistic, unhealthy, and just completely false narratives about the ways people look, live, and behave… is this idea that if it isn’t on social media, it didn’t happen. The manifestation of that voyeuristic approach to people’s personal lives goes beyond social media into real life in ways that puncture relationships. Like stab the shit out of them. Murder, death, kill.

“You never post me” , “You didn’t like my status”, “You didn’t wish me a Happy Birthday on Facebook”, “You didn’t comment on my post”… WHAT!?!?!? I mean I have either heard or heard stories about these very conversations, even when acknowledgement, when necessary, is made person to person. There is a heavy belief among folks in a certain demographic… mostly people who grew up with social media… that it simply didn’t happen if you didn’t broadcast it. It’s the nightly news for foolishness. “Reverse cowgirl on that ass and knocked him out” (with a picture of him asleep), “We twerked on handstand for my girls birthday in the middle of Peachtree Street… city girls for life.”

That energy leads to people having this wild notion about what you should and should not share, either because they overshare, are nosy, or both. Why you never post your bf/gf!? Why you keeping secrets? Why you didn’t post your new house? This idea that somehow people should be privy to whatever sector of your life they deem interesting, juicy, entertaining is mad wild. No one is obligated to share personal shit with you unless, until, and in the forum they deem appropriate. Just because half the world posts themselves doing everything from brushing their teeth, changing their clothes, writing a letter, making a snack, and making their bed… does not mean anyone else must follow that blueprint. Social media got ya’ll so busy taking selfies all day you have forgotten that real human connection leads to vulnerability and openness… not keystrokes.

We live in a time where people would rather text that hear someone voice, inflections, tone; The necessities of effective and meaningful communication. The “don’t call me” faction is mad heavy. So people believe they have real friendships in interactions that are limited, virtual, and void of body language and human to human emotion. Some things cannot be translated via strictly wireless interaction. Someone on your “friends list” doesn’t make them your “friend”… that’s a strong word. An associate, acquaintance, Facebook or Instagram cohort sure… a friend… not necessarily. So those folks surely are not going to give you access to every intimate part of their lives. Stop expecting and asking for it. It’s mad weird. Read the room.

In a not so odd twist, the intensity and level of sharing people do to strangers gives an unrealistic idea to people you might actually have real relationships with about what they are privy to or the amount of equity in your friendship. We all have the right, whether virtually or in person to share what we wish. Sure, friends are open with one another, but everyone has boundaries. We’ve come to believe that our stock in other people is limitless and we have some say in their bounds… we don’t. It is imperative we allow folks to decide what they communicate and to whom… and as long as their communication with us is honest, responsible, kind, and with some semblance of regularity (whatever is regular for those people), then that should be sufficient. Demanding shit from grown people that they don’t owe you is madness. Social media is not a replacement for human connection, and it certainly isn’t the place to tell all your business. Cuz why don’t you post your credit card number and expiration date… I mean if we posting all of our business.

Thank you for attending my TED Talk.

ain’t nobodys business

We all know someone who tells everything, about themselves and sometimes everyone else. It is hard for that person to maintain relationships because they give the impression that nothing is off limits … and often that is how they act. For most of us, who appreciate degrees of privacy, that type of person usually wants to receive that same type of overshare from others… and it’s not gonna happen. Everything is not for public consumption.

On a few separate occasions in the past few weeks, I have encountered people who believe that transparency is a healthy and necessary part of vulnerability and social engagement. I don’t know that it is transparency as much as authenticity that’s key. My open and honest dialogue, where I reveal parts of myself, should be based on my comfort, not the comfort of those around me. That is authentic. Sharing because other folks want to know, doesn’t feel either open or honest to me… it feels forced and uncomfortable. Being authentic is synonymous with personal comfort… because it stems from you being who you are without pretense. I’m authentic with people I have real relationships with. Everyone else is not entitled to my personal business, and I’m authentically private. Period.

Privacy is not negative. It is a protective tool for ensuring that others are not immersed in every part of your life, that you still have private moments whether with yourself, your kids, your spouse, family and friends. In those moments you don’t want a microphone attached to your blouse or everyone recording videos, you simply want to spend time with folks. Folks always trying to post and tell everyone what they were into can be very overwhelming and a source of sensory overload. The same way 12,000 selfies gets old after selfie #5. The need for attention is overwhelming for some. Some is me. I stop looking and listening after awhile. Mystery is sexy. Leaving a little something to the imagination is fun. Dumping your whole personality on the table is like a game of concentration… the buzzer goes off and you are both nervous but anticipatory of all the pieces shooting up in the air. Whew… that’s over. Enough already.

Social media has resulted in people talking about, taking pictures of, and sharing the location of what they are doing, thinking, eating, buying, want, need, and believe every second of the day. I know what they ate, wore, how they did their hair, and who they did it all with every day of the week. It’s a very interesting life of voyeurism. Similarly, others like to tell you everything about themselves. Whether they just love attention or are being open and honest about everything, so it leaves nothing for people to criticize (they’ll always find something), I think it’s typically rooted in some insecurity. Additionally, transparency doesn’t necessarily have honesty at its core. Authenticity does.

Share what is comfortable for you. You aren’t required to be psychologically nude at someone else’s request. Just be who you are, and that is enough. Other folks can go on telling all the ins and outs of their lives if they want, but their level of transparency does not dictate yours. Transparency, like misery, clearly likes company. Who all gon be there!!?!?

“Hello new word, all the boys & girls”

(Karyn Morton; Parenting Psychoeducational Review; Psychotherapy of Children & Adolescence; Wayne Stare University; Dr. Erica Bockneck, 7/15/2022)

In 2022 Kendrick Lamar dropped his last album, and it was full of references to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic…”you’re back outside, but they still lied”… referencing the stay at home, social distancing, and mask mandates ending, but the real world changes the pandemic would cause being hidden and kept from the masses. It was a true project on art mimicking real life, and speaking to the human condition, a new human condition unlike the one we lived in pre-March 2020, for adults, but particularly for children.

I am the parent of a 17-year old child who was 14 when the pandemic started. He came home in February 2020 a six foot tall, round faced, silly, young boy who liked video games and got straight As. He went back to school two years later as a 6’5”, super handsome young man with facial hair, caring much less about grades, much more about how he would craft a life for himself that didn’t rely on one career and super aware of the lucrative future in technology security and coding. Over that time, gaming became less of a past-time and more of a necessity. His cellphone attached to his fingertips much like my landline clear slimline phone was permanently attached to my ear as a teen. These changes were obvious as a parent, but the reasons why much less obvious. Since kids are facing their upcoming school year as their first full year in three years , its very helpful for parents to understand how their lives have shifted so we can help them succeed going forward.

Parental understanding and education is very important to ensuring the mental health of children as there is a triangular relationship between child, parent, and therapist in the therapeutic space. (Liverpool et al, 2021). So giving parents some perspective on the changes and stages their children are going through is imperative to properly support their emotional wellness. According to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, the teenage years is when one’s identity is developed, and this is shaped largely by their relationships with other people, specifically their peers. How they see themselves in the world, their sense of self, and autonomy are areas teens are developing which are all heavily influenced by peer relationships (Smith-Adcock, S. & Tucker, C., 2016).

During this time teens are also going through a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. First they are going through a series of changes to their bodies, associated with puberty. They are also, based on Piaget’s cognitive theory, thinking more abstractly about the world around them, including their social world. (Danner, 1989). All of these developmental factors are at play when considering how teens are experiencing the world and change.

The majority of childhood peer relationships, particularly friendships, are developed in school by same aged children. (Rubin et al, 2007). These friendships, when given time to cultivate during this important time of our lives, often last well into adulthood as I am still friends with most of my high school peers and even my mom, just had dinner a few days ago with her two best friends from Osborne (Detroit Public High School) graduating class of 1969. During the pandemic kids worldwide had to attend school virtually from February 2020 until approximately March 2022, and even not fully for all students even then. Kids were socially isolated from one another and physically separated, so they had limited means to maintain friendships. It is understandable how being at home could therefore play a huge part in teens ability and opportunity to build relationships.

In a study by Rubin et al. (2007), on the affects of the pandemic for kids 5-14, kids noted that missing their friends, lacking face to face interaction, and not having the opportunity to interact with other people besides family made that time and isolation particularly difficult. They also spoke of using virtual communication as a means to lessen these affects, but not totally negating the loss of comraderie and intimacy. Kids noted that virtually they couldn’t play or have fun with friends, they lacked the consistent support seeing their friends daily provided, and their connection (hugs, smiles, laughs) with friends was nonexistent. (Rubin et al, 2007). Anytime there is loss there may also be grief or trauma. So, this data is important so parents can understand the importance of kids’ personal relationships and the loss and trauma that results from isolation from friends.

To further understand, I spoke with several teens above 14 to gain an understanding of how they processed the lack of social interaction during the pandemic and it’s results on their well being. It was clear from their responses that their more mature abstract thinking resulted in them looking for ways to connect and interact that went beyond the physical world into the digital one. (Hamilton, 2022). Kids talked at length about using social media more, and finding multiple methods such as text, phone calls, gaming, Reddit, Discord, and multiple other modalities to maintain friendships and make new friendships despite being physically separated.

All six of the kids I spoke to named multiple ways they interacted and didn’t seem to have much difficulty, particularly with other same sex teens, maintaining and being supported by and supportive to their friends. All the teens stated they had a harder time building new friendships with the opposite sex, because boys and girls were into different things. For example, girls were more into social media and boys more into gaming. They also all reported less opportunity to develop romantic relationships as there was a physical connection needed with another person upon which attraction and romantic intimacy was based, which they all lacked, that couldn’t be duplicated through digital means. All noted a decrease in a academic competitiveness among peers and personally, as learning was more difficult and motivation was harder to maintain virtually. Lastly, about half noted it was hard to reestablish friendships in person because they had all gotten used to being isolated and connecting virtually, even though it wasn’t ideal.

While this wasn’t a scientific based study, it was an attempt to gain a greater understanding on how the pandemic affected older teens. The sample was very homogenous as all the teens were kids of friends of mine with very similar backgrounds, racial and cultural identity, socioeconomic status, and educational success. However, the point was just to give some perspective on how older teens experienced changes in their peer interactions during the pandemic. It is clear, that overall, they experienced less feelings of loss than younger kids, but did see both negative and positive affects. Kids over 14 relied upon unique methods to maintain interaction, but still missed out on some important areas of social growth during the pandemic.

This may signify the importance of parents noticing young adults delaying romantic relationships, being less interested in competing for position moving forward, and connecting less face to face and more via virtual, digital, online methods. These things aren’t necessarily problematic, but when they point to difficulty interacting face to face, it is helpful for parents to find or promote activities that are in person. Some aspects of socio-emotional growth may not have matured as teens attempted to figure out how to maintain resilience during a time of uncertainty. (Mlawler F. et al., 2022). Developing lasting friendships, romantic relationships, and relationships built upon healthy competition are all necessary as one moves into adulthood. Even older teens may need increased support in becoming more self-aware and being reminded and expected to engage offline as well.

Older teens did use various modes of virtual and digital communication to interact to lessen the detrimental affects of social isolation. So parents need to see increased phone, internet, and gaming time in this light and use less reductivism when dealing with kids time using social media. (Hamilton, 2022). Kids may need increased slack and reduced judgement on how often they use technology, because so much if that time was spent using these methods to interact with, enjoy, and support their friendships. These relationships are valuable not only as the fundamental building blocks of all human interaction, but also in helping kids develop into adults who have healthy relationships.

The better parents understand how to support their kids’ resilience during periods of extreme change, trauma, and social isolation, the better teens will recover when societal issues threaten their peer interactions. Since peer interaction is a very important part of identity development and the transition from dependence to autonomy, it is important for parents to be able to identify and understand it’s importance. After the masks have been long retired and kids have gone a whole school year walking the halls of their beloved schools, parents will still need to support the changes the pandemic caused and help teens work through the lingering issues. After all, “it’s a whole world outside.” (Kendrick Lamar, N95), and kids might need to be reminded of that.

References:

  • Mlawler, F., Moore, C.C., Hubbard, J.A. et al. Pre-Pandemic Peer Relations Predict Adolescents’ Internalizing Response to Covid-19. Res Child Adolesc Psychopathol 50, 649–657 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-021-00882-1
  • Liverpool, S., Pereira, B., Hayes, D. <em>et al.</em> A scoping review and assessment of essential elements of shared decision-making of parent-involved interventions in child and adolescent mental health.<em>Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry</em> <strong>30, </strong>1319–1338 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01530-7
  • Danner, F. (Ed.). (1989). <em>The adolescent as decision-maker : Applications to development and education</em>. Elsevier Science &amp; Technology.
  • Smith-Adcock, S. &amp; Tucker, C. (Ed.). (2016)Counseling Children and Adolescents: Connecting Theory, Development, and Diversity. SAGE Publications.
  • Rubin, K. H., Bukowski, W. M., &amp; Parker, J. G. (2007). Peer interactions, relationships, and groups. In W. Damon, R. M. Lerner, &amp; N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (Vol 3). John Wiley &amp; Sons. <a class=”linkBehavior” href=”https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0310″>https://doi-org.proxy.lib.wayne.edu/10.1002/9780470147658.chpsy0310
  • Hamilton, J. L., Nesi, J., &amp; Choukas-Bradley, S. (2022;2021;). Reexamining social media and socioemotional well-being among adolescents through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic: A theoretical review and directions for future research.<em> Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17</em>(3), 662-679. <a rel=”noreferrer noopener” href=”https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211014189&#8243; target=”_blank”>https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211014189

*A special thank you to O. Flood, M. Goodrum, M. Ligons, A. Little, K. Mishaw, and B. Morton for participating.

Of Coke Cans and Census Counts

Ya’ll, this shit is mad crazy. In the days since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I have attended a rally in the metaverse, comforted friends, dealt with my own thoughts and feelings about this bullshit, and read the thoughts and opinions of my peers on social media. Mostly, though, I have armed myself with information. When you know why people act the way they do, you can equip yourself and your community with the tools you need to combat the shit White supremacists do that stand to hurt your people the most. And be clear, this disproportionately hurts Black people more. Like every other piece of legislation or jurisprudence which has at its heart, protecting “white life” as Congresswoman Mary Miller said. Miller, who has several Black and Brown grandchildren, thanked the harbinger of this country’s turn toward demolishing every institution, political goal, government protocol, and law that sought equal protection of the law and due process for all humans, Donald… you know who he is, his whole name makes me vomit.., for preserving “White life.”

How white supremacist of you Mary!

So let’s talk facts.

But be clear, THIS time it’s not just about hurting others. It is mainly about protecting themselves. Bill Wattenburg’s The Birth Dearth, written in 1987, predicted this after the baby boom. He postulated that as the number of children White families had dwindled so would their population. The growth of the White population majority, he stated, ensured the economic stability of the country. Which in turn ensured the status quo. But as minority populations overtook the White population, divisiveness would result, and “it would make it difficult to promote and defend liberty…” And he was correct. Here we stand, the White population down 10% in the last decade, watching government agents we voted for or didn’t vote against (SHAME on you), dismantle these freedoms, rights, and liberties. The same ones we believed were inalienable. The same one’s though that never applied to Black and Brown people anyway. The writers of these hundreds year old documents owned… yep OWNED slaves and tried to prevent others from coming to this country that they, in fact, stole.

So let’s be real clear, this action by the conservative White men, their supportive White woman, and the turncoat Black man on the Supreme Court is for the White majority ALL about preserving White life like Mary said. Abortion stops White births. And soon, like Clarence “Coke Can” Thomas stated in his concurrence, soon contraception, same sex marriage, and to his chagrin, interracial marriage… all predicated upon liberty and substantive due process, which were attacked in the opinion, will come under fire too. Contraception stops white population growth. Same sex marriage has the potential to thwart white population growth, and interracial marriage doesn’t produce White children. Funny that Thomas included this in his concurrence, with his Black ass. You can marry your way to Whiteness or wash that color off negro! But she tried to tell us…

Professor Hill we owe you an extreme apology, ESPECIALLY in the aftermath of Me Too, Cosby, and Weinstein. Cuz this nasty negro should have never been ever considered for such a role. But here we are. We have men, Thomas & Kavanaugh, with a history of violating women making laws that can violate women. Something in the milk ain’t clean.

This is what happens when we don’t take advantage of the one of the EXPRESS rights Black people and Black women have … the right to vote. Only Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer voted against the majority. Every other Justice was nominated by a President whose electorate included a lower percentage of minorities than White voters, except Black women. Two of those Presidents, the younger Bush and Trump, received less votes than their Democratic opponent. We swindle our votes and shit like this happens. The resulting Presidency in elections where Black voters outvoted everyone and our candidate of choice, President Obama won, he was blocked by these minions of Trump, from nominating a Supreme Court Justice. That didn’t make us turn up and out like bees to honey in the next election, well except Black women, and that’s unfortunate. We can’t trick away the one right that is listed EXPRESSLY in the Constitution. Well we can… and the Plan Bs are flying off the shelf as a result. In state’s that ban abortion, women unable to afford medical terminations or to travel will find dangerous ways to terminate pregnancies they cannot afford, that are the result of rape or incest, and that they simply do not want in their bodies.

Bottom line, the holding is Dobbs v. Jacksons Women’s Health Organization, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives” is a exercise in white supremacy. Wattenburg was telling us the unadulterated truth. The lack of gun control, the murder of Black unarmed victims by State actors, January 6th, the open and public violent racism promoted by Trump and his followers, jurisprudence which robs us of our rights, and the Congress and Court that look more like the Red Wedding than the United States, are simply measures to ensure the White majority. We have to all come together to vote against Coke Cans and Census Counts and not rely on the most mistreated people in America, Black women, to do the United State’s dirty work alone. We are SC Justices now, not just maids to clean up behind your mess.

A Black girl will save the world, let’s do everything in our power to deserve that Queen shit. November 2024 is coming.

NOTE: States which allow abortions: Alaska, Arizona (15weeks), Cali, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (15 weeks), Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (8/2 case pending), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (court order), Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, NJ, NM, NY, Oregon, RI, Vermont, Washington.

Buffalo Soldiers

Pushing your cart with the rickety wheel through the supermarket, picking up the unbruised apples and putting them in the plastic bag you just snatched apart from the roll, grabbing spaghetti noodles and sauce off the shelf thinking of the dinner you’ll serve to your fam…

“There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America” -Bob Marley

This shit doesn’t stop. In markets, where we pick up the staples of nutrition to feed our families. In SCHOOLS where we drop off our babies in the morning to learn so they gain the knowledge to build or destroy. In church where we praise God, and we all are infused with the spirit of building our communities. In the capital where the elected officials, our ancestors died to give us the right to choose, make laws. In the capital where our elected officials need to pass laws that make it harder to get a gun than a driver’s license. In the capital where our elected officials need to look more like the community at large and less like the graduating class of Harvard in 1950, a bunch of old White dudes. White boys who are taught they alone are the majority, the mode, and the median begat White boys who write manifestos about losing their rightful place on their social, financial, and professional throne, and plan to take it back with ARs and AKs.

So ingrained in them by privilege and supremacy that they are the numero uno, the most important thought and voice, that the minute someone doesn’t agree or someone’s voice is elevated, they terrorize churches, schools, supermarket. These are the last places one expects, but suddenly the places people fear, to be threatened. They use guns to paralyze us. They use police to legally murder us. They use courts to disproportionately cage us like animals. We are being terrorized by tyranny. We are being traumatized by racism.

“Buffalo soldier, Buffalo soldier
Will you survive in this new land?”-The Persuasions

18-year old Payton Gendron killed ten Black people in Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. He had been seen for psychiatric help based on a murder-suicide letter he wrote but didn’t have his guns taken away as allowed under New York laws. Instead he went to Buffalo, because it had the most Black residents in his area. He originally planned to go to a church or school, but chose the grocery store hoping to kill more people. He went the day prior to stake out the store posing as a panhandler. The murderer legally purchased the AR-15 style gun used in the attack. bought a shotgun in December and received a rifle as a Christmas present at 16. While one must be 21 to buy a handgun one can buy an assault rifle at 18. A bill to change this will likely sit in the Senate after passing the House.

Sounds like January 6th. Which according to the idiots who support racism wasn’t a coup or insurrection. I guess this wasn’t a murder either.

Children don’t vote. The average age of the Buffalo victims minus the youngest victim is 65. 65 year old Black people vote, primarily Democratic, in record numbers. So after 22 mass shootings killing 246 people this year alone; babies shot at Parkland; Columbine; and parishioners killed during bible study in Charleston, we finally get some action. Our lives don’t seen to matter when we are living, Our lives aren’t worth protecting only our potential votes. Black bodies and young bodies are treated as invaluable until our bodies littering the ground and floor affect their bottom line. It feel like a political move not a humanitarian one. Yet we continue to fight.

“Buffalo soldier
Tell me when will they call you, you a man?”

The trauma of racism is real. Like all trauma, it needs to be medicated and healed, perhaps not with pills but definitely with therapy. Like my bestie says, Everybody needs therapy. So employers need to provide trauma counselors for employees who deal with this constant trauma. Organizations that address Black issues need to host group therapy sessions to deal with racial trauma. And these racial attacks need to be identified as such.

Our racial trauma needs to be prioritized. We need to be honored for fighting for freedom constantly in a country that doesn’t seem to value us. We need to be valued. Our trauma needs to be recognized. Since the Civil War, we have been fighting against racism by serving in the Union army against the Confederacy. Over 150 years later our hair is still curly and our bodies are still used as shields but our humanity denied. Those ten Black people who were shopping in that grocery store were Buffalo soldiers.

“There was a Buffalo Soldier
In the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival”-Bob Marley

When will surviving annihilation become living peacefully…

Shirley was on that BS

“Hello, may I speak to Barbara
Barbara, this is Shirley
You might not know who I am
But the reason I am calling you is because…”

This is a reflection post, as I believe it is important to look back and figure out lessons learned after a long term relationship has ended. We already know the dude is dirty… we have established that in many an article, blog, Tik Tok, etc. But what about when Shirley calls you with that bone, and wants to have this woman to woman conversation about some fool she claims is hers… well the main issue is often that conversation is missing one of the women. Cuz only a fool will call another woman that the man she is bussin it open for is committed to. Only person she should be talking to is him.

But when you ring my phone with that mess, you have invoked my dislike of him and of you. And ya’ll both about to get laid out.

I had a wild ass fool ass broad calling me about a man I believed was only committed to me, and while it was devastating at the time, who knows how long I would have sat in deception were it not for that call. For that, the realization that he had exposed me to her, I am grateful… so I could peace out. But the chaotic hood trash shit that followed, now that was some Shirley playing the victim mess I could have done without. She called me from several numbers so every time I blocked her she called me from her mama’s phone, her kids’ phones, the one payphone left in the city, any phone she could find. She left a series of breadcrumbs for me to hear to finally lay out this betrayal like puzzle pieces waiting for the last few pieces to fit into place. I mean she called me from here, she called me from there, if she was anywhere, she called me from there. This bitch Dr Seussed me into confusion.

But when she started giving me back personal information about the inner workings of my home, I got all The Night the Lights went out in Texas, and I started smelling blood. I felt like Lafayette.

Ladies, don’t do this. If you are engaging with a man and you know he has promised commitment to someone else, don’t play victim. You knew what was up, you participated with full knowledge. Don’t attempt to ruin the heart of another woman just because you willingly chose to be other, and she believed herself to be only… and he was only concerned with her remaining to believe that with no concern for your feelings. You chose that. But calling someone that did not and dragging your bone to them is not cool. It might get you busted in the head or it might get you put on blast. So when you doing this woman to woman call, keep all that in mind. Luckily for the broad who did this to me, I have way more to lose, he clearly wasn’t shit to have, and I chose peace instead of violence… mainly because of point number one. But several of my girlfriends offered to handle you as long as I had bail.

So keep your conversation with him, and don’t harass and deliver chaos to someone else to help you feel justified in your heaux-ism. I don’t care what he told you, you knew the deal and you decided to be girlfriend #2. Stand up in the shit you chose. Find some self-esteem and a therapist. But leave other folks out of it Shirley…