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The BEAUTY of Black History

You know, for the longest time I never knew black people in America had a history. “Back in my day” [I can’t believe I’m saying that] they didn’t teach anything at all about black history. There was a little paragraph that said your ancestors were slaves, accompanied by a picture of slaves working in a field. Then we learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and that was it. I get that people don’t like to talk about slavery but that sent the message that there was No history for blacks. That other than silent workers who never contributed anything meaningful there were only two people in all of black culture who ever did anything of value and that was many years later.

The End.

.Not much of a history lesson. It sent a message that black people never mattered. And that Only white people Did matter. Both blacks and whites received this message.

There is an ancient proverb: Until the Lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.

Yes, one way Dominant groups inscribe power is by means of the historical record. It’s all Right, such is human nature. Promote thy self and minimize the accomplishments of others.

But now that I was older I decided to investigate myself. And what I discovered gave me a whole new Appreciation for black culture.

You see, contrary to what I was led to believe, black people have a rich, exciting history in this country that is just like any other culture’s history. I don’t mean that every culture had their culture and identities stripped away, but I do mean we have a very rich and colorful history in this country that speaks to our wonderful humanity. Determination, desire, struggles, hopes, highs, lows, love, war, passion, creativity, self expression, teamwork, invention, and inevitably the triumph of the human spirit. Every history book speaks to people being oppressed in various ways and how they always fight back to gain their freedom. From high taxes to strict rules to excessively long work hours to oppressive governments – the injustices abound within history books. Yet, people always find their way back to freedom. ALWAYS.

BLACK HISTORY IS NO DIFFERENT.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to share some highlights that Really resonated with me.

And I hope they resonate with you, too.

Black history does not have to be an “us versus them” mentality, always the victim and never the Victor. But it does tell a very human story, One that we can embrace with adoration, love and respect.

Colorism

Did Skin Color Matter to Slaves?

Breathe In…Breathe Out…Breathe In…Breathe Out…Breathe In…Breathe Out

Ok…here we go…We’re all in this together…

Sentiment around American slaves often exclusively focuses on weakness. And is rather one-note, namely, people either worked in the field picking cotton or they worked in the house. No other jobs. It paints this picture that they were nothing but miserable slaves. The End. There are no relationship nuances, no room for emotions for family and friends, ingenuity of ideas, variety of perspectives of the slaves or even variety in how slave masters treated their slaves.  The story is often exclusively told, colloquially, without the details of normal life at that time. Normal Human Life.  Normal Human Life, Even for Slaves, At that Time. The many colors of the human soul experience are often lacking when the stories of slaves are told. But no slave was ever just a slave, just like no poor person is just a “poor”. That individual – that human being – had a life and feelings and desires,  likes and dislikes, passions and disappointments and adeptness and creativity and opportunities, albeit limited, they were still there. They were people just like us, trying their best to get along in the world in which they were born. Slave narratives are a good way to peek into the lives of former slaves.

  History reveals that those PEOPLE, who were slaves, held many different roles both inside of and outside of agriculture. Cotton was one of the most flourishing commodities at the time, so was indigo, tobacco, peanuts and sugar cane. And slaves were used in every aspect, yes as housemaids and cooks, but also construction workers, farmers, horsemen, hunters, fisherman, musicians, singers, sailors and the like.  They were an integral part of society that performed valuable roles and contributed significantly to the wealth of the south. They were the “wheels” making everything go ’round as the economy of the south was centered around and depended heavily on their slaves. What little time they had left over for themselves they used to enhance their life as best they could.  When it comes to human nature, slave society was about as complex as our society is today.

In her autobiography, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, Harriet Jacobs recounts her experience as a slave and housemaid. She cited the tension and backlash from both white women for being targeted by their husbands and from white men for targeting them:  Soon she will learn to tremble when she hears her master’s footfall.  She will be compelled to realize that she is no longer a child.  If God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse.  That which commands admiration in the white woman only hastens the degradation of the female slave.  … I cannot tell how much I suffered in the presence of these wrongs, nor how I am still pained by the retrospect.  My master met me at every turn, reminding me that I belonged to him, and swearing by heaven and earth that he would compel me to submit to him.  If I went out for a breath of fresh air, after a day of unwearied toil, his footsteps dogged me.  If I knelt by my mother’s grave, his dark shadow fell over me even there.  The light heart which nature had given me became heavy with sad forebodings.

[Does this explain where much of the contention between these two cultures of women and men came from when it comes to interracial relationships? Food for thought…]

This doesn’t sound like she was living the Suite Life just because she worked in the house. This excerpt is important because the underlying beliefs that are held today, that slave housemaids did not work as hard as the field hands, that all the maids who worked in the house were light- skinned and that they had the easy life while all the dark skinned people worked in the field, is not supported by source documents, the people who lived that life, nor by pictures in later years of those working in the fields. Enslaved people worked all kinds of jobs, whichever they were most suited for, regardless of their color, each aspect of slave society having its own set of challenges. This does not mean that colorism played no part in society, but colorism was not the definitive ranking that some believe it was, not during slave society. Even those in seeming favor of their white master-family member-father did not mean they were exempt from unspeakable toils. For many, social standards and stigmas were far greater than any kinship (sometimes this was not true, where the master of the house would take care of his slave children better, providing them a few more comforts in terms of clothing or food, but they remained separate and slaves nonetheless). It boiled down to whether or not you had a nice master or a harsh master and there were different levels of harshness ascribed to them. Just like today, sometimes bosses are pleasant and sometimes not so much. Today we have laws for a measure of protection against such things.

Colorism is not exclusive to black Americans and is practiced in asian cultures, in hispanic cultures, especially in south America, in Indian cultures and in white cultures. Yes, white cultures discriminate against each other on various levels of “whiteness” very similar to how blacks discriminate against each other on various levels of “blackness”.  This appears to be very much an international and intercultural practice but this perspective will only speak to the afro American experience, mainly because this slavery series is on the afro american experience J

            Of note is that within these different cultures colorism is more tolerated and acceptable as a fact of life. No one speaks as loudly on this topic as black Americans, so since our culture is also affected by this very riveting topic it warrants exploration.

At the root of colorism is the planned separation of those conquered that came along with colonization. In an attempt to deflect attention away from the rapings and the children that ensued in a slave society, the ideas that bubbled forth was that different shaded children could help keep slaves in their slave position if they were divided. The plan was to separate the blacks by color and to treat the lighter ones differently than the darker ones, the darker ones would get jealous, the slaves would be divided and then they would be so busy hating each other they wouldn’t turn on whites. Tear them apart from the inside out. Did their plan work?

We are having this conversation 157 years later because to some extent they succeeded in laying a foundation for separation. Disempowering beliefs are generational. And despite what you personally believe to be true, not all of the slaves were happy to be free. Some didn’t feel smart enough/powerful enough/worthy enough. And those feelings of unworthiness have trickled down into what we today refer to as ‘colorism’.

            Post slavery colorism has taken different forms in parts of black America where black people within the same culture would either discriminate against darker skinned blacks so they could appear more superior (the ever-referenced brown paper bag test practiced in Louisiana) and nowadays discrimination against lighter skinned blacks citing the belief that opportunities are no longer available for other blacks and lighter skinned blacks are given a free ride, everything comes easier in life and they do not have to work as hard as other blacks. 

            What’s also interesting about colorism stereotypes today is that “dark skin” ranges on a very broad scale, when you look at worldwide colorism and also within black American culture, there is no general consensus on where exactly “dark” begins since it is relative to the community a person grows up in. This means you could believe your whole life you are dark, because people have told you such, then you move to a different community, where you are now categorized as “red boned” and you are not dark any longer. You are now the light one.

Yeah.

:-/

This kind of thing happens when you allow other people to define you, when you allow other people to tell you who you are. There is a lot of confusion about who “you” “should be” and you’ll find yourself ping-ponging all over the place trying to fit into another person’s idea of who you are.

            Most of the anger and separation surrounding colorism today is post-slavery. Today’s colorism in black America is largely promoted by black americans. And it serves one purpose – to further the divide. And that was its Original purpose. White people do not go around referring to blacks as octoroon and red-boned. These are white concepts that were studied and practiced internalized and regurgitated by blacks – post slavery – because there is not enough love of self to combat these stereotypes. Granted those who promote these concepts have been convinced that this is appropriate because all they see on the news is negative statistics surrounding their black culture and arguments back and forth around why black people cannot succeed in life. Colorism just adds one more reason why people cannot achieve what they want or be happy with their appearance. With such negativity hurled almost exclusively at black Americans, what conclusion and outlook do many of them come to? A powerful one or a disempowering one?

The arguments surrounding personal preference today involve many factors that go into why a person is chosen for something and why another is not. Any of these reasons could cause people to prefer one person over another:

Pretty

Female /Male

Blonde/Brunette/Red head

Handsome

Curly hair/Straight hair

Brown eyed/blue eyed

Tall

Rich

Confident

Outgoing

Friendly

Charismatic

Talented

Competent

Knowledgeable

Great conversation

Kind

Reliable

Sexy/Shapely

Busty

Skinny

Dark-skinned

Light-skinned

            And there are many more reasons than this why one person would be chosen over another. There are many components that make up just one individual person, not just color, and for any of the reasons above a person might have a preference for another. None of them should make or break you, define you or cause you to feel unworthy.

This speaks to embracing the Truth of who you are, your own Beautiful Divinity.              

And Expressing it in Only the Way You Can

There is only ONE YOU on this planet.

But if you trivialize your own value

By assuming you are worthless and that others have all the power

Then you will never realize your truest value.

You did not come here to be small.

And when you decide to let in more of YOUR light

It will become more Apparent to you

How great you are.

And then you will know

The only one holding you back…

Was You.

Unless you are willing to love yourself and allow the truth of who you are to float to the surface, there will never ever be an end to the colorism debate.

Unless you decide to end it.

It is up to a mature society to decide to let this go. It is time to let it go. You cannot control what color you are and neither can anyone else. There is far too much focus – by black Americans – on the color of a person’s skin. And how others view us should be irrelevant. The larger, much, much larger issue is what black people think of themselves.

In other words, have you allowed the white perspective about who you are and the separation caused by it to seep into your heart and mind? Have you embraced that as your truth? Because when it comes to colorism, one belief puts the power in your hands. The other belief puts the power in the hands of others.

For American Blacks, the colorism topic is harder than the racisim topic because we are united on the racism topic, But separate on the topic of colorism.

If we are ready for a New Earth, we cannot look at others and ask them not to judge us by the color of our skin, when we ourselves actively practice judging others by the color of theirs.

The Road To Healing

Did the color of skin matter to slaves? Research does not suggest there was as much regard for color during slavery as there is post-slavery. The reason for that being white society at that time was extremely racist toward all blacks and skin color was not a major factor in terms of the horrors and degradation experienced and they all saw that happening to each other, despite complexion. White passing or “white niggers” were not excluded from that. In fact, if a white nigger tried to pass themselves off as white person they could lose their lives; it was punishable by death.  Even after slavery ended when new laws surrounding blackness were being defined by whites, any black lineage in the past 10 generations automatically regulated a white person to black (inferior) status and subject to all of the black oppression codes as any other black. This is where the “one drop makes you whole” phrase comes from. White culture was not giving an inch on that because that would mess with their superiority complex. Their racism was a strongly held belief, especially at that time, since it was used to excuse a lot of behavior that would otherwise be questionable, unchristian and immoral, to say the very least.

            We come into this life with a set of tools – qualities, that will help us on our journey, and we can pick up new tools along the way. For example, if I’m not a good communicator but I notice that other people seem to always get what they want AND I also notice that they use certain kinds of language that I do not use, I MIGHT be inspired to improve my communication skills, thereby giving me a new skill, or new tool, to help navigate how I relate to others.  There are so many wonderful tools that we can pick up or learn in our life, along our path, but there is not one more valuable than Self-Love, because from Self-Love comes the Practice of learning and retaining the Essence of who you are, Pulling Away From Social Beliefs That Do Not Serve You, learning that Appreciation of what you already have increases your emotional state, not concerning yourself with things that are out of your control and certainly not allowing others to define who you are. Self Love means you recognize there is only One of You so you can never be compared to any other….

Freedom Awaits

“Sure. I had been hurt by the looks and the words of people that have told me I am not beautiful. But what had really been hurting is that I didn’t think I was beautiful myself. So I can finally stand here today and say that I’m done looking through other people’s eyes for my beauty and I know where I need to look.” – Devan Sandiford/Moth Radio

Society’s NONCONFORMERS

Nonconformera person who does not conform to generally accepted standards or customs.

Nonconformers are an important part of society because they provide the rest of us with perspective, and most importantly – with options. They inadvertently push against the status quo which gets us to think outside of the box, to challenge what we think we know.

Throughout history nonconformers have been ‘dealt with’ by society, not typically ignored. Depending on the service they provide, they could be more or less well regarded (Beethoven, Shakespeare, Frederick Douglas) but more often than not, they were criticized, ostracized, ridiculed, or even put to death. They were made to feel like they were wrong for how they felt or for their choices. Others would see the treatment of nonconformers by society and decide to stay quiet or not reveal that they themselves did not conform. So when it comes to Nonconformers, how much have things really changed?

There are many kinds of nonconformers in our society. One kind of nonformer is our homeless population. Homelessness is an uncomfortable part of our society (just like the topic of slavery) especially in America where everyone is supposed to be rich 😉  . It could cause a person to question, why, in one of the greatest countries in the world, is homelessness acceptable, why is it that people sleep on the sidewalk when everyone would like an indoor place to rest.? This could mess with our sense of reality, depending on how large of a bubble we choose to live in. Is a better solution available?

Anothery type of nonconformer is the LGBTQIA+ community. Members of this community provide a different perspective than what we are used to when it comes to love, sexuality and marriage by simply being a human being who desires something different than the status quo. As gay awareness becomes more prevalent in our society, we as a society become more tolerant. There is a big difference between gay awareness in 2022 versus gay awareness in 1985. A BIG Difference. How people think of, regard, treat and respect people who are different from the status quo, different from the norm, different from how we are taught, goes a long way in challenging the social belief systems of the day. But take note that it is a process because change takes time.

‘Social belief systems of the day’ is phrased this way is to highlight that what we believe – as STRONGLY as we may believe our beliefs to be – are subject to change. This is important to understand because it can broaden our perspective when it comes to dogmatic beliefs that people fight over. For example Is being gay ‘right or wrong? Is ‘gay marriage’ right or wrong? “ I was always taught that marriage is between a man and a women,” said one famous transgender woman, clarifying for us that even those part of the lgbtqia+ community do not think the same things on the same topics. And that change is really, really hard.

Along the same vein, there were nonconformers in american slave society. These were the abolitionists, the runaways, the white-passing, the free blacks – all people who did not conform to the status quo, which thereby raised awareness that ‘there are people who do not agree with everyone else on this topic’, namely that ‘black people should be enslaved’. There were sanctuary spaces as well for runaways, one being the entire state of Florida. These people challenged the status quo by simply being amongst the rest of the population, but not fitting into the existing stereotype about blacks and their role in society. They did not accept the current state of affairs as their truth and then decided they were going to do something about it.

The nonconformers, as it pertains to American slavery, were substantial and took quite a set of balls to pull off what they accomplished. People like Nat Turner, who led one of the most infamous slave revolts, Box Brown who was like ‘To hell with running, I’m going to cut the BS and mail myself to freedom’, had associates place him in a large, wooden box with a  destination label and off he went. Robert Smalls, who sailed himself to freedom by hijacking a confederate boat – oh and he picked up runaway slaves along the way. And of course the many abolitionists, including Levi Coffin and Mary Ellen Pleasant, that made the underground railroad possible. There were people who wrote books about the slave experience like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Solomon Northup, all to raise awareness, all risky because it outed them as not going along with the crowd. They were Not trending. We also know that sometimes slaves just flat out refused to do things. There was pushback and there were physical battles in day to day society. This is why extreme measures were often taken to contain the defiance, or at least attempt to contain it. In fact, anyone who was free and black had to carry freedom papers around with them everywhere they went so they could “prove” they were not a slave. Just being someone who was “supposed” to be something (a stereotype) but did not fit the description was a challenge to social norms of the day.

You see sometimes in our society the belief systems of the times are so very strong that people know with all their heart that this o n e way, is the o n l y way of living, the o n l y way of being. Blacks are inferior to  whites and enslaving them is good and right. But enter the nonconformers who say otherwise. Because they fought back, they ran away, they refused, they showed their intelligence and this defied what popular opinion knew to be true. This defied their beliefs. With just their actions, nonconformers showed that there IS a Different way of being. There IS a different Knowing. There IS a Belief on this subject that is outside of Popular Opinion.

And so we learn that an american slave society faced similar interracial dynamics that we see play out today. People agree-disagree-work together-push against whatever are the popular topics of the day. Everyone was just a squirrel trying to get a nut with what they “knew” to be true at that time, going about their day to day activities of making a space for themselves in the world. There were white collar workers, blue collar workers, farmers, immigrants, slaves. And there were arguments on many, many topics, slavery being just one of them. The beginning of the women’s rights movements began in the 1840s, 25 years prior to slavery ending, so multiple social-economic issues existed alongside each other. Meanwhile, white immigrants continued to arrive from Ireland and other European countries, all with varying forms of discrimination, white poverty was also an issue faced by many (poverty never seems to go anywhere but maybe one day….) And so life was just life. As campaigns against slavery grew, more awareness was raised and slowly, there was a gradual softening toward the black experience.

This is important to understand because sometimes it is felt, when it comes to black history, that we “shouldn’t” have to deal with behaviors that are culturally biased. But each decade brings new changes to beliefs. Today’s social norms about blacks is very different from the 1800s and early to mid 1900s. Just like today’s understanding about gays is very different from the 80s. Because things get progressively better over time.

Over time.

It takes time.

We need time as a society to adjust to new changes and new ways of being.

We still struggle with this concept today when it comes to how black communities express their desire to be treated equally. And certainly if a person is in the habit of only zeroing in on negative things, because that is all the news media zeros in on when it comes to black culture,  then that is all they will ever see.

Women, Blacks, Gays…everyone just wants to be respected and treated as an equal with the same rights as anyone else. No one wants to be told ‘No, you cannot do __[blank]__ but other people can.

So Nonconformers are here to challenge what we think we know about people, about life, about ourselves. They bring perspective and clarity that elicits unification because they do not fit into a box. They challenge social stereotypes and cultural beliefs simply by following their heart.

Nonconformers existed during American slavery, as well as before American slavery, and nonconformers are still here Today. They serve as Beacons of Light and examples for us to embrace our personal Truth. Even if it differs from what “everyone else” thinks. Every time a person follows their heart and decides to live in their Truth, they embrace the Power Within and push back against a society that says ‘no you cant’.

Nonconformers, by means of their actions, say ‘Yes, I Can!’

 Its a Human Thang…

Bullies – Victims

And the Game of Thrones

It is often said that life is a game.

A look at history reveals a very clear pattern present in most societies since… Forever.

And that is:  As long as human beings have sought to oppress each other, they have done so.

We learn from history the goal is for the bully to come out on top at the expense of the victim. Then, there is a turn of events, where – even if it goes on for a while – the victim retaliates in some way – either by stealth or more openly – and the roles are reversed. Eventually the victim has summoned enough control to change things around.

To this day, the bully-victim dynamic is played out on various levels in social cultures around the world. At times, there is a direct bully-victim relationship between the government and the people, like the one that inspired the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Or at times governments engage the people to turn on each other like during China’s Cultural Revolution. Additionally, individual people in societies play out these Game of Thrones roles in an attempt to get what they want from others at work or in their families or social circles. Bosses apply pressure to workers, wives to husbands and adults to children. The pressure to conform to another person’s agenda is prevalent. In this way, we seek to rule over others by means of our governments and by means of our interpersonal relationships with others.

After some time though, the individuals being controlled grow tired of the control and seek freedom. This is why battered women eventually leave their spouses, this is why children rebel against parents, this is why employees go on strike. History, as well as our Present, shows us that nobody really wants to be controlled. It is not our nature. Our Nature is the freedom to be our own Guide because We are Sovereign Beings.

So when it came to american chattal slavery, we learned the nature of owning another person or another culture for life was destined to fail. While there were certainly those who were kinder slave masters than others, there was disagreement as to how to go about preventing slaves from running away or from retaliation. Some felt it was necessary to be harsh and this harshness brought out the absolute worst in them, a savagery, a barbarism that over time became a part of the normal way of life – to their embarrassment. It’s not as if white slave owners regressed to this state and then were proud of it. Source documents reveal they tried to hide how bad it was when people [from the North] came down to investigate the rumors of how they were living. This is where the notion of the “happy slave” came from, an attempt to diffuse attention away from the casual violence that came to define southern culture.

This explains why there is an aversion to learning about or even revealing the true nature of American slavery. Quite frankly, white people are embarrassed by it, which is why they like to avoid the topic. The Conscience was also a big player in that the fear that blacks would retaliate was strong at that time and it is a belief that still comes up today.

[To Be Clear: All slave masters were not wicked or bad people with some simply availing themselves of the then-customary practice of holding slaves and hiring slaves. But this particular article discusses why american slavery could not last.]

The dominant cultural belief and practice of what prevailed in the south was that slaves were inferior people that warranted uncommon and hateful treatment. These were not isolated incidents but the common practice of the day. The practice of lifelong and generational enslavement, with no recognition of God given rights, removing children from parents, rape and other violent and heinous crimes against humanity is never sustainable.

It was a gradual decline but southern society arrived at the point where they were out of control.  When slaves were first brought to America, they were not enslaved for life and they had rights. But new country, new rules. Over time, as slaves began to get free through various legal means, new laws were created, slowly, one by one, that gradually removed the rights of slaves and made it progressively more difficult to be freed or to have any rights at all. As greed set into the hearts of slave owners, the demands they put upon the slaves became more and more unreasonable. They created a toxic society.

And since the Africans were very far from home, who could they get to advocate for them? There was no one.

The Game of Thrones.

Just like a see-saw, the interpersonal dynamics that make up our humanity often reflect this bully-victim game of thrones so often played out in our societies. The bully is up, then the victim is up, then the bully is up, then the victim is up, with always one group trying to gain control. Indeed there is nothing new under the sun [Ecclesiates 1:9].

Yet despite this inevitable outcome, there is still an attempt to suppress the rights of others Today. Oppressors tend to approach this like the lottery: Hey ya never know…

American chattel slavery, for all its injustices and for all its Resolutions was another example of the Game of Thrones. That battle continued for many years after slavery ended, with new laws being enacted that effectively reenslaved blacks all over again because resistance to change is also a human thing.

Our Human History is a battle of Wills.

Black history is no different.

It is human history in all its glory, in all its tragedy.

I see it as such.

I respect it as such.

Do You?

Just bear in mind what was, was. What happened, happened.

And nothing anyone ever does will ever change that.

So what do we do to Recover Emotionally?

We come to terms with the reality of:  I cannot change the past.

We learn from our mistakes as a society: Never allow separation of the People for any reason!

We move on: What can I do Now to Create the life I want?

And We do what we were created to do.

RISE.

We rise Above the abuse.

We rise Above the stereotypes.

We rise Above the injustice.

How?

We stop externalizing our power to others,

We stop externalizing out power to others,

And then

WE STOP.. EXTERNALIZING.. OUR POWER ..TO OTHERS..

We stop arguing for our limitations and embrace the Power we have within.

We stop the belief that some-one has to do some-thing in order for us to be happy with who we are as a Culture.

We can be happy anyway.

That recognition on the television set that awaits us, when we will finally hear the words that the wealth gap has closed between blacks and whites and that no black person anywhere in the world has ever done anything bad ever again – lest that reflect poorly on us all. That’s right, we are eagerly awaiting when black people across the world have UNILATERALLY solved the problem of poverty, crime and have created the perfect Black Utopia, because then – and only then – will be finally be accepted!!!!!  

Once we’re perfect we will be accepted!!!

Then we’ll get the thank yous we never got, and the reparations that were never disbursed, the bullying will stop, and the belief that we need to be on the in-club – that is, liked and accepted by those outside of our culture in order to be happy – will finally be realized!

Accepted by others!!!

Wouldn’t it be nice? Sure!!

However…

The world we live in…

Kind of…

Nobody cares.

(I mean…if you are reading this and are black, how much do YOU care about the struggles of other cultures?)

Black people don’t need to be on the in-club.

Afro American Blacks ARE the in-club.

Its time we started seeing ourselves as such. Despite enormous setbacks, we floated to the surface anyway and influenced the entire world with our Afro American Culture.

So why not accept the Beauty that is us and to hell with anyone who doesn’t get it?

Our Sovereignty speaks for itself.

We Are Limitless and We Learn from the Tremendous Resilience, Love,  Passion, Strength, Creativity, Ingenuity, Adaptability and Genius of our ancestors, slavery and all.

Because That is a very human thing.

.

If Not Now…Then When?

Open Letter to [Black] People of America

It’s Time. The Healing is Now.

*It’s Time.

Love, Compassion, Healing

Is waiting for You.

Claim it.

I see people have the desire to heal

The DESIRE to….

What is holding you back?

It is within you.

You can feel it.

I can feel it.

Its Time to Let Go.

If not now, then when?

If not You, then Who?

The pain you are feeling is undeniable.

The Love I have for you is Real.

The Love I have for you is Strong.

The Love I have for You is Unwavering.

I would not be here if it weren’t for you.

You have caused me to BECOME the Great Woman that I AM Today.

You have caused me to persevere, to love, to grow, to develop, to keep my eye on the prize

To take pride in who I am

To Love Myself

To Love Unconditionally

To Allow God and Patience and Love and Hope

And PEACE into my life

So that I can Live a Joyful and Fulfilled Life

So that I can be the Best that I can Be

So that I can Honor My Life

So In This Moment I Give Those Words Back To You.

You are Powerful

You are Strong

You are Determined

You are Believed

You are Loved

Let this be the Moment You Let Go

Allow yourself to Receive the Love I have for you,

The Love God Has For You.

Let this Be the Moment You Let Go

Receive the Love that is Already Here Waiting

For You

Let Go.

Let Go.

Let Go.

Let go of the belief that you are hated; You Are Loved.

Let go of the belief that you are less than; You Are MORE than.

Let go of all the pain you’ve been Experiencing

Let go of other people’s opinions.

Let go of insecurity.

Let go…

Let go…

Letting go

And Claim the Sovereignty that is Rightfully Yours.

Your Heritage is One of Beauty and Passion and Love.

Allow yourself to Let it in.

Allow yourself to BELIEVE

Allow yourself to TRUST

Allow yourself to KNOW

Because you Already KNOW Who you are inside.

You already Know.

Allow yourself to not care what other people think

And in that Allowing

You will find your Strength

It is already there waiting for you

To Claim

Will You?

If not now… then when?

If not You… then Who?

With the Warmest Love and Light,

Cherokee

All is fair ….in Love and War

There is a documentary on Nat Turner that interviewed a host of historians as they told the story of one of the most famous slave revolts in american history. An enslaved man named Nat Turner organized a posse and carried out a series of murders, going from plantation to plantation and killing every white person they came across. Every one. Even the children. It was rumored he even went back to kill a baby another person did not have the heart to kill.

In relaying the account, an elderly white historian woman shook her head sadly and said ‘He didn’t have to do that’ in her sad and disapproving way, unable to come to terms with the fruits that negative behavior reaps

And so it was something of a coup

A takeover

Of the interior kind

We have seen this many times throughout history, including in Rome where Shakespeare coined the famous phrase Caesar uttered to his best friend Brutus ‘Et tu Brute? [You too Brutus]’ as he was gutted for his part in a political power struggle. A reminder that in a sea of corruption, who can you really trust?

The practice of killing every person in charge and their family and friends is an age old practice,

Lest one of them many years later decide to seek revenge on you. Or to seize power.

There could be a vicious cycle of recurring avengers so total elimination was practiced to prevent that from happening.

For thousands upon thousands of years, horrible behaviors that reflect exactly where corruption and greed lead to are recounted for us as historical examples, patterns if you would, of how things always turn out.

The law of attraction states that which is likened unto itself is drawn.

So when you put out negativity you simultaneously attract it back to you – like a magnet.

In other words, those events are attracted

because negative emotions that have gained momentum will drive people to behave in erratic and sometimes horrifying ways

Hence the phrase “All Is Fair In Love And War”. In other words, when emotions are high, there are no f&cks given.

So when I saw this woman’s reaction, I wondered if she considered all of the black children and people that were separated from their families, beaten, raped and tortured and how this could drive a person to repeat the same behaviors.

Right back at cha

I don’t think she considered that…but it looked as if nat turner and his associates did,

Which is why the event happened.

Those events, and other slave revolts, both at home and abroad (Jamaica hosting another infamous revolt), contributed to the mental torture southern whites experienced at that time surrounding the permanent enslavement and degradation of people, personal fears that blacks would seek revenge for all the wrongs heaped upon them.

Yes, they had created a monster.

Or Summoned one…

Because the monster was within them

and they were, you could say, trapped

Trapped between their belief systems, their greed, their ego.

After all, How do you build an entire society around the degredation of humanity

That is the very foundation for wealth and power in your world…

…And then just dismantle it?

That was the dilemma that was tossed around for years before slavery ended.

Additionally, the idea of race, and the subsequent racism that followed, was introduced into society and people bought into it. Something had to explain away the horrors of chattel slavery by supposedly civilized people and coming up with a new concept, like “Well….they’re actually not human beings, they are more like the animals….” Was a suitable explanation.

After all, who doesn’t like being told they are special?

The holocaust is another fine example of what happens when the common people are told some of them are more special than others.

But Arrogance does not just uproot itself and walk away so easily

Once the volatility of the situation was fully realized, people were want for change.

What’s interesting is change was wanted by both cultures, black and white.

Yes.

Change Was Wanted On Both Sides.

White people wanted change.

Congress wanted change because they felt the south had a never ending unfair majority in the House due to their slave population.

New white immigrants coming into the country wanted change because jobs were not available in the south because of the slave population.

Southern whites wanted change (arguably or not) due to what they felt was impending doom pressing in upon them because of their behavior toward the slave population.

Black slaves and freed slaves wanted change for obvious reasons – no one wants to be enslaved forever to anyone.

Thomas Jefferson said of slavery: “I have the wolf by the neck and I can neither sustain him nor let him go.”

And the desire for change COLLECTIVELY bubbled forth and created the change they were wanting.

Even still, of course, change – whether wanted or unwanted – is not so easy to adapt to.

It’s not like a war was won, a law was passed and all of a sudden whites and blacks were smiling and holding hands while running through the flowery meadows…

So it would take many decades, roughly a hundred years, of addressing deeply entrenched social belief systems before the total breakdown of oppressive laws were willing to be dissolved in America (at least on paper) .

Because Change Takes Time…

Change takes time – Both as a nation and as an individual.

But as Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the moon –

That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind”

John Brown and the Underground Railroad

John Brown/The Human Connection

If there is ONE person we have all heard of in black history, who stands out because we actually know who she was and what she did, We are all familiar with the Queen Harriet Tubman, neh Araminta Ross. The details of her story may not be well known but we know “Harriet Tubman” and we know “Underground Railroad” and we know she delivered the enslaved to freedom!

Not only was the Underground Railroad a bold movement of resistance but it was a joint venture between white people and black people who did not agree that enslaving human beings was a good idea.

So why is this article not titled: ‘Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad’?

Because this is not a 4th-grade report on black history.

No, there is a much stronger, much more powerful reason.

A few things stood out to me about Activism during the years of American Slavery:

  1. There was Activism during the years of American Slavery.
  2. This was a joint venture between whites and blacks.
  3. John Brown, as well as two of his sons and others believed so strongly in not denying people the right to be free that they laid down their lives for that belief.

As did any white person who participated in the Underground Railroad.

This was treason at the time so both their freedom and their lives were at risk. They placed themselves at risk for fighting back against a society that was conditioned to believe they were superior and enslaving others in such a heinous way was good and right.

We will see this social conditioning of superiority rear its ugly head later in history during the German-Jewish Holocaust; History repeats itself.

While the black story is often told and retold – rather obscurely – it’s important to recognize certain details that speak to the human spirit, because this unites us all.

The case of John Brown was a powerful one Because he led a slave revolt.

>>>>>>skiiiiiiirrrrrrt<<<<<<<<

Rewind that back.

You heard that right.

Nigga

Leda

slave revolt!

Only he was white.

Now why on EARTH would a white man lead a slave revolt?!?!?!

Because black history is HUMAN history, that’s why.

It was people like John Brown who understood that oppression for some of the people was oppression for ALL of the people. It was simply a matter of time. This is the reason why separation of the people is a big No-No in terms of retaining your individual rights.

In moments of manipulation, that kind of realization is not so readily understood by the populous.

If the people are not united, FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER, the likelihood of that same oppression eventually making its way down the pipeline to YOU is simply a matter of time.

Is simply a matter of time.

This is why it is so important that People remain United. Allowing a government to divide people is Never a good idea. Ever. To retain their power they will always create some reason to separate people and we have to be Attuned to that in order to retain Our power.

The power is in the people.

It always has been. It always will be.

As long as the people stay United.      

[No I am not anti-government; we Need government at least in this part of our human journey. But we also bear the responsibility of Joint government as democracy calls far. It is for the people, by the people and in order to make that so, the people need to be actively involved in supporting – not only criticizing – those who bear the responsibility of creating an environment we all want to live in. We are Co-Creators in that, are we not? But That’s another topic for another day]

If there was one lesson I learned from studying the holocaust (and there were many lessons to be learned) it was the dangers of allowing government separation. The educators I was privileged to have made a point of highlighting that importance. They were all Jewish 🙂

John Brown understood this at its core but he is often overlooked in black history as is pretty much any white person who participated in Activism at the time, and there were many. John Brown’s history is black history. Black history is white history because it is HUMAN history.

So because John Brown, as a white man, gave his life for something he believed in – Human Freedom – and because this is the “Cultural Connection” the title is:

John Brown and the Underground Railroad.

He was a part of the Underground Railroad and knew Harriet Tubman. He believed in so much more than “black people should be free”.

He believed A L L people should be free.

And that is important to note.

In every history book, you will find people who are oppressed in a host of ways – all different cultures, “races”, religions, sexes, and you will find a desire to be free and a fight for that freedom.

It is the same with afro-american history.  It is Not different from other people’s history.

We are Not the exception to the rules of humanity as belief systems often present themselves to us that we are. We have our own journey and our own story to tell, but it is a human journey nonetheless and just as equal to and important as anyone else’s story.

WE ARE a stellar example of passion, drive, force and connection in the world of History and in the continuation of expansion.

It is time we see ourselves as such ♥

It is time to Reclaim our Heritage !

Why Chattel Slavery ?

Slavery has a long Human history, never very pleasant for the person on the receiving end and at times downright ugly. And although it is not openly practiced today, it is for sure, a hidden market (Wayfair, ahem).

The type of slavery practiced in the United States (from 1619 to 1865) was known as chattel slavery which referred to the treating of human slaves as property and not as human beings. As long as people have been alive they have wanted to exact some sort of control over others. According to the bible [don’t lose me here] the Hebrews were enslaved to the Egyptians for 400 years and the practice got pretty ugly as the number of slaves started to increase. After all, if their slaves continued to outnumber the slave owners, that show might be over sooner than expected. Similarly, the behavior of slavers in america got pretty ugly as time went on for the same reason – Control and a lack of it.

So slavery was not a new concept in the world prior to the new inhabitants’ invasion of the Americas. They were either agreements or punishment for a period of time is how it was practiced in Africa which is where black slaves of the americas came from. Initially, whites and natives were enslaved in america, simply because they were here, but they could run away and at a time when there were little means of tracking – no cameras, videos, or the like existed yet –  the further you were willing to run, the more likely you would never be found. You’d blend into whichever society you resembled the most and freedom was yours.

But in an effort to “maximize profit and minimize cost” as big business is oft to do, the idea of obtaining slaves from africa was presented. Why Africa?

Because there were no black people here; not in droves anyway. So if all of the slaves were black, then their skin would stand out if they ran away, and they could easily be spotted no matter where they ran off to. In other words, if all the black people here had to ‘belong’ to someone then even if they ran away, the likelihood of the investors retaining their profits shot upwards. Cha-Ching!

and the slave trade began.

Almost.

Before the slave trade began, a group of 19 Africans were brought to america on a trial basis.

These blacks had rights though.

Because blacks were people and had rights. Even as a slave.

This meant their slavery stent would end.

This meant there were other means of removing oneself from slavery, such as marrying your slave master, for example.

Additionally, the individual was the slave, but their children were not.

Things changed but this is how it was at first.

So of course, as time went on, slave agreements would end or people would be removed from slavery in other ways and this was normal for slave ownership.

*Here is where human ‘need for greed’ creeps in. And this is still practiced today so it’s important to take note of how this works.

Businessman 1 would like to maximize profit and minimize cost.

“Ok we tried the African slave thing, it’s a’ight but eventually they get free and we gotta buy new slaves.”

Businessman 2: What if…once we buy a slave they are a slave for life so we never lose slaves, we only keep gaining? Is that possible?

Businessman 1: Anything is possible. Let me call my friend in Congress to get a law passed.

Businessman 2: How much will that cost?

Businessman 1: Don’t worry about it. It’s a done deal.

And this is the way human slavery in America progressively turned to chattel slavery (treating humans like property with no rights)

I believe all beings including animals should be free, but I digress.

So it was not that way at the start, but every time a black person sued in court for their slave stent to end or married their master or whatever other means to remove themselves from slavery, a law was passed the following year that said:

Actually, you are enslaved for life.

Actually, you are no longer allowed to marry your master.

Actually, you cannot marry any white person ever.

Actually, even your kids are enslaved as well.

Actually, they are enslaved for life as well.

Actually, you can never sue in court if you’re not treated right.

And on and on, new laws being created to progressively limit the rights of the enslaved until it turned into slaves were slaves for life, and so were their children, and they were no longer human (that was a law too).

And since their home base was a long way away, Who could they complain to?

Ahh, the devil was crouching at their door and they decided to open it and greet him with wide-open arms.

But they forgot one thing.

“They buried us but didn’t know we were seeds”

In other words, You cannot keep the human spirit down. Not for long anyway.

And that burning desire for freedom, that burning desire for justice (and in some cases retribution because let’s face it: alls fair in love and war) proved to be a tumultuous relationship between the enslavers and the enslaved.

Thomas Jefferson said it best regarding slavery: I have the wolf by the throat but I can neither sustain him nor let him go…

Well, Social Media is “Social”…

Observations: Posting on social media

Inspired by a video I reposted on whether homosexuality was a choice and a separate video I watched on male circumcision & its appropriateness in our (american) society. The vlogger was very angry that male circumcision happens. He was circumcised, did Not circumcise his children but remained extremely angry that it exists, calling circumcision “chopping up a dick” and compared it to female genital mutilation (aka female circumcision).

I made a comment exploring the why (repetitive habit from an old custom) and a person’s personal choice and why it does not Need to be a big deal to be Uncircumcised save for “not fitting into society”. It is a personal choice and no one else’s business.

observations about others:

  1. people who are accustomed to being victimized – this is the go-to mind set. If I pose a question, and a person is sensitive to the TOPIC, they could respond on the defense or negatively, without listening to the discussion because they Anticipate a negative response, even if there isn’t one. This requires sensitivity when responding.
  2. your vibe attracts your tribe. and there will always be resonance for either good or bad, positive or negative energy that is expressed.
  3. people do not read or do not read in its entirety.
  4. especially if a long comment is posted, people tend to react to the first sentence or two assuming they know what the entire paragraph says (could either be laziness or sensitivity and/or arguably just a defense for the person they agree with who posted the video).
  5. speculation surrounding if they actually have an opinion other than the one presented to them, or if because they like the person, they defend the person.
  6. when people are emotionally charged up that will create an environment where they become irrational, even make up your responses, that were never said, and assume your characteristics, that they have no idea about, simply because you didn’t Immediately agree, or had some other perspective that was rational. *I will add there is nothing wrong with being angry. We have emotions for a reason. However, uncontrolled anger, unseated anger, could cause us to be irrational, which keeps us stuck with no resolution to our problems.
  7. one person said I never experienced oppression (my picture is reflected next to my name) —– ok. I am well accustomed to stereotypes, but that is a new one, lol. First time for everything…
  8. there were only a few responses, maybe 8 or so in total including mine. my response had 3 negative responses (meaning they were very angry). there were a couple of other responses, all by men, except for one woman who also gave a rational, unbiased approach, to which I liked her comment. But I wondered if in general men have more male audience members and if females have more female audience members…just curious…and if those sexes are then reimagined in some way into “taking sides”. I wondered this because someone mentioned my being a woman, and assumed I had Disagreed, possibly based on the separation and dysfunction of the sexes as another factor.

observations about myself:

  1. do I typically post a comment disagreeing with someone? If I feel I need to speak my truth, yes. it is about equal. also I don’t post hot-headed responses, because how does that help anything?
  2. I was surprised at the negative responses, mainly because the orator was spiritual and I assumed the audience would be rational or open-minded. it was the kind of reaction I would expect elsewhere on social media, so that gave me food for thought
  3. I was reminded that we all have different awarenesses and that our vibe attracts our tribe on Any and Every awareness level. It does NOT depreciate a person’s value or spirituality. Who can play God better than He Himself? So I will leave that to Him
  4. I am grateful for a newfound community that I truly feel at home with. We have open, healthy discussions and are aware enough to understand that we all have different truths and everything is the all. we learn from each other.

I did not respond to any of the negative comments because it was not my page and what would I respond other than comments that would be sarcastic, lol, because the people with negative comments didn’t read mine in its entirety. The takeaway? My observations above. Would I do anything differently? No. I stand behind my words completely. They were balanced, open, practical from my perspective and left room for everyone to embrace who they are without judgement – if read in its entirety. As for the person who felt he was oppressed (his word, not mine), a forever victim because of societal judgment on Uncircumcised men, people who need approval from the masses will forever be victimized by that desire. At times we just need the right perspective, presented in the right way, by the right person for us as an individual. That video was definitely not that, it only fed into anger that “society” doesn’t accept things. My comment was also not that, probably too long for some people to bear. Maybe one day he-we-they- will find that perspective and if open to it, assume it. Maybe not. That is part of the individual journey.

Keep Rising

Keep Thriving

Keep Loving

the Power is in the People

Much Love,

C

Is CHEESE Racist?

there is a popular sub shop in central nj, so popular there are two locations. Occasionally I enjoy a good sub there and one of my favorites is a simple turkey and cheese. but not any cheese – yellow american, in particular, is my favorite combination with turkey. plain, simple, no frills, no lettuce, no tomatoes, just mayo, salt, pepper, turkey, cheese — yellow cheese.

                over the course of years, every time I go to this sub shop there is no yellow american cheese, only white american cheese and white american just doesn’t have the flavor profile that I enjoy with turkey. Now I love all cheese, a lot. A whole lot. But I don’t care for white american because it doesn’t really taste like anything. maybe I’ve never had white american cheese on the appropriate food item to bring out its (in my opinion) rather bland flavor? Who knows? Either way, because it doesn’t enhance anything for me, I don’t include it on anything. So there we have it.

                after years of settling for an uninspiring turkey sandwich from this sub shop, the next time I went there I told myslef, ‘You know, every time I come here they never have yellow american cheese and I don’t want to settle anymore because I really want what I want. So, if they don’t have it – again – I’m not coming here anymore’. I figured they just always ran out and by the time I got there they were out of it. Even though I always went in the afternoon around lunch time? But I never really thought that deeply about it.

                so I enter the sub shop, wait my turn, ask for a turkey and yellow american cheese and they told me, as usual, they only have white american. So I asked, ‘are you OUT of it?’ to which the woman said “We only have white american”, so me trying to understand why the deli place doesn’t have yellow cheese, which I thought was the most basic cheese there is, I questioned further… ‘I really want turkey with yellow american. Do you EVER have yellow american cheese in stock? to which she replied “We only have white american”.

.And.then.I.understood.

actually it took me back like that guy eating his favorite childhood dish from the movie Ratatouille, only I didn’t flash back to a happy place in my childhood, I flashed back to a scene from the comedic movie “Life” with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence: “White Only Pies”

“These are white only pies” a woman told the duo who walked into a diner where negroes were not welcome.

“We only have white american”

…*sigh*…. really? are we doing this? this is what we’ve come to? what, yellow cheese is too “asian” for you? [I didn’t say any of this, nor did I feel slighted since I live in a thriving food district]

so I said ‘oh I really wanted yellow, oh well thanks’….and left

thanks but no thanks. you know, I’m perfectly fine spending my money someplace a little more “cheese friendly”.

from the movie: ‘’Well how far is the nearest rest stop? … 35 miles!”

well I don’t live in a remote place in the country so I don’t have to go 35 miles to get to the nearest deli shop, maybe 2, so I’m very thankful I have options.

                i believe we’re better than this. I have noticed sometimes black people going a little too far perhaps with “black everything” in an effort to appreciate our culture even more…black car, black clothes, black on black on black. While to each his own, I know we can appreciate our respective cultures without bringing food and other inanimate items into the equation…cant we? I mean why does cheese have to suffer? Isn’t yellow cheese American too? I mean asserting your power with white on white on white….lawdy. oh lawdy. oh well, I guess if black people can do it…..

i think we (humans) are just a wee bit sensitive once we start bringing colored items into the equation. maybe we’re just a little sensitive, once we start claiming all “black” items that exist in the world as ours and white people start claiming all “white” items that exist in the world as theirs.

i mean with that philosophy they must love when it snows, because I guess that means they have God’s blessing since its snowing “white” from the heavens…

and a black person could argue “Well God blesses us every single night with a black sky but now the white people try to take whats rightfully ours by infusing our black sky with white star light…

yes, im being facetious

and I really, really hope no one is offended by the references above

because I do not want to offend anyone. I honor everyone in love

But sometimes we just have to laugh at our own behavior.

I desire us all to be a little less sensitive.

and its not just because I want a good turkey and cheese sammich.

its because if we can stop looking outside of ourselves for “power” and “justice”

and we begin to look within ourselves at the power we already possess within our God Given dna,

we will be so much happier

because that is where our power lies

within each and every one of us

and within our unity together

Much love to all of the white people and all of the black people who feel the need to surround themselves with colored items to define their self-worth and value.

I see you, I value you and I love you. you are truly powerful, no matter what shade of cheese you are.

#onelove, #onehumanity, #thepowerisinthepeople

P.S. I invite you to take the journey within by listing 5 things you absolutely LOVE about yourself and just One step you can take to improve your own life. We are both the Masterpiece and the Work In Progress At the Same Time. Let’s work on Progress Together ♥