Slavery by Another Name

Slavery-By-Another-Name-620x480 I needed to write about the documentary Slavery by Another Name which was based on Douglas Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning book. This documentary was one of my first introductions to African-American history, and it is an important part of all of our histories, and we cannot close our eyes to it and we cannot forget it. We have to always remember where we came from, so that we can heal ourselves and heal the future. It was difficult for me to sit in a classroom setting and watch this documentary being surrounded by mostly White students fifteen to twenty years younger than me, and it was eye opening and painful to watch. For weeks I  kept retelling the story and reliving the experience to anyone who would listen, and I even made reference to this documentary in my essay Racism from 1865 to 2013. I will never be the same after watching this documentary. My eyes are finally open, and I will never be the same again period.

Slavery by Another Name is a retelling of our history in The United States, and it’s apart of our history that is not public knowledge, at least it wasn’t for me.  It has taught me that since the very first day that African-American men were given their “freedom” in 1865 with the abolition of slavery that they were doomed to hold the racial stereotype of criminal every where they went. From the false accusations of being rapists and then lynched from the nearest tree to being ripped from the streets and falsely accused of criminal acts and thrown into jail just because of the color of his skin. This documentary tells the story of how African-American men were rounded up on false accusations and thrown into prison, and put to work in conditions worse than what was experienced through slavery on the plantations. The reality was that he could be picked up for standing on a street corner, charged with vagrancy, and then sentenced to six months in prison, put to work in the mines or on the rail road through the convict-leasing system, and be dead in five months. He was disposable because White supremacist laws could rule that they can just go out and pick up another Black man any time they wanted and put him to  work.  Slavery did not end in 1865, because it was continued through the convict-leasing system, share cropping, and the debt peonage system. This became a lucrative business for the United States, and continued until the 1940’s.

Is it still continuing today? Look at our present prison system, the mass incarceration of African American males, “the war on drugs,” and the present state of the convict leasing system. “Wisconsin has started a convict leasing system in their state, and they are so excited that they are saving tax payers money.  Many companies and businesses are relying on convict labor for making military uniforms and McDonald’s uniforms, and also IBM, Dell, Motorola, Compaq, Honeywell, Revlon, Boeing, Microsoft, Chevron, Eddie Bauer, Victoria’s Secret, Kmart and JC Penney all use convict labor.”  Does anybody have more information on the convict leasing system in Wisconsin or any where else?

A good documentary on the “war on drugs” or the mass incarceration of African American men is: The House I Live In, PBS isn’t showing it anymore, but I have seen it showing on On Demand and Netflix will be getting it soon.

Knowledge is power.

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Love and Interracial Relationships

Erykah Badu and Stephen Marley – I am so In Love with You.

This post is for my baby, because I know that he is with me even when he is far away.

I have decided to talk about my personal journey through my relationship, because what is a blog about race and racism if i don’t look at the experiences and learning opportunities that an interracial relationship has brought me and will continuously bring me.

I have known this man for eighteen years. We dated and fell in love when I was only nineteen, and he was twenty nine. We were very much in love then, and we had plans to get married. I was living in his home town at the time, and his family loved me, and welcomed me with open arms. Unfortunately I was too young, and to make a long story short we broke up. Then life happened, I got married, I gave birth to two little punk rock kids, and then I got divorced. One beautiful day we happened to wander into each other on the internet, and sparks flew immediately. It was like no time had passed at all for us, time stood still, and we were still in love.  The internet is a magical place.

I grew up in a racist home, much like many European-American children then and still today. My family did not approve, but I can’t say that this had anything to do with why we broke up.  I will say that I do see a future of blogs with me exploring and sharing this rocky aspect of our relationship. He is fully aware of the fact that my parents are racist, because I took him home to meet them when I was nineteen, and he is still willing to be with me having this knowledge. My family knows we that are dating again, but they live 3000 miles away from me, and so the realty of this relationship hasn’t quite become real for them yet.

My children are the only two people whose opinions I care about on the details of this relationship. They know that he is African-American. They have talked to him on the phone, and they have seen his pictures around the house. I have even been blessed with another opportunity to teach them about negative stereotypes. My boyfriend has Locks, much like Stephen Marley’s, and he does not grow pot, he does not smoke pot, and he does not sell pot. While I am on the subject of stereotypes I will also add that he is not Jamaican or a Rastafarian. He is not a thug, and he has never been in prison. He doesn’t have any children, and he grew up with both parents in the home. He is working towards his goals of becoming an architect.  He loves the outdoors, and he loves to hike, camp, and kayak.  If any one is wondering, yes he washes his hair and no you cannot touch it.

I made it abundantly clear to everyone that I wouldn’t introduce my children to any boyfriends before dating them for at least six months, and we have been dating for about thirteen months now. We have decided to take this relationship to the next level, and introduce the boys to him. This Monday will be our first outing out  together, and we have decided to go to the zoo.

Wish us luck, and we will embrace the stares.

Dreaming of A Colorful Future Was Nominated for a Liebster Award!

liebster

Dreaming of A Colorful Future has received it’s first Liebster award from fellow blogger Sweden and The Middle East! Thank you so much for nominating me, and I am honored and pleasantly surprised that my blog is receiving such positive feedback so early in the game. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome. Blogger awards are a great way to learn more about your fellow bloggers, and find new blogs that you might not otherwise, so I knew I had to participate.  I’m happy to pass on the nomination to other “up and coming” bloggers. There is much love to be found in this crazy world.

Here is what the award is about:

Liebster Awards go to “up and coming” bloggers with less than 200 followers.  The origins of this award are unclear and are simply given by fellow award nominees to blogs that inspire them and that they enjoy reading.  “Liebster” means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome in German.

When you get a Liebster Award nomination, you can choose to accept it by doing these things:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  • List 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate, or you can also re-post your questions.
  • Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate, and include links to their blogs.
  • Go to each bloggers page and let them know you have nominated them.

11 Facts About Myself:

1. I have been blogging for less than a week when nominated for this award.

2. I am a college student for the third time, because I can’t seem to stay in one place long enough to finish my degree.

3. I have lived in five different states, from city neighborhoods to the country.

4. I am working towards a Major in Psychology and a Minor in African-American Studies

5. I am a mother of two children, and I am in an interracial relationship.

6. I am a nature lover, and feel most at home in the woods or by the sea.

7. I have a cat allergy, but I have two cats of my own, and two strays that have adopted my yard. I must have a large mouse population to feed their bellies, because I have not encouraged them to stay.

8. I love art, literature, and music, and I feel that we need music and the arts to fill our souls.

9. I love cooking, and I have a recipe addiction.

10. I am awaiting DNA test results to find out the percentages of my racial background.

11. I have the Django Unchained movie sitting by my television set, and I am afraid to watch it.

11 Questions:

1. What musical artist are you listening to these days?

Erykah Badu

2. If you could be any animal, what would you be? Why?

A mama bear, because nobody messes with a mama bear!

3. What do you say when your (or someone else’s) kid asks you why the sky is blue?

Lets go Google that information, and find out.

4. Favorite Food?

I love fresh whole foods and home cooking.

5. If $$ were no object, where would you travel on your next vacation?

If money were no object I wouldn’t be able to just pick one place: Indonesia, Greece, India, Ghana, Jamaica, any where in the Caribbean, Hawaii, any Spanish speaking country. I could go on and on, because we live in a big beautiful world, and I would love to explore it.

6. How do you like your eggs?

Over medium eggs wrapped in corn tortillas with homemade salsa.

7. Favorite Reality TV Show?

I don’t watch television, but I do love movies and documentaries. My life is a reality show, I am in an interracial relationship, and I have a child with severe ADHD; I just got a phone call five minutes ago that he just threw a chair in school, so it doesn’t get more real than that.

8. What was your very first job?

I was a maid for a three star hotel.

9. What book is on your nightstand right now?

Black Boy by Richard Wright.

10. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Searching the internet for new information, and recipes.

11. At what age is your earliest memory?

I was in the crib, but I am not sure how old I was.  I was crying, and my grandfather threatened to give me something to cry about.

Blogs I am nominating: I was only able to nominate 5 blogs, because I have only been blogging for a week. one week is not enough time to find 11 blogs that inspire me and fit the criteria of having less than 200 followers. There are so many great blogs out there, and I can’t even renominate the blog that nominated me. The following five blogs have moved me in one way or another, and I look forward to seeing what they bring to our futures.

1. This Great Horrible Journey Called…

2. Musings of a Wannabe Intellectual 

3. Failure to Listen 

4. Bozeman Developing Group

5. Discourse Disruption  

What Does Being Colorblind Mean Today?

I was having a conversation the other day with a fellow blogger, her link is at Failure To Listen,  about being colorblind in our society. I do agree with her that her definition of being colorblind should be that all races are viewed equally and not judged by the color of ones skin, and also that everyone is given the same opportunities in life for advancement in every aspect of life from home ownership, education, to employment.  I think that definition is what color blindness is suppose to mean, but unfortunately all good intentions have fallen through the cracks and White supremacy has taken the lead once again. While it’s true that the definition of being colorblind means something different to different people. I thought it would be a good idea then to define what being colorblind means to me, or rather why I am reeducating myself to not being colorblind.

I am not color blind. I see that you are African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, European-American,  and etc. I see that you have a language and a culture that defines who you are, and I love the fact that we are all different and the yet still the same. I am raising my children to embrace all cultures, races, and lifestyle choices. I believe that being colorblind neglects the embracing of others, because it sets rules to abide by and to hide behind, because you don’t know any different. Being European-American I can easily assimilate into majority of circumstances. I can go to restaurants, festivals, the mall, or my school and be surrounded by faces that look like mine. I sit in school and learn about the history of my European genetic background. I can turn on the television, go the the movies, or open up any magazine, and see faces that look like mine. I don’t feel out of place, and I feel welcome no matter where I am. The realization of this kills me, because this means that I have been living an ignorant life. That most White people live in this state of ignorance every day of their lives, because it is safe and it is comfortable. The fact of  this realization has seeped into the rawest parts of my soul, and now where ever I go, I see this emptiness, this neglect to embrace all races. This neglect to include all races, and the half-ass attempt to include the “token” in advertisements or television shows is a joke, and a slap in the face of people of color and enlightened White people.

I feel that being colorblind gives people an excuse to say “I am colorblind, and therefore I am not racist.” Then they can turn around and neglect to see that we live in a society geared to White people, and that our world is run on global white supremacy. They neglect to see that our education system and our prison system are run on structural racism, and that the foundation was built in 1865, and the bricks that have been placed on top of each other ever since screams racism then, and still screams racism now.  The only difference is now we are “colorblind,” so we don’t have to talk about any more. We aren’t racist, and therefore we don’t see the color of your skin. I know that this isn’t true, we do see the color of your skin, racism still exists, and I believe that we need to reeducate ourselves to allow ourselves to see the color of ones skin and to embrace all races. European-Americans need to allow themselves to talk about race, so that we can learn to see discrimination, and work towards interrupting racism inside our own families.

Ramarley Graham’s Mother

This post is inspired by Ramarley Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm.

People never give up!

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something! If there is a deep need or desire welling in the pit of your belly and you must let it out, let it out! If I listened to people’s opinions I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog. My soul screamed out that I needed to talk. I needed someone to listen. I needed to educated myself on race and racism, and anyone else who wanted to listen to my perceptions and thoughts. I live in a society predominated by global White supremacy, and while I am blessed to have a diverse group of friends in race and religion, most of them are of European descent. When I talk about race and inequality people clam up, people ignore me, and people outright oppose my need to express myself on these topics. Yes I feel fear, but I can’t let it stop me. I continuously remind myself of why I am doing this, and if you don’t understand then you don’t have to listen.

Ramarley Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm is torn from her own soul, because her child is dead and she is in pain and she is angry. I read in the paper this morning that the judge in the Ramarley Graham’s case threw out the indictment on the cop that murdered her son. She was ready to take her fight to the street and protest if necessary, but her family was opposed to her doing it. Frank Graham, Ramarley Graham’s father, might be opposed to taking it to the street, but he is not opposed to fighting for his son, for justice, and to put the cold murder in prison.

Why do people give up the fight so easily? Why are people so opposed to step out of their comfort zone and making a scene?  This is just life after all, and unless you believe in reincarnation you only have one life.  Why sit on the sidelines? We all need to jump in and either sink or swim, but if you don’t jump in you will never feel the cool waters of success on your skin. You will never have the satisfaction that you did it, and that you didn’t give up.

I am a mother, and I can feel the pain inside me, I can feel her loss, and I know that she isn’t going to give up. She will fight, and I won’t be on the sidelines just watching. I will be there in soul, and I will do my part from where I am, signing petitions and advocating that her son’s murderer Richard Haste will be held responsible.

How could Richard Haste think that a teenage boy had a gun? The article didn’t mention what happened before he chased this kid into his own home and shot him in cold blood in his bathroom in front of his younger brother and grandmother. There is something fishy with this story. If it looks like fish and smells like fish, then it’s probably a fish.

The United States needs to lose this image that an African-American teenage male is a criminal simply because of the color of his skin. African-American children are just children, and should not automatically assumed to be up to no good. This cop murdered this child. This cop murdered this child, because he thought he had a gun? Why did he think he had a gun, because he is black? Right, all black men carry guns, I forgot this is North America and we have to protect ourselves from cops.

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=9103401

Petition for Assata Shakur

http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2013/05/petition-president-obama-remove-assata-shakur-from-the-fbis-most-wanted-terrorists-list/

Please sign this Petition to remove Assata Shakur off of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list.

Assata Shakur is the first woman to be put on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list. The facts are that this is a 40 year old case. She was wrongly and falsely accused. A white police officer shot her and killed her two companions in 1973, a police officer also died… I don’t have all of the details. I do know that she was also shot, and during her stay in the hospital she was tied to a bed an tortured. She was accused of shooting them all and put in prison.She was sentenced to a men’s prison. She is innocent, and the police records prove it. She had her hands in the air, and no gun powder was found on her hands. With the help of a few friends she was able to escape prison, and has been living in exile in Cuba ever since.

Does our government have nothing better to do than harass this innocent woman?

In light of this information I have decided to add Assata An Autobiography to my summer reading list.

220px-Assatabio

Slavery Is Not in Vogue

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/aamna-aqeel-be-my-slave-shoot-fashion-racism-_n_3268648.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

I am sorry the fashion designer Aamna Aquul and her Be My Slave fashion shoot is not making a statement against child labor. This is in fact promoting child labor, child pornography  and children in slavery.  Does she live under a rock? Doesn’t she know that slavery is not a thing of the past that there are thousands of people being kept in captivity today as slaves? I think this fashion shoot is a disgusting way to capitalize and exploit this child from the African diaspora. Read the article or look at the photos and decide for yourself.

o-AAMNA-AQEEL-BE-MY-SLAVE-570 o-AAMNA-AQEEL-BE-MY-SLAVE-570 (2) o-AAMNA-AQEEL-BE-MY-SLAVE-570 (1)