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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Personal Instincts, Behavioral Modifications & The Struggle Within

In Self-Improvement, Society, Spirituality on September 15, 2018 at 6:14 pm

I readily admit, I am a walking contradiction. There are two of me – the heights me who took no shorts and regulated when necessary and the older me, a bit calmer, wiser and more tolerant. Growing up in the 80’s & early 90’s, I faced a lot of challenges. We grew up in my beloved Washington Heights section of Manhattan, right above Harlem. At the time, the streets were on fire. Everywhere you turned, there were temptations, strife & dangers. As a result, I developed some serious instincts that have guided me through the years. Those coupled with my genetic make up has made me the person I am today – not perfect by any stretch – but resilient. Back then I dealt fire with fire, handled my business with a swiftness & took on any and all challenges those streets tried bringing me. I protected my friends and our honor often – even when those jokers didn’t or wouldn’t understand. Although I was a little rough around the edges, my heart and motives were always in a good place. It took me 32+ years to start chipping away at those edges, refining my approach and handling challenges not always with fire. It remains a work in progress as I approach my 50th year on this Earth. Now I try to think a little more before I react, but I am here to tell you it is extremely hard sometimes, especially dealing in Corporate America. Dealing with individuals who are either hidden bigots, jealous or just plain jerk-offs and having to temper my responses and reactions is one of the hardest things I have had to learn. I continue to struggle with it. There are numerous occasions when something is said, done or insulated when I can feel my ire raise, causing me to want to react swiftly and decisively, but I know I cannot. I have to delve into my verbal judo mode, try to counteract, while leaving all in tact. My instincts yell for me to react differently, but my mind tells me to chill bro. I must be honest, there have been numerous times over the last 18-20 years, where after a situation like this, I retreat to a quiet place, look at myself and have not always been happy with what I see. I feel like I have cheated myself, who I am and most importantly what I am about. But there have been other times, when my reactions are more instinctual and forceful, when I also look at myself disappointingly and realize I could have done better. Why did I let that person or situation define me at that moment? You see folks, it’s a challenge. The problem is people sometimes try to bring the raw out of you, with their selfishness, their indignant behaviors. I have never done well with disrespect, perceived or otherwise. Sometimes I just want to snatch them up, look at them straight in their eyes and say you want to heights me or the newer me – pick quick and watch your mouth. People may read this and lie to themselves by saying disrespect is subjective. I say bullshit, disrespect is disrespect no matter where we are. People think, especially in the business world, that they can say and do whatever they want, because they are protected by the corporate ideologies. I always feel every action creates a reaction so be prepared. Some people will read this and not understand. They will accuse me of being hot tempered, violent or mean. This is not for them – that will never understand, as they are not cut from the same cloth. This is for my Real G’s who understand the struggle, even if theirs is not as pronounced. I think what makes my journey so hard, is because I care so much and am so passionate about everything I do and am. I give my all in everything and when it’s not reciprocated, it affects me. I am trying so hard to take a step back, review the landscape and react accordingly. I continue to be a work in progress. I’ll get there.

You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.

– Warren Buffett


Sadness, Anger & A Message To Our Young Brothers

In Racism, Society on July 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I am both sad and angry today.  As most of you have probably read and seen, there have been “at least” two more murders of Black males at the hands of law enforcement.  As result of that and the feeling of hopelessness and unfulfilled justice, vigilantes then struck in Dallas, killing at least five law enforcement officers at a protest rally.  I have said this for many years, if the mistreatment, harassment and unjustified killings of people of color continued – a new civil war would erupt or as wifey recently stated – more like a revolution would commence.  Now, I know a lot of police officers, my dear brother being one, and I can understand their stresses; I can even see how some of these things happen in certain cases and how the general population wrongly jump to conclusions right away, but real talk, I am done!  I don’t want to hear any more excuses as to why this keeps happening.  This has been happening much too often to ignore or brush off as just training issues.  Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week. That’s nuts.  Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade’s death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. WTF?!?!? The post reported that “Unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to die by police gunfire.”  Now why in the hell is that?  Really?  Is it that we are more menacing looking?  Intimidating? One of the killings was a 12 y/o black male youth in Ohio who was playing w/a toy gun in the park w/his 14 y/o sister.  A cop pulls up & begins shooting!  Kills the boy dead – no questions asked.  I get shivers thinking of that.  Shivers of anger and confusion.  How bout Mr. Walter Scott in Charleston, SC, shot in the back as he ran away  and then seeing as the cop tried to plant a gun near him.  What also angered me with this one was seeing a black female cop arrive on the scene and do absolutely nothing, but stand guard of the dead man!  And now these two latest murders – cause let’s face it, they are murders – of Alton Sterling and the incomprehensible murder of Philando Castile in Minneapolis after being stopped for a broken taillight with his girlfriend and her 4 y/o daughter in the car – even after he told the cop he had a gun on him in which he was licensed to carry.  The cop asked for his license and registration then shot him as he went to get it!  Did I mention there was a 4 y/o child in the car!!!  Shooting with a child present??  Mr. Castile had his seatbelt on the whole time, thus restricting his movement somewhat.  Where you that afraid Mr. Officer that you not only murder an innocent man, but put a 4 y/o child in harms way?? These are just some we know about because they made national news.  In 2015, an unarmed mentally ill man in Texas was killed while holding a fucking soup spoon!  As a person of color who grew up in a rough environment during the drug craze of the 80’s, this shit hits home.  There were several times in my youth where this easily could have been me.  Some of you reading this know quite well the hell I am talking bout.  I have been accosted, detained, pushed & even “pulled on” twice for no reason other then for “looking the part” or having the audacity to question their actions.  I sighed as I wrote that, a tear nearly dropping, as I remember those times and continue to believe it was my brother blood who was looking out for me from above.   Let’s analyze this for a minute.  Is it the lyrics to our songs that get them nervous or afraid?  Is it how we dress, walk, talk or carry ourselves.  They root for our athletes, our entertainers and visit our doctors, but they shoot our children dead in the street.  I plead with all our youth, please check yourselves.  Give them no reason – even tho recently that doesn’t seem to matter.  When you get stopped, and I DO MEAN WHEN NOT IF, you get stopped, chill and do what is requested; answer politely while holding in your frustrations.  Take the ego loss – it’s a situation you/we can not win.   Never reach for anything & always keep you hands visible.  Pull up your damn pants and button your shirts.  Stop all this colors shit, talking shit bout what you gonna do or not do….real gangsters move in silence anyway.  Respect yourselves and your fellow brothers….don’t you see what can happen?  What risk you put us all in??  You get pulled over, shut your mouth & just follow instructions.  What’s the point of flexing?  Now I am not saying its anyone’s fault.  Shit these law enforcement entities need to better train their officers, realize they are scared, prejudiced, bigots or incapable of “protecting and serving” us.  I know some cops who have no business being on the job!  Down-low criminals  – for real.  To all you brothers who are in law enforcement – DO SOMETHING DAMN IT!!  No way you guys can not see what the fuck is happening & not feel some kind of way.  I could have gone into law enforcement – had several opportunities – but was turned off by the arrogance and bullshit I saw.  God knows what he does for sure, cause God knows I would have not stood for this shit in my house.  I would have been a Serpico (look it up) type and probably would have had some major issues with some of these bastards.  How could any of you just stand there and allow this to keep happening to your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and friends.  Yes it seems no one of color is immune.  Right now it’s hard for me to look at some of these dudes and not feel angry; not question them in my mind as I walk by – what type of cop are you??  I do not like that feeling.  I thought I left those thoughts alone years ago.  Yet here we go, 2016, and has there really been much change??  And where the hell are all the big time athletes & entertainers??  Where is our generations Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Mohammed Ali??  Some make little comments, some may wear a T-shirt, but where is the outreach?  The boycotts?  The real dialogue that can help bring change & awareness???  Instead you rather maximize your advertising dollars and not make any waves.  Well in the immortal words of Tupac Shakur – “Fuck All Y’all!”  Stand the fuck up and be accounted for.  For whatever reason, God has blessed all of you with some power – power of $$, power of a fan based, power from your skill sets – something – use it then!  Use it to help those that need it right about now.  I don’t want to hear people like Jordan, Barkley or Woods say it’s not their jobs to be role models or to get involved.  Yes the fuck it is!!  You are in the spotlight, for whatever reason people listen to ya’ll and care bout what you have to say – for whatever dumb reason, so use it man.  Be a man, a black man at that, and lend a hand.  Shit, maybe one day it will be one of your own laying in the street.

 “Where’s our part of the American dream?!”

                            – Malcom X (1961)


Poverty, Basic Needs & The Different Faces of Bigotry

In Politics, Racism, Society on February 8, 2016 at 7:48 am

Racism in America exist. Still does and sadly it appears it always will.  You see it everyday in their eyes, their responses. You feel its presence in interactions. You read about it in the news.  You see it play out in the media. I mean how is it that Floyd Mayweather gets roasted for his boastful antics, but Connor McGregor isn’t?  Now I am not a fan of how Floyd promoted himself – I am a big fan of his skills – but McGregor is just as boastful and disrespectful to his opponents yet is categorized as a colorful, exuberant character?  Huh?!? BUT this blog is not about that type of bigotry – more on that at another time. This is about the bigotry that transcends race, color or creed.  It’s the bigotry of the rich vs poor, the haves vs have nots.  This has never been more evident than the water scandal in Flint, Michigan, a hard scrabble, blue collar city.  If this was a more affluent city, do you really think this would have happened AND continued once the problem was brought to light?!?  Come on now!  This has been a disgrace. Children have suffered all in the name of money.  Think this would happen in Scarsdale, NY? La Jolla, CA? I think not.  It doesn’t stop there. How many times have you heard or read about some wealthy person who gets away with a crime cause they could afford to sweep it away.  The other day I was at a dinner in Baltimore with some attorney clients of my firms. The fact they were all Caucasian, while usual, wasn’t the focus.  The conversation turned to a couple of people, teenagers & adults alike, who had committed an injustice or crime (regardless of the severity) and due to connections or money for proper representation, were able to “get off” with nary a fine.  Being a man of color, with modest means & a hard scrabble upbringing, it rankled me. It’s not like I did not know this occurs, but to hear it then & there, coupled with the mater of fact sound in their voices – I had to comment.  I told them of a recent story I had heard when a truck driver, who was a man of color, was delivering some equipment to my home.  As I usually do, I chatted him up as I appreciated him delivering my shipment. Somehow the conversation turned to him advising he had done two years in prison. When asked why, he explained assault.  Apparently, he was at a bar when he got into an argument with another patron, someone he knew of, who had been harassing his son.  He admitted they were both a little inebriated so it escalated. Noticing it was getting heated, he decided to walk away, but the other patron, a younger Caucasian male followed him outside & tried to attack him.   He defended himself & apparently “beat this boy down.”  He of course got arrested and charged, even though he had witnesses collaborating his story.  He could not afford a good attorney and thus was forced to take a plea deal, which resulted in his two year stint, even tho the injured party decided not to press charges! If he had money would he had done time?  I think not!  The table grew somber for a few as they took in every word.  Their eyes told the story.  This story happens everyday all over the world. It doesn’t make the news, but affects many. Bigotry and injustice comes in all forms.  Working class and people with less monetary means (I hate using the description of poor people, cause they can be people of character, joy, dedication and thus never a “poor person”) feel it everyday on our roads, in our schools and with our healthcare.  The people of Flint deserved better.  It is their right as humans to drink water without the fear of getting sick.  It was a travesty without reproach and needs to be used as an example for all humanity’s sake.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. 

           – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Experiences, Homlessness & Sometimes Why 

In Society on January 28, 2016 at 11:08 pm

Everyday on my way to work, as I exit the train at Penn Station and join the heard of others dragging their behinds to work, one can see an unfortuantely high amount of homeless and sometimes mentally unstable individuals roaming about.  Some are sleeping on the sidewalks, asking for change or meandering about, as we make our way to our final destination.  It’s a daily observation and one that is both disheartening and frustrating. This morning as I was walking to work, I overheard two obviously more fortunate people blasting what appeared to be a homeless male who they had to sidestep. I overheard them say a few vile things, obviously judging this person rather harshly.  I wanted to share a story with them, if only time permitted, but they hurried along, not caring too much about why this person was the “way he was”.   I shook my heard as I remembered one evening when I was in 9th grade, I was on a the train heading back home to the Heights.  I had just finished wrestling practice and had picked up a turkey sandwich and some warm donut holes from the comer deli next to the school. The deli owner knew when I was in training I usually had to cut weight before my match, but as a treat, every Monday, he would save me a dozen warm ones.  This particular day I only ate half my sandwich and closed the bag. Out of the corner of my eye I observed a disheveled man staring at either me or my bag of goodies. I asked him if he wanted the bag of food, but he politely responded “no sir”. Taken aback by his politeness, I urged him to please take it as I was not going to eat it. Shocked, I remember him saying “really??  Are you sure”, all the while I am thinking – no biggie.  When I walked over and handed him the bag, he took it and ate it so fast, I am not sure he even tasted it.  I sat back down, thinking nothing else of it.  Maybe ten minutes later this same gentleman approached me, profusely thanking me for what he described as my “act of kindness”.  I tried to tell him it really wasn’t much at all, but I could tell he wanted to talk.  He went on to explain how it had been a long while since someone had been so nice to him. “Usually”, he said, “all I get are looks of disgust.” “I was not always like this” he explained.  I nodded my head, really just to placate him, but just wanting to return to my newspaper, when he showed me an old ID badge with his picture on it.  Apparently he was once a VP at Lucent Technologies, which at that time was a huge corporation. He went on to explain how he lost his wife and two children to a drucken driver and couldn’t cope with the grief. He was lost and spiraled into severe depression.  He lost faith and didn’t want to deal with life anymore.  He had lost faith in people and couldn’t deal with life as he knew it. According to him, my unsolicited small act of kindness made him “hopeful”. He told me he appreciated it and walked away. That interaction, left a deep impact on me; it help me realize how tragedies sometimes shape the course of someone’s life and how profound the saying not to judge a person until you walk in their shoes is. This man taught me a valuable lesson, several really.  Yes we can learn from everybody we interact with.  Not everyone we see laying in the street are drug addicts, lazy or bums.  Some might just be former executives who could no longer cope with life after a tragic event.  Perhaps they need some mental help, a hot meal or just a good morning. Since, I have often wondered what became of him. Did he recover?  I know it’s never pleasant to be approached, to have to walk over or move out of the way from these less fortunate individuals, but if we could just empathize a little and realize sometimes shit happens in life, then just maybe we can learn to be a kindler people. 

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. 

– Simone Weil

Excuses, Explanations & The Thin Line Between Them

In Self-Improvement, Society on January 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Whenever something happens where the outcome is less than desirable or completely different than what was expected, there no doubt is always a reason as to why, an explanation.  Something outside your control, an unforeseen circumstance, someone else flipped the script – it happens.   We fix it & move on.  Those explanations are usually one & done, the situation is corrected & the outcome is as close to desirable as possible.  Now when a person continues to fall short of expectations, the outcomes are continuously weak or the “dog ate my homework”, well then those become excuses.  We all know those to whom there is ALWAYS a reason why things do not go as planned, expectations are not met or their situations are always dire.  Those, my people, are full of excuses – whom  try to camouflage them as explanations.  “I am just explaining to you why I couldn’t do this” or “It was not my fault, all these things happened…”  When this becomes a chronic situation, either at work or in your personal life, then guess what – they are excuses!  I am so very tired of people always making excuses as to why their situations don’t improve or why they keep doing the same things; of them passing the buck onto others or outside forces.  It is much easier for these folks to pass the blame, then to really look in the mirror, into their psyche and realize they are the common denominator.  They are quick to keep telling you what they can’t or couldn’t do, while rarely, if ever, telling you what they CAN do; never providing internal solutions  to remedy the specific situation or chronic behavior or outcomes.  When brought to their attention, they get very defensive, usually just shutting down, too busy thinking of more excuses to make their point and less listening to possible solutions or different ways of handling future instances that may help provide a different outcome.   Character flaw?  Maybe, but it doesn’t mean it can not improve or slowly begin to tip to a more productive side of you.  There is a fine line between them for sure.  We can all justify why something did not get completed or why we can not achieve certain things.  There will always be outside forces making things challenging.  It’s when we decide not to let these things sabotage our goals, or find ways around them, with concrete plans and outside the box thinking, that we begin to turn those excuses into non factors.  If left to its own devices, these continued excuses will continue to derail people from their ultimate wishes.  It’s a correctable problem, but before it can change, it must be acknowledged.  So for those of you this speaks too, raise your hands and admit “Yes, I am an excuse maker!”

“Open your eyes & that will quiet your voice.”

-Willie Mays

Rights, Struggles & The Cost of Being Black

In Education, Politics, Racism, Society, Spirituality on August 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Ferguson, Mo, the site of the most recent crime against a person of color can be any town USA. This type of atrocity has occurred all over America spanning decades. It is a travesty the powers that be continue to allow these acts to go for the most part unpunished. As a human first & a person of color second, it saddens & infuriates me that these instances continue to occur without any seemingly remorse from those who continue to perpetrate these crimes – and yes crimes is what they are. If two men are fighting and in the course of their battle one man unintentionally kills the other, he is brought up on charges – usually murder at first. Then tell me please how the police can continuously kill unarmed black males without charges? Don’t give me that fear for their life shit! In these cases there was no life or death instance. As a person of color, a Latino male and a black man, I have been victim to many a racial insult, profile or injustice; instances that have shaped me, have stuck to my gut and is never far from my thoughts. They have made me who I am. My anger and my sorrows. I easily could have been Mr. Mike Brown, Mr. Travon Martin, Mr. Oscar Grant, Mr. Sean Bell….must I continue? I have been in situations just like these young men found themselves in, in some instances even fighting back, but was lucky enough to have physically survived them (thanks Brother Blood), but each left an emotional scar. So each time this happens, I can taste the anger inside me. As a youth, my initial reaction was to strike back with force, but with age comes knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Unfortunately the protests, the rioting, the speeches don’t change much. They bring some awareness, but are usually forgotten in short order. When these scared souls see the rioting as portrayed in the media, they sit at home shaking their heads while exclaiming….”see they are animals!” Are we supposed to expect these fools to understand how the years of institutional hatred, human betrayal and attacks on our dignities have affected us? These simpletons believe all that they see & fear what they do not understand. I can go on for pages on the issues, but in my humble opinion, to make real change, we need to change ourselves too. We need to first & foremost focus more on education, as it will be our salvation. With education comes confidence, comes creation, comes self reliance. We need a change in our leadership. We need leaders who understand the plight, not just wax poetically when shit goes down, but leaders who are there everyday trying to teach and help. Leaders who will hire, educate & mentor. We need to raise our families, be fathers to our children & take pride in our communities. We have to stop giving ignorant people reasons to fear us. We need to teach our people that a singular action by them can cause a ripple effect on us all. Let’s stop giving the police reason to stop us, fear us or kill us. Let’s pull up our pants, tighten our belts and speak intelligently. Youngsters put the colors away, channel that energy into uniting and growing stronger collectively. Let’s pick our brothers up when they struggle with the change. Let’s stop complaining about what they are not doing and let’s just do ourselves!!! Create our own commerce. Let’s get the Jordan’s, Beyonce’s & Lebron’s of the world to the table and become spokespeople for our communities. Let’s force them to take a stand while teaching the youth who look up to them. Let’s work hard at whatever it is we do for a living. Let’s teach our young people how to respond when we are stopped by the police while still keeping our dignity. When we get into the boardroom, let’s bring more with us while remembering where we came from. Unfortunately, we can not keep expecting these folks to change, we gotta make the change. Each and everyone of us must do our part or our future will remain our past.

Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

– James Thurber

Honor, Integrity & One’s Code

In Friendships, Relationships, Self-Improvement, Society, Spirituality on May 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Throughout my life I have struggled with many levels of betrayal from different folks. It didn’t always register with me, but I always felt a certain kind of way. It didn’t change how I treated or interacted with anyone, but it always left a bad feeling in my gut. Sometimes the betrayals were small in nature, while others were bigger. People would do or not do certain things, leaving me to question how or why. Sometimes, especially when younger, I would approach or call out some folks in an effort to understand their reasoning or inform them how it was not appreciated. As you can imagine, that did not always go over very well, so suffice it to say I had many battles. As I grew older, I would internalize it more and cope differently. Some of these instances, probably more than not, would be very minor to most folks, but to me – especially dealing with friends or family, always left an imprint. Even after these instances, I maintained solid relationships with most because of my sense of loyalty, attempt to accept or understand. But honestly it would chip away at me, sometimes manifesting in bitterness or distrust. I remember thinking one time if it was me? Was I just different? Why do these things bother me or why can I not be like everyone else and let stuff be? Now let me be clear, it wasn’t a difference of opinion or handling a situation correctly in a different way than I would-no; what I am trying to explain is when one of your “people”, who you have been there for whenever needed or helped or listened to or carried or supported, basically doesn’t reciprocate or even appreciate. Again to be clear, I never did anything with the intention of getting anything in return – never. It’s more a hey, we are “peoples” I got you; but I would be damned if others felt similarly. It wasn’t til I met a guy who became a sort of mentor to me, who after working with me for a few weeks, approached me with a smile while saying he understood me, claiming we were very similar. Surprised, I asked how so. He responded how I live by a code. A code he believes not everyone lives by. While humbled by his words, I gave it a little thought, but continued living. Recently I met another professional who after speaking with me a few times, reiterated the same exact thing. He also explained how I live by a certain code of honor & loyalty; a code of helping & thoughtfulness. How I am too hard on myself when things go awry. He mentioned selflessness and sincerity; passionate and thoroughness. To hear this again, it made me acknowledge how I do have a code I try to live by and how it can sometimes affect me when people portray a sense of loyalty or togetherness, but rarely act on it when it doesn’t benefit them or puts them out of their comfort zone. It’s like when you help your friend or cousin move, but when you need the help they are too busy. Or when you call your friends always asking bout their loved ones, but rarely is it initially asked of you. These are the minor ones, all which I am sure can be reasoned about or made excuses as to why, but ultimately it is a snapshot into who they are or what their code is. I understand people have different codes they live by, which is what makes this world interesting. But it’s when they are cingular in focus that give me pause. By no means does it make them all bad people, just different. Different can be great, but when it affects your code or moral fiber, then it may be time to loosen the cord or move on.

When someone shows you who they are you best believe them.

– Maya Angelou

Truth, Posturing & Keeping It Real

In Society on May 10, 2014 at 1:36 am

I pride myself on being real at all times. Trying to adhere to my moral code each and every day, even when the world around us tries to infiltrate and force us to change course. I even have the words Be Real tattooed on my back under a big dude, who’s there to watch my back against the posers; although I am not so sure he has done too good a job. I am not perfect, but I give it a helluva an effort. But what confuses me is when some brothers proclaim they keep it real as they denigrate the English language, dress a certain way for certain functions or behave in character, regardless who they offend. I started thinking more bout this recently as Allen Iverson’s jersey was retired by his old team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson was a great basketball player, one of the best “little” men of all time. He was fearless on the court & often singlehandedly beat the opposing team. But he was also known to be a selfish player, who wouldn’t listen to his coaches, could be a disruptive influence in the locker room & allegedly became a degenerate gambler. Since his playing days, his life has apparently spiraled downward, as has happened to so many other “ballers”. But I digress. During his jersey retirement ceremony, Iverson came out dressed as if he was in a rap video, wearing oversized clothes, gold chain, fedora type hat & glass-less frames. Now he can wear what he wants & he may be true to himself, which is of utmost importance, but what irked me a bit was when other players, current & retired, began a social media campaign applauding Iverson’s “realness” & how he’s “the realest to ever play the game”. Really? How is that? Cause he spoke in slang? Dressed “hip”? Chose to play a team game by his own rules? Now I reiterate, I appreciate Iverson being real to himself & being himself around others. I also respected his game. He is who he is – so big ups to him, but when all the previous players who’s jersey have been retired came out in custom suits & speaking eloquently, they were not being real? They weren’t the realest? Try telling Jim Brown or Bill Russell that! How bout Kareem? He wasn’t as real? Come on son!! We have to stop teaching the brothers & sisters in our communities that being real isn’t dressing or acting a certain way and definitely not speaking a certain way. That being kind, thoughtful and attentive is not weak, but can actually signify “real” strength and character. Why is it when someone strives to elevate his game, to improve his situation by educating himself, dressing “professionally” or speaking using proper enunciation, he’s not real or is a sell-out? Truth is that’s real. That person could be acting true to self, to their ambitions, their beliefs on the best way to promote themselves on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean they are all real too, hell no. There are plenty of people faking the funk in all walks of life. I am positive we all know phony’s. And if we truly think about it, I am sure we can come to the realization that they all come in different packages.

What I moved out the ghetto so I ain’t real now?

– 2Pac

Guns, Death & Mass Killings

In Society on April 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm

What is wrong with folks today?  Have they all gone insane?  Now we can’t even go for a run without some nut tying to blow us up?  Forget just the disillusioned political maniacs, but how about the lost soul that just decides to shoot up a school?  What must of happened in their lives to bring them to such a low point that they would hurt innocent people?  And real talk, why are most of these mass killings perpetrated by white men?  Look it up, from Columbine, to Oklahoma City, to Auroa, it’s angry white men or white male teenagers who commit these heinious crimes.  They have called us animals often, but a recent study indicated they make up 30% of the population and commit 70% of the massacres. WOW! Additionally, look up the serial killers….yup mostly white men.  Now I know white people aren’t used to be morally questioned about their social issues, but what gives?  I have friends from all races & heritages, but guess which ones get all excitied about the violent video games or are all for gun ownership…yep the white men.  If you look up who would march the hardest for the pro-gun laws – white men; who has attempted or commited the most assinations of political rivials – white men.  What is difficult is they look so unassuming, like regular people, showing no inclination or propensity to commit these types of acts. Some come from model homes, have friends & interact normally with others. Somehow, somewhere they become viloently angry and decide to take it out on unassuming citizens just out for a movie & who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. With the advent of so much social media outlets, I believe more teenagers can easily & quietly become more angry, disillusioned & brooding; they read & see so many things that can cause them to feel insecure, left out or ridiculed, even if most of the stuff is not true, but to go out & decide a group of people will suffer for it? What of the adults? I am not sure what makes them so angry to walk into a grammar school & shoot a bunch of young kids, or assinate a man for spreading peace & equality (MLK), but perhaps we should start paying attention & figure this shit out before more damage is done?

An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

– Unknown

Celebrity, Athlete’s & A World’s Perception

In Society, Spirituality on January 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm

My daughter works for a high end clothier in the Center City section of Philadelphia, PA, often calling or texting me about some celebrity or athlete who happened to patronize the establishment. Recently she told a story of how the actor Harrison Ford had come in to shop & was attended to by an older female sales associate. He was alone & casually dressed. Apparently, the sales associate had no idea who he was & dealt with him as she had with countless other shoppers. When he left, my daughter walked over & asked her if she recognized whom she had just tendered too; to which she replied in the negative. Upon learning of who it was, this associate acted as if she won the lottery & became quite excited, panting while she quickly made it to the exit with the hope of catching him before he disappeared into the city’s fabric. While trying to catch up with him, she was heard shrieking, “I love Harrison Ford, OMG – it’s Harrison Ford”. I couldn’t help but laugh at this as when the associate had no idea who he was, even while looking directly at him, she found him unremarkable & had no interest other than making a sale. However, once she learned of his celebrity, she professed her love & affection for him, running after him like a teenage girl at one of the boy band concerts. What is it about celebrities or athletes that bring people to incomprehensible behaviors or reactions. They could see these people in any setting & think nothing of them, but once it is learned who they are, they are treated better & fawned over by most. It seems they become prettier, sexier or more handsome once their celebrity is recognized. It’s sad & funny to me at the same time. Now, I am no hater – more power to those who can attract all this attention by the sheer perception of who they are, but why exactly to they elicit this type of reaction? Is it because people fall in love with a character they portray, the income they make or the perceived fantasy life they live? Does it ever dawn on most people that these celebrities or athletes are regular Joe’s with ordinary lives away from the spotlight with many of the same problems or life circumstances we all deal with. Just read the news or watch the shows depicting how these individuals sometimes live toured lives, have numerous failed relationships, commit crimes or end up bankrupt. With some, when their stars dim & they are no longer in the limelight, depression, angst & recklessness can often overtake them. They sometimes become incorrigible, thrill seekers looking for their past glories, causing all types of issues, heartaches & woes. I say all this only to point out how even though we should appreciate their skill at entertaining us, we should not expect them to be any different than other people. They should not be held to different standards or treated better because of it.

You can fool some of the people some of the time – and that’s enough to make a decent living.

– WC Fields