Childhood Lessons

Childhood lessons:  Look both ways when crossing the street. Cover your head when outside in chilly weather. Never talk to strangers.

Simple right?

Unfortunately, childhood lessons for black youth have never been this simple, and in 2014 they aren’t getting any easier. During slavery times, minding the master and mistress came above minding your parents. During the civil rights era, early life lessons included always making sure you were in the proper racial areas of public establishments. Fast forward to the new millennium and now early life lessons include not walking too slow when out in public, but not walking too fast either. Has much changed?
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The Comfortable Generation

Because of my current occupation on board a cruise ship, I have limited access to the television programs I enjoy back home. Here, I spend a lot of time watching news programming such as MSNBC. Now when I say a lot, I mean it’s either the news or sports, and I’m not a huge sports fan. News programming has become my window for staying informed about what’s happening in the world and in my nation. There’s coverage of everything from weather patterns to the new MTV initiative, and from the 2016 presidential election to across the world in Ukraine and Nigeria.  Thanks to news programming I stayed up to date with the monsoon-like rains beating down upon my loved ones back home (including full-fledged mudslides and streets collapsing), and saw that Toronto Mayor Ford finally took some good advice. They tried to make him go to rehab and he said yes!

Back in America, though, what is news programming if it didn’t include the nation’s current scandals involving race relations? (If only Olivia Pope and Associates “handle” racism in America). Between Clive Bundy and Donald Sterling, it should be pretty obvious to everyone that racism still exists, right? Racism is a current national problem, not something just to be read about in history books. Clive Bundy (and I’m sure plenty of other Americans) currently believe maybe the African Americans were happier people as slaves. Donald Sterling, and his “master” mentality, speaks as if he should be thanked for all the food, clothing, and shelter he provides his black players. Thank ya’ massuh?
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Love Me To Death

This was it. This was how I was going to die. I was 21 years old and 3 months away from graduating college. My day to day thoughts included recitals, graduation preparations, sorority chapter meetings… simple, normal, college senior thoughts. But in this moment, all I was thinking was “This is it. This is how I’m going to die. 21 years old, with my throat sliced open, in my own home, by my own husband. How did I get here?”

I met a boy when I was 13 years old. I met him through a schoolmate of mine, who was a family member of his. WE had the typical teenage romance. We dated throughout high school, were “in love”, and then went our separate ways, thanks to college. Through the magic of the very new social media world, we rekindled our high school love and halfway through my college matriculation, he left his university and moved to my city while I continued school. We shacked up, he put a ring on it, and with $45 in hand we walked into city hall and got hitched. Childhood sweethearts turned husband and wife. It should have been a simple, “happily ever after” story, right? Well then why was I looking up at him as he pinned me down on our couch holding a giant knife to my neck?
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