Racism

Episode 127: What does justice look like to you?

It is literally the last week in October. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until this election is over! I’m so tired of hearing from politicians lying about how they are going to help Americans. I’m tired of seeing the get out the vote campaign commercials. I’m just tired of all the lies. Mainly, because neither candidate represents my values. I’m literally stuck voting for the less of the evils. 

It’s like the picture that Jim Carrey painted not too long ago (if you want to see the photo, check out my website). There’s a guy who is blindfolded holding two cans. One is red and labeled blatant corruption (which clearly represents Trump) and the other is blue labeled corruption lite (which represents Joe Biden). The description says, “…Red is dead. Choose Blue instead.” 

Just in case you’re wondering, spoiler alert, I’m not voting for the idiot that clearly wants to be in charge of the KKK because he’s hell bent on starting a race war. Trump can’t even say the word Black without it sounding like a swear word. The sad thing is, I bet you he’s concentrating really hard to say Black instead of saying the word that he really wants to say. I’ll let you use your imagination on what that word would be…

I know I sound incredibly jaded and pessimistic but when it comes to the American justice system I am. As far as I am concerned, American justice is an oxymoron. In today’s episode, I guarantee some of you may feel uncomfortable, but I truly hope you hang in there because then you’ll learn something new. 

Be sure to check out the website for more details about the stories that I’m going to share with you. My goal for today’s episode to be the CliffsNotes version about aspects of American history that are either glossed over, reimagines or simply aren’t taught in school. Instead of learning from past mistakes, as a nation, we’re content with repeating them.

One of the reasons I decided to discuss this topic is because I was watching a PBS documentary called Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Election which prompted me to think about some of the conversations I have had over the past couple of months. Chaos has been happening within our nation the past couple of years, but especially this year. I recognized so many parallels to situations taking place during 1968 that have led to the chaos that we are currently experiencing today especially in regards to racism.

While I was watching this documentary, I thought back to all the protests that took place right after George Floyd’s death. I remember a white person said to me that they believed that this was going to be a defining moment in our history and that things were going to change. My response was, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” 

Guess who was right? Sadly me. You have no idea how badly I wanted to be wrong too. Here we are several months later and nothing has changed. In fact, the Karens, Beckys, Kevins, and Tanners of the world are more empowered to be bolder with their racism. 

You have idiots like Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who actually had the audacity to insinuate that Black people don’t want to be successful. This comment is especially ironic, seeing that he was born rich, never worked a day in his life, and is literally working in a position that his idiot father-in-law, Trump gave to him. Needless to say, Kushner has never had to overcome barriers of systemic racism and ignorant comments like this indicate he won’t be a part of the solution to fight against it. By the way, Blacks and Latinos are incredibly hard workers. Many work more than one job even if they have a  9 to 5 job. The majority of us don’t have generational wealth to rely on so we learn at an early age you better diversify your income.  

Another reason why we haven’t made progress is because there have been even more police shootings of unarmed Black people. I guarantee there will be even more if this idiot continues to remain in office. Trump already told the Proud Boys, a well known hate group, to “Stand back and stand by.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher what he meant by that statement. If that’s not a dog whistle, I don’t know what it… In fact, there has been an increase in white supremacists groups conducting paramilitary exercises and showing up at protests causing trouble that often gets blamed on Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

One of the reasons I already knew nothing was going to change is because many white people in America truly believe that racism no longer exists. Therefore, they don’t have any incentive to work towards implementing long-lasting changes that could actually serve as an attempt to acknowledge and help repair the damage that they continue to benefit from due to the over 400-year headstart slavery and systemic racism has provided them. 

What’s even crazier is that there is even a push in the education system to revamp the definition of slavery. I’m totally not joking. In some text books instead of using the word slaves they say laborers or people from Africa who came to help people do chores. The last time I checked taking people against their will, forcing them to work without pay is called slavery. Anyway, let me get back to the subject…

Let’s take the police for example. When you’re a child you’re often taught that the police are there to help protect and serve. However, when you get older it becomes incredibly apparent who the police work for in America. Spoiler alert, they do not work for  anyone of color, especially Black people. Here’s the thing, this is by design. Many schools fail to teach that the police organizations you see today stem from slavery. Yep, that’s right boys and girls, slavery. The police were literally created to track down runaway slaves, prevent slave uprisings, and enforce rules to segregate freed slaves. 

Now, I know that some people may be like, “Wait a minute, even if that’s true, that doesn’t apply today.” Sadly, this faulty thinking is why we are in this mess. Regardless of whether white people want to admit it, the majority of the police force is composed of people who share this same slave mentality. It’s deeply ingrained in today’s modern police departments.  

The police are often assigned to “patrol” areas where they are whiter than the community and don’t even live in the areas that they are supposed to protect and serve. The police are more apt to be heavily armed and use force when they are assigned to patrol communities of color. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a shocker that there is a higher amount of police brutality incidents dealing with Black people. 

This video premiered two years ago! The foreshadowing in this video is insane…Check out the links below to catch the symbolisms and hidden meanings.

What’s even more frustrating is that the laws in place are not fairly applied to white and Black people. White people are given way more chances to avoid jail time and sometimes even choose where they want to serve their jail sentence which is not an opportunity afforded to Black people. I’ve never done drugs and believe that drug use is wrong. However, the whole war on drugs campaign during the 80’s was really another attempt to further disenfranchise Black people via mass incarceration. 

The current opioid crisis is affecting more white people than Black people. The approach being used to help white people  is way more compassionate and lenient than Black people who were caught with cocaine back in the 1980’s. Yet, sadly, the effects of the War on Drugs campaign can still be seen today. 

For example, Black people have or continued to be put in jail for having or selling weed. Black people started to bring attention to the fact that white people were not being punished with the heavy jail time sentences and fines that Black people were receiving. This is why all of a sudden you magically saw the push to legalize marijuana.  The white people who wished to use marijuana didn’t want to bring attention to the unfair application of the laws nor suffer the consequences for violating the rules

The crazy thing is that even though marijuana is legal many Black people are still sitting in jail for something that is not illegal anymore. Even when they get out of jail, they can’t get jobs because they have a record, based on what state they are in they can’t vote, and to add insult to injury they can’t own a marijuana shop. Which by the way, is yet another industry primarily owned by white people, despite the fact this industry profited from and then incarcerated numerous Black people.  

White people have also benefited from the mass incarceration of Black people because it’s literally the new modern day slave trade. When incarceration rates soared to record highs in the 1980s due to the War on Drugs campaign, corporations viewed this as a business opportunity to privatize the prison system.

Take a guess at who runs the facilities and who is stuck working for free? You guessed it. Black people are working for free yet again to help companies get rich but this time they can do it legally. Can you imagine being pulled over or thrown in jail indefinitely for a minor offense that you may or may not have committed simply because you can’t afford bail, then sentenced to jail to work for free for a large corporation? It’s in the police, prison system and many corporations best interest to keep the prison pipeline filled prisoners so they can act as modern day slaves. 

This is why when you see people protesting that you may hear chants to defund the police. It’s abundantly clear that the police can’t be expected to “police” themselves. In many cities, let’s take my hometown Chicago, the majority of the budget is allocated towards the police department. Chicago raises taxes what seems to feel like every five minutes, but can’t allocate  funds to West and South side schools so the Black and Latino students can receive the same education opportunities that students on the Northside of Chicago receive; yet, they somehow found $95 million to allocate for  “police and fire academy training?” 

Are you kidding me? Why in the world would you spend that amount of money when you could have used it for resources like after school programs, workforce initiatives, to help the community? I’m not condoning criminal activity but much of the crime you see in these neighborhoods stem from a lack of hope and resources. Sadly, it literally took a pandemic for white people to see what Black people have been talking about for years. 

The police should NOT be able to get away with their behavior. Yet,regardless of how blatant the crime may be,  it’s almost impossible for a police officer to be found guilty. Police officers have numerous laws like qualified immunity that prevent them from being punished for their crimes. 

People love to use the analogy that there are only a couple of bad apples within the police, but this simply isn’t true. Plus, could you imagine using this analogy when you decide whether to have confidence in your pilot? Like Chris Rock said, “”Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like … pilots. Ya know, American Airlines can’t be like, ‘Most of our pilots like to land. We just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains. Please bear with us.” Some professions simply cannot afford to have ANY bad apples. We all know that if the roles were reversed there would not be any bad apples and if they were there they would be immediately punished. 

In an attempt to right so many wrongs, Black people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is the only way change will occur. All throughout history a variety of barriers have been enacted to keep Black people from voting.  After the civil war, years of Jim Crow laws led to violence, bloodshed, and the rise of the KKK.

In order to keep Black people from voting rules like implementing a fee to vote aka poll tax, literacy tests that even many lawyers wouldn’t be able to pass, and other laws that would prevent you from voting like not having a job, and the list goes on. Now I understand why people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is important because this is how laws get changed. This is true if you have people willing to do the right thing. I’m sad to say we don’t have this and that is by design as well.

If you take a closer look, you will notice that when it comes to voting for the President of the United States, the popular vote doesn’t matter. It’s the electoral college that elects the president, not the people. Do you know who represents your state for the electoral college? I certainly don’t and I bet you don’t either. This part of the voting process is hardly ever discussed. 

In fact, I was watching a documentary called Electoral Dysfunction and this reporter exposed the electoral college system. The electoral college does NOT represent the current demographics of the U.S. This probably will not be a shocker, but the electoral college demographics are white men. Also, what I found incredibly surprising in this documentary was that there was a young white man who literally “inherited” the electoral role from his dad. 

There’s no rhyme or reason why these people were chosen. I can guarantee you that if more Blacks and Latinos inquired about joining the electoral college that the rules would change. By the way, I’m so sick of people bringing up the fact that Barack Obama was able to become president. Appearances don’t bring about lasting change. Plus, if the electoral college didn’t go along with the popular vote that would have been way too obvious which would have brought too much attention to their ability to continue to run in secrecy. 

However, you gotta love the irony because Trump being in office is starting to bring more attention back to the electoral college. After all this is how he was able to steal the presidency back in 2016.

By the way, once Barack was in office, the majority of the white people in the south went to work immediately and started demolishing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law was in place to protect everyone’s right to vote. In particular, southern states that have a history of voter suppression literally had to go to the Federal government in order to receive clearance for any changes that they wished to make that dealt with voting  (poll locations). This major piece of legislation was removed back in 2013.

Ever since 2013, starting with the Southern states and slowly working up to the Northern states (especially in Wisconsin and Indiana), the number of polling places in predominantly African American and Latino communities have closed, now there’s a push for people to verify who they are with additional specific documentation that many of those communities may not possess, and there’s even some people who have been vocal about not seeing anything wrong with taking a literacy test. 

In many areas around the country, but especially the south, it’s not uncommon for Blacks and Latinos to have to drive to towns far outside of their communities, only to stand in line for hours clinging to the hope that their vote will count and matter. I’m in awe of these people, especially the folks in the South. I definitely wouldn’t even bother voting if the poll was located in one of those sundown towns. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the term sundown towns, these are towns located all throughout the United States that have the unspoken rule that Black people are allowed to be in these towns during the day to work or shop but you better be gone by nightfall. If you’re Black caught in one of these towns at night time, you can risk being arrested, beaten and yes there have been incidents of lynchings as well, but these towns go above and beyond to silence those stories from getting out into the media. However,  those that live in the Black communities surrounding these areas make sure to warn each other.

Thank goodness for social media because I definitely don’t want to make the mistake in going to one of these towns. I belong to a couple Black travel groups which is fantastic because it’s one of the major methods we use in exchanging information. It’s a helpful shortcut that many of us use to share stories to gain information to help us  determine the amount of racism we can expect to receive in whatever city or country we are thinking about visiting. 

The mere fact that these sundown towns still exist is one of the main reasons why I will never go on a road trip in this country, especially in today’s racial climate. I already know that I’m on my own if something goes down so I prefer to stay in states and areas where the racism is at least less blatant. I venture to say that the majority of the folks listening to this podcast already know which states I’m referring to and it should probably go without saying that you won’t see me visiting those states anytime soon.

Do you see what’s happening here? The United States can’t move forward if people don’t learn from the past. This is what happens when there aren’t any consequences in place or haphazardly enforced. Therefore, history continues to repeat itself. 

This is one of the main reasons why I love the phrase, “I work down here, but live upstairs.” If I focused on receiving justice from man, I would be one miserable person. However, I know better. We all have free will but I know that Christ is in charge. 

So regardless of what new hurdles this country attempts to put in place next, I’ll sail right over them. It will be easy to do. All I have to do is look at history’s rearview mirror to anticipate what’s coming up next.


Love this song!

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Episode 114: Random Thoughts: Meaningless gestures, Confederate statutes, and Karens

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

Episode 114: Random Thoughts: Meaningless gestures, Confederate statutes, and Karens

I just came back from an amazing 20-mile bike ride. This is typically how I typically spend my Saturday mornings, but today is different because many people are celebrating Independence Day. Don’t get me wrong, I love having an extra day off and BBQ with family, but for the majority of Black people, this is a day that has often been a source of side eyes or whatever shrugs.  

In fact, you may even see an increase in people wearing the July 4th to Deny shirts being worn. Why? If we really want to get technical Juneteeth should actually be a much bigger celebration because on June 19, 1865, is when the slaves in Galveston, Texas were freed. 

Please do not get it twisted just because many Black people don’t share the same zeal for this day doesn’t mean that we don’t support those in the military especially when a large population of the military is composed of minorities (despite the fact the media only seems to show photos of the white ones). It’s just with everything going on it seems like this holiday is becoming more and more cynical.

If anything the tradition for most Black people I know is to listen to this video of James Earl Jones reading The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro by Frederick Douglass and this video will demonstrate why he felt this way.

It’s sad that so much of this speech still rings true today.  I was actually going to bike further than what I did today but cut it short because I had way too much to say about stories and things I’ve seen this week and I really needed to get this episode out of my head. 

So let’s jump in. I saw this tweet from a comedian, Kevonstage (who by the way is hilarious) stating that the real estate industry is changing the word Master bedroom. Now one of the main reasons they are changing this word is due to the fact that on a plantation, you would have a master of that domain who would then exercise control and dominance over enslaved or indentured servants. So the Houston Association of Realtors decided to change the name from Master room to Primary room. 

I belong to quite a few Black business groups and many of us felt the same way. This is yet another stall tactic to keep White people from addressing the real issue at hand. 

Black people have been pretty upfront about what we want for a while now…It would be great if the police would stop killing Black people and put end to systemic racism once and for all Be sure to check out Episode 110 “Where do we go from here? regarding more details in how we go about accomplishing this feat. So seeing that we’ve been battling these issues for well over 400 years old and they still haven’t been resolved, I’m thinking that we start there first and if we have time leftover clean up the English language.

So many women in my Black Business groups were all saying the same thing. Enough with the stall tactics already. Meaningless gestures like this, don’t do anything to impact the community. If the real estate industry really had a desire to make sustainable lasting change then why not create programs to help Black people own homes instead of continuing the oppressive acts of redlining and doing something about the harmful effects of gentrification to Blacks and Latinos. I dig into the effects of gentrification in an episode called Random Thoughts Thursday: Homelessness and Gentrification so check that out as well.

Please be aware that many of the so-called laws that have been enacted to supposedly help Black people have always consisted of some sort of loophole that once again benefits White people. That’s a heck of a headstart. White people have been able to build equity while we’ve been fighting for equality. 

Owning your own home is one of the easiest ways for an American family to build wealth. Why wouldn’t you start there? I know why because if you can get us to buy into the illusion just a little while longer you change the rules of the game, move the goalposts even further to keep us from even having a fighting chance to win the game.  Laws on paper don’t mean a thing if there’s no one who wants to enforce them. 

Clearly, racist in Chief Trump has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of helping Black people. When racist in chief Trump isn’t busy retweeting White supremacists he’s busy continuing his agenda to further oppress Blacks. He is now threatening to eliminate the 2015 initiative known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which requires localities to identify and address patterns of racial segregation outlawed under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by creating detailed corrective plans.

Trump literally said, “At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,” he wrote, adding, “Not fair to homeowners, I may END!” 

Which is really code for “I’m going to do what I can to make sure no Blacks or Latinos are able to move into the suburbs.” Here’s the thing, we all know that these laws never really worked in the first place, but knowing that they existed gave you some sort of comfort in knowing that there was a law that you could reference. Now if Black and Latinos were having a hard time obtaining homeownership with laws such as this one or the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act it is going to be near impossible to get one now.

The Homeownership gap will continue to widen. According to the U.S. Census, during the 1st quarter of 2020, 44% of Black families owned their own home compared to 73.7% of White families.  What’s even more disturbing is that in 2016 At $171,000, is the net worth of a typical white family is nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150). Again, as Black people continue to fight for equality White people will continue building wealth.

I can personally attest that housing discrimination is very real. My parents dreamed of having their own home. They also lost count regarding how many times they were denied for a home loan. When they finally got approved we ended up moving out to Villa Park. We stayed there for 11 years. 

Now back in 2002, my mom was being aggressively approached by lenders trying to force her to refinance their home. My mom’s background is in Finance, so of course, she knew that refinancing under their terms would be in their best interest, not my parents. 

My parents refused to refinance at the higher rates they were trying to force on them. However, what the media fails to mention is that mortgage companies got clever. Whenever literally stopped accepting the mortgage payments from Blacks and Latinos in order to force them into foreclosure. The media NEVER talks about this part. 

I know this sounds crazy, but it is true. That’s what happened to us. By the way, while all of this was going on my dad was diagnosed with Colon Cancer. They only gave him 6 weeks to live, but my mom kept this secret from all of us including my dad (not sure how she pulled that off). So anyway, imagine my mom literally battling a mortgage company, taking care of my dad, my sister, and myself.

I helped take care of my dad whenever I wasn’t working.  I was working full time and went to college at night. My schedule was literally working from 8 to 4:30 and then attend class from 5:45 to 9pm. This was my schedule 4 days a week for all 4 years of college. I didn’t find out until my dad passed away 2 years later at the age of 43 which was the same year I graduated from college that my mom was battling the mortgage company alone.

We had all the evidence we needed to prove our case that the mortgage company was trying to intimidate us. However, when the media started getting a little too deep in their investigation and literally told us due to the government officials that were involved they could not continue their investigation. How crazy is that?! So my mom was forced into foreclosure because she was too business savvy to know that refinancing on the banks’ terms was not in her best option. 

We take comfort in knowing the fact that my mom’s persistence and resistance resulted in many of the judges involved in her case magically retired and/or resigned. I can only imagine what’s going to happen if that idiot Trump gets his way and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is eliminated.

What drives me crazy is that while this country is going to hell in a handbasket while the racist in chief along with his evil minions are more worried about protecting Confederate statues than the rights of Blacks and Latinos to live in peace. I am so tired of hearing racist people say, “They are trying to erase our heritage.” 

Here’s the thing, those statutes never should have been built in the first place. Why would you want to have a statute dedicated to people who fought to keep slaves? I know that common sense isn’t all that common anymore, but this is just crazy.

Do you realize what a slap in the face it is to drive past these statutes, drive on roads, or attend schools that bear the name of those responsible for oppressing your ancestors? I couldn’t imagine being someone in the military who has to be constantly reminded that they are fighting for a country that chose to honor their service this way. Why in the world would this be the legacy that you want to “pass down” to your kids?

All of the Confederate statues and flags should be removed. Plus, it never ceases to amaze me that the racist in chief and his evil minions forget that this wasn’t even your land. It’s the Native Americans. By the way, it’s always amazing when you hear people who passionately defend keeping the Confederate statues and flags, “Why don’t you just leave America?” My response is I will never leave a country that my ancestors built. If anything, why don’t you leave? You stole the land from Native Americans and then enslaved Black people to do the work for you. What exactly did you or your ancestors’ contribute that justifies your stay here?

I’m sure we all know the answer to that question…The funny thing is that these are the very same people who end up relying on essential workers who are oftentimes Black people and also happen to be the lowest paid. As if that’s not frustrating enough they also have to put up with the Karen’s of the world. 

In case you’re not sure what I mean by Karen. It’s a term that Black people use to describe White women who throw temper tantrums when people call them out for their racist behavior. They just can’t seem to mind their own business. They are incredibly nosey because they have no lives and insist on getting into yours and when Black people don’t go along with their nonsense they turn on the White tears and the cops will most likely be called. 

By the way, Black folks have been using Karen and Becky as code names forever but over the recent years, it’s gotten more popular due to folks like Amy Cooper, BBQ Becky. Although I have to admit, Karen is the name that you’ll most likely hear. 

I recently read a story about a Black family that literally had the cops called on them for building a patio on their own property and didn’t show their paperwork to a Karen. Imagine the audacity of these two lawyers not showing their paperwork to a racist neighbor. I can’t make this up if I tried! 

What really pushed me to write this episode is because my mom shared a story with me recently that could have easily gotten out of hand as well. My building has an onsite laundry room in the basement that no one can access without a key. So my mom’s in the laundry room and this White woman was walking outside by the laundry room window. This woman peered into the laundry room which again is in the basement.

This literally means that this White woman literally went out of her way to see what my mom was doing. Which again clearly this chick was not Nancy Drew it’s a laundry room so this was a no brainer. My mom told me she just gave her a look and the lady kept right on walking. I don’t know why Karens feel entitled to get into everyone’s business. No one asked you to police the world. By the way, this is just one of thousands of stories that you can read about Karens (Check out this latest one about the Karen who went nuts in Target).

Karens are dangerous sociopaths who use their weaponize their White privilege against Black people by throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their way and then threatening and/or calling the police.

When you see these videos you will understand why it drives me absolutely insane when I hear White people say if you’re not a criminal, a thug and just behave yourself and don’t break the law that the police would never be called. That’s simply just not true and the Karens, Beckys, Ken, and Chads of the world know it which is why they have no problem calling the cops. 

It’s a sick game that these people like to play in an attempt to see how much control they can exercise over people they believe are inferior to them. They know that they will most likely not suffer any consequences and/or if they do it’s a slap on the wrist. However,  their sick behavior has deadly consequences for Black people.

It’s absolutely heartbreaking and ranges from dying because they were reading in their car, to buying Skittles and so many other innocent activities. What’s truly sad and frustrating is that these are only a handful of stories that we know about. I can only imagine how many more are waiting to be uncovered…

The frustrating thing about Karens is that if I behaved this way I would be in jail or worse. The interesting thing is that a lot of White people know this and even share their stories about crimes they have gotten away with under the Twitter hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite. That hashtag is a prime example of the double standards that exist in this country. This is because innocent until proven guilty is NOT what happens when the police show up and Black people are involved. It’s vice versa. Check out the story about the pastor that called the cops on White people trying to beat him up and they ended up arresting him.

Again, there are numerous stories of White women lying and calling the cops on Black people for no reason. There’s this notion that White women are to automatically be viewed as victims. Thanks to video, everyone can see that this simply is not the case. Every Black person, myself included has encountered Karens throughout their life. I’ve always been taught to fight back and will continue to call out wrong behavior. Now even though I’ve been using the term Karen for this episode, mainly to introduce the phrase to those unaware of what a Karen is, but I prefer to call them they really are…White supremacists. 

When you give them cute little names like Karen, BBQ Becky, you diminish their devious behavior. They have damaged numerous people’s lives. Like Will Smith said, “Racism never left, it’s just filmed.” The one thing that is providing some solace to Black people is the ability to share our stories on Twitter via hashtags like #BlackinIvory,  #LivingWhileBlack, #BlackLivesMatter, or on videos that we share amongst ourselves in hopes that we can generate enough attention in order to get justice for those who were harmed. You’ll read countless stories about ignorant White people going out of their way to discredit the achievements that Black people worked so hard to achieve. I can definitely relate to some of the stories shared in those hashtags. 

Like for example, if we make it into management positions we’re a diversity hire and not because we have the intelligence or skills to do the job. These types of comments can really play tricks on your mind if you let them linger.

The thing is that Black people in the corporate world tend to work twice as hard. Black people know that there’s an unwritten rule, “Last to get hired first to get fired,” which is why this is the case.” Black people can’t rely on nepotism or have the connections many White people benefit from that allow them to get jobs without having the required knowledge or education. I know firsthand that this is the truth because I’ve definitely worked with managers who were a few fries short of a Happy Meal…

I’m sure you can see we have a long way to go in our fight against racism. This is why we can’t get bogged down with being complacent with meaningless gestures, condoning Confederate statues, and White Supremacists like Karen. If we do were doomed to living in a world where our potential is never fully realized because we’re too busy fighting to exist.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to check out the Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith that is available for sale on Amazon. 

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating or purchasing a Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith from Amazon to help offset the cost of producing this show. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire see you in the next episode.

Episode 111: Random Thoughts: Are you the problem or the solution?

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

This is episode 111: Are you the problem or the solution?

Before we dig into today’s topic, I just want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to listen and share my podcast with other people. Even if you didn’t agree with me, I still appreciate you taking time out to listen to a different point of view. I really appreciate it. 

Now, for those of you who are familiar with my podcast, I know the last couple of episodes have been my Random Thoughts segments which is when I discuss random topics that are on my mind. With that said, today will be another Random Thoughts segment, but I promise you I am working on other topics. 

It’s just with everything that’s been going on lately, I felt compelled to share my thoughts. All right, enough rambling from me, let’s jump into today’s topic.

I saw this meme that said, “July please come in here like you got some sense.” Isn’t that the truth?! Like I feel like I need a break because 2020 has felt like an absolute rollercoaster ride. So for selfish reasons, my birthday is in July so I desperately just want it to be a chill month. 

I’m not a big social media person. This is ironic because my background is in marketing. The reason I feel this way is for two reasons. I’ll use it for work, but I’m not one of those people who spend hours online because I prefer to make memories offline. That’s always been my motto. 

However, the other reason why I’m not big on social media is that it reminds me of how many dumb people there are in the world. Whenever I see stupid comments it takes a lot for me to keep it moving. It’s especially disheartening when I see those comments coming from people I know. I’m all about keeping toxic people and thoughts outside of my world. It’s the only way I know how to stay sane.

Again, unless you have been living under a rock, I’m sure you know that there have been numerous protests regarding police brutality against Black people. 

I was on Facebook one day and I saw some White women talking about how they had a desire to attend “peaceful protests” so they were going to a protest in suburbs. The statement “peaceful protests” rubbed me the wrong way because it insinuates that once again Black people are the problem. 

Plus, this country wasn’t founded via peaceful protests which is something a lot of White people conveniently forget about, but what made me really sad is that these women are teachers. They should know better. However, in my gut, I truly believe these women were just going to the protest so they could feel better about themselves and capture their “good deed” on film and not because they really wanted to seek change for Black people.

So imagine my surprise when I  happened to come across an article called, “White Women Stop Treating Protests as Instagram Photo Shoots.” It was literally White women using the protests and protestors as background props. Some were holding signs, took pictures, and immediately left the protest.

I’m not going to lie. It made me angry  because it reminded me of the quote, “Everybody wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black.” Meaning, many White people love to capitalize off of our creativity, our features, music, etc. when it can be used to their advantage, but then disappear the moment someone Black is in an adverse situation or discusses racism, then they magically disappear. 

By the way, White women capitalizing on our features drives me insane. When I was younger, I was teased for how I looked. The very same features I was teased for my skin tone, my shape, my lips, my hair all given to me by God, are praised when White women attain them by having plastic surgery or baking in the sun or spray tanning their way to achieve our melanin. 

Heck, even today in the corporate world it’s an unwritten rule that the standard of beauty is to look as close to European as possible. 

Black women are constantly made to feel like they won’t be viewed as professional if they wear their natural hair which is oftentimes curly or even in a protective style like braids or twists. I’ve had White coworkers and managers go above and beyond to praise me when my hair is straight only to go silent or and/or say stupid comments like, “New hairdo,” with a look of dislike and/or confusion. I normally smile and say, “Yes, my hair is very versatile and it’s much easier for me to wear it curly.” 

Anyway, I’ve just chalked it up to they don’t have any home training. I’ve always been taught that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, many White people state what they have to say without fear of adverse consequences for sharing their opinions even when it hasn’t been requested. 

I don’t have this luxury. In fact, I always have to triple think about what I want to say when I’m at work because I truly don’t have the energy to get into a White tears situation. I’ve mentioned what the term White tears means in a previous episode,  ‘Episode 109, Why can’t we all get along?’ 

For those of you unfamiliar with the term White tears, it’s what Black people say when we refer to someone White who believes that they have been wronged when someone Black points out their behavior racist behavior and/or is upset that someone Black is experiencing more success than them. 

Those who cry White tears often do so in order to get other White people on their side in an attempt to make the Black person appear to be wrong when it was really the White person. Again, every Black person I know has experienced this at some point in time in their lives. 

I have so many examples of this in my career that I lost track. It really sucks because it’s like the ultimate Catch-22. When a Black woman speaks her mind she risks being seen as the angry Black woman stereotype, but when a White woman does it she’s passionate. However, if the Black woman remains silent, her self-esteem will take a hit. 

My mom taught me early on to say what I need to say and not to buy into this psychology nonsense. That Angry Black woman stereotype was created in an attempt to silence us. I must do my part to never allow that to happen, regardless of the consequences.

It’s interesting because now companies are finding themselves in the Catch-22 that Black people experience on a daily basis. If a company remains silent regarding the protests against racism they run the risk of offending their Black employees, Black customers, other customers of color, and those that choose to fight against racism. Yet, if that same company chooses to be vocal runs the risk of exposing the fact that their staff is lily White and they have racist customers.

Both options have consequences, but as my mom always said, “You need to do the right thing.” This isn’t rocket science; yet, many companies delayed in issuing a response because deep down, they were hoping the issue would go away.

After all, companies haven’t had to choose a side before so why should this be any different? I can see where this faulty logic might come into play, but they failed to realize one thing. Everyone has a breaking point. What you see are the effects of a community that has lost hope. 

Many Black neighborhoods are poorly funded so they look like war-torn countries, these areas are food deserts, meaning they don’t have access to supermarkets and grocery stores (imagine going grocery shopping at a convenience store because that’s what many do), education in these areas is a joke so the thought of going to college is just a dream because they can’t afford it. 

Even if they do go to college they will need to do so based on grants, search for lenders who will without a doubt give them the highest APR possible if they do decide to give them a loan, then this student must work twice as hard to make up for all the education they missed out on in high school. 

Then let’s say they graduate they aren’t able to get a job because they have an ethnic-sounding name and/or don’t have the connections to get a job. Now they have a mountain of student loan debt that they can’t pay for living in the same area that they so desperately were trying to escape from. You’re trying to achieve success all while trying to avoid any run-ins with the police because you know that one wrong move can result in death. Sounds exhausting right? 

What many of these companies fail to get is that your silence supports violence. The mere fact that these companies are struggling to find the right words is because deep down they’re still trying to figure out how they can somehow not offend anyone.

Every one of these people died. For every name there are even more stories that have not made the news. Take a moment to think about why

One example is the NFL. The NFL needs to be ashamed of themselves. It took the NFL 10 days after the protests and a video from prominent football players to make a statement. When I heard Roger Goodell’s so-called apology it made me sick. Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick did a peaceful protest kneeling during the national anthem and hasn’t played in the NFL since. Yet, there was no mention of Kaepernick in that apology which is why it rang extremely hollow.

Same thing with Nascar. Bubba Wallace, the sports only Black driver on the circuit, and he literally had to tell Nascar that they needed to ban the Confederate flag at events. Again, are you kidding me? By the way, I will never attend an NFL or Nascar event because as a Black person I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so. I’m not about to get into a situation where I’m sitting near someone drunk who also happens to be racist. I’ve read and heard about one to many instances of this happening and refuse to be a part of that statistic. 

I already research the level of racism I can expect to receive or encounter when I choose a vacation spot, so I’m not about to add this nonsense to the list as well.

Again, companies must realize that if you’re going to demonstrate support in the fight against racism then you better put some action behind those words.  Black people are not amused by your long flowery statements. Actions speak louder than words. 

If you really support Black lives, how many of them are on your staff? What actions are you taking to impact the community? By the way, it’s baffling to me how many companies are hiring diversity consultants. It’s even more disturbing to me that the companies that are being hired are owned by White women. Once again, it feels like White people are profiting from our pain and experiences. The money spent on a diversity consultant could have gone towards resources and time on projects that would bring about sustainable change.

This is why I’m not about to waste my time in some stupid listening circle talking about racism to a White woman who would never be able to relate to my experiences when I could be taking that precious time to connect with those within the community and allocating resources to help end the inequality. If companies really want to resolve racism then ask yourself, “How can I make the greatest impact within the Black community?” 

It all starts with educating yourself. Then you need to pay if forward and share that information with other White people. Listen and share content written by Black people, not just content that talks about our experiences. 

Many White people will spend hours researching the perfect restaurant, vacation spot, the list goes on, but when it comes to learning about the Black community, “I don’t know where to start.” Which is hilarious, because I feel like White people are always saying that they have a Black friend so you would think that they would have some idea on where to start. 

All you have to do is channel that same energy into learning more about us. Identify the glaring gaps within the community like housing, education, employment, etc. and start the process of filling them. If you see that your company doesn’t have any Black people then hire them and if you have Black employees then survey them to uncover unmet needs. There’s no reason to waste your money on hiring a White women-owned diversity firm. 

Take that money and use it to fight racism, not just talk about it. The next step which seems like common sense, but obviously common sense isn’t all that common anymore, is if you see someone unjustly being treated then say something. 

Again, I’m all about the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. The time for talk is over. 

Like NAACP Image Award Nominee, Atlanta based activist Kimberly Jones  said in an interview, “I think the only way something is going to come out of this is if we start making the necessary changes ourselves. Because it’s been proven time and time again that we’re on our own. The saddest part about that is that racism is not a Black issue that white people need to empathize with. Racism is a white problem. They caused it. They need to fix it. But I don’t have faith anymore that that’s going to happen.”

Kimberly Jones AMAZING Monopoly analogy

I want nothing more than to be proven wrong, but I feel the same way Kimberly does. It’s like Black people have been given a  puzzle that we didn’t ask for and are now being forced to put these pieces together as soon as possible. 

We’ve been working on this puzzle for over 400 years, so it’s time for White people to take over working on the puzzle so we can celebrate the final image of what equality and justice really looks like in God’s eyes.

Do you want to donate to Hustle in Faith? Click here!

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to check out the Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith that is available for sale on Amazon. 

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating or purchasing a Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith from Amazon to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire, see you in the next episode!

Random Thoughts Thursday Episode 110: Where do we go from here?

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

This is episode 110: Where do we go from here?

Last week was a very rough week. It was a rough week for Americans, but especially for Black people. I had actually taken off Friday thru Tuesday before all of the protests started happening. God clearly knew I was going to need that time off from work. I went back to work on Wednesday, but my heart wasn’t in it.

However, like most Black people, I’ve mastered the art of wearing the mask, especially at work. For those of you not familiar with this phrase, it’s in reference to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, We Wear the Mask. It references an invisible mask that you wear in order to hide your emotions so that you can perform and do what you need to do in order to make it through the day. 

In any case, I had the hardest time focusing especially when some ignorant White person would say, “I’m all for protests, but not the looting,” this comment rubbed me the wrong way, because I didn’t think that this person even cared about the protests. This foolish person did not take the time to learn that I’m not for looting either.

Thursday was when my 1:1 was scheduled with my manager. I was all ready to have my meeting with my manager and plow right through the meeting so I could tackle the rest of my to do list. Before we started the meeting he threw me a curveball. He asked me, “Tosha, “Are you okay?” How are you and your mom doing? I was thinking about you guys all week. Are you okay?”

I’m well aware that this is a simple question. During this point and time, he just didn’t realize how complex the answer was for me. I was NOT expecting that question. It truly took me by surprise. Here’s why. I’ve never had a White coworker, let alone a manager, who truly wanted to know the answer to that question; and, having it tied to race was just unbelievable.  

I’ve always been more of an introvert at work. Being the only Black person in the company or on your team will do that to you. Plus, years of trying to avoid White tears situations, years of trying to avoid not getting angry when other people get promoted because of who they know instead of what they know, years of not being paid an equal salary to your coworkers, and years of trying to avoid annoying microaggressions don’t necessarily leave you in the mood to feel up to talking. So I basically just avoid encountering any unnecessary awkward situations by just doing my job and look forward to the moment when work is over so I can take off my mask.

So when my manager asked me this question, I think I said, “I’m Ok,” really quickly with a long pause. The long pause was because I could quickly sense that my mask was coming off and I was trying so desperately to put it back on.  I was so happy that we weren’t on video because I was trying so hard to hold back tears; needless to say, he could still hear the pain. 

All of these senseless deaths, the fear and anger at the protests, thinking back on my own experiences just got to me. I legit could not keep that mask on anymore. I took off my mask and we ended up having a really great conversation about race. Since I was upset and unable to truly articulate my true feelings at that moment in time, I shared a podcast episode that I recorded for my English students overseas titled, “Why can’t we all just get along?

I explained to my manager that I recorded this episode to help my English students overseas understand why these protests were occurring. Based on our conversation, I hastily shared it with him. The next day, the head of our practice called and we talked as well. We talked about different parts of the podcast and the parts that affected him the most. When he brought up the part on my podcast where I showed up for interviews and the job magically disappeared I lost it again.

I was so angry with myself. I never cry at work. I just kept talking to myself, “Why can’t I keep this mask on?!” I can count on one hand the number of times I showed emotions at work. You want to know how many? Twice. Both with these two White guys! LOL Again, these were the only two instances because again I’ve mastered the art of wearing the mask. 

I wish I wouldn’t have gotten emotional, but I feel blessed that I was able to even have those conversations. The one question that came up during my conversation and one that I kept hearing was, “What can we do?” “Where do we go from here? To me, ”Where do we go from here is where we should have been in the first place; giving equality and justice for all (Act 10:34-35). 

We need to “actually” put Christ’s golden rule into practice (Lk 6:31). America has been lying for years that everyone receives equality and justice. In order for everyone to truly receive equality and justice, people (especially white people) must take off their blinders that are filled with lies and deception. There is no equality and justice in America.

If there were true equality and justice for all, every human being would be enjoying their God-given birthright. Human equality is a God-given right for all skin tones. God has NO preference when it comes to skin tone. Evidence of this fact is that He made us from one bloodline (Act 17:26). Diversity in skin tones aka what we call race is equal in God’s eyesight (Rom 2:11). This is why God did not give us a choice as to what race we are born into. Again, in God’s eyes, all skin tones are equal. The mere fact that every race is represented in heaven demonstrates that God has no problem with race (Rev 7:9).

Therefore, no race has the right to penalize another group of people based on their race.  Again, race, which is diversity in skin tone, was created by God to give humans choices to enjoy. Diversity in skin tone was NOT created for one group to segregate and dominate another group.

Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We are Stronger Together

If our government truly believes in God’s equality and justice, we would be able to see it in three major areas of life: 1) Housing, 2) Education, and 3)Employment. In order to begin the process of leveling the playing field, I believe the aforementioned major three areas need to be immediately addressed.

Now before we dig into these topics, please view the below video on How to Understand Systemic Racism and other videos throughout this post. These videos are going to help further reinforce my point.

So let’s attempt to tackle the first issue. Housing.  

When many people think about the American Dream, the image that comes to mind is a white house in a picket fence in a beautiful peaceful neighborhood. However, for many Black people, this dream is just a dream. Many people of color, especially Black people have a much lower rate of homeownership than White people. The main reason why this is the case is due to redlining.

For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it’s when the government created maps of cities and drew lines that essentially blocked people of color, mainly Black people, from gaining access to public and private funds. This redlining blocked Black people from receiving mortgages, loans, funding for schools and other neighborhood amenities. It is due to redlining as to why most Black neighborhoods look like war torn countries.

Most banks will not give Black people equity loans so that they can beautify their homes which in turn helps to beautify the neighborhood. Due to redlining, this is why most Black people try to move to diverse areas. Black people know that the moment White people stop investing in an area that they (Black people) choose to live in would end up leaving them (Black people) with property that they would not be able to sell.

This practice of redlining began after the Civil War. Although it supposedly ended in 1977 under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), every person of color knows this is NOT the case. Redlining still exists in one form or another. If the government decides to put money into these war torn areas, they become less of an option for Blacks due to gentrification.

For example, you would never know it but the Old Town area near Seward Park in Chicago was one of the deadliest spots in Chicago. It was home to Cabrini Green. I know because my mom grew up there. In the case of Cabrini Green, the city kicked out all of the folks that lived there and promised those residents a shot at living in one of the “new buildings” that were going to be built. Surprise, surprise this did NOT happen. Many of those residents ended up being displaced to areas further South or West in the city or even suburbs like Maywood, Aurora, etc. 

Then to add further insult to injury the White people typically end up changing the name of the area and lie about how long the new area with the new name has been in existence. This is in an attempt to erase the stigma that people of color once lived in that area. Check out the articles on the site. They actually tried to change the name Cabrini Green to Noca but many residents were not having it.

Case in point, the Bulls used to play in an area called the West side. It was a predominantly Black and Latino area. Since White people moved into the area it’s now called Ukranian Village. Michael Jordan did not play in Ukranian Village. He played on the West side. Many people who don’t bother to study history will probably never know this information. Knowing the history and problems of gentrification is why many residents from the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, which is a predominantly Latino area, are currently upset by the White people attempting to move into their area.

Once White people move in, they literally drive out the people of color by raising the rent and property taxes to exorbitant amounts that ultimately end up forcing out the people of color and eventually turning the neighborhood into yet another White affluent neighborhood. Gentrification and changing the name of their conquest are common things for White people to do when it comes to real estate. They are trying to do the same to Harlem located in New York. I can’t believe they wanted to change the name Harlem to  SoHa. Absolutely ridiculous!

 It makes me sad to think about how our generational wealth has been taken from us. Just think, if towns like Tulsa or Rosewood were allowed to thrive, we would not have the problems that we are having. Check out the below video about Tulsa.

These towns were created due to the blatant discrimination many Black people faced. The Black people in these towns created their own thriving communities. These towns were filled with black professionals who owned their own businesses, doctors, and pharmacists. Tulsa had more than 300 black-owned businesses and was referred to as the Black Wall Street. Sadly, in both instances, the KKK literally invaded both Tulsa and Rosewood and burned them to the ground. In fact, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riots was deemed the deadliest race riot in history.

If you really think about it, White people have benefited from 400 years of free labor due to slavery, burned down 2 major thriving Black communities (that we know of, it could have been more) and continue to have a government system filled with laws that have and continue to disenfranchise Black communities, reparations should not be a controversial topic. Plus, the Japanese were able to receive compensation for the hardships that they endured.

Americans are constantly told Never to forget the Holocaust and 9/11, but most automatically shut down the conversation if Black people start talking about slavery. At the very least, America can level the playing field via education. Brown vs. Education was supposed to address the issues that many Black people face in their attempt to receive a quality education. We know that this is not the case.

Evidence of this fact can be proven by asking yourself, “Would you want your child to go to a dilapidated school in the inner city?” or on the South or West side of Chicago? If you’re being honest, the answer would be a resounding, “No.” Guess, what? Most Black kids don’t want to go there either. The schools are dilapidated because they don’t have  any money for supplies. To make matters worse, the teachers are poorly paid and many have no incentive nor initiative to teach these kids. This was something that I never experienced thanks to the numerous sacrifices my parents made.

Nonetheless, I still had my share of hardships; which brings to point #3 employment. Once I graduated from college, I had the hardest time trying to find a full-time direct hire position. Even though I graduated in 4 years while working full time while attending college, I still couldn’t land a full time gig. I could only get dead end temp jobs which made me seriously question why I even went to college.

I know one of the main reasons it was hard for me to find a job is because I have an ethnic-sounding name. My name is LaTosha. If someone wasn’t sure of my name and actually contacted me, once I showed up the job was magically filled. 

I was so happy when LinkedIn appeared on the scene because I was tired of wasting my time researching the company and the role, getting dressed up and paying for parking only to have the interview last for 5 minutes because they didn’t want someone Black working for their company.

LinkedIn made it possible for the company to know that I was Black before I showed up so in case they wanted to discriminate against me, they could at least not waste my time and money applying with them.

I’ve played a starring role in this movie way too many times…🙃😂🤷🏾‍♀️

The reason I became so successful is because my mom steered me in the right direction.  She always said that if you can’t walk through the front door, be creative. Don’t throw up your hands and quit. Make a window or create a tunnel to get to the other side of that door. 

In other words, I created a business that made me more marketable that showcased my talents and skills. All of which helped me to land opportunities that I never would have received if I went the traditional route and solely relied on my resume. 

Due to inequalities that exist, Black people have to be WAY more creative in landing a job and this should not be the case.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” For those who continue to call our protests “riots” the way to silence them is to give equal rights and justice for all by addressing Black America’s housing, education, and employment issues. We don’t want to be out in these streets any more than you do.

Other videos/ articles I recommend:

This is America

America Protests Police Brutality and Systemic Racism | The Daily Social Distancing Show

Remove police immunity

Do you want to donate to Hustle in Faith? Click here!

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to check out the Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith that is available for sale on Amazon. 

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating or purchasing a Prayer and Gratitude Journal for Men and Women of Faith from Amazon to help offset the cost of producing this show.

Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Pinterest. Remember, if you’re everything to everyone then you risk being no one. You never know who will inspire see you in the next episode!

Ep. 109: Why can’t we all just get along?

Welcome to Hustle in Faith. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your trail to a happier healthier you by discussing topics regarding Christianity, health & wellness, beauty & so much more! I’m your host Tosha Johnson.

This is episode 109: Why can’t we all get along?

I’m sure you have all heard and/or seen the protests that have been occurring throughout the country. In case you have been living under a rock or one of those people who doesn’t understand what all the “fuss” is about, it all boils down to racism.  Since a lot of White people seem to think that racism does not exist, they are ignoring people of color attempting to share their stories so they can receive justice. This is why racism continues to exist.

I decided to create this episode and share my experiences about this racism matter. I truly believe in my heart that if the conversations I have with my students about race were had in America, we all would be living in a much different world. I’m a firm believer that much of the fear and anger we are seeing is due to the fact that people have forgotten to live and acknowledge these two simple rules:

1.     God’s Golden rule (Lk 6:31): Do unto others as you would have others do unto you 

2.     We are all equal (Acts 17: 26-28). God made us from one bloodline. 

I am sad to say, many White people do not believe in the aforementioned. In fact, please be sure to check out this video of a White cop stating that most White people are fearful of people of color. Please keep in mind that I used the word “most” White people. 

I’ve been teaching English online to adults for 7 years. The conversations that I had with my students from Austria, Germany, Italy, and China are so enlightening. I’m honored to call these folks my friends (shout out to Julius, Rosario, Elena, Ali, and Chris). Special shout out to my Spanish teacher Julieth you know I love you too!

It’s so difficult for me to process my thoughts and let alone try my best to explain this to my students. My students have shown more interest in trying to learn more about the situation then the White folks I encounter on an everyday basis right here in America.  

As I stated before, most White people refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem with racism. Many White people here do not want to address race because deep down it would mean that they would have to acknowledge the fact that America truly has been and still is a tale of two cities. The haves and the have nots.

White people have been on top for over 400 years because they benefited from slavery. People of color, primarily African Americans are tired of playing the “have not role”. We’re tired of not having our voices heard. The stories of Ahmad Arbery, Christian Cooper, and literally seeing George Floyd murdered right before our very eyes on the video were just too much. Ahmad for example just went for a jog and never came back home because 3 White people (Rednecks) thought he fit the description of a thief.

Christian Cooper almost lost his life because a crazy white woman named Amy Cooper was offended that Christian (a black man) had the audacity to ask her to put her dog on a leash. They were in a public park where the dogs are supposed to be on a lease. This rule is so that everyone can enjoy the park; plus, not everyone wants to be around your dog. Despite this fact, Amy Cooper was offended that Christian (a black man) had the audacity to ask her to put her dog on a leash.

Amy Cooper knew that if she called the police, they would come out and kill Christian for her. Seeking the police on people of color is a go to tactic among White people in America. They know that the police, who are comprised mostly of criminals with badges, will punish or even kill their opponents for them. This is why many White racist people do this. Case in point, George Floyd lost his life because the racist cop Derek Chauvin felt that placing his knee on George’s neck was the appropriate method to detain him.

Innocent until proven guilty is not meant for Black people. Most cops automatically assume that people of color are guilty.  The crazy thing is regarding every one of those stories (which are just 3 out of thousands) is that despite having video evidence these cops go free. 

The reason being is because many White people always look for a reason to justify the deaths of these Black men and women. How would you feel if you have evidence demonstrating how you were wrongfully treated and they get someone to “explain it away” and/or worse demonize you so the racist’s actions were justified?

Guys these are just three of thousands, yes, thousands of stories that are the very reason why many Black people and other people of color do not share the zeal that so many White people have for America. This is why Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem. He wanted to use his platform and peacefully protest and bring attention to the injustices people of color, especially Black people suffer on a daily basis.

Kaepernick, LeBron James, and countless other athletes are often told by White owners of the teams that they play for, by their so-called fans and countless others to essentially, “Shut up and play,” as if they don’t have a right to express their feelings. These White fans only want Black athletes to entertain and continue to increase the revenue of White billionaires.

These are the same people that when they saw the video about Christian Cooper , a Black birdwatcher who politely asked that crazy woman Amy Cooper to put her dog on a leash, she launched into the White woman damsel in distress role. This woman clearly had years of mastering White tears.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term White tears, it’s what Black people say when we refer to White people who believe that they have been wronged by someone Black. White tears are clearly seen when a Black person points out a White person’s racist behavior and/or when someone White gets upset that someone Black is successful. Those who cry White tears often do so in order to get other White people on their side. White tears is a devious attempt to make the Black person appear to be the bad guy.

Every Black person that I know, myself included, has experienced this at some point in time in their lives. Case in point, if you read the comments in the videos the majority of the White people in the comment sections that I read were voicing more concern over how the dog was being mistreated instead of the fact that this woman deliberately was trying to get this Black man killed. These racist fools showed that the dog’s life meant more to them than the Black man.

Stories like these are why I always laugh whenever I hear someone say, “All Lives Matter.” It is sad to say, most White people have blinders on and refuse to acknowledge racism. For example, in the story regarding Christian Cooper, the Black birdwatcher, there were more comments about how this white lady was treating the dog rather than the fact that she was trying to get this man killed.

These are the same folks that say they are not a racist but yet they think more of an animal than a human being.

If White people truly believe that All Lives Matter then they shouldn’t be offended when you hear the term Black Lives Matter. I’m amazed that I even have to say this but believe it or not, Black Lives Matter is not insinuating that other lives do not.

Here are a couple of examples for you to visualize. I have to thank Dwight Johnson for this analogy because this first one is so perfect! 

In the Bible, Luke 15 talks about Jesus having 100 sheep, but one goes missing.  

Jesus leaves the 99 and goes after the one. 

The 99 sheep: “But…what about us?” Don’t we matter? 

Of course, the 99 still matter, but they are not the ones in danger. 

Again, Black Lives Matter is not insinuating that other lives do not. Black lives are the one in danger.

Here’s another analogy. You have two houses. One house is on fire. Just because you water the house that’s on fire does not mean that you don’t care about the house that is not burning. 

This is happening because White people are filled with fear because their White throne is being taken down. They are no longer viewed as a leader and all powerful. People of color now have a voice and a platform and are not seeking the approval of White people.

Many White people do not want to share their power and resources that they illegitimately gained from slavery (mainly Black people).  Latinos and Asians have also reaped the benefits of our work and protests to gain and maintain our rights as well.

Watching the peaceful protests evolve into the looting and rioting that occurred over the weekend was painful to watch. I completely understand the anguish and anger of the protestors. Nonetheless, two wrongs do not make a right. I agree innocent Black people should not be killed by the police. I am strongly against this because that’s wrong. In such a case, we should protest. I’m all for protesting.

On the other hand, I am strongly against the looting and rioting that is going along with the protests. This behavior is uncalled for and it diminishes the lives that were lost and the message of the protest.

By the way, the destruction and devastation done by the looters and rioters that you see on the North side, where many White people live, is what it has always looked like in the South and West side where many Blacks and Latinos have lived for decades. 

This affluent area of Chicago will rebound and look brand new within the next two weeks while the South and West side will continue to remain looking like war-torn countries like they always have been for years. The South and West sides look like this not due to  looting and rioting, but because government officials do not care about these people.

Although I have lived a privileged life, I do understand the frustration my people are facing. My mom was one of those people. She was brought up in the projects called Cabrini Greens. For one reason or another, many times she could not go home because the police had the place on lock down. Thinking about the pain and suffering she went through brings me to tears. I know that most people are going to say, but that was black on black crime.

What most of us fail to realize is that every race has their idiots.  There have been just as many white on white crimes as there have been black on black. Every race and/or ethnicity has some sort of organized crime Italians have the Mafia, Latinos have the Latin Kings, Asians have the Triad and the list goes on.  However, the crimes committed by those in the Mafia that consist of  White on White crime are overlooked. The news loves to amplify the negative things that people of color do. Again, every race has some folks who choose to go the criminal element route.

With this being said, racism is totally different. Racism goes across the board and includes innocent people just because they share the same skin tone. I should not be thought of as being guilty just because I have dark skin. Check out my blog because the videos on there express my viewpoints. The media and most White people want to blame people of color for anything that is wrong. They are disregarding the evidence that is being presented that most of these crimes are being committed by White Supremacists groups.

There have been several reports from across the country stating that many of the looting and rioting was too calculated. And many of the looters and rioters were NOT from Chicago. Many of the protestors have stated that White Supremacists have been infiltrating the protests in an attempt to cause trouble. I truly believe and would not be surprised if Trump and the rest of his evil minions were the masterminds behind the looting and rioting.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot stated during one of her press conferences that the thieves were listening to the cops’ radio airwaves because the looting was too calculated. This is not typical equipment that Black people have access to. However, those crazy White supremacist militia types do have access to this equipment. Most of the blacks in these protests have problems putting food on the table. Therefore, they would not have money to buy this expensive equipment that some of the looters and rioters were using.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those crazy White supremacist broke into the stores and called the media so they could get black people on tape stealing. Those crazy White Supremacists know what button to push. They know that once others (desperate people) see that the stores are open, they would  leverage this as their “opportunity” to finally get some material stuff that they normally could never afford. 

Again, two wrongs don’t make a right. However, it does not help to have a racist idiot in office basically trying to instigate a civil war. Trump literally stated that the MAGA people love black people and that they were going to join the protestors. Are you kidding me? That was his slick way of telling his racist tribe to go cause trouble. Neither the Democrats nor Republicans represent the values of people of color. You can’t fight against racism when your country is led by a White Supremacist.

I am a firm believer that this fight can only be won if we as a whole are willing to allow Christ to lead us. All of which will encompass us to follow His Golden Rule. 

If you’re White listening to this episode I just want to thank you for doing so. I know you’re probably feeling uncomfortable. This uncomfortable feeling that you’re experiencing is something that Black people have been dealing with all of our lives. I have always felt like a fish out of water. I’m going to be 38 in July. Trust me, I’ve definitely had my fair share of dealing with racism. I went to predominantly white grade schools and high school and was often the ONLY Black student in the room.

Needless to say, this isolation continued in college. I went to DePaul University where I was the only Black student in the classroom. I can recall when I got into a fight with my Communications teacher. I think that she had preset ideas as to how Black people were supposed to talk. To make a long story short, she wanted to fail me because I was too “polished” of a speaker (her words not mine). I didn’t fit her stereotype. It was a communication class, I should be polished! 

Even after all these years, things still have not changed. I’ve shown up for interviews only for the job to magically have been filled or told that I’m not the right fit for the job even though my resume practically mirrored the job description. If I do get the job, I’m usually the only Black person on my team or in the room.

I’m glad these protests are happening. Even though I’ve grown accustomed to being comfortable with awkward situations, this is NOT normal. IT’S EXHAUSTING!

Nonetheless, I use every obstacle or injustice I have encountered as a stepping stone to make me strong and move me forward to where I am today. Despite all of the negativity I encounter, I’m still staying optimistic so that I can move forward in life. My positive outlook is due to my strong Christian upbringing and my following Christ’s Golden rule.

There are so many chapters in my life that I have left to write. I hope that you can read them one day, but that will never happen if you can’t see past my cover. 

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Here are some additional videos that I recommend viewing as well:

Yet, another unarmed Black man named Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back. Meanwhile, a White teenager literally walked through a protest with a long-range gun, killed two protestors and injured another one, went home to Illinois (he drove to Wisconsin he’s not even from the area!) and got arrested the next day. What’s wrong with this picture???