Random Thoughts

Episode 119: Working from home and mask pet peeves

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 119: Random Thoughts: Working from home and my mask pet peeves

We’re approaching month 7 of living in this pandemic world. During this time, my company along with many other companies has made the decision to allow their employees to work from home until next year. Companies have noticed they are saving a lot of money and seeing an increase in productivity. Honestly, my company has not lost a beat with everyone working from home.

I find it interesting reading articles that have been talking about the issues working from home causes for employees. Working from home is nothing new to me. I’ve been working from home for years. In fact, I was working from home before the Coronavirus hit, so nothing changed in my routine. Out of all the companies that I’ve ever worked, hands down, this place, so far has been one of the BEST. Honestly, working from home has allowed me to live my best life! If you want to learn more why check Episode 116 It’s My Birthday.

In any case, I have to laugh when I come across articles talking about the “issues” working from home causes for employees. Surely, this was not written by a real employee. Most likely these articles are written by executives who want to get away from their family environment. Considering the fact that they are trying to get back to the office and away from their “family” proves that these individuals are living a checklist life. Their family or “loved ones” are just items they can check off their list so that they can appear that they are worth imitating. 

Also, when I come across articles that discuss the issues that working from home poses for employees, I often picture a lonely micromanager who lacks the self-discipline they need to work from home. Instead of dealing with their personal problems (i.e. being lonely, needing to be surrounded by other people to feed their ego, etc.), this lonely micromanager insists on projecting their personal problems onto everyone else (aka their subordinates). Again, I’ve been working from home for years.

Here’s the thing, the majority of the folks that I know, obviously myself included, absolutely love working from home. Where you work should NOT dictate how effective you are at your job. If you have a corporate job and you had to work late on a project, you would most likely do so from your house. Therefore, there is NO difference than when you work from home all day everyday. Those people that want people to come back into the office are dealing with personal issues that they want to project onto others (i.e. their subordinates or  co worker).

I know lonely micromanagers are the same fools that voted for offices to embrace an open layout. OK, sorry just had a bad flashback to the days when I had to sit in that ridiculous layout… Anyway moving forward, working from home is a win-win for everyone involved (the company and employees). Since everyone has been working from home, companies are seeing a thrive in Productivity. Again, working from home is a win -win for everyone; especially the employees. A home environment gives employees the Creativity outlet they need and last but not least, working from home enables employees to keep a Work/Life Balance.

For example, let’s take the increase in productivity. 

Productivity

I cannot stress how much more work I get done at home than when I’m in the office. Working in the office is incredibly distracting. In time past, I was stuck working in an uncomfortable cubicle. In addition to this, it seemed that my cubicle was located in the busiest aisle known to mankind. You know that one aisle everyone takes to get back to their own cubicle, but before they make it back to their desk, they stop in front of my cubicle to have the world’s longest conversation with another co-worker.

Then there’s what I refer to as the drive-bys. When you’re trying to meet a deadline and then someone drops by to talk to you. You don’t want to be rude, so you stop what you’re doing and chat for a bit, and then try to give cues that you’re busy but the other person doesn’t seem to pick up on the cues. Finally, I just have to be the bad guy and end the conversation. The same thing happens when you stop by the water cooler. Again, working in the office is incredibly distracting.

I know this is going to sound cold, but I’m just not big on the chit chat conversations. Especially when it’s with people that I have nothing in common with. It’s nothing personal, but there’s only so many hours in a day. As I get older, I just don’t have the time and energy to engage in fake conversations. Utilizing my time for fake conversations, means that I have to work overtime. I am a person who properly utilizes her time during working hours. Mainly, because I am not into working overtime. Working overtime interferes with my “I work to live, not live to work” mentality!

Working from home allows us to avoid all the aforementioned scenarios. Unlike some people, I prefer to finish my work during working hours.  Plus, after hours, I have a ton of fulfilling projects that I like to work on like teaching English, dance, working on my fitness apparel stores, doing voiceovers, etc. These projects are my passion. They are fun for me and the extra cash I make is icing on the cake.

If you think about it, who in their right mind does not want to work from the comfort of their own home? I will take the home office that I have built for myself ANY DAY over an office cubicle. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to work from home? Home is where the heart is right? It’s been interesting reading studies and articles about how men are more willing to go back to the office than women. To me, it seems like many of these men are going back into the office as a means to escape from their home life.

I have to work really hard NOT to roll my eyes when I hear people complain about working from home and being anxious to get back into the office. These fools would rather sit in an office all day wearing a mask (which by the way I will NEVER do) when they could be working from the comfort of their own home.  That makes no sense! I know the essential workers trapped in retail jobs would love to be able to work from home. These essential workers (especially those who work in retail) would love to switch places with these fools who insist on coming into the office.

What I have noticed is – many of the folks complaining about working from home have never truly worked in jobs that are considered essential.  I worked retail in high school. It was one of the main reasons why I knew I needed to get that piece of paper (aka degree). The way my personality is set up, I know I could not deal with the Karens, Beckys, Chads and Tanners of the world and maintain my sanity.

Many of you who know me, know I don’t have a poker face. Therefore, you can immediately see the irritation on my face when I have to listen to someone say, they cannot wait to get back into the office. I automatically think about how selfish or lonely this person is. They are leaving their spouse at home to take care of the kids all by herself (I said herself because most of the time it is women that end up with the kids) and/or they are just lonely people that are forcing their subordinates or co-worker to be their friend,  and/or they need to be surrounded by other people to feed their ego during working hours.

Another thing, the folks that “enjoy” going to the office oftentimes have their own office. They don’t have to sit in cubicles or worst the ridiculous open layout format. They can retreat back to their office while the rest of us are stuck trying to book a conference room so we can make a simple client call because we’re sitting on top of each other…

Again, working from home is a win-win for everyone involved. It highlights the folks that are producing results as well as demonstrates to employers those who are barely doing enough to get a paycheck. Working in the office, folks who “fake” working have always been able to get away with their behavior.  Mainly because they’re good at talking and running around playing the office politics games. At home, communication must be scheduled, concise, and direct. Outside the office environment, that “fake” stuff does not work.

Working from home exposes these people for the fakes they are and employees like me finally get a chance to shine. Working from home does not diminish our productivity. On the contrary, it enhances our productivity by taking away the stress and giving employees back their time. This is valuable time that can be spent developing our creativity.

Creativity

The time and energy we waste getting ready for work, fighting traffic to get to work, and once we get there, we need time to decompress from the hassle it took to get to work. This daily 2 or 3 hours a day can be better spent on developing our God given creativity.

Working from home takes away the stress and mismanagement of time.  The mere fact that I don’t have to deal with all the above put me in a win- win situation. My home office is super calming. Since I’m more relaxed I can think of more ideas on how to create more revenue opportunities to increase my 9 to 5 business as well as my own.

 I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant, but I’m one of the most creative people you will ever meet. When someone tells me their talent, I can come up with all sorts of ideas on how they can make money with their God-given talent. I am just wired this way as to why my mom strongly suggested that I pursue a career in marketing. Needless to say, she was correct in helping me choose my path in life. I try to do the same so others can experience some of what I have.

From a corporate perspective, it’s unfortunate that many employers may not get to reap the benefits of their employees’ creativity. Many companies fail to realize that a lot of those ideas that employees wish to share are being trapped by those that they report into…their managers. I’ve had managers either never share my idea or flat out attempt to steal my idea. Emphasis on attempt because I would never allow someone to take credit for my idea. I’ve also had coworkers attempt to do the same thing without being reprimanded by their manager. 

If you call me impromptu, please do not be offended if I don’t use my video.
When I say, “I’m not camera ready,” that means I’m looking like the photo on the left. 😉

I’ll never forget the first time this happened to me. I created a brand new report but I needed one piece of data that I needed to include in the report. I was going on vacation somewhere I wouldn’t have Wifi, so I asked my coworker if they could include the data and then send it to my client. My coworker decided to put his name on the report and act like he created the report and took the compliments on my behalf. I found out only because the department head complimented this person. Now I could care less about the accolades. The thing that upset me was this dude had the audacity to steal my idea like  I was someone he could walk all over. 

So I called a meeting with my manager and this thief and expressed my frustration.  Since this thief was on the other side of the situation (receiving compliments for my work), he didn’t understand why I was so upset. Of course, my worthless manager just wanted me to get past this without “reprimanding the thief”. Mainly because the thief performed one of the best White tears performances I had ever seen (guys this was before the Amy Cooper and the Black bird watcher video). So anyway, when we left the conference room the thief was visibly upset. Everyone was looking at me like I was the bad person despite the fact that this person had flat out stolen my idea and lied.. 

Honestly, it was moments like this and others that followed that caused me to seriously question how much of my energy I wanted to spend climbing that corporate ladder only to find out later that my ladder was leaning against the wrong wall.  My hope during this pandemic is that companies that aren’t thriving in the innovation area need to take inventory of their company’s leadership staff. Due to bottlenecks, companies could be missing out on great ideas that can generate more revenue.

As I stated before working from home is a win-win for everyone. The company and I both get to save money. The company saves money because they no longer have to pay for travel and expenses. They can save even more money because they don’t have to pay for company infrastructure. If it is a reputable company, then hopefully those savings will be redistributed to the employees. Even if the aforementioned never happens, an employee can still save money because he/she no longer has to pay for transportation costs and/or work clothes.

In addition to all these benefits, working from home gives employees a great work/like balance.

Work/Life Balance

Just sitting back thinking about my work/life balance, can be attributed to me working from home. The two hours I used to spend getting dressed and commuting to work can now be spent on exercising. I love exercising in the morning. The only way I can exercise during this time is because I don’t have to waste my time and energy going into the office.

There’s no way in the world I could exercise in the morning if I had to go into the office. The time it would take for me to get dressed, do my makeup and hair, I’ve got natural hair so that will take forever to style (scroll down to see the video I created to learn more about natural hair) I would never get out the door. Of course, I’ve got to leave time to commute. I’m exhausted just thinking about that schedule…

There are so many positive aspects to employees working from home. As I have stated before, this pandemic has not been all bad.  Working from home is definitely an approach that more companies will continue to embrace. 

My Mask Wearing Pet Peeves

On the other hand, I will never embrace how people treat wearing masks like Linus wore his blanket. Some people’s approach to wearing a mask demonstrates that common sense is not all that common for everyone.

I’m not going to get into all of my thoughts regarding the Coronavirus and the mask. In case you’re interested checkout Episode 108.  Anyway, I feel this whole mask-wearing thing is getting out of hand. It’s driving me insane to see these advertisements that state that wearing masks is saving lives. It’s not true! You can still get sick if you’re wearing a cloth mask.Unless you’re wearing the N95 mask you’re not saving anything.

I have seen so many instances of cross contamination.  I’ve seen people wearing masks on their chin, underneath their nose, on their ears or wrist then they touch different surfaces only to put back on their Linus blanket (aka their mask). The thing that I’ve seen that’s puzzled me the most is when I see kids at the playground with a mask on, playing on equipment that is not disinfected but then touching all over their face to keep their mask on. It doesn’t make sense. You might as well take the mask off… You will have a better chance of not getting contaminated.

Here’s the thing, if you want me to wear a mask in the store; that’s cool! But I will never wear one outside when social distancing is clearly possible. There is no reason in the world that you shouldn’t be able to social distance outside. I value my health and safety so trust me, I was a social distancing champ before the pandemic.

The bottom line, it is NOT good to wear a mask all day and especially if you’re exercising. You’re literally breathing in your own carbon dioxide and trapping bacteria in your mask. You’re increasing your chances of getting dizzy and fainting. Wearing a mask while exercising is one of the main reasons why I and many other fitness instructors opted not to return back to the studio to teach our classes. We KNOW how dangerous it is to teach a fitness class with a mask on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are those who are teaching under duress under this condition, because they really need the money. I am not talking about them. I am simply pointing out that mask wearing in the great outdoors is an overkill.  I feel like people are just blindly following rules without questioning their validity. 

Maintaining a social distancing environment is all we need. I love to run and bike by myself. Therefore, maintaining a social distance is not a problem for people like me. I have been doing this way before the pandemic came into existence and I have been in very good health before and during this pandemic.

My whole pet peeve is those people who are buying into this whole “I’m saving lives when they wear a mask.” You’re really not saving lives! Seeing people wearing a mask when they are literally sitting on their own porch away from people is silly. This is equally disturbing when I see people wearing masks to mow the grass without a single soul near them. If the media believes in fair play, they should report on the folks that are getting sick from wearing their mask.

The mask-wearing that thoroughly confuses me is when I see people wearing a mask alone in their car or the majority of the family members are wearing a mask and one of the members is not. This is silly! You all are going home together. If the one without the mask gets sick, he/she is going to spread it to everyone in the family. So, you might as well stand in solidarity as a family by everyone wearing the mask or everyone not wearing the mask. Another rule that drives me insane is with the restaurant situation. You walk into a restaurant with the mask on only to take it off when you get to your table. It doesn’t make any sense! 🤷‍♀️

There’s just way too much fear going around. For example, when I’m running or biking on the trail I make a point to leaving plenty of room when I go past people. Yet, I see fearful people freaking out trying to hurry up and put a mask after I have already approached them. I’m literally long gone before they accomplish putting on their mask.

My point is, if you’re going to wear a mask outside, make it make sense people. I can’t wait to share an interview with one of English students who works in the science field in Germany. The way they are doing things over there makes WAY more sense to me than the mess we have going on over here in America.

I truly do believe that the Coronavirus is going to end up being like the flu. As a result, the thing that makes the most sense is to teach people how to focus on building up their immune system. Pharmaceutical companies focus on treating symptoms because it’s more lucrative than creating a cure. Instead of giving people information about building up their immune system, the media has been trying to brainwash people into getting a vaccination. Vaccination isn’t going to be effective because this virus strain mutates way too fast. By the way, for those folks who think that they need to get a flu shot vaccination, the CDC doesn’t heavily advertise the fact that the effectiveness rate is only 40% so there’s no point in getting one of these either.

The bottom line is everyone needs to do their research and make sure that they don’t forget common sense in their quest to stay healthy. There’s just way too much fear going around. I understand people are getting sick, but we still have to find a balance of maintaining some semblance of sanity and being sociable.

Articles/videos referenced in this Natural Hair video:

Black Women with Natural Hairstyles Are Perceived as Less Professional: Black people can’t catch a break…LOL This is not news to any of us, but this is yet another type of discrimination faced on a daily basis.

Hair Relaxer Use and Risk of Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women: In an attempt to reduce our curl pattern, many of us (myself included) used to use relaxers. Of course, no one told us about the dangerous chemicals that these relaxers contained nor the fact that they cause an increase in fibroids or cause cancer. Hence, why many Black women STOPPED getting relaxers. No one wants to die over their hair.

The Crown Act: A law that is supposed to address the issue of hair discrimination in the workplace. By the way, super insane this is even needed because if you have an issue with our hair… that’s a personal problem. Take it up with God…🤷‍♀️

Sharmen J Beauty: I LOVE her headwraps. They are super stylish and comfortable. I would buy the entire store if I could. They make fantastic gifts!

Grace Eleyae (Slap): There’s no way I would ever go to bed and/or outside during the wintertime without wearing these satin-lined slaps (aka beanies) that she makes. They have a satin lining on the inside that help keep your hair moisturized. Another fantastic gift for your favorite curlfriend.

YouGoNatural: Beautiful African satin lined headwraps.

Unan Import (site coming soon): If you’re in Chicago, stop by this store. He sells headscarves along with beautiful African art, skincare products (African Black soap, Mango butter, Shea butter), earrings, etc.

Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. Don’t forget to take the How Well Rounded Are  You in Life quiz and check out  StarenguCrew, our new fitness apparel shop.

If you enjoy Hustle in Faith’s content, please consider becoming a supporter by donating, purchasing a  Hustle in Faith journal  or an  item from StarenguCrew in order 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 you in the next episode!

Episode 116: It’s My Birthday!

I’m 38. Let’s Celebrate!

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 116: I’m 38. Let’s Celebrate!

Well if you couldn’t tell from the title of this episode I’m celebrating my birthday! I’m now 38 years old. It feels so weird so saying that number. I remember when I was a kid how I used to think 40 was ancient. Now that I’m approaching 40 at what appears to be lighting speed, I can’t help but laugh; forty is not as ancient as I thought it was.

Needless to say, this will definitely be a year I know many of us will never forget. Not only was this the start of a New Year, but a shiny brand-new decade.  When this year first started, I had all these plans. I had already written out my short term and long term goals and was all set to work through my bucket list. 

Then the Coronavirus or as Black Twitter calls it, Rona came around and pretty much said, “Slow your roll, you’re not going anywhere.”  I was supposed to be celebrating my birthday this week in Toronto  And later this year. In December, I was going to celebrate my mom turning 60 by taking her to Costa Rica. Although I was really looking forward to taking those trips, I made my peace with having to cancel them; due to the Coronavirus. Sitting on a plane with a mask on is definitely not my jam.

The Coronavirus and Black people having to take to the street in protest is not what I had envisioned for 2020. I’m not going to get into these topics, but If you want to learn more about my thoughts regarding the politicizing of the Coronavirus and Black community check out episode 108 and if you’re interested in learning more about why protests are taking place and how to fight back against racism check out episodes 109, 110, 111, 114 and another episode called Random Thoughts Thursday: Homelessness & Gentrification

What part of Revelation are we doing today? 😂 😂 😂

It’s amazing to sit back and think that we are literally living through a chapter that will without a doubt be discussed and debated about for years to come. If you’re Black listening to this episode, I don’t need to tell you how exhausting it is to be trapped simultaneously within two pandemics…the Coronavirus and suffering through the not so subtle effects of systemic racism. 

What I want to remind everyone listening to this episode is that our lives are like a vapor (James 4:14). Our life is a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Life is short. If I had to choose a theme song that represented my life up until now, it would be hands down U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

I absolutely love that song and that group. I’ve actually seen them in concert twice. One time I was in the front row and Bono looked directly at me and smiled. I think he was just as surprised and pleased to see me there as I was to be there. Again, check out the lyrics to this song and you’ll see why I spent so much of my life unnecessarily searching for my place and purpose in this world.

U2 360 Tour

Despite all the chaos that is currently happening in this world, I almost feel guilty saying this, but this has been one of the best years of my life; apart from not traveling to Canada and Costa Rica. I can finally say, I found what I’m looking for. Peace and contentment. Now, there were moments in my past where I thought I found this dynamic duo, but I realize now that those events were meant to motivate me to get to the spot where I am now. 


2015| Me and my mom riding ATVs in La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano area in Costa Rica

I can TRULY 100% say that I have a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). I have never been happier than I am in my current life right now. I am satisfied with my life. Not many people can say this.  You know what? I can say this because I did not allow the hardships I have experienced go to waste. I know what it’s like to be broke; I know what it’s like to lose a loved one; I know what it’s like to feel like the world is against you and you’re left to muster what little strength and energy you have to fight back against what oftentimes feels like the wind. 

Now, I’m well aware that the majority of the people listening to this episode may not want to hear about my happiness, but just hear me out anyway.  I have been through a lot of ups and downs in my life. Emphasis on a lot. This is why I’ve learned not to allow my peace to be dictated by my circumstances. In other words, I do not let anyone or anything steal my joy. Don’t get me wrong this is much easier said than done. I am here to tell you that peace that surpasses all understanding is possible if you put Christ first and work toward that outcome.

My parents never sugar coated anything. I do not come from a rich family. Fighting for peace and success is something that I’m so blessed my parents instilled in me when I was a child. I knew early on in life that in order for me to experience success that I would have to work twice as hard and be creative in how I achieved success. People are quick to envy your success, but I guarantee they will think twice about taking the journey you took to get there.

I always wanted to mirror my mom’s life. My parents got married when they were 19 and shortly after had me and my sister. I envisioned myself getting married young and doing the same thing. I remember being so mad when I was in my early 20’s about not being married or having kids. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I find Mr. Right? The funny thing is I was the one putting all this pressure on myself, not my mom. My mom literally said, “Tosha, I love you but if I could do it all over again, we would not be having this conversation.”

My shero aka my mom 😂

She went on to share all the reasons why I should enjoy being single and childfree. I love the analogy she came up with to describe marriage. You’re wearing a beautiful dress. Marriage is like a necklace. That dress is going to be beautiful regardless of whether you decide to wear that necklace. She was brutally honest in sharing with me, how much she sacrificed for us and how she didn’t want me nor my sister to go through all the pain and heartaches she went through in trying to provide for us.

My parents were happily married, but it was a lot of work. Emphasis on a lot. It was even harder because neither of my parents came from good families. My mom literally had the worst parents in the world. Prayer and constantly seeking God’s guidance is the only way she knew how to raise us. She clearly listened to God. We had a wonderful childhood. We had the childhood my dreamt about but never got a chance to experience herself. My mom is proof that where you start in life does NOT determine the level of success you can and will achieve if you put God first. I am not just saying this because she is my mom, but her life story is absolutely fascinating. I’ll convince her one of these days to let me interview her. 😉

As I get older, I noticed from my own experiences and those around me that my mom was right about everything; not having kids and not rushing into marriage. Both duties are a lot of work. After watching my friends and others struggle with raising their kids or listening to them complain about their marriages confirm that my life is perfect “as is”.  Now do not get me wrong, I would still be open to the idea of marriage if I found the right guy. I’m so glad that I didn’t get married when I was younger. I was not complete; nor was I ready for that responsibility.

Looking at the divorce rate and others who remain in unhappy marriages demonstrates that they were not ready for the responsibility of marriage either. In order to have a successful marriage both people have to know who they are in Christ’s eyes. Honestly, I had got married earlier, I would have been bringing a lot of unnecessary baggage to the table. I was too insecure.  I was looking for a spouse to make me happy and give me fulfillment. With this weak mindset, my marriage would have been doomed from the start.

As I stated before, marriage and raising kids is a lot of work. I know how hard I had to fight to finally find peace in my life. This is one of the main reasons I know for a fact I would lose my peace and joy if I had kids.  Marriage and children would have derailed my life, not enhanced it. Thanks to me often seeking and appreciating my mom’s godly advice, God has blessed me with not only being able to find contentment in my personal life, but my professional life as well.

Speaking of my professional life, when I graduated from college and started my career, I had all these crazy ideas that working hard would move me up the corporate ladder. Good grief, I was so naive!  I seriously thought I was going to conquer the world. I legitimately thought I was going to make it to the top of the corporate ladder.

Due to my own stupidity, I ignored society subtle reminders about where my place was supposed to be on the corporate ladder…the bottom.  Although society kept sending me notices to stay in my place, if you know me, their notices were never going to be an option for me. I kept working my butt off for a dream that I soon realized would never materialize. There were so many times in my career I knew I was doing Director level work but never received the title nor the pay. Obviously, this isn’t fair, but it is what it is.  Again, super naive on my part.

I will be the first one to admit that I had bought into society’s definition of success. Again, I was super naïve.

My ethnic sounding name, my unwillingness to play mind games nor lose my dignity to get ahead, endure endless microaggressions and working with just flat out racist people had me questioning if this was the type of  “success” I really wanted for my life. Being unfulfilled with the corporate BS led me to question what success is, how to achieve it and why I even desired it. While I was searching, I discovered that what society deems as success was not real and it did not align with what God had in store for my life.

God knew deep down that I’m not the type to lie, cheat and steal my way to the top. He knows my motto is, “Work to live, not live to work,”.  This motto is something I deeply desire and live by.  This is true success for me.  In case you want to learn more about the steps I took to create my ideal life, check out the episode called What will your dash look like? The dash I am talking about is the one seen in an obituary or a headstone.  There are two dates. Your birthdate and the day you leave this world. In between those two dates, is a dash. That dash represents the life you led while you were alive.

My point is, I want my dash to matter. One of my biggest fears in life is to wake up one day and realize that I had my ladder leaning against the wrong wall (in this case that wall was the corporate world).  Challenging my fears led me to take a long hard look at my desires and aspirations.  All of which leads me to take a different approach with life. I now view life from God’s perspective.  After aligning my life with God, I can see that God gave me a 9 to 5 so I could use that money to fund my life, not be my life.

The money I make from my 9 to 5 enables me to fund projects and endeavors that bring me joy, promotes my creativity as well as allows me to be a blessing to others. As I stated before, despite all the chaos that is currently going on, this year has been one of the best years of my life. Here is how all this came about…

Back in the day, I spent many sleepless nights teaching myself how to create websites, use Photoshop, create voice overs, edit audio and create videos. Although these things were my passions in life, I often wondered if it was a waste of time and money. I remember I would tell my mom how much I really wanted to learn these things even though I knew I would never get to use them on my real (9 to 5) job. The thought of not utilizing my knowledge made me want to give up and quit learning.

Due to my mom being my biggest cheerleader, I kept going. She convinced me to stop focusing on the money aspect and just enjoy the journey. She continues to explain that the money will come later, and that money should never come before my passion. She was right again. It was not until I started truly taking her advice to heart that I started getting hired for the creative jobs I truly desired to do.

People have been hiring me as a business consultant; I am doing voice over work for anything ranging from company voicemails, small movies roles, video games, company tutorials and one of my projects that I’m most proud of is that my voice is being used for Virginia’s Department of Education online learning curriculum. Even right now, I’m literally working on yet another amazing project creating a suite of product tutorial videos for a company that found me on YouTube. They found me on YouTube guys. They literally said, “Hey, we like your teaching style. Can you do this for us?” I can’t make this up! My websites have opened so many opportunities for me that I never in a million years would have thought were possible.

I know there are times that you may feel like giving up but I’m here to tell you to keep going.  Because I took my own advice, I created this podcast during the second worst period of my life.  When it rains it pours.  I was unemployed for a year, so you can imagine what my bank account looked like. I went on a ton of soul crushing interviews. During this time in my life, I just felt so defeated.  After I was done throwing myself a pity party, I figured I would share my journey in how I wanted to create my ideal life by putting God first.

I wanted to share my experiences with others so that my knowledge  isn’t wasted.  Regardless of how hard a time I’m going through, I want to motivate others to keep going so they can define what success looks like for them. So in the event that you are having a hard time, one of the ways I shifted my perspective to focus on God was to express more gratitude. Learn to be grateful for what you have and not focus on what you lack. After all, why should God give you the desires of your heart if you’re not content with the blessings He’s already given you?

So several years ago I started this exercise, which I still do to this day. Every day, regardless of how bad a day I have had, I write down 3 good things that happened to me and then place that sheet of paper in a shoebox that my mom was so kind to decorate for me.  Now I’m not going to lie to you, some days are much harder than others to find something to be thankful for was hard work. There were days where I literally wrote, I have food, clothes, and shelter and that’s ok because you know what, I know that God appreciates our efforts.

Then at the last week of the year, I go through and read them all. I make a list of all the major events that I want to remember and write them in my journal. Obviously, you don’t have to do the last part, but it’s kind of nice having a Top 10 list to reflect on when you’re going through tough times in life. It serves as a reminder that you made it through then and you can make it through now. It’s just a matter of time before you will be back to living the high life again

If the exercise I just described sounds appealing to you, please be sure to download the grateful notes I created. They are a lot prettier than the post-it notes or a sheet of paper. This is an exercise that I’ve been doing for almost over 7 years. In the event that you are having a hard time, I want you to please download my free planner and grateful notes from my website. I can truly say that my desire is to have a well balanced meaningful life. I want to help others to do the same. With that being said, I want to share with you a couple of goals I have in store for the future.

So this year, I’m super excited to share with you one of my major accomplishments. I’m proud to announce my fitness t-shirt apparel shop called StarenguCrew

StarenguCrew is geared towards women who don’t doubt the power of a workout. Working out is a lifestyle. It is my honor to create designs that will celebrate your shine!

I’m super excited about finally being able to launch this project, so I hope you decide to support my shop.

I love teaching dance fitness and boxing. You don’t want to catch these hands! 😉

I’ m all about keeping it moving, so I want to share 3  more goals I have in store for the future:

1.) I’m in the process of studying for my certification in nutrition. My goal is to create a health and fitness show with my friend. You can learn more about this in Episode 115: How do all the pieces fit together?

2.) My goal is to create an afterschool program for high schoolers so I can teach them everything that I know about business. Oftentimes, students of color (primarily Blacks and Latinos) are not in a position to gain the skills they need to be successful in business. 

It’s amazing to me how many people express confusion in how to end systemic racism when an idea as simple as mine which seems to be glaringly obvious is overlooked or ignored. It frustrates me how school conditions you to only think about working for someone else. While there is nothing wrong with this, you should give kids choices.

3.) I’m going to teach myself how to build apps because I have so many ideas. The best way to make your dream come true is to build it yourself, so that’s exactly what I plan to do.

One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from my Spanish teacher. She said, “Tosha, when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. Like there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to happen.” Hearing that made me feel good because she’s right. Nothing irritates me more than empty promises. Actions speak louder than words. I know some of my goals will take a while to materialize, but just knowing that they will bring me great joy.

Again, my journey to peace and contentment is a daily constant battle that I must be willing to fight. If you’re wrestling with the same issue, please know that you are not alone. Let God take the wheel so He can reduce the time it takes for you to slay every obstacle that comes your way. I finally found what I’m looking for, so now the whole world can see that this girl is on fire!

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 and StarenguCrew, our new fitness T-shirt shop.

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 or Tshirt from StarenguCrew in order 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 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

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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. 

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. Also, stop by Starengu Crew, our new fitness apparel store.

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!

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???