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. 

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