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.

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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