I’m not lost, but I might be losing it

I am not lost on the suffering and the generational trauma that has literally infected the very DNA we breed, or the blatant disregard of human decency some people exhibit. I am not lost on institutional racism and discrimination. I am not lost on the sacrifices, the martyrdom, or the bloodied bare whipped backs upon which this nation was built. I am not lost on the three-fifths compromise. I am not lost on church and cross burnings, the lynchings, and the tortuous methods that enslaved my ancestors both physically and psychologically. I am not lost on the subversion of christian values to justify evil institutions. I am not lost on the policies and practices that our government uses to disenfranchise and institutionally enslave it’s own people. I am not lost on the premeditated introduction of narcotics in to urban areas. I am not lost on the plots that have been carried out to kill and assassinate our leaders. I am not lost on the history that has shaped demonized and marginalized black people for almost half a millennia. The “we had a black president” argument is not valid. Bringing it up shows a complete lack of understanding, so don’t show your stupidity by saying it. Perhaps I’ll speak on Former President Barack Obama in subsequent writings (in case you’re wondering, in my opinion, he is by far the greatest leader this country has ever seen).

I know I have more to learn about this country’s history and more specifically the history of exploitation of minorities. In some ways I think that I have chosen to “block” out that history in the same way that I “block” out the negative experiences I have had in my personal life. I’m kind of afraid to stare it in the face because I know how deeply it would affect me and how much more angry and depressed I would be. The anger that I have though works as a propelling force towards my goals and ambitions and it acts as a fortification in my resoluteness in regards to how I demand respect. Anger (and my ability to “re-brand” it) has served me well thus far; however I believe that too much anger could perhaps cause me to lose focus on my grand plans (another topic, another day).

Here is the point though; regardless of YOUR history and all of the dark, depressing, and infuriating experiences that you have had in your life: two truths remain. The good news is that you get to choose which truth you live by. I am contending that most of us without the force of “love” will choose the truth that debilitates and limits introspective growth. Although we will sometimes fluctuate between the two paradigms, “love” will always get us to at least 51% on the growth side.

Truth 1:

I use to believe that I was neither capable nor worthy of creating my own success. I chose complacency and self-loathing. Not just any type of complacency though: Complacency without the freedom of legitimate protest. Since I forsook the prerequisites of professional and interpersonal growth for the sake of vicarious dependency on what I believed I was owed, I lacked legitimacy and the ability to argue that my merits warranted a homogeneous and anticipated result of those that had what I desired. And yet I still argued that there was something extrinsic preventing me from being, having, and doing what I wanted. With every passing argument, I lessened my ability to be heard

I thrived on the exploitation of my impoverished mind and at the first opportunity, used that now learned skill to further my lot in life and lessen that of others.

I allowed the world to define me.

I had no purpose.

Truth 2:

Now, my perspective also includes the knowledge that everything for which I need to be capable and complete, is already within me. I don’t need the approval of any person, regardless of the color of their skin or the size of their bank account, to substantiate my value or existence. My aim is to reject and decry any semblance of un-meritorious institutional preference through the work of my hands, the comprehension of my mind, and the strength of ancestral resoluteness to overcome and uplift others and myself. I need only a level playing field, upon which, as it relates to my intellect, skill, artistry, and physical capability – There is no equal.

Truth 1 is the foundation of the impoverished mind. In the inner cities mostly, the impoverished mind rules. It kills the will to live with purpose. Ironically, the impoverished mind is the part of black “culture” we spend most of our time trying to defend. The impoverished mind creates stereotypes and generalizations that we take great efforts to attempt to dispel and explain away. Why? The fact is that almost every stereotype you hear can be backed up by actual data AND the outcomes are not due to extrinsic forces. For the most part, the outcomes are directly related to what we’ve allowed ourselves to believe is OK. We’ve allowed ourselves to believe it because it somehow has nothing to do with making bad choices, but everything to do with whether or not the “man” is against us. Please. Students in Southern Sudan have the same graduation rates as those in Milwaukee, WI and face infinitely more challenges. It’s not the “man.” It’s you! You believe you are not capable, and thus is your result. You have become complacent. You have grown content with dependency on society justified by the historical errs of the founder’s of this nation. You don’t teach your children education is important. You don’t respect your mother’s and daughters.

Speaking from the perspective of a black man, it is extremely difficult for me to understand why black people complain about stereotypes. For the most part, they are true. We do absolutely nothing to solve the “real” problems. We actually celebrate them as if they are a badge of honor. And yes, the truth hurts, but it also heals and provides the space to move on. Oh, did I hurt your feelings? Do you think I might be losing it?

The statistics below, are to say the least, very disheartening. It certainly didn’t make me feel good researching them and then transposing them onto this blog. They should make you question what you stand for. They should make you rethink whether or not you give the impression that you believe these behaviors or outcomes are OK. They should confirm why stereotypes exist. Maybe once you see the information you’ll stop glorifying that lifestyle. By the way, do you let your children listen to messages that approve of these behaviors? Do you listen to them and support them? Do you engage in them?


Stereotypes Facts
1.       Black men are thugs and drug dealers “There are more black men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel, and England Combined” The Black Male Incarceration Problem is Real and Catastrophic – Huffington Post)


The leading cause of incarceration of an African American male is a non-violent drug offense www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/64

2.       Black men have babies and don’t take care of them The majority of black children are raised in single female-headed families. The illegitimacy rate is nearly 75%.

Between 1994 and 2002 the child support compliance rate by black men in an urban setting was 58% and of the 58% they managed only to pay 39% of what was owed



3.       Black men are uneducated and mostly illiterate Only 14% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/too-important-to-fail/fact-sheet-outcomes-for-young-black-men/
4.       All black men are “Players” 59% of black mothers with 2 or more kids have children with multiple fathers. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42364656/ns/health-childrens_health/t/us-moms-have-kids-multiple-dads-study-says/#.WLSVH_4zWUk



One of the greatest pains in my life is the look that I get (and I’m sure every minority person has received) when I go into a place predominantly made up of white people. The look says, “Why is he here? He certainly has nothing positive to contribute to this environment. He’s probably trying to get something for free. I see trouble in t-minus 15 minutes….” It’s a certain look that you wouldn’t know unless you were a minority – FACT. The problem for me is although it angers me to a level no one will ever comprehend, I can’t help but to appreciate the honesty. In fact, sometimes I say the same things. It’s hard not to; given the plethora of statistics that are out there for the public to view and my own experiences. The person that says stereotypes are unwarranted isn’t in tune with reality. The point is that preconceived notions are not always baseless and typically have a modicum of truth, but in order for their to be some type of paradigm shift, a clear denunciation of current results without reference to past experience or events is needed to move forward.

The “why” is not as important as the “what” and it doesn’t become important until you’ve done everything that the “what” requires.

Are you angry that I’m not allowing you to wallow in past misery and use it as an excuse for an entire group of people to expect bullshit as opposed to greatness? People who protest their circumstance, but not their deviation of process, render their arguments invalid – Truth 1.

People who embrace Truth 2 and follow the process, have cause.


Yep You’re ‘Black’ Get Over It!

When I was a young man, I started to write a book about my life and how I had “made it” out of the impoverished and dangerous inner city of Milwaukee, WI. I had become “self-aware” despite the fact that I had an absentee father, lived in a poor household, and was black. While writing, I quickly realized that where and who I was in life was about so much more than my current or previous circumstances. It was about how I chose to interpret information (both tangible and intangible), what mediums of messaging I allowed to infiltrate my sphere of influence, and how I coped with perceived failure and rejection. It was about preempting foreseeable pitfalls (I get much better at this as I get older) and reacting to new experiences with realistic optimism. More than anything though, it was about recognizing how I could hold myself accountable in every scenario whether orchestrated by my own hand or someone else’s.

I stopped writing that book…

I stopped writing because I knew there was so much I didn’t know. I knew that I hadn’t gained the proper perspective because I was still on the front end of my pain and anger. I lacked knowledge and I was still projecting negative reactions in over 50% of my interactions. Lacking knowledge hasn’t changed much in the 10+ years since I decided to pen my thoughts, but my perspective certainly has and so has my state of depression. I started to write again because there are so many topics of life that I want my daughters to be aware of. Not necessarily so that they hold to the same convictions I have, but conversely, that they believe they have the freedom of thought and freedom of will to choose their own purpose and convictions without limitation.

At a certain point in my life, I associated my age with a growing list of perceived failures and rejections. As time passed, I tabulated how many goals and objectives I didn’t achieve. How many people I let down. How many people let me down. How many selfish acts I committed. How many times I gave up. I began to allow those moments to define me. Each passing “failure” or “rejection” put me deeper into a hole that I was unaware that I was in. I was not “making it.” On the contrary, I was in a state of self-destruction and degradation – degrading because I wasn’t meeting the expectations of others and degrading because I wasn’t meeting my own. I now look at those moments of failure and rejection as preparation and learning opportunities for future growth both attained and not attained. Along my journey there have been very specific experiences that have served as a harness to lift me out of the depths and I am forever grateful to Whom the harness continues to be tethered. The greatest gift I have been given is the example of my mother’s sacrifice and persistence to make sure that in the absence of divine intervention, NOTHING would stop her from giving her children a chance. This is the awareness of which I speak. The awareness that life’s moments and its infinite ability to teach through an infinite number of scenarios, can be extrapolated to one and only one end – our ability to Love.

Love is the unconditional selfless sacrifice primarily endured for the benefit of others, it is the most powerful force in the known universe; and it’s also the reason I say to you, “Oh, you’re black, get over it!” I could just as well be replacing the word ‘black’ with whatever “condition” you believe you are encumbered by. Are you ‘white,’ ‘gay,’ a ‘man,’ ‘depressed,’ ‘Asian,’ ‘feel like you are a woman but have a penis?’ You need to get over it too. We all have our insecurities and fears based on other’s preconceived notions, prejudices, and generalization; but if you want to get out of the cycle of poverty, which is the coupling of unrelenting disbelief in yourself and the conscious maintenance of a close minded view of what is possible, you must face truth. Your acceptance or non-acceptance of truth, is the lynchpin to your success. Truth, in and of itself, is difficult to come by particularly when a person begins the self-evaluation process, but the real breakthrough came for me when I chose to stay vulnerable after recognizing why I was not “getting” what I wanted out of life. When you discover, acknowledge, or realize the reason(s) why you aren’t doing, being, and having the things you want; then and only then can you convert the negative self-talk into positive action. The next and most difficult step is to hold on to that deep dark truth and capitalize on the anger that is sure to accompany it.

Today I would say that I am “making it!”

I’m not “making it” because I’ve done, said, or thought what I have been told to do, say, or think. I’m not “making it” because I have turned my back on my culture (although I have been told that more than once) to fit in with some other group. I’m not “making it” because I’ve decided that exploitation is an acceptable method for success. I’m not “making it” because I care what other people (aside from my children) think about me. I’m “making it” because I’ve decided that I can control how I choose to react to life’s lessons en route to the completion and implementation of my goals AND that the lengths to which I will go to protest in order to secure a recourse when that goal is not obtained, is contingent upon whether or not I followed the broadcasted protocol. It’s not that I have attained a certain status or have a certain amount of money in the bank or hold a certain amount of power over others. It’s not even that I am completely free of being susceptible to disappointment, depression, and sadness. I’m “making it” because I have the knowledge and awareness that I am free to work towards my goals without the impediment of acquiescing to others belief systems about what I am and am not capable of; that I can love and forgive myself when I don’t meet the high standards I have set for myself; and that I can forgive others when they don’t meet my expectations as well.

As an aside and perhaps a segue, I mentioned earlier that I don’t care about what others think about me, but that was only half true. What other people think matters. It matters when building relationships of reciprocal nature with people which whom if not for a need, you would otherwise not interact with. How you want people to view you, shapes your approach when mutually beneficial goals align and working together is the most efficient path to goal completion. This is by far the most important skill I continue to develop. There are many applications of this. For example, when you interview for a job, your approach is shaped by the desired outcome you wish to achieve which more than likely is to have the interviewer believe that you are not just the right person for the job, but the only person. In other words, you want the employer to think that you will be an asset to their company and that as result of not hiring you, they would be worse off. The secret, however, when cultivating and applying this skill; is that you should ensure your purpose and intent is genuine and not only self-serving in nature. Beyond this truth, I choose to be alone. Alone in the sense that I choose what defines me. I choose not to “fit in” with any group. I am not defined by race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. I am not defined by creed, legal citizenship status, color, or socio economic status. I am concerned with, and defined by, only the principles, priorities, and protocols that I deem necessary for the attainment of my individual and unique definition of success and purpose.

My intention is to share, through this blog, the perspective of a man whom by all accounts and statistical measures, should not have “made it” (and should not be “making it”). You can throw almost every stereotype out of the window. I force the skill of full and thorough analysis in order to begin to understand my depth. Some people will read this post and some of my forthcoming posts with disdain and may even find them offensive. I am unconcerned with that. These will be messages you need to hear with no filter and with no expectation for you to acquiesce. Self-directed change begins with the knowledge that there is a better alternative to your current undesired condition. I do not claim to be the owner of someone else’s truth, but I will be the purveyor of my own. I hope that through dialogue progress can be made.