A quote and a picture

So here is the quote from a friend.  To put it in context we were talking about why my Black History Studies professor believes my view of racism in America is skewed because of my military service… 

He said “That’s because the military, just like sports, is mission based. There is no judging or anything to take into consideration. It’s either win or lose, live or die. It strips us of all excuses and exposes our weaknesses and strengths. When you are stripped of excuses then you are accountable for your actions. Liberals believe that there is an external factor to failure. We just believe in either laziness or stupidity.”
I think that goes perfectly with the picture that we were discussing in our Black Studies Class.

  
Without even reading my professors blog I bet I can almost quote him verbatim.  He would say that the impact of the imperialist white supermist capitalist patriarchy caused  the man in handcuffs to be standing where he is.  That the external factors impacted him and caused him to make the choices he made.  That if he were white he would be there standing tall before the man.  

Here’s what I think… The whole concept of the IWSCP is an excuse and the other two men in the picture prove that.  The police officer and the lawyer in the picture have more than likely felt the impact of racism in their lives (1. because they too are black and 2. because they are older)  yet they chose a different path.  They chose to rise above the excuses and make something of themselves. 

Another quote to go along with this picture… “Excuses are like a$$holes… Everybody’s got one.”

Arguing with Andrew… Because That’s What I Do Best

So today my awesome (crazy) professor posted a blog entitled “Man Caves and the Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy”… My eyes automatically roll just typing it!

Now… before I get any further into this please let me say that I love my professor.  He is a great person, a wonderful professor and someone I consider both a mentor and friend… but we don’t see eye to eye on most things (the earth shakes when we do) and I LOVE to jack with him.  It brings joy to my life 🙂

Ok… back to topic.  Andrew… Your’e thinking too much into this!

First,  There are literally a million plus different types of “Man Cave” signs that can be purchased at different stores and/or varies websites… here are a few.

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They are not all “sexiest” or crude… and the ones that come off that way to hippie liberals are meant to be funny.

In no way shape or form does the sign you found imply that all men are the same.

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This sign is one in a million… again… literally.

As a woman… in no way shape or form does this offend me.  It wouldn’t offend me if Chris wanted one and every woman knows… the sign means nothing.  We know who runs shit when the woman allows the male this space. 🙂

Second… Things cost money and I promise you that cost more than $5 to make and would take longer than an hour to put together.  I can’t tell if those are vinyl letters or painted… but the machine to cut vinyl letters cost between $250 and $2000 depending on the size and quality.  Then add in the cost of the colored vinyl sticker sheets as well as the (what I assume is wood) backing and the paint for the background.

If it is painted, those are stenciled letters.  Someone who it making a business out of making things such as that sign is not going to buy 99 cent stencils.  I recently bought a single pack of stencils from Hobby Lobby that are good sturdy plastic.  It contains 26 uppercase letters and 26 lowercase letters, 10 numbers and a few symbols.  All of the letters and numbers are the same size and the same font.  The pack cost me $14.99 plus tax.  I clearly see 5 different types of lettering… so that $75 in stencils there… and then add in the paint, back board… etc.  This was probably made by someone with an at home business trying to help support a family while staying at home with children… at least thats why my neighbor has her at home business that you can check out on Facebook at Krissi’s Kreations … So the person that made this is probably one of the little guys… not the big bad capitalist giants making pure profit and gouging the poor consumer.

15% of the population in this country lives at or below the national poverty level… Obviously those are not the people this is being marketed to.  While were at it… neither are Nikes, Miss Me jeans, T-Bone steaks, Voss water… and the list goes on and on… doesn’t really have anything to do with race…

But that’s just my 2 cents.

… and you asked for this!  Lol!

*Our* History

As part of my honors project on ending Black (all) History Month(s)… My professor gave me a project… To go through American History books (which he calls white history) and figure out how to incorporate black history.  

Going through these books something hit me… Even having lived through 33 years of February’s… and participating in a Black History class… Watching documentries and researching online… I don’t know black history.  In high school we learn a small bit about the slave ships and up until The Underground Railroad and The Civil War the only thing we are taught in school is that blacks were slaves… Next thing you know, men like MLK Jr are marching for rights and Rosa Parks is refusing to give up her seat for a white person.  

What do you say?  Where do you start?  This is gonna be a lot more difficult than I’d imagined… But I am not giving up my stance!  We should share history and no history should be segregated!  Stand by… I will find a solution! 🙂  

My guide… http://www.tolerance.org/article/dos-and-donts-teaching-black-history

Dixon White Videos

Ok… First and foremost did anyone else think this guy looks and sounds drunk off his ass?!?!  Seriously though!Edit

  

Now… If this guy isn’t drunk… He’s using his own personal experiences to verify a racist white America… And as we’ve been told over and over again… We’re not suppose to do that, right? 

No one is denying that racism (on all sides) doesn’t exist… But ANYONE who tries to say that racism is rampant and that we haven’t improved as a society is crazy and they are completley ignoring the significance of all colors of people that fought for civil rights.

It also drives me nutts when people take the “I don’t see color” saying literally… Obviously we are not all color blind.  There are all different skin colors and we all see that (unless you actually are color blind) what people mean by that is that they don’t care what color someone’s skin is.  Color is skin deep and people that say they don’t see color are choosing to look past the outside and judge people based on their character and not their skin color.  

But I’m still convinced this guy is drunk off his ass!  

More than a Month

First and foremost… I highly recommend watching this documentary.  If anyone wants to borrow it let me know and I’ll bring it to class.

This documentary was the work of Shukree Hassan Tilghman.  In 2006 he saw the 60 Minutes episode with Morgan Freeman saying that he didn’t want a black history month and it sparked something inside him to begin his quest to end BHM.

So I don’t give away the whole film for those that haven’t seen it… Here’s the jist…

Q:  Why should we end Black History Month?

A:  Because Dr Carter G. Woodson would want us to!

I am so glad this topic came up in the documentary because of a comment I received on another blog post about Dr Woodson who is considered the “Father of Black History”.  While Shukree was talking with historians at the Woodson Library he asked how they thought Dr. Woodson would feel about his quest to end BHM.  They talk for a while and then Shukree’s voice over says; “Having a history month is a way to be recognized, to not need a history month to accomplish this… that is a representation of true equality.”

Q:  Why should we end Black History Month?

A:  BHM = Jim Crow

Separate but equal is not really equal.  To paraphrase James Sidanius, Harvard Department of Psychology… We learn the history of the dominate group, Europeans.  Allowing blacks to have a history month comes with a certain amount of condescension.  -Here… We’ll give you a month and then we’ll get back to the history that really matters…-

Q:  Why should we end Black History Month?

A:  It really doesn’t matter.  (Calm down… let me get to the point)

I loved this part of the documentary… Shukree gets lost for a bit but then he has his breakthrough.  An experiment is conducted in several cities in several states around the US… A group of black history cards are laid on a table.  On one side is a picture and on the other side is a short bio on that person.  ½ of the people surveyed were told it was a “Black History Month” survey and the other ½ were told it was an “American History” survey.  The findings were that neither group had a change of opinions based on the label of a survey… it does no harm, nor does it do any good.  BHM does not have the “ego boosting” effect that so many people claim it to have.

Q:  Why should we end Black History Month?

A:  It has simply become another commercialized holiday set out to make money.

Black actors, black workers… Black History Month Nikes… yup… they exist.

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(Does anyone else find the large basketball line a little racist?)

In short, Shukree states that it’s “not about ending Black History Month… it’s about transcending it.”  It is about “escaping the confines of February as black people month and about claiming a rightfully earned American identity…”

Per Request… My Crazy Life

So… I was told today that I needed to share a special video and since I talk about Scott so much in class… I decided to do a blog to fill everyone in.

First… Just so y’all can get my crazy life straight… This is my boyfriend Chris.  We have been together a little over a year and I bitch about him a lot but I love him dearly and I don’t know what I would do without him…

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And this is Scott… So Scott and I met in 2001 when we were both in the Marine Corps.  He lived two floors above me but the first time we met was in a bar when I was a drunk 19 year old.  We hated each other when we first met but somehow ended up together for 10 years (married for 8) before he passed away.  He was an active duty infantry Marine, a Purple Heart recipient and served three overseas during the War On Terror, one in Afghanistan and two in Iraq.

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Scott was injured in an IED blast on his 2nd deployment in 2006 when I was pregnant with our son Landon.  He had a concussion and a small cut on his head but we had no idea how bad his injuries were till over a year later and after another deployment.  His spine had actually shifted and was putting pressure on different nerves.  After three unsuccessful back surgeries he was still in a lot of pain and taking 12-16 medications daily for pain, nerve damage, PTSD, something to help him sleep, something to stop the night terrors…etc…

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The Marine Corps decided to medically retire him so Landon and I came home to Texas (He was stationed in Louisiana) so I could finish school and wait for him to be transferred to San Antonio.  And I’m not even going to attempt to sugar coat things… we were taking a break as well.  Living with someone with PTSD is not the easiest thing in the world and I’ll fully admit I’m kind of a bitch myself… But we went back and forth a lot and talked daily… Our last trip to Louisiana was so Scott could take Landon trick-or-treating.

On November 18th 2011… Scott drove to Texas to spend a week with Landon and I for Thanksgiving.  Him and Landon played baseball and went and got skittles or starburts (Scott was a fruity candy fan) and Landon remembers those details better than I do.  I remember Scott being very excited because he finally taught Landon to catch with his glove up instead of trying to catch it underhanded.

So… The evening of the 19th my mom and I went to go watch the 3rd Twilight movie and Scott stayed home with Landon and my dad.  Mom and I got home around midnight and Scott had put Landon to bed but he was still awake… Because he had taken his sleep meds he was slurring his words really bad so I told him to go lay down and I stayed in the living room to watch a movie.

Around 2:30am on the 20th I kept hearing something from the room that Scott and Landon were in.  When I walked back to the bedroom Landon was asleep but Scott was sitting at the edge of the bed playing XBox and he kept falling asleep while playing and dropping the remote.  (He would fight his sleep meds till he fell asleep wherever he was… part of not wanting to sleep because of the nightmares)  I told him if he didn’t quit dropping the remote he was gonna break it and he needed to sleep.  He looked up at me and said “huh?”  So I told him he needed to go to sleep… I smiled and I closed the door.  That was the last time I saw him alive.  Around 8 that morning Landon came and woke me up on the couch and then he went in to wake up Scott… I guess I dozed back off because the next thing I remember is my dad saying “get up I think Scott’s dead.”  I walked back to the bedroom assuming he was still knocked out from his meds while my dad called 911… Scott laying there is a memory that will never leave me.  3 combat tours… and now this happens.

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We found out after the autopsy and weeks of waiting that he died of “sudden death”… basically a massive heart attack that was triggered by a long list of things from the medication and weight gain from the meds to heredity issues.

Stop crying the story gets better…

So anyway… On December 2nd we had an epic funeral that Scott would have wanted.  His friends and Marines came from all over the US.  It was a beautiful military ceremony followed by a party with BBQ and Beer and a Bonfire.  He would have loved it.

About 2 weeks later I was contacted by Scott’s wounded warriors case worker at BAMC (the military hospital in San Antonio) and she told me to fill out some paperwork for this organization I had never heard of… I only half remember filling it out now… everything then kind of ran together then.  I found out later that I was filling out this paperwork just because they wanted some pictures of Scott, Landon and I… everything had already been planned but a few adjustments were being made since Scott had passed away.

A couple days later I got a phone call from a man by the name of Dan Vargas from this organization called Operation Finally Home.  He told me that he wanted to invite Landon and I and 2 guest to a Texans game on December 18th.  Because Scott and I and Landon are HUGE Texans fan I didn’t hesitate.  I actually got some criticism from people about being out “partying at a football game” a month after my husband died… what people didn’t understand is that if I would have missed taking Scott’s son to a Texans game… he would have haunted me for the rest of my life and I knew it!  So Myself, Landon, my dad and my little brother all went to watch the Texans play and honor Scott by doing so.

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So… As we’re sitting there before the game starts.  The man Dan Vargas mentioned above came and sat beside us and introduced me to a man named Dan Wallrath.  I was told he was someone important… I honestly wasn’t paying attention because by that time the Texans had started coming on the field.  He told us that about 6 mins before halftime… We were going to go with him because the Texans wanted to do something special for Landon.

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Trust me… this is where the story gets better.

THEN THIS HAPPENED!  WATCH VIDEO HERE!

See… I told you it got better!

We had a big ground breaking ceremony on February 14th 2012…

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And on October 31st 2012 Landon and I moved into our new home.  The Texans donated $30,000, The Marine Corps League in Galveston donated $30,000, UV Country in Alvin donated a crap ton that I was never told and so many wonderful people donated their time and money and skills to building a beautiful home for Landon and I.

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Like I said earlier… I found out later that OFH had already planned on giving a home to Scott and our family… after he passed away they went back and took a vote with the board and decided to still do the home for Landon and I.  We were the first family that had received a home after the wounded service member had passed away.  It was such an amazing blessing.

So… Here we are.  That was a piece of my roller coaster ride I call  life.  Here are a few more videos and a link to Operation Finally Home if anyone is interested.  They have given amazing gifts to so many veterans over the past few years and continue their mission today.

Video from ground breaking (You can tell I had no idea what to say)

Video from when we moved in

And here is the video from New Hope Church who did all my landscaping

Here is Operation Finally Home’s Page and you can also find them on Facebook

Get In Your Box

CENSUS

So… I have to tell this story

I was hanging out with my neighbor a few days ago and I asked her for her opinion on my honors project.  After she gave me her opinion we continued on the topic of race and she told me a funny but kind of sad story about her youngest son.

For the purpose of understanding this story you need to know that she is black… and her husband is white.

Together they have 3 awesome children.  Their oldest son is days away from graduating from Marine Corps Boot camp, their middle child, a daughter, is almost 16 and their youngest son is 5 and in kindergarten.  While we were talking she told me a story about her little one.

Apparently he came home from school asking what race he was.  She responded “you’re white and black”.  He responded by saying something along the lines of -how am I black… you’re brown and I’m brown so I must be Mexican because they said Mexicans are brown-  She asked him who told him that and he said people at school.

I might add that her youngest and my son go to school together and this school in majority Hispanic.

It’s crazy how children as young as 5 are already trying to fit each other in boxes.  Obviously we all have various skin tones and that is a noticeable and unavoidable difference… It just amazes me how children so young are already making classifications based on those differences.

I Finally Have A Topic!

Nothing like waiting till the last minute to decide on a topic for a major paper… But I finally found one!

END BLACK HISTORY MONTH!

I ordered More Than A Month today.  I have been finding trailers online and I can’t wait to watch it.  I have also been looking up different arguments for and against Black History Month which has been some interesting reading.

So glad I have finally decided on a topic that I am excited about and actually means something in the larger scheme of things.

For my paper, I will discuss both sides of the argument but so far… I’m with Morgan Freeman on this one 🙂

Here are a few more articles I have found on the topic:

Why Its Time To End Black History Month

Time To End Black History Month

End Black History Month Now

Black History Month, Is It Still Relevant?

Time To End Black History Month