Every Action Has An Equal And Opposite Reaction…Just Be Prepared For The Recoil

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I can vividly recall the moment in time when I experienced an situation where Newton’s Law of Motion was proven to be true.  Specifically how she is truly blind, uncompromising, and consistent. Growing up in Southwest Georgia afforded us an opportunity to experience and come in contact with all types of edible vegetation. Honeysuckles, blackberries, red berries, etc…you name it. If the fruit’s name ended with berry, well that meant that it was 99 percent edible pretty much. Well, of course there is always that 1 percent. And in the case of my brother, my cousin, and myself; that 1 percent materialized in the form of a piece of vegetation we called “snake berries.” Now before you guys go all etymological on me and state the obvious in that something called snake berries probably should not be eaten; allow me to explain. While the name does suggest that eating the berry may not have been the smartest thing to do, keep in mind that I was young and I was attracted to the sweetness of the berry. However, no matter how sweet and tasty the berry was, my aunt would warn us time and again that eating to many of the berries would make us sick. Needless to say, she was right. One summer after eating as many berries as our stomach could manage, we managed to plaster everything within a couple of feet radius with purple vomit. My aunt was livid, not because of us being sick, but because of the aftermath of the vomit. I would be telling an untruth if I stated I learned my lesson and stayed away from the “snake berries.” So I won’t lie. Even though I understood that if I decided to overindulge that there will be repercussions for my actions. The question was whether or not I would be ready to deal with the consequences. And this is what I feel our society has not taken into full consideration; consequences.

I have a friend that told another friend that he would slap him if he insulted him again. My friend’s response was both comical but philosophical at the same time. He said that I can’t stop you from slapping me, but I hope that you are able to handle how I choose to hit back. Perhaps one of the most impactful rebuttals I have ever heard because it resonates on so many levels. Yes, in the world we live in, a person has the freedom to say and do what seems to be whatever they want to. It is an amended right to be able to practice freedom of speech. But I think we have to look at the word amend in order to fully appreciate the gravity behind this particular right; however I will tackle that subject at a later blog. I personally do not have one problem with what a person choose to let fly from their mouth in the form of verbs and nouns. Just know that the rebuttal does not have to match verbs and nouns in kind. Perhaps this is where the “golden rule” should be reiterated; yet understood that each human has a different level of tolerance when it comes to accepting belligerent shenanigan (BS).

Denzel Washington character in Equalizer 1 has a great point in the movie. His characters states that when you pray for rain, you got to deal with the mud too. Some of us are so caught up in saying and doing what we want, for all the reasons other than staying true to who we are, that we are often blind to the tsunami laying in wait due to shaking up belligerent shenanigans. But I get it, and again, I am all for one being able to speak what is entirely on their mind; but first make sure that it’s from a mind that is functioning in its full capacity. In addition  you are willing to accept whatever comes with the ramifications of your nouns and verbs alerting the world know what you are thinking. This is very important to remember, because as my elders and ancestors say: “your mouth just might write a check that your posterior can’t cash.” Well maybe not in those words.

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In the Words of Jeezy: “Nothing Beats a Cross But A Double Cross”

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I have to admit that even I sometimes get caught up in the idea that perhaps maybe, just maybe, the pot and the kettle may one day realize that they are the same. That despite the functions of the two appliances, they both share the same hue. Then again I wake up and remember that this is America. This past weekend Robert Mueller’s complete probe into Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 election was handed over to the Department of Justice and Attorney General William Barr. Yet instead of releasing the findings to the public, especially after the public had to endure endure almost two years of constant news coverage and speculation of foreign influence on the supposed “democratic” election practices held dear to the country (not to mention putting up with the head of the current presidential administration shenanigans), all that was released to congress and the public was a four page summary. Wow! This verb expresses both my astonishment at the decisions of the powers that be to release the findings of the probe to the public as if we are calves suckling from its mother’s teats; as well as to impress upon those powers the fact that as the public we can decipher the difference between water and urine. Weather flash, where I am standing, there is not a cloud in the sky. While I can perhaps go and on concerning this skullduggery of the elitists; it is my issues with what perhaps (by perhaps I mean I am almost certain) was found in the in the probe and not what was being investigated.

As an educator of the public school system, I grade essays upon essays on a yearly basis. Throughout my career, I must have read over 10,000 essays. The process can be tedious and exhausting; however the content from the essays can range from a myriad of adjectives (I’m a high school teacher). Needless to say, these adjectives can make the grading a task in itself. So, as a rule of thumb, I often will alert my students to what I will be focusing on in regards to grading (yes, I do give a rubric); let’s call this a verbal rubric. Stay with me guys, I am getting to my point. The purpose of my alert to my students is to increase the students’ chances of mastering those particular areas of focus. However, during my grading if I come across grammatical errors, errors in syntax, or any other types of errors which were not identified as focal points, I will still deduct points from the essay; especially if the concept has been taught. In my ancestors and elders prescribed philosophy, I do this because “they know better.” Now I’m certainly not an investigator, political analyst, or news pundit; but I am convinced that Robert Mueller uncovered discrepancies from here to over “yonder” in his probe. Perhaps enough discrepancies to make the possibilities of a Russian interference in an election look like a jaywalking offense (well unless you live in Florida). Which leads me to a number of questions.

Questions like: Are we, the public, perceived by the political machine to be that naive and gullible to think that nothing criminal from the top to the bottom in this administration (excluding Trump’s attorneys) was discovered in the probe? Do we expect to get an untarnished report from Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ when and if they ever release the full results of the probe? Why Robert Mueller? I mean there are more questions after the probe was completed than before the investigation began. But then I snap back to reality and realize that in the words of Jeezy: “don’t nothing beat a cross but a double cross.”

I refuse to believe that the outcome of an almost two year investigation from an experienced, Vietnam Veteran, who has been ridiculed and belittled by the very person who is at the center of the probe, did not yield anything but a few subpoenas and petty indictments. As my elders and ancestors like to proclaim, ” I was born at night, but not last night.” In addition, the public deserves to get the information the moment that it became available to DOJ and Attorney General William Barr. And please don’t insult us with the narrative of information overload when the public was just bombarded with a litany of scandals, fear tactics, and government shutdown proceedings that is still wreaking havoc on the country. The public does not ask for much. For the most part, we harvest the fruit for the nation but only get to eat the rind. However, what we do desire is that those who are elected to office do the job which they say they will do. We desire that when corruption is evident that those in these offices be held culpable just at any regular citizen would be. Is this too much to ask? Or perhaps I am asking the wrong questions to the wrong people.

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Check for Balances…But isn’t it suppose to be Checks and Balances

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Before I begin this particular blog post, let me reiterate that I graduated from The Unsinkable Albany State University, which just so happens to be the very best university on the planet. My university also has the distinction of being 1 of only 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, also referred to as a HBCU. I couldn’t be more proud to have been chosen to part of this prestigious University System. While I applaud and champion my alma mater, there was a time when I thought that the admissions and registration process was less than desirable. I complained that it was too slow and tedious and that there must be a way to expedite this process. That is until the news broke on the college admissions scandal that has rocked the collegiate world. It is safe to say that the Department of Education will have their hands full over the next few years with this one.

On the surface level there is nothing too arduous for the prosecutors, who will be assigned to try this case, in both civil and criminal court proceedings. It should be an open and close case pretty much. Rich or elitist members of society,  buying (bribing) their and their children’s way into business and institution without having the capabilities or mental capacity to thrive in these enterprises; should be a slam dunk. Even though this sounds very familiar to me. Or as the elders and ancestors would say: it just the same ol’ same ol’. And herein lies the problem.

One can’t help but to wonder how long this type of scandalous behavior has been happening and perhaps more importantly, has it been only limited to educational opportunities. Well, if I had to guess, and that’s only if I “had” to guess, I would say that this has been going on for quite some time. In addition it is without an inkling of doubt that this type of shenanigans has been occurring in areas where having a “leg” up on competition can be bought. Again this is nothing new in our society nor should it be a total shock. One only needs to look at the Commander-in-Chief and other politicians to see the evidence, or as the elders and ancestors would say: “the proof is in the puddin.” However, that is not the purpose of  but I will revisit this “proof” at a later date and post.

This scandal is one that is certain to cast a darker shadow over an institute that has been historically both racial and gender disproportionate. The harsh reality is that for every student who has been able to purchase their way into one of these prestigious institution; there was a potential student who was rejected despite having superior test scores than those with the financial means to be scrupulous. Again there is not one shred of doubt that this has been going on for generations.

As an educator it sickens me that I dutifully teach my students to strive hard to obtain great grades to increase their chances of being accepted into a institute of higher learning. As a parent it becomes even more disheartening. So, who is to blame? To be honest, I don’t think that it starts or stops with the men and women in the admissions and registrar’s office. Even though I can’t believe that not one eyebrow was raised when applications and admissions came across the desks of those individuals who were unqualified or didn’t even exist. There had to be a system of checks and balances to ensure that each potential applicant is the best qualified student to be accepted into the university. I know that this system of checks and balances is in place at university; because it was most definitely in place at my university. Which explains the wait time from the admission and registrar’s office that would drive many of us up the wall. I’m convinced now more than ever that they were doing the right thing and being fair and knew they repercussions of committing  those types of deeds currently making headlines in today’s news. Or as my elders and ancestors say they knew that “what doesn’t come out in the wash, will come out in the rinse.” I guess it’s laundry day for education.


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The Rent Will Get Paid

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Yesterday was perhaps one of those days where reality, truism, and self-evaluation all hit me at once, and it was quite a revelation. And like many times when I am faced with these moments of either euphoria or surrealisms, I reach back to my ancestors for guidance and hope. A few months ago I wrote a piece of literature (poetry), which dealt on a conversation between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin. If you have haven’t read it, I wrote on how Giovanni asks James Baldwin if it is too much to ask of the Black man whom she wants to be with to smile and perform for her like he does with his employer. Giovanni asks him to “lie” to me. James Baldwin’s response is that he “smiles” at the job because someone must pay the rent. To be honest, I totally related to what Baldwin response was. Of course, one has to make sure that the necessities of the home is taken care of. The rent, the light bill, food, etc…; I honestly sympathize with his sentiments. However, Giovanni’s response was priceless and if not adhered to can be dire to all involved.

Men, the rent will get paid. Make no compromises when it comes to ensuring that everyone (friends, foes, or employers) knows what your priorities are. That they are nonnegotiable. It’s just that simple. If you have the blessing of being a father, make sure that the children know that you will knock down buildings for them. Also let them know that they will be held accountable for their actions by you first before the system gets their hands on them. For my Kings, show our young Kings what it looks like for a man to protect, love, and respect “a” woman; regardless of the status of your relationship with the woman you present to them. For my Queens, show our young Queens that both intelligence and beauty are a blessing; however, one is forever invaluable and the other is internal to the end.

Men, the rent will get paid. Listen, I know the burden of working all day. Be it overtime, double and or triple time. Perhaps you have been passed over for promotions for whatever reasons and believe me, most of the reasons hold no weight. But if I could impress upon you the importance of making sure that you smile to your love ones when you walk through the door (even if it’s a lie) to show them that they mean more than any issues that you may have had that day. Let them know that the home you guys made or is making is a refuge from the harness of the world and that you cherish each day that you return to see them.

What about the rent? The rent has both a literal and figurative meaning. Of course, one reference is the actually rent, which has to be paid in order to have a roof overhead. Nikkie’s response, and one which I concur, is that “you are intelligent and sensitive enough of man enough to figure out a new route…” Which speaks volumes when responding to the figurative meaning. If what we have been doing, hasn’t been working for us and preserving our family structure, then it is imperative that we try a new way. Yes, men the rent will get paid, but the cost is not as expensive as we have been making it.

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