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A message to our Afrikan Sister’s and Brother’s who walk and believe in the ways of Mother Afrika… Listen to what I found… Now go home and study and see if what I am saying is true..
It seems as if everyone is looking for good social media content these days. Regardless of the medium, the prevailing wisdom is to post things that are visual and/or tell a story. We’ve going to start a weekly post we’ve entitled “Meet Our QUEENS OF AFRIKA,” which seems to accomplish both of these goals and has several other benefits as well.
“Meet Our QUEENS OF AFRIKA.” in the QUEENS OF AFRIKA communication world? QUEENS OF AFRIKA would recognize a different Queen each month by posting their picture on a bulletin board. We liked the idea and decided to modernize it to fit current, 21st century media consumption habits. So each Monday afternoon, we recognize a QUEENS OF AFRIKA by name and include their picture with a short description of what they do as being a QUEENS OF AFRIKA. You can see a few samples of these “Meet Our QUEENS OF AFRIKA” posts here, here and here.
These series of posts are by far our most popular. They consistently produce more interaction and sharing than any other content we post. Beyond the interaction, there are other strategic byproducts:
1. Raised Awareness of Individual. The short description that is included with these posts highlights the QUEENS’ position and the ministry/jobs they serve in (to help up lift the Black Nation). What QUEEN doesn’t like that kind of airtime?
2. Affirmation of QUEENS
QUEENS get burned out quickly, especially when they don’t feel appreciated. “Meet Our QUEENS OF AFRIKA” allows a specific QUEEN to affirm the volunteer, while also allowing the whole QUEENS OF AFRIKA to chime in and thank them for their service.
3. Every Role is Important
Most of the QUEENS who are recognized serve behind the scenes. Honoring these QUEENS communicates to the QUEENS OF AFRIKA that they are valued just as much as those who serve “up front,” who tend to receive most of the praise.
It’s been fun to see people comment, thanking the volunteer for their service or even making some good-hearted jokes. This is social media at its best.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to “borrow” this idea and use it in your own QUEENS OF AFRIKA. Posting pictures and short excerpts on Facebook for our QUEENS is just one of the many ways to appreciate the people who help out in the QUEENS OF AFRIKA every day.
Maybe you want to take it a step further and feature QUEENS in videos or have them give short testimonies during the service. Not only does this give QUEENS well-deserved recognition, but their stories also inspire others. You can encourage more QUEENS and tell better stories than the same old ‘here’s what’s coming’ announcements.
Tweak it as much or as little as you see fit, and let us know what works and what doesn’t.
So send us a picture of the Queen you want to honor and give us a brife outline of what she does, she could be a Mother giving her all to her family. She could be a teacher, giving her spare time to helping up lift the children in the community. You tell us and we will post her picture, name and a short story of her Masjesty Love!
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org please put in the subject box: honoring a queen.
From the Queens of Afrika with Love
The black community must find unity
In a meeting I had recently with an editor of the Pensacola News Journal, I was asked if I thought there was unity in the black community. My answer was an absolute no! I went on to tell her that there has been no semblance of unity in the black community since so-called integration took place.
Much, if not all, of our heritage, including our togetherness, and many of our institutions have been mostly lost or destroyed. With the exception of one or two organizations, we pretty much say nothing and do nothing to effectively hold on to our rich heritage in the Greater Pensacola/Northwest Florida area. We are probably the most divided people in the area, when, in fact, it should be the opposite. We don’t support each other nearly as much as we should, in business or anything else. Maybe an exception is the black church. Maybe!
Whites, Asians and other minorities have their differences also. But the one thing they don’t have a problem with is “the crabs in the basket” mentality from which we blacks suffer.
We will run downtown in a heartbeat and “sell each other out” just to gain temporary favor from the white conservative power structure in the city of Pensacola, while realizing but not caring about the detriment it does to the African-American community and the divisiveness it promotes.
We are very envious and jealous of each other especially if it appears that one or more of us are climbing the ladder to success.
A group of close friends I grew up with meet once a month for lunch. At our last get-together, I expressed disappointment about how blacks continue to criticize and negate one another at practically every turn, trying to gain “one up” on the other. My friend simply replied that “Unity is the key to our success.”
As much as I detest racism in any form, a great deal of racism is practiced by “us against us” with little signs of any change coming anytime soon.
I was also told by another friend recently that the next time I enter any retail establishment run by foreigners in the black community to notice how they communicate with each other after transacting business with their clients. My friend said that when they finish speaking with you in English, they immediately go back to speaking to each other in their native language in the customers’ presence. My friend asserts that their language is a way of staying in unity with each other. After thinking about his remark, it made a lot of sense to me.
With all that African-Americans have endured in this nation and in Pensacola/Escambia County, Florida, it would seem to me that we would be the first race of people to unite and move forward. But we remain desperately divided and fragmented.
Another example of spreading and creating division in the black community is the recent edition of local weekly newspaper, The Independent News, printing a list of the most powerful leaders in the black and white communities. As the publisher of Out Front Magazine, a bimonthly publication targeting African Americans, for the past 24 years, I can say unequivocally that The Independent News and its publisher know nothing about the African-American community or anything about its real leadership. It’s just another case of whites wanting to select and dictate who our leaders are, a situation which in many ways further divides an already divided community.
One form of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Until we truly unite as a people in the black community, according to my friend at our luncheon, we can expect to continue to be left out of almost everything.
All that I have said in this Viewpoint regarding a failure to unite most definitely includes me. I’m just as guilty as others in the black community, which means I need to “tighten up my game” on unity. I hope a great majority of others will do the same.
Admiral LeRoy is the founder and publisher emeritus of Out Front Magazine and can be reached at (850) 453-4835 or email@example.com.
Don’t leave without leaving a comment below
Juli Slattery is the co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, a nonprofit organization. She is also the author of “Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?” and “Finding the Hero in Your Husband,” among others.
Updated July 29, 2013, 9:28 AM
In 50 years, our society has gone from “father knows best” to “father knows nothing” to “who needs a father?” While some may view this as a modern advancement, I see it as a disastrous erosion of how family best operates.
There have always been single moms – women who sacrifice everything for the welfare of their children. In past times, the circumstances were identified as tragic, calling for the support of family and community. When did we make tragedy the accepted norm?
No woman can be mom and dad to her children. Children who grow up without a father are more likely to suffer from a gamut of ills, from poverty to suicide.
The father’s responsibility includes not only physical protection but also financial provision and the display of healthy authority in the home.
Poor examples of fatherhood have, for some, watered down the beauty of a dad’s unique contributions. Nevertheless, fathers provide two specific emotional needs for which Mom, try as she may, cannot completely compensate.
First, fathers provide a sense of security. Unfortunately, some fathers have used their superior physical strength and their booming voice to intimidate rather than to protect. However, for generations and throughout cultures, a man’s responsibility has been to protect the women and children under his care. This includes not only physical protection but also financial provision and the display of healthy authority in the home.
Fathers also pass down a blessing to their children. A mom believes her son or daughter is a success no matter what. The child who scratches out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a violin is destined for first chair in the New York Philharmonic, according to Mom. Dad’s validation is different. The son or daughter who never receives this blessing may unconsciously spend a lifetime searching for it.
We live in a society of parents who sacrifice to give everything to our children – everything except what matter most. Forgo the soccer team and designer jeans; fight for our kids to have dads.
Raising a child on your own can be stressful. If you’re a single parent, understand how to cope with the pressure, find support and nurture your child.
If you’re raising a child on your own, you’re in good company. Single-parent families are more common than ever. Know how to manage some of the special challenges single parents experience and what you can do to raise a happy, healthy child.
Common single-parent challenges
Child rearing can be difficult under any circumstances. Without a partner, the stakes are higher. As a single parent, you might have sole responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care.
Being a single parent can result in added pressure, stress and fatigue. If you’re too tired or distracted to be emotionally supportive or consistently discipline your child, behavioral problems might arise.
Single-parent families also generally have lower incomes and less access to health care. Juggling work and child care can be financially difficult and socially isolating. You might worry about the lack of a male or female parental role model for your child, too.
To reduce stress in your single-parent family:
- Show your love. Remember to praise your child. Give him or her your unconditional love and support. Set aside time each day to play, read or simply sit with your child.
- Create a routine. Structure — such as regularly scheduled meals and bedtimes — helps your child know what to expect.
- Find quality child care. If you need regular child care, look for a qualified caregiver who can provide stimulation in a safe environment. Don’t rely on an older child as your only baby sitter. Be careful about asking a new friend or partner to watch your child.
- Set limits. Explain house rules and expectations to your child — such as speaking respectfully — and enforce them. Work with other caregivers in your child’s life to provide consistent discipline. Consider re-evaluating certain limits, such as your child’s screen time, when he or she shows the ability to accept more responsibility.
- Don’t feel guilty. Don’t blame yourself or spoil your child to make up for being a single parent.
- Take care of yourself. Include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. Arrange time to do activities you enjoy alone or with friends. Give yourself a “timeout” by arranging for child care at least a few hours a week.
- Lean on others. Work out a carpool schedule with other parents. Join a support group for single parents or seek social services. Call on loved ones, friends and neighbors for help. Faith communities can be helpful resources, too.
- Stay positive. It’s OK to be honest with your child if you’re having a difficult time, but remind him or her that things will get better. Give your child an age-appropriate level of responsibility rather than expecting him or her to behave like a “little adult.” Keep your sense of humor when dealing with everyday challenges.
Be aware that some research has shown that teens in single-parent households have a higher risk of depression and lower self-esteem. Signs and symptoms of depression may include social isolation; feeling sad, alone or unloved; disliking one’s looks; irritability; and a sense of hopelessness. If you see these signs in your child or teen, talk to his or her doctor.
Many people still think that racism is no longer a problem in America. After the election of President Obama, academic John McWhorter argued that racism in America is, for all intents and purposes, dead. The prominent conservative scholar and African-American economist Thomas Sowell has argued that “racism isn’t dead, but it is on life support.” Harvard professors William Julius Wilson and Roland Fryer too have argued about the declining significance of race and discrimination.
However, as we wind down the final months of Obama’s presidency, the declining significance of race and discrimination narratives seem to be at odds with the lived realities for African-Americans. President Obama himself has faced racist treatment, such as the birther controversy and a member of Congress saying “you lie.” And then, one incident after another has highlighted the painful reality that black men are disproportionately likely to die at the hands of the police in comparison to any other demographic group.
Sadly, racism and discrimination are facts of life for many black Americans. As an African-American scholar who studies the experiences of black college students, I am especially interested in this issue. My research has found that black college students report higher levels of stress related to racial discrimination than other racial or ethnic groups. The unfortunate reality is that black Americans experience subtle and overt discrimination from preschool all the way to college.
Here’s what studies show
The results of a recent survey by the Pew Research Center underscore this point. The survey found that black Americans with some college experience are more likely to say that they have experienced discrimination compared to blacks who did not report having any college experience.
Additional survey results revealed several differences between blacks with college experience versus blacks without college experience. For example, in the past 12 months, 55 percent of people with some college experience reported people had acted suspicious of them, compared to 38 percent of those with no college experience.
Similarly, 52 percent of people with some college experience reported people had acted as if they thought the individual wasn’t smart, compared to 37 percent of people with no college experience.
So, what are the race-related struggles experienced by African-American students throughout their schooling?
Story of Tyrone
Let’s consider the case of Tyrone. Tyrone is a four-year-old black male raised in a two-parent household. Like most four-year-olds, Tyrone is intellectually curious, and has a vivid imagination. He loves books, loves to color and paint, and also loves physical activities such as running, jumping and playing games with his friends.
Behaviorally, Tyrone is also similar to many four-year-olds in that he often likes to talk more than listen, and he can be temperamental. He can engage in hitting, kicking and spitting behaviors when he is angry.
One day Tyrone was playing a game with a friend and he lost. Tyrone got angry and threw the ball at his friend. A teacher witnessed that and immediately confronted Tyrone about his behavior.
Angry about being confronted, Tyrone started to walk away. The teacher grabbed his arm. Tyrone reacted by pushing the teacher away. The teacher sent Tyrone to the principal’s office. After consultation with the principal, Tyrone was deemed to be a danger to students and staff.
He was consequently suspended.
Early years of schooling
On the surface this looks like a simple case of meting out the appropriate punishment for perceived serious student misbehavior. There does not appear to be anything explicitly racial about the interaction.
However, consider the fact that there have been many instances of white students engaging in the same behavior, none of which ever result in suspension. This is the racialized reality black students experience every day in American schools.
Black boys are almost three times as likely to be suspended than white boys, and black girls are four times as likely to be suspended than white girls. Black students’ (mis)behavior is more often criminalized compared to other students.
While black kids make up 18 percent of preschool enrollment, they represent 48 percent of students receiving one or more suspensions. Getting suspended matters because it is correlated with being referred to law enforcement and arrested. Black students account for 27 percent of students who are referred to law enforcement and 31 percent of students who are arrested, while they only make up 18 percent of enrolled students. As a general rule, black students do not often receive the benefit of the doubt when they engage in bad or questionable behavior.
When Tyrone entered fourth grade, teachers noticed a change in his demeanor. His enthusiasm for school and learning had diminished considerably. He no longer eagerly raised his hand to answer questions. He no longer appeared to love books and listening to stories. He appeared to have little joy participating in class activities. His teachers characterized Tyrone as “unmotivated,” “apathetic,” having “learning difficulties” and “a bad attitude.”
Educators and researchers have referred to this phenomenon as “the fourth grade failure syndrome” for black boys. Early childhood educator Harry Morgan suggested that this phenomenon occurred during this time because the classroom environment changes between the third and fourth grade from a socially interactive style to a more individualistic, competitive style.
This change in style is counter to the more communal and cooperative cultural learning environment which, according to research, black students tend to prefer. The fourth grade failure syndrome refers to a bias in schools (e.g., cultural insensitivity, disproportionately harsh discipline, lowered teacher expectations, tracking black students into special education or remedial classes) that has the cumulative effect of diminishing black students’ (especially boys’) enthusiasm and motivation for school.
By high school Tyrone no longer identified with school. His sense of pride and self-esteem increasingly came from his popularity and his athletic abilities rather than his intelligence. Psychologist Claude Steele has referred to this as “academic disidentification,” a phenomenon where a student’s self-esteem is disconnected from how they perform in school.
Tyrone is not alone. According to one study based on national data from almost 25,000 students black males were the only students that showed significant disidentification throughout the 12th grade. My research too has confirmed this, although I did not find evidence among black females, white males or white females.
What’s the college experience?
While the narrative of more black men being in prison than in college has been thoroughly debunked by psychologist Ivory Toldson, it is still the case that black men are underrepresented in college. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 887,000 black women enrolled in college compared to 618,000 black men.
Owing in large part to the emphasis of education by his family, Tyrone is fortunate enough to be accepted to college. Excited and nervous about being away from home, Tyrone looks forward to starting his college experience.
Like many college students, Tyrone likes to go to parties thrown by Greek organizations, and he frequently attends parties thrown by black fraternities. While attending one party, Tyrone and his friends became upset when campus police broke up the party because of complaints of loud music and threaten to arrest the attendees.
Tyrone has partied with white friends and knows firsthand that their parties often involve drugs and reckless behavior, yet, as my students tell me, police almost never break up their parties. As it turns out, white fraternities are frequently the perpetrators of racist incidents, which cause Tyrone and other black students to engage in campus protests.
For example, in 2014, Tau Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity at Arizona State University, was suspended for having a racist Martin Luther King Jr. party at which they drank from watermelon cups, held their crotches, wore bandannas and formed gang signs with their hands.
To add insult to injury, Tyrone and other black students read opinion pieces in the student paper complaining how affirmative action discriminates against white students and allows less qualified “minority” students on campus.
Tyrone finds refuge in black studies classes, where he learns about theories such as “critical race theory” and terms such as “institutional racism,” “white privilege” and “hegemony.” Exposure to these classes provides Tyrone with the vocabulary and critical analytical tools to better understand the challenges facing black people.
So it is not surprising that college-educated blacks like Tyrone are more likely to report experiencing discrimination in college than blacks with no college experience in college environments where racist incidents and racial microagressions are frequently reported. In spite of the desire among many for America to be colorblind, at every level of education black students experience disproportionate amounts of discrimination.
In many ways my research on African-American students reflects my own experiences as a black male negotiating the challenges of being in predominantly white academic environments. The silver lining to this story is that black students are incredibly resilient and there are positive things to report.
In 2016, for example, enrollment at historically black colleges and universities has increased. It is difficult to know if this increase is related to the negative experiences of discrimination black students often experience on predominantly white campuses, but it does suggest that interest among black students in obtaining a college education remains high. According to 2016 data reported in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, black women now have the highest graduation rate of any demographic group at the University of Georgia.
For every positive outcome for students like Tyrone, there are unfortunately also too many negative outcomes for other similar students. The educational experiences of Tyrone and all black students matters should be of concern to everyone.
While education is not a cure all for experiences with racism and discrimination, education can equip us with the tools to better understand, analyze and ultimately find solutions to the tragic incidents we are seeing too frequently involving police killings of black people.
African vs. African-American
A shared complexion does not guarantee racial solidarity.
Author: TRACIE REDDICK.
Topics: blacks, culture, Africans, slavery, racism, U.S., & Africa.
|TAMPA – When Anthony Eromosele Oigbokie came to America in 1960, he heard racial slurs – not from Klansmen in white sheets – but from dashiki-wearing blacks.
“Just because African-Americans wear kente cloth does not mean they embrace everything that is African,” says Oigbokie, a Nigerian business owner in Tampa. “I caught a lot of hell from the frat boys” at Tuskegee University, a historically black college in Alabama.
“They were always trying to play with my intelligence. This was a time when folks were shouting, “Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud.’ Yet, when I called someone black, they would say, “Why are you so cruel? Why are you calling us black?’ If they saw me with a girl, they would yell to her, “What are you doing with that African?’ ”
Three decades later, not much has changed. Africans and black Americans often fail to forge relationships in the classroom and the workplace. They blame nationality, ethnicity, culture, economics and education.
“A shared complexion does not equal a shared culture, nor does it automatically lead to friendships,” says Kofi Glover, a native of Ghana and a political science professor at the University of South Florida. “Whether we like it or not, Africans and African-Americans have two different and very distinct cultures.”
“That’s a fallacy,” retorts Omali Yeshitela, president of St. Petersburg’s National People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, a black nationalist group whose name means “freedom” in Swahili. Yeshitela is from St. Petersburg and was formerly known as Joe Waller.
Whether blacks live on the Ivory Coast or the Atlantic Coast, Yeshitela contends, “we’re all the same. There are no cultural differences between Africans and African-Americans.”
Na’im Akbar, a psychology professor at Florida State University, sides with Glover. “The only way we’ll ever begin to appreciate each other is to recognize and embrace our cultural differences,” says Akbar, who was born in America.
“A lot of us do harbor a lot of hostility toward Africans,” says Tampa poet James Tokley. “Many Africans have no idea what our ancestors endured during slavery.”
In Ghana, he says, “we did not experience white domination like the Africans in Kenya, Zimbabwe or South Africa. We do not understand the whole concept of slavery, or it’s effect on the attitude of a lot of African-Americans, mainly because we were not exposed to it. To read about racism and discrimination is one thing, but to experience it is something else.”
Much bad blood stems from interactions between Africans and whites, Oigbokie says. For example, he ate at some segregated restaurants in the 1960s.
Glover, who also teaches African studies at USF, says these perceptions are rooted in “all the negative things we’ve been taught about each other.”
“I have seen us come together in great magnificence,” Yeshitela says, citing, as an example, Marcus Garvey, founder of a back-to-Africa movement in the 1920s. “He was very successful in bringing about the unity of African people.”
“When most Africans come here, their first priority, by and large, is education,” he says. “Right here you have a tool that allows you to open doors within American society.
In 1990, the median household income of an African immigrant was $30,907, according to the Center for Research on Immigration Policy in Washington, D.C. That compares with $19,533 for black Americans. Africans who immigrate to the United States come largely from the educated middle class of their countries. The research center reports 47 percent are college graduates and 22 percent have a professional specialty. Only 14 percent of black Americans graduate from college.
“If you visit Nigeria or Ghana, the masses of the people are locked in the same circumstances as poor African-Americans,” he says. “Both groups seem content to do nothing other than what they are currently doing.
“We’re faced with a situation where 3 to 10 percent of the total trade in Africa happens in Africa. The rest is exported from Africa. The future of all black-skinned people centers in Africa. That is our birthright and someone else has it. The struggle we have to make lies in reclaiming what is rightfully ours.”