All Articles Tagged "issues"
A recent article from The Huffington Post by Megan Totka (the chief editor for ChamberofCommerce.com) posits that maybe it’s time for women to redefine their expectations and the expectations that they have for other women. Encouraging other women, taking advantage of vacation time, and being more open-minded towards flexibility are advised ways in which women can have it all, including sanity. As lovely as this sounds, for the working woman with a family and a demanding job, being a working woman with a personal life may prove to be a treacherous balancing act. But does it really have to be? Is this struggle only in our minds? Well, here is a list of ten baby steps to stop stressing about your life and work and to start figuring out how to free your mind.
The Internet has to be one of the best inventions to come out of the latter half of the 20th Century. Need a recipe? Google. Want a new hairstyle? Google. Want to see Kim Kardashian wearing furry sandals with leather pants? (Kanye…dude…no) Yeah, you know where this is going. With all the known information of the world just a few keyboard taps and mouse clicks away, we are able to be knowledgeable about anything we choose. Yet, with this positive comes a nuisance — the evolution of the Know-It-All.
The Know-It-All is the person we can expect to come off more informed than they really are. That old Socratic sentiment that a wise man is one who knows that he doesn’t know everything has to be as foreign to them as Aramaic (but I’m sure they’d tell us they dabbled in learning the lost language once). These days such folks are known as Google Scholars. They draw up a Wikipedia page, read the introductory paragraph and crown themselves an expert on the matter at hand.
Don’t ever bother trying to tell a Know-It-All that some of the things they think they know so well, they don’t know at all. How dare you try to make them appear to be less than they really are? They don’t know that its okay to be corrected, to learn something new, to try to understand that what they could have read or learned was outdated or not detailed enough. How do you cope with someone who is not willing to cop to a mistake?
I started noticing this little phenomenon with my increasing use of social media. I started to realize that there would be people who always had some “facts” that they would want to drop in a discussion. At first, I was really impressed by these types, and felt intellectually inferior to them. They seemed so well-versed in everything imaginable. Science, art, pop culture, hidden gems of history. And then one day, someone used the term “Google Scholar” with me, and my little bubble was depleted. And after finding that some were quoting sites like Wikipedia verbatim in their lectures, I could not help but laugh that someone would go to such extremes just to come off to be more than they are.
I’ve learned that it is best to deal with these types of people in small doses. Just as I am not situated to comprehend the basic contents of physics (no thanks to my college professor), I am not well equipped to deal with those who think that they know everything there is to know; those who are so unhappy with who they are that they attempt to take on airs of superiority by putting on airs. That kind of arrogance is simply not my cup of tea. Give me friends who know that they do not know everything. Who do not seek to impress all they meet with their infinite well of consciousness. After all, its the continuance of schooling, the deprogramming and reprogramming of ourselves that gives this mad thing called life its mystery and openness.
So, tell us readers: How do you deal with the Know-It-Alls?
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Attention bitter black men:
Please have a seat somewhere, preferably, *in my DMX voice* in the cut, where the woods at.
The black community.
Yeah, I’m going to get right to it because I’m really short on time. No, I don’t have any place to be in particular, but I really don’t have the time anymore to deal with the bad attitudes and vibes of the dudes online. Yeah, I said it. Some of y’all menfolk really have some messed up attitudes. And while I in no way consider myself an expert on the emotional issues related to the XY chromosome, I have become the reluctant recipient of the mental assault unleashed by these unhappy individuals.
Let me take it back a bit to share with you all where exactly my angst comes from. Over the past, I say year or so, my Facebook news feed has been flooded with sexist and derogatory images about women, particularly black women. It all started with the animated videos of the men discussing what’s wrong with professional black women. And then it blossomed to almost weekly b***hery via comic strips, status updates and external links about everything these men perceive to be wrong with black women.
One widely circulated comic strip, which was made famous by its inclusion on Kevin Hart’s fan page, is of a guy being rejected by a group of women in high school for being a nerd and years later seeking his revenge on these same women by being a successful man, who is now out of their league. The caption to this particular strip said “A Strong Black Woman Doesn’t Mean You have an Attitude.” I don’t know what being a strong woman has to do with not liking nerds in high school but the message seemed to resonate with many men because it showed up on the pages of half of my friend’s list.
And then recently, like last week, I saw another anti-black woman comic strip being passed around, this time comparing black women in the ’70s with the modern black woman. In the picture, an afro-wearing woman is bestowed with values of her love of God, knowing how to cook and clean and being submissive to her man, all of which are suppose to be good. Whereas, the picture of the woman from 2009, who ironically rocks a blonde weave, doesn’t cook or clean, is shallow, strong and independent. Of course, these virtues are considered bad. The caption is the kicker for me: “Freedom from Mental Slavery.”
Wait, what? Talk about romanticizing a history that never was. Obviously they never heard of Elaine Brown or Angela Davis, two women with big Afros who would never include submission and dependency into their vocabulary. The whole thing is reminiscent of the episode of “Married with Children” when Al Bundy, pissed that some women were encroaching on his bowling night, created the “National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Master hood” or NO MA’AM. Yet this is no sitcom and the bitter black men are for real and everywhere.
I remember my first true encounter with the green-eyed monster known as jealousy. It was summer 2006 and I was one-year strong in my first “mature” relationship. The relationship had been going so well that I was sure I had been living out some Disney fairytale, until this one day, which seemed like any other. I had just gotten home from a job I’d snagged for the summer, I raced to my bedroom to call my Prince Charming whom I hadn’t heard from all day. “Hello,” I said eagerly as soon as I heard him pick up the phone; however, something wasn’t quite right. I heard a female’s laughter in the background. “Who’s that?” I asked twisting my face up, hoping he would say a cousin or relative. “Oh, that’s Shamika, the girl from across the street.” I sat on the other end of the phone silently. My heart sank. I felt like my face was going to crack and I was overcome with an intense feeling that I had a hard time identifying. I’d later come to know this intense and overwhelming feeling as jealousy. My logic told me that there was probably nothing up with this girl from across the street, but my imagination and emotions went running in a completely different direction.
Jealousy is one of those erratic and unreasonable emotions that can transform a fairly mild-mannered woman into a ranting, probing, lurking lunatic. A jealous woman can be like a terrorist to a man in a relationship. You know the deal: checking cell phones, cracking voicemail codes, Facebook passwords, Twitter passwords, cell phone company records, etc. You name it, I’ve done it. Little did I know, jealousy would be a frequent visitor in my relationships.
After my second or third encounter with this feeling, I began to realize that I had a problem. The crazy part is that I knew something about it was off and would’ve traded almost anything to get rid of those feelings. They were practically consuming me. It was as if a “Shamika” had been assigned to every last one of my relationships and just when I thought I had overcome it, the overbearing and suffocating feelings of jealousy would resurface. I would always try to work through it, convinced that this time I would beat this feeling. Each time I failed. I had no peace. After awhile I began to realize that these feelings were stemming from something internal, and if I were to ever truly overcome them, I would have to start addressing the issues that lie within. It was a quest that I would have to take on alone.
Last Tuesday, while most folks were distracted by all the election day coverage, the School District of Philadelphia quietly announced its plan to restructure the city’s public school system, including closing 64 schools in the next five years.
Calling the plan an attempt to right size a district, which has been bleeding both seats and money, while making it competitive by offering parents more choices, Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen said that 40 schools would close by next year and six additional schools would be closed every year thereafter until 2017. The remaining schools would get distributed into “achievement networks” where public or private groups compete to manage them while the Central District headquarters would be reduced to a skeleton crew of about 200. The District chief also said that the ultimate goal is to have about 40 percent of students in Philly’s public school system moved to charter school management by 2017.
The announcement of basically the dissolution of the School District of Philadelphia, a city that’s the fifth largest city in the nation, has received minimum attention in the mainstream media. Even as the city of brotherly love becomes the latest city to weaken under the prospects of trying to balance budgets, while working with decreasing amounts of funding, meet the standards of federal No Child Left Behind guidelines and compete with the sudden rise in charter schools, which continues to pull necessary monies and resources from the already battered school districts. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, “across Pennsylvania, school boards are finding it increasingly difficult to manage tax dollars responsibly as the pressure to open more charter and cyber-charter schools builds, even as these schools show little evidence of performing better than regular public schools.” And it is not just Pennsylvania.
In Detroit, which last year announced plans to close half of that city’s schools and increase high school class sizes to 60 students, the city has also embraced charter schools as the cornerstone of its “Renaissance 2012″ plan even as the performance of the district’s 14 authorized charters so far has been less than impressive. In New York City, which has undergone a similar style restructuring plan similar in kind to Philadelphia, has too not seen the success as promised through its reduction of publicly held schools in favor of privately managed charter schools.
According to Diane Ravitch, former Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush, New York City has not gotten the remarkable results it promised. She writes, “The city’s proficiency rates, which seemed to be flying up by leaps and bounds every year, got deflated in 2010 when the State Education Department admitted lowering the cut scores on state examinations. Overnight, the New York City miracle disappeared, as the percentage of students who reached proficiency fell to levels near where they had been years earlier. And the achievement gap was as large as it had been in 2002, when the mayor took charge.”
A recent campaign on Facebook called, Who Needs Feminism? has sparked some controversy all over the web. Originally started by 16 women who attend Duke University, they created this campaign to combat the negative images that resonate with people when they hear the world feminism:
“Identify yourself as a feminist today and many people will immediately assume you are man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal. Perhaps a certain charming radio talk show host will label you as a “Feminazi” or “S**t.” Even among more moderate crowds, feminism is still seen as too radical, too uncomfortable, or simply unnecessary. Feminism is both misunderstood and denigrated regularly on a broad societal scale.”
Inspired by a Women in the Public Sphere course at Duke University, these 16 young women have decided to fight back and teach people what they believe it truly means to be a feminist. The idea that many people believe we don’t need feminism anymore is frightening. Women are still degraded and objectified in the media, women are still not given equal pay even though many exceed most men in education, women are still being told what they can and can’t do with their own bodies. Simply put, we’re still getting the short end of the stick.
What I really like about this campaign is that it allows women and men who are usually not the face of feminism to have a voice. Middle class white woman have always been the main vehicle for feminism, which has somewhat excluded women of color, queer identified people, and transgender people. I also like that men are entering into the conversation, because feminism isn’t about the equality of just women, but men too.
Even now, when you ask people what they think a feminist is, they will most likely think of some radical white woman who doesn’t shave and hates all men. When in actuality, people like me, a 21-year old black female in college, identifies as a feminist/womanist.
As great as feminism is, why do women of color have to create another movement to gain recognition? Why is it that in 2012, we still have to question this? As a young black feminist, I sometimes find myself outside of the conversation. I attend the meetings of my college’s feminism group and the lack of faces that look like mine is staggering. Many women of color either feel feminism isn’t for them and/or feel that the issues that pertain to them don’t get addressed, so they wonder why they need to get involved.
It’s nice to see college students take the initiative to tackle an important issue, I just hope in the future that more young black women will feel confident enough to call themselves feminists.
Do you believe we still need feminism? Does feminism play a part in your life?
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By Dantel Proctor
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that hair is a very sensitive topic among the black female population. One topic that keeps arising in the realm of that is the natural hair versus relaxed hair debate. Why it’s “versus,” I still don’t really understand.
I remember in high school seeing black girls get ridiculed for not having a relaxer and have their locks labeled as “nappy.” Yet I also remember how in college no judgment was passed; people were celebrated for making their own decisions and not being afraid to stray from the pack. With time, we were all becoming more accepting of doing whatever worked for our hair. There were girls with relaxed and natural hair and you were saluted for whichever route you took. Then I entered the “real world,” coincidentally at the same time that the recent resurgence of the natural hair movement seemed to really take off, and that same high school judgment returned, but this time it was for the opposing reason. This time rulers were hitting the knuckles of the non-natural women, the ones who would dare to still relax their hair.
I am now one of the ridiculed ones, but I’m having a hard time understanding why. I have been relaxing my hair since I was eleven years old. My hair is soft and fairly curly and my roots do in fact grow up, not down. However, I prefer my hair straight. I like my hair to flow, lay across my shoulders, and I hate to say it, but I am a habitual hair twirler as well. I can’t help but get the “I need a touch-up” itch every couple of months to maintain the ultra-straight look that I’ve loved my entire life. This once was also the practice of all of my friends, but now everyone is natural, and that’s fine, but they’re pointing a finger at me because I have yet to “convert.” Do I have to?
A close friend of mine told me that all women that wear perms are only doing so because they are insecure and care too much about what men and society think of them. Another friend was a little less judgmental and said that those aren’t the reasons for all women, but it sure is for a lot of them. I have also been told that I am living an unhealthy lifestyle and that I am just assimilating to what “White America” wants. My question is, why does it have to be that I’m appeasing white folks if I like my hair straight? I am the type of person who doesn’t adhere to every new trend or fad and style-wise, I am basic and constant, knowing what I like and not straying too far from it. My mother had her reasons for giving me my first perm, but my continuing it for all these years has little to do with what others think and more to do with my own personal style choices and how I like my hair. Keyword, my hair.
To hear some of the harsh things said about women with relaxers is hurtful. I don’t insult people who have decided to be natural, that would be prejudice of me; so why the double standard? If people think getting a relaxer is strictly to please white people, then wouldn’t that mean going natural is being done strictly to please black people? I know that this isn’t true, and it’s a pretty far assumption, correct? But the assumption that this is the only reason a person would get a perm is pretty far reaching too, and warrants this kind of logic. I bet natural women would be offended by that accusation, so why shouldn’t we, those who choose to use relaxers, be offended too? Is it a crime to do your hair the way YOU want to versus what everyone else feels is right?
Honestly, I have given a lot of thought into going natural and I’m still undecided. I have not relaxed my hair in four months and I am experimenting to see if I can still maintain the hair style I love, without a perm and without doing the big chop, but I just don’t like a lot of the natural styles that I’ve seen. I’m entitled to my own opinion. I see the benefits of natural hair, but a relaxer has never actually done any damage to my hair, and by all accounts my hair is healthy–just ask my stylist. If my hair is still thriving, despite the fact that it is relaxed, then am I really doing wrong by not going natural?
I think what a person does with their hair is a personal choice and there should be no pressure surrounding it. It should not be assumed that because someone goes natural, it is because they just want to be in on the newest fad or that if they keep a perm, it is because they are insecure or want to blend in with everyone who isn’t black. I don’t like people pushing me to try and feel ashamed or as though I haven’t “evolved” because I still like my hair relaxed. It’s nice that there is sense of camaraderie and celebration in the black community in regards to wearing hair natural, but shouldn’t all black women share that, despite the way they choose to wear their hair?
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By Blair Bedford
If you have ever watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada, you might have finished the movie thinking that such behaviors on the job are a part of the normal work experience. Uh, I don’t think so. From demanding supervisors to noisy co-workers, we have all had our share of experiences in the workplace that were not-so ideal or comfortable, but we were able to tolerate it to get to where we wanted to be in our careers. But how do you know when the fine line between uncomfortable and intolerable has been crossed while on the job? Here are a few examples of certain situations that should raise a red flag:
At least somebody gets it. A new poll by CBS and the New York Times shows that a decent portion of Americans think the government should focus more on minority issues. Specifically, 39% say the government isn’t paying enough attention to problems concerning people of color, while 35% think the right amount attention is being paid; another 16% say the government is already paying too much attention to minority issues.
White and black Americans see things drastically differently. One in five white Americans think the government is paying too much attention to minority issues, while another 31% think it’s not paying enough. Black people overwhelmingly say the federal government isn’t paying enough attention, 77%, and 17% say the government is paying the right amount.
There’s also a difference among political parties. Democrats mostly think the government isn’t paying enough attention to the needs of minorities, 55%, but most Republicans think either the right amount of attention is being paid, 43%, or too much 29%. That’s not surprising for a party that values limited government involvement.
Attention on minorities can be a bit of a catch 22 though, as we already know. More than just the right amount of attention, the government needs to have the appropriate focus on minority issues and not go the route of our dear frenemies Newt Gingrich, Jesee Peterson, and countless others who have a skewed view of race relations and concerns African Americans and other minorities are facing.
Where do you stand on the government’s focus on minority issues? Should they be doing more, less, or is their involvement just right?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Holiday season was prime time for proposals, so I am sure there are plenty of you preparing to do a rendition of Chris Brown’s “Forever” down the aisle sometime this year. Planning a wedding is such an exciting time. But, I challenge you not to let the pomp and circumstance deter you from the greater picture—a lifetime fully committed to your significant other.
Often too much focus is placed on the circuses we call weddings and not enough effort is put into preparing for the marriage. Know that this is not to discourage anyone from marrying, but it never hurts to keep it real. These are just a few things you may experience when the honeymoon ends:
Forever is a really long time.
We get married with the notion of being with our partners for the rest of our lives, not really realizing how long it may be before you (or he) dies. “Until death do us part,” is an important part of marital vows that should not be taken lightly, as it pertains to the level of commitment correlated to marriage. And, there is a lot of time between now and the end for him to annoy, reward, irritate, praise, disappoint, hurt and compliment you—which is why marriage is no cakewalk. It takes work so be ready.