I think my earliest recollection of racism was during grade school prior to the 2000s in Pasadena, California.
I developed a good friendship with a privileged, Nigerian girl who joined my Catholic school (e.g., I tend to gravitate toward black sheep).
One day, this girl's mother was under the assumption that I invited two Black young men over to her mansion for some sort of adolescent party although their arrival was actually orchestrated by our Anglo and El Salvadorian classmates unbeknownst to her daughter and I (e.g., my Black, militant father would have nailed me to the wall for ever communicating with any boys at the time - on or off campus - lol).
Nevertheless, this petty, Nigerian woman attempted to trample my dignity and respect by gossiping to my school age friends about my nonexistent reputation and referring to me as literal "trash" (e.g., scum on the bottom of the dumpster). Also, she proceeded to instruct her daughter to no longer foster our friendship.
I was truly disenchanted after my classmates relayed this information to me, especially given my sheltered and humble upbringing. I was shocked that this haughty woman would have the nerve and audacity to come for me in such a fashion; on account of my skin color, she completely disregarded the idea that perhaps I was not at fault in this scenario.
I considered this experience to be a great learning opportunity and chose not to inform my father about this situation because I did not want anything to reach a police state. But it certainly was one of the first times I realized that no matter what, I'll be perceived as the ring leader or a threat even from members of my own community. I suppose that's just how the cookie crumbles for Black youth in America. It was quite a powerful lesson to learn at such a young age in such a rosy city.
Motto: Keep Your Friends Close, But Enemies Closer.
Here's a short list of my annoyances; the following really grind my gears:
From awesome to outrageous! Click the images in the gallery below to find out which television programs I cannot stop smiling about.
Toward the end of last year, Oprah put a challenge to her team: What did they want 2017 to bring to their lives? What should it show them, teach them, and inspire in them?
Living on the edge is what Oprah desired to do with her precious time this year, particularly in the Grand Canyon.
Although I adore exhilarating new experiences and broadening my horizons, I've already had enough adventure for awhile in Trump Country. So, I knew I wanted something different: to enrich my life by accomplishing things I had once aspired to do and couldn't due to others bi-directional influence on my life.
Oprah made 2017 the Year of Adventure but I declared it the Year of Empowerment.
For the last six months, I've worked diligently to acquire my Master of Social Work Degree, which I was humbled and honored to receive last month from The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
But this educational accomplishment is not solely about being "book smart". According to Martin Luther King Jr.,
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
Keeping that in mind, I plan to continue pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, in terms of intelligence and character, similar to the new book I cooked up a few months ago, Afrikan Eats in the Diaspora. Publishing my own cookbook was unfamiliar territory for me; nevertheless, I embraced the challenge and faced it head on. Upon completion of the book, I was surprised at how much I enjoy autonomy. Also, discovering the degree of my self-determination was motivating.
For the remainder of 2017, I'll be traveling, working on creative projects, planning my annual writing retreat, studying issues in LA County around housing to help end senior homelessness, and living happily in the moment. I want to keep my pulse racing; only dead fishes go with the flow. So, I challenge you to live out the rest of this year with me. Speak up for yourself, engage others, do what you planned to do, or create a new plan altogether. Break out of your comfort zone and break from your routine to find balance. Check out this video to get started empowering yourself:
I do affirm that through my work:
I will help all people in need.
I will reduce the social problems in our society.
I will challenge injustice particularly to vulnerable and oppressed individuals.
I will respect the inherent dignity and worth of every person.
I will enhance the well-being of individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities.
I will strive to increase my professional knowledge and skill and to advance the knowledge base of my fields of profession.
I shall conduct myself in a professional and ethical manner.
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