Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Inspiration: The Number One Thing You Must Know When Looking For A Mate (and 3 tips to help you close the deal)

Many people will tell you to write a list of characteristics, both physical and personal that your perfect mate will have. Rarely does anyone show you how to come up with that list or an example of one that works. When I hear people mention what is on their list they often say they are looking for someone who is cute, has a great body, a good sense of humor, likes walks in the park, is tall, dark, handsome, loves his mom, can cook, likes kids and so on...(at least that is what I see most on dating websites).

Those traits/likes etc., do nothing to help you understand if you will get along with that person. It does nothing to get you to the heart of your beloved's heart. The one most important thing to do when deciding what is important in a mate is to keep it simple. It's the little things, the simple things that tell whether your mate has integrity and the capacity for love.

Things like, I rarely get routed to his voice mail - he always takes my calls and he always returns them- he respects me.

She does what she says she is going to do, I trust her word.  

She is fresh, clean and showers every day. I just threw that in, but hey hygiene is important, no one wants a stinky partner!

He is never volatile or violent with me, his mother or any other woman. No explanation necessary, I hope. 

He is not over the top jealous when I smile at another guy/ she doesn't lose her mind when the waitress smiles at me.  She/he is confident and trusts me.

We can disagree then laugh and still enjoy our meal. He/she lives int he real world and we can work things out.

3 Tips to help you close the deal:

1. Don't be so judgmental. Especially those of us in church and who have religious beliefs. Avoid being egotistical and thinking that you are holier than every person on earth.
2. Relax. Just like dogs smell fear, people feel when you are uptight. Take it down a thousand.
3. And finally allow yourself to feel and follow your intuition. You usually have a gut feeling when someone is not right for you. Trust your gut and keep that simple to. You do not need a reason. You do not need validation. You just know. If it feels bad let it go.

Trust that the mate you are looking for is looking for you!

Cathleen, in Effect

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Everette Howard, dead at 18. He won the battle but lost the war.

The statistics say that young black men are about 50% on average to graduate from high school with their white counterparts. In Ohio the graduation rate is 41% for black males, lower than the national average. The racial achievement gap is now greater than the national average. I could cite report after report that states the reading level, the math scores, the higher rates of violence in public schools and on and on lead to a devastating future academically for black males. To top that off there is a documented public school to prison pipeline that is reported in newspapers around the world every year. Add to that single parent households and the numbers of black males who fail in the "system" is said to be even higher.

Everette Howard beat all of those odds. Even in Cincinnati where black male achievement is so low that there is a call to action to reverse the failing trend. Everette, an athlete, ranked in the top ten percent of his high school class. He was captain of the wrestling team, a support to his teachers, he taught Bible study, fed the homeless, and did I say he did great in school? So well that high school was not a deterrent to his success, his three Rs were great actually, he was considered an excellent writer. He beat the odds, graduated high school and was on his way to college. On scholarship. For two sports, wrestling and football. This young man made it. Except for one thing, in his desire to stop a fight, he was in a confrontation with police. Police who likely knew that according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics(BJS), black males are incarcerated at a rate more than 6.5 times that of white males. Maybe the campus police at the University of Cincinnati  assumed Everette was or would be the 1 in 8 black males in prison on any given day. Maybe, because so few make it to college, maybe because there are so few present in comparison to their white counterparts on any college campus...maybe these campus police assumed he had no right to be there, that he was a threat. Maybe they could not imagine that an 18 year old black male on a college campus was in an Upward Bound program two weeks shy of beginning his own college career. Maybe that is why young Everette Howard, was tasered by a campus police officer when he approached them at University of Cincinnati last weekend. Maybe, the officer was so shocked to see a young black man doing the right thing the right way was such a shock to his reality that his first thought was to taser him and then handcuff him on the ground.

Is the problem that the officer responded to his reality, that only 6 % of the students on the UC campus are black? That only 3.6% of the faculty at UC are black? Is it that the campus police officer sees so few black people, least of which are black male students on college campuses around the country including his own, that he assumed that this young man made him feel unsafe? The officer made the decision that Everette Howard deserved to be tasered, not listened to, despite the fact that Everette was the one who was on the side of peace and safety, for which the officer himself stands.

Lastly, let me say this. In all of the commentary about Everette Howard we see mention of his mother and in some articles it says his parents. In one video of his mom we see her with an unidentified woman holding her hand. There has been no mention of Everette's dad. I wonder why that is? This young man has a father. Somewhere. Even if he passed away he has a dad. I wonder why in so many articles about young men, their fathers are not mentioned? It bothers me to see this. There is the assumption particularly when the boys are black, that there is no man in the mix. Even I assumed he is the son of a single mom, but there is no mention one way or the other of his mother's marital status. This is a message to fathers of black young men: the world needs to see men hurting, crying, caring and fighting for your children, too. Black boys are in a battle for status, excellence and achievement.

Black boys need of mentors, fathers, examples and support to help them avoid prison, death and statistics that predict their demise in so many different ways. Even when they are successful, like Everette was, they may win the battle. Everette did. This young man, on his way to college and even more success--a good guy, one who made it past all of the doom and gloom predicted for black boys and young black men. He made it, he won the battle. But until we make changes in the reality of what "is" for black men in America, until the hearts and minds of everyone watching-- including police, especially police-- changes, black men will continue to lose the war. And the outcome of the war affects us all- every color, every gender every creed.


What happened on campus and the messsage from Everette's mom.

Black Boys Report

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Inspiration: Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

In short, if you have struggled, you have fought the fight worth fighting. Beautiful people are not born, but they do grow. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Maid, Mother, Victim

A recent article in Newsweek, "The Maid's Tale," by Christopher Dickey, tells the story of IMF President Dominique Strauss-Kahn's alleged rape victim Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel maid at Sofitel in New York. In assembling the case defending Strauss-Kahn, Diallo's entire background is being questioned, from her relationships with seemingly nefarious persons to her role as a single mother. But is it fair to bring Diallo's single motherhood into the case against her statements? Working as a hotel maid, Diallo makes $25 per hour, and her days are not short. One has to ask, is the Strauss-Kahn defense asking the right questions? Why would they seem to believe that being a single mother would implicate falsehood in Diallo's statements? The role, as we know, is not a negative one, but rather one that takes strength beyond what most parents can understand. Shouldn't being a single mother instead show Diallo's positive qualities, of being able to provide a decent life for her family? Perhaps the Strauss-Kahn defense should be asking if her family is happy, provided for, and has a healthy home life, as being a single mother should not be thought of as a detriment to one's character. What do you think?