Where’s the Matter?

 

written by Gregory Meriweather @RadioBlackOn (Twitter)

I was riding in the car after my son’s cross-country meet (yes black boys run cross-country), and I began asking him questions.  I asked him, “In science, what would that McDonald’s sign be called?”  He looked puzzled, and did not have an answer.  Of course, that did not cause me to stop asking questions.  I then asked, “What is the scientific term for the grass that you see?” He’s like, “Dad, I don’t understand what you are asking me.” After asking him numerous questions, that I know had the same answer, I then went on to tell him that these things are called “matter.”  

According to science, matter is physical substance in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy.  I then went on to say that this is a key component to fixing some of the ills of our community. Most of the things that we see in our communities are simply matter (drugs, dilapidated houses, etc.).  The things that take up space in our community, are simply matter, or “the matter” if  you will.  

Is focusing on the matter the solution to fixing our communities?  Some believe it is, but I think we must dig deeper into the matter (no pun intended).  

Crime prevention initiatives are going on all around the country.  Billions of dollars are being distributed to community groups, who believe they have the solutions to decrease murder, and homicides in the African-American/Black community.  Yet, we see the numbers still rising each and every year;  which leads me to ask, “How do they believe what they are doing is working?” and “Is marching an effective way to stop violence?”

When Martin Luther King Jr. was leading marches in the South, it was to bring a halt to the tyranny that Black people were facing on a daily basis. When they crossed the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, they were marching for the right to vote.  The Montgomery bus boycotts were about equality, and civil rights. So what are we marching about today?

I often see people marching when a cop kills a Black person, but seldom do I see a march when someone Black kills another Black person.  I am not seeing our people coming forward when a murder is not solved, yet multiple cell phones have footage of actual murders on them. I am seeing a lot of leaders  bragging about how many people came to their marches, but I am not seeing the results of the temporary unification.  What has happened to the genuine concern for humanity, when people want to get paid for walking their own neighborhoods?  Why are Pastors so focused on grant money as opposed to the Great Commission which commands them to go into the world, and create positive change? 

Nothing seems genuine anymore. People seem more excited about being on the news, and receiving grant money, than they do about actually making a difference in the communities that so disparately need help. Which leads to my next question. 

Where is the matter? 

When I walk into a community and I see uncut yards, paint chipping on homes, and trash everywhere, I have to ask the same question; where is the matter?  When I see women posting half naked selfies on Instagram, and young men thuggin’, with the desire to become street legends with money longer than “Scottie Pippen’s arms,” instead of wanting to be what they would call boring, successful citizens, I must ask the question; Where is the matter? 

When I look at cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Indianapolis, where murder is becoming as normal as the sun’s rising and setting, I must ask the question: Where is the matter?

As we jump back to the conversation between my son, and I we must remember what matter is.  Then we must realize that there are natural matters that God has created, and then there is matter that we have created ourselves.  

If “Mind over Matter”  is real, then why are we so focused on the matters, than we are the minds?  There are so many clichés as it relates to mind over matter.  I remember one of my teachers telling me that a cluttered desk, is a cluttered mind.  I believe that she was telling me that my mind created the clutter.  Would that not hold true to the matters of our communities?  I believe so.  

So why are so many leaders focusing on the matter than they are the mind?  Focusing on the minds would be a much harder fix, but one that would be lasting.  If you walk into a neighborhood, and begin to beautify it, but never beautify the minds of the people who actually live there, then you have done nothing to maintain it.  It will eventually go right back to being what it was before you came in.  We must have conversations with  the people of our communities.  We must ask them uncomfortable question like, “What do you believe is holding you back?” We must ask, “What are you afraid of?” Then we must create programs that help remove the barriers (matter) that are in their minds.  You will find that the thing that is taking up the most “space” resides in the minds of the people in our communities. 

The solution to the ills of the world is not a what, but more of a where.  So, the next time someone asks you “What’s the matter?”  Simply, correct them, and say, ” I do not know what’s the matter, but I can truly tell you the “where’s” the matter.  Which is a simple answer.

It’s in the minds.

 

Experts suggests Black women include self-care routines as part of an active and healthy lifestyle

Written by Samantha Pounds for Black On Black Network

www.blackonblack.network

 

2018 has been the year of infinite change for me. Just as everyone else, I started the year out with setting attainable goals including working out, drinking more water, and better time management skills. It would be a sudden surprise to me when by the end of the first quarter I found myself single, friendless and yearning for true alone time.

While getting used to my status in both friendships and romantic relationships, it was then I realized the value and importance of self-care and it shouldn’t be practiced only when something dramatic or life changing happens. Rather, the notion of self-care should be utilized in everyday life. Depending on who you ask, the answer of what self-care looks and feels like will be different.

Before the year of infinite change happened for me, I always looked at the notion of self-care as being selfish. At the time, those closest to me would label self-care as “Me Time.” While those around me labeled it as time for themselves, I couldn’t help but think of all the things I could get done instead of taking a break.

“Self-care is anything that takes care of and sustains your mental, physical or spiritual well-being. We feel guilty about taking the time or spending the money to take care of ourselves. We are always taking care of others, or our careers, but not ourselves,” said Sylvia Wilson, an Indianapolis native who also includes self-care routines as part of a healthy lifestyle.

According to medical professionals, the act of practicing self-care includes exercising, being self-aware, creating joyful rituals, forgiving yourself and others just to name a few.

“Black women can and should do a few key things to practice self-care. First, acknowledge your limitations, understand that they may change over time, and act accordingly. Many black women are raised to be strong, and this concept is often indoctrinated from the cradle,” said MBA professional, Raven Lopez-Bell.

For many Black women, the notion of self-care is oftentimes perceived as being selfish but according to professionals, its well needed and earned.

“I think the stress for African-Americans is a complex issue and is influenced and created by multiple factors. There is a real, tangible and longstanding evidence that shows African-Americans are mistreated, disproportionately punished, and undervalued in the United States across the spectrum,” said Lopez-Bell.

Experts suggest including a self-care routine as part of a healthy lifestyle.

“Investing in me time is a must. It could be as simple as taking an uninterrupted bath, going shopping by yourself or having a night out/dinner with friends. It is imperative to carve out concrete time each week to do something that is solely for your own enjoyment,” said Lopez-Bell.

If you are in need of a few tips and suggestions for your next well needed self-care routine, try the following: Talking to people who fulfill you, hanging out with your close girlfriends, getting a manicure and or pedicure, taking a bubble bath, taking a nap, listening to music, watching your favorite television shows, reading a book and turning off all of your electronic devices for a period of time to name a few.

Colorism: Still an everyday stigma in the Black culture

Written by Samantha Pounds

By definition, the word colorism means discrimination based on the color of skin. In other words, it’s prejudice and discrimination in which people are treated differently. While colorism varies in definition compared to racism, its very much a prevalent issue dominating both the Black culture and other ethnic groups of color.

When it comes to such a complex subject, there is a young filmmaker and content creator whose looking to openly discuss the narratives of the subject manner. Melissa Guzman, a Dominican-American director, producer, actress, writer and the creator of Complexity.  The show follows the intertwined narratives of Latinx, African-Americans, Blasians and Indian cultures.

The series will explore how colorism played a major role in each characters upbringing and how it affects them in todays society.

“I was always told that I wasn’t black and it sent me into a world of confusion because deep down I knew I was black. It wasn’t until I went to college at Howard University where I started taking classes and learning more about the real issues of colorism,” said Guzman. 

It was also while in college Guzman learned she wasn’t the only one who was frustrated at the misrepresentation of Latinas. Guzman shares she made several contacts with her college peers who also felt the same way she did—their isn’t much representation of Afro Latinas in the media.

Like many who has experienced colorism, Guzman admits the adverse affects of colorism, which affected her self-esteem growing up.

The lack of misrepresentation in the media is ultimately what led to the creation of Complexity. Perplexed at her own experiences growing up, Guzman began pondering if others dealt with similar issues as she did while growing up.

“I began reaching out to my Asian, African-American and Indian friends. They all had very similar stories as I did growing up as it relates to their skin. This was around 2016 when these conversations really began,” Guzman shared.

It would be a very unfortunate circumstance that Guzman was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which ultimately attached her body. Between hospital stays and trying to get her health back on track, the overall vision of Complexity stayed with Guzman as she did not want to give up on it just yet.

“As I felt myself giving up, I knew I needed a purpose and this was it,” said Guzman.

The mixture of characters in Complexity includes Ava, an Afro-Latina, Yesenia, a white Latina, Nicole Renee, a light skin African-American, Prisha, an outspoken Indian woman, Sean, a dark skin African-American male and Marvin an African-American and Asian man. While each character has their own personality, they share one common struggle—colorism in America.

While the show is currently in pre-production, Guzman shares her excitement and looks forward to viewers watching the final production and beginning the dialogue of thought provoking topic.

Fore more information about Complexity, visit https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/complexityseries#story