Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? Talking About Self-Control and Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. May our troops, veterans and allies stay safe.

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Time Travel(s)

I’m in the middle of a long, lovely, idyllic and idle weekend. Rather cold, but I like it like that. I remember a couple of summers a few years back that were rather chilly. Time is going by much too quickly, as usual. When we work, the week drags. When we have days off, they simply fly by. And I cannot believe it is half-way, mid-way through the year.

So, I’ve been asking myself lately:

  • What have I been doing?
  • Is it moving me forward?
  • Have I advanced in any way?
  • Have I (re)moved any major milestones?

I verbally spank myself a great deal. I try not to be annoyed with myself so much. To me, the perfect state of being is literally a blank mind. I wont be able to sleep if I cannot do that. I wont be able to drive. I wont be able to function. I often dwell and think too much about really really unimportant things I have absolutely no control over, because I do not want to focus on the big things that I must do.

Getting It Done

My approach for dealing with life is usually two track: 1) Little bites, 2) Big major moves.

It’s surprising to me, although it shouldn’t, how often I stay on the same track. It’s good when it is applied to stubbornly working to accomplish a difficult long term task, yet deadly when it’s used for avoidance and getting stuck in a rut.

Does that make sense? I know I’m beating dead horses in my life. I recognize it. Yet, I wont stop it. I discover notes, diaries and checklists from years ago. Same stuff, different day. Nothing seems to be changing.

Do you know how aggravating that is?

One of the things I’m always looking at is, How do I move forward? My personality, which I’ve been trying to change, or adjust for these situations, and for such a long time, I consider to be one of my greatest impediments. It is great for somethings. I am a Pitt Bull where it counts.

And I don’t ask for much. My list is quite short. However, it requires multiple steps to get there.

Lost in Lack of Self-Control

On some level, I think I can understand why people get up and run away, take too many prescription drugs, drink, get high all the time, work excessively long hours, push themselves too hard, are addicted to pain, pleasure and dangerous (sometimes criminal) activities. It’s about the distraction. It’s about getting the mind off that groove.

Unfortunately, it’s replacing one deep ditch for another. And one could get lost in the self for many years, forgetting what one wanted in the first place.

There’s this perfect limbo between absolute killing boredom and excitement so keen you could die of bliss. One cannot always chase the bliss … it can be destructive. But when you have to keep a certain state of equanimity day after day, month after month, because that is life… Oh goodness, life is extremely tedious.

I think it is a fine recipe for going bonkers.

So, what to do?

***

Everyone can talk about what’s on their minds. I’m just doing a little mental purging. 😀

 

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Are Black Children Too Stupid to Learn? Part II: Black and Asian People

I really liked the following comment by bretagne, so I decided to make it a separate post. This was in response to, “Are Black Children Too Stupid To Learn?

So, let it rip bretagne:

We can never have these discussions without re-inscribing tropes about Asian achievement.

As someone who has been teaching in the Korean school system for the past two years, at best, I’m ambivalent about the way in which we valorize (inflate?) Asian academic prowess.

The fact that some Asian students perform well on math and science standardized tests is not insignificant and should not be dismissed. But really, it only tells a part of the story.

The Korean education system (I have the greatest familiarity with Korea) is, in large part,a vestige of the Japanese colonial presence in Korea. There is a a heavy (disproportionate, in my opinion) emphasis on testing, and student grades are based almost entirely on mid-term and final multiple choice exams. So naturally, the entire educational system–from the instructional style of teachers, to the lucrative Korean test-prep cottage industry–is designed around this testing apparatus.

In my opinion, this has made for a very rote, flat, one-dimensional, excruciatingly boring, needlessly joyless and harsh, authoritarian educational experience. And while I agree with the commenter who said that learning is often difficult and time consuming, this is an entirely different animal. I have Korean friends (friends who performed well in the system, did well in university, and are now professionals)who describe their primary educational experiences as TRAUMATIC.

Anyways, the kids here become very good at gaming tests. You would, as well, if you spent 8 hours a day at school studying, and then another 3 or 4 hours after school at the hagwon memorizing and cramming test material. So naturally, when test day rolls around, the kids are well-prepared to regurgitate with aplomb.

But I question how much learning is really taking place in all of this. When I give my high school students an assignment or task that requires them to deploy creativity or think an original thought, they are stumped, paralyzed even. They prefer work that is rote and adheres to a rigid right/wrong binary. And I question if this paradigm is what will best prepare children to innovate and provide leadership for the world of the future.

I’ve also taught in an alternative high school that serviced students who would be labeled “at-risk” stateside. Many of the students were poor, came from dysfunctional homes, and a sizable portion were contending with untreated emotional and learning disabilities. Let me tell you: some of those Korean students could give the students at any urban black high school a run for their money. For me, this simply underscored the fact that underachievement is not cultural or racial, but highly correlated with socioeconomic factors.

This has been a really long winded way of saying that while there’s certainly a crisis with regard to the academic achievement of a sizable demographic of black children, we need to be discerning in terms of what we deem as solutions. And I would proffer that the solution will probably not be found in a wholesale emulation of “Asian” education systems.

There are certainly useful takeaways–namely, the notion of practice and effort making perfect. Asian people (E.Asians–Koreans, Japanese, Chinese) aren’t as invested as we are in the notion that one is a “math person” or a “science person” or whatever. In other words, they do not believe in some sort of inherent ability or inclination towards one subject matter or another. They believe that skills are cultivated, incrementally, over time, with immense practice, and under diligent guidance. In contrast, when American students, even at the elementary level, appear to struggle with a math concept, parents often throw up their hands and say, “Oh, well. Johnny just isn’t a math person.” It has been my experience that E. Asians tend to think that this is ludicrous. You work at things, assiduously, until you improve. Of course you aren’t born a “math person”.

But on the other hand, the Korean system is flat, lacks a certain dynamism, demands absolute obsequiousness from students, and really doesn’t stimulate the majority of students to think in a way that is innovative, critical, risky, or creative. And did I mention that most students find it pretty joyless? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Silicon Valley is located where it is. The hard science skills have to merge with a measure of creativity. This is what, I believe, should be the target for black children.

I will just say that if I were to raise children here in Korea, I would certainly not put them in the public system. More than likely, I’d enroll them in the nearest international school.

My response:

Tropes? Oh, okay.

Then, henceforth, let the exaggerations commence: Asian countries were at par, and sometimes even worse off, than African countries during the 1950s. (I know a good number did not receive independence until years later.) Look at most of ’em now. Except for perhaps a few, even the most die-hard Communistic and backward regimes, have realized that too much stealing from productive citizens, and keeping most ignorant, ends up starving the general population….

That progress didn’t happen overnight. Asian leaders thought about what works and put efforts into making it happen. And that took what, maybe a generation or two to get there? That is incredible. It cannot be discounted, dismissed or denied. Of course, it takes enormous energy (effort) to study, build, create and endure than to sit around and do nothing.

We are the ones that are forgetting what works: a rigorous and challenging education. And, of course, learning isn’t easy for everyone. Some people are traumatized leaving their homes, commuting, working, and just talking to other folks, but they have to do it anyway. Maybe some folks can go and live comfortably in their mother’s basement for the rest of their lives. Overall, life remains hard, brutal sometimes, and we’re all bound, at some time or the other, to even get our feelings hurt.

The Black Nation: Is This What Hell Looks Like?

However, let’s get real: If all of Black America were to leave, and form a separate nation, does anyone see it turning into a first world industrialized country? A second tier one? Maybe even third? What businesses could we turn to for jobs? Are there enough skilled people around who are self-sufficient? Who are entrepreneurial? Do we have enough: farmers, engineers, doctors, carpenters, or plumbers? Seriously, it’s not like we can live on barbers, hairstylists and fast food restaurants alone.

Don’t we take the nice and cozy stuff for granted – the infrastructure, electricity, education, police / fire / military protection (which is overwhelmingly provided by white men), in essence a stable society – because all the other groups are doing the work? ‘Cause all we seem to produce are people filling up jails, “entertaining” in the most demeaning ways, increasingly taking up social security disability payments – for “slow children” – along with a miniscule elite replete with great corporate and government perks. I suspect the country would be a basket case before even the week is out.

What Keeping It Real Really Looks Like

Asian empowerment, and I use that term deliberately, is real. And I don’t see a few laudatory comments as inflating their achievement(s). This is an extremely competitive world. A good number of Asians seem to understand the nature of this global “game.” Unfortunately, black people seem to function under the impression that we can infinitely live off of the goodwill of others forever – like well tolerated beggars and perennial wards. (And I ain’t talking about nothing new here, W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington dealt with this subject, black progression or regression, if you will, over 100 years ago.)

I don’t believe I’ve ever stated that Asians were perfect and invincible, but goodness, they rank at the top and we (black folks) rank at the bottom in American schools – and likely globally. So, who’s fooling who? And we import their woefully TRAUMATIZED brains to keep most of Silicon Valley, and various industries, afloat these days.

I would LOVE to see the Asian attitude towards education to be emulated and adopted by black people. However, the decision to make schooling more rigorous is up to the parents. And if they are content and satisfied with themselves, and their children, being seen by society (or the world for that matter) as “stupid” – so be it. Everyone else will gladly pass them by.

No One is Better Than Me

And before anyone gets me wrong: I don’t see any group as superior or inferior. I tend to look at things in terms of applied effort. I honestly feel a substantial portion of the population has given up (on life). It saddens me, and I sometimes lament the problem, but overall I don’t see how anyone can change a culture committed to a downward slide into …. what? I dunno.

We’ve had these conversations on these blog(s) before. Black people have a deep and enduring suicidal wish, like death-cult members, wanting too many sane folks to join them. This horror is masked by “black entertainment” mesmerizing people over trivial issues driven by low-rent morons and self-prostituting idiots; the notion of a utopian “black community” which can only exist on the back, sweat and tears of black women; or phrases like “that’s how we do” to make young women conform when she’s simply trying to define her own terms of freedom.

Don’t buy it. Stay alive and thrive.

Okay, I’m done. 😀

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Ladies, Is He Good Enough For You?

As we often see in the news, or experienced based on observation, plenty of men reach powerful positions, have a lot of responsibilities, and will be totally, absolutely morally deficient. They will be amoral, immoral, with a massive touch of egotism. Oh, they’re Alpha Males alright, better known as dogs, not wolves. Dogs are wonderful animals, but you know I mean the two legged kind. 🙂

Ladies, don’t ever let anyone tell you that “everyone does it” or “all men are the same.” Have some standards. The media likes to plate up degeneracy like it’s the latest delicacy. All you’ll get is food poisoning down the road. Imagine the kind of society they are pushing us towards.

Has shame gone out of style? Do we really want to continue lowering the bar until adults have sexual relations with small children and call that progressiveness? Imagine a society where no one shows impulse control, like everybody driving through red lights, or drunk and high. Would you feel safe?

A society without moral codes and mutual trust yields chaos and bedlam. I’ve lived through two blackout with riots. I’m not exaggerating when I say those aren’t fun experiences. Imagine living with that all the time. And we know there are places around the world where this is the case.

I don’t know what it will take to stave off further decay in this society. We need a society full of strong families with honest people. Everyone has flaws. Everyone makes mistakes. But a world where people relish a world without any sort of decency ethos yields a declining standard of living for everyone. Without stability what we’ll get is … well, think of those Zombie Apocalypse books and movies having an element of truth to them.

We cannot predict the future. We cannot always assume what’s in the hearts of people. But you cannot have a decent life with someone who has no shame, feels no guilt, likes to tell a lot of little lies, stealing, bullying or cutting corners. He’s not worthy of you if he’s freely giving everyone around him the shaft. (Pun intended).

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Independence Day

A short note here:

This is not only a day where the country is celebrating independence from its colonial ruler, remember that for you – it can be a day to celebrate your independence from toxic, negative, life-draining, selfish a**h*les!

God bless America.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Stay in good health and peace of mind, ladies and gentlemen.

😀

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The Nice Good Black Man

Using an interesting quote from Classic NYer:

But that being said, perhaps I can show you another point of view. Take for example my brother, a stand -up individual raised by my mother and father with correct morals, treats his mother and two sisters with respect, graduated with degrees and working on another one, acts sensibly, never been to jail/gotten into drugs/did general dumbass criminal shit/etc… in other words, none of the damaged-beyond-repair symptoms that are often associated with black maleness.

It’s a little sad that there are some black women who have become so disillusioned by the bottom-of-the-barrel-negroes that they will look at any black man, even my brother, and all they will see is gangsta rap. I’m not saying, of course, that black women should be required to take a fine-toothed comb to our race before venturing out…

I myself am finding happiness right now with a non-black man… but it bothers me when I hear people say things like “I’m done with black men!” and I do hear this sometimes… and it speaks a couple volumes about our own damage when we become so jaded that we can’t see the black men in college because we’re blinded by the black men in jail… I say “to hell with them” if they can’t get their shit together… but what about my brother?

 

GoldenAh:

Thank you for this comment, Classic NYer. This brings up the flip side of the “watch out for the abusive, bad, and damaged beyond repair black males (DBR)” topical threads. I’m not going to talk about your brother, since I don’t know him. I will write solely from observation and experience.

Blog Purpose: Black Female Consumption

The reason why so much virtual ink is spent discussing black males, at times, is because a number of us still interact with so many of them. Obviously, there are good and bad folks in every group. The consistent theme here has been to urge black women to put as much physical, emotional, and mental distance between themselves and the toxic people in their lives. Statistically, the ones most likely to place them in grave danger happen to be black males.

We must remember that the goal is winnowing and thinning the herd of good from bad. Once the ladies physically move, then adjust to becoming emotionally detached, it becomes easier for them to think about the positive, uplifting, and affirming changes they want to make in their lives.

I too have stand-up, nice, good and great brothers, uncles, cousins and wonderful black men as friends and associates. Yet, if the ladies reading my blog, and others, decide that they cannot be bothered with black men in general, then that is their right. Perhaps they’re exhausted, wounded and weary from using a fine tooth comb, fishing in a tiny dirty pond, or dumpster diving for a decent black man. Some might even decide that from a statistical vantage looking for one would be an enormous waste of time. I cannot blame them.

I approach this topic from this perspective: what a black woman decides to do with her life ultimately has nothing to do with anyone, especially black men. He will matter if he is the one man who makes a concerted effort to be the special man in her life: a moral, decent, financially sound, emotionally mature, and responsible husband or friend.

Black Men Always Do What Suits Them

I don’t feel bothered, or disturbed when black women say that they are “done with black men”. If my brothers, uncles, cousins, and male friends felt they weren’t making headway with black women, I know they would promptly move onto Latinas, foreign-born black women, and non-black women without pause.

They would do it, because they aren’t concerned with my feelings or impressions about their women. They would do it, because as black men, they are quite willing to enjoy their prerogative to freely date and mate whomever they please.

Who black men decide to have as a life partner is really none of my business. They find happiness on their own terms. And I don’t take it upon myself to worry about who they want or who wants them. Black men, in general, never seem to have trouble finding a woman.

Fog of War

The ones who have a problem with dating and mating with whomever they desire are black women. A number of us haven’t truly embraced our freedoms 100% yet, which is why we still linger over black males and their issues. I gave that up well over a dozen years ago. I left my “black nationalism card” in a drawer to catch dust. I found it less complicated and emotionally bothersome to date Indian, white and Latino men than black men. I couldn’t handle the “fog of war” with them anymore. I had no interest in being cannon fodder or a combatant in their superficial “race war” with white men.

I’ve read and heard the complaint from black men that more than a few, if not all, black women aren’t “feeling” them for one particular reason or another. Well, just because he’s a nice guy, educated and speaks well it doesn’t entitle him to any black woman who happens to catch his eye. As women, we have millions of self-help books telling us to let go when “he’s just not that into you”. The opposite is also true. If a number of black women aren’t into him, he needs to let it – that feeling of entitlement – go.

The Reasons Why Multiply

The nice, good black guy might not accept this, but the following are some of the reasons for their lack of success with black women:

  1. He’s boring. Point blank.
  2. She’s not attracted: no zing, no tingle, at all. Why waste his time?
  3. He’s not her type. She finds his height, weight, complexion, sense of humor, level of sophistication or intelligence lacking.
  4. His self-esteem is low.
  5. Her self-esteem is low.
  6. He lacks the ability to court, entice, tantalize, and seduce a woman.
  7. He lacks a few of the qualities on her “must have” list.
  8. She only digs white, Asian or Latino guys.
  9. His social circle is of poor quality, insufficient or deficient.
  10. He lacks ambition.
  11. Embarrassingly cheap.
  12. Spends too much. Trying to purchase affection.
  13. He believes he’s mature, but he’s really quite childish.
  14. He’s passive-aggressive, and resorts to sarcasm when angry.
  15. Refuses to be candid, upfront, honest or blunt.
  16. Immediately clingy. Reeks of desperation.
  17. He who hesitates loses the game. Wants her to make all the first and last moves.
  18. Exhausting dead-weight. He’s indecisive, and wants her to decide everything.
  19. Every black woman is not his type, supportive, or “good enough” for him, but accuses every black woman of having “unrealistic expectations”.
  20. Very critical, and doles out compliments like a miser with money.
  21. Competitive with black women, and not other men.
  22. Jealous.
  23. Complains about “white people” all the time, with “white people” being only white men.
  24. Believes that an education, lack of a criminal record, employment, and being a black man entitles him to the good graces of all black women.
  25. Added 5/25 Single, but unavailable. In between women, living with a baby Momma and “looking”.
  26. Added 5/25 Lacking manners: a failure to express thoughtfulness or consideration.
  27. Added 5/25 Momma’s boy: treats his female relatives nice. The same can’t be said of how he treats other women.

It’s not a comprehensive list since it is culled from observation and experience. As we know one woman’s bore, could be another woman’s “steady Freddy”.

Black Men Have the Advantage

The fact is that black women with an education vastly outnumber educated black men. In a perfect world, starting in college all black women would like worship all the “nice good black men” and quickly snatch up each one. Let’s not forget these guys want to play around too. He will meet some that like him, and he’ll meet some that wont. If he’s expecting an easier time with black women due to the sex imbalance, it will not make a difference. If he’s expecting an easier path to dating black women due to the abusive bad guys, it will not make a difference.

The black women who write off black men might seem a massive amount due to the nature of these blogs. Yet, it is exaggerated since the fact remains that the number of black women dating interracially is minuscule.

Black men avail themselves to non-black women at a rate of 75% to black women with non-black men at 25%. The nice, good black males don’t have it so bad. They are living in the land of plenty where women of all races outnumber the men. If the nice, good black man is truly a worthy catch, he will have no trouble finding the right woman.

Eventually, the numbers will be on his side.

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