Posts in Society
Charlottesville, Durham, & Me

I can’t say that I’m appalled by the events that have happened within the past week.  I can’t even say that I’m disgusted. Is it fair to say that something (such as racism) "is what it is" while maintaining an appropriate level of concern and desire for change? I hope so; because that’s where I am.  

Just throwing some things out here…
I find it interesting that people in Charlottesville were injured; a life has been lost; but, no one [in the media] has referred to what happened in Charlottesville as a “riot.” I personally believe that the media should be held more accountable for the word play they use when sharing coverage. If a rally hosted by people of color was to grow violent, it would be referred to as a riot. What was so different about what happened in Charlottesville that it didn’t meet criteria?  

Throughout our president’s election I have held the notion that he is not a racist. I believe(d) he was just someone who never really had to filter his mouth because of his wealth.  I also concluded that he speaks of those of lower classes as he does because he has probably never been “exposed” to them or had to relate to them. During his administration, Obama caught a lot of slack from blacks and whites. Some whites were disrespectful because he was black. Some Blacks were disrespectful because they did not feel that the president was doing anything for “us.” The president is supposed to act unbiasedly.  However,  as I consider President Trump’s comment regarding alt-right I haven’t been able to distinguish if he was acting unbiasedly or if he condones what happened. At minimum, there is a way that one can show disdain for someone else without harming others. Why wasn’t that expressed from the platform? What happened to the twitter fingers?

From VA to NC…
I was glad to see that there are people beyond the black race that recognize injustice. I was glad to see that there are some, other than the oppressed, that are outraged and want to do something about it.  I was even happy to see that there are some that are willing to stand “for” us. I just want to see some stand with us. I’ll explain that thought process in a sec., but let me state this [first] for those that don’t understand the negative connotations associated with public display of rebel civil war leaders: it is an exalted reminder of oppression, bigotry, violence, discrimination, and dehumanization.  A statue erected in their honor is beyond disrespectful to those who are descendants of such dehumanization. Some people of the dominant culture suggest that former racism and slavery should be forgotten.  Confederate monuments and paraphernalia make this difficult. It is troubling to see and hear people that can’t understand that. I understand we should be proud of our heritages. However, that doesn't mean we have to embrace the negativity with it. While I previously stated my thoughts on the forceful demonstration and removal of the statue, I do not in anyway discredit our governor for his decision to remove the monuments. I appreciate it. 

So, back to standing with us...
There are some things about being, not just black but a minority of any race, that people who are not involved in the group would not get: racial profiling, stereotypes, discrimination, oppression, cruelty, and etc. Because one does not know how it feels per se, let those that do, do the explaining. Hence my statements regarding standing with us versus for us. Allow the oppressed to have a voice while working together to support the cause. This means taking stands beyond public platforms and using the opportunities afforded to you, but denied by others, to make a difference. I was doing some reading about the heroin “crisis” and came across this quote: “‘Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation (https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/us/heroin-war-on-drugs-parents.html).’ ” If you have these type of influences and are willing to use them, this is standing with us.

We’ve made a lot of progress but there is more progress to be made. I’m Here for it.

Peace,
Marisha

The Struggles of the Working/Middle Class(es)

There was a time that there were three classes: lower, middle, and upper.  Now, there are subtypes such as working, lower-middle, and etc. I’ve done some research regarding my income and come to learn that I fall within the range of “middle” class.  In the midst of research, I also came to learn that “working” class is typically referred to those who make their earnings via manual labor, also known as “blue collar” professions. Let’s not proceed any further on this topic without the understanding that this isn’t a post to slander any income class.  However, there are some things that I’ve learned along the way. One of the most recent learning experiences is the struggle of the middle/working class.

Fresh out of college, no job experience, I was a frustrated member of the lower class-no questions asked. Jobs that offered higher salaries wanted experience (but wouldn’t provide any), and as a single woman without children, taxes were the hungry hippos in my life. Although I have never received public assistance, I believe it can be a huge asset to those who need and qualify for it. I’m so sure of this because I remember a time that dining out was a luxury.  In order for my “adulting” to be effective, I had to cover the necessities; after the necessities were covered, I had a few dollars to spare. There were two things that I learned during that time: 1) education without experience has more “social” weight that economic and 2) a greater appreciation for having “enough.”

Later, I gained more experience and a better understanding of what I wanted out of life. I was ready for my next move.  I transitioned to a job that placed me in a higher tax bracket with job skills that were sure to enhance the future I was dreaming of.  Biggie had it right when he dropped “more money, more problems.”  The more money I made, the higher taxes were. So, I have become “middle” class with continued struggles because I’m fighting against several hundreds of dollars taken out of my bi-weekly income before I ever see it. Years later, I am still frustrated because I have experienced two classes within two economic systems (lower and middle) and while one experience has been far better than the other I still boil over with frustration at times because the middle class seems to bear invisible burdens. The lower class receives various forms of assistance while upper class has no need for benefits but get them anyway. In essence, our economy has formed two extremes and you have to conform to one or the other to thrive. Isn’t that something?

Peace,
Risha

SocietyMarisha Mathis
The Heroin "Crisis": Where's the War on Drugs?

I googled two drugs this morning followed by “crisis.” One drug was crack and the other was heroin. There was something interesting that I noticed. Heroin was paired with crisis more frequently than crack. One of the first and only instances that I saw “crack crisis” was directly related to “Black America.” I’ve read several articles and interviews regarding the Heroin crisis. It seems that the crisis is affecting people of all ages. I’ve seen responses from professionals in an array of fields including the paramedics, law enforcement, and social services. Some states have declared the crisis as a state of emergency, providing funds to aid for treatment. Police officers have been said to guide those who overdose or are caught with paraphernalia to treatment centers as a diversion to arrests.

I’m reading the testimonies of families who were grieved to learn that their loved ones died from overdosing. There have been appeals to government officials and other authority entities to request treatment opposed to incarceration or other punitive actions. Drug addiction is an uphill battle that has taken numerous lives. I empathize with families who have watched their loved ones’ lives diminish before their eyes. However, I can’t shake the question: Where’s the war on drugs? Mandatory sentencing? The intentional negative connotations of Heroin use? There are none. The dominant culture, or as some call it “silent majority” is feeling the same shockwaves as those from the crack epidemic and all of a sudden society becomes wordsmiths while touching on addiction. We’ve seen it several times: refugees versus looters, riots versus protests, now epidemic versus crisis.

“Black America” has been handed duds since there was a so-called black America. There are still grandparents raising children of parents addicted to crack. There are still family members grieving the loss of their loved ones to crack. There are children in foster care as a direct link to the crack devastation. In fact, there are still prisoners incarcerated from the selling and distribution of crack. While there is treatment for this new crisis what will become of manufacturers and/or distributors of the drugs? What policies will be implemented to tackle this issue head on? And then there’s my most pressing question: where does “Black America” fall in all of this?

Peace,
Risha