Monday, October 30, 2017

Sexual Harassment Allegations isn't Breaking News

Now we can add Harvey Weinstein's name to the list of dirty, old, white, arrogant, privileged men who's accused to sexually harassing women. He has now joined the elite white male privileged club that also boasts names like 71-year-old Donald Trump, the late former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, and 67-year-old Bill O'Reilly Their abuse of power and their lack of respect for women doesn't shock me, as a black woman, because history tells us that's what white men have always done dating back to the years of slavery. The only difference now is that white women are the victims. They're speaking out and getting paid big time.  My great-grandmother, on the other hand, had no voice and would've probably been murdered if she spoke about it.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke when an article by the New York Times in October detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him.  Actress Rose McGowan was the first to come out publicly followed by Ashley Judd and a host of others.  So, once again, I am supposed to be outraged and disgusted by the actions of these white, arrogant, privileged, dirty, old, white men. When the news of all of the settlements Fox News had made on behalf of Bill O'Reilly white women were up in arms raising all kinds of hell about his male privilege and why Fox News kept it quiet for so long.  Now with the Weinstein scandal I am supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and say "enough is enough." I get that and I am glad these women decided to come forward but I also wonder why the voices of minority women have never been heard in a similar situation.

Sexual harassment against women on the job has been going on for a VERY LONG time.  This really isn't anything new.  It's just that women now feel they have more of a voice to come out an publicly denounce the perpetrators using various media platforms, which are all very willing to "break the story."  

But, like with everything else, there are always two sides to a story.  There are women who actually use their sexuality to get to the top.  You can be shocked and appalled to be reading this but it's the truth.  
Now, don't get this twisted.  I am not saying any of the female accusers did anything to aggravate whatever situation they found themselves in.  Sexism, like racism, should never be tolerated in the workplace. But I can tell you, first-hand, that I do know of white women who used their "feminine wiles" to get a man's attention at work.  I was there.  I was a witness. This one particular young lady, fresh out of college, always wore provocative clothing in the newsroom and flaunted her best assets in our New Director's face every chance she got.  And yes, she did get a promotion. The same goes with Weinstein who reportedly promised to advance their careers in return for sexual favors. 

According to a Center for Work-Life study, conducted some years ago, 37 percent of the women questioned said the sexual affair they had resulted in a career boost. In a blog post written by Samantha Brick she said, "The truth is, I’d much rather work for a man than a woman. I’ve always dressed with the express intention to please and gratify my male bosses in the workplace. If I had a choice of how to spend my ideal lunch hour, it’s a no-brainer. Each and every time I’d choose to flirt over lunch with a male superior rather than engage in mindless gossip with the girls..."

So yes, there are women out here who intentionally turn on the sex appeal and they flirt with a goal in mind.  As Samantha pointed out, "I learned very early on in my career how to clock within seconds who the important male was in any room and pandered to him accordingly. And it paid off."

So the Samantha's of the world have made it hard for those women who are truly trying to advance based on their own merit, talents and expertise.  And as long as there are Samantha's on the job, there will be dirty, old, arrogant, white, privileged men abusing their power.

So that brings us back to Harvey Weinstein, who comes from that dirty, old, arrogant, white male privilege fraternity.  So now he's lost ALL of his Hollywood privileges, while he claims to seek help for his "sickness."  But is he really gone?  That remains to be seen.  

I am reminded of Anita Hill and what she was subjected to by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Humiliating, degrading and broadcast on prime time TV for the world to see.  What did she get out of it?  Perhaps, a chance to let everyone know who this man was that Congress was so gung ho about.  What did he get?  A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.  Oh, but wait a minute.  She was a black woman and Thomas was supported by the dirty, old, arrogant, white privileged men of the republican party.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Millennials and Digital Dating Abuse

As the mother of a Millennial, I became concerned when I read the results of the annual Truth About Abuse Survey conducted by Mary Kay.  Yes, I'm talking about the same Mary Kay Company that created an empire by making women of all ages look beautiful and developed many entrepreneurs who show off their financial success with their trademark pink cars.

The survey implies there is a new epidemic spreading among our young people and it's called Digital Dating Abuse.  So exactly what is this type of abuse?  According to The Women's Freedom Center website, Digital Dating Abuse is "a form of verbal and/or emotional abuse, which can include unwanted repeated calls or text messages, pressure to send nude or private pictures or videos, and the use of social media networking sites to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a girlfriend/boyfriend.

Some of the signs of digital dating abuse include a boyfriend or girlfriend who:
  • Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on Facebook or other sites
  • Sends you negative, unwanted, insulting or even threatening email, Facebook messages, tweets or other online messages
  • Uses social media sites to keep constant tabs on you and constantly criticizing you
  •   Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.  
  • According to the Mary Kay survey, 1 in 4 young people say they have personally experienced digital dating abuse.  So if you are a parent reading this, that means your adult daughter could very well be a victim or the young adult of one of your friends. 
  • 69 percent of young people believe their peer group is more likely to tolerate abusive behavior online than in person.
  • 60 percent say they would not tell a parent or guardian if they were experiencing digital dating abuse.
  • 76 percent of college students say they have been victims of abuse, compared to 61 percent of high school students.
The 2017 survey is part of Mary Kay's Don't Look Away campaign which works to educate the public on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship.  

Parents BEWARE! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Impact of Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Did you know more than 70 percent of employers say they have been adversely impacted by prescription drugs, while less than 20 percent say they are extremely prepared to deal with prescription drug abuse.  These are some of the findings based on research conducted by the National safety Council. 

As I reported in my previous blog post, nearly one million people spent $50,000 or more on prescription drugs in 2016.  The National Safety Council says a whopping 75 percent of people struggling with a substance abuse problem are in the workforce.  A frightening thought!

While a large majority of companies have adopted smoke-free policies over the years, the NSC study says 81 percent lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy.  More than 70 percent of employers believe prescription drug "misuse" is a disease but 65 percent believe it is grounds for termination. 

Drug addicted employees, no doubt, can have an impact on an employer's bottom line.  As a matter of fact, 7 out of 10 employers say they have felt some effect of prescription drug abuse.  Incidents experienced as a result of prescription drug usage include:

  • Absenteeism 
  • Impaired or decreased job performance
  • Borrowing or selling prescription drugs on the job

Employees who abuse prescription drugs are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent, quit or be fired within the first year of their employment. 

Although this has nothing to do with the NSC study I wanted to add some statistics from 2015 provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:

  • Opioid overdose deaths by whites:  27,056
  • Blacks:  2,741
  • Hispanics:  2,507
Perhaps the fact that over 90 percent of people addicted and dying from prescription drug abuse are white is why Trump is preparing to sign an executive order calling it a National Emergency.  That's what covering his base is about.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Are Opioids the New Normal?


That was the average cost nearly one million people spent on prescription drugs in 2016.  ($50,000 is more than a lot of people make in a year).  Between 2014 and 2016, the number of people with annual medication costs of $50,000 or greater increased by 35 percent.  Also in 2016,  two out of every one million Americans (total population 323.1 million) had pharmacy costs of at least $1 million.  These are some of the statistics gathered by Express Scripts in their research.

Taking prescription drugs appears to be the new normal in today's society.  Opioids, which include prescriptions painkillers and drugs like heroin and fentanyl, now kills more than one hundred Americans a day. 

On an average day in the U.S.

  • More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed
  •  3900 people initiate non-medical use of prescription opioids
  • 580 people initiate heroin use
  • There were more than 20,000 deaths from prescription painkillers in 2015.
  • In Ohio alone, there were over 4000 deaths in 2016)
  • In 2015, more than 120 thousand young people between the ages of 12-17 were addicted to prescription painkillers. 
In all fairness, it should be noted that not everyone taking prescription drugs is or becomes addicted. There are plenty of people who take their medication as needed and when they heal from their injury or surgery, they stop taking them.  But the sad fact is more and more people are using prescription drugs illegally and there are doctors who are willing to feed their habit.

It should come as no surprise that baby boomers lead the way by accounting for nearly half of all annual pharmacy costs of $50,000 or more.  Millennials, on the other hand, account for just 10 percent of pharmacy costs.

So who's paying the cost for this new normal?  According to research by Express Scripts, Employers, insurers and government payers covered 98 percent or more of the costs for people whose prescription costs reached or exceeded $50,000 or more.  Some Employers pay a heavier price with an addicted employee through repeated absences or just not showing up for work at all.  That, of course, results in a higher turnover rate for the Company.

And let's not forget the families of those who are addicted.  Their costs are, often-times, life changing because of the emotional drama, ongoing medical expenses and even funerals to prepare for. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Baby Boomers and Millennials Differ on the Confederate Statues Removal

According to a recent survey conducted by Valient Market Research, more millennials want to see the confederate statues removed than do baby boomers.  These results are not surprising to me because I do believe millennials are more progressive thinkers while a large number of baby boomers have become more conservative and stale-minded as they age.  (Not me, of course).

As the Valient Poll reflects, 39 percent of Generation Y said they thought the statues should be removed, 30 percent said no, 20 percent were unsure and 11 percent had no opinion.  Meanwhile, 56 percent of baby boomers said they were opposed to the removal, along with 60 percent of people 72-years-old and older.

As for the breakdown within the various ethnic groups, it should come as no surprise that more than half of Blacks are in favor of the removal, compared to just 30 percent of whites.  What I did find rather shocking was the fact that 56 percent of Native Americans said they were not in favor of their removal.  That was even higher than the 49 percent of whites who said they against it.  

As a veteran journalist, I am often skeptical of many surveys because I always question whether they truly represent the MAJORITY of public opinion.  In this case, only 1000 people were surveyed online.  That certainly does not reflect the over 300 million people in the U.S. and if you only have 10 blacks taking the survey, only 6 would have to say they oppose the statue removals to make it reflect over 50 percent.  

I am a baby boomer who grew up in the Midwestern part of the United States so I never gave much thought to the whites in the South and their continued loyalty to the Confederacy.  But having lived here for more than 30 now, I have become very politically aware of the fear and hatred some Blacks feel towards the confederate flag and the statues of their so-called fallen heroes who did their best to divide the nation by seceding from the Union over the issue of slavery.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1297 confederate statutes in the top 10 states of Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida.  Meanwhile, Oregon, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota are the ONLY states that don't have any at all.

I really didn't have an opinion about the confederate statues until I saw the events of a Unite the Right play out in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 that ended with the tragic death of a young woman named Heather Heyer.  While I truly believe everyone should celebrate their heritage, I also believe the neo-nazis and white supremacists have turned their misguided, warped sense of pride into a very divisive racial issue. Perhaps Washington should consider a Museum for the Confederacy but they do not deserve to be publicly displayed as an example of great leaders who fought and died for the DEMOCRACY of this nation.

Do you see anybody in Germany protesting for the right to erect neo-nazi statues in Germany?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How Long Will You Have to Work Before You Can Retire?

The news is not looking good if you take stock in a new survey regarding retirement.  According to research conducted by GoBankingRates.Com, 1 in 5 Americans fear they may never be able to stop working because there won't be enough money to live on.  Although the survey doesn't address why these fears exist, is is safe to say lower wage-paying jobs and fewer job opportunities are having a significant impact.  What should also be duly noted here is the fact that, because of a tight job market, you may find Millennials and older adults competing for the same jobs.

Baby Boomers, between the ages of 55-64 reflect the largest group that is skeptical of being able to leave the workforce at retirement age (27 percent), followed by Generation Y (25 percent) and Millennials (20 percent).

In addition to retirement woes, those surveyed are also worried about:

1)  Living paycheck to paycheck

2)  Living in debt forever

3)  Losing their jobs

4)  Losing all of their money in the stock market

5) Never being able to afford a home

6) Always having a low credit score

When it comes to gender, more women than men fear living from paycheck to paycheck, while more men are worried they will never be able to retire.  Both men and women say their least fear is always having a low credit score.

If you break it down by region, it appears people living in the South have the greatest fears of never being able to retire and always living from paycheck to paycheck----in comparison to people in the Northeast whose biggest fear is living in debt forever.

What are some of your biggest financial fears as you age?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Donald Trump and the Deplorable Rich Misfits

When whites mistreat or stab black people in the back, it's not surprising but when they do it to each other, you have to believe the world might be coming to an end.

Donald Trump leaves everyone, except his deplorable base, shaking their heads day in and day out with the way he treats the white men he CHOSE to surround him during this debacle of a presidency.

Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus were both pushed out of their White House roles by Trump's newest pit bull, Anthony Scaramucci who has vowed his undying loyalty and commitment to the leader of the deplorables.

Now we all know, much has been said about the people who voted to put Donald Trump in the White House.  The media, and the so-called "expert" political analysts had to back track and admit they got it wrong (all but CNN's Don Lemon who, on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, did declare Trump could very well win).

I do believe Trump's victory was a surprise to him and I also believe he was fully aware of Russia's meddling and was prepared to use it AGAINST Hillary had she won instead.  I also believe there were people who weren't happy with the policies of the Obama Administration and others were simply exercising their right to be racist at the ballot box.  Those people came out in droves.  According to Pew Research, 67 percent of uneducated whites voted for Trump compared to 61 percent in 2012.  They have since become known as The Deplorables---a name Hillary referenced in talking about the behavior of his supporters at his campaign rallies  The name has since taken on a new life with thousands of people jumping on the bandwagon to identify themselves as one of them while they continue to stand by their "deplorable" president.  There was a DeploraBall as a part of the Inauguration activities and a Facebook group created to pump out all the #FAKE NEWS it can.

But here's another telling statistic according to Pew:  Trump won whites WITH a college degree by a margin of 49 to 45 percent over Clinton.  Now why is this important?  It is because too much attention has been paid to the uneducated, poor white trash who came out of the Hills and Rural America to have their voices heard.  But college educated whites were making a statement too.  They preferred Trump over Hillary for whatever reason.  But let me take it one step further.  What about the folks making $200K or more?  Not all of them are college educated.  They were the silent among us.  I call them the Deplorable Rich Misfits.  Yes, they're the dissenters who disguised themselves as someone else with their money.   They probably weren't ever polled and, if they were, they probably didn't tell the truth about who they would be voting for.  Listen, the more money people make, the more likelihood they voted for Trump especially if they are white men---and as I always believe, white women married to wealthy white men will do as they're told to hang on to the lifestyle they've become accustomed to. Another point is the fact that whites over the age of 65 preferred Trump over Hillary by a margin of 53 to 45 percent.

Surely, there are still some things that don't add up.  How could Hillary win the popular vote by nearly 3 million and lose the electoral vote?  It's happened 5 times in all (the first three all in the 1800's)--with the most recent being in 2000 when George W. Bush stole---I mean won the electoral vote, while losing the popular vote by 540,000 to Al Gore.  There was something about malfunctioning voter machines and people being turned away from the polls.

As a veteran journalist, I believe Trump won because the exit polls simply didn't do a very good job at polling and he had a lot of help from the silent majority known as the Deplorable Rich Misfits---consisting primarily of rich old white men, who are rallying around him looking for his favor.

I'm just waiting to see where the ax will fall next.