Tuesday, November 22, 2022

North Carolina A&T Penalized for its Success

The UNC Board of Governors recently announced they were reducing  the budget for NC A&T University by nearly two million dollars because they're having too much success.  This Historical Black College had the audacity to enroll too many out-of-state students.  How dare they?  Who do they think they are?  The Board said the HBCU has a cap of being allowed to enroll 35 percent of students from other states but they went out and registered 41 percent. This was the equivalent to an additional 171 students.  As a result, they must be punished for thinking they could get away with it.  Never mind the fact that the university can boast about having one of the best engineering programs in the country or that it is recognized nationally for its excellence in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM) programs.  You can't go getting all uppity!  You got to know your place!

According to the Board, enrollment limits are placed on colleges and universities for out-of-state students to help ensure there would be enough enrollment spots for qualified NC students.  The key word here is "qualified."  Perhaps if the NC lawmakers did more to fund the K-12 educational system, they would be able to find college ready students, but that's another story all together.

Although I didn't attend a Historical Black College or University (HBCU) I take pride  in being an Aggie mom.  My daughter is a 2012 graduate of North Carolina A&T.  So is her father.  

The university was originally founded in 1891 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race.  This was supposed to be an alternative to UNC-Chapel Hill (founded in 1789), NC State (1793), Duke (1838) since we all know the chances a black student had in getting into ANY white institutions of higher learning in NC or anywhere else for that matter.

Perhaps NC A&T is given more consideration because its out-of-state tuition is far lower at 20K in comparison to a college with similar programs like Georgia Tech at 34K or Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 57k+ .  Perhaps students want to add their names to the rolls of alumni like American astronaut and physicist Ronald McNair, First African American Chief Justice to the NC State Supreme Court, Henry Frye or civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.

But shame on NC A&T for wanting to grow. 


Saturday, October 22, 2022

What Season Best Describes You?

Guest Blog Post by Ivette Harris

The changing colors of fall best describes me. This is the season where the heaviness of years gone by fall down and blow away. The weight of leaves, the nest of newborns, and over-ripened fruit all drift aside and forge into new beginnings.  For me, it is the time to shed the used portions of life, to rest, and regroup in the enchanting fragrance of new-found time. Fall is a charming season in life – like a shedding of the old life, the old career, the old routine, and the old thoughts. 

Retirement reminds me of fall, the season of life filled with a zealous spirit for upcoming celebrations spiced with the perfect d├ęcor for the quirky part of my journey. My limbs are bare of career responsibility, my nest is empty of children, both mine and others, and I have discovered a euphoric feeling in my home. 

In this season, I find a vivacious view for life to come, like sowing the seeds to learn creative writing skills, and I plan to do more.  

What season best describes you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Sleaziness of White Privilege


If Brett Farve had not become a successful NFL quarterback, I believe he would've been just another good ol' southern, blue collar country boy.  Some might've even labeled him as "poor white trash." 

Favre was born in Gulfport, MS in 1969 and raised in the unincorporated community of Kiln (just outside of Gulfport).  Kiln, with a population of around 2200, once had a reputation for being known as the "moonshine capital of the world." It's also important to note that less than one percent of blacks live there.  One report indicates there were only 2 black residents:  Kiln, MS stats

 Of course, we all know Favre went on to make millions in the NFL and kept making $$$ with endorsements after his  career ended.  It's safe to say Brett Favre benefitted from being a white male and he knew how to use his executive white privilege card to get things accomplished.

He used that privilege card to allegedly siphon funds from the Mississippi Welfare Fund to build a volleyball facility at Southern Mississippi University, where his daughter just happens to play the sport.  This good ol' boy also reportedly leveraged his status to secure funds for a start-up biotechnology company that ended up going belly up.  Of course, Favre claims he had no idea the money was being taken from the poor to give to the greedy and he hasn't officially been charged with anything as of this moment.  Text messages, however, implicate him on just about every level including the one he sent asking the woman, who allocated the funds, if the media could ever find out where the money came from and how much.  Wow! Just Wow!   

So now our attention has focused on the Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka (who happens to be black with NO privilege card) and his scandalous sex scandal, while most of the media continues to remain relatively silent about the man robbed from the poor to give to the rich.  Why isn't the NFL up in arms over one of their own abusing his power?  I say kick him out of the Hall of Fame but I have learned that there is nothing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame bylaws that allows the  removal once enshrined.  (That's probably why O.J. is still there). 

That's what white privilege can do for a good ol' southern country boy.

Monday, September 05, 2022

Selling Out

I must admit, TikTok can be filled with a lot of foolishness but every now and then you come across a video that makes you feel the need to do a deeper dive into the information being given.  Recently I saw a video of a young woman talking about all of the black business entrepreneurs who ended up selling their products to white companies. That led me to do further research and I was shocked to discover she was absolutely on point.

According to an article in Newsweek,   more than 30 products, which were black-owned at one point, are now controlled by white companies.  The one that sticks out the most for me is Carol's Daughter.  I remember seeing an interview with the woman behind the black hair care products (Lisa Price) who was so excited to see her brand being picked up by Target for the first time.  In 2014, however, she reportedly sold her business to L'Oreal for $27 million dollars. One might argue that's probably more money than she could ever make on her own as a black entrepreneur but Carol's Daughter fits into a pattern of how black entrepreneurs become sell-outs to the white corporate structure.  

Who remembers Nadinola skin lightening cream?  How about blue magic or sulfer8 hair grease? These, coupled with a long line of other ethnic hair and skin care products, are owned by J. Strickland and Company, which was founded in 1936 by a white man named George B. Long.  Now you and I both know that in 1936, Long  wasn't partners with a black man or woman.  It is more likely that he stole the idea.

Then there's Softsheen, which was founded by a Black couple in 1964, but sold to L'Oreal in 1998 and Shea Moisture, which was founded by a woman in West Africa in the early 1900's, but is now owned by Unilever.

It is hard to comprehend why someone would work so hard to create and market their product and then turn around and sell it to a white corporation.  It's also hard to comprehend how deeply rooted racism has been in every aspect of our lives and kept all things from being equal.

If all things were equal, these transactions would never be necessary.

On the other hand, if someone wants to pick up my Vocabulary Bingo game, I, too, would become a sell-out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What Kind of Parent are You?


Parenting seems to have changed quite a bit since I was a child.  My parents weren't trying to be my friend.  They were, what you might call, traditional parents.  Traditional parenting is inflexible and rigid and riddled with discipline. The focus is to raise responsible and functional adults with good manners, proper education, and worth ethic. 

Today there is something called "modern parenting" where there is more of a focus of nurturing, involvement, and allowing children to express their individuality freely. Today, many parents are much closer to their children in age and  many children are growing up in single-family homes.  According to statistics from the Pew Center, the U.S. has the world's highest of number of children living in single-parent households. 

So the question is:  What kind of parent are you when it comes to raising your children?

Helicopter Parent:  These are parents who hover over their children and continue to do so through college (and even beyond in some cases).  These parents are over-involved and may be the reason their children don't develop a level of maturity needed to achieve success.  They know if they fail they can always return home and free-load.  

Lawnmower Parent:  These are the parents who "mow down" a path for their children by removing all obstacles that may cause discomfort, challenges or struggles.  These parents go out of their way to help their children and they believe their children can do no wrong.  These are parents who will do whatever it takes to help their children achieve success---even when the child may not be interested.  Remember actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who paid specific colleges to get their daughter's admitted?  Those are definitely lawnmower parents.

Tiger Parent:  These are the parents who push their children to achieve excellence in academics.  They limit their leisure time in order to make sure their child is a high achiever in the classroom so they won't have any problem getting into the University of their choice (and usually it's the college of the PARENT'S choice.  They expect their child to stay focused at all times and giving up is never an option.

Free Range Parent:  These are the free-spirited parents who give their children freedom to explore and to establish their own independence.  These are parents who see their children as friends as they get older and don't have a problem socializing with their friends to show how "cool" they are.  These parents also tend to be less than 20 years older than their children.  Meanwhile, there are some psychologists who believe this type of parenting style is dangerous because it lacks structure.

So what type of parent are you?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Are You a Chicken or an Eagle?

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  That's really how I could sum up 2021.  With the pandemic still in full effect and no REAL income coming in, it would have been easy for me to just give up and wait for everything to blow over.  But I'm not very good at waiting so I decided to reinvent myself via TikTok (@bevspeaks) with the help of my grandson.  And now, 400K followers later, this 60-something-year-old woman has created an Auntie Bev brand and is soaring to new heights.  

I refused to listen to the naysayers who told me I was too old for the platform or that no one would care what I had to offer.  I refused to allow my age to dictate how I would be perceived.  I chose to use my age as an advantage because with age comes something called wisdom. 

But what about you?  Are you living in your best OR worst of times of BOTH?

We all want to live life to our fullest potential. Nobody wants to struggle through life with less than what they could have achieved. Wouldn't it be the greatest shame that we live to the end of our lives wondering what it might have turned out like if we only followed our dream earlier in life.

There is this wonderful story about an eagle that illustrates this point well: 

Once upon a time, there was a large mountainside, where an eagle's nest rested. The eagle's nest contained four large eagle eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the mountain causing one of the eggs to roll down the mountain, to a chicken farm, located in the valley below. The chickens knew that they must protect and care for the eagle's egg, so an old hen volunteered to nurture and raise the large egg.

One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful eagle was born. Sadly, however, the eagle was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle believed he was nothing more than a chicken. The eagle loved his home and family, but his spirit cried out for more. While playing a game on the farm one day, the eagle looked to the skies above and noticed a group of mighty eagles soaring in the skies. "Oh," the eagle cried, "I wish I could soar like those birds." The chickens roared with laughter, "You cannot soar with those birds. You are a chicken and chickens do not soar."

The eagle continued staring at his real family up above, dreaming that he could be with them. Each time the eagle would let his dreams be known, he was told it couldn't be done. That is what the eagle learned to believe. The eagle, after time, stopped dreaming and continued to live his life like a chicken. Finally, after a long life as a chicken, the eagle passed away. The moral of the story: You become what you believe you are; so if you ever dream to become an eagle follow your dreams, not the words of a chicken.

How often do we let ourselves be defined by other people, we let them determine our self worth whether we realize it or not. In order to live your full potential you must first believe you were born to be more than you are, you must believe it with such conviction that you follow your dream no matter how often you may be ridiculed or how often you stumble. For it is in the act of following ones dreams that your potential will be realized.

The worst thing that could happen in life is to wake up one day and realize too late that we have been held back from our dreams because we were too afraid to lift ourselves out of the chicken pen and from the small thinking people.  While they may mean well, some can only see possibilities through their limitations and not from your possibilities.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Frustration Sets You Up for Success

The outside world can invite you to become upset and frustrated.  It's up to you to decide whether to accept the invitation.

I posted this quote on my Twitter page today after dealing with some frustration.  I won't go into details but I will say when you are in business for yourself your hardest hustle can still result in a weak or NO return.  The frustration kicks in when you believe you've done all you can to make things happen---but nothing happens and you're left shaking your head.  

I spent about 30 minutes on the frustration trail and then realized if I allowed that feeling to permeate in my spirit, the rest of my day would not go well so I had to change the channel of my mind and meditate on a quote from Tony Robbins:

All successful people know success is buried on the other side of frustration.  

I can go with that!  So why am I sharing this?  Because I know someone is going through something similar---if not more complicated than me.  I have learned a lot about me over the past several months and, believe me, not all of it has been good.


Here are my takeaways:


1)  Stop fighting with the noise inside your head:  The negative thoughts will keep you from moving forward.  Life itself is full of ups and downs.  You only make matters worst when  you keep harping on your "woe is me mentality."


2)  Learn to manage stress:  When I find myself slipping into a mental place I don't want to go to, I pray, read my bible or play some old-school, upbeat music.  It changes the channel of my mind and takes me to a happy place where I can rejuvenate and renew my spirit.


3)  Be around people and things that inspire you:  When I disconnected from social media (especially Facebook) I cut out more than 80 percent of the noise that was affecting my world.  I became overwhelmed with the "perceived" success of my friends.  When I stopped connecting online,  I found other things to inspire me like taking walks and doing more writing.  


4)  I am still resilient:  In my 60 plus years on this earth I have learned that I can bounce back after bad things happen and I am still employable.


When babies are learning to walk, they will fall many times before they finally gain the confidence to stand and walk on their own.  We all fail from time to time but it doesn't mean we are a total failure in life.  Failures are a part of life.  If you don't fail, you don't learn and if you don't learn you will never change.  

I am now choosing to muddle through my frustration because I am confident my success is on the other side.