Today I shared the message below as a reflection for my Breaking Bread With Natasha post. It touched me so deeply that I was moved to share this beyond my spirituality blog, because the words are not religious, they are based in an energy that crosses all faiths, religions, and beliefs.
David Pendered (Saporta Report) recently wrote that, “Signs of the discriminatory lending practice called redlining have reemerged in metro Atlanta, according to a new analysis of home sale prices.”
Pendered cites a study by Georgia Tech Professor Dan Immergluck, where Immergluck quantifies the in his report an uneven rebound of housing prices in metro Atlanta. It’s part of his research into issues including housing and real estate markets, mortgage finance, and fair lending. His most recent book was reissued in 2011: “Foreclosed: High-Risk Lending, Deregulation, and the Undermining of America’s Mortgage Market.”
According to the report, the areas where home prices have rebounded most and best are in predominately white and comparatively affluent neighborhoods. The affluent neighborhoods aren’t dependent upon mortgage markets, as most markets of $800,000 and more have always faired fine, and always will regardless of regulations.
“Prices should have come back more evenly,” Immergluck said. “The demographics of the city are not that different from 2001. We shouldn’t have half as many mortgages [in some demographics] as we did then. That’s what is keeping the prices down in these neighborhoods.
So what’s the issue causing this unevenness?
Immergluck believes that it is the process of redlining based on a concern over credit quality. Whites historically have better credit scores than non-whites (for a slew of reasons we will discuss in another post). So recovery for whites has been greater than non-whites, and as a result there have been less home loans extended to non-whites.
Pendered wrote that, “In addition to determining the uneven nature of price recovery, the report confirmed that the greatest collapse in home prices occurred in predominately non-white areas – especially in some communities where speculators bought homes and flipped them for significant profits. Mortgage fraud was rampant in some of these areas.”
To learn more about redlining and this report, read here
Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. All Rights Reserved.
By Natasha Foreman Bryant
Teacher. Corrector. Nurturing. Supportive. Caring. Loving. Tender. Warm. Patient. Understanding. Healing. Healer. Fixer. Graceful. Delicate. Strong. Respectful. Kind. Brave. Meek. Humble. Courageous. Lady. Love.
These words and more describe the traditional woman. These are some of the words that we think about when we think of mothers.
Baby Mama. B*tch. Baddest B*itch. Side Chick. Side piece. Breezy. Butter head. Barbie. Chicken head. Dime. Cougar. MILF. Ho. Jump off. Queen Bee. Diva. Gold digger. Vixen. Trick. Slut.
These are some of the words that are being used to describe women today. These are some of the words that women and young girls are using to describe themselves. These are some of the words being used by mothers to describe themselves and other women. The list continues to grow each year.
Something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Painfully wrong. Females. Women. Ladies. Mothers. Sisters. It is time that we step up and act.
We must Woman Up!
I wrote a two-part letter to the men (see the links at the end of this post) asking that they step up and do their part to help bring about positive change in our households, schools, churches, and neighborhoods worldwide. I wrote and asked them to do their part to help young men and boys learn what it means to be a real man, a protector, nurturer, teacher, provider, father, husband, son, and friend. I asked men to do their part to help young women and girls learn what a real man is and is not, why they need to shake their fixation on finding the daddy that left them, was never around, or hardly noticed.
But this change requires us too!
Young men and boys learn how to treat a woman by looking at and getting directions from other males, but they also learn by watching and interacting with us. The kind of woman that you want your son, grandson, brother, nephew, or cousin to marry and raise a family with will either be the woman he sees in you, or the image he sees somewhere else—maybe on television, in magazines, or on the streets. You can either help present an honorable image, or you can carelessly allow him to seek out and connect with the next “jump off”.
It is our responsibility to change the image and view of women. It is our responsibility to not sell out for money, affection, fame, or perceived power.
Your Image: Healthy or Destructive?
Here’s the problem. If your model image of womanhood comes from what you see on television or view in magazines, then you yourself have not been exposed to any positive female role models. You have allowed the media, designers, corporations, and airbrushing experts (all mostly men) dictate to you the epitome of beauty, sensuality, and strength. I just watched an amazing video that reveals what Jean Kilbourne and thousands of women have been trying to make clear for over 40 years—the images we see of fashion models, actresses, and female celebrities are mostly altered and airbrushed in an attempt to entice and seduce men, and embed a message in the mind of women and girls, that only leads to our diminished esteem and an increase in eating disorders, suicide, and heightened destructive sexual behavior. Please watch this video and share it with others, males and females, old and young. We have to change the way we see ourselves and other women. We have to change the way men and boys see us. We have to change the way designers and corporations see and depict us.
Eating disorders are not just a “white girl” or wealthy girl issue. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. They can reach all of us. Starvation, forcibly vomiting, binge eating, and emotional eating are actions taken by females around the world from every socioeconomic background, race, color, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.You can have a seemingly “perfect” life living in a two-parent household, beautiful home, fenced yard, with one or more cute pets, and still have an eating disorder. You can live in the projects with your grandmother or aunt, and have an eating disorder. You can be a straight A student and star athlete, and have an eating disorder. You can be a soccer mom, juggling your demanding career and back-to-back playdates for your kids—and have an eating disorder.
Either we think we’re too skinny, too fat, too wide, have too much cellulite, don’t have big enough breasts, or have some issue with our butt (too big, small, lumpy, flat, or too wide), whatever it is we aren’t happy. This unhappiness turns into us using exercise, food and other substances to drastically alter our bodies. Someone planted this seed in our minds. Someone told us we’re too fat or too skinny, and that seed rooted and grew quickly. We then fixated on this and it became our reality. Then our pain must be inflicted on others, because hurt people hurt people. So we then see the flaws in other women, and we do our part to share with them and others our opinion of these flaws. There is the chain reaction.
Then there’s plastic surgery and this obsession with becoming a barbie doll—thinner, uplifted always-smiling face; big and even bigger breasts; perfectly sculpted legs and arms; toned and rounded hips and butt; and a teeny tiny waist. Women are spending one to six months of income (theirs or someone else’s) to achieve their ideal barbie doll image, and then when they still aren’t satisfied, they spend another one to six months of income to make corrections.
That is why honorable plastic surgeons inquire in advance your true intent for wanting plastic surgeon, what outside influences may be encouraging this decision, and if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for this change. You can make all of the physical corrections that you want with the help of a surgeon, but if you aren’t spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy, happy and satisfied, then you will never ever be happy with yourself or your looks. We must accept this for ourselves and we must explain this to the young girls and teens who are growing into their bodies and ingesting the toxins delivered by magazines and on television. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with friends and family. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with young school-aged girls and those young women ages 18 to 25.
It is our responsibility to tell the media, fashion designers, advertising and marketing companies, and other corporations that we are not inanimate objects, we are not objects. Period. We are women, ladies, girls, daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, cousins, teachers, entrepreneurs, and bearers of life. We are not to be dehumanized and exploited. To make this point clear that means that we have to also refuse to audition and interview for roles, assignments, and jobs that negatively portray us as objects of desire, and we have to stop carrying ourselves (and behaving) like mere objects.
Tune in for Part Two coming soon!
Your Sista girl,
Natasha Foreman Bryant
To read the two-part Call to Action for men visit:
By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA
I’m fed up so I’m speaking out and I’m calling people forward to join me, and to do their part to change our situation. Every week I will post a Call to Action. Today I share part one of this series.
Today and every day I call for men to stand up and be men in your families and households, communities, and in the communities that are in need of positive male images. I don’t care your color, racial makeup, nationality, religion, or how much money you earn. I just want to start seeing men lead and work to take back our neighborhoods.
I want to see more men investing time in classrooms, in before and after school programs, in local community centers, in churches and religious centers, and in outreach programs. I want to see more men tutoring our youth, and telling them about the struggles of adulthood while encouraging them to accept the challenge with dignity.
I want to see more men teaching young boys what it really takes to be a man, and that it has nothing to do with his age, the money in his pocket, the number of females he can impress and have sex with, the size (or capability) of his sexual organ, how far he can throw a ball, how well he can dribble or shoot one, or how fast he can run. These boys need to learn that making babies doesn’t make them a man, taking care of them and treating their mothers with respect is what separates the men from the deadbeats.
Come on fellas, step up and tell these young brothas about the dope game and how they are setting themselves up to be locked up or stone cold in a grave, and how they are risking their families lives every single day. Tell them about the marijuana and crack possession laws that are slanted to incarcerate and keep them mentally enslaved for years. There is no credible and long-term retirement plan for drug dealers or gang members, and their families.
Tell them why being in a gang doesn’t bring them power or respect, because they don’t own the streets they terrorize, and no one respects a person they fear—they merely tolerate them and hope that God or the government will remove them from their life. The disdain that they feel by the so-called “power structure” is the same disdain their community has for them. Oh and those big, bad guns that they (and others) want to tote around, their usage proves nothing to the rest of us—anyone can pull a trigger. I don’t condone violence, but two pairs of fists make a point better than a bullet, bat, knife, or other weapon. If you can’t put up those fists and take a “chin check”, then you need to stay out of drama and don’t let your mouth write a check your butt can’t cash.
Pulling a trigger, stabbing, kicking or beating a person, stealing from or robbing someone doesn’t make you hard or brave. It makes you weak. It sets you up for a life of failure, incarceration, or a shortened lifespan. Tell them this. Explain this to our boys and young men.
A weapon used for revenge or punishment is a cowards way out. You can’t claim self defense when you go out looking for the person to harm. People are outraged about George Zimmerman, so am I, but I’m also outraged by the countless young Black, Brown, Yellow, and White boys who are killing each other like it’s a video game. The players don’t reset themselves in real life like they do in a video game. In real life once the person dies the game is over.
Even a person being bullied doesn’t really get an “eye for an eye” sort of revenge when they pull out a gun and begin firing. Now one or more people are dead or injured, and the person bullied is heading to jail (if they didn’t turn the gun on themselves or get killed by a third party). I need the men to stand up and explain this to our youth and young adults.
Men I need you to stand up, stand up, stand up, and get to work. Don’t close your eyes or turn your head, get to work. We have a world to save!
~Natasha Foreman Bryant
Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
Another post from childhood friend, Sean…
Remember when you kept your personal business in the house? Your kids knew that you didn’t tell folks about what went on in the house. A husband spoke to his wife and a wife spoke to her husband. Posting how you done with men or women on Facebook only makes you look foolish and desperate. Maybe it is time to stop proclaiming love, giving yourself over and praising these men and women before you know them in the first place. Keep your business in your house and the world won’t be all up in it. It is time for grown-ups to start acting grown.
Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
So I wasn’t surprised to read that more retailers have suffered from major foot-in-mouth or foot-in-rear syndrome as they have pressed and marketed t-shirts and other novelty items to young girls that basically tell them that it is more advantageous to focus on their looks than their intelligence. These messages also tell them that they aren’t as smart or smarter than boys, and guess what? It sends the same messages to boys who grow up to be men who think this way. Then women like myself have to deal with this ignorance throughout college and our careers. I’m in my mid-30s and I still have to prove that I’m intelligent and capable of playing with ‘the big boys’, while a man with a fraction of my intellect just needs to show up.
So what are retailers up to now? Well a few months ago it was the “I’m too pretty to do math” t-shirt by David & Goliath and let’s not forget the “Trophy Wife” t-shirt; I’m sure every parent sits back and hopes that their daughter grows up to be a trophy wife (yes, I’m being facetious). The more we struggle to break down these stereotypical images of females, the more guck and muck that flies up from companies that know better, but see the benefit of earning the buck more than doing the right thing.
So why would J.C. Penney get caught up in the cross-hairs of this nonsense with their “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” t-shirt? I’m not sure. Obviously they missed the memo that said gender stereotyping is a big no-no. They were smart enough to pull the shirt from stores once the backlash from consumers gave them whiplash. Lesson learned? I hope so.
Here’s the crazy thing, retailers could actually make MORE money by producing and marketing positive images and messages of girls and women than they do with this other nonsense. Think of how many t-shirts you would buy for every young girl (or even boy) you know if it read, “I work hard in school so I can have the career of my dreams“, or “Need a tutor? I get A’s in Math“, or “You can have sexy, I’ll be your boss soon“. There are so many ways to show young girls and boys that being intelligent is smart and is a highly attractive quality not only for a future spouse -which they shouldn’t be concerned with until their in their 20s, (but realistically we know they obsess over as young as age 13) but also for future employment opportunities.
Of course I’ve included the link (see below) to the article that shares the J.C. Penney story and more. I’m thrilled to read in the article that entrepreneurs are jumping into the business to produce positive images and messages for our children to see and model, such as the “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it…Redefine girly” t-shirt.
If we are truly concerned with the future of our world and the children who will be tomorrow’s leaders, then we must take responsibility for the images they see and the messages they hear…we are all role models!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Paradigm Life.
By Natasha L. Foreman
Some people need to just think before they speak, or simply refrain from answering a question when they have absolutely nothing of intelligence to say in response. Case in point…again… Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern.
This woman appears to have what I call, “brain-mouth disconnect syndrome” whenever a microphone or reporter is nearby. Her mouth gets to yapping but her brain is totally disconnected from the process. She needs a handler who does a better job screening what comes out of her mouth. Do you remember when three years ago she made the comment that gay people are destroying the United States and were a greater threat than terrorists? If not, I have included the link to this footage at the end of this post. Do you remember Kern’s Divorce Bill that would have made it hard for people to get divorced in Oklahoma? Yes, I included that link below as well.
Well Ms. Kern has really stepped in her own mess last Wednesday during an affirmative action bill debate she back-handed both women and African-Americans by saying that women don’t work as hard and earn as much as men because they are more concerned about raising their families, and the high incarceration rate of Black people must have something to do with them not wanting to work hard in school.
“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school?…I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”
But let’s hear it directly from the horse’s mouth shall we? Oh and look at the body language and reaction from her constituents in the audience! Thank goodness for YouTube…
Yep, she said it and after coming under attack and her people returning from their extended lunch break (I’m joking about the latter) she tries to clean up her comments by saying that women are some of the hardest workers in the world, and that what she said didn’t come from her “true spirit“. Okay so where did it come from? Will people have to question which spirit (true or false) she’s speaking from every time she opens her mouth?
Maybe it’s time for Ms. Kern to take some sensitivity training, or re-training. Anthony Davis, the President of the NAACP Oklahoma chapter is cutting Kern no slack and is standing firm in his call for her resignation, and urging Kern’s constituents do the same- saying, “Let’s send a message out that in Oklahoma we will not tolerate racism at its ugliest level.”
See the Oklahoma news KOCO report that covered the story and interviewed both Anthony Davis and state Representative Mike Shelton:
I’m all for freedom of speech but when do we draw the line especially when words of hate, bigotry, and racism come from the mouths of our country’s leaders, influencers, and those who intend to lead?
If we are to be the example for the rest of the world to follow why then should we be surprised that there is so much hate spewed about our country and our people? We talk about athletes and entertainers being role models and that they should watch what they say and do, but what about highly visible business people and those in government positions who serve the people of this nation? What standards are set for them, or are they not considered role models?
What are your thoughts?
Oh and by the way here’s the link to her Divorce Bill recommendation: http://youtu.be/tXYKe4gdeRo
And her remarks about gays in 2008 in case you never heard it or need your memory refreshed:
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
>Today I visited a middle school in Atlanta, Georgia to share a lesson on financial literacy with a group of young ladies, grades 6-8, who meet with me for roughly one hour during their art class. This is my third visit to this particular class. I visit their school as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through the Operation HOPE (HOPE) Banking on Our Future (BOOF) program. After my last visit next week, I will be returning independent of HOPE to continue reinforcing the principles and skills I have shared with them the past few weeks. I also intend to share other valuable lessons and skills that I truly believe these students need to know in order to survive and thrive in this gigantic, constantly-changing world.
When I see them I see young African-American girls who are faced with challenges of fitting in and being a part of the status quo, or stepping out and bringing about the change they want to see in their lives and in their community. I see young girls who could thrive in their studies and excel in life as leaders and change agents, but some of them would rather settle for mediocrity because they assume that is what is expected of them. Some of them have bought into the lies and imagery they see on the news, in movies and music videos; and what they hear in songs. Some of them only see what is around them, but do not take the time to dream for what could be beyond. Some look at their family situation and are content with that also being their future. Some have seen a cyclical pattern of behavior that sucks the life and hope out of people- and they don't conceive of how they can break the cycle. Some have bought the lie that they are not as smart and gifted as the average student. There are a few who have bought the label of being "special needs" and are content not pushing beyond this negative threshold.
Then there are the ones whose eyes still shine, who clearly dream big dreams, who want for more, who see a life in college and outside the boundaries of a neighborhood plagued by lack of hope and faith. These girls are more than the stereotypical pretty girl 'eye-candy' most would claim them to be; they are gifted and intelligent. Some of these girls are clear that their 'now' will be their 'past' because they have goals and aspirations of becoming educated career-women. There are a few girls in this class who are dreamers, but they are nervous to speak up and speak out in fear of being teased and criticized. They are the silent wells of hope, that believe that their dreams can come true but it is safer to work towards their goals silently than sharing outwardly. These young ladies smile through their eyes even in pain.
All of these young ladies are our future. Not to be forgotten. Not to be statistically categorized as 'beyond reach'. Not to be discounted as merely future booty-popping, sexually driven females who will amount to nothing except recipients of state-assistance, pole-swinging strippers, or guests on the Maury Povich or Jerry Springer shows. These girls told me today that they aspired to become pediatricians, chefs, and teachers- they have the potential to reach their career goals- they have the potential to afford to write the mock $10k checks they wrote today in class. They have the potential to live a life far-better than the one they have today. They have the potential to learn the lessons their elders were not taught, so they can have superior credit, own a home, own their car, travel the world, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
We need to take back our schools and our communities. We need to stand up, speak up and speak out. We need to create a flow of communication between the state, neighborhoods, school districts, administrators, teachers, parents, and the students. Everyone must work to develop a system that works. Without total buy-in from these stakeholders, the system will fail and our country will suffer an unimaginable fate. We need to stop talking about it and start doing something. Parents, teachers, and administrators have to come together in order to effectively communicate what is needed and required for our youth to succeed both in and outside of school. We need more mentors coming to the schools, speaking to the students, working with the school personnel and the families of the students.
We need parents to be more engaged in the learning process, not just when they want to come to the school for a confrontation with a teacher or administrator. We need parents to take the time to ask, see, and know what is going on with their children in school and in the neighborhood. We need parents to ask for help when they need it; help with tutoring their children; help with showing their children a buffet of positive role models to learn from and aspire to become. If you are a single parent and your work schedule is hectic- ask for help to effectively connect with your child and their teacher(s). Parents need to stop relying on teachers to handle all of the teaching and disciplining of their children. What is taught in school is to be reinforced in the home. What is taught in the home should be a positive example displayed and expressed at school.
Teachers need to re-engage and reconnect, not waiting until a child has reached a failing grade- but showing care and concern once that child falls below a "B". Teachers need to take the time to reach out and talk to the students who clearly need more positive reinforcement. If you know that the vast majority of your students come from home environments filled with negative images and influences, why would you perpetuate this same negativity in the classroom? If these children are living in environments of fear, hopelessness, and diminishing faith- why would you not want to create and maintain an environment where they can feel safe and loved?
So many schools have signs around their campuses claiming a 'commitment to excellence', yet mediocrity is the norm. We have upset, frustrated, and disconnected parents who yell at upset, frustrated, and disconnected administrators- who then yell at upset, frustrated and disconnected teachers- who walk into their classrooms and yell at upset, frustrated, and disconnected students- who only model the behavior of their upset, frustrated and disconnected parents. The cycle of behavior won't stop until we stop it; until we stop passing the buck and blaming everyone else for our problems.
Historically the undervalued, underserved, underrepresented has always banded together to bring themselves out of the depths of darkness. In the 1950s we fought for our children's equal education rights. In the 1960s and 1970s we raised our standards even higher for teaching and education. Even in the early-to-mid-1980s our children knew that all eyes were on them; the administrators, teachers, the neighborhood, and the parents were all on the same page- and our children knew to walk the straight line.
Where did we go wrong? When did we stop caring? When did our vision of role models shift from the intelligent, courageous, and driven change agents- to the hard-core, lazy, thugs and 'barbies'? When did we go from working towards self-empowerment to self-entitlement? What are you doing to take back your community? Stop making excuses and start doing something. NOW! It takes a village to raise a child- we must reunite our village. We have to be the change we want to see!
Natasha L. Foreman
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.