“Frankie Leg”: A Fun Image of Grandmothers Shedding their Frail Stereotype, or is this Adding to a More Negative One?

 

I’m really not sure what to say about this video, its message, and the impact (if any). I also am not sure what it says overall about the people it will ultimately reflect upon and clump together into one classification. Is this a fun and possibly healthy image of grandmothers and grandfathers shedding and shaking away the frail stereotype normally associated with getting older? Or is this somehow only adding to the negative stereotypes about Black people?

I start thinking of the buffoonery we once used to fight so hard against, and I wonder if we really have gone full-circle and found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of where we once were; if we have grown to accept not only other nationalities laughing and mocking us, but also embracing it as a reality for ourselves–so we too take part in this…we too find it acceptable; so we laugh, dance, smile, shuck and jive, and roll around comfortably in mediocrity.

Are we really in that much pain that we would rather entertain ourselves in this manner than uplift ourselves out of our pit of shame and despair? What message are our children really getting? Where is our dignity? When is enough truly enough? I believe that music and dance is healthy, healing, and cleansing–but does the “Frankie Leg” fall into those categories?

I am still letting all of this soak into my mind (which may be dangerous). But let’s have a healthy conversation about it shall we?

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. The Paradigm Life. Paradigm Life. Rights Reserved.
Video provided by YouTube

Natasha’s Thought of the Day: My Definition of a Coward

A coward is a hilarious yet pitiful sight to see and experience. A coward hides behind aliases, anonymity, avatars, masks, lies, and other people. A coward yells loudly behind mommy’s dress and daddy’s coat, but never stands out and speaks up for the world to see. A coward spits venom like a serpent but is too scared to face those they attack. A coward has little to no self-esteem, self-worth, dignity, or grace, so lacking a spine they sneak around trying to drag others to their level. A coward will hide behind a title but never live up to it. A coward is never dependable, reliable, or consistent…except in their cowardice. They simply exist, but never live, and even in their existence they don’t leave much of an impression.

I’m not too sure if I should feel sorry for the cowards of the world, sympathy, or nothing at all. They are a sad group of people. They can never stand on their own, they can never fight their own battles, they can never truly lead, they always make excuses for their inadequacies, and blame others for their shortcomings. Cowards are always the victim, always the damsel in distress, always the ones needing saving, always the ones complaining about what’s wrong and why they can’t do something. The words, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible’ begin and end their sentences, and sometimes their days.

Cowards live for revenge, wanting to pay back those who hurt them, but they don’t have the courage to actually face this person head on. Cowards like to pick fights, but never stick around for combat, or they find a way for others to join the fight so their weaknesses are never revealed. They are the ones who spread rumors and cause drama, but in a sneaky, cleaver kind of way–that always make them look innocent. They pretend to be someone they aren’t because they don’t have the courage to be who they were created to be. They are weak-minded, weak physically, weak morally, and weak spiritually. They live in constant darkness; for only in light can one find true strength. It’s no wonder why cowards always prefer playing devil’s advocate, because for them it is too great a mountain to climb reaching up towards hope, possibility, and excellence, when they can use less effort kneeling down towards mediocrity.

I have encountered many cowards in my time, some as recently as today, and I am amazed at how much time they have on their hands to focus their energy on doing absolutely nothing of relevance in our world–except in their minds. It is pitiful that these insecure people spend so many hours of their day thinking about me, plotting and planning against me, and envious of what I have that they wish they had. We all have had our run-ins with cowards like this. See, cowards have plenty of time and energy to spread lies and hate, try to destroy other people’s reputations, families and businesses,  yet they don’t invest the time and energy to bring goodness and love into our world. They don’t have the time and energy to make a positive contribution to society, yet they can waste all of their resources trying to drain someone else and destroy their dreams. They don’t have the time and energy to build, create, innovate, inspire, embrace, uplift, and shine. Yet they have the time and energy to tear things apart, destroy, manipulate, deceive, and play childish games. They have time to send stupid messages and make phone calls to others hoping to make them feel as miserable as they do; post idiotic things on the Internet for even the tiniest bit of attention; make claims without supporting evidence; and just take up much-needed space in the world. They eventually leave this world as they entered it and lived it…clueless!

I have more respect for the person who tries and fails, than the one who never tries. I have more respect for the person with bumps, bruises, cuts and burns from falling down in life, because in their walk I see that they found a way to get back up. I have more respect for the person who comes to me directly, without masks, anonymity and code names, and just speaks their mind. I have more respect for the person who comes right out and confronts me with the goal to fight, than sucker-punch me in the dark. I have no respect for a person who isn’t brave enough to stand up and speak their mind. I say what I want to say, and clearly say my name when I’m speaking. I don’t post to my blogs or anywhere else as “anonymous” or with some made up alias, or using a picture not mine, because I have the courage to speak up, speak out, and back up what I say. My parents didn’t raise a punk, so I don’t cower over like one. I’m no bully and I won’t be bullied–never have and never will!

So I have one last thing to say to the cowards of the world…you can say what you want and do what you want, because just like your anonymity, you really don’t exist!

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Some of our Leaders Seem to Have a Problem with “Brain-Mouth Disconnect Syndrome”

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.
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com
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A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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>Natasha’s Thought of the Day 11.21.10

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We hold on to things and people because we’re afraid to be alone, to go without- or to be seen as a failure and fraud. We hold on because it feels so good even when we’re in pain. We’re closet masochists. We don’t realize that if it’s meant for us then it will always be there. If it was meant for you to have then you will have it- and there will be no pain or drama associated with it- and there will be no doubt. If what you have or want is meant for you then it will be made clear without having to read between the lines, jump through hoops, or ride on any emotional roller coasters.

But when the signs are clear that we must let go and walk away- we must comply or face greater heartache. It truly is that simple- we just choose not to see and believe it. What is- simply is and what will be, will be! The goal is to learn our lessons quickly so that we can continue on our great journey, and experience what life has to offer. When we linger, when we fear change and fear letting go we become enslaved to a life of darkness, chaos, and pain. We also prevent something better and greater from entering our lives. True freedom is letting go. What’s yours is yours and no one can take that from you. You have the key to your shackles. Free yourself!

– Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Quote of the Day 10.18.10

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There comes a point in your life when you realize:

Who matters,

Who never did,

Who won’t anymore…

And who always will.

So don’t worry about people from your past,

There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future!

I love this quote/poem. I have read it numerous times, and remind myself of the context when faced with making decisions about my past, present, and future. This has oftentimes been quoted with “author unknown”; and although my research pointed me in the direction of Adam Lindsay Gordon, I was unable to track down this quote/poem in order to give him due credit. If you have proof that Gordon or someone else penned this poignant message, please provide me a source to reference. Thank you.

Natasha

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com  

>Time to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

>1/20/10

I know the first thing that comes to mind is that I just did a twist on some Boyz to Men song, but trust me I did not think of “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” until after I started this sentence. Everyone that knows me…truly…understands that I am a huge sappy romantic. There are things that I want in life that I’m so passionate about that it brings me to tears. I cry during certain types of movies (taking on the emotion of the characters); I long to be a wife and mother, and I often look back at old pictures and smile at the memories that come to mind instantly….Oh I could go on and on with that but I will spare you…today!

Today is about letting go. It is about saying goodbye to elements of our past…past loves, past hurts, and past regrets. We can’t change our yesterdays, but we can focus intently on how we can take an active, positive role in our tomorrow. I’m not saying forget your past. That would be counter-productive. I’m saying stop holding on to your past so that you can free your mind for future experiences and memories. I’m saying let go of what someone did to you one, ten, or even twenty years ago and look at how someone touched your heart today.
 
I used to be one of those people who could hold on to grudges for decades. I’d shut down and would not allow myself to ‘free’ myself from my own issues. That person has too many things going on in their life to be concerned with obsessing over what they did to you many moons ago. You would be surprised at how they have ‘moved on’ yet you can’t. Let go and release yourself from that bitterness, hurt, and anger. Forgive. If you can’t forgive someone how can you ask God to forgive you?

Yes, it truly is that simple. Believe me!

Saying goodbye also means cutting the ties to relationships that have been over…but your heart and pride won’t let them go. If it did not ‘work’ when you were together consider the probability of a 100% success rate this time around. How many “let’s try again” moments can you recall?

I’ve always…scratch that…I’ve had a high track record of ending relationships and never looking back. Some of you have raised eyebrows as you recall one or two relationships in particular that I kept ‘working on’ and I tell you now, “fix your face”! I already said I’m a sappy romantic…cut me some slack. We’re digressing here folks….please re-focus.

God’s plan for you is to learn your lessons and move on. Stop snatching the steering wheel in an attempt to drive yourself in His car…stop trying to relive your past, trying to get it right. My sistas and brothas it is time to say goodbye to yesterday and start living for today! BREATHE!

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved.

(Image Source: http://hissweetheart.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/goodbye1.jpg)