Whenever some celeb gets in trouble for alleged racism there is always a hue and a cry and a lot of talk, talk, talk.

I applaud all the companies that have made the entirely appropriate response of severing their business relationships this individual.

I’ve never really been interested in her or her products so I have no support to pull.

Consistent positive action, I believe is what will make a difference. I hope all the African-Americans who are upset that they helped make an (alleged) racist rich are giving serious thought to what they do with their dollars. I hope that they are committed to give due consideration to where their money is going all the time and not just when a scandal breaks. And not just, you know, expending a lot of energy on twitter and facebook and blogs reacting.

Don’t get me wrong. Boycotts and letter-writing campaigns can indeed be useful. But one has to be proactive as well. Personally, I went and bought that Patti Labelle cookbook I’ve had my eye on for some time now.https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GoJFTIj0L.jpg

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In April of 2009, (it’s been 4 years, my how time flies) BWE blogger Khadija Nassif encouraged black women to leave the helping professions in this post. The content is now contained in her book, but the comments are still there. sidenote: You should buy the book and tell all your friends!

I remember having several long conversations with an old friend who agreed. She was a teacher and there was no end to the tales of unruly or uncaring children, unsupportive administrations and parents who demanded at the eleventh hour that she come up with some sort of way for their child to raise their grade, AFTER ignoring all the interim reports about their progress.
She has now retired from the field and looking for new opportunities. I asked her if she knew that there was still such a thing as a “governess”.

Yes, dear readers, the governess is not a mythical creature found only in old musicals or Charlotte Bronte novels. These days she’s more likely to wear khaki capris than a gray woolen dress, and will not find it necessary to fashion clothing for the children out of old drapes.

She will probably have a degree in education and experience in that field, and may need to be multilingual. (This will depend, of course. My research has shown that several Russian families and perhaps others overseas specifically want an English-speaking governess for their child. English is still seen as the most important language for business in many parts of the world. I remember Khadija’s admonition to us all to remember that!)

In several countries, the popularity of the governess is on the rise. American families looking to hire a governess may include those who travel frequently and want to take their children along to experience the world, or those who can afford private school but want the ultimate in customized education for their child.

This includes manners and etiquette. Since she is a kind of mentor to the children, she may also be expected to be a healthy eater who engages in regular exercise. A pleasing personal presentation matters. In other words, working on being “flawless” helps. You’re not going to get the choicest governess positions looking like a schlump.

In this article in the UK publication The Telegraph, the rising popularity of nannies is attributed to parents who want to give their children an edge over the competition.

Tutorial agencies said the return of governesses was being fuelled by increasing competition to pass entrance tests for popular schools, and by parents determined to give their children an advantage in GCSE and A-level exams

The article goes on to state the many perks: international travel, room and board, enough free time to pursue personal goals. The salary can be double what teachers make.

This seems like a fantastic possibility if you are a teacher who loves to teach, but wants a better work environment. It could be an opportunity to travel, and meet new and interesting people. I invite you to ponder if a position as a governess might suit you for awhile. There are even schools you can attend if you want to augment your skills for this niche market.

Further reading:
http://www.nannygovernesshiring.com/
http://www.bonne-int.com/living-abroad/an-interview-with-one-of-our-governesses-a-few-months-after-she-started-working-in-a-family-in-moscow/

What do you say, teachers. Would you consider it?

Keep it Fly for the Hubs!

January 4, 2011

 

Looking good together

As my friend Monica says, I have to “be more vain,” and have more pride and self respect. Further, real talk, I’ve got a handsome husband who makes a good living and takes darned good care of me and my children. Trust, I’m not the only who has noticed that. He deserves a wife who keeps herself up. –Roslyn, commenting at The Sojourner’s Passport blog.

One day a few years ago, Mr. Foreverloyal and I were out to dinner at a trendy restaurant in a nice section of town.  As we were on our way to our car, a voiced called out his name, and a middle-aged man came up and said hello.  My husband introduced us, he smiled warmly and we exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes before going on our way.

That night,  I was wearing a nice outfit, including a new jacket that fit and flattered.  (As an aside, fit is at least 33% of making clothing work for you.  This was the first top I had ever bought in petite size.  It’s amazing what proper-length sleeves and no excess fabric on the back does for your look)  I looked quite presentable, which is more than what can be said for how I looked the previous week.  I would have been embarassed to meet any of his friends/business associates that night.

A husband and wife is a team, and in addition to all the other ways in which they support each other, they should each be a flattering reflection of the other.  Your appearance and comportment does have an effect on how your husband is viewed by others.  Make it a positive one.

It's a New Year. Are you ready to go to the next level?

It’s been a pretty good year for improving my self-presentation.  I’ve lost 16 pounds, found a fabulous eyebrow threader and developed a habit of not leaving the house without my (very natural) makeup.

I’ve bought some clothes (to shrink down into) and I can get into the clothing I couldn’t wear last year. YAY! (Alhamdulillah)

This year’s goals:

1. Keep a basic mani/pedi

2. Lose the last of the weight

3. Develop my “look”.  I’ve given this alot of thought and am most of the way there.

4. Buy/make my basic pieces/accessories.

5. Keep up on accessory maintenance (shoes/bags polished, knowing where my earrings are!)

6. Try tumeric for fading dark spots.

7. Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit and flatter, unless it’s for scrubbing the house/gardening

8. Put another few inches on my hair length.

9. Keep up on Mr. Foreverloyal’s shoe/belt polishing

10. Iron shirts/skirts/pants weekly in one session to make it easier to get out the door looking pulled together.

What about you? How did you do last year and what are your goals for this year?

Have you decided to go forth and be gorgeous?

I Love me!

“When it comes to other adults, I refuse to be more invested in an issue than the people who are directly affected by it. So, in your case, if you don’t value your health, I don’t care about your health either. It’s your party, you can unnecessarily die an early death if you want to. Your free and voluntary choice to set yourself up for unnecessary health problems does not trouble me. To the tune of the Isley Brothers: {“it’s your thang, do what you wanna do…”}”  –Khadija of The Sojourner’s Passport blog, http://sojournerspassport.com/

What does the world see when they look at you? 

A woman who holds herself in high esteem, or one who doesn’t necessarily think she’s worth a whole heck of alot?

And how does that influence how you are treated?

I was going to do a longer post, and maybe I”ll flesh it out a bit later.  But, in sum:

If you keep yourself at a healthy weight, step out always with neat hair, groomed nails, makeup, and flattering clothing, you are telling the world that YOU MATTER.  After all, you put in the effort to take care of yourself.

If you are significantly overweight and disheveled, you are telling the world that you don’t hold yourself in high regard and can’t be bothered to treat yourself well.

Don’t be surprised if you are treated with a little more or less regard, accordingly.

Decide you are worth it, and

Go forth and be gorgeous.

Let's party!

This holiday season, I’m challenging all the readers of these blogs who believe in Black Women’s Empowerment to literally put their money where their mouth is.  I think there’s something in the air because shortly after I said as much over on Khadija’s blog, Faith put out this post:  http://actsoffaithblog.com/call-for-links-shout-outs-love-to-each-other  .  I hope everyone will chip in with their BWE gift ideas by emailing Faith for her future post.

Now, I’m sure neither of us is suggesting that you forgo the mall altogether.  Personally, I think everyone should set as a minimum three gifts/activities.  That can be going to see a positive play about bw, buying a gift from a bw vendor on etsy, or giving a book from Roslyn, Khadija, Evia etc. as a gift for a black woman/girl in your life. (Well, I wouldn’t give a teenager a Roslyn book.  Her mama might bless you out).

I’ll be posting my efforts, and I hope you’ll be sharing yours.

Waiting for Superman

November 9, 2010

Yeah, he's fine. But he ain't real.

“If I’m gonna date a white guy, I’m not getting Opie.  He has to be fine.”

“He has to really care about racial justice.  I’m talking a Tim Wise type.”

“He has to have some kind of swagger.”

I have heard variations on the above from black women when talking about the sort of white man they could be persuaded to date and/or marry.  Sometimes, they want all of that in one man (plus education, a fitness model body, etc.etc.)  I’m going to ignore #1 and #3, as Evia and others have more than adequately addressed those.

When I read that, I kind of laughed.  Think about it.  Who makes up 75-90% of the footsoldiers in  IBA (Indigenous Black Americans, yeah I just made that up, feel free to use it) civil rights/racial justice associations?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a black man who spends a great deal of time writing articles/organizing protests/giving lectures on racial justice to seriously date. (Statistically speaking)  Listing that as a requirement for a white man effectively eliminates them as an option.  See how neatly she did that?

I doubt such women who are so very concerned with this issue would even consider making that a “must-have” in a black man.

So why would she be so insistent on this behavior from a white man?  My theory is that this is another part of the “Keeping it Real” trickbag.  By insisting that any white man she dates be a “Tim Wise”, she can deflect any accusations that she has “sold out” by dating/marrying white, “forgot where she came from” and all the other nonsensical foolishness sometimes hurled at IR married black women.

Like I said above, it also shrinks her possible pool of white potential mates to teaspoon size.  By throwing up ridiculous obstacles, she can justify never taking the risk of trying “something new.”  She can use the excuse that she is “waiting for Superman,” who as we all know, doesn’t exist.  But, as a source which I can’t find yet once said,

“To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

Dear Grandpa

September 22, 2010

Dear Grandpa Mac,

It’s fall and the leaves are turning.  As the days grow colder, I’ve been thinking of you more and more.  The world changed so much in the time between your birth in the early part of the last century, and just a few years ago when you left us.  We never spoke about it much.

You grew up in the South during Jim Crow, “Whites Only” signs and other limitations and indignities were your everyday realities.  For me they are only photos in a history book.  You were a young man during the Great Depression, just beginning life with your sweetheart, a life that lasted nearly 75 years.  You saw the Civil Rights movement, Motown, and watched bell bottoms come in and out of style a couple of times.

You had a good life together.  Mom talks about furniture that never matched and Aunt C complains about all the chopping and peeling involved in preparing and preserving often home-grown food, but they’re very proud of the fact that you and Grandma took care of your family without a dime of charity.  Even when you qualified for that aid.  You didn’t make excuses when you could make things happen.

Mom said that despite the fact that you worked long hours to support your family, you would always listen to her problems and give advice. She had to get up early and talk to you as you ate breakfast before a long day of work.  It makes me smile to picture mom as a preteen, sitting in a small kitchen at a small table talking to you in the pre-dawn hours, the rest of the house asleep except for Grandma at the stove.  I cherish a photo of taken of you in what I guess is the late sixties, frowning at the camera as you are about to carve the Turkey at Thanksgiving.  You just wanted to get going, but Mom insisted on taking a picture first.

The world changed so much in your lifetime. At the time of your death Black Americans could vote without fear of violence, had won equal access to public facilities, and some held high positions in the government and private sector. Your sons had served in the military, a daughter had led a professional association, and a nephew who traveled the world on business.

Everything wasn’t all rosy though. The Black American out-of-wedlock rate skyrocketed to shameful heights, with too many of us defending fatherless homes as “normal” and bringing up the odd serial killer raised in a two-parent home whenever the problems with this widespread practice were so much as hinted at.  It seems we gained so much, but lost alot of our old-school values.

When you and Grandma got married, you weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It seems back then we knew the value of family. You and Grandma were a team.  You hunted rabbits, and she cleaned them and made them into stew.  You worked hard to make money for your family, and she managed it carefully, stretching the budget by growing food, having the kids wear hand-me-downs and making crazy quilts out of clothing that could no longer be worn.  At night, a child tiptoeing past your room could hear laughter coming from beyond the closed door.

Together, families like ours got through stormy weather like the Great Depression.  Hardship was eased because they were together. They worked together, ate together, celebrated together.

I always told you I loved you.  But I never told you how great you were, just for being a good man.  Because you married my Grandma and were an excellent husband, you gave my mom a dad. Beyond that, you gave me a grandfather and my children a great-grandfather.  They were all pretty young so they will remember you mostly through pictures, but also by the stories mom, I, and their uncles and Aunts tell about you.  Your committment to family is probably your most important legacy.

I worry about the future of Black Americans.  I worry that our professional, financial and political gains–generations of effort– will be undone by personal recklessness. So many children will not have a grandpas and great-grandpas in their lives because their parents never married.  They will not have the love and support they deserve.  So many heartwarming stories will never be told because they will never happen.  So many children will grow up with gaping holes in their souls, not just where their fathers should be, but where their grandfathers and great-grandfathers should be.  So many families have those gaping holes, right now.

It’s fall, Grandpa, and the leaves are turning.  Not just literally, but metaphorically.  Unemployment levels are high, and rising.  Many people have lost their homes, with many more living with that possibility at any moment.  Unlike the past, most of our families are fractured and therefore weak.  They are not functioning as strong teams, and as blogger Khadija Nassif said, “Survival is a team sport.”  Most tragically, they deny that this sort of family team is even necessary.

Most of us seem to not be able to find our commonsense.  And as you used to say, “If you have something and can’t find it, it’s the same thing as not having it.”

I thank God that I have mine. As you know, I married a man much like you.  A hard worker, as you once noted.  Someone who loves and is committed to his family, someone to work with me to make life good for our children and for us. Someone to frown impatiently as I flitter around taking photos at holidays.

The leaves are turning.  Winter is coming, but I feel confident we’ll make it through. Together.

Pursue Your Dreams

June 9, 2010

You go Monica!

What were your dreams as a child and young adult? 

How many of them did you even try to pursue?

Monica Mingo (Rantings of a Creole Princess, see blogroll) has been invited to screen her short film at the American Black Film Festival  in Miami this year.  Though she’s had a head full of ideas for decades now, she just started actively pursuing her dream of working in film in 2007.  That’s three years ago, folks. 

Dust off an old dream and get started on it today.  Who knows where you could be in three years?

I’m taking my own advice, and I’ve started work on a project or two.  Still in the researching phase to make sure I execute properly.  This news of Monica’s success came at just the right time.  Seeing her achieve success is so inspiring, and I’m practically jumping up and down in anticipation of viewing her work.  I’m excited to see where I’ll be with my dreams in three years. 

Monica Mingo, for the courage and vision to follow your dreams with vigor and determination, you are this week’s “Work it Wednesday” feature.  I won’t make it to Miami for the festival, but let me know when your work comes out on DVD.

If you think you have it bad with black men, step outside of the community and see if you have it any better. The fact of the matter is, youre only a woman in the black community. Once you step outside that community, you can proclaim you are a woman all you want but you are black first.  –Ranter who shall not be named

I read that little rant and had to laugh, because it is so pathetic.

Pathetic because that was the best the guy could do.

His argument that black women should stay with/support black men is that even though they are bad, other people are worse?

Really though?

If that’s his whole argument, what he’s really doing is pleading the case for why black women should bounce and not look back.

Why not list all the benefits that the “black community” provides?

Black men and women who want to scare black women into staying, physically and mentally, trapped in a black construct always use that same tired threat:  Those other people don’t really care about you.  Those other people will hurt you.  You’re only safe here.  Don’t come crying back to us for help when (fill in the blank horrible thing) happens to you!  Well here’s a newsflash for all those who think like this:  horrible things are happening to black women NOW, where people like YOU hold sway.  Don’t bother threatening that you won’t help me if I leave, because you are useless right now.

Honestly this argument is very reminiscent of the one domestic abusers use on their victims.  “I’m the only one that loves you, you’re so ugly no one else would put up with you, you will only ever have me.”

The black husbands of many of the black women I know personally would not need to say “Other men are worse than me”.  These women look happy and low-stress everytime I see them, largely because their husbands are doing their part.  A man of worth does not need to spew threats and foolishness to get you to stay.  He knows that he has been doing well in providing, protecting, listening, cherishing, and loving.

 Only the scared and insecure need make threats instead of making a case based on reality.  And only the scared, insecure, and uninformed will fall for such nonsense.