Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for December, 2014|Monthly archive page

American Injustice for Black Men: Part II

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2014 at 8:26 am

Lady-LibertyIt’s funny how a young white male killed 14 people and wounded 50 in a Colorado movie theater and there was more focus on his mental illness than the dead and harmed. It’s funny how a young white male killed 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school and repeated stories about his mental illness struggles were the main headlines for many news websites and stations. However, when black male Ismaaiyl Brinsley went on a spree killing his ex-girlfriend and two NYPD police officers, it was hardly mentioned that he too had suffered from mental illness. Brinsley had a history of suicide attempts as recently as last year. Yet, he has been tattooed as a cop killer and murder, and little focus has been given to the unfortunate loss of his estranged girlfriend. Instead, media and society have used this incident to claim that the protests in New York and across the country have sparked this unfortunate situation. Brinkley’s mental illness issues and history have been used as ammunition to make it seem that black Americans are unruly and uncontrollable. Henceforth, the deaths of black men are justifiable in attempts to hurt them before they hurt others. I laugh, but not in a comical way. I laugh in a sick, demented, this-joke-is-too-dark, darker-than-my-too-black-for-America-skin way.

I have struggled for the past two years to control the anxiety and anger I feel towards America as it allows its racist face to show. It has been hard to accept that America has made no progress at all. Yes, laws were created following the death of Dr. King. However, what I have learned is that these laws were written on paper in attempts to pacify blacks, not to actually correct a problem or force American society to change. For that is a much bigger issue. One cannot unteach systematic racism or force individuals to stop making their offspring feel that they must remain separate to be superior. Therefore, the result of individuals teaching racism at home is the development of an unjust neighborhood which leads to a biased community which creates partial leaders which infiltrates an unfair country thus creating a divided society leading to a broken world.

Brinsley’s case has not justified police actions across the country; it has confirmed what I suspected. Black men who commit the same crimes as their white counterparts are presented in different manner and portrayed as beasts, thus creating an automatic sense of fear in society. Purse clutching and unwarranted deaths will be at an all-time high as America continues to paint images of Trayvon Martin dressed as a hoodlum who created fear in his own neighborhood, Mike Brown as an overly beastified pit bull who could not even fall at the shot of a bullet, Eric Garner being so large that his very voice overpowered a cop, and Tamir Rice needed no questions asked because 12 year-old black kids should not play with toy guns. Our own community leaders will continue to turn their backs on the youth who are ready and radical enough to fight by using the weak excuse that “blacks kill blacks every day” as if whites do not kill whites also. My fear has become that those who hold the real power will not work to make impactful changes.

Writing these posts has become painful to me, for it seems that this is an issue which has no beginning or ending. I struggle to find a solution for a problem that has existed for so long. I do not think America truly wants a resolution because to destroy the image of the black man is to destroy the black family. It is not a point of pride to draw this conclusion. It is disheartening to know that the struggle of a black man in America is so serious and scary to realize that I have no answer to change it. The only power I truly hold is to pray and train my son to be a fighter, because one day he will be a black man in
America.

Magnified Levels of Greatness for 2015

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2014 at 9:22 am

IMG_2356Wow…how do I begin to talk about 2014? The first image that comes to mind is a roller coaster. No, not one of the kiddie ones you see at a local fair. I’m talking about a Texas-size Six Flags, blow-your-mind, scare-you-to-death, hold-on-tightly-for-the-ride-of-your-life roller coaster. I was up and down. Some moments passed fast and others seemed to drag on forever. Now, I find myself at the end of the roller coaster, glancing back at 2014.

I started the year with a prediction of chasing book sales across the country and speaking any and everywhere. I was putting the wheels into motion for my dream and making plans to finally be free. My first stage play had been produced. My name was moving across the state faster than my Altima could travel, and my hands were itching for a new writing project. A return to school was calling my name and financial stability was finally within my grasp. But 2014 would take a turn I could have never, ever…everevereverever predicted. My plans were paused when I learned that I was soon to be a mother. I won’t repeat a story that has been shared at least twice on my blog site. Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, it was a long and strange nine months. However, it was a nine month period that forever changed my life. It could not have happened at a better time or in a better situation. It was a necessary transition to a part of life, that had it been according to my planning or timing, may have never happened.

As I look back at 2014, I had nearly forgotten the life that existed before my son arrived. All of my accomplishments seemed so far gone; the possibility of returning to the same state of success seemed impossible. And to a certain extent, it is. 2014 has been the most serious year of transformation that will probably ever occur in my life. This year forced me into a zone that I was blessed to experience but afraid to embrace. This year pushed me to live life differently and to take control of situations that the old Jamie would have simply ignored. My life is no longer about me; it is about whom I want my son to see and who I want him to become.  I have realized that my role can no longer be taken casually. My responsibility is to live in the image of the person I would like for him to be. With this in consideration, 2014 has given me five things I will aim to engrain in my son:

  • Be true to yourself. I first heard this phrase from my junior high school art teacher and then again from my eleventh grade English teacher. Never did the clarity of such a phrase matter until this year. I had spent years aiming to please and impress others, whether it was friends, family, my boss or even strangers in an audience. What I did, thought, and spoke was often manipulated in aims to not offend or dishearten others. The struggle with aiming to please others was that I was usually displeased with self. Failing to be true to myself made me feel like a fraud. I would frequently hide my true emotions and perpetrate an image of perfection when I felt like a train wreck on the inside. I often denied myself the right to be angry and sad, telling myself that I had to keep my head up, remain focused and always be the person with the level head. My true emotions were reserved for the privacy of my bedroom at late hours of the night or when I was alone. I was living an unfair life that was unreal. When I learned that I was pregnant, the fear of hoarding stress and miscarrying loomed over my head like a storm cloud. I knew I could no longer live falsely by lying to myself in order to maintain an image of happiness and perfection for others. There were times when I deserved to be sad. It was understandable when I was angry. I had to keep it real with myself. I learned a lesson that was years late; being true to myself meant I felt less stress and others (whether they were close friends or not) respected my opinion more. Though this has been a gradual lesson in progress for several years, the changes of 2014 forced me to learn more quickly.
  • Establish boundaries. Stick to your boundaries. As an entrepreneur, I struggled for years to be solid in my demands. I would often make sacrifices that cost me more than those I was servicing. Time taught me to be more consistent in boundary setting, but motherhood taught me to be abrupt with establishing boundaries. I have always valued my word and, thus, expected others to value theirs. My expectation for others to value commitments often caused me to be lenient, thinking that leniency demonstrated my loyalty. This mistake often left me depleted of energy and full of disappointment. I quickly learned that my energy had to be reserved for the one who deserved it, my son. Establishing boundaries and sticking to them helped me focus my energy where it was needed most.
  • Fall in love with yourself. I have always believed that love and hearts are to be treated gently and handled in a serious manner. Unsuccessful attempts at relationships left me prone to avoid relationships and dating as I struggled to understand love and men. My post-pregnancy self-esteem struggled to find my pre-pregnancy attitude- which loved my age, my body and my life. Recitation of a few of my favorite pieces from my book Pennies In My Pocket helped me remember what had put me in such a state of elation at the beginning of 2014 when I was head over heels in love with…me. Falling in love with me had allowed me to be vulnerably open to loving someone else, which led to…well, you know. I learned that when I was not in love with me I felt insecure and scared of the feeling of love. Undoubtedly, I felt nervous when I finally opened myself up, but I also felt ready. The most important thing an individual can do is focus on being a better self for self; everything else will fall into place at the right time.  Falling in love with me helped me embrace my imperfections as part of my authenticity that is to be treasured by Mr. Right.
  • Live in the moment.  If I could count the number of times I tried and failed to predict my future I’d be a millionaire. After spending years trying to always have the perfect plan and perfect execution, I finally learned that there is no perfect way for either. I let years pass by trying to plan for the future while failing to enjoy the moment, but when my son was born it seemed as if the world briefly came to a stop. Moments passed that I would never get back and fresh out of my womb was something my son would never be again- a newborn. I had let so many other things pass me by, but the moments with him were ones I never wanted to miss. My worries about superficial things became secondary, and my primary concern was to make sure I never missed a special moment of his life. The moments of our life together are priceless treasures that can be remembered through pictures but can never be relived.
  • Remember God is in control.  The ultimate lesson of 2014 that I hope my son will carry for a lifetime is to remember that God is in control. Never have I relied more heavily on God than this past year. I have witnessed my faith growing over the past few years, but never in the manner that it grew this year. As I struggled with medical issues early in my pregnancy, financial woes in the end, and family life, I reached a place where I finally came to peace with the idea that there is only one option: trust God.  I was a believer in Christ, regular worshipper, and dedicated woman of prayer, but as I have stated in times past, my faith in God was often tested and I came dangerously close to failing. Though it is an uncomfortable statement to make, it is a true one. However, pregnancy was a day-to-day journey where both my life and that of my unborn child were at risk. I nearly worried myself to death during the first four months of pregnancy as I agonized about eating the right foods, getting enough rest, taking care of my body and avoiding stress…I was actually stressing about avoiding stress. At last, I prayed earnestly to God and remembered the timeless biblical quote from Sister Bradford, “God is in control.” He was not just in control of my pregnancy, but He was in control of everything that seemed to out of control in my life. When I truly embraced that God was in control and that He would never leave nor forsake me, my blessings started overflow and my cup was running over. At times I still worry, but when I notice my overwhelming feelings, I breathe deeply and remind myself that God is in control.

It is not only my son that I thank God for, but the growing experience that has come through the birth of my son. As I continue to grow, I eagerly anticipate the life lessons I shall share with him. It is my hope that the path before will lead him to have the morals of an upstanding man and the dignity of one that fears and respects Christ. May I be a constant work in progress with the ambition of evolving into greatness before the eyes of my offspring. I am thankful for the changes that have begun in 2014, and I look forward to magnified levels of greatness in 2015.

 

Check out why my 2014 year was so amazing! Click the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSv1gJuCgE4

American Injustice for Black Men: Part I

In Culture, justice, life, media, News, prison, Race, reality on December 5, 2014 at 2:07 am

There is nothing new about the injustice of the American justice system. Black people have been fighting for rights in America since we arrived in America. However, after such a dramatic impact from some of history’s strongest leaders during the Civil Rights era, our race became complacent, assuming that we had finally “arrived.” Yet, the past six years have been some of the most turbulent this country has ever seen. I have found myself frequently wishing I had lived during the Civil Rights era, at least I would be openly aware of injustices and knowledgeable about how to handle them. I would be surrounded by a group of power house black

face

culturists who would train me to be a smart fighter in the midst of an unchanging society, but such is not the case. I am an eighties baby, born to a generation of entitled individuals who are satisfied with times that seem to be better than. Better than the Jim Crow Era. Better that the roaring twenties. Better than slavery. And for a while this pacified us; for, we were able to convince ourselves that the work of our ancestors was enough for us to function in a balanced and equal society and that all we had to do was enjoy the benefits and play our conforming role. This attitude has caused me many struggles because for many years I have seen America through different eyes and have understood the dangers of what seemed to be minor race issues. I kept wondering when we would have a cultural awakening and see the big picture- that several minor issues equal a big problem. A string of deaths that began long before Trayvon Martin was brutally murdered finally led to an eruption of emotions that have black people realizing that America has not progressed as much as many thought it had.

The devastation behind the deaths of several black men who were supposedly innocent until proven guilty is only the flip side of what has been wrong with the justice system for years. Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the situation and received much backlash from his white counterparts months ago. The alarming rate in which black males have received long prison sentences for minor crimes and for crimes that their white counterparts have received small sentences has placed a negative stigma on the black community and greatly stinted the progress of the black community. It is the flip side of black murders committed by white cops; yet, it is just as damaging to black race as the unfortunate deaths of black men. It is ridiculous that it has taken the deaths of several men to address a problem that is not about incidents, but about a flawed system.

Our black men are moving targets, set out to be destroyed emotionally and physically, too, if necessary. For years, it has been enough to imprison them for extended periods of time. This was enough to break their spirits and place a permanent blemish in their background that would limit and, in many cases, eliminate the possibility of true recovery and true success. However, the election of a black President and a surge of the confidence and achievement in the black male community have made America take immediate action in attempt to degrade and demolish the strong black man thus weakening the black community as a whole. To justify the attacks, the justice system is manipulated by those who created it and misused to justify the crimes of those who react based on ego instead of behaving according to their occupational responsibility. What is scariest about this situation is the audacity our country’s leaders to try and defend these horrendous acts which directly violate laws and human rights. The repeated slaying of black men has finally taken a toll on the black community and we are on the heels of a serious movement in America. There are two major questions I have been unable to shake from my mind: What do we do to change a system that has been doing what it was put in place to do for so many years? Is the problem that we must change a system or we must force people to change their mentality? Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to either one and I fear that we as a collective unit do not either. As I grow older, I have begun to doubt that this system is fixable and that hatred and racism will always be passed to generations in efforts to maintain control.

It does not seem that it will ever matter how much motivation a black man has; there will always be an attempt to emasculate and dehumanize him. While we are in control of our individual actions and behaviors, this does not justify the justice system’s abuse of power and mistreatment of black men. Black men have been tortured in America since they were brought to America as slaves hundreds of years ago. They struggled for their rights to be treated as humans and men back then and it is an unfortunate fight that continues now. It is devastating that black men continue to lose whether to the penitentiary or to the casket.

What I Will Tell My Black Son

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2014 at 2:13 am

lee3

I will tell him of all the things he must do
To maintain in a society that insists he is not civilized
He has to keep his pants up and his temper down
Keep his grade average high but the volume of his voice low
Not because he needs to be quiet
But because a man who can hear your plan will also try
To guess the power you hold in your hand.

I will teach him about the lineage of strong black men
Who brought this country to be
And that in this America there are two versions of history.
There is the one that crooks wrote in textbooks
But one that involves him but can only be found
In the back corners of libraries and on the lips of ancestors-
Some here, some gone, some unknown.

I will tell him that society will always feel threatened by him
Because he is a black man who has the strength of ten thousand
And the courage of ten million
He must know when, where, and how to fight
And don’t ever let anybody make him believe he must back down.

I will tell him that true love has no color
But no woman will love and respect him like
The sister who is cut from his rib, has walked his struggle
And holds the world on her shoulders every day.
For it is only her who can understand the call of a black man
To be something great in a world that often denies his value.

I will teach him that he is guilty until proven innocent in America
That if he gets stopped by the cops, no matter how he feels
He must handle the situation like he is wrong to stay alive.
My son must understand that arriving in my arms at the front door
Is much more important than trying to stand his ground
Because that works in all states but only for certain people.

Most importantly, I will teach him that I am his mother
The giver of his life who will love him despite his flaws
I will wipe his tears and kiss his boo-boos
I will give him everything that was never given to me
And will spoil him but try my best not to ruin him
So he understands the value of fine things
But respects the hard work that comes from them

I will teach him that no matter how tough life gets
He must remember the strength he was given
And the courage he already possesses
But be wise in his actions
Slow with his tongue
And quick with this thoughts
Because he is a black son
His journey will be different
But different makes him unique
And uniqueness makes him chosen
To overcome difficulties
To share his lessons with others
And to change the world around him
Yes, yes, that is what I will tell my black son.

©Copyright 2014 by Motivational Inspirations

%d bloggers like this: