A Better Village

The truth will set you free.

Month: October, 2016

Protecting your kids during the holidays

With all of the running around we do during holidays, finding costumes, buying candy, cooking, baking, and juggling the pressure to do these things with our daily routines, it is easy to let our guards down and toss young ones into the care of whomever is available without full investigation.

We also tend to let our guards down around the holidays because we tend to get into the spirit of the season and presume that others have to. The parties, the drinking, the food, the music, the lights, and the contact with loved ones we haven’t heard from all year can be intoxicating. Yet, it is precisely this spirit evil-doers take advantage of.

As the Season is upon us, now is a good time to review some safety tips.

Trust no one.  Keep your eyes and ears open. Be leery of individuals that seem eager to please, or who seem particularly interested in caring for your children or others. Whether or not a person has children of their own, or are caretakers is not necessarily an indication of their evil intent. People who have, or care for, children should not automatically be trusted just because of their status as parents. Some perpetrators intentionally choose to harm others’ children.

 Plan in advance.  Haste makes waste. Securing child care at the last minute limits your options and may force you to hire someone you have not fully considered.

When you attend an event that involves multiple children, events, travel to different locations, and other adults, think before-hand about which adults will be responsible for childcare and protection.

 Talk to your children—of all ages, and gender—about safety.  It should now be common knowledge that little boys need protection, too. You should already be unashamed about accompanying your little mister into a boys’ or girls’ bathroom. You should also be constantly reminding your female and male children about stranger-danger, trusting their intuition, strategies for alerting others that they are in danger, and situations to avoid.

Also, specifically discuss holiday-related scenarios that could involve perpetrators. For instance, discuss scenarios that involve a perpetrator claiming to be shopping for a loved one, or a perpetrator claiming to need help choosing a gift or help carrying shopping bags. Have your children think of scenarios, too.

Teach your loved ones to be leery of people who are very talkative. The longer a conversation persists, the more comfortable we tend to feel, and the potential for our guard being let down increases. Perpetrators con with their mouths and can be very charming.

Remind your children that they need not be afraid if a perpetrator instructs that a loved one will be harmed if what occurred is repeated, and that perpetrators say this because they are really afraid of getting in trouble for doing something they know is wrong.

 Teach your kids the buddy system.  Teach your children to always know where loved ones, such as their siblings, are. If there is a room designated for children at a relative’s house or other holiday event, teach older siblings to check in periodically on younger siblings, and to let younger siblings know where to find their older siblings.

Only-children may use this plan with peer cousins.

Holidays, with all of the loud laughter, noise, and festivities, are a perfect time to take advantage of people, as screams are difficult to hear over all of the excitement. Always having an idea of where your little ones are and what they’re doing is important prevention.

Evaluate your children’s interactions with others.  Perpetrators are very manipulative. They can appear to be very fond of the children they commit evil against. You might even think that based upon how much they appear to care for your child, they could or would never hurt the child. Don’t be fooled. Perpetrators often show special affection to their victims. They may be very playful with them, or appear to extend the time they play with their victim.

Teach your children that when they make anyone—their peers and adults—aware that they are done playing with them, or have tired of a particular interaction—they are entitled to the interaction ending. In other words: “Stop” means stop!

Do not let your children think that it is rude to not interact with others, or to limit their interactions with others. Sometimes children sense things about people and situations that they cannot or do not explain. Teach your children to trust their intuition, and that they do not owe anyone any level of interaction.

Give your children language for ending interactions, such as “I’m done playing now,” or “I said ‘stop’!” Role playing that includes your child saying what may need to be said exactly the way they might say it, should make them more comfortable saying the words in real-time.

 Talk to your children about their experience at events, after the event.  Parents often complain that their children do not talk to them. But could that be because you don’t talk to your children? Initiate conversation with your children about what happened at events they have attended. Ask if anything happened that made them uncomfortable. Ask if anyone or anything seemed strange. Abuse of any kind is difficult to discuss, and is especially difficult to initiate conversation about. Children, especially young children, tend not to have vocabulary for certain experiences. They may want to tell you that something happened, but lack the words or courage.

Finally, observe your children’s mood and behavior after events. Abuse or intimidation is typically unsettling, and may manifest as a change in behavior or functioning.



Tips for presidential candidates from overlooked group of Blacks

Although both North American presidential candidates have called themselves reaching out to “Blacks,” by making one or two speeches at so-called “Black” churches, and a couple of other events at which they figured “Blacks” would be, there is one group of Blacks both presidential candidates have missed, and that could be important to a victory.

Elite North American Blacks are a relic whose minds may not yet be made up about the upcoming presidential election. Don’t let the word “elite” confuse you, we are not to be confused with the Black Bourgeoisie—the Blacks Lawrence Otis Graham most likely refers to in his book, Our Kind of People, Blacks who have attended elite academic institutions and tend to have experience with the finer things in life—college educated Blacks who are defined by their worldly accomplishments and travel. We may or may not be members of the Black Bourgeoisie, but we do not define ourselves by status or pretention.

This note concerns itself with elite North American Blacks—Blacks who trace their preceding generations to North America. Blacks whose immediate forefathers were likely sharecroppers, newly freed slaves who literally “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.” I am talking about North American—not Caribbean or Continental African—Blacks whose ancestors have been in North America since the Enslavement Process (or Slavery as it is commonly referred) ended. We are sometimes referred to as southern Blacks, but it isn’t only southern North American Blacks who industrialized. Truth be told:  Like the Enslavement Process (or Slavery), it’s just a matter of historical circumstance. During and after Slavery, some Blacks ended up in the North and the other states that existed at the time, and they industrialized and succeeded just like the “southern” Blacks.

Elite North American Blacks are defined by aforementioned heritage and their understanding of White Supremacy, as demonstrated by their ability to transcend poverty while maintaining knowledge of their history, a sense of personal responsibility, and their insistence on helping pull their successors up without turning their noses up at anyone. Elite North American Blacks are defined by their balanced mentality. We are smart, not because we have attained higher education because we haven’t all attended college or have elite jobs or social statuses. We are smart and leadership-capable because we are critical thinkers who do not perpetuate the habits of other upper class groups without considering the impact of simply copying what others do. We understand that “upper class” does not consist of habits, tendencies, or pretentions. Our mindset makes us upper-classed, not the size of our bank accounts, the institutions we attended, organization memberships, or social statuses. We may or may not be Jack and Jillians, and members of other highly-regarded organizations. We may even be the first in our families to attend college or attain graduate and professional degrees. We have made the best of our situations and truly understand the meaning of diversity.

We are not put off by Trump’s stand on immigration, because we are not immigrants. We consider this country to be just as much ours as it is anyone else’s because this country would be nothing without the blood, sweat, tears and labor of our forefathers. We do not support bans on immigration, but we aren’t necessarily committed to fighting for immigrants’ rights because we are disgusted by Blacks and immigrants who come to this country and adopt the same racist attitudes towards us that Whites do, by stereotyping us and refusing to acknowledge our diversity, all while taking advantage of gains that we and our forefathers made possible. We are disgusted at the idea and stereotype that we are lazy and lack industriousness. We are repulsed by delusional Blacks who equate the term “African-American” with synonyms that undermine our success, all while bringing their troubles to this country and being coded as “African-American.” We defy the stereotypes depicted of us in many reality television shows.

We do not necessarily support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. We don’t think it addresses the root cause of any problem. We don’t protest. We are silent and discreet. Our actions and success speak for itself.

We are offended by the notion that we have to vote Democrat in any election. We know that Candidate Clinton does not understand Blacks any more than Candidate Trump.

We are hard to find. You may not find us in the Black Church, for it is too basic for us. The patronization that most “Black” churches offer is a waste of our time. Our group of friends and associates is small, because few are sharp enough to handle our company. Candidates wishing to  address us must therefore intersperse their answers during debate, and other public statements, with tidbits that let us know they know we exist. Candidates have to be brave enough to acknowledge that the Black Lives Matter movement is not the sentiment of all Blacks and that there is more to the question of police brutality than what the BLM movement supposes. Candidates have to be brave enough to do what Senator John Edwards did when he was running for president:  He acknowledged that this country has unresolved historical baggage, presumably referencing the Enslavement Process and the fact that Blacks never recovered from that period—unless I am delusional and misinterpreted his sentiment.

Respecting the topic of race, as it has come up in this year’s presidential happenings, the Elite North American Black is not impressed with either candidate. Neither Clinton, nor Trump, have shown an understanding of the real issues impacting “Blacks”, which is that most Blacks’ social, emotional, and economic station is directly related to the perpetuation of a poverty that was created generations ago and remains unresolved. Either candidate could definitively gain our vote by acknowledging the existence of the Elite North American Black and our contributions and importance to America.