Tuesday, November 24, 2009


After Judgment – Guide to Getting Results

*Dehumanization through Words*

Words, (especially the perversion of them) have a powerful affect on the mind.

"It is not whether your words or actions are tough or gentle; it is the spirit behind your actions and words that announces your inner state."
-- Chin-Ning Chu

I can think to when I was about 10 or 11 years old I had my first run in with being called a nigger. It was not another African American it was a middle aged Caucasian gentleman. At that time, living in a neighborhood with few blacks, and being the first African Americans on our street, my family and I experienced a lot of racism and racist things at that time as I grew up. Nothing so chilling as to me remembering that man calling me a “little nigger”. Can you imagine how that felt at that age?

I think that is where my self pride grew from the black little girl to the budding young Bell Hooks you see before you. I thought how dare he? I am SO more than that. So much more, shit, I’m the next Oprah Winfrey slash Grace Jones, LOL.

Despite the circumstances, what child deserves that type of dehumanization? An adult to a child. Would you say the effects of this is less than that of molestation? I would say worse. Attempting to degrade me and raping me of who I could be....Yet, I learned this is really the American way through the eyes of many. This is what we are taught. How many have those conversations in the home, you would not dare to have outside the home. 

Remember, "if they can't use the comb, don't bring them home..."

This is how I began my quest to understand people.

As I grew older, and pass that experience I come to the realization, that most people who are ignorant do not know they are ignorant, and common sense is not really all that common. This type of generational ignorance is deeply rooted and subtly plays on insecurities of people. It is a mere reflection of the person projecting. It speaks to the victims superiority and the victimizes insecurities. There is no reason for it. It really does not matter what color you are if your ignorant, your just ignorant. I come to understand, people hate what they fear most. They seek to destroy it.

Dehumanization is a DIRTY conventional warfare tactic played on the minds of those who are ignorant or unaware. Through frames and messaging the mind is easily influenced in many cases, particularly if it’s subtle or subliminal. Let’s take the “residue of slavery” which remains, and is reflected in the historical racist and dehumanizing treatment and views of African Americans/people of color as it is projected and plays out in modern society.

My personal experience caused me to think about those who have been in institutional settings such as prisons, and schools. Those who were told they would not be amount to anything. And if your told to aim at nothing, your are surely to hit it! I am sure, that put them in the mindset to feel like nothing, leaving them at a disadvantage, mentally. Bureaucracy keeps them running in circles. Men and women who return home from prison are at a much greater disadvantage because they are stripped of certain rights and denied certain transitional opportunities, especially if they are a minority.

Modern society plays out the stereotypes fueled by dehumanization in poorer violence ridden drug infested urban communities, and found primarily in places where the word Nigger is very popular. Not to mention overly populated by those who are in many cases very intelligent and socially aware, socially constructed in a systematic way of keeping these people, under resourced, inadequately-socialized, under educated/employed, under-utilized all leading to dehumanization and indifference.

No matter how awful, nigger is a popular word. “Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people, and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur. The word originated as a term used in a neutral context to refer to black people, as a variation of the Spanish/Portuguese noun negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger, meaning "black[1]"

Dehumanization through words only perpetuates and reinforces stereotypes behind words such as Nigger, Spic, Gook, etc we see it ingrained in the social fabric of America. Novelty makes the world go round and because of this lack of understanding on many levels, this dehumanization is reinforced.

Look at the competitive factor among whose race is superior. If it was not, groups like the KKK would not be so successful. Because America are the main consumers of this bullshit, we are socially unaware and unconsciously are shifted into treating one another indifferently because of modern day racism reinforced through stereotypes built upon a hate and a perversion of words. Thus reflecting and projecting this ignorance on an international basis. Promotion of this dehumanizing way of thinking.

A way of thinking, a way of being taught for generations. Killing ourselves, by working against one another over something that is unrealistic. Man can accomplish so much more by working together. Race is arguably socially constructed....I mean, who is really black or white nowadays?

Yet, aren’t we all mere human beings? Why dehumanization? It baffles me, how is it our similarities do not seemingly override our differences. It is the words behind the differences are which separate us, stereotypes.

“Chapters of the same book just a different page, Niggers in the struggle all out to get paid”…Beanie Siegel

Nigger I believe is the primary root of separatism among African Americans. To an educated black man a “Nigger” is someone who looks like all other black people in terms of skin color, yet messes everything else up for the rest of the proud African/Jamaican/Haitian Americans. A nightmare walking, and a shoot out waiting to happen! Now, you don’t see any black person referring to Martin Luther King Jr as a nigger…?

And let us not forget the infamous, Whigger? WHIGGER—whites who act “black” or like “niggers” depicted and defined by educated blacks. Emenim , the Beastie Boys, and MC Search would be the along and among the Whiggerish ones.

Possible Characteristics of a Nigger: Laziness, Ignorance, Racism, Belligerence, Kleptomania and an all around urge to just do dumb shit all the time.”…Unknown

For example: Shooting and killing a police officer on Broad Street, in broad daylight on Halloween or Mr. Malvo training a teenager on sniping innocent people across Washington DC…yup, I admit, that is some real nigga shit. Yet, although comical in a sense, this is a word used to separate us from ourselves. Nigga shit embarrasses the educated black. Yet, I think the "nigga" really knows no other way. The only way they know, is the way we have known for over 300 years, "survival of the fittest"...

It is for the educated black man to make the difference, pave the paths and show the way. Like they say, "it takes a village"...

Some understand being a Nigger is a behavior trait based on a foundation of ignorance, yet by the use of the word, we dehumanize ourselves. Because we can distinguish, it does not mean it is okay. And those on the outside looking in cannot distinguish, so as African Americans we are grouped, and we categorize and catalog ourselves and in turn are grouped in the eyes of the media, in our homes, in our schools and within the walls of the prison. So if you want to stop being called and/or treated as such, please look within. And be sure to help those who cannot help themselves...

“Even if you in a benz you still a nigger”….Kyane West. Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, and we drill it into ourselves…what is the purpose, and where does it end? Self destruction....or?

Another example of the skillful use of the ideologically based dehumanization in action is, Adolf Hitler's references to Jewish as 'vermin' or 'rats'. “Dehumanization is a psychological process whereby opponents view each other as less than human and thus not deserving of moral consideration.[2]” Word removes personal identification, annihilation of character all allowing the public to override their repugnance to conflict by perceiving their enemies as inhuman. After 9/11 notice the increase in Muslims now labeled “Terrorist” and “Extremist” in turn making it okay to murder. Do you hear them saying hey "rat" sup, or hey "terrorist" wassup?! No, we as a people need to learn to lead by example. Be proud!

“Who pulls the strings?... Are you making things happen or watching them happen? Set the stage or you will become a mere character in a play Its best to be a puppeteer of life and not a puppet….” F. Mabry

The next time you or someone you know calls you a nigger, or uses the term nigger as a description, think about the mighty weight that word carries and has carried for over 300 years.

Progression or regression…

Niggerism and using the word nigger is thinking backwards, not forward. Think about what you are saying. When you judge someone based on the color of their skin, this does not speak to who they are as a person, it speaks to who you are.

As a African American, if you are using nigger in a way to describe someone African American considered uneducated, low class…etc…try helping your fellow man. Never throw stones when living in a glass house, remember how society views you no matter what IVY League degree you possess. 

Do we really wonder why we as blacks are so separated? Look at yourself. If you see no problem there, move on. If so, there is the problem, change your way of thinking, the generational problem resides there. Words we use not only among ourselves on a micro scale, think on a wider global level. How do we expect to be considered an international force if we can't get our own shit together, and utilize resources instead of always trying to exploit them? 

If you don’t want to be put in a box, don’t put yourself in one, and don't box others in either.

Words can be weapons used for good or evil. Writing and freedom of speech is one of my weapons against the atrocities we face. I personalize the struggle, because struggle is part of life, and life is very personal to me. I am thinking of those human beings who look like me in disproportionate numbers wrongfully imprisoned, hated, degraded and dehumanized, just for being born. I am from the community and for the community.

If I am too intense, or too passionate, or too overbearing, I am not only thinking of my life, I am thinking of yours too and the lives of your children. So I apologize in advance for my realness.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

WATCH YOUR WORDS you may be forced to eat them.

As Albert Einstein says, “you cannot change a problem with the same mind that created it”, so you have to change your way of thinking in order to change the problem. Although I have to curb my tendency to use the word, I see the harm it caused, and causes. Not just on an external level, on an internal self-esteem level of the African American community. Why are you broken? Who wants to be viewed as no matter what you accomplish you are still a “stain” on society i.e. a nigger.

That was then, this is now! Today, calling me a Nigger, you are guaranteed to get your feelings hurt no matter what color you are. Ain’t no niggers over here. I am for respect no matter who gives it. As Pearl Strachan Hurd says, “handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs”.

Fareeda "TheMaverick" Mabry

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Jones...WHO in the HELL?

Who in the hell are the Jones?
why are we keeping up with them?
“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased”

I never met these Jones and cannot understand why folks want to keep up with them!! For myself, I can only speak from my perspective, and let me be correct it’s about lifestyle and choice. Personally, I cannot afford it. I have not always been this way. For me, flea markets are a blessing from God himself. I like thrift stores and discount shops. Even if I could afford it, I could not see myself paying $500.00 for anything that is not a necessity just to be down, or in the loop. I refuse to pay a lot for this muffler. Its about practicing frugality, and still come out looking stylish!

Those who suffer from this Jones Syndrome. are those want to project a particular image. Why? Shopping is an expensive habit. For me, in the African American community, I find many will spend when they do not have it or before they get it. We are the number one consumers in the nation. Why? I never met the Jones and really do not care to know who they are unless they are willing to adopt me.

Some of our young black men are willing to sell drugs, rob, kill, steal and destroy one another to get at fashion, to get at women. I see rappers like lil Wayne; his teeth have to be worth $100,000 in his mouth. His mouth alone could wipe my bad debt away and have enough for a vacation for my entire family! And I love me some lil Wayne….Some of our young women are either exploited or even willing to prostitute themselves for a Gucci bag or the latest. Its sad. Why the need to cover oneself in material?

“Got 30down at the bottom, 30 more at the top, all invisible set in little ice cube blocks, if I could call it a drink I call it a smile on the rocks, you call out a price, I call it a lot, I got platinum and white gold, traditional gold, I’m changing grillz everyday like Jay change clothes”
Nelly “Grillz”

Are we that vain we go through any lengths to keep up an image for people who could careless about us? “A recent study by Essence Magazine showed that African American women alone spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products. In an industry that is estimated at $80 billion, $7.5 billion may not seem like much, however, African-American women shell out 80 percent more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than the general market. That difference is largely due to the fact that African-American women sample more products to find the ones that are most effective on their skin as the majority of the consumers are left feeling unsatisfied.[1]” That is a lot of make up and hair products. Can you imagine the cost of the other upkeep? Many still left dissatisfied.

“Man I promise, I'm so self conscious
That's why you always see me with at least one of my watches
Rollies and Pasha's done drove me crazy
I can't even pronounce nothing, pass that Versace!
Then I spent 400 bucks on this
Just to be like nigga you ain't up on this!
And I can't even go to the grocery store
Without some ones that’s clean and a shirt with a team
It seems we living the American dream
But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings
We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us
We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we a'stoop
Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coop/coupe

KAYNE WEST “All Falls Down"

This materialistic mentality has a great deal to do with attitudes and behaviors towards spending. In my opinion, hip hop not only highlights and glamorizes fashion, allowing listeners to draw conclusions and parallels between what is “whack” and what is considered corny (i.e. not up to the latest style). This has gotten to the point where teens have been able to use clothing as a way to represent a certain gang affiliation, and also compete among one another. Drawing parallels between the children who have and do not have. Possibly inclining the child who does not have to "get it" by any means. Reminds me of the Emperors Clothes, the value we place on them...

I see parents spending hundreds and thousands of dollars for their children to keep up with the latest…clothing and electronics…Are we just a glutton filled consumerist nation as a whole? And does this “Keeping up with the Jones Syndrome” affect the poorer community more than others? It has gotten to the point, schools have had to implement policy changes in what our children wear to school not just for safety, for self esteem…Like my mom told me, “You go to school to learn, not for a fashion show”. Yet she always struggled to not only keep me in the latest, in quality.
Through clothing I realized you are judged...cleanliness, attractiveness, worth etc. Such a shame how the mind generalizes. I find those who are not of the materialistic mentality are those who actually established and not projecting an image of being so. Its about stability and not the glam and glitz of material.

In High School, I seen many die over material, victims of the Jones. Is what we work so hard for worth dying over? In my lifetime, there have been many senseless killings over clothing, sneakers, jewelry throughout the world. Materialism equates to futility and pride to humility, self esteem and self respect. Materialism causes our society to not only harbor and judgments against one another based on clothing. What is that about?

Self respect…self esteem, something the African American community had very few lessons in over the last century. Willie Lychism only fuels the hate we have for one another. Where is the pride? Self love without the cover ups? African Americans as a whole, are taught not to love thy self nor one another. Is materialism a way to cover up these issues? Why so much emphasis on clothing and material? Dealing with internal issues and material as a way to cover up, over compensate for what is lacking or is it to enhance what is already an immaculate untarnished beauty. Keeping up with the Jones, the American Dream or being self conscious?

“Just because you are blind, and unable to see my beauty doesn't mean it does not exist.” ******Margaret Cho

Think about plastic surgery….Are we that vain we would destroy alter or hate what is naturally given. Naturally you...Beauty is skin deep. Anthropology taught me, beauty is what you see, it depends on who you are and where you come from. This world is so vast and beauty is created on many levels in many variations. . Preferences, ideals, and the media shape our ideals of beauty. Some Europeans want to look more ethnic, and those who are ethnic want to be more European. Think about the idea of a tan...How is it some people hate dark people yet they run the very risk of skin cancer, and sun burn to achieve darkness...Botox, and injections to have fuller lips, bigger butts etc to be that of a sister.
So, all this Keeping Up with the Jones, depends on your attitude towards yourself. Materialism fuels insecurities within self. Satisfaction is mindset and starts with self. Its okay not to be able to afford the Neimans, because the outlets work just as good and are much cheaper! :)

"Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are."
Julius Charles Hare

Just being who I am fuels my confidence; life is meant to be lived, not for a fashion show.
Shop smarter, not harder.
Be an original. Don’t die a copy!
Fareeda “The Maverick” Mabry

[1] Fashion, Beauty and the African American Consumer (http://www.getemgirls.com/?p=7238)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

RACISM: The Disease that infects us all…

The Disease that infects us all…

Racism, no other disease infects the world more. Not Swine flu, Ebola, Cancer nor HIV/AIDS have infected the world more than the ignorance of racism. Racism since the days of slavery and the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in its blatancy days is now a silent, subtle and passive/aggressive socially constructed tool used to manipulate, control, exploit and degrade people solely based on the color of someone’s skin.

Born and raised from Philadelphia. Philadelphia is segregated, depending on race, class and political connections. In a world where everything is not just black and white, this disease has infected the entire world. It is races against races of people, and racism with in races. You better not call a Cambodian a Korean, or an African a Haitian, or a Columbian, a Puerto Rican, or someone Bi-Racial something totally absurd, or you are in trouble…People get angry when they are judge, stereotyped, or boxed into a group or category. When people make these honest everyday assumptions it is because we are taught to group and generalize people based on appearances.

True story, I remember being in a meeting, one of two other black people in that same meeting. The lead of the meeting was looking to target and recruit more African American professionals. The lead of the meeting was putting an event together and was looking for some kind of music that would appeal to blacks. He turned to me and asked about a particular group/artist and said, “Do black people like them?” I wanted to say how the hell should I know? I cannot speak on individual preferences. Some of my friends like rock music, and classical, others R and B/Jazz, some Hip/Hop and Rap, and others love Reggae! There is no set of music for people of color. People all over the globe listen to Beyonce, Elton John, and Jay Z, my point, music is universal, why as human beings, are we not as universal!

I was not sure if I should have been upset that he thought because I was black, I would be able to be the spokesperson for all blacks in Philadelphia, or was I a mere political pawn used to recruit more blacks to be the martyr. Or, just to play devils advocate, did ignorance blind the attendees at this meeting and they looked towards me as a leader and someone they needed to assist them in a better understanding on how African Americans think…? I ended up a little shocked, yet as many blacks staring down the face of (perceived or real) racism (blatant or subtle) you silently and gracefully brush it off.

Nelson Mandela

God created the human race, not meant to be a competition among the races. Labels, stereotypes, stigmas and unspoken competition of who is more inferior among races perpetuate the racist mindset. They are ugly because they are darker, they are ugly because they have short hair, or long necks, or even stupid because of their skin. So much emphasis is put on skin, which is lighter or darker. As Justice Blakmum stated, "In order to get beyond racism, we must first take into account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently."

Race is anything but an anomaly. Racism is taught in the homes, schools, and institutions, and is generational. It comes from a lack of understanding of one another and a fear of moving closer to understand. Those same tried true beliefs are not working. Everyone is not going to like you. You cannot help how you are born into the world. You cannot change your color. Racism is meant to make you hate yourself. And what separates us in 2009 is baseless. When do we stop the anger, and start the healing? Stop the ignorance, and start the education? Racism the disease, it’s a mindset, and a form of mind control. My favorite quote from George Orwell, "He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."
Let us stop this foolishness and embrace all of humanity. Starting with yourself. I cannot see how God loving people can love humanity, yet hate a certain set of humans? You love God, yet hate his creations? That is like having a pretty smile with no teeth, its contradictory! Racism a disease that destroys deteriorates and kills us all. To be a racist is an individual choice. It starts with me and you.

In Solidarity,
Fareeda “TheMaverick” Mabry

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Stinks About Philadelphia...? Is it the Economy or Attitudes?

Smiling is infectious. You can catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today...I started smiling too!

I always loved that poem. Makes you wanna smile, and it is so true. Yet I find, in Philadelphia, this does not seem to hold the same truth. The streets are talking and Philadelphia is not the city that loves you back...

The City of Brotherly love has been named one of the most bloodiest cities, with murder rates and job-loss on the rise, no wonder everyone is on edge. I wonder, is or will Philadelphia ever be a great American city? Are our attitudes towards one another keeping us stagnant, and segregated? Or is it the challenges of the preceding economical conditions and we are stuck in a perpetual cycle?

I have heard the talk, Philadelphia is populated by a bunch of haters, backstabbers, gossipers, murderers, and judgmental racist? Isn't this true of everywhere in the world? Being a Philadelphian I understand. Yet, I also understand that these are issues are bigger than the current administration or any other administration. The problem may be the way Philadelphians mindsets are trained to view the world. the root cause of our current social, and economic decay. We can attribute today of the foundation of the post-Mayor Rizzo "off the cuff" era.

There was a lot of conflict with African Americans along with deliberate"block breaking" among the old Italians and Irish Catholic neighborhoods. Philadelphia is a generational city. Police brutality, nothing new. Crimes on police officers, nothing new....remember, people are still talking about Mumia Abu Jamal and Officer Daniel Faulkner. Some people who live on my small south Philadelphia street have remained in the same houses for over the last 20-30 years and have raised their families in the same household, sometimes even raising great grandchildren. Same house, and many times the same mentality for over 20 years. Now in 2009, people still carry those same attitudes.

I remember one 70ish Italian lady on the 47 bus, told me "I hope your not going down 9th and Washington, its like Vietnam down there, not like the good ole days, you never know what you are getting"...Philadelphia is about the tried and true, one thing I love about our city and that is one thing I hate....some things like the negative attitudes we have to let go. For me, I love the Italian Market. Where else can I get a huge bag of Italian rolls for 50 cents?
CHANGE is what Barack Obama and many other great leaders before him spoke of...

Einstein says it best, "You cannot change a problem with the same mind that created it, you must change your way of thinking in order to solve the problem".
How do you cease the blatancy of hate among the people and political divides with the elected and the community?

Depends on who you ask? Knowing many people from diverse walks of life, I am very sensitive to others, how they live, how they think, how they learn etc...People are different. God called us all from the boat to be someone, whether it be mother, doctor, or repairman.

Do Philadelphians not understand those differences that make up who we are?
Philadelphia residents make up our administrations, political leaders, policy makes, and movers and shakers. From a sociological perspective, an unbalanced government maybe causing our unbalanced minds, as humans we are not immune to our environment.

Like we are what we eat, that also comes from family lives, friends, associations etc...
Or are resources so scarce certain classes and groups are excluded or blocked through bureaucratic and systematic barriers, needs go unmet, unaddressed, or undeserved because of the declining conditions and that causes a stressful situation?

Philadelphia's attitude separates more than it integrates us, economically and politically. The stress and embitterment you see in your daily travels could very well stem from the mindset embedded throughout our history, taught in our schools, in our homes, practiced in our courts, and housed within our government.

This is reflected in our consistent economical struggles and historical political play to pay mentality keeping our city in stagnation. Its not just African American nor a Caucasian thing, its a Philadelphia thing. What makes us "hate" one another? My friends who are not from here are the happiest, and then within 2-3 years, if not sooner...they are ready back home or to another city. Are we really that bad! And they are the ones who generally have a better attitude toward life in general.

Even Rizzo's old neighborhood South Philadelphia has transformed to reflect a microcosm of the world, Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans from all walks of life, newly transplanted live alongside those who have been there for a generation. Change is inevitable. The mind reflects reality. Thoughts become actions. Yet, if those same folks you see and label "haters" are the ones controlling a system with a foundation built on conflict, division, racism, hatred...we are still in trouble as a city!!! Solving the problem starts with yourself.
At 31, I have seen it on many different levels. My own experiences, trials and tribulations have taught me a lot...Philadelphia can be very oppressive, with an eccentric overall personality...Philly there is no place like it, and it has its little nuggets of beauty. Philadelphians have so lot in common, cheesesteaks, our love for arts, parks, parades, the Phillies, the Eagles... Philadelphia as a city and those who reside here undeniably test your strength. The key: Never go too deep in shallow situations. Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution. Maneuver beyond the crab in the barrel, small town-big town mentality by always being your own person. Be the change you wish to see. Spread the sunshine, say hello and smile even when others are not! Be positive when others are negative, and treat others the way you would like to be treated!

Fareeda "TheMaverick" Mabry