Angry Black Women?

The NY Times have been quite busy lately on the topic of black women particularly two of the most influential, and visible black women in America: First Lady Michelle Obama, and producer of Scandal, and Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes. Recently Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the NY Times promoted her article " Michelle Obama furiously cites her views on the segregation of Americas schools. In the article the First Lady cites in an interview how not only are the schools becoming increasingly segregated, but also the schools are not equal with African Americans lagging behind. She cites how efforts to integrate have been pulled back, and communities are becoming less diverse. These statistics do not reflect progress in the area of racial equality, and should be unsettling to say the least.

Meanwhile Alessandra Stanley of the NY Times wrote on 9/18/14 that Shonda's new series "How to get away with murder" should be called how to get away with being an angry black woman. In that statement Stanley is clearly referring to the notion that black women are angry, and are hindered by this for they are not allowed to be angry. Stanley goes on in the article to state how Rhimes productions showcase powerful, and intimidating black women. She also states how Rhimes has done more to reset the image of African-American women on television since Oprah.

What I would like to know is, who are these characters intimidating to? And what image has the black woman on television been reset to? That’s open to debate, but why would the idea of intelligent strong black women be intimidating? Why would you not allow some one to show an emotion or passion for improvement? It is because the status quo seeks to keep things the way they are, and will fight motivation to change. Change is the enemy of the status quo, so motivation for change is seen as aggression, an attack or intimidating. Black people are currently struggling to survive in large numbers around the globe, and have been for the past 2000 years. Where there's struggle there is fight, where there's fight there's aggression. In a competitive world where everyone searches for an advantage, and people are targeted by race, and culture in an attempt to eliminate the competition because worthy competition is a threat, therefore intimidating. The wealth, and education gap between blacks, and whites in America have remained virtually unchanged since the 1920's.
The incarceration rate of black people is widely disproportioned with blacks making up 15% of the countries’ population, yet making up well over 60% of the prison population in America. The number of our youth being murdered unjustly, and being affected by violence period is wildly lopsided with black children on the worst end of that stat. For those black people who care about themselves, and connect with those who share similar life experiences, it is imperative that we begin to see positive change in regards to these numbers. Only those who seek to prevent change in this regard and maintain the status quo would reject any attempts to improve the current situation of black people in America.

So if they label Michelle Obama, and Shonda Rhimes as angry black women...I would say that they are passionate, assertive, and strong black women! Sorry if that may be intimidating to some. They, as black women, care about themselves, and their family, and have a lot to be angry about. It's not the anger that holds us back, it's the misdirected use of that anger which causes trouble for black people.

Where I'm from being angry was also called being heated. In science it is said that heat can make anything move, and forward motion is needed for positive change. So just maybe if more black people were heated for a cause, bonded together by that heat, and used that heat energy wisely maybe just maybe we can move forward making strides in changing those devastating numbers around. We could secure a future for ourselves, our family and those you connect with.


-Ahad
 


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The Ray Rice Decision

 Let me start this one by saying. I'm glad Ray Rice will no longer be on the football field, because I feel what he did should not be supported. However before we go over board with gratitude to the Baltimore Ravens organization for Releasing Ray, let's remember it wasn't all because the felt bad for Ray's wife, they made a business decision. Yes I'm relieved the Ravens made the appropriate decision in this matter, but I also remember that prior to the second video surfacing Ray Rice was slotted to take the field in two weeks. The incident occurred in February. NFL insiders say Ravens front office knew what was on the tape, Roger Goodell (nfl commissioner) examined all evidence prior to his decision to suspend Rice for two Games. John Harbaugh (ravens head coach) said in an interview on ESPN "This is the first time we've seen the tape.""And yes it changed things."

  Im sure it did change things John. The fact that your team would likely to be boycotted if you kept Ray on board will change things. Ray Rice is now publicly known as the official Wife Beater, therefore he is no longer marketable, and brings a constant stream of negative attention wherever he goes. It wasn't until the world saw the tape did they decide to cut him. Only then did Ray become damaged goods. So it doesn't matter if the Ravens saw what was on the tape or not, keeping Ray would've cost them millions.

Ol Ray Rice, not sure if he will end up doing jail time or not. He will probably survive by selling autobiographies, eventually ending up on a VH1 reality show, or in The Hangover 6. But no place for him in football at least not now barring he makes some kind of drastic change to make people forget or forgive this incident. Only time will tell.

-Ahad
 


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The Art of Problem Solving

The art of problem solving! The ability to solve problems is at the very core of who we are. It's what keeps us existing in large numbers. It keeps us thinking, exploring, and creating. As It has allowed us to flourish, and thrive.

Problems:
So what are problems? Well pretty much anything that causes uncertainty, difficulty, or presents a type of danger, or threat. They come in all sizes, super extra large,(like natural disasters, plagues, or nuclear war). Some are minuscule in size ( like losing the remote, or you forgot your umbrella). Individually as people some have a lot of them, some people have very little. Some people say if you ignore them, then they don't exist and what you thought was problem is actually a figment of your imagination. Some acknowledge them, but find solutions too risky. Then you have those people who act to solve them immediately,  especially big ones. Some create problem that aren't that aren't even there. Before we jump to any conclusions about weather problems are real or just self created issues based on ones perception, let's use logic here. If there were no obstacles the word survival would be irrelevant. Even time itself is an obstacle which must be survived. If you are a form of life that does not seek to survive, you may be deemed defective and existence will be short lived. Hunger is a problem, thirst is a problem. So we may not all agree on what the problems are yet, but however brief they may be, weather it's your problem or not, logically they exist!

Solutions:
A solution is a means to an end of a problem. Some solutions require years of hard work to figure out, some fall right into you lap. But all solutions follow one rule: for a solution to exist a problem must exist, and in order to be considered a solution it must be a means to an END of the problem. Treating the symptoms of a problem is not a solution as it is not a means to an end, but attempts to slow the effects of the problem. Problems do not go away unless they are solved.
In order to end something you must start at the beginning! Life begins with a heart beat and it ends with a heart beat.
You can stomp the ants crawling from behind the fridge every morning, or you can move the fridge, remove the spoiled food, seal the ant entrance, and live ant free. Solutions must attack  the root, or the origin of the problem if it is to be solved. So the ability to identify the origin of the problem is critical to any solution.

So to sum it all up....problems promote development and growth by means of survival. Solutions enable survival as constant change creates new problems. We learn, and grow from surviving all the different problems. For survival is our only true human nature. I we wish to exist we must continue to be problem solving orientated.

-Ahad


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Why Network Marketing?

My Corporate Brother Bill,  

It is understandable that you would leave a work environment where you felt underappreciated and uncomfortable.  However, I don’t understand why you failed to prepare from day one “an exit strategy.”  For example,  why during your 3 years of employment, you never participated in your company’s  matching 401 (K) plan at least up to the match level.  Also, why didn’t  you  establish a Roth IRA per the sound financial advice provided you by Stephanie (@ www.s2fc.com)  in her article,  “Retirement – Next Exit”?  

How do I know this?  Well, I watched your defeated demeanor as you tried to survive in your aunt’s home under her rules.  Bill, a single man with no children netting your income should have had at minimum 6 to 8 months of living expenses saved in your company’s plan, and especially, in a Roth IRA.  Then, as needed, you could have withdrawn up to the amount you contributed to your Roth as tax free distributions.      

This would have enabled you to stay in your condo as you looked for other positions or return to your  former job from a place of strength rather than weakness/defeat.  Even though, you have decided to return to your ad agency, it is still a good time to seriously investigate a few of the leading companies in the network marketing industry.  After all, it is well known that multiple streams of income have become the norm in the 21st century!    

I can recommend a global, financially sound, publicly traded network marketing company that develops and manufactures top rated consumable products.  This company is  headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah and has a dynamic and none complicated compensation plan with residual income potential. 

Bill, by the way, your customers would buy directly from the company, which I recall, is very important to you.  Give me a call so we can establish a time to meet to discuss if this could work for you as one of your income streams. 

Your friend,

 Cindy  Farrell 1.800.425.5673

 


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It’s never to soon to start saving for retirement

It’s Never Too Soon to Start Saving for Retirement

Now that you’ve started your first job, you should start saving for retirement.  Be sure to find out the various types of retirement plans that your company offers.  Most common is the 401(k).  This allows you to save money tax-deferred, meaning no taxes are due until you withdraw funds.  If you’re fortunate enough to get a company match for your 401(k), you should contribute at least enough to get the full match (usually 6-8% contribution rate).  Otherwise, you’re leaving ‘free money’ on the table.  The 2014 limit for 401(k) contributions is $17,500 (or $23,000 if you’re age 50 or older).  Bear in mind that your company may choose to limit the percentage of your income that you’re allowed to contribute.
Where you go from there, depends on your personal financial situation.  If you don’t have any liquid savings, now is the time to establish an emergency fund.  I would recommend $1000, or one month’s living expenses, whichever is created.   These funds are not to be touched unless you have a true emergency, i.e. unexpected medical expenses, job loss, etc.
After you have an emergency fund in place, you should work to get rid of any high-interest debt such as credit card debt.  Historically, the stock market has an annualized return of 8% so you’re losing money if you invest to get 8% while paying interest of 10% or more.
Once your debt has been eliminated, consider investing in an IRA.  There are two types – traditional or Roth.  Traditional IRA contributions may be tax-deductible depending on your income.  However, the amount that is tax-deductible may be capped if you are eligible for a retirement plan, such as a 401(k), though work.  If your contributions are not tax-deductible (which is generally the case starting at $70,000 modified adjusted income), invest in a Roth IRA.  For 2014, the maximum amount that may be contributed to any IRA is the smaller of $5500 ($6,500 if you’re age 50 or older), or your taxable compensation for the year.  However, it’s not too late to make a contribution for 2013.  You have until April 15, 2014 to do so.
If you have funds to invest after maxing out an IRA, consider increasing the percentage you contribute to your 401(k).  In addition to improving your nest egg, this will also reduce your tax liability as your taxable income will be less than if you weren’t contributing.
Regardless of the type of investment account you choose, you should make sure you have a diversified portfolio.  This means investing in more than one type of asset class such as stocks vs. bonds, domestic vs. international, small cap vs. large cap.  The most simple way to accomplish this is to consider target date funds (based on your estimated retirement date) or index funds. In addition, it’s important to consider the expense ratio when comparing investments.  This is the percentage of the fund’s assets (and accordingly your investment) that goes toward the expense of running the fund.  Simply put, this is a fee that comes out of your investment and lowers your returns.  Therefore, all other things being equal, it’s best to choose the investment with the lowers expense ratio.

In a nutshell, if you follow these four steps, you will be well on your way to ensuring a financially comfortable retirement when the time comes.

If you need help getting started get in touch with Stephanie at www.s2fc.com.


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Emasculation of the Black Man

When I look at the state of black relationships, I become deeply troubled. It’s a move every single man fears and every committed man hates: the emasculation of the black man in relationships. I’m not talking about gay and lesbian relationships, nor am I hinting to people staying in bad relationships AT ALL. I’m talking about Black women literally assuming the role as the lead in the relationship, because she thinks he is incapable. When did the game change? At what point did Black women start wearing the pants while the man started wearing the dress in the relationship? It is literally the systematic “bitching out” of the Black man as it relates to his role in the relationship. Where does this misinformation begin and/or come from?

1. Media. It is truly amazing how media looks negatively upon black men. Every time you turn the page or turn on Fox news we are portrayed as nothing but financially strapped, unemployed, ignorant, bumbling fools who can barely finish a sentence let alone be successful in relationships with black women.  Now in the interest of keeping it real, YES we have some Black men who do not handle there business, but it is nowhere near as many, nor as bleak and hopeless as we are portrayed. Example, without mentioning Black men playing sports, dancing, or singing name 3 POSITIVE TRAITS about Black men. I’m waiting and remember, don’t pop a gasket. Now name 3 POSITIVE TRAITS about Asian men. What did you come up with?!?  If that is all you constantly hear and receive this is all you going to believe and perceive.

2. Feminism. It’s a liberating time to be a woman, compared to eras past. When it comes to being politically correct, men and women are equals but all that liberation shouldn’t go to a gal’s head. While culture has widened what’s acceptable for a woman, it hasn’t allowed as much wiggle room for men.  Is it me or does that seem to be a bit one-sided? It’s like the equivalent of trying to give some sort of “empowerment” to Black women that doesn’t exist in the first place. The last time I checked I thought relationships were two people working as a TEAM, for a common goal, as opposed to someone (Man or Woman) trying the run the show.  What are you embracing and who are you embracing it from? First question, what woman was the spearhead for the feminist movement in the 60’s that helped usher in the new age of equality for women? FYI, She wasn’t African-American. Second question, was and is feminism truly your cause or someone else’s?

The state of Black relationships cannot be determined by what society thinks are or deems as “important”.  The state of Black relationships can only be determined by our own people sitting down and having true heart-to-heart discussions and getting down the issues that will keep us together for the long haul. If we cannot rely on our Black women to treat us with the love and respect we deserve then WHO?!?

Written by Fab 5


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Essentials for Every Movie Collection

So you have finally made it and as a new Corporate Brother are enjoying the trappings that come with your status. Nothing says who you are and what your taste is like your movie collection. It is a statement of what you value and your singular personality. As you are looking into expanding your library of cinematic offerings, take into account that you are a Corporate Brother as that is a part of your unique identity and place in society. Your collection, while entertaining, can also speak to your values and those things you deem important. Let me give you suggestions for Movies Every Corporate Brother Should Own…
 

Coming to America- The quintessential “boy meets girl from two different worlds” story has more than enough laughs to entertain a wide variety of guests while speaking to differences of wealth, class, and station and overcoming those in the name of love and being happy. You may identify with the controlling parents who push us all to elevate the family legacy above all else. A great feel good comedy.

Bamboozled- You need this one in your collection to keep you grounded as you begin your corporate ascent. It will expose you to the pitfalls of being too Black in the workplace in order to maintain your integrity or selling out to get ahead. This one touches on how you as a Corporate Brother can become part of a machine that chews up our community for profit and spits it out, and the toll that it can take on your spirit. This is the one that you watch by yourself and never forget what you see and learn.

Malcolm X- When you need to understand the impact of change and especially a change in mindset, watch this film. From this film, you can learn that your past decisions or environment cannot hold you back if you choose to change how you think and aspire to something greater. It will show you that with the right mindset you can effect change on the world.

Boomerang- When you think that as a Corporate Brother that you want to date within your workplace, this is a must have for your collection. This film shows corporate life from the rare perspective of a majority Black owned and staffed company. Within this environment, you see another Corporate Brother enjoying the benefits of being successful at work and with the ladies in his work environment, until he meets his match and it all falls down. This one is a great one to have in your collection whether entertaining a group or that “special” friend.
 

The Best Man/Love Jones- These are your “date night” movies. You need movies like this in your collection for those quiet nights when you want to entertain a woman and set a mood. These movies have erotic, steamy scenes and suggestive banter, but are still time-tested and entertaining. They have the romantic twists that will get her mind racing without making you look like a pervert.
 

The Five Heartbeats- This is your feel good, rise and fall, redemption story. This film is entertaining but you will learn that how you treat people on the way up may affect how long you stay there and who will be around if you fall down.
 

The Pursuit of Happyness- This film is one that will show you the power of perseverance and hard work through any circumstance. Remember you have made it here, so think what it is like for someone who looks just like you trying to get where we are with the odds stacked against them at every turn. When you watch this you will understand how important it is to go after what you want with abandon and to never give up.
The Tuskegee Airmen- This is the historical film that will remind you where you come from and the sacrifices made and endured for you to be where you are today. It will remind you of the level of excellence that you have to exhibit in order to get half as far as others and that even then you may receive your just due because of your skin color. This is a film you watch when things get hard here in the corporate environment to re-focus and renew your resolve to keep reaching higher in order to open the door and make space for the Corporate Brothers that come behind you.
 

A Soldier’s Story- This is the movie that reminds you that, when existing in the corporate environment, the complexities of dealing with other Corporate Brothers are REAL, and you have to be aware of this fact at all times. Every Corporate Brother isn’t your brother and doesn’t have you interests at heart. This movie shows just how where we grew up, how, and what our experiences are can define how we identify with one another or not…especially in an environment that isn’t our own.
 

School Daze- When you want to reminisce about those great college days, this is the movie you need to have in your collection. From Homecoming, the fraternities, and hanging out on “the yard”, this film embodies the HBCU experience with a message. It deals with issues such as cultural identity and responsibility as well as the intra-racial dynamics that unify and divide us even in a collegiate setting. This movie will have you laughing and thinking at the same time and is great to watch with a group. You’ll all be Doin’ the Butt as soon as you hear the song.
 

-Written by Charlie Wonderful


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Interracial Dating at Work

Okay, you are suited and booted and winning others over with your gregarious personality. Inevitably you will catch the eye of one or more of your female coworkers. So here’s the moment of truth, what do you do when you catch “Katie” from marketing give you a little extra attention?  Well let’s keep it real a well-dressed brother with a 401K has no shortage of female admirers. So my best advice would be, don’t dip your pen in “Company Ink”. In other words don’t flirt at work.
However, if you insist on dating a coworker, you must learn to turn off the charm at work and only date after hours. Otherwise, both of your jobs may be in jeopardy. Be smart and check your company handbook for policies. Most companies are OK with office romance so long as your hookup isn’t a direct subordinate or supervisor.
Contemplate the aftermath. Even if it’s just a friendly “mouth hug” with another consenting adult, people are going to talk and speculate. The juiciest kind of office gossip is office romance gossip. People will undoubtedly talk, and many will confront you about the rumors. Don’t be surprised if you are deemed a “sell out” or “white washed” by any “sistahs” in the company that pick up on or even suspect the interaction between you and “Amy” is more than platonic. Remember you can’t just “do” just any “Becky” giving you some rhythm, this is your career and professional reputation on the line and you have everything to lose.
Be cognizant that even if she approaches you at the company happy hour, she could very easily turn around and throw you a sexual harassment case. Don’t be the one so eager for a “treat” that you end up with a “trick”!   Unless you’re having an affair with a married coworker, who has just as much to lose tread lightly and be discreet. Save the swag for First Fridays, because getting caught up at work is simply unprofessional.

-Written by The Corporate Insider

 


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After work Happy Hour

 Okay so now that you have the position and have polished your “corporate look”, the true corporate brother must stay “on point” in all situations. Here are three simple rules that will help you make the most of the after-work social scene.

Rule number one…You are ALWAYS on the clock!  Stay in professional mode, even though you are not in the office. Happy hour is the “perfect storm” where you can make a lasting impression. Please beware as this could be the first steps to career progression or a “career limiting move”.  Now there’s nothing wrong with having a drink, In fact, avoiding events where alcohol is served could negatively impact your career. Participate, even if you choose not to drink.  If are noticeably absent at “corporate voluntary” happy hour, you’ll miss out on valuable face-time with colleagues, internal customers i.e. administrators, and your boss, and it can create the stigma of not being a “team player”. Instead use Happy hour as an opportunity to shine!

Rule number two, know your limitations with alcohol. (see rule number one) If you’ve reached your limit or don’t want to drink at all, you can still fit in by ordering a club soda with a twist of lime and a splash of cranberry juice. The open bar at the company holiday party or a happy hour event is not the place to get your “Hen Dog” or “Incredible Hulk” ON! Keep it simple, a spirit with a mixer is most common, vodka and cranberry or seven and seven as an example, even a bottle of beer wrapped with a napkin, allows you to order later in the evening omitting the alcohol and or conceal the actual amount being consumed with the napkin. Carry a drink around with you as a prop and drink only half (or none) of it. Learn to sip rather than guzzle your drink, it’s not a race!  No one will notice if you are drinking conservatively if they are engaged in meaningful conversation.

Rule number three, fun is not your primary objective. Never make the mistake of thinking a work-sponsored event is a chance to “get it in” and “turn up.” Enjoy yourself, but remember that supervisors and other management will be there observing your behavior and what they will see is a brother on top of their game, that can hang with the owls and soar with the eagles! (The next morning)
 

-Written by The Corporate Insider


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Wardrobe

So now you have finally made it….. CORPORATE AMERICA... Now you need to LOOK the part…. Transition from timbos and jeans, hoddies and white tees, snap backs and AF1’s…. but before you stroll in the boardroom here is how you make that first appearance…. * and no, it’s not in a pair of gap khakis and BIG PONY Polo Tee and your brother’s blazer* Your first impression is your BEST impression. The foundation to any career move whether it is Wall Street or Silicon Valley…. is the 2 or 3 button all season wool (yes wool) is three colors: * I know you love your pastor’s 9 button ensemble and the Steve Harvey collection but unless you are heading to the pulpit or the TV as a comedian… leave it the closet for 40 and over happy hours… or just don’t buy it……* The Gray Suit The Anchor of your business wardrobe; always appropriate, especially for your first interview. A gray suit looks sharp and clean with a white, soft blue, or light pink shirt but is versatile enough that it'll go with just about anything. Medium or steel grey is power move… The Solid Navy Suit Call it your presidential flow. A navy suit is always classic choice, from that 8am presentation to 5pm happy hour. It lends itself well to almost any shirt-and-tie combination, but to up the no frills look: crisp white shirt, a dark solid tie.

The Khaki Cotton Suit The heat is ON! Miami/Vegas/Cali….6 months on the job and you are the office favorite… knocking down all the new accounts.. there is a conference all expenses paid and you are the MAN! Do it in style with a khaki cotton suit. Pair it with a solid or (white, or pink) or soft pastel checkerboard shirt and a dark tie (kill with the bowtie) for the office, then loosen it up (e.g., lose the tie and socks and throw on some cotton/linen solid white Converse All-Stars) for an evening out.
 
-Written by CJH

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