Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Little History Lesson

I am not a history buff in any way, shape or form but I had to say a little something right now. Son called me to tell me some silly 3rd grader on the school bus told him that African-Americans aren't s**t. Self-hatred is a sad, pervasive thing. It was a stupid comment and one that no child would say unless they heard it somewhere from someone they trust, respect, idolize, whatever. Now this is unfortunately not the first time I've heard some people of Jamaican descent distance themselves from the blacks in this country. Maybe that child wasn't a citizen? No idea. But it bugs me to no end to hear this type of stuff. We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon and I got the clear picture that OUR ancestors stopped there just like some came here.

So I ran over to and pulled a little history to share because really, I don't care to go into this stuff too much. Just make a quick point and move on. And FYI, I really wouldn't mind the perspective of a Jamaican on this. Explain this to me, please.

In 1494 on May 4, Christopher Columbus arrived at the island of Jamaica. This was on his second voyage to the New World, which was afterwards called America. Columbus annexed the island in the name of his master and mistress. the King and Queen of Spain. But it was not occupied until Juan de Esquivel came from Santo Domingo in 1509. and for 146 years Jamaica remained a Spanish colony.

Jamaica was then inhabited by a gentle race of people called the Arawaks or Tainos. They had probably come from the country now known as Guyana, where Arawak Indians are still to be found....But the Spaniards made slaves of them and put them to difficult tasks. The Spaniards treated the Arawaks so harshly that in about fifty years all of them were dead. They had numbered fully sixty thousand. The Spaniards got slaves from Africa to take their place....In 1664 the first House of Assembly was called together. It consisted of twenty members elected by the people. It met at Spanish Town and passed 45 laws for the government of the colony....

Sir Thomas Modyford arrived from Barbados with a thousand settlers. He was a Barbadian planter and had once governed Barbados before he was sent to Jamaica as Governor. He helped and protected the English buccaneers under Henry Morgan who had moved to Port Royal from Tortuga. The ships and the plunder they brought vastly enriched Port Royal. Modyford encouraged agriculture, especially the cultivation of cocoa and the sugar-cane. During this time a large number of slaves were brought from Africa to Jamaica. However, the slave trade with Jamaica had commenced before this date.

Guyana, a region (state, I believe) that combines South American and Caribbean ancestry. And the culture of Jamaica:
Demography. The population in 1998 was 2.75 million. Fifty-three percent of the population resides in urban areas. The population is 90 percent black, 1 percent East Indian, and 7 percent mixed, with a few whites and Chinese. The black demographic category includes the descendants of African slaves, postslavery indentured laborers, and people of mixed ancestry. The East Indians and Chinese arrived as indentured laborers.

Note the word slaves. Where did those slaves come from? Here:


The point? If you look even remotely like me, despite all the different groups that compose the black race as we are today, there is a HUGE chance that you are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. And our mother? Africa. Deal with it.

Moving on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Skating Skills and Lack Other Thrills

Son went to a skating party this weekend. It was his second in a few months.

"I think I found my special talent, mommy!"

"You were looking for a talent? I didn't know one was missing."

"It's skating. I did 3 tricks. I was really good at it!"

"That's great, baby! But you know you weren't talentless, don't you? You're only 9. It's ok to not have it all together yet but if this is it, then congratulations."

"Can you get me skates for Christmas?"

"I'll think about it."

This is the same boy who looked at his energetic little sister at the bus stop last week and said to me, "I want what she has."

"Huh? What did she sneak out of the house this time," I asked trying to see over his head.

"Her sense of adventure."

My eyes hurt from looking at him weird but I had to smile.

"Her sense of adventure?"

"She's not afraid of anything! I want to be like that."


"It's ok to be YOU, Son. Her 'sense of adventure' cause me heart attacks sometimes."

"I wish I could just suck it out of her."

Um, slightly disturbing?

"You think before you leap, Son, and sure, you may hold yourself back a tad that way, but you do think and when you want to do something you do. You'll probably grow braver as you grow older anyway. It's ok."

My extra sensitive child, fighting some inner battle to be better than he is when there is nothing wrong with the way he is. Hmm. Now that I think of it, I think I'll have to try to reconfirm that tonight but I've been down this road. No matter what I say, he doesn't see any of the things in himself that I see in him. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to School Part II and More

I'm still trying to figure out what's going on with the month of September. It's a month full of all sorts of activities and possibilities from what I can feel and from what I am told. I really have no idea what to expect from one moment to the next. I do know a lot of stuff is going on with people around me and I am simply doing my best to go with the flow this month.

For instance, Daughter and Son finally got their beloved items from my parents. I was looking for one box but three arrived and not all at once. Two boxes one day and about 4 days later, the third box arrived with the highly coveted backpacks. Except Mr. T took a look at Son's and saw it was too small for his needs so he's sticking with what he has. Mr. T had just bought it about a month before school ended so it was still new enough. Daughter got her Jonas Brothers and all is right with the world.

And speaking of the kidlets, Mr. T says Daughter is an old woman because she just lost another tooth.

See that one in the middle at the top? That one is loose now too. Go figure. Son had two teeth pulled himself just last week. There's one of them on the bottom left there.

They're beginning to look like baby hillbillies (No offense to the hillbillies of the world who are proud gummers.) and I am rapidly running out of $1 bills as everyone pretends the Tooth Fairy is real but we all know mommy is losing sleep waiting on the baby hillbillies to conk out.

There are also lots of changes at work as co-workers come and go - more in this month than any other in the four years I've been here. Some changes I still am not at liberty to divulge to the world (but it has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME so calm down!). Work will be an interesting place too for a while.

And the business? Well, last week, Bizzy Girl and a friend of ours, who has partnered with us for the greeting card line, all went to get inspired at a Get Motivated seminar in Hartford and that was really quite a treat. I heard words from Joe Montana, Laura Bush, Rudy Giuliani and Colin Powell. All cool. Colin Powell is actually quite funny. But the people who had me on the edge of my seat were ones I had never heard of before - Tamara Lowe (I'm buying her book right after this), James Smith (this man is hilarious. That's him over there with the folded arms.), Phil Town, Zig Ziggler (whose name seemed to ring a bell) and Krish Dhanam (captivating despite his harmless look down there on the lower left). And the unexpected icing on the cake is that the majority of these previously unknown people credited God with their success. So very unexpected. Tamara (the lady in blue up there on the right) went as far as to tell the antsy ones to bear with her while she told the people who really needed it the prayer they needed to say in order make Jesus their savior. (And if you comment negatively about mixing God into these business-like things, it's going to fall on deaf ears and I'll delete it anyway so why waste your time?)

My friends and I were thrilled. We are used to being in the world but not of it. Just like we are used to being black females who worked (or have worked) in predominately white environments. It's just part of our reality. And these truly motivational words these people shared would have motivated us anyway. But because they spoke the words through their faith - our shared faith - it made the whole thing even easier to consume. I highly recommend you check these people out if you ever get the chance. And the profits from Tamara's book - ALL of the profits - are going to support various charities. A woman after my own heart.

After all that dynamic speaking on Wednesday, my same friends and I all trekked to Hartford this past weekend for the Women's Expo. Our first major, 2-day expo at which we were going to be vendors. This was not inexpensive to do but we had to try. I won't go into detail about this just yet. It deserves a post all it's own. But I will say it is very tiring to do these things and we learned quite a bit, which I will share with you as well. Nevertheless, it was fun if only because I haven't laughed so hard or slept so deeply in quite awhile and sharing a hotel room with Bizzy Girl and our partner in success was an experience worth repeating. I even got a short story out of the deal. It has something to do with blond hairs showing up in the oddest of places. (Yet another future blog post!) Oh! And our newest fun find? Fresh Company located in Hartford. I bought two fun bracelets from them (here's one of them below) and their prices are fantastic. Tell them I sent you!

Stay tuned for more from the expo!