When the country was first introduced to the First Lady, I think her credentials were touted. I knew she was a lawyer making six figures and I knew she was working in the highest echelons of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

I only really started hearing about her fashion in relationship to the exorbitant style of Mrs. Cindy McCain. When Michelle appeared on The View and was sporting that classy, yet unassuming number from White House/Black Market the country was captivated by her penchant for making “inexpensive wear” (I don’t spend $150 on dresses but I can definitely see how that is frugal for a woman in her position) look appropriate and timely. On the other hand, when it comes to style I remember talking about how Cindy’s ensemble for the convention was about a third of a million dollars (though she didn’t look much more lovely).

I think the media had it set in their minds waaayyyyyyy in advance no matter who the First Lady was going to be, they were going to scrutinize her image. That’s what they do. I don’t see any inclination that she prompted this. Also, I like to she how she looks because she’s gone through a bit of a transformation. Her look now is much more natural and appealing.

Though Michelle is beautiful (her stylish should be getting paid overtime because if you look at pictures back in 2007 and early 2008 she tended to look like a garish drag queen with too heavy of makeup and sever shape to her eyebrows) during the campaign her ensembles from J Crew, H & M, etc were nice, but didn’t make her stand out or be the center of attention. I think that’s commendable! There was an opportunity she could have capitalized on, but why? She didn’t need to

I don’t want the media to STOP talking about her style, I just want them to talk more about the other projects she’s working on. It’s a reoccurring theme, it’s unbalanced (The media could balance the situation a bit more if they didn’t just talk about Womenswear, but the Menswear too). The truth is, if you want to know about her, you can easily find out, it’s just not as likely to be right their when you turn on the tube. Get a book. The biography Michelle by Liza Mundy is a good place to start. You have to be actively interested in the first ladies to know about them beyond the media which will undoubtedly present image and eventually if they are or aren’t keeping their promises for the country, in this case working with the military families.

Fashion Fashion Fashion

If you initially thought this was going to be about her “looks”, here’s my 2 pennies:

Swearing In

She wore a Cuban designer to the inauguration. I assumed she would wear American, but I have no issue with it. It was a memorable color, at first seeming gold, but then hues or yellow and green. The color literally was “brilliant”. The texture looked lush. I loved the neckline accent and the gloves were fabulous.

12 Inaugural Balls

She put the 26 year old Taipei-born New Yorker Jason Wu on the map with her Ball attire. At first glance, she looked stunning. I love texture, but on tv the dress kinda looked like it had a bunch of unwieldy puff balls all around. The light cream/bone color was nice, but I kinda wish it was echoed in the Presidents bow-tie instead of the pearl white he wore. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an off white bow-tie, that could have been a unique plus. She had her hair down for the inauguration, so I would have liked to have seen it in a stately up-do for the ball. (A la Palin… just kidding) Obviously the dress was too long! That is a negative for the designer. Shame on your Wu!! The team had to know their were going to be dancing ALL NIGHT. They could have taken an inch off the bottom. It was totally distracting the way they were both tripping over it and she had to keep getting it out of the way. Total bummer. Now you know I’ve lived in Hollywood, because I was half expecting her to do a wardrobe change or two. Ha! I mean, she did go to 12 Balls (source: Countdown with Keith Olbermann, I only stayed up to watch 6), though they were late to most of them, she could have slipped in to a snappy red number? No?


Immigration Station

January 22, 2009

From visas to bank accounts, this blog is designed to help you brainstorm questions and find answers to export yourself legally. I look for everything online, but had trouble readily finding information on how to legally move to another country. In this case, (immigrating to Canada) mai best resources were the officers at the Canadian boarder, the Port of Entry personnel in Detroit, Michigan, and my school, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

(This info is US to Canada specific. Though perhaps not your specific destination, the following points should help you develop your own Immigration Station checklist.)

Passports/Passcards: Do you have a passport? Since January 1, 2009 it is required to have a passport to go anywhere outside the US. Before, you could go to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and other destinations without one. They just required ID such as a drivers license, state id card, or birth certificate. Now you must have one to cross any boarder. Be careful, often times it is easier to leave the US than to enter back in! Partly, because of this new law they have “invented” the Passcard. I’ve been advocating this to all my relatives who must get their passport for the first time, or obtain a new one. Passports are $115 (You get $15 off if you are a AAA member– go figure) Passcards however are only $45!! Of course, with a passport you can go anywhere you want in the world (or just about) but with a passcard you can only travel to other countries in North America, and you can only travel by land or sea. Yup no flights. Only car, train, bus, boat or ship. Interesting, no? Passports, and visas are costly. I actually kinda expected visas to be free, don’t ask me why.

Visa: How long are you planning on staying? You can stay in Canada for 6 months before you have to attain a visa. This was surprising to me. Check with the individual country you are moving to to find what their specifics are. I found this info from my school and it was corroborated by the port authority in Detroit.

Work/Study Permits: Will you be allowed to work? I’m not allowed to get a work visa, only a student visa. My husband is allowed a restricted work visa by default because he’s married to me. Honestly, this really bites. I guess they are worried that all the immigrates are gonna come and take the jobs away from the Canadians (wow, they kinda sound American to me–Paper Planes…). My husband’s visa is restricted which means he’s not allowed to work with children unless he takes and passes certain medical examinations. Do you already have a job? Often times when you are moved to another country by an employer they are your “sponsor” and often cover your passport and visa expenses.

Motor Vehicles: Will you be allowed to drive in this country? Going to Canada from the US you don’t have to worry about getting another drivers license, but that wouldn’t be the case if you where going to say… Europe. Metric system or no? Driving specifics: While driving in Canada you have to remember the us kilometers per hour not miles per hour like we do in the States.

Cell Phone Carriers: This was an unexpected bummer. I’m addicted to my sidekick. I’ve had a myriad of the Sidekick variations over the past 5 years. If you think you can keep Sprint, Nextel, Boost, Cricket, T-Mobile, or even the surprising one AT&T (I thought they were global, don’t ask me why) THINK AGAIN!!! In Canada, they have several carriers but NONE are international calling friendly ($$$$$) Also, you may be surprised to learn that your device may not work there. I have heard about perhaps having a device “unlocked”. I’m not quite sure what this process or expense would be but would like to know more. Supposedly, if you get your device unlocked your new carriers’ SIM card should be able to work in it. T-Mobile denies this is possible and maintains that only their SIM cards are designed to work in their devices. Blackberrys and iPhones are very popular worldwide. It maybe a worthwhile investment.

Banks: I can’t stand the banking system in Canada. It’s much more of an expense. In the States you can easily get free savings and checking especially if you have direct deposit (Chase, Credit Unions, and Bank of America are a few examples of this). How will you exchange your money?

Apartments: We’ve had a lot of success with this one, so I cant readily think of something to look out for. Perhaps find out if you will be able to rent a place without citizenship status.

Healthcare: If you have prescription drugs you should think about if you will be allowed to take them with you, and how you will get them once you are living abroad. Also, what is the state of their public healthcare? Will you be eligible for it?

Belongings: Find out what things you have to declare before you can cross the boarder. Sometimes you cant bring edibles, perishables, or organics from one country to another. Other times you have to declare money when you bring a certain amount or more (must declare $10,000+ to enter Canada).


another source:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Blargue: Slanguage 103

January 22, 2009

BLARGUE- (blahr-ghyoo) to argue via text especially in a web log (blog) format.

This freewrite blog is an excuse for me to enter a new word into your vocabulary (blogcabulary?-ok maybe that’s pushing it). I devised the two hybrid words: blargue & slanguage. Let’s talk about them…

Though it should never be encouraged, I don’t think there is any way around blarguing except ignoring the offending blarguments altogether. This is because too many misunderstandings occur. I’ve noticed this for years. First over AIM, then emails, now text messages, and blogs.

Blarguing goes a bit deeper than just arguing via text. While misunderstandings and miscommunications occur via voice in person, over the phone, etc. it doesn’t happen with the same frequency as via text. This is because of the inability to detect tone of voice and therefore tone of message. We try to compensate for this by using emoticons 🙂 smily 😦 frowny 😉 winky and many many more, but even those never quite fully transcend the obstacles and hardships of the blargument.

Avoiding the blargument is made more difficult by those with the intention to incite blarguments. Sometimes people warp what they really believe just to play devil’s advocate. I’ve never been a fan of this method, but I’ve seen other mature, responsible people employ this method with wisdom to much benefit. Advocating the devil can bring about thoughtful discussions. Of course, most of the time those playing devil’s advocate go down that dark unwholesome path.

Is there significant difference between the terms “argue” and “blargue”?  Do you think “blargue” is a valuable word?  Will you adopt this term into your vocabulary? What do you do to mitigate blarguments?

I love language and that it develops every day. I enjoy examining culture, vernacular, colloquialisms, and slang. I sign (ASL), speak French, English, and have been working on Spanish. I began learning foreign languages at 7, took a 5 year hiatus, and resumed at 12. I only wish I had been introduced to foreign language at a younger age.

Slanguage 102: Slang On!!

January 22, 2009

SLANGUAGE: (slang-ooage) communication mainly comprised of colloquialisms and street or informal stripped down speech; decomposition

This freewrite blog is an excuse for me to enter a new word into your vocabulary (blogcabulary?-ok maybe that’s pushing it). I devised the two hybrid words: blargue & slanguage. Let’s talk about them…

Slanguage is a word I’ve used here many times before. It is useful in communicating a style of communication. There are times when people use slanguage to communicate and it may be mistaken for poor speech and grammar. This is a BIG MISTAKE. Nearly all my friends are college educated, professional people who engage the use of slanguage on a daily basis.

Slanguage is often more useful and valuable than conventional language because it helps to convey and denote geography, attitude, culture, and swagger or self image. I warn, DO NOT SQUELCH others from using this form of expression. I also encourage all people to further develop their own personalized slanguage. This will help define a people and give diversity to all.

Slanguage often reminds me of my hearing impaired friends. Often times, families with hearing impaired ones develop shorthand signs. This is done to communicate quicker, be more to the point, and to individualize their language. One of my friends calls this “home SL” or home sign language. For example she may shorten or abbreviate the movements for “restroom”, “grandfather”, or any number of words. If she were to sign with her interpreter or other hearing impaired people they may not readily understand what she was signing, but her mother or siblings do. Therefore, she of course would use the more traditional signs with anyone not at home.

Develop the slanguage of your home, your family, your friends, your community, and your hood. Slang on!


I would be remiss if I didn’t note that there is a time and place to use all manners of speech. Though I would discourage others to squelch the use of slanguage, there are obviously times when it would be inappropriate. Such as speaking to elders, (some) authority figures, work place, interviews, etc. I advocate the development of slang language but not all slang words/terms.

Is there significant difference between the terms “language” and “slanguage”? Do you think this is a valuable word? Will you adopt this term into your vocabulary? What terms have you developed?

I love language and that it develops every day. I enjoy examining culture, vernacular, colloquialisms, and slang. I sign (ASL), speak French, English, and have been working on Spanish. I began learning foreign languages at 7, took a 5 year hiatus, and resumed at 12. I only wish I had been introduced to foreign language at a younger age.

Transgender Secrecy

January 16, 2009

Recently, mai friend Jerry had a fun night where he “hooked-up” with a love lady named Karen at a party. These two ended up engaging in some heavy “necking and petting”. Jerry was devastated, angry, and hurt to later find out this chick was a pre-op transgendered woman. Jerry has a great fear that people will now question his sexuality and see him as a gay man. This, I’ve tried to reassure him, of course is a nonsensical fear.

I am happy to see more of society being represented on television and in the world. Transgendered people are becoming more of a topic in American society. Recently, Isis was the first transgendered model on America’s Next Top Model, Katelynn is the first transgendered personality on The Real World, and there is at least one transgendered character on a daytime drama. Because of intolerance, I can understand why many transgendered people want to keep privacy about their sexuality. However, I think a line is drawn when they enter into romantic relationships without disclosing this information to their partner.

Arrogantly, at first, I thought everyone would share this opinion. En mon avis, ideally no judgment should be passed on anyone for choosing to live their life in a way that isn’t harmful. In mai undergraduate Human Sexuality Seminar class, Dr. William Bradley expressed his position during our section on the transgendered community. He believes that once transgendered people have their bodies operated on to match their mindset, they are for all intents and purposes their reassigned gender. I agree with the majority of this position. However, it is their obligation to make this information known to anyone they want to be romantically involved with. I do not feel transgendered people should be made or pressured legally or otherwise to disclose information about their sexuality to employers, landlords, schools, or any other public or private organizations. It’s simply not anyone’s business besides those who they are planning on being intimate with. Dr. Bradley, however did not agree with me. He just kept asking me, Why? Why do they have to tell anyone? The are now their new gender.

If you listen to The Pharcyde you may have heard Fatlip talk about making out with a woman only to find out she was transgendered. In their documentary Cydeways: The Best of The Pharcyde, Fatlip goes into a bit more detail explaining that he was embarrassed by the situation for years. He only felt comfortable enough to talk about kissing the woman in the lyrics of his rhyme. However, in the documentary we learn he also received fellatio.

Most (if not all) people would agree on the importance of discussing sexual history with a new partner. This is something we’ve been advised to do as long as we’ve been advised to use a condom or get regularly checked for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Discussing sexual history consists of asking a new partner how many partners they’ve had in the past, if they know the sexual history of those partners, if they know if their past partners STI status, if they know what their STI status is, and how often they get tested. When applicable, knowing if whether the partner is transgendered (post or pre-operation) should be included in this checklist.

Knowing a partners sexual assignment/reassignment past should be seen in the same category as knowing their sexual history. Just as sexual history questions serve to protect your body from harm, this additional question helps protect not only your body but your emotional and mental health as well. That is “why” Dr. Bradley.

Its not a good idea to have any degree of secrecy and deception that may lead to mistrust in a committed relationship, short or long term. Just as it is a transgendered persons right to adjust their body as they see fit, it is everyone’s right to know the chromosomal makeup of a sexual partner.

Its no big secret that the image of the woman has been dragged through the mud in hip hop over the past 17 years. In the July 2008 edition of Rolling Stone, President Elect Barack Obama call Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, and Ludacris “great talents and great businessmen.” He went on to say, “I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics…It would be nice if I could have my daughters listen to their music without me worrying that they were getting bad images of themselves.”

We have seen this trend move from name calling “bitch” and “ho” to images of women being led around on leashes like animals in the 50 cent video “P.I.M.P.”. However, I think the image of women as conveyed through hip hop is back on the upswing. Artists are realizing that not only women and our elders, but the majority of the population is really getting sick and tired of hearing misogynistic themes and side-notes in music. While flipping through the radio (which I try to do as little as possible) you may hear more positive depictions of females like in Independent by Webbie featuring Soulja Boy and Lil Phat from 3 Deep:

“Independent do you know what that mean?
She got to her own house
She got her own car
Two jobs work hard you a bad broad”

Or perhaps in Ride by Ace Hood ft Trey Songz:

“See mama, all I want you to do is hold it down for me
I want you to be my ride or die
while I go get this money, I promise Im get us out the hood baby”

I know what them girls like by Ludacris ft Chris Brown is another positive example. No these examples are far from perfect and generally don’t leave out their eagerness to get them into bed, but hip hops got to start somewhere.

Rhythm and Blues (R&B) music has consistently been a more woman-loving, baby-making style of music, therefore this trend has not been nearly as apparent. However, songs like Ms. Independent, and the even better Ms. Independent/She got her own Remix with Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, and Fabolous has has overwhelming success and popularity as Ne-Yo attempts to bring focus back to the image of the gentleman. Let’s all hope this is not a fad but is an new attitude that is going to stay.
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Spoil Pets, Not People

January 15, 2009

Pet owners are fed up with the unwarranted criticism of pampering their pets. Why do so many individuals want to hate on good, hardworking, and honest pet owners? The answer is simple. They’re suffering from “my pet received more love from my parents” syndrome. Individuals who suffer from this debilitating disease unfairly treat many pets.

This brings me to my argument. Do I, or do I not have a pampered pet? I have the most wonderful pet in the world. Sure, I think he is very intelligent. As a matter of fact, more intelligent than those who hate on him because he may be just a little more intelligent than they are. At least that’s what I think. Heathcliff, that’s the name of my cat, knows he has to earn his privileged status in our household. Did I just say privileged? He must be loyal, frugal (that means not eating all his food at one setting) and last but not least, be a fierce protector of the house. Cats can do that you know.

Heathcliff is rewarded for accomplishing my expectations by getting his favorite prize, a two or three night stay at Pet Suites. This establishment is one of two luxury pet hotels in the United States. I make sure that Heathcliff has the suite next to the fish tank to keep him amused during his stay. Sometimes, he is treated to a ride around the block in the car. Heathcliff gets very excited when I put a few french fries on top of his tuna once a week. I also make sure that he has his gourmet pet food , Science Diet during his stay. I am teaching Heathcliff to be a “green” conscious feline. I do this by giving him bottled water from environmental friendly plastic bottles. How does a cat know this? It’s the only water he will drink! Sometimes, I dress him in his finest hand made clothes or scarves and let him wear his fancy collar studded with rhinestone bling on special occasions. The best reward that Heathcliff has shown partiality to is his rabbit fur lined bed. The last thing that I do for Heathcliff is to arrange play dates with some of my friends who have cats so he can stay cultured. For a long time, Heathcliff had his own MySpace web page, but he decided to give that up. He just did not want to be that accessible! He’s so posh that he needs his space.

This brings me back to that infamous question at the beginning of this essay. Do I have a pampered pet? Why do so many individuals want to hate on good, hardworking, and honest pet owners? Sure he eats special food and drinks special water and goes to a prestigious pet hotel, sleeps on a rabbit fur lined bed, and eats french fries. Let me know, and you be the judge.

I have chosen to become a naturopathic physician to assist a growing team in offering a safer, all inclusive health practice for all things, worldwide. I am interested in botanical, homeopathic, and Asian medicine, drama therapy, nutrition, and the history of naturopathic medicine.

In my early twenties, I began having innate feelings about how to deal with my own health conditions and concern about how my current healthcare situation was going. I would investigate alternative ways to deal with my most concerning conditions. I did not like the way I felt in my body and mind taking so many prescription drugs. Unfortunately, I did not feel comfortable bringing these concerns to my primary care physician. I was looking for something more without knowing it.

All things, organic and inorganic, suffer from a lack of naturopathic principles and influence. The term holistic in reference to medicine is “characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.” We need all inclusive, conventional, alternative, progressive medicine. I do not believe anyone can fully recover from anything significant without addressing all aspects of the person. We can stimulate our bodies’ natural defenses, first. Finding the safest way to support our bodies into protecting itself should be healthcare’s first concern.

The naturopathic principle that speaks to me most clearly is Do No Harm. This idea lends to truth, honesty, cleanliness, purity and peace. In all aspects, it is the most logical way to live. I prefer natural remedies over synthetic drugs which do not work with our bodies as well as botanicals and herbals. I truly believe living more naturally in every aspect will promote better mental, emotional, and social health. Many have no inclination this is possible. Therefore, it is my obligation to add to this health and healing. The best way for me to do this is to become a physician of naturopathy. I want the opportunity to help in the healing that naturopathic medicine provides.

African-American identities have been perpetually based on lies since the first captive was brought to the Americas. There is no evidence that supports there was ever a class delineation or hostility among household and field slaves, yet this plot has grown to iconic proportions in the Black community even influencing the modern African-American communal identity. The conniving household slave is a myth supported by peer pressure, media popularity, fraudulent, suspect text, and leader endorsement.

There is a constant fear of being seen as a person who oppresses and subjugates your own. The impact and peer pressure evoked by the notion of classism among Blacks is strong. No one wants to be an “Uncle Tom”, or the morally cannibalistic “Sell Out” devouring those like you to get ahead. The household slave and field slave myth even suggest that some people are born to be lapdogs of society, moved and manipulated to do their bidding, for lack of character strength, and common sense.

While I have yet to find any slave narrative support the idea of slave class delineations, they often reference differences among the various labour sects. Most household slaves were female and their jobs were strenuous. They may have kept the longest hours, rising before everyone often beginning their day by milking a dozen cows or more in the dark of the morning. Then resting after everyone at night once preparation and service of dinner and other duties were done. However, it is historically noted that field slaves had the more backbreaking work of the two. In his slave narrative, fugitive slave James Curry notes that not all slaves were “driven” like the field slaves.
“My mother’s labor was very hard. She would go to the house in the morning, take her pail upon her head, and go away to the cow-pen, and milk fourteen cows. She then put on the bread for the family breakfast, and got the cream ready for churning… After I was sixteen, I was put into the field to work in the spring and summer, and in the autumn and winter, I worked in the hatter’s shop with my uncle. We raised on the plantation, principally, tobacco, some cotton, and some grain. We commenced work as soon as we could see in the morning, and worked from that time until 12 o’clock before breakfast, and then until dark, when we had our dinner, and hastened to our night-work for ourselves. We were not driven as field slaves generally are, and yet when I hear people here say they work as hard as the slaves, I can tell them from experience, they know nothing about it.”

In her slave narrative The History of Mary Prince, Prince paints a much more all inclusive work load, where she is demanded to do both household work and field work. This takes place directly after her relatively kind mistress has died, she’s been sold from her mother, and separated from her sister.
“The next morning my mistress set about instructing me in my tasks. She taught me to do all sorts of household work; to wash and bake, pick cotton and wool, and wash floors, and cook. And she taught me (how can I ever forget it!) more things than these; she caused me to know the exact difference between the smart of the rope, the car-whip, and the cow-skin… She was a fearful woman, and a savage mistress to her slaves.”

The household and field slave myth is historically accepted, though not historically noted. This is not to say that there was not conflict and even deception among the slaves. In The Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano, he recounts a time when an elderly slave woman told on him for accidently killing a chicken while he was helping her cook.
“…I happened to toss a small pebble at one of them, which hit it on the middle, and directly killed it. The old slave having soon after missed the chicken, inquired after it; and on my relating the accident (for I told her the truth, because my mother would never suffer me to tell a lie) she flew into a violent passion, threatened that I should suffer for it; and my master being out, she immediately went and told her mistress what I had done. This alarmed me very much, and I expected and instant flogging.”
Equiano goes on to say that he hid in fear all day, expecting to be found and punished, but when he went undiscovered for the better part of the day, everyone assumed he had fled as a runaway. The next morning he is discovered by the elder slave woman and she conspires to help save him from grave punishment.
“She was very much surprised to see me, and could scarcely believe her own eyes. She now promised to intercede for me, and went for her master, who soon after came, and, having slightly reprimanded me, ordered me to be taken care of, and not ill treated.”
In this case, there was no backstabbing because the old lady was a house servant and he was not. They were both working on the same task, she became angry and impetuous, and later helped save him from certain whipping.

Stories of household slaves betraying field slaves inundate media, books, radios, talk shows, songs, and movies. However, there is little to no evidence of these animosities ever taking place. The atrocities of slavery are horrendous, but no where in the narratives of Prince, Curry, or Frederick Douglass are there any account of scheming spies, working in the house, plotting against the others. This household slave Sell Out character does not exist in their time, but modern people believe this sniveling traitor did. The modern Black community has become an instigator in a fight that never took place. How unfortunate for the image of the household slave!

These myths are long-standing. We have black and white footage of formidable leaders, such as Malcolm X, educating and preaching to the masses about the strife between household and field slaves. Warning those in the audience to not act like the household slave, the eager subject of the master.

One of several speeches in Malcolm X Speaks is entitled The House Negro And the Field Negro. Malcolm X begins his speech talking about the federal governments lack of protection for the millions of Blacks in America against such forces as the Ku Klux Klan and the police. Then he goes on to speak about this notion that there has always been two types of Black people in America: The House Negro And the Field Negro.
“Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves, they didn’t kill ‘em, they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. You have to read the history of slavery to understand this.
There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro and the field Negro. And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negro got too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put ‘em back on the plantation.
The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master-in the attic or the basement. He ate the same food his master ate and wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master-good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. That’s why he didn’t want his master hurt.
If the master got sick, he’d say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” When the master’s house caught afire, he’d try and put the fire out. He didn’t want his master’s house burned. He never wanted his master’s property threatened. And he was more defensive of it than the master was. That was the house Negro.
But then you had some field Negroes, who lived in huts, had nothing to lose. They wore the worst kind of clothes. They ate the worst food. And they caught hell. They felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master. Oh yes, they did.
If the master got sick, they’d pray that the master died. If the master’d house caught afire, they’d pray for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two.
And today you still have house Negroes and field Negroes. I’m a field Negro. If I can’t live in the house as a human being, I’m praying for a wind to come along. If the master won’t treat me right and he’s sick, I’ll tell the doctor to go in the other direction. But if all of us are going to live as human beings, as brothers, then I’m for a society of human beings that can practice brotherhood.”

The Willie Lynch Letter is a speech purportedly given by William Lynch on the James River in Virginia in 1712 about how to control slaves in a colony. His advice in large part was to pit slaves against each other based on their differences to squash any unity among them and make them weak in the mind while preserving the body for slave labor. Supposedly, the inferiority was going to be felt psychologically by the slaves and their offspring for more than three hundred years.
“I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little test of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is “Age”, but it is there because it only starts with an “A”; the second is “Color” or shade; there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action–but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration.”

The Willie Lynch Letter supports the notion that slaves were divided into two groups who fought based on differences of class and complexion. There were more than two labour forces of slaves. Besides house and field, what about the welders, the blacksmiths, the hired out slaves, the breeding slaves, and the slaves used as messengers?

The Willie Lynch Letter first appeared on the internet in 1993 after publication in The St. Louis Black Pages a University of Missouri reference librarian posted the text on the library’s server with the warning that its’ origins were not clear. William Jelani Cobb, Ph.D., historian and associate professor of History at Spelman College specializing in post-Civil War African American history, believes the letter is an internet hoax. There has been debate over this though many believe it does not matter if the text is fake or not because the tactics described were certainly used by slave owners to assert more power and manipulate slaves.

Even though the Willie Lynch Letter is absolutely fraudulent, in the 2007 movie The Great Debaters, Denzel Washington’s character Melvin B. Tolson, real life Speech and English professor of Wiley College in Marshall, Texas in the 1920s and 1930s, references the Willie Lynch Letter in 1935.
“Anybody know who Willie Lynch was? Anybody? Raise your hand. He was a vicious slave owner in the West Indies. The slave masters in the colony of Virginia were having trouble controlling their slaves so they sent for Mr. Lynch to teach them his methods. Keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak and dependent on the slave master. Keep the body, take the mind.”

Why is there no objection? What does this mean for Black youth that grow up with no indication that this is all myth and fallacy? Will they live up to low expectations of themselves? What does this mean for Black elders that may in fact be crippling children, and therefore stumbling the community’s hopes for future advancements? Where does a myth like this come from?

While slave narratives lack accounts of field and household slave strife, they are full of accounts of slaves helping each other get by. Through them it is also apparent how the slave owners knew very little about their slaves true feelings and intentions. Mary Prince said, “Oh the Buckra [white] people who keep slaves think that black people are like cattle, without natural affection. But my heart tells me it is far otherwise.” Frederick Douglass’ narrative tells us that slaves would often claim to have a kind master and to being contented with their lives.
“…when inquired of as to their [slaves] condition and the character of their masters, almost universally say they are contented, and that their masters are kind…a still tongue makes a wise head. They suppress the truth rather than take the consequences of telling it… If they have anything to say of their masters, it is generally in their masters’ favor, especially when speaking to an untried man.”

Mary Prince’s recount is full of affection between slaves. Time and time they are helping each other survive and get by. Hetty the slave woman who looks after Mary, and whom she refers to as her Aunt, and the kind Black man Anthony and his wife who feed her on her four week long journey to Turk’s Island, to name a few. She also has tales of confrontation among Blacks. In one case, a bi-racial freedwoman named Martha Wilcox was very unkind to the slaves no matter there labor position.
“Mrs. Wood…hired a mulatto woman to nurse the child; but she was such a fine lady she wanted to be mistress over me. I thought it very hard for a coloured woman to have rule over me because I was a slave and she was free… she was a saucy woman, very saucy; and she went and complained of me, without cause, to my mistress, and made her angry with me… The mulatto woman was rejoiced to have power to keep me down. She was constantly making mischief; there was no living for the slaves- no peace after she came.”
At another time, a slave who had long doled out harshness to other slaves, is very remorseful for the deeds his master has made him do.
“The husband of the woman I went with was a black driver. His name was Henry. He confessed that he had treated the slaves very cruelly; but said that he was compelled to obey the orders of his master. He prayed them all to forgive him, and he prayed that God would forgive him. He said it was a horrid thing for a ranger to have sometimes to beat his own wife or sister; but he must do so if ordered by his master. I felt sorry for my sins also. I cried the whole night…”

History has failed to act as a guide for the present. These myths have become a poor substitute to fill in the blanks on an otherwise scattered history. The Black community clings to these myths because we do not have a solid foundation for our history. We are always seeking our true selfs and our true origins, constantly trying to figure out why this could have possibly happened to us, where we have come from, and where we are going. So much power, influence, manipulation, and contention is wielded by myths. Fights have been waged over accusations of being a Sell Out. The notion that we will always be divided comes from the notion that we have always been divided. If we can attribute some of this to descention between us it may give us a semblance of an answer.

I, like most scientist, believe that global warming is an imminent threat to life on Earth. When predicting the effects of global warming on the Earth over the next century, we must take two scenarios into consideration. First: What will the Earth’s conditions be like if people do nothing? Second: What will the Earth’s conditions be like if people act? Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic about the outcome of either scenario.

Global warming is often called “climate change” because the atmosphere warms due to green house gas emissions, traps heat inside, forcing the Earth to cool. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common emission that makes Earth warmer. It is often released by factory pollution or burning fossil fuels. Trees absorb CO2, but the rainforest is being obliterated. Eleven of the twelve hottest years on record since the invention of the thermometer were between 1995 and 2006. In 650,000 years, CO2 levels never exceeded 300 parts per million (ppm), today we are at 380 ppm. Some scientists speculate that in 91 years (2100) we will be over 500 ppm.

Let’s imagine society as a whole does nothing to stop global warming. Those who don’t believe in global warming often cite that the Earth has only gotten about one degree hotter in the past 60 years and that the atmosphere has sustained severe climate changes in the past such as “The Little Ice Age” of the 17th and 18th centuries that froze the River Thames, the cooling of the Earth during the Jurassic Period, and the warmer climate of Europe during the Middle Ages. This is very distressing to some environmental advocates because regardless of the seemingly slight change in degrees the adverse effects of global warming are very obvious.

The orangutan, polar bear, and tiger are threatened and I predict more animals will become endangered in the next century as a direct result of global warming, and danger to their environments and food sources. Glaciers will melt all over the world causing water levels and temperatures to rise, and more frequent hurricanes and tsunamis. Kilimanjaro has less and less snow on its summit every year, soon it will have none. Shorelines and coastal lands will go under water. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina will be common. Precipitation will be disastrous as some places flood and others drought. We’ve already seen the tsunamis and tornados of Asia and the droughts of Africa. Seasons will deform, birds will hatch before their food, starve, and die. Property rates will skyrocket as people move inland to escape the perilous water. New diseases develop in an eco-system at war with itself and diseased living conditions persist. Like crabs in a barrel, people will scrapple to survive creating a breeding ground for social unrest, marshall law, and starvation when flood waters consume agricultural fields. Worldwide, many of this is already taking place as people continue to die.

Now, let’s imagine that people get on board to save the Earth’s thinning atmosphere. Thanks to celebrity environmental advocates such as former Vice President Al Gore for his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth and Noah Wyle with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for bringing awareness to the public. The more concerned generated on this issue, the better the chance for positive change.

In order for the world to improve, legislation need to ban the manufacture of products we know harm the Earth. We know aerosol cans, gas burning vehicles, and other items damage the ozone, so they shouldn’t be made. Give incentives to live eco-friendly. Tax breaks for those committed to using alternative fuels, renewable solar and wind powered energy, abstaining from aerosol cans, car pooling, using eco-friendly cars, restoring forests, and recycling. Years ago, Al Gore suggested a CO2 tax for companies harming the ozone. Implement a pollution tax to discourage people from polluting. The best thing we can do is try to make the damage as little as possible. These are some of the best solutions available.

I hope and believe the global warming situation will improve eventually, but only if mankind effects change. It took much damage for us to effect the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, but not too much that cannot be undone. However, perhaps it is just too difficult to get everyone to unite on anything. I’m not sure if enough people care to make the drastic changes needed to get it back on track so future generations can enjoy Earth as we’ve known it.