Paradigm Shift

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A paradigm is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas. A paradigm is a way of looking at something.

A paradigm is a new way of looking or thinking about something (individually or as a world view). This word comes up a lot in the academic, scientific, and business worlds. A new paradigm in business could mean how a new process is accomplished way of reaching customers, and making money. In education, relying on lectures is a paradigm: if you suddenly shifted to all group work—that would be a new paradigm. When you change paradigms, you’re changing how you think   about something.

 

Have you ever had someone in your life who still acts like they did when you were in high school high school?  Why does it seem like they have not matured? How about this. You ever ran into a person from your past that wants to remind you of something that happened 15 years ago like it happened yesterday? Wow, why haven’t they moved on? Why are they wallowing in yesterday when today is so beautifully wonderful?

As we age it is important for us to adapt and change. Being able to adapt and change in a constructive way is a sure sign of personal growth and development. When we are children we lived according to the paradigms that are parents model before us and teach us. As we grow a little older we can hold fast to those paradigms or often rebelliously challenge them with zeal. By the time we are adults it’s up to us to determine what’s right for ourselves. The thing is, as we live and are exposed to a variety of experiences, hopefully we gain new knowledge, insight, and understanding about the nuances of living and simply being human.

The new information that we glean along the way should cause us to adjust our approach and outlook on life so that we evolve. There are many defining moments that transform the way we think about life and it circumstances. A defining moment for me came wrapped as a comment a friend made to me during a thought-provoking conversation. He prudently said, “When you know, you don’t have to believe.” His comment was both a gift and a defining moment because it dramatically changed how I thought about EVERYTHING—Thus, I had a paradigm shift. Since then I have had amazing growth spurts accompanied with growing pains but I would not change a thing. We can allow paradigm shifts to make us better and not bitter. The only thing that is certain in life is change so we may as well embrace it and persevere forward.

Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more dificult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurtring to the whole woman        Maya Angelou

.My Authentic Thought:

Paradigm shifts are essential for personal evolution and the likely challenges  that take place during a paradigm shift are well worth the new level of existence that awaits us. Shift your perspective–a  whole new world may be revealed.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Thank you for reading the blog. Express your authentic thoughts. Post a comment.

Being Black in America

 

Being Black in America has different meanings for different people—especially  Black people in particular. The varied perspectives are a direct result of our enslavement in this country and the strides we have made to endure its rippling racist after effects on this continent.

During my journey I have found that for most Europeans or Caucasians being Black is limited to what they learn through media that’s often saturated with propaganda and stereotypes or discover in passing. Recently, I have heard everything from “I am not Black, I am American” to “I represent the new Black.” Some Black people sincerely have a love for Africa, their sun kissed skin, coiled hair and robust history. Additionally, for some of us, family support, education, and financial privileges have helped to find a successful place in America.

On the other hand, some Black people assimilate, doing everything (sometimes subconsciously) to change their appearance so that it’s more European than African with hopes of avoiding oppression. They are embarrassed by Africa and what they think it represents to the world. Further, conformation is usually necessary in order to meet professional European expectations in the work place. Surprisingly, some of us don’t seem to have a problem at all. Is it because ignorance is bliss?  Let’s consider these two questions.

(1) First, is it possible to proudly be both Black and American?  W.E.B Dubois acknowledges the reality of the struggle when he coined the term double consciousness to define the inner conflict experienced by subordinated groups in an oppressive society.

(2) Secondly, does new Black suggest there is an old Black that needs an upgrade? In this twenty-first century is there a right and wrong way to be Black in America? What’s the right perspective?

The videos below share their authentic truth:

Dylan’s Authentic Truth:

Serena’s Authentic Truth:

Akon’s Authentic Truth:

 

Chris Rock’s Authentic Truth:

Eddie Murphy’s Authentic Truth:

 

My authentic thought:

My eyes are wide open. Actually, my vision is clearer now than it has ever been in my life. Walking in denial about the struggles that come along with being Black in America does not change anything. Just because a person does not acknowledge the struggle or believe the struggle exists does not mean it’s not so. However, as frustrating as circumstances become at times, I recognize I must be patient and compassionate with my Black brothers and sisters. The behavior that results from our present state in America is not entirely our fault. Racism is systematic. The oppression comes at us incessantly from many directions and our response to the oppression manifests in myriad of ways.

Therefore, we have a personal responsibility to do what we can to find peace. It is also important to look inward to get to know self and do what we can to evolve in spite of it all.

When the courage comes look backward at history. Then you can understand what is going on around you and know how to navigate the way forward with determination and power.

In love and peace,

Dr. Free

 

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Express your own authentic thoughts:

 

The Good Place: Transition

Journey

Transition is the point between here and there. Here is where we are and there is where we want to be. Some call transition in the meantime, in between time, or the waiting rooms of life. While we are in this space in our journey impatience may lead to frustration and delay has the potential to lead to doubt about the probable fruition of our greatest desires. We may even question our own ability and choices.

Well, I’ve been there and done that over and over again because of my desire to evolve and grow as an individual. There are times when I’ve even welcomed the uncomfortable space of transition. The following has encouraged me. So, I just want to take the time to encourage you and let you know you are in a good place despite how it may feel! You are right where you need to be in the midst of your transition.

This season of preparation and or restoration allows visions and dreams of what will be to bring you comfort. Take a few moments and see yourself in it! Nonetheless do not get so caught up in what will be that you miss the gifts that surround you right now. Take a few minutes—step back and celebrate all the good you see. Good is always there. We can see the good when we have the correct focus. Actually, we usually have more going for us than we seem to have coming against us. In transition, we have a reason to believe and hold on to hope. A heart of expectation is what keeps us moving forward.

Everyone rejoices over the beauty of the rose blossom. Were the other stages not just as beautiful?  Do not the buds have beauty as well? Don’t the branches and thorns serve a purpose? What would a rose branch be without a thorn? When we look beyond circumstance we can clearly discover the significant beauty that surrounds us.

Indeed there is a gift in awkwardness and a blessing in pain. In their absence we might not awaken to something better nor recognized the need for change.  Feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place builds perseverance and stick-to-it-tiveness. In difficult times we learn more about our own weaknesses and perceived strengths. Transition teaches us how to be adaptable, tolerable, and accepting. From transitional times we learn to appreciate the process that it takes to bring about change. These lessons grant us the wisdom we need to make choices—learning the difference between good choices, better choices and what’s best for us.

Transition can come in different forms—it may be mental, spiritual, or physical. They could happen at different times or in a perfect storm. The good news is during transition we have the opportunity to experience the most growth. Think about it. You may not have not arrived where you want to be but at least you’ve left from where you began.

Make the most of this time in transition. Keep your heart filled with gratitude. Know transition is necessary. There is a wealth of significant goodness necessary for the journey you’ll need to have in your possession when you arrive…..there. Anyway, I’ve lived long enough to discover the journey is the destination.

 

End of journey

Be encouraged,

Dr. Free

 

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Share your authentic thoughts…Post a comment. 

Inferiority Part 3

As slaves we were brought to America naked in the hulls of ships chained in our own excrement. Our families were ripped apart. Parents and siblings were sold off as property. Men were raped by other men, castrated and hung. Women were also raped and tortured. Both men and women were bred like animals. Our ancestors worked incessantly as if they were machines under the duress of overseers in cotton, tobacco, and sugar cane fields. Humiliation and domination of Africans was common. Subsequently, we lived in a state of constant fear. We never received any counseling or therapeutic intervention regarding this matter. Typically, we just went to church to honor a God that did not look like us.  John Henrik Clarke said, “When you accept a picture of a deity assigned to you by another people you become  spiritual prisoners of that people.” So our struggles, post traumatic slave syndrome, and its reverberative effects continue to prevail and has spanned for generations.  Which fortifies the construct of African inferiority and white supremacy.

Race was a concept that was created to distinguish between people with melanin and people without. There is one race of people—the human race. Race determined who was a slave and who was not a slave. Race determined who was worthy of respect and who was not. In the motherland we were Africans but when we arrived to the New World our name and identity changed dramatically and forever. However, racism is the control of power enforced to appropriate the respect of Caucasians or those of European decent and disrespect of non-Caucasians.

Now we have African-Americans who have been deprived by an oppressive people and subsequent an oppressive system. Some may say as a twenty-first century Caucasian today I have enslaved no one. The question is though do they benefit from the system of white supremacy? Secondly, why did Caucasians deem it necessary to deprive us if we are so genetically inferior? I resolve that African-Americans are not inferior and never have been! The remarkable record of our ancestral world history including America before Native Americans and Columbus came proves it. We are not inferior and Caucasians are not superior. However, the system  of white supremacy in place motivated by fear suggests otherwise.

My Authentic thought:

Despite centuries of pain and trauma we are a resilient people. Victory is within reach for all who desire to obtain it through knowledge of self. Knowledge of self births self love which in turn brings about love for our African community. Our ancestors first taught how important it is to know thyself.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Express yourself. Post your authentic thoughts.

In peace and love,

Dr. Free

Inferiority Part 2

colonization pic

The Europeans took upon themselves the responsibility of civilizing us. In their eyes our differences in comparison to them were barbaric—we were less than human. We were heathens in need of a Savior they were glad to provide. How else could they justify their actions and feeling like a savage themselves other than by convincing themselves that their violently horrendous actions toward us were necessary to save our souls? Dr. John Henrik Clarke stated, “Religion is the organization of spirituality into something that became the hand maiden of conquerors. Nearly all religions were brought to people by conquerors, and used as the framework to control their minds.” Dr. Joy de Gury Leary shares life changing knowledge in this video. Your life is worth listening to every minute.

 

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Express yourself. Post your authentic thoughts.

In peace and love,

Dr. Free

Inferiority Part 1

From KINGS and QUEENS to slaves

The second time Africans came to the continent of what we now call America, we were brought to this country against our will as slaves about 1619. Since that time we have been engaged in a relentless battle to strive and survive. I have spoken to many African-Americans and Caucasians who think the conversation of slavery is no longer necessary. I disagree.  Until we commit to thoroughly examining and understanding what happened behind us we cannot understand what is going on around us right now. In this country African-Americans are considered inferior and we often feel that way due to our horrendous beginning in this country.

As slaves in this country we were forced to denounce every aspect of our culture.  We were from a thriving civilization. Africans then had their own written and spoken language, ceremonial and spiritual practices, rites of passage, and family structure. We were inventive and accomplished explorers, buliders and laborers. However, we forced to hate our roots and forget it all.  The video below with Dr. Asa Hillard does an excellent job presenting a snapshot of these truths.

Malcolm X said it best “You can’t hate the roots of the tree without ending up hating the tree. You can’t hate your origin without ending up hating yourself. You can’t hate the land, your motherland, the place that you come from, and we can’t hate Africa without ending up hating ourselves. The Black man in the Western Hemisphere—North America, Central America, South America, and in the Caribbean—is the best example of how one can be made, skillfully, to hate himself that you can find anywhere on this earth.”

The result of slavery and the stripping of our culture is an inferiority complex. Reluctantly, we submitted to slavery as a means of survival. Slaves who did not submit were sold, beaten mercilessly, or murdered. In slavery we acknowledged a lifestyle that did not esteem us. From the inception of slavery in America we would never be able to duplicate ourselves, carry out our true African identity nor have a place we could call home. The centuries of torture that we experienced in this country as a group of people is unfathomable. Slavery, Black Codes, and Jim Crow segregation are just seminal events for the more advanced demonstrations of white supremacy we experience today. It is remarkable that we are still here which speaks to the inherent greatness that we possess.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Express yourself. Post your authentic thoughts.

In peace and love,

Dr. Free

 

Art or Not?

Somewhere along my journey I heard that art is supposed to imitate life. If that’s true, an artist doesn’t have to make art real. The reality of life will intrinsically shine through within the art form.

If art is an imitation of real life experiences, how are artistic expressions validated? Who knows the endless spectrum of the variety of experiences an individual may or may not have in his or her life that bring about certain artistic expressions. Further, if our reality is shaped by social conditioning, is it still our reality or a delusion that we have accepted as reality due to cluelessness of the possibility for anything better? The Huffington Post October 2013, reported one in three Black men will go to prison in their lifetime. Is this their reality or a reality that is shaped by systematic oppression and racism? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/racial-disparities-criminal-justice_n_4045144.html. The slide show revelas the historical plight of the Black man in America which has shaped thier present reality.

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Further, have we abused art by using the stage, camera or microphone as platform for political messages as we exercise freedom of speech? Is there a thin line between artistic expression and public protest? Let’s consider this. Perhaps the definition of art depends upon cultural interpretation which in turn may change the definition of art in its entirety. For example, Janice E. Hale-Benson writes in the book Black Children: Their roots, culture, and learning styles describes the differences in Afro-American and Euro-American performer/audience styles that illustrate pervasiveness of artistic expression in the Black community.

“For the African-American the energy is called into play by the performer and his performance. The performer is regarded as the instigator of action only. He is appreciated for his ability to bring the group into the performance, thus sharing the energy source. In contrast, the Euro-American culture vitality comes from within the performer.  His energies and abilities are drawn out and focused upon by the audience.  He is appreciated for his virtuosity. He leads them by the hand”

As undervalued and marginalized African-Americans in this society do we have a personal responsibility to offer artistic expression that selectively promotes specific images about our community? Since statistics state 75% of Caucasians have no personal relationships with African-Americans are we responsible for always representing our best selves? As adults do we not have the freedom to live our lives on our own terms?

Much of current programming that caters to African-American audiences is categorized by some as coonery and buffoonery. Coonery and buffoonery are antics and behavior displayed in such a manner as to perpetuate black stereotypes and or ideologies of white superiority and African-American inferiority.  Carefully examine the pictures below. Are they coonery and buffoonery or artistic expressions? Perhaps, you think none of the above.

In peace and love,

Dr. Free

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Express your authentic thoughts. Post a comment.