INSPIRATIONAL

  • Albert Einstein, Civil Rights activist

    Here’s something you probably don’t know about Albert Einstein.

    In 1946, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the alma mater of Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall and the first school in America to grant college degrees to blacks. At Lincoln, Einstein gave a speech in which he called racism “a disease of white people,” and added, “I do not intend to be quiet about it.” He also received an honorary degree and gave a lecture on relativity to Lincoln students.

    The reason Einstein’s visit to Lincoln is not better known is that it was virtually ignored by the mainstream press, which regularly covered Einstein’s speeches and activities. (Only the black press gave extensive coverage to the event.) Nor is there mention of the Lincoln visit in any of the major Einstein biographies or archives.

    In fact, many significant details are missing from the numerous studies of Einstein’s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein’s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans.

    That these omissions need to be recognized and corrected is the contention of Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, authors of “Einstein on Race and Racism” (Rutgers University Press, 2006). Jerome and Taylor spoke April 3 at an event sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The event also featured remarks by Sylvester James Gates Jr., the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland.

    According to Jerome and Taylor, Einstein’s statements at Lincoln were by no means an isolated case. Einstein, who was Jewish, was sensitized to racism by the years of Nazi-inspired threats and harassment he suffered during his tenure at the University of Berlin. Einstein was in the United States when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and, fearful that a return to Germany would place him in mortal danger, he decided to stay, accepting a position at the recently founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He became an American citizen in 1940.

    But while Einstein may have been grateful to have found a safe haven, his gratitude did not prevent him from criticizing the ethical shortcomings of his new home.

    “Einstein realized that African Americans in Princeton were treated like Jews in Germany,” said Taylor. “The town was strictly segregated. There was no high school that blacks could go to until the 1940s.”

    Einstein’s response to the racism and segregation he found in Princeton (Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, called it “the northernmost town in the South”) was to cultivate relationships in the town’s African-American community. Jerome and Taylor interviewed members of that community who still remember the white-haired, disheveled figure of Einstein strolling through their streets, stopping to chat with the inhabitants, and handing out candy to local children.

    One woman remembered that Einstein paid the college tuition of a young man from the community. Another said that he invited Marian Anderson to stay at his home when the singer was refused a room at the Nassau Inn.

    Einstein met Paul Robeson when the famous singer and actor came to perform at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre in 1935. The two found they had much in common. Both were concerned about the rise of fascism, and both gave their support to efforts to defend the democratically elected government of Spain against the fascist forces of Francisco Franco. Einstein and Robeson also worked together on the American Crusade to End Lynching, in response to an upsurge in racial murders as black soldiers returned home in the aftermath of World War II.

    The 20-year friendship between Einstein and Robeson is another story that has not been told, Jerome said, but that omission may soon be rectified. A movie is in the works about the relationship, with Danny Glover slated to play Robeson and Ben Kingsley as Einstein.

    Einstein continued to support progressive causes through the 1950s, when the pressure of anti-Communist witch hunts made it dangerous to do so. Another example of Einstein using his prestige to help a prominent African American occurred in 1951, when the 83-year-old W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the NAACP, was indicted by the federal government for failing to register as a “foreign agent” as a consequence of circulating the pro-Soviet Stockholm Peace Petition. Einstein offered to appear as a character witness for Du Bois, which convinced the judge to drop the case.

    Gates, an African-American physicist who has appeared on the PBS show Nova, said that Einstein had been a hero of his since he learned about the theory of relativity as a teenager, but that he was unaware of Einstein’s ideas on civil rights until fairly recently.

    Einstein’s approach to problems in physics was to begin by asking very simple, almost childlike questions, such as, “What would the world look like if I could drive along a beam of light?” Gates said.

    “He must have developed his ideas about race through a similar process. He was capable of asking the question, ‘What would my life be like if I were black?’”

    Gates said that thinking about Einstein’s involvement with civil rights has prompted him to speculate on the value of affirmative action and the goal of diversity it seeks to bring about. There are many instances in which the presence of strength and resilience in a system can be attributed to diversity.

    “In the natural world, for example, when a population is under the influence of a stressful environment, diversity ensures its survival,” Gates said.

    On a cultural level, the global influence of American popular music might be attributed to the fact that it is an amalgam of musical traditions from Europe and Africa.

    These examples have led him to conclude that “diversity actually matters, independent of the moral argument.” Gates said he believes “there is a science of diversity out there waiting for scholars to discover it.”

     

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  • Black Lives Matter supporter carries injured ‘far-right protester’ to safety

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    Defining "RACISM":  The Power Factor
    In our experience, anti-racism education is a (rewarding and transformative) process that involves integrating an analysis of history and systemic/institutional processes with personal and particular, and often-emotional experience.
    As you introduce ways of understanding racism, for example, you are likely to be asked a number of questions based on participants' particular experiences, incidents, locations, and perspectives; you are very likely to find that white participants will be very anxious to show that they are not racist, or do not "mean" to be. You may be asked questions such as the following:
    • "If I notice someone's skin colour is different from mine, is that racist?"

    • "Can people of colour and Indigenous people be racist towards white people?"

    • "What if I didn't mean to be racist? Is it still racism?"

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    Understanding that power is the primary feature of racism is key.

     An effective, brief definition of racism that works very well as a visual aid, and focal point for discussion, is this:

    Racism = Racial Prejudice + Power     

    By Racial Prejudice we mean: a set of discriminatory or derogatory attitudes based on assumptions deriving from perceptions about race/skin colour.

    Despite discourses to the contrary—we live in a society that is structured as a hierarchy. (See our definitions of Colour-Blindness/ Colour Evasion and Democratic/Liberal Racism). An expression of racial prejudice (in words and/or actions) always originates from somewhere on this hierarchy, and is directed at someone/a group in another location on the hierarchy.

    By Power we mean: the authority granted through social structures and conventions—possibly supported by force or the threat of force—and access to means of communications and resources, to reinforce racial prejudice, regardless of the falsity of the underlying prejudiced assumption. Basically, all power is relational, and the different relationships either reinforce or disrupt one another.

    The importance of the concept of power to anti-racism is clear: racism cannot be understood without understanding that power is not only an individual relationship but a cultural one, and that power relationships are shifting constantly. Regardless of the type of power, including socially-imbued power, all can be used malignantly and intentionally. However, this need not be the case as individuals within a culture may benefit from power of which they are unaware. 

    Racism:

    • occurs when an expression of Racial Prejudice emerges from a more powerful/privileged location in the hierarchy, and is directed at an individual/group in a less powerful/privileged location;

    • occurs where the target of the prejudice has less power than the perpetrator;

    • is top-down;

    • is an exercise of power;

    • refers not only to social attitudes towards non-dominant ethnic and racial groups but also to social structures and actions which oppress, exclude, limit and discriminate against such individuals and groups. Such social attitudes originate in and rationalize discriminatory treatment;

    • can be seen in discriminatory laws, residential segregation, poor health care, inferior education, unequal economic opportunity and the exclusion and distortion of the perspectives of non-dominant Canadians in cultural institutions (Thomas, 1987);

    • refers to “a system in which one group of people exercises power over another on the basis of skin colour; an implicit or explicit set of beliefs, erroneous assumptions, and actions based on an ideology of the inherent superiority of one racial group over another, and evident in organizational or institutional structures and programs as well as in individual thought or behaviour patterns.

    RACISM = RACIAL PREJUDICE + POWER

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  • You can't read peoples minds so STOP making Assumptions (We have to speak)

     

    Never underestimate a person’s challenges. Everyone is struggling. Some are just better at hiding it than others.

    Too often we judge people too quickly, or too subjectively. We tell ourselves stories about them without thinking it through—our perceptions and biases get the best of us.

    “…I learned the hard way that a smile can hide so much—that when you look at a person you never know what their story is or what’s truly going on in their life. This harsh reality became evident to me when my best friend at work —died by suicide. Why? Nobody seems to know. And it’s killed me inside.”

    Talk about a reality check, right?

    What we tell ourselves about others—what we think we know—is often far from the truth.

    And with that in mind, I’m sitting here reflecting on all the little things we have to stop assuming about other people, for their sake and ours…

    1. We need to stop assuming that the happiest people are simply the ones who smile the most. – Behind the polite smiles and greetings people give you, some are hurting and lonely. Don’t just come and go. See them. Care. Share. Listen. Love. We can’t always see people’s pain, but they can always feel our kindness. So be kinder than necessary.
    2. We need to stop assuming that the people we love and respect won’t disappoint us. – When we expect perfection we tend to overlook goodness. And the truth is, no one is perfect. At times, the confident lose confidence, the patient misplace their patience, the generous act selfish, and the informed second-guess what they know. It happens to all of us too. We make mistakes, we lose our tempers, and we get caught off guard. We stumble, we slip, and we fall sometimes. But that’s the worst of it… we have our moments. Most of the time we’re pretty darn good, despite our flaws. So treat the people you love accordingly—give them the space to be human.
    3. We need to stop assuming that the people who are doing things differently are doing things wrong. – We all take different roads seeking fulfillment, joy, and success. Just because someone isn’t on your road, doesn’t mean they are lost.
    4. We need to stop assuming that the people we disagree with don’t deserve our compassion and kindness. – The exact opposite is true. The way we treat people we strongly disagree with is a report card on what we’ve learned about love, compassion, kindness and humility.
    5. We need to stop assuming that we can’t trust people we don’t know. – Some people build too many walls in their lives and not enough bridges. Don’t be one of them. Open yourself up. Take small chances on people. Let them prove your doubts wrong, gradually, over time.
    6. We need to stop assuming that the rude people of the world are personally targeting us. – We can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of us. They do things because of them. And there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to us when we detach from other people’s behaviors. So just remember, the way others treat you is their problem, how you react is yours.
    7. We need to stop assuming that other people are our reason for being unhappy, unsuccessful, etc. – We may not be able control all the things people say and do to us, but we can decide not to be reduced by them. We can choose to forgive, or we can choose to forget. We can choose to stay, or we can choose to go. We can choose whatever helps us grow. There’s always a positive choice to make. Thus, the only real, lasting conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself… and how you choose to respond… and the daily rituals you choose to follow.

     

     

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  • Have you ever noticed how positive people are happy people and negative people are miserable?

    Some people are in such utter darkness that they will burn you just to see a light. Try not to take it personally.

     

     

    You can’t live a positive life around negative people.

    Sadly, some people are so entrenched in seeing the negative side of things that they leave zero room for positive things to grow.  People like this inhabit our families, work environments and social circles.  It can be emotionally draining just being around them, and you must be careful because their negative attitudes and opinions are venomous and contagious.  Negativity perpetuates itself, breeds dissatisfaction and clutters the mind.  And when the mind is cluttered with negativity, happiness is hard to come by.

    Ignore these people and move on from them when you must.  Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough!  Letting go of negative people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it just means you care about your own well-being.  Because every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive.

    Here are seven such people you might need to put on your ignore list:

    1.  The hopelessly hostile drama queen.

    Some people love to stir up controversy and drama for no apparent reason.  Don’t buy in to their propaganda.  Stay out of other people’s drama and don’t needlessly create your own.

    Don’t spew hostile words at someone who spews them at you.  Keep your composure and replace the stink of confrontation with the fragrance of resolution.  The louder the opposition wants to yell, and the more drama they want to stir, the calmer and more confidently you need to think and speak.  Don’t let them get to you.

    Be an example of a pure existence; ignore their outlandish antics and focus on kindness.  Communicate and express yourself from a place of peace, from a place of love, with the best intentions.  Use your voice for good – to inspire, to encourage, to educate, and to spread the notions of compassion and understanding.

    When someone insists on foisting their hostility and drama on you, ignore them and walk away.

    2.  The person you have failed to please a hundred times before.

    Some people are impossible to please; you will not be able to break through to them no matter what you do.  Accept this harsh as a fact of life.

    Throughout your lifetime some people will discredit you, disrespect you and treat you poorly for no apparent reason at all.  Don’t consume yourself with trying to change them or win their approval.  And don’t make any space in your heart to hate them.  Simply walk away and let karma deal with the things they do, because any bit of time you spend on them will be wasted, and any bit of hate and aggravation in your heart will only hurt you.  (Read Love and a Beautiful Mind.)

    3.  The naysayer who always dumps on your dreams.

    Stop giving credit to those who discredit your dreams.  These people are punishing your potential by slowly extinguishing your inner flame with their watered down vision of what you are capable of achieving.

    If you give in and let their negativity convince you of who you are, their madness will wither you away.  You will morph into who they say you are, rather than living honestly as yourself.  In this way, these people will steal your life from you.  You will lose track of where their opinion ends and your reality begins.  Their fiction will become your life’s story.

    What you’re capable of is not a function of what others think is possible for you.  So look beyond their presumptions and mental limitations, and connect with your own best vision of what YOU are capable of and how YOUR life can be.  Life, after all, is an open-ended journey, and 99% what you achieve comes directly from what you work to achieve on a daily basis.

    4.  The manipulator.

    Beware of manipulators, or bullies, who try to use their negativity to intimidate and manipulate your thoughts.  If you observe them from a distance, you will realize that these people are often overly self-referential.  In other words, the people around them (YOU) fit into their plan simply based on how they can be used or manipulated for their own personal gain.

    These people routinely prioritize their own feelings and needs over and above everyone else’s.  They will demand that you bend over to help them, but if, heaven forbid, you need help, they will not be able to stand it.

    Bottom line:  Some people will say and do anything, thoughtlessly, to get others to do what they want them to do.  Do not accept this behavior as normal.  When someone tries to bully you, stand up for yourself and say, “Not so fast, buddy!  Your delusion of superiority is your problem, not mine.”  And if they refuse to reason with you, walk away without a fight. 

    5.  The stubborn one who insists you should be someone else.

    In the long run, it’s always better to be disrespected for who you are than respected for who you are not.  In fact, the only relationships that work well are the ones that make you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself, and without preventing you from outgrowing the person you used to be.

    Unfortunately, families and old friends often fail to recognize how you’ve changed and grown over the years.  They also tend to label you in an unfair way based on who you used to be; and it’s easy to end up conforming to these labels because you remember when they were true.  

    What’s important to remember is that you’re the only person in the world who knows what’s happening inside your head right now.  People who don’t know you well may assume you’re someone else entirely.  And people who think they know you well may have pigeonholed you – but you know there’s more to you than what they see.

    When you ignore their opinions and decide to be who you are, instead of who they want you to be, you open yourself up to real love, real happiness, and real success.  There is no need to put on a mask.  There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not.

    You don’t have control over what others think about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize their opinions.  Leave them to their own judgments.  Don’t feel threatened and don’t conform just to please them.  Let people love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be.  Or let them walk away if they choose.  They can’t harm you either way; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours. 

    6.  The unforgiving friend who refuses to forgive you for your mistakes.

    The most honorable thing is not to never make mistakes, but to admit to them when you do make them, and then to follow through and do your best to make the wrong things right.

    Mistakes are part of growing.  They are a natural part of every worthwhile endeavor.

    If someone refuses to support you as you grow beyond your past mistakes, they are now the one that’s making a mistake.  Holding on to the unchangeable past is a waste of energy and serves no purpose in creating a better day today.  If someone continuously judges you by your past, holds it against you, and refuses to forgive you, you might have to repair your present and future by leaving them behind.

    7.  The inner critic.

    Boom!  Look who stepped in the room. You.  Wake-up call!  Yes, sadly, the inner critic is inside YOU.

    Unrelenting self-criticism often goes hand in hand with unhappiness and anxiety, and it’s completely unjustified.  There is no reason to be your own biggest critic – to harp on yourself for your shortcomings.  All you really need is the courage to be yourself.  Your real value is rooted in who you are, not who you aren’t.

    The flaws you often see in yourself are only the qualities of your own individuality.  There is something unique and special about you.  You are different.  You will never be as good as someone else, and they will never be as good as you.  Just as no two snowflakes are alike, your fingerprints are different from every other being on Earth.  You are meant to be different.  You are here to express who you are and enjoy what you have at this very moment.  When you accept this, there is no reason to compare yourself to someone or something you aren’t.  There is nothing for the inner critic to complain about.

    Every morning when you wake up, think of three things that are going well in YOUR life at the moment.  As you fall asleep every night, fill your mind with an appreciation for all the small things that went well during the day.  Examine the goodness that is YOUR life, and let your inner critic overhear the five-star reviews about YOU.

    Gooood morning 

     

     

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  • Love At first Sight

    This is a Chapter from my book - Love and a beautiful mind.

    Click on picture to get the amazon link to my book. I hope you like. 

     

    The best day of my life was the day I was introduced to Roucheon by our 23 years’ mutual friend ‘( SKILLZ)’. Roucheon is a beautiful girl born in a Zimbabwean family. However, she was no less than royalty, she was expected to marry a wealthy white/mixed boy to live in splendour and grandeur with, while I was expected to marry a nice Nigerian woman. I honestly truly say that when I met Roucheon, it was love at first sight although Abdul liked Roucheon, but the moment he introduced us he lost any chance of getting with her.

     

    Whatever the chemical process that happens to a person when they fall in Love happened to me and for some reason, I felt like my body forgot to turn off that chemical spark.  On this day of meeting Roucheon, I can honestly and truly say I literally lost my mind, she was perfect.  I had seen her once before at a party in Stockwell and I remember staring at her from across the room all night, and I mean all night!!  It was as if magic had filled the room. She was stunning, and I was fixated as she moved around the room and got everyone’s attention without saying a word.  She had an intoxicating aura, her body was incredible, ‘banging’ In fact!

     

    Such beauty and her eyes were intensely irresistible.  She seemed to shift the atmosphere and I was instantly drawn into her world. I was with my crew from ‘Dick Sheppard School’ and I did not have the guts to speak to her at the party because I was too shy to approach her.  I also did not want her to blank me making me look foolish in front of my friends.  She had the attention of all the men in the room, so I knew I stood zero chance with her.  I was wearing a hoody staring at her while leaning on the wall with a screw face, falling in love while wishing I could remove every man in the room who tried to talk to her.  She commanded my full attention and I did not even know this girl, but I knew I wanted her.  The setting was almost like a movie.

     

    Everyone dancing and me staring at this beautiful girl while guys were trying to dance with her, she was mesmerising.  I thought she could see me too but back then I was very intimidating. I protected myself with my guarded demeanour, still holding on to the agreement I made with myself to never let anyone disrespect me. This is going to sound crazy, but from the moment I first set eyes on her I was unable to stop thinking about her from the party.  I knew what she looked like, but I never knew her name. A few weeks later there was a knock on my door, my friend came to visit, and I was in utter sock and had to do a double take when I saw her stood beside him. She is at my house shaking my hand not recognizing my face.

     

    I could not believe the reality and automatically tried to be impressive and cool because this time I had her full attention in my environment and I had to think fast of how to maximise my opportunity with her. She looked even more beautiful than I remembered, and I couldn’t help but stare. Everything about her was captivating, even when she spoke her voice was a soothing seductive yet warm embrace that I wanted to get lost in. How could I feel so disorientated within me, just being in her presence, I felt reduced and empowered all at the same time because she had the ability to affect the environment effortlessly, this was clear.  I was perplexed, and my feelings were all over the place.  I tried to hold it down because I didn’t want to disrespect my friend Abdul who had brought her to my house.  Her presence at my home was mind blowing, I remember us staring at each other for far too long while Abdul was not looking. 

     

    I don’t think the sparks were flying, I became the spark in the air.  I had not spoken to her much just shook her hand, but we kept making eye contact and looking away embarrassed at the number of times our eyes met. I remember Abdul and Roucheon coming up to my bedroom as I had a small home studio setup with a microphone, turntables and a lot of instrumentals on vinyl.  Analysing her body language, I knew she was impressed by my collection. 

    Abdul was a member of my Dick Sheppard friends and we were like a gang with the rest of my fellas.  The guys would bring many girls around my house when my mum was at work.  They had so many girls around but as I was analysing these girls I always found faults or flaws in their characters; well I knew the kind of girl I wanted to be with from a very earlier age. At that time, my focus was on hustling and making money but when I saw Roucheon, I was very interested to see the kind of girl she was, and I started analysing her that very day. I started watching every part of her, from her body to her beautiful eyes, from the tone of her voice to her physical attractiveness. She carried a majestic presence that commanded my attention, she was so sexy and that was irresistible to me. She was soft spoken and had a calming vibe, gentle yet powerful enough to have me in awe. Being that close to her that day, confirmed my desire for her.

     

    I watched her lips as she spoke with gentleness and maturity, I am not even sure if I heard the words as I watched her speak but I felt them, intentional and I was completely besotted.  She had curly hair gelled down to her forehead to create a style of some sort. She carried herself with respect and her beauty surpassed all the girls I had ever seen in my studio. Everyone that knows Roucheon can testify that she moves like a goddess; she is the essence of beauty and power. She was really into music, so she wanted to listen to my mix tape and she showed interest in hearing me rap.

    I could see Abdul was not happy because this date was not going per plan.  We jammed for a while and Roucheon and Abdul left.  I would see Roucheon on and off for the next month but strangely we never really spoke to each other.  She did introduce me to one of her girlfriends who I became close with at another party, but the friend immediately knew that there was something unspoken going on between Roucheon and I.

     

    She could sense how I felt about Roucheon and that I was unsure of how to approach Roucheon to get her number. The friend gave me Roucheon’s number and she suggested that I call her.  I am guessing Roucheon must have spoken to her about me too and our initial introduction.  I think it took me a couple of days before I called.  When I finally called her, my heart was racing, and I remember saying ‘can I speak to Rosha’ and she corrected me laughing saying “my name is pronounced Ro shen” even the sound of her voice made my heart jump, everything about my encounter with Roucheon was unreal in my mind it felt like a movie.

     

    This girl was too good to be true! That first night we spoke over the phone from 7 in the evening to 7 in the morning, back then we both had our T-Mobile mercury 1 to 1 phone.  It was like a flame was ignited and with every conversation we had after that day it became more intense.  Roucheon was and still is such a loveable person. She was not your average 17-year-old girl, her words were beyond her age, she was deeply insightful, intelligent, influential even, in the smallest ways, everything about her intrigued me and she was clueless as to what effect she had on guys.

    This shy young gorgeous chick made guys stop and stare with her beautiful figure and sweet nature.  A guy even crashed his car staring at Roucheon.  I fell in love at first sight if there is such a thing, it felt like all my senses had some greater intensity like Superman. Colours seemed brighter, sounds more resonant and smell more powerful, there was no way I would encounter Roucheon and not become deeply intoxicated.  Each day I woke up with anticipation and could not wait to see her.

    Lesson learned

     

    Once you get serious in your relationship one of the most exciting things is discovering the unknown.  Curiosity really keeps us moving forward, but one must learn to properly manage curiosity.  The first part of a serious relationship is primarily about the discovery of your partner’s entire aura. Once you know everything about them, where do you turn for a source of excitement? The answer is quite simple. Discover new things and create new experiences together. The only thing more fulfilling than a new experience is the act of sharing that same experience with someone else. In the case of myself and Roucheon, music was an amazing foundation. Stop looking for the perfect relationship. You will end up spending your entire life hopelessly seeking the right lover and the right friends if you expect them to be perfect. Even worse, the process of doing so will drive you mad.

     

    The fantasy of perfection is not real. We are all imperfect in some way. You yourself are imperfect in many ways, and you seek out relationships with people who are imperfect in complementary ways. It takes a lot of life experience to grow fully into yourself and realize your own imperfections, and it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest imperfections, your unsolvable flaws, the ones that truly define who you are that you can proficiently select harmonious relationships. Only then do you finally know what you are looking for. You are looking for imperfect people who balance you out. “The perfectly imperfect person for you.”

     

     

     

     

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