Murmurs

murmurs

In my opinion when a group of people make a statement saying “We don’t believe our lives matter” and any response other than, “Of course, you do matter” is inhumane. It is inappropriate to choose that moment to state all the other lives which matter instead of addressing the pain that is currently being verbalized.

I am personally perplexed that people can shed tears over a dead dog or pretend to care about orphans in south east Asia or Africa when there is a whole generation of kids in your backyard who don’t believe their lives matter.

I have met several people in academia who believe that the overall response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been inappropriate to say the least but they will never say something in public for fear of offending someone else’s feelings. As Alain de  Botton so appropriately stated, “Many people in the intellectual elite are very scared of shouting. They insist on very quiet murmurs”.

murmurs

Personally, I never want to become so educated or get a title so important that I fail to respond to a fellow human’s cry for help.

Too educated

So let me emphatically say it; Black Lives Matter! You do matter to me at least. Of course other lives matter, white lives, Asian lives, Hispanic lives, Police lives etc, etc, But that is not the question at hand. The issue at hand is, a certain demographic in the United States feels systematically marginalized and targeted by law enforcement. And when they make a statement as a way of affirming themselves, any other response other than yes you do matter is WRONG! We as a people were provided with an opportunity to respond and we failed, the political leaders failed, the civic leadership failed, even the church failed.

So here is my advice to all the proponents of human rights in third world countries from the United States.  Before you condemn another dictator’s leadership and assert yourself as the self appointed  human rights police force for the rest of the world it would be nice to address the issues you have in your own backyard. Such as, the fact that a good percentage of your population is actually questioning whether or not their lives matter.  To all the awesome people who love travelling around the world to make a difference in the lives of other children 10,000 miles away, would you please consider addressing the issues here at home as well?

Disclosures: I happen to be black and I am also a part of the academia who ignorantly only voiced my disapproval in murmurs. Well, not anymore!

I leave you with a quote from Gaston Bachelard “The subconscious is ceaselessly murmuring, and it is by listening to these murmurs that one hears the truth”.

murmurs1

I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friendfamily member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

 

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Dogs are people too!

dog
Dogs are people too!

As a Black woman in living in the state of Washington, I have very little opportunity to interact with minorities of  all backgrounds. When I first moved to Seattle approximately 3 years ago, I was excited to live in a city which was socially liberal. This was a welcome breath of fresh air after leaving the deep south. For the most part I love this city and it is one of my favorite places to live in the US (with the exception of New England).

However, there are a few things that I must deal with but I am struggling to understand as I acclimate to Seattle. The most prominent thing being their love for dogs and animals. I grew up in West Africa and we grew up with pets (mostly dogs, cats and one bunny- who disappeared under suspicious circumstances). Recently, in conversation in with one of my neighbors I asked her to clean up after her dogs and she went into this litany about dog rights and animal rights. In summary, she equated the life of a dog to the life of humans and I am paraphrasing here but what I surmised from her argument was; “Dogs are people too”. I was so flabbergasted that I just started laughing hysterically.

All joking aside, I struggle with the fact that certain Seattlelites express more compassion over a dead dog than they do for black men being gunned downed and murdered by police officers. I find these views really disturbing especially living in a state that is a liberal as Washington state. I can only imagine what people living in more conservative states must be going through.

For so long, the Black community has had to live with the systematic portrayal of black people in general and black men in particular as animals in the media. I wonder if the Black Lives Matter movement will make more headway if they acquiesced and said yes “we are animals” and just let PETA take up their cause. PETA certainly seems to be getting their message heard.

Recently, I was taking with one of my Caucasian friends and she mentioned the the Netflix show “The Man In the High Castle” and she tried to imagine what life would be like in America if Hitler and the Nazis had won the war. I calmly informed her that for some groups very little had changed since the war namely for the Black community and other minority groups. Some groups don’t have to imagine an alternate reality if Nazi’s had won the world, we are living in an alternate especially with the recent election results.

the-man-in-the-high-castle

If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this group of white high school student doing the Hitler salute for their annual picture in a high school in Texas.

hitler-salute

In her recent Oscar nominated documentary 13th, director Ava DuVernay makes the argument slavery is being effectively perpetuated in the United States through mass incarceration of African Americans. One could argue that there has been some change in the way Blacks are treated in this country but no one will disagree that there is still a lot of room for growth.

13th

ava-duvernay

May be aligning the Black lives matter message with PETA and having them take on the role of defending certain Homo Sapiens sub groups (especially those with a certain level of melanin pigmentation) is a bit extreme but they seem to have made significant headway. I worry about raising my daughters in a society where animal lives are more valuable than certain human lives. PETA stands for People for the Ethical treatment of Animals. Maybe we should create a new group called PETAH (People for the Ethical Treatment of All Humans).

I  don’t know about everyone else but as for me and my family we are “down with all Homo Sapiens”. As far as I am concerned Dogs are NOT people. Now I love the Canis Lupus species but I am “down with the Homo Sapiens” in a crazy kind of way – ride or die!!! I guess that explains why I have spent the last decade of my life obtaining training to better serve them as a physician.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books: Animal Farm – “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others”

all-animals-are-equal

If you are down with the Homo Sapiens like and share this post.

homo-sapiens

 

So where do we go from here?  Thoughts anyone? Now is not a time to tremble in the face of adversity, it is the time to get your voices heard.

I recognize we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

 

NUMB3RS

I have a fascination with numbers and I tend to compartmentalize things in my life and will periodically give myself grades on how I think I am doing in the different areas in my life. Mom Berthina gets a 75.9%, wife Berthina gets an 80%, doctor Berthina gets a 65%, sister Berthina gets 35% and so on and so forth. I try to do this at least 4 times a year to get a a real sense of how I am doing and make adjustments accordingly. I find new years resolutions to be particularly tiresome and irksome since you only think about them for the first few months of the year. I like feedback so much that I even keep a chart on answered prayer request for family and friends. I usually say things like, the average for our answered prayers for the year is 83.6% and people usually give a funny look like what is wrong with you”. I am usually thinking what’s wrong with you? If you are going to bother to pray why not try to be efficient?

I have a constant running timer on the next major event in my life. If you have any doubt, just check out the bottom of the page. I know numbers, I understand them and appreciate that they can give me concrete information without all the subjective fluff. Not saying that the context in interpreting numbers is not vital. As a matter of fact it is critical to accurate interpretations. However it is very comforting to know that gravity is still 9.81 m/s2 . I love that little g (gravity) has not changed. As a matter of fact big G has not changed either. It is still the universal gravitational constant aka “Newton’s constant” and it is still  G \approx 6.674 \times 10^{-11} {\rm \ N \ (m/kg)^2}.

Anyway before I digressed, I was professing my undying love for numbers. I recently sparked a debate at work with a colleague about me grading myself on my wifely duties. I can understand that there is a certain “double entendre” in this statement but keeping that aside, how can you be great at anything without any feedback. Often we get both positive and negative feedback but for some reason we mostly remember the negative feedback. I keep an accurate account of how I am doing so that when I get either positive or negative feedback on my behaviour over a certain period of time, I can compare it to my own notes and if it is accurate embrace it and make the necessary changes and if not, just reject it and move on. Of course this will be completely useless if this were only based on my opinion of myself, I have a group of trusted confidantes (number 1 being my spouse) whom a surreptitiously get to give me feedback, I find that people are a little wary of passing judgement on other people’s life but if you can take the criticism then you may find this beneficial.

I have a rule of 33.33%; I say 33.33% of my time should be spent on my family, 33.33% on personal and 33.33% on my career. Obviously my spouse gets a lot of the personal time because we do a lot of things together. For me it is very obvious that I need this allocation of time to stay in balance. Invariably in life you get unexpected events that throw you out of sync but if you are not careful, you will find yourself hallowed and disheveled because personal time (the most important category) always takes the greatest hit. My advice is to make adjustments as necessary but make sure you pay yourself back that time. My husband used to laugh when I would tell him at the end of a difficult block in medical school; “I owe myself 18.6 hours of sleep, I need that time paid back to be the normal me again” and I would take a week or so to pay it back.

In conclusion this is just a nerdy way of ensuring growth and evolution. This may not be for everyone and some people may have even found it tiresome to read this post. Again you know yourself the best ( or at least you should), if you found it useful, try it out and if you found it cumbersome reject it and move on. That is the beauty of the evolution process; plagiarizing and imitation is highly encouraged because as we know it is survival of the fittest. A personal quote is; “Scavenge the earth for wisdom you never know when you might need her.” It is only fitting to conclude with a quote about balance: “Balance that’s the secret. Moderate extremism. The best of both worlds.” Edward Abbey

balance