When a “not-guilty” verdict in the shooting of a black man becomes predictable . . .

The other day, Jafta wanted to walk to a friend’s house at dusk. He was wearing a hoodie over a baseball hat . . . a look that he likes. As he walked out, I yelled after him.

“Hoodie off! And take your hat off. Try to look less . . .”

And as the words came out of my mouth, I was mortified with myself. What is the end of that sentence? Did I just ask my son to look LESS BLACK?  And yet, he answered back.

“I know.”

And he did know. Because of the talk. The talk that we continue to need.

My boys are growing so fast. My oldest is taller than I am. It’s a milestone most mothers will feel bittersweet about, as we watch our boys turn into young men. But for mamas of black boys, it’s also tinged with fear. My boys aren’t as “cute” anymore. They don’t look like little boys. They are nearing an age when their skin color becomes a liability to their safety.

Last year, a man named Philandro Castile was pulled over for a traffic stop. He was asked to provide his license and informed the officer that he had a gun – as gun owners have been instructed to do in the presence of police. He had a permit to carry. He did not reach for the gun, and yet, he was shot. He bled out in his car in front of his daughter as his wife filmed. Yesterday the police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter. He also was acquitted of two counts of intentional discharge of firearm that endangers safety. He killed an innocent man, and was not held accountable.

It’s a story that is all too familiar – police officers reacting quickly – assuming a greater threat and using greater force than a situation warrants. We’ve seen so many stories like this recently. An unarmed man shot during a traffic stop because he followed the instructions to present his drivers license. A man shot and killed while holding a toy gun in a store. And Mike Brown, stopped for jaywalking, and a confrontation leaves him dead.

I am growing so weary of posting about these tragedies and having people rationalize and excuse the completely obvious lack of safety inherent in being Black and male in this country. I’m so tired of people finding excuses, minimizing, and victim-blaming. I’m sick of people perpetuating the idea that these people brought death on themselves, or somehow deserved to die, because they weren’t following the right script.

 I feel like every time these stories emerge, I get the initial wave of fear and sadness, thinking about my own sons and the world they have to navigate. God forbid they engage in pot-smoking or shoplifting or talking back to adults as teenagers – behaviors I myself did in high school – because for them, it might be the thing that someone cites as an excuse for being shot. But then, to compound those feelings of grief, I also have to deal with round 2: the anger that emerges when our society, and oftentimes our justice system, fails to acknowledge the problem. When police officers are not held accountable. When excuses are made. When I’m told, repeatedly, that this isn’t about race. When moms of black boys are viewed as too paranoid or too sensitive or too “obsessed with race.”

I could tell you plenty of personal stories about how I’ve observed the bias against black males manifest towards my own sons. I could share instances that have occurred at their school, in our neighborhoods, and in our community. I could share about times that they’ve been assumed to be menacing or threatening . . . about the double standards we observe towards them . . . about the way my kids are treated more harshly than others, how the expectations of them don’t match their age. I could share, but these stories are painful and private, and more than that . . . I don’t want to expose my kids to the predictable character assassination that comes with any discussion of racial bias, as people try to find excuses that wave away the reality of racism in this country. But suffice it to say, when moms of black children are in safe spaces, we discuss these things together. We observe the same patterns. We share the same fears. And while most of us are dealing with micro-aggressions that hurt our children’s psyche more than their bodies, the fear of violence is ever present.
But the thing is, I shouldn’t have to share our stories to be believed, because there is a plethora of empirical research that illustrates the phenomena so many of us observe. The APA reports that Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime,
The bias inherent in law enforcement has been well documented as well. In repeated psychological tests conducted by the psychology department at the University of Colorado, researchers illustrated the implicit suspicions people hold against people of color: Participants shoot an armed target more quickly and more often when that target is Black, rather than White. However, participants decide not to shoot an unarmed target more quickly and more often when the target is White, rather than Black. In essence, participants seem to process stereotype-consistent targets (armed Blacks and unarmed Whites) more easily than counterstereotypic targets (unarmed Blacks and armed Whites).

This graph, by Mother Jones, illustrates that black individuals are shot during arrests at a much higher rate.

So when you see people rioting and protesting . . . when you witness the tears and anger in the faces of the family as they learn that Philandro’s killer will not be charged . . . remember: this is not just about Philandro Castile. This is about a community who has witnessed a clear pattern of violence towards men at the hands of people charged to protect our citizens. Violence with racial bias that is well documented. And the decision to fail to even charge the officer in in the death of a man is yet another blow. It’s another perceived message: black lives don’t matter.

If the anger around the decision made yesterday is confusing to you, it’s time to listen. It’s time to research. It’s time to pull your head out of the sand and face the cold, hard facts about racial bias and police brutality. No one is saying that all police are racists. In fact, it’s quite possible that many of the cops who have slain black boys weren’t themselves racists by the general definition of the word. But they were living in the context of systemic racism . . . in a country that socializes us to be afraid of black men. Whether we like it or not, society conditions our impulses. We can try to counteract the systemic racism we’re living in, and many of us do, but research indicates that racial bias infiltrates our first response, before logic takes over. Please read the psychological studies I linked to above the post to understand more. We are all susceptible to this kind of bias, and that bias is life-threatening for my kids, and the kids of people you know. And nothing will be fixed until we acknowledge that it’s there.

Source Link: When a “not-guilty” verdict in the shooting of a black man becomes predictable . . .

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

That’s what SHE said: finding your food-safety IQ, the guilt behind grandma’s heirlooms, celebrating dads through their hilarious tweets and a whole lot more…

Here are some things I read this week that made me think. (These are just snippets – click on the title to read the whole thing.)

10 Things That Changed Me After the Death of a Parent from Lisa via InspireMore

“When you see your friends or even strangers with their mom or dad, you will sometimes be jealous. Envious of the lunch date they have. Downright pissed that your mom can’t plan your baby shower. Big life events are never ever the same again.

Relationship and life strategy coach Lisa Schmidt lost her parents and wrote a powerful tribute to what that truly feels like. She tells of how it’s affected her in the long run and in every day life. She also tells us positive thoughts she still takes away from losing her parents. Her vulnerable story and the wisdom within it are truly inspiring.”

Freeze the miso, rinse the chicken? Test your food-safety knowledge. from Bonnie with the Washington Post

“The FoodKeeper app helps you understand food and beverages storage. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items. By doing so you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. It was developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute.”

See how you do on the Washington Post’s quiz. I got 8/9.

Lots of great information on the USDA site too. 

The sense of sudden liberation that could push you to do something crazy; the worry that you might be acting outlandishly; a flooding of goodwill through the veins that makes you want to hug strangers.

People often think that their personalities change when they’re drunk, and they might even feel very different. But according to new research from the University of Missouri published in May in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, most of that doesn’t show—even when people are closely watched in test conditions by a small battery of trained observers.

12 Hilarious Tweets From The Funny Dads Of Twitter from Valerie with Scary Mommy

“Father’s Day is this weekend, so it’s time to celebrate dads. Well, we kind of always celebrate dads for doing minor things that moms do every day, but we digress. We still love them and need them and they deserve a special day recognizing their contributions.”
“Somewhere along the way, the effort involved in entertaining and hosting dinner parties became too much. We could barely keep up with basic tasks of survival, and the thought of adding extra chores to my list of to-dos — extra grocery shopping, extra cleaning, and extra meal preparation — seemed like too much work. So we stopped hosting casual dinner parties. Instead, we meet friends at restaurants and bars. We have date nights alone. And we save entertaining for special occasions, like birthdays and holidays.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about those dinner parties of days gone by. I miss them. I miss my friends. I miss the way conversation unfolds when people sit around a table. About a year ago, I heard about Friday Night Meatballs, and a couple months ago I read an article called “5 Rules for Hosting a Crappy Dinner Party (and Seeing Your Friends More Often),” and I thought: Why am I making this so damn hard? Maybe there’s a way to gather together with friends without the hassles? Maybe there’s a way to socialize without spending my kids’ college fund on babysitters? Maybe there’s a way to have a kick-ass time at a half-ass dinner party?”

Why Poor People Stay Poor: Saving money costs money. Period. from Linda via Slate

“It’s amazing what things that are absolute crises for me are simple annoyances for people with money. Anything can make you lose your apartment, because any unexpected problem that pops up, like they do, can set off that Rube Goldberg device…

Here’s the thing: we know the value of money. We work for ours. If we’re at 10 bucks an hour, we earn 83 cents, before taxes, every five minutes. We know exactly what a dollar’s worth; it’s counted in how many more times you have to duck and bend sideways out the drive through window. Or how many floors you can vacuum, or how many boxes you can fill.”

“For generations, adult children have agreed to take their aging parents’ possessions — whether they wanted them or not. But now, the anti-clutter movement has met the anti-brown-furniture movement, and the combination is sending dining room sets, sterling silver flatware, and knick-knacks straight to thrift stores or the curb.

And feelings are getting hurt, as adult children who are eager to minimize their own belongings — and who may live in small spaces, and entertain less formally than their parents did — are increasingly saying “no thanks” to the family heirlooms.”

Source Link: That’s what SHE said: finding your food-safety IQ, the guilt behind grandma’s heirlooms, celebrating dads through their hilarious tweets and a whole lot more…

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Airlines in Search of Customer Loyalty Need to do More Than Improve Service https://t.co/urrms80FlW #cutomerservice https://t.co/N4HUczLgOr

from Twitter https://twitter.com/PCNanswers

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Friday Finds: Rompers

1. Off-the-Shoulder Cover-Up Romper | Madewell 
2. Long Sleeve Split Neck Romper | The Gap 
3. One-Shoulder Romper | Nordstrom 
5. Contemporary Floral Romper | Forever 21 
6. Cooperative Cabana Striped Surplice Romper | Urban Outfitters
7. Linen Cotton Tie Romper | The Gap 
8. Surplice Romper | Nordstrom 
9. Pom-Trimmed Off-The-Shoulder Romper | Anthropologie 

Source Link: Friday Finds: Rompers

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

What I want you to know about teen dating abuse

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post was submitted by an anonymous reader.

When I was 14 years old, I met the young man who would be my boyfriend for the next 5 years. He was my third “boyfriend” in my life which meant he was the third boy I had ever liked so much that we held hands in public and I acknowledged him as my boyfriend and wasn’t all awkward about it.

He was so sweet to me and I loved the attention he showered on me. He was a football player (though hardly a star) and he had some friends in the “in” crowd that I was nowhere near a part of since I was one of those “smart band kids.” He was complimentary, kind, attentive, romantic (as romantic as a 15 year old gets), chivalrous, funny, and we had fun together. Because we had two very different groups of friends, we had to sort of learn about each other’s peer groups and each other’s friends. We argued sometimes, but not anything more than little teenage spats.

When we were 16, however, things changed. And they changed fast.

All at once, my mother’s alcoholism grew to unprecedented levels and then my parents were going through a divorce, my brother was on drugs and spiraling out of control, our house was chaotic, we had no money. My grades began to drop.

My boyfriend became extremely controlling – he basically dictated how I was to wear my hair (in a ponytail, off my face), what outfits I was allowed to wear (t-shirt and jeans only, no shorts, no skirts, no v-necks), that I must wear his class ring at all times, his letter jacket even when it was hot, and I was not to drive, or walk to and from class without him. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or paint my nails.

If he caught me sitting by a male student in class, he quizzed me after class about what we said, why we sat there, etc. I was not allowed to sit in the band hall with my friends at lunch anymore. I was barely allowed to have friends at all – all of the girls I hung out with since middle school were suddenly “sluts,” “whores,” “bad influences,” etc. He checked on me while I was in class – peering through windows, making me arrange to get out of class at certain times to “check in” with him, telling me that I had to write him one one-page note per period so I “kept my mind on him.” He monitored my pager for any unfamiliar numbers that might have paged me. He came to my work and would sit in the lobby for hours drinking and refilling his soda so he could make sure none of my coworkers were “inappropriate” with me.

And I went along with all of it. All of his control was under the guise of his “undying love” for me, his desire to “protect me,” to “keep me pure,” to “make sure no one tried to take me from him.” I had to dress modestly and avoid makeup because he didn’t want other guys to notice how beautiful I was. I had to wear his clothing so everyone would know we were together, like in the movie “Grease” (which I adored). He didn’t want me to talk to other guys because they might try to “take advantage of me” or “rape me if they got me alone.” I truly thought he wanted to protect me, to make sure I was safe.

And then, the summer before senior year, he hit me for the first time, but not the last. We were in his truck and I was seated in the middle, my legs astride the stick shift because I had to be closest to him at all times. He asked me point blank if I thought a friend of his was a good looking guy and I said, “yeah, sure I guess.” (He had caught me off guard – I knew better.) He didn’t even break his focus on the road. He balled his right hand that was on my thigh into a fist and he slammed it into my leg as hard as he could. I yelped and began to sob. I tried to pull away from him but the shifter was in my way. I screamed at him to let me out of the truck. We came to a stop light and he turned to me and his face contorted into the most hideous face and he spat at me words I will never forget: “You are mine. You will be mine forever. I know everything about you. And if you never want anyone to know what a filthy whore you are, that your brother and parents do drugs, that you are a liar and a cheater, you will never go against me again.” Then he calmly continued to drive, pull into a fast food place, and then order his food (and mine of course since I had long ago ceased to order for myself). He hit me at least once a day, every day almost, for our entire senior year.

When we graduated, he enlisted in the military. On the day he left for basic training, my father and I drove him to his hotel. My father went to get gas and left us alone for a bit. During that time, he proposed to me. I accepted. In my heart, I thought I could love him enough to make him realize that he shouldn’t hurt me. I thought the military would change him, make him honorable and sweet again. I went to college that fall. He wasn’t there to control me. It took 3 months of consistent encouragement from a couple of friends to get me to put on a pair of shorts to go to the lake. And somehow, those friends (and those shorts!) helped me understand that I had the freedom to get away from him. That I could be myself one day and that I had value and beauty and worth without him.

I broke up with him (via telephone) on January 19, 5 years to the day from our first date. Turns out, he was already living with a girl he met in the service. Apparently, several months later, she had his first child. I don’t really know. Because I never looked back.

If you’ve read this much, and especially if you know and love a teenage girl, you have to tell her. Tell her that if he does ANYTHING described above, she has to get out and get out fast. Boys like my ex-boyfriend become (oftentimes) abusive husbands and fathers. PLEASE, before you do another thing, check on your daughter, your niece, your cousin, your little sister, your friend. If you suspect that she’s being abused, she will NOT admit it. She will defend him. She will say he loves her, wants what’s best for her, wants to protect her. Be there for her. Help her any way you can. Show her this post. Print it out and put it where she can find it but he can’t. Maybe, just maybe, if she knows that someone else went through it and that control IS abuse, she’ll make a way out.

That’s what I want you to know.

Source Link: What I want you to know about teen dating abuse

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Chatting with my Republican friend Paul E. Martin about this crazy week

Chatting with my Republican friend Paul E. Martin about this crazy week: the Southern Baptist Convention and the alt-right, the shooting of the majority whip, Trump’s official investigation for obstruction of justice, and Hilary’s back ….

Source Link: Chatting with my Republican friend Paul E. Martin about this crazy week

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Instagram Roundup

What you might have missed on my Instagram page this week….

Happy #LovingDay to all of my cute family and friends. Hard to believe only 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage to be legal. #loveislove

Orange County – Come be the choir on our new album! We want your voices in the mix. We will be recording this Father’s Day, June 18th, at 6:30pm. This will be a unique and memorable experience as we sing through our “greatest hits” and capture it live. Bring your dads, bring your friends.

June 18th, 6:30pm

The Wayfarer

843 W. 19th St.

Costa Mesa, 92627

Tickets here

At open house I got to read Jafta’s persuasive argument against internet filters. He’s adorable. But nope.

#TBT to one of many visits to Kembe’s orphanage over the first three years of his life.

Source Link: Instagram Roundup

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com

Sharing my latest Stitchfix and my latest Le Tote boxes, and comparing the two.

I’m still obsessed with personal styling subscription boxes as an alternative to clothing shopping. Sharing my latest Stitchfix and my latest Le Tote boxes, and comparing the two. I’ve also got a box from LeTote’s new styling service. I will talk about what I like and don’t like from each service.

Source Link: Sharing my latest Stitchfix and my latest Le Tote boxes, and comparing the two.

Original Source of this article: Ruth Davis’ OC Blog , https://ruthrdavisblog.wordpress.com