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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Devil Made Them Do It.........

Chicago, Chicago, Chicago.....sigh. As many of you all know, the state of Illinois, especially Chicago, is a mess. Illinois lawmakers are literally at war. There has been a three year stalemate between the Republican Governor and the Democratic house and senate. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proven to be unable or incapable of governing the city properly. The Chicago Public School system is on the verge of bankruptcy. The Chicago Police Department has proven to be impotent against crime and our young people are shooting each other like it is some type of make believe target practice or drill.

The Governor has implied that those 'evil' Democrats want him to fail, don't respect him, and will do anything and everything to prevent him from getting what he wants--even if it means that the state falls deeper into debt. The Democrats counter with the implication that this 'wicked' Governor wants to break up unions, privatize social services, and undercut workers rights. Mayor Emanuel has also joined the state Democrats in criticizing the governor as being unable to provide the leadership needed to get the state back on track. The Chicago Public School system has implied that Rauner and his fellow Republican's political moves have been cruel and unfair to all of those poor, little, innocent, black and brown children in Chicago. The Chicago Police Department does not point to their own failings as to why gun violence has escalated; no, they point to inadequate gun laws as the reason why they have been unable to curb the gun violence in Chicago. They argue that if Chicago had stiffer gun laws, the shootings would decrease. Finally, where ever you go in Chicago, you hear that the main reason why our young people are gunning each other down is that they don't believe in God and the Devil has taken over their minds and thus they turn to murder.

As I pondered on Illinois' problems, I realized how dangerous and simplistic it was to blame the devil, or those who seem to display his characteristics, as the reason behind the break down of our city and state. Is the devil, or some unseen evil force, responsible for all the years that the Democrats overspent their budget, underfunded their pensions, and never fairly funded their educational system? Is the devil, or any other deity, the reason why certain sections on the west side of Chicago has not seen investment in over 50 years? Did a deity make an entire public school system mismanage their funds and then constantly beg the state for more and more cash each year? Is it the devil's fault that black youths in some neighborhoods suffer from unemployment rates of over 30%? Is it the devil's fault that many of our black and brown young people come out of high school unable to fill out a job application, create a resume, or can barely speak and write standard English?

I don't think that Rauner, Emanuel, the Democrats, the Republicans, or our young people are possessed by the devil, nor do I think that they are wicked or evil. I believe that they are simply all stubborn and entrenched in their own ways and belief systems. Their staunch dedication to their own ideology has led the state, as well as the city of Chicago, into disaster. Our young people are not possessed by the devil. They are simply displaying the results of two generations of poor parenting, inadequate social and financial investment, and a inadequate educational system.

No, no deity is responsible for this mess. We are. We made bad decisions and those bad decisions have finally caught up with us with a vengeance. Our choices might have come from a evil or wicked place, but it was humans that made this mess and it will take humans to fix it.

Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

NO Politician or Political Party Can Save You...

Ever since the elections ended in the U.S., I have come across individuals who believe that their lives are forever changed for the better or doomed for all eternity because a new President and political party is in office.

NEWS FLASH: NO political party can dictate the course of your life. Only YOU can be the transformative change in your life.

Lets take this from the top. What is a political party? A political party is a organization of human beings that share similar social and political beliefs. By the way, human beings are prone to error, so all of their decisions won't be the correct one. So, to all human beings who choose to place their destiny in the hands of a group of fallible individuals, I say: good luck with that.

Second, history has shown us that virtually all major changes in society have come from the bottom up, not from the top down. We did not get better wages and a 8 hour work day because of a particular president or political party. We achieved that because low paid and abused workers united and organized and raised a little bit of hell until their demands were met. Women did not get the right to vote because of a president or a political party. They won the right to vote through organization, mobilization, protest, and pressure. Finally, minorities did not win civil rights because a president or political party just decided one day to give them those rights. People organized, protested, died, and pressured the government and judicial system to bestow those rights to them. Those at the top, did not make this nation better. It was the everyday hard working American citizen that pushed, pressured, and forced our leaders to do and be better. WE saved ourselves. It wasn't the other way around.

I often think that we like to blame a particular president or political party for our current situation in life in order to divert the responsibility from ourselves to them. It is easier to say that it is their fault than it is to acknowledge that we are deficient in some area of our life. That would mean that self analysis is in order and that we would have to learn, grow, develop, or change in some way. To many, that is challenging and scary. However, transformative change often is challenging and a bit scary.

So, when you see and hear people on the streets whining and crying or shouting in pleasure about the election, think about all of the major positive changes that have occurred in your life and ask yourself this question: Did a politician or political party change my life for the better, or was it me?

Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS

Monday, August 24, 2015

Do Black People Really Believe That Black Lives Matter?

The Hastag: #BlackLivesMatter can be seen everywhere from Facebook to Twitter, on tee shirts and billboards, and numerous other places in between. However, when I look at the condition of black folks and the black community in general, I have to ask myself: "Do black people really believe that black lives matter?"

Blacks have the second highest teen pregnancy rate, the lowest ACT scores for the last five years in a row, we watch the most television per week, and we have the second highest murder rate. By the way, the majority of black murders are committed by other black individuals.

Yet, black lives matter.

If we don't protect our children from entering into premature sexual relationships, if we don't stress the importance of education and prepare our children to be productive members of society, if we don't turn off the TV and insist that our children read, complete their homework, or learn a new language, how are we going to see positive change in our community? If we don't properly address our anger, rage, and self hatred, how will we as a people ever address our high homicide rate?

If we continue our race to the bottom, our love for mediocrity, and our dysfunctional lifestyles, can we really say that black lives matter? If we continue to produce black children that can not compete in the global marketplace, can we really say that black lives matter?

Do we ignore what happened to Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland? Of course not, but we cannot ignore what is still happening in our communities on a daily basis. We can't control what a police officer or rogue citizen does on a daily basis. However, we do have some say about what goes on in our homes, our block, and our community at large.  

When I see us take responsibility for our lives, our neighborhoods, and our children, then you will see the hastag #BlackLivesMatter on my tee shirt or Facebook page.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS

  

Friday, March 14, 2014

You're Not Okay....

Right now, I currently volunteer at an organization in the most dangerous neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. I work with those who are unemployed, underemployed, mentally ill, or those struggling with addiction. As you can imagine, I see a variety of people in various stages and states of life. Naturally, some of the situations that I encounter are troubling to say the least.

I could go on and on about the effects of our poor educational system, lack of opportunity, or discrimination, but I won't. I would like to focus on one particular issue. An issue that I already know I will catch heat from. That is: Thinking that we are okay when we are really not.

What do I mean by this? Well, I take three buses to get to where I volunteer at. I pass through three different neighborhoods. Yet, I see the same thing: black folks who think that they are "okay" when they are lacking in every single way. I see young black students get off the bus to go to community college, but their conversation is foul, their thinking is misguided, and they are opposed to any critique or suggestions in regards to modifying their behavior. I see mothers, who think that they are actually very good mothers, allow their daughters to be objectified and their sons be emasculated in public. When one seeks to challenge them on this, they became enraged and counter with the opinion that they are doing nothing wrong and that their parenting is "just fine". I see my people addressing just about every disagreement and argument with foul language and unnecessary violence. Yet, they will argue to the grave that their behavior is appropriate and is in no need for modification.

Again, I don't want to hear about our poor educational system, lack of money, or lack of role models for being the reason why this kind of stuff goes on in our community. In order to build better schools, earn more money, or draw better role models, you have to first embrace the idea that: Hey, maybe I'm wrong and change is needed. My point is that many of our people do not even BELIEVE that they are in need of improvement, behavior modification, or an overhaul in their thinking. They think that they are "okay" when in fact, they are anything but okay.

I know all about the various systemic problems within our community that must be addressed, but first we have to admit that we are not "okay". We got problems folks.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Bonnie Donaldson MBA/MLS

Friday, December 20, 2013

Reflections...

Alright, most of us know by now that Christmas is really a pagan based holiday. However, I still believe that the concept of reflecting on the past year and taking stock of what you have to be grateful for is a worth wild endeavor.

As I look back on the past year, I must say that it has been a rather disappointing and painful one. I have had many struggles and many setbacks. Yet, even in my pain and disappointment, I find that I have much to be thankful for.

I was born black, female, and poor. Nevertheless, I had two things going for me. First, I was born in the United States. Second, I was born after desegregation. Due to these things, I was able to obtain a good education, the ability to vote, and the right of self determination. No one can sell me against my will, and my parents cannot marry me off to someone without my permission. In addition, opportunities that were once denied my mother, are now available to me. Because of this, I have been able to live a life that my mother and grandmother could only dream about.

This year has been less than stellar, but other years have been better. Am I living the life of my dreams? No, but there are women in South America, Africa, The Middle East, and Asia who would love to exchange places with me. In addition, I have been the recipient of good will and favor from individuals from every walk of life. Even in the midst of my pain, grace has abound.

To all of you all who are reading this blog entry, I advise you to take a look over your life and find a few things to be grateful for. I know that life can suck at times, but believe me, there are people who have it a lot worse. With that being said, I am grateful for finding peace in the midst of the broken pieces of my life.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Miley Cyrus And Black Folks

People all over america are talking about Miley Cyrus' MTV VMA performance. Many are are screaming racism and sexism, but in my opinion, Miley is more of a case of a young girl who lacks the willingness to humble herself and be mentored by former child stars who have successfully manage to transition from a child star to a adult star with little drama in between.

Objectification:

Miley came on stage barely clothed and then proceeded to strip down to her bra and panties later on in her performance. This performance was sad on many levels. First, it appears that she believes that her talent alone is not enough for the audience. If that is the case, then she needs to develop an act that will engage the audience and hold their attention with her clothes on. Whitney Houston did not have to strip. Mariah Carey does not have to strip. Their voice and performance alone was enough to captivate an audience. Many of you are saying: Miley is no Whitney or Mariah. Yes, this is true. But there are other artist that do not have the best or strongest voice and they do not have to strip to capture their audience attention. If Miley wants to continue to have a successful career in music, she must focus on her voice and performance, not her body. She won't be able to strip 10 or 20 years from now. Flesh will only carry an artist so far.

Sexism:

Many are upset that women, such as Miley, still feel the need to parade their bodies in public in order to advance in society whereas most men do not. Well, I put that blame on us as women. Until women stop using their bodies as a commodity in order to advance in society, we will continue to be expected to use our bodies as a commodity to advance in society. 0_o. I don't support, buy, or promote any products by women who consistently use their body as a commodity in order to"get over" in society. I personally feel that these award shows should have a dress code. I don't want to see Miley Cyrus or any other artist come on stage without shirts or their guts and butts hanging out. Again, the product should be the artist's talent, not their bodies. We have shown as a society that we will accept you if you deliver a good product. Just look at Adele and Susan Boyle. We looked past their weight and looks and focused on their voice. When women begin to take a stand on this issue via their pocket books, we will see a change in female performances.

Racism:

No black person won a award during the show. All of the winners were white. Do I have a problem with that? Nope. I just want us to take note that all of these artists are famous because they were able to capitalize on an art form that was created by black folks. What I do have a problem with is that the white artists behaved in a manner that reinforced negative stereotypes about blacks. The white rappers spoke black slang, the female artists were hyper sexual, and everything else throughout the show was the personification of all that was supposedly "black". Therefore, the VMA revealed what many non black people think about black people. That is: that we are street talking hyper sexual people who can dance really well. This is another nail in the coffin for black folks. Mind you, this is on the eve of the 50th anniversary of MLK's March On Washington speech. What's so sad about this is the fact that black artists have played a direct role in creating this stereotype about us. When we get our act together on stage, we will create a new stereotype regarding us: one of talent and class, not one of debauchery and lewd behavior.

Mentorship:

Miley is running from her "good girl" image that was created during the Hannah Montana series. In her mind, in order to do this, she must be the antithesis of the "good girl" image. Thus, we have the half naked grinding artist that we see today. What she does not understand is that by going to one extreme to another, she will alienate her core base. She is being rejected because she has ditched her "good girl" image, yet she is also being rejected because she has embraced a lewd raunchy image. She needs to aim for something in between. Not too sweet, but not too innocent either. She can do this if she gets the right type of mentorship. All she has to do is humble herself and seek out other former child stars who have successfully navigated her path before. The help is out there, she just has to ask for it.

Bottom Line:

Yes, I was sadden by Miley Cyrus' performance, but I think the biggest issue here is that you have a girl who is having trouble finding her way. We all have been there before. I certainly have. So, lets remember that she is just 20 years old and has time to find a happy medium for her and her fans. Let Miley Cyrus be an example for all children. Growing up isn't easy and we adults should be willing and ready to help young people garner the tools that they need in order to successfully transition from children to adults.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it.
Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tough Love

Yes, I believe that all children should be free to walk the streets without having to worry about being stalked and killed by another person. However, I am a bit perplexed, in a sarcastic way, as to why there is very little outrage/protest/strategic action regarding the daily extermination of blacks around the country. In Chicago, my hometown, 70 blacks were shot in ONE weekend. We average about 400-500 murders each year. Yet, I don’t see the black elites and the usual political “black pimp crew” anywhere around. Why? Well first of all, there’s no paycheck to be had. Second, real work is involved. Black pimps are allergic to that. Renewing the minds of the black male and the black female is going to take longer than a few weeks or a couple of months. Until our minds are renewed and divine order is re-established, we will continue to experience this destruction again and again. Celebrities are not going to save us. Blaming the white man for our problems and then asking him for help is not going to save us. Picketing and petitions are not going to save us. Only returning to tried and true principles will save us. I’ve traveled to many places. Believe me when I tell you that we are the laughing stock of all other ethnic groups. Think about it, we are the only group of people that look to the outside for our salvation. Consider this: “The way of the transgressor is hard.” We will continue in this horrific state also long as we continue to transgress against truths and principles that are designed for our benefit. No one is coming to save us people. That job is for us.

My two cents. Take it or leave it.
Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS