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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Black Civil War

The term, The Black Civil War, refers to the internal battle between African Americans or Black Americans, regarding the perceived ‘detrimental’ actions of certain members of the Black community. Namely, behaviors such as: a lack of interest in education and marriage, bearing multiple children out of wedlock that one cannot adequately support, and or engaging in a continuous cycle of anti-social behavior. Many Blacks assert that there is a segment or group of individuals within their own community whose actions make it harder for the ‘whole’ to succeed, be respected, and advance among the general population. This war has been brewing now for many years. Something that was once a private discussion among Blacks, has now become the subject of intense public discourse and debate. The general sentiment is usually summed up in one question: “Why won’t those ‘folks’ get ‘their’ act together? They are making ‘us’ all look really bad.”

I, myself, must admit that I have asked this very same question. I must first disclose that I am a single, childless, educated, black woman from the south side of Chicago. Although I grew up poor, I managed to finish college and complete graduate school. I am deemed as one of those who ‘made it’. Thus, my perception of the Black Civil War is seen through the eyes of one with advance formal education. Nevertheless, I still wonder why a certain segment of our population behave the way that they do. I must admit that I have been ashamed or embarrassed by the behavior and actions of various members of my own community. I, like other Blacks, believe that our overall group advancement has been hindered by the actions of certain members within the Black community.

Ironically, I have found that the very individuals whom I feel are ‘holding’ us back, often feel that they are doing nothing wrong or improper at all. It is this inability to relate to one another that serves as the basis of The Black Civil War. Both sides remain at odds with each other with no sign of compromise in sight. As cruel as it may seem, many Blacks wish that they could snap their fingers and get rid of all of the ‘undesirables’ within their community. This may sound cold and heartless, but is this not what war is about? Getting rid of or neutralizing the perceived enemy. And believe me, many blacks, including myself, believe that we do have enemies within our own community.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Game of Life

"The game of life, like every game, is played within the framework of certain rules, and any violation of those rules carries a penalty. You and I are playing this game from morning to night, and should therefore learn its rules in order to play it well." ~Neville Goddard

All this week, I encountered many African Americans who are losing in the game of life. Now, don't get me wrong, we have many success stories to be proud of, but there is a segment of the African American community that is suffering needlessly simply because they don't understand how to properly navigate life. There are many reasons behind this, be it social, structural, political, or economic reasons. However, I would like to address an issue that we can control; and that is: starting families that we are unable to properly provide, train, and care for.

I see it all the time, but this week, all I saw were young unmarried women with four or five children who were clearly apart of the Black working class or the Black under class. Most of the children were unruly or did not know how to properly behave in public, the mothers were clearly frustrated, and we the public were highly annoyed. Some of us even displayed some form of pity for those children. I am convinced that many of us were asking ourselves the same question: Why would you have children that you cannot support, cannot adequately train, and cannot properly educate? Why?

I've read all of the books and studies about this issue, yet, I just cannot understand why someone would condemn another generation to a sub par life. Where is the determination to do better, be better, or to provide better?

Other successful groups have shown us the way to success: The pooling of shared resources, the value of marriage, no children until the married couple is financially stable, a push to excel educationally, and a commitment to raise their children. These ingredients usually produce successful children who in turn become successful adults who in turn build successful communities. Yet many of us, not all, are doing the exact opposite. The results of rebellion to tried and true principles has produced a Black underclass that even African Americans themselves are tired of seeing and dealing with.

I wish that I could end this post on an upbeat note, but I can't. I want the best for these children, yet, in my heart, I know that without intervention, it probably won't turn out so well for them. More needless casualties in the game of life.
Bonnie Donaldson, MBA/MLS

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