Respectable Thoughts

Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous, and compatible, with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream for its failure to accept difference.

The concept was first articulated by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham in her book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920. In the context of black American history, respectability politics was practiced as a way of attempting to consciously set aside and undermine cultural and moral practices thought to be disrespected by wider society, especially in the context of the family and good manners.

The development of African-American politics of responsibility has been traced to writers and activists including W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, and has been used as a way of understanding the election and political trajectory of Barack Obama. President Obama has also been criticized for his use of respectability politics during his presidency, as when he brought up issues of black criminality during his speech following the November 24 grand jury decision regarding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. One of the most open proponents of respectability politics is former-NBA player Charles Barkley.

——> Dictionary Definition (Game)

Respect, self-re·spect

(noun)
  1. pride and confidence in oneself; a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity. Synonyms;

    self-esteem;

    self-regard;

    amour propre (rightful love of self);

    faith in oneself;

    pride –  a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired (fulfillment);

    dignity – the state or quality of being worthy of honor, a composed or serious manner or style, impressive stateliness;

    morale –  the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time;

    self-confidence.

    —-> What I think (thus my opinion)

 

Respectability politics is a catch phrase for the now. It’s cool to say and cool to dislike but this is the foundation that our grandparents raised us on. The same foundation that used to breed a sense of courage, confidence, and pride in our community.

The ironic part is that those of us that benefited the greatest from going to school, respecting authority, earning a job, and live day to day – some with families, tell the others that it’s not important even though they yield daily rewards from being decent human beings.

Respect isn’t about pleasing someone else. (that’s not in the definition) 

It’s not about hanging your head low. If you read the definitions; it’s about self esteem, confidence, dignity, morale, fulfillment, and etc…

Having respect for someone else doesn’t guarantee that they will respect you. (that’s not in the definition).

Having respect for someone else doesn’t mean that they won’t kill you. (that’s not in the definition)

Having respect is something that is of you, for you, and your how to. It’s all out how you coexist in the world.

Getting well dressed, open doors for you. It really helps your appeal with the opposite sex. It garners respect but it isn’t part of the definition of respect.

Getting educated builds confidence. It helps you. It breathes new words into life.

Speaking proper English and switching to slang is OK. Other groups do it too. We are all trying to be clear and understood. It’s OK to code switch, if it can help you communicate your message.

Respecting authority is OK. What if they don’t respect you; go ahead and re-read my thoughts. I respect everyone that comes in contact with me, even when they disrespect me. I do have my tolerance level but i’m not 0 to 100 with everyone.

I choose to carry myself with honor until truly called upon.  So I ain’t fighting anyone, you have to be right kind of special and the odds have to be in your favor. I stood up against 1 vs 3. I stood up at gun point. 

I stand up because I learned to respect myself and when push comes to shove, I’d be ready. Push comes to shove, I never run from a fight.

If respectability politics = being confident in my abilities, well groomed, determined, convicted in the commandments, rational, strategic, community growth oriented; well, I’m in great company. The President is a great role model. It’s all a choice. I choose to have a career where I don’t care to express myself in my hair (it is just hair to me). I choose to respect everyone, even those that hate me. It’s a choice; a choice that doesn’t guarantee that someone (black/white/hispanic/other) wont’ kill me.

Fellas don’t let these ladies fool you; in the end, they all want a man with a job, dresses well (in context) and carry themselves with confidence. 

 

U.S. President Obama listens to remarks during event held to honor members of U.S. teams and delegations from the Sochi Olympics  and Paralympics at the White House in Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS SPORT OLYMPICS)

 

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“To see 4 of the best basketball players in the world dressed impeccably and speaking up plainly and eloquently on an issue means volumes. Image matters. Growing up an impressionable sports fan like any young male, you want to emulate these guys. I like that they also broadened the platform to speak on gun violence in our own communities. Critical. ‪#‎espys‬” – Daniel Nicolas, Community Leader, Mentor and young Professional

 

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Passports and Stamps

This is just a list of places I wanted to see since I was 6. No particular order.

 

Places that I crossed off;

US: Florida (Miami, FLL, West Palm, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Gainesville, etc…) Washington (DC), California (San Fran, LA, 29 Palms, Palms Spring), New York (Manhattan, Buffalo, Niagara Falls (US side), Brooklyn, Bronx, NYC)

Canada: Montreal, Niagara (Falls), Toronto,

Morocco,

France,

Brazil

 

Places that I was forced to go:

US: too many places to count lol,

Qatar,

Djibouti,

Ethiopia,

Somalia

Eritrea,

Germany,

Morocco:: Tangiers; Sahara Grand Desert

Dominican Republic

 

Places that I got to go see:

Cuba,

Iguazu Falls (Brazil, Uragai, Argentina),

Egypt,

Spain,

England,

Iceland  (I was a weird kid: too many history books and viking lore),

Korea?,

Tokyo, Japan (2020 Olympics),

China (Great Wall)

 

budget-travel_web

There are new places but those are the spaces that matter to me. The places of childhood dreams.

 

 

 

 

A Better Narrative

Truth about me. I’ve never been a person with an agenda. Never had a great scheme or ultimate plot for my life. I like to play RPGs, strategy games, SimCity, and chess. I use those innate skills to fashion the most random life storyboard, mainly because I was challenged by an old friend to change my stars.
The old “Aladdin” theory;
the question, can I class jump?
The answer; well, maybe.
As I get closer to solving this riddle, I realized after my last trip to Miami that I have to weave a tighter narrative for my life and my direction. I have all the pieces. I know some moves. So for the month of June before the 3rd QTR; I’ll be working on pulling together what I like, where I am, and what I’m good at.
 
My name is Lawrence Gonzalez. I am an auditor at the Department of Treasury with oversight of over $5-7 Billion, who aspires to educate people on how to earn real wealth. I write for a financial blog. I give back to my community by helping to develop a professional appeal through photography and financial literacy. I aim to prove that I can change my stars while helping those who are willing, change their stars.
That’s the mantra that I have to remember.AiUqoCc.jpg 
What’s your mantra?

Letter to a Ghost

It must of been ten years since she passed.

Most days are easy. If I have a target, some set goals, or a solid pattern; I usually keep going and going and going. But some days; some days, I catch a thread of a memory of her and my day unravels.

I can still hear her voice.

And when my thoughts wonder; she materializes. I can see her face. The very image that will likely drive me insane. The same image that likely already drove me insane. With a deep breath, she animates. She smiles. She pouts. She blushes. She gets angry. She forgives. She messes up. She gets aroused. She smiles again.

I can sketch the emotion of her lips. She would whisper, “my love”. Hold back for fear that I wouldnt understand her. Hide when she gets close. Run when she should have stayed. Stayed when she could have reach. Gave up when she should of have faith. She was my home. She was terrified of me. Terrified at how I made her feel. She speaks but her eyes lie.  

…the days, I catch myself eating my favorite powdered chocolate; I can still remember her yelling at me, nagging me.  When she had enough; she would nurture me to keep the lid on it. She smiles. She pouts. She gets angry. And she smiles again.

I still remember the day, I lost her. I could feel my heart give up. I sat there gasping for air. I can feel my pulse. My soul sunk, unwilling to put up a fight. It hurt me. I cannot hug her again. Nor talk to her again. Suddenly, every  argument vanishes. Every sad moment pales in comparison. I choke on life, my only solace, death.

I wanted to say good bye. I wanted to cry but I didn’t want that to be my last memory. I didn’t want sorrow to override the love.

I wanted to be angry, not at the expense of how much I cared. I didn’t want it to change me. I couldn’t stop that it changed me.

I still remember her. I guess after 10 years all I have is the memories of a girl, who loved a boy. And a boy who loved the girl.

She smiles. She pouts. She gets happy. He lets her go. He cries. And she leaves.

RIP -> though I sleep, the pain keeps my soul awake. 

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Amnesia and Everything that can make you forget…

 

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I once contemplated suicide.

I gave it the faintest moment,

which seemed to go on for an eternity.

It was cold, rainy, and I was tired.

Dealing with the feeling of abandonment, hunger, and poverty;

(Free Lunch program can only cover so much nutrition if any)

I figured why not?

 

Why not just end this?

Let the darkest take hold;

and damn near give up.

 

Why keep up with this game.

This charade.

All the while thinking why am I here?

Where is justice, where is equality of means…

 

We all know how it ends.

 

I’m not hero. I don’t make it.

I didn’t see pass a week.

There were kids making plans for their futures.

Buzzing around me, talking about what they would do.

There were kids at parties.

Hanging out with other kids,

whose issues ranged from Mom and Dad coming home late.

Kids with families, that asked them,

“Son, what do you want to do…”

 

All I could think of is, “F!@#$, I didn’t have that.”

and the faint echo of my aunt, telling me to watch my language,

as her work load beat her over and over again.

 

I didn’t have the question. I didn’t have the voices.

I wished I could have created them.

I wished that I could separate myself for them.

 

Maybe have a few personalities;

one who was the responsible one,

the other the child,

and another the cool one.

I just needed advice.

 

I wished I could split….

But I don’t think that’s how it works.

I wished on a lot of things that didn’t come true.

I was just wishing on cold days, rainy nights,

and taxable shifts at McDonald’s since this was my life.

 

So I contemplated on ending it.

Maybe a sharp knife.

Even heard of people who slit their wrist.

Or free falling, because that would be easiest but I lived in Miami.

Maybe I was too catholic, maybe I was too busy, too stressed…

too everything.

 

So like all things…

The rain stopped. Stillness came.

Silence came.

The moment passed.

 

I might have been spared by the Guardian Angel

who spent most of my childhood;

Keeping me upbeat,

keeping me thinking,

keeping me hopeful…

So that day I contemplated suicide.

With the last name of the man, who never wanted me.

 

If that moment lasted way more than it should have,

I would of ended up missing out on becoming a Marine,

I would have missed out on learning how to dance,

I would have missed out my first girlfriend,

I would have missed all the travel that I got to do,

I would have missed all the opportunities that laid in front of me.

 

So when the day comes and it all goes dark with rain and thunderstorms,

Just know you will end up farther than you image,

You will end up being greater than the sum of your situation,

And most importantly you will end up inspiring loads of people,

people just like you;

 

People who contemplated suicide, the day before they meet you…

 

Notes: After my latest Miami mentoring and volunteering run; one kid came to me and asked how he could make a difference. I told him a simple way (*youtube.com: make a vid and post it); he said it was impossible.  I tried to convince him for another 15-20 min. I ran out of time and I couldn’t undo years of self-doubts with minutes of positive affirmation. So this piece is for the kid who gave up, never having to try.