I have not blogged in a long time due to being bogged down with all of the tragedies hitting the Black communities. Today, the straw broke the camel’s back when the first thing that greeted me this morning was that nine people were murdered in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston South Carolina.  My heart dropped to my feet.  Not only are our young Black men being killed unnecessarily by the police throughout this country, now Black folks aren’t even safe in the church.  I don’t understand and probably never will understand how Blacks folks are so HATED in this country.  After all, if Americans knew the true history of this country, they will realize that Black Americans made many contributions to the building of this country as well as built this country; it was called slavery.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, many people in main stream society are still reaping the benefits.  Perhaps, if the school system will allow students to learn the TRUE history of America, stereotypical beliefs will be expelled. I didn’t learn of the contributions that Black Americans made until I was in college.  It made me angry as hell because I too believed that Black Americans’ history only consisted of being slaves.  I never learned of the destruction that European Americans made to this country until, like I said previously, I was in college and I was in my middle twenties.

Now, I am not saying that European Americans are negative; just ill-informed.  Case in point; I live in a predominately Jewish community but there are now many of us Black folks and people of color moving into the community.  I never had a problem in the seven years I have lived here except for someone stealing my flowers (that’s another story).  Now that Blacks folks and other people of color are moving into our community, it was proposed by the board of directors for the police to patrol our area.  The reason?  Now, don’t laugh but it is because  people are allegedly speeding through our community.  Now, mind you, I have only seen little old European ladies driving above the speed limit which was fifteen to twenty miles an hour.  Now mind you, there were no increased break-ends or disturbances, just allegedly speeding.  The police informed the board that in order to have the police patrol our complex, we would have to increase the speed limit to twenty-five miles per hour and increase the height of the stop signs.  Huh? What is the purpose in that if the speed limit had to be increased?  We also would lose our privacy status. Well, the speed limit was increased and the stop signs’ height was increased all because of fear.  Why do other cultures think that Blacks folks can figure out the underplay for the overlay (or however that expression is).  What is it about Black folks that brings fear when this country was built on violence and thievery?  If anything, Black folks should be afraid but who wants to live like that?

I am a child of the fifties and sixties and have lived through pre-civil rights so I can do a comparison.  Before Blacks gained their civil rights, their communities were striving.  I didn’t read this from a book but have first hand knowledge that I have lived.  American is so involved in terrorism in other countries that domestic violence and terrorism is overlooked in this country.  I think the only time European Americans or mainstream society could truly emphasize with what Black Americans experience in this country on a daily basis was when 9/11 hit.  Americans are sometimes so arrogant, they forget that we can be attacked too.  I don’t like feeling that every time I go into a store that someone is watching or following me to see if I am going to steal something.  My granddaughter is getting ready to drive to Atlanta with her boyfriend; now not only do I have to concerned about the drive but also fearful because this is a young Black couple driving down south and pray that no harm will come to them.  Will there ever be peace?  I wanted this blog to be about the experiences of Baby Boomers, not about racial issues but there are too many issues of racism that my people are experiencing.  I believed at one time, that this country would protect me and assist me because I am an American.  I don’t anymore but I usedtacould!

Peace until next time.

Dr. Lorraine Mayes-Buckley


War on Women?…..For Real?

Apparently the war on women is beginning to rear its ugly head. It seems to have started when the Republicans wanted to decrease or end a woman’s right to choose to what happens to their bodies.  Now it’s flowing into whether to not a woman who stays at home to care for her children are really “working” women.  True, raising children is hard, very hard work. Being a parent means that you are responsible for not only providing food, clothing and shelter, but also  shaping a child’s mind and instilling values in them.  I never had the “luxury” of choosing whether or not to stay home with my children or to go to  work outside of the home.  There was only one time since I became a mother that I could stay home and parent and that was when my youngest daughter was born.  However, when she became a year old, I chose to return to school to study nursing.  I have always been a working mom. I had two jobs; one job was to provide financially to care for my family; the other job was being a parent and caregiver. When I left my first job as a nurse being on my feet all day and caring for others, I worked at my second job; to provide care for my girls.  I cooked, washed clothes, helped with homework and made sure to teach them manners, courtesy and to become self-sufficient, etc.  I’m quite sure Anne Romney didn’t have to worry about whether or not she had enough money to buy a little extra for her family to bring a little joy into their lives.  Even on my off days, I worked to make sure my house was in order.

Hillary Rosen should not have backed down in saying what she said.  The media only jumped on the first part of her statement when she stated that Anne Romney never worked a day in her life.  The rest of her statement is as follows; “She never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and how do we–why do we worry about their future”. Anne Romney  never had to worry about her sons’ future.  They are set for life. Anne Romney does not have any idea what it’s like to worry about whether or not she will have the money to send her sons to college. Anne Romney never had to worry about making sure she had enough money to provide nutritious meals for her children so they will grow to be mentally and physically healthy.  I struggled to get through school so that I can adequately provide for my girls; and to also teach them the importance of having an education and a good work ethic. Thankfully, I have raised three daughters who are self-sufficient and are not only good parents but good human beings.  I don’t understand where the Republicans are coming from. Not only are they trying to take away the rights that Black Americans have fought for but also the rights that women have fought for in this country.  I wonder what Anne really thinks and is she just defending her husband? I would not trade my life even though at times, it was hard.  I have managed to earn a PhD ( though it took me many years), have one daughter who has a MBA, another daughter who has a   Masters in Education and teaches, and a daughter who has been on her present job for the past 12 years as an import/export specialist.  I don’t envy Anne Romney because she has money; I just wish her husband would ask women who actually work outside the home and also care for their families what they feel about the current economic condition.  My youngest daughter struggles because she earns too much money to receive child care assistance and it takes quite a bit out her paycheck.   How she manages, I don’t know, but she does.  I had the “luxury” of having my grandmother to help me with my girls when I became a single parent.  Grandmothers today (like myself) are working themselves so caring for grandchildren may not be an option. Even now, that my children are grown and have families of their own, I still have two jobs.  When I leave work, I still have to come home and cook dinner for my husband four days out of the week (we agreed on that before we got married).  I don’t have the luxury of coming home and watching television and wait for someone to prepare dinner; but that’s another topic. Peace.

From Hoods to Hoodies

As I sit at my computer pondering the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, it brings to mind the terrorism that Black people have faced in this country since being brought here 500 years ago.  It never seems to amaze me how this country can go into another country and attempt to fight the war on terrorism but do very little to fight terrorism in the United States.  Have we become so complacent that we forgot the struggle continues? Did we really feel that we finally made it and people will at last accept us because we finally received our civil rights and now have a Black president? Or have we just given up because nothing has change and it seems nothing will change?  I grieve for the family of Trayvon and the hopelessness and helplessness they must feel.  It brings to mind just two years ago, how my oldest grandson, who was only 16 at the time was stopped by the Farmington police while riding his skate board because he fit the description of someone who was breaking into apartments. He had on a pair of blue jeans (that were not sagging) and a white t-shirt. For real? They stopped a kid riding a skate board because he fit the description? You think someone is really going to rob an apartment and try to make his get-away on a skateboard? At the time, my grandson was a skinny kid who had not grown to be the over six feet tall young man he is now. It scared the crap out of him. They put him in the back of the police car and called his mother on his cell phone. Talk about angry! I felt angry, hopeless and helpless. He did not have on a hoodie and was riding his skateboard in his own neighborhood! But the men who stopped him were cops, not a self-appointed neighborhood watch man.

I never had sons but I have four grandsons, three of whom are teenagers and one who is only 5. I also have a great-nephew who is in his early twenties. I feel that it is an abomination that my grandsons and my nephew can not feel what freedom feels like because we have to teach them to dress a certain way and act a certain way.  I remember the men who hid behind hoods (KKK) to terrorize Black folk and anyone who empathized with them. The burning of crosses, the killing of Emmett Till and a host of other atrocities that were committed against Black folk.  Nothing has changed, they just don’t wear the hoods. I was teaching a class recently about cultural awareness and I broached on the subject of white privilege. One of my students (who was in transitional housing and a recovering alcoholic and happened to be white) challenged me on this subject.  He didn’t believe there was such a thing as White privilege. “What about affirmative action?” he asked. I informed him that White women benefited more from affirmative action than any other minority group. He didn’t believe me of course and asked me who made me an authority? I wrote PhD on the board. “If you don’t believe me, do the research,” I informed him. Below, you will find some examples of White privilege;

  • Never having the experience of a White woman grab her purse when she sees a Black man.
  • Be able to catch a cab (this happened to me when I was in Chicago. A cab passed me and picked up a White woman instead).
  • Being able to walk in a department store without having all eyes on you because they think you’re going to steal something.
  • Seeing the look of surprise on a white person’s face when I tell them I have a doctorate.
  • Having your neighbor tell you that you’re alright (they leave out the “for a Black person” but you still hear it).
  • A young man being able to wear a hoodie without someone being suspicious.
  • Not having to teach your sons different protocol for driving a car, walking down the street and dressing a certain way.

The list can on go on and on but I hope you get my drift.  This country was built on terrorism from the moment the “settlers” set foot on these American shores and stole the country from the Natives. How does one find a country that was never lost and already had a group of people already here? I am so desperately trying to get over my anger, my hurt and my fear for what happened to Trayvon. I fear for my grandsons, my nephews, and all Black men in this country of the United States of America. Why are we such a hated group of people? I don’t know if I’m more angry with Mr. Zimmerman for killing Trayvon or more angry with our young men killing each other and the children who get caught in the crossfire; but that’s another subject. I grieve, I grieve, I grieve. When’s it going to end?

An American Speaks Out

Our whole society must first be brought to a consensus that it wants to close the socioeconomic gap between the races.  It must accept that the gap derives from the social depredations of slavery.  Once, and for all, America must face its past, open itself to a fair telling of all of its peoples’ histories.  It is the interaction among race, color, and class that has the most profound impact upon the internal structure of the Black community, its social organization, its relationship to the larger society, and ultimately, social interaction among individual members of both Black and White communities.  Race, color, and class establish and maintain relatively impregnable boundaries between the two social systems.   It must come to grips with the increasingly indisputable reality that this is not a white nation.  Therefore, it must dramatically reconfigure its symbolized picture of itself, to itself.  Its national parks, museums, monuments, statues, and artworks must be recast in a way to include all Americans; Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans as well as European Americans.  Historically, color was employed as a fundamental principle of internal stratification and social differentiation.  In that sense, color is no longer imperative but race remains a wall of division, a barrier to social and economic integration, and the principle impediment to equal educational opportunity, decent housing, better health care, fairness in the criminal justice system, and equal opportunities in the workplace.  Without question, one’s life chances are improved as one climbs the economic and social class ladders, but achieved upward mobility is no guarantee in and of itself that Black Americans will no longer encounter racism.  It may be less blatant and more subtle but it is nonetheless racism, and the recipient feels its terrible sting.

The month of February has been designated for Black History Month. Sadly, I have not seen nor heard much about the celebration of Black history this year.  I have heard that children in the inner cities (mainly Black) do not have work ethics so the janitors in the public school system should be fired, and the children should be made to clean the restrooms and the school so they can learn a work ethic. I wonder who’s idea that was? Black Americans have always had a work ethic, from working in the fields to cleaning homes of the dominant society, to being CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.  America must also recognize the c contributions that people of color have made in the United States.  We must teach ALL of our children the real history of America; all the good, the bad and the ugly  so that they are informed.  We also must get out of our comfort zones and talk to one another about the issues of ethnicity and culture so that we can hopefully eliminate stereotypes and assumptions.  I don’t use the term “race’ because race is neither a culture nor a brute fact of nature.  It is a social construct used to separate the world’s Peoples.  There is only one race, the human race, comprising individuals with characteristics that are more or less similar to others.  Never have I been more aware of “racism” in this country since the pre-civil rights than I am now. Do you think it is because we have a president who so happens to be Black? Never have I heard of the total disrespect some have of our president since I have been on this earth and was aware of my surroundings.  I presented a workshop on Cultural Awareness in the Helping Profession and I informed my participants that we are going to get out our comfort zones and talk about our similarities and our differences.  It still distresses me when a person of the dominant culture seem surprised when I inform them that I have a doctorate.  It also distressed me when my neighbor stated that we were the best neighbors he ever experienced (he is Jewish and in his 70s, I guess he expected us to start playing loud music and have bar-be-ques on the front stoop).  But I didn’t take it personal because he spoke out of ignorance.  We even invited him and his wife and our neighbors on the other side of us to our “giving-thanks day” and they enjoyed it.  We’ve known our neighbors for almost four years now, and love them dearly as they love us.  But it took some dialogue and getting to know one another. It also dispelled some of the myths I had about people who are Jewish.  We need to learn about each other’s cultures and traditions.  When I apply for a job and there is a space on the application that wants to know what “race” I am, I am always tempted to write in “human.”  In fact, I was at an ethics training the other day and I did put that on the evaluation.  We must celebrate all of the cultures and ethnicities of America; that’s what makes us American.  When someone asks me who I am, I don’t want to be identified as “Black, White , Purple or Green” but as American.

Remember What the Holidays Are About

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, I hope everyone will remember, “Good Will Towards Men” and carry that thought and action throughout the coming year. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or not celebrate anything at all, remember we are all of one race, and that is human.  We are made of many, many ethnicities and cultures and should celebrate ourselves and others. During our Giving Thanks Day several weeks ago, I invited my Jewish neighbors to our celebration. I was glad I did because they really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about African and Native American traditions. We, as humans need to talk to each other more and teach each other about our culture; only then will it dispel some of the myths and stereotypes that others believe about us and each other. Ask questions if you don’t understand something and share your own insight and thoughts. Don’t assume that you even know everything about your own culture. Do the research to learn more and develop your own family traditions.

American culture is based so much on race. If you think about it and do some research, race has no standing of any kind as a scientific concept. Race is neither a culture or a brute force of nature.  In the natural world, there are no clear, discrete things called “races.” That term has no scientific validity and there is no way that a “race” can be objectively defined or consistently measured.  I will elaborate on this in a future blog because I don’t want to take away from the holiday cheerfulnwaa.  The purpose of my blog is to not only offer some (hopefully) thought-provoking ideas but also to educate.

Gift giving is great if we keep in prospective what it’s about. To buy gifts with no thought put into it serves no purpose. Gifts should come from the heart and have a purpose this season. Many of us can not afford to give gifts but gifts can also be of a spiritual kind. If I could lay before you the dearest gift, this season and throughout the year, it would be for your life to be filled with good health and peace and inner joy. You would quietly refine your thoughts and words so that you will never draw to you anything but the finest. You will know the tremendous difference between the material and the spiritual; turning from anger and frustration to a safe haven of love. You will always be the most loyal friend; not only to others but to yourself. All the issues of life rise from the heart; so this is a gift from heart to heart.

I have expressed my heart to you. I have nothing to take back. CHIEF JOSEPH, NEZ PIERCE


Getting Back to Grassroots

I had a most interesting conversation the other day with a young Black man at Wal-Mart (I say young because he was about 13 years younger than me, I asked as we continued our conversation). We both were in the magazine section. He was looking for an article he heard about that was in Ebony magazine about the migration of Black folks back to the South. This young man was frustrated with the job situation in Michigan and felt it was not going to get any better. As the conversation progressed, we began talking about the current situation among our younger generation and how we are seeing them regress and not progress. I educated him (or so I thought) on how before we obtained our civil rights, we looked out for each other and lifted each other up. I remember growing up in the Black Bottom and how people took care of their homes, Black businesses were thriving and we were not afraid to look each other in the eye as we greeted. It wasn’t until urban renewal came through and the community started going down. I remember my grandfather saying to me that he would sit on his front porch with a shotgun before he would allow them to take his house. He put a lot of work in that house and it was the gathering place for the family on week-ends. unfortunately, my grandfather died unexpectedly after an aneurysm burst and the family sold the home. Urban renewal cause a lot of people in the Black community to move where the dominant culture resided (must I tell you whom I’m talking about?). We thought we had it made if we moved into their neighborhoods and life would be sweeter.

Then we obtained our civil rights and lost our natural minds. We started trying to look like them and act like them and lost all our sense of Black pride. I blame my generation for not having the forethought to see the harm that this would cause. We lost our identity and thought that obtaining material wealth was the way to go. We forgot about teaching our children respect for our elders, obtaining that education, and lifting ourselves up not by what we have but who we are. The conversation was most interesting with this young man because he knew more about what I was talking about than I originally thought. We need to talk more to each other and educate our young folk on their history; sot slavery, but the TRUE history of us and this country. We need to tell our young men to pull their pants up and our young women to put some clothes on. We need not be afraid to speak to each other. I don’t know what lead me to speak to this young man because normally, I don’t carry on a conversation with anyone when I’m out in public (except to greet them with a smile and a “how you doing?) but I’m glad I did.



Ahhh gotcha! I bet you thought this was going to be another political militant Black power, power to the people and up with women blog! Well I’m going to talk about the freedom of being a baby boomer. I didn’t think I would live to be this age (should I or should I not tell you?) Well…I’m a baby boomer; my age doesn’t matter…I’m still here. There’s a certain amount of freedom associated with being a baby boomer.  Hopefully, as I got older, I also got wiser.  There was a time I wouldn’t go out of my house wearing my glasses or wearing a t-shirt (t-shirts are for exercising).  I’m legally blind without my glasses,  and I generally wear contacts when I’m out and about because I think I look like a dork with my glasses. I remember several years ago, I scratch my cornea and it was very uncomfortable but I wore my contacts anyway and suffered. Now, how vain was that? But as I approach my sixties (yes, I said it!), there was something in my spirit that said, “you don’t have to impress any one any more.” So, I wear my glasses when I don’t feel like poking myself in my eye trying to put my contacts in.  I also wear t-shirts in public (gasp!)…as long as they are ironed.  I haven’t gotten beyond ironing t-shirts, jeans and even sweat pants. I have to take this newfound freedom slowly. Today, I did something I would never have thought I would do.  I went to the mall with a pair of sweat pants on, my glasses, a t-shirt and polka dot socks that one could clearly see thorough my shoes (Heavens!).  I still will not leave my house without combing my hair and don’t understand women that don’t before venturing out in public.  As the gray slowly creeped in when I was in my early fifties, I told myself I was going to age naturally….NOT! I still put a rinse in my hair every 4-6 weeks depending on how I feel.

I remember my grandmother looking like Donna Reed (for those of you who don’t know who Donna Reed is, look it up) every day. She wore heels, dressed in a shirtwaist dress and always had on an apron.  She cooked, cleaned and ran her numbers dressed like that. I was a kid and this is what I saw on television.  As I grew older and of course she did too, she began wearing dusters.  These are like house coats (or bathrobe for you youngens) with pockets. As the years progressed, she began wearing overalls. She had overalls in every color there was. She was quite comfortable. However, she still dyed her hair a bright red. I never knew what color  her hair was originally.  I now understand the comfort my grandmother sought as she got older. I think about that as I put on my pants with the elastic waist…elastic is my friend.  I haven’t worn panty hose in a while.  Remember girdles?  However, some of these young girls need to wear them as they flip and flop all over the place.  I can brag that my butt is still firm.  I’m ok for an older woman ( I refuse to claim old). It also helps that black don’t crack because I do not have any wrinkles.  However, I do listen to my knees creak as I walk up the stairs or attempt to get off the floor after finishing my exercises.  I’m also a little stiff as I climb out of my bed in the morning but I’m ok as soon as these older bones and muscles warm up.

I’m glad I am the age I am because I see life so differently when I was younger. I do mourn for the generations after me because I sometimes wonder if they will ever feel the joy of that first date, that first kiss, or being introduced to a young friend face-to-face. Texting is the social network and our kids are lacking in the humanness of being…human. We don’t touch, we don’t speak and we’re mean to each other.; but enough of that negativity. I relish my age and celebrate it daily as I put on my mascara so I won’t look so tired, as I iron my t-shirt before I go out doors. The secret to youth is to always keep an open mind, and keep up with the times.  Life is good!