Update on my inspiration board

Clients and folks I serve while volunteering have told me :
"You don’t know what it’s like to be a single parent! "

" poverty is hard, there is no escape "

"A.I.D.s is a death sentence, why should I have goals?"

"Addiction is all I am, not something I’m dealing with. There is no hope and no way out."

"Autism is a joyless phenomenon. "

"Drugs ruined my life"

"Being the only wage earner in a large family is exhaustive and we will never feel happy"

You will never understand what it’s like to be Black in a White World

Hal Espy was my boss at Cal State Long Beach when I worked in the Kitchen for 49er Shops. He was (may still be) a tall man who repeated the name of the person he just met seven times in their first introduction and then he never forgot the name. I think he was a boxer of some repute before running the dining halls at a state university.

Hal used to walk up to me and take my hands, hold them close to his eyes and say “Yep, never known a day of hard work. You will never have to know a day of hard work.”. How I wish that were true, but he was wrong on both counts.

What he was correct about was this : “You will never understand what it’s like to be Black in a White World. It is unfair, it won’t ever be fair, and you probably won’t have to care.”

In all fairness, I grew up in Arcadia California where I only saw two black students the entire time I was in school from Kinder through High School graduation. I thought I was doing my part to set the worked to rights when I boycotted Carl’s Jr. for having an owner who supported Apartheid. Walking into the dining hall at CSULB was like walking into a different world. I honestly had never seen people of color en mass before. Hal gave me one of my first jobs and educated me in more than food preparation and service. I used to sleep and have dreams about serving food and my whole body ached from standing and stretching and crawling under equipment to clean it, lifting up heavy pans of water from the food warmers, and my brain hurt from converting recipes for larger or smaller batches. The most important lesson came from watching “Cops”, the television show, in his office. He told me to count the number of black folk being arrested and compare it to how every other nationality was presented.

When people would visit me at LAMP on Skid Row, I usually fielded questions and comments about the number of people of color living in the streets and shelters. True enough, there are more black folk in poverty than white., There are also more black folks incarcerated, and fewer positive representations of them in the popular arts.

I think the United States operates on the Brown Bag beauty test – and if you are darker than the bag you will get short changed.

I have never been able to change the way people are perceived and treated, but I have cared.

For the record, I am the only Caucasian worker in my office and have been the only generic white person on my employment level here for over seven years. Actually, I don’t think I have ever worked anywhere when I was in the majority. While you may say I am misusing my white privilege by not using it, I will tell you that it gets plenty of use without my trying.

Example :

This is my face cartooned with one side in my natural shades and the other side dark. Which one would be more likely to be arrested, shot, imprisoned or expelled?

#Ferguson black white racism ethnicity

I don’t need to tell you. You know.

Using Homeless Guys as Reality Show Props is Offensive

Sonya:

Just no

Originally posted on TIME:

The viral YouTube video, “Making Homeless Guys Arm Wrestle For Money!” opens on a sidewalk with a 20-year-old guy in a black V-neck. He gives this introduction: “What’s up guys! I’m Coby from Model Pranksters… today we’re in New York City, we’re gonna find two homeless people, put them up to an arm wrestle. The winner gets $100.” It has been viewed more than 8 million times.

Harmless enough, right? A couple of guys down on their luck get a crack at enough cash to buy their next five or ten meals and we get to watch. (Or, maybe you’re thinking the vary premise sounds patently offensive. But let’s keep going.)

Coby Persin and his sidekick, Justin, head off in search of a vagrant with a meaty bicep. They stumble upon a middle-aged African-American man, panhandling, whose pants are ripped and barely cover his legs. The man agrees…

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September 2014 new MTA Bus Fare Rates

Taking public transportation is about to become more expensive. Hopefully the quality and number of routes will improve with these extra dollars. The monthly 30 day bus pass is jumping $25 from $75 to $100.

Some bus riders do so because it is GREEN and the right thing to do for the environment. Other bus riders do so because they do not and cannot drive. Many bus riders take public transportation because they are receiving public cash assistance and are furnished with just enough funding to buy a bus pass to go to work, training, school or therapy. Even if you do not take the bus, you are about to pay for more expensive bus passes.

fares_English.pdf

I am “Not Accomplished” – but I am offended. In Defense of the “Slackers”

Sure, sure, I can play seven instruments proficiently and sing and draw and have written a newspaper column and won awards for this here blog and some of my charity work – and I have two beautiful and smart daughters. Oh, I have had my paintings and my written works published in real books and not the self-published Kindle Books ( although you can find me there too).  But these are more along the lines of “Random Sonya Adventures” and not the classical “Accomplishments” such as dual degrees and holding the position of CFO or CEO etcetera, etcetera. .

I was blindsided this weekend and I really should not have been, but I was and two days later I remain angry and hurt. At a dinner with rocket scientists and engineers the talk came about to parenting and children. “Accomplishment is the most important thing. Children need to be accomplished.”

No.

Children need to be decent human beings who grow up into decent human beings.

I want my girls and all the children of my clients and all of the friends of my children to be three things:

1. Happy

2. Healthy

3. Well Adjusted

If I had not been sitting in a corner and if I would not have had to climb out over and behind people, I would have left the dinner party. The question remains unanswered as to what made me more uncomfortable –

  1. The senior citizen saying she knew her new boyfriend didn’t wear a toupee because it feels real when she pulls on his hair (eww, I was eating. . . was).
  2. The insinuation that I was a walking and talking failure to my parents because I only have 1 degree and no fame or social acclaim to speak of. ( Let us not even think about how my baby brother would measure on this scale!) Also, my value system was knocked because I drive a gas efficient 9-year-old non-luxury car because I am more interested in getting around town than “taking care of myself”.

If I am not good enough to be held in high esteem just as I am, then your value system is crap and I don’t think I need to be near you. If you can not look up and understand that you are calling the person directly across the table from you as “LOSER”   then you have lost my desire to know you.

What do you all think is important in character and child development?