Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Being African-American....

I was over at Abagond, reading the comment thread, and I saw a comment that has always irked me during discussions of African-Americans and racism. Usually, I have been on the tail end of this comment during my conversations about African-Americans with my immigrant friends (and friends from immigrant families) - be they African, Asian, Caribbean, etc.

The comment usually goes something like this: "Well, I don't understand why African-Americans complain about racism keeping them down because Africans and Chinese, etc. come over here all the time and make something of their lives. And they (we) come from a legacy of colonialism. I think African-Americans just use slavery to make excuses for bad decision-making."

A version of that comment has been launched at me repeatedly during conversations with many of my African friends in particular. It's always like, "Look at Africa! We have a fucked up history too! But we manage to not let it hold us back like you African-Americans do!" Usually the comment pisses me off so much that I find myself incapable of squelching my anger in order to coherently respond to it.

I was going to respond on the comment thread on the site, but someone beat me to it with an almost perfect response (pasted below). The only thing I would add is: "What makes anyone think that some brown and black immigrants here are not similarly suffering from the same limitations - psychological and economic limitations that stem from the legacy of the racism that manifested itself as colonialism in their home countries? Furthermore, for every African or Chinese, for instance, who comes here and succeeds there are probably a dozen more who end up like many of the black Americans who live perpetually in slums, pathologized and blamed for their near inability to rise from their underclass position. The successes of a few don't erase the suffering and continued oppression of millions." Anyway, what's your opinion on the topic?

“How is it that African, Caribbean, and Asian immigrants with their own painful colonial pasts (some experienced first hand) can come to this country and not similarly suffer from the same limitations?”

A lot of it has to do with subtle differences in the oppressed minority group psychology.

Colonialism has usually meant a minority of powerful Whites controlling (by threat of force) a majority of non-White native peoples.

Americanism has been a MAJORITY of powerful Whites oppressing a much smaller minority of imported, non-White alien people, in a culture that is extremely hostile to them.

The damage done by Americanism is different.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines, Single's Awareness, or Hallmark Day!

What’s a woman to do when she finds that she is constantly the BFF and never the GF? Now, anyone who is reading this post knows that I don’t often write about dating and love. Why? Because, quite honestly, the shit confuses me and I feel no need to further confuse myself by constantly writing blogs about it.

That being said, it has struck me lately that I am always the best friend and never the girlfriend, at least when it comes to my experiences with men. This has been the constant theme in my life since high school. I am always the little sister or big sister, depending on the relative size and/or age of the man. As a teenager, I watched movies like When Harry Met Sally and even The Best Man (don’t know why my mom let me watch that one). I sympathized with Jordan (Nia Long). Like Sally (Meg Ryan), I sometimes feared what sex would do to a perfectly good friendship. But as I grew older, I became less like Sally – to hell with fear, it’s a lonely world more often than not. I became more like Jordan, fearless but, like her, relegated to bestie position. Longing for some dude who has eyes only for someone else – whether or not he’s met her yet – a dude who says, “I respect you too much to expose you to my bullshit,” who will never be anything other than my homeboy. Constantly cherished but not quite the way I’d like to be cherished.

What’s a woman to do, I ask?

My initial answer was to do the Kanye shrug and keep it moving, cultivate a good friendship with homeboy and keep my eye open for greener pastures. But…a sista’s legs can get mighty tired, mighty fast and her vision mighty blurred from the fatigue of looking.

So, my answer now? Kanye shrug, cultivate a good friendship with homeboy, focus on self. It’s not a satisfying answer, but it will have to do, right?

So, I say to all of the singles – male or female – during this valentine’s week, send some chocolates to your besties and your fam. Know that if you are the BFF and never the GF (or BF, guys), you are not alone. In fact, there are many of us out there, I imagine. So, go pick up a box of chocolates and get at it. Be your own valentine, 365 every year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Whip My Hair Pt II : I Whip My Hair... why you ask??? BECAUSE I PAID FOR IT!

I was so inspired by Ms MaShari's past blog on JBT " Whip My Hair" about letting go of the "creamy crack" I decided to take it a step further and talk about another aspect of hair.... THE WEAVE!!!

ok... so the example I placed right there is DEFINITELY a great example of how your hair should NEVER LOOK!!!.. Seriously of you look like Hottie here..... I dont really know.... but anyways, back to the subject at hand. ( before I get ahead of myself)

I, Mz Kewe, ( as some of you may already know) loves wearing weaves... AND I WILL SAY IT PROUDLY!!!!

Before I get all Chris Rock about this subject ( which... by the way is a good movie to watch if you all havent yet) I wanted give my point of view. Honestly, I love it! and I don't see anything wrong with adding a few extensions to your head from time to time. Actually, the weave opens doors for more benefits in my opinion

1. No Need for the Perm ( Creamy Crack)
Alot of women, mostly black, run out of options and are trying to break away from this harmful chemical! So unless you can go natural or put that good old hot comb to use ( which isn't healthy either) your pretty much stuck. The weave opens a less harmful way of styling your hair and not having to worry about as much damage on your hair

Cmon! you have to admit the various styles, lengths, texture, colors, etc, etc!! such an opportunity for creativity! I myself love to keep my styles "consistency inconsistent" ( devil on my left side) below are a few pictures of myself and a few of my styles

I can wear it short



just to name a few!! and you know what the GLORY of all this variety is??? I can do all this without changing, damaging or altering my REAL HAIR!


The biggest misconception surrounding weaves are that Black women are the ONLY women that wear them... well that couldnt be anymore UNTRUE

Grasp!! is that Brittany Spears???

In Fact, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Kim from Real Housewives of ATL have all admitted to weaving weaves/wigs of some sort AND having their own hair line!


2. Women who wear weaves do not have hair of their own
another myth that is completely untrue...if we didn't have our own hair... how are we even able to sew or glue the weave in??? And, on the contrary, weaves have been rumored to actually helping the growth process of the hair, according to some women who wear them... including myself

My real hair after taking one of my styles out

The weave gets alot of flack and a bad named attached to it.. when the truth is, so many women of all ethnic groups wear it or have worn in at some time in their lives

so with all this being said


Thursday, January 20, 2011

British College Students Protest Tuition Hike in the U.K. – So What are American Students Waiting For?

When I was in high school – junior high, even – I dreamed about college. I dreamed about being able to attend on a scholarship and make a life for myself that most of my family never thought possible for themselves. I spent years perusing college books and catalogs, essentially shopping for the perfect university in the perfect location. Sadly, no one ever advised me to spend as much time looking for a scholarship. Sadly, no one ever quite impressed upon me just how expensive college is, and just how much money I would have to somehow produce out of thin air to be able to attend the college of my dreams. Yeah, there were a few full scholarships available to some of the brightest. Brightest equaled and still equals "Bright and brilliant test takers." Tough luck for the "Bright but sucky test takers." I fell into the latter category: excellent student (in advanced courses, straight A’s) but average test taker.

So, like many students of my generation, I got stuck with some student loans for undergrad. I didn’t end up at the school of my dreams (Brandeis) because I couldn’t afford it, although I got in. I ended up at a tiny private liberal arts in the middle of the Ozarks, and when I look back on it, it was absolutely the best college experience a student could hope for. A top notch education that left me with manageable student loan debt. My loans from undergrad don’t compare to what I’ve heard from others.

Then, I managed to get into grad school on a fellowship, no money out of my pocket. And, while in grad school, I realized that this is how school should be. Free. That’s right. If they can do it in Germany and elsewhere, we can do it here. Free, state-funded higher education. After all, the right to an education should not be denied to anyone. But when we make education unobtainable (and undesirable, even) by virtue of being unaffordable, we deprive people of that right.

When the British government announced that it would hike tuition to 9,000 pounds ($14,000) a year, triple what it had been (something around 3,000 pounds), students took to the streets and parliament. They protested. That’s right. Students actually said, “Holy shit, it’s gonna cost me a kidney just to get an education. That ain’t right.” And they rallied together.

Some Americans might view the reactions of the British students with amusement. “$14,000?” we might scoff and laugh, “I’m paying 30 f-ing thousand a year! What a bunch of wimps!” But guess what? We are the wimps. We are the wimps for letting our government, the parasitic banks that profit from our student loan debt, and the equally parasitic universities that profit from their relationship with the banks from which we take our loans…we are the wimps for letting these institutions screw us and cripple us with debt that some of us will never be able to repay. See, the British students’ reaction stem from the fact that they, like those in several European countries, are accustomed to paying very little (very little compared to us, anyway) and, in some places, nothing for a higher education.

In Germany, for instance, colleges (although they are not colleges in the sense that we understand them) are mostly free – while some students have to pay around 500 Euros ($650) per semester in administrative and tuition fees. In Britain, tuition generally ran about 3,000 pounds a year ($6,000) in contrast. Still cheaper than the U.S – hell, most students here would be lucky to pay $6,000 a semester at a 4-year university, public or private (unless you pay in-state tuition). My undergrad, a private school, was always around $8,000 per semester and that was in the early and mid-2000s. Nonresident undergrad tuition at the University of Iowa, for instance, is currently $11,000 per semester. I won’t even mention how much my law school tuition is – hint, it’s ungodly.

Because I think every human being has a right to an education, I think it is unacceptable to let our government, banks, and universities continue to infringe upon that right by making education unaffordable, by every year jacking up the tuition. I have been more fortunate than some others, able to get scholarships and fellowships throughout all of my education. But I am no less infuriated about the loans that I racked up in undergrad and that I'm now piling up for my living expenses. I am no less infuriated about the lonas and debt that my classmates have racked up and continue to rack up. Nothing can justify forcing students into lifelong debt for the sake of an education, something which we all need to survive and to grow in this ever-changing world. A serious and enduring student protest against such injustice and greed is long overdue. British students are protesting and fighting this outrageousness. So, what are American students waiting for?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Call for Submissions! Become a Junebug!

As you know, one of our fellow bugs is no longer with us. Do your thang, Ms. Mashari! We are wishing you the best of luck.

However, surely ya'll know what this means. We have a vacancy! We are currently looking for a dedicated and lively new Bug, male or female, who has plenty to say about any and everything under the sun. Since we write about everything, we are open to all types of writers and all types of topics.

If you are interested, submit the following to no later than February 10, 2011:
  • An article (any topic, any length; if you wish to include pictures, be sure to attach them)
  • A possible screen name
  • Topics you would be interested in writing about
  • Brief bio (a few sentences that capture who you are)
Ultimately, we will choose several articles from the submissions. A different article, of those chosen, will be posted each day during the last full week of February. On Monday, February 28th, we will announce our new regular Bug. Runners-up will be invited to become regular Guestbugs.

We look forward to your submissions, because we know ya’ll have loads to say!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


After some soul searching, Ms MaShari has decided to depart JuneBug Talk.  Here, she discusses what prompted her decision and her future plans.

It's been six incredible months and a wonderful journey with the ladies of JuneBug Talk thus far.  Never in a million years would I have imagined working with such a fantabulous group of young women; Miss Berneta the "Intellectual," attorney in the making, and aspiring activist, Mz. Kewe the "Queen of All Controversy" and next big radio or TV personality, and Miss Qui Vive, one of my best friends, the "Mastermind" and creator of JuneBug Talk, and a future best-selling author.  When Miss Qui approached me with the notion of developing a blog, I was somewhat hesitant.  But I'm so grateful to have had a chance to share something so very important to me with the world - personal finance lessons.  Creating the blog with Miss Berneta, Mz Kewe, and Miss Qui has definitely been an eye-opening experience.  In addition to lucubrating from my JuneBug counterparts, I've had the opportunity to learn from some of our GuestBugs and our readers, and I've grown so much as a writer as well.

Choosing to leave was definitely a difficult decision, but  I know that it's the right one for me and the group collectively at this time.  I'm currently working and attending school full-time, and I anticipate my courseload will significantly increase over the next year; therefore, I no longer have the time necessary to act as technical coordinator and contributor to this project.  While I will miss working alongside the JuneBugs, collaborating with our GuestBugs, and reading your comments, I am also very eager to embark on the next phase of my life.  It's bittersweet.  The ladies have some wonderful plans in store for 2011, and I assure you it's not something you wanna miss.  You never know, yours truly might even make a few guest appearances so stay tuned.  Without further ado, I'd especially like to thank our readers for making JuneBug Talk the success it is, and I hope you all continue reading as JuneBug transitions and evolves.  

In the words of J. Cole, "I bid you farewell" until later that is.

Download the entire Friday Night Lights mixtape here for FREE.

Read Ms MaShari's previous work right here at JBT:

Catch up with Ms MaShari as she chronicles the next chapter of her life at

Monday, January 10, 2011


GuestBug: Tiffany

As women we must be careful of the indelible stains we allow to be placed on our souls. Stains left on the soul, plague the woman. The vision she has for herself is stained beyond recognition. If she is not careful, her spiritual wellness could be in danger of attracting the terrible ills of, hopelessness, complacency, fear and inadequacy.
In order to progress, it is best to have a spirit and soul that has overdosed on love, faith and courage. Instead of ugly stains, beautiful and uncontained watercolors should color her soul. Women should become versed in the practice of not only indulging our individual gifts; but seeking aggressively the parts of ourselves that keep us centered. We are mothers, daughters, best friends, sistahs, wifey’s, co-workers, students, and many other stabilizing forces to so many. These roles are constantly being juggled by our minds, wrapped up with our hearts, and carried on our backs, and the burden leaves a stain on our souls. The constant struggle exists within us in the maintenance of these roles.

Then there comes the day, when the realization comes that, in being so much to others, or maybe not focusing on the soul inside the woman, we are lost, colors drained. The abysmal search for self worth and purpose, leads to unavoidable and painful questions such as “Where the hell did I loose me?" “Why did I make that choice?" “How do I cleanse me of these stains?" or “Is it too late to make me proud of me?"

Oh, we can handle the mistakes and detours. We cannot, however, wrap our minds around making the same mistakes. Strength that naturally finds roots from our souls is wounded, and has settled like stains. Stains left from abusive lovers, single motherhood, unappreciated and unmatched love, and self doubt. We learn to survive, and adapt to pain and heartbreak inflicted by others.

However, the one we must learn to love is the woman inside. Her soul needs to be tended. Her soul’s color restored. We must engage her in debate; challenge her to reach beyond what she believes are her limitations. When we love the soul inside the women, stains become eradicable. A woman’s soul should have beautiful hues of lavender, gold, and green, vibrant and beautiful watercolors; various shades represent different emotions, struggles, lessons, and memories. Stains are soiled or discolored appearances. Watercolors are pigments suspended in water. Yes, a woman’s soul must have the likeness of watercolors. Where the appearance and the lesson are learned, but the heart, mind and soul are free. There is resilience in the souls, minds and hearts of women.

Want to be a GuestBug? Email us at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"No Reservations"

Welcome Back, JuneBuggers!

I know it has been a while since we've interacted with each other, but goodness, it's good to be back home! Happy 2011!

I tinkered around with some ideas of what to write for the new year and have been coming up short on grand ideas and essays, so I decided to keep it short and simple.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the unique show, "No Reservations," where famed chef, Anthony Bourdain, travels the world trying exotic, unusual, and even shocking foods. How do raw, bloody eyeballs sounds as an afternoon treat? I know, I know...probably incomplete

unless they are spread across a seal carcass.

Yes, Bourdain has tried it...but WHY??

As unappetizing as some of these foods may be to some, Bourdain's lack of reservations allows him to better understand and acquire an appreciation for the world around him because having a wider scope allows him to open his mind - and...LIVE.

So, for 2011, I encourage you to live life with NO RESERVATIONS (but, of course, a bit of common sense) and take in all life has to offer!

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." - Oprah Winfrey

P.S., JuneBuggers...In case you are having a hard time getting started LIVING - check out some of my inspirations for the New Year:

Purchase and Read "The Twelve Universal Laws of Success," by Herbert Harris

Join 's 31-Days to Reset Your Life Challenge:

Check out Tim Ferriss' "Four Hour Work Week" to learn how to work less, and enjoy life more!

Contact Ms Qui Vive at: