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I look forward to the day…

I look forward to the day when I can no longer be afraid to leave the house. I look forward to the day that fear does not shoot through my body when I see a cop car behind me or riding along side me.

That day where I know my skin, height, and my mannerisms are not seen as threatening and are seen for what they should be.

You see the reality is I am no more threatening than the men who hung my ancestors, enslaved them, beat them, hosed them, attacked them with batons, and the men who allowed their dogs to attack them, yet for some reason I am and men who look like me are all seen as aggressive.

In reference to the acquittal of the officer who got away with murdering #PhilandoCastille.

I cannot actually say that I am shocked. I no longer am able to feel rage. I have literally come to expect nothing, but what typically happens when a black or brown person is murdered and nobody is charged. 

In all honesty as a black man my worst fear is usually being stopped and killed by the police. I haven’t committed a crime, yet I am worried about being stopped and killed by the police. I worry what will be said about me when I die. Will the vilify me and reference me as an aggressive person? Will my character be called into question despite what I have done in life?
What is even more appalling is the law allows for black and brown men & women to be abused by the very people they are supposed to serve and protect. This is why people like Amanda Seales are so PASSIONATE about how WE are treated.

This is why Kaepernick protested, because when we are murdered without cause we then get slapped in the face with zero justice! 
People say America is great and I love our country, but this country is not here for us in the same way it is for everyone else! That is not even a debate that can take place! 

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The HBCU “Choice”

I want to frame this piece before we proceed. This is not a piece to persuade anyone to see things my way or from my perspective.  This post is about education. 

On Monday the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, made a statement that perfectly illustrated the disconnect with historical events that significantly impacted black people in our country. The interesting notation to add is that Betsy DeVos is not an educator and lacks the the formal education, based on research and application. 

DeVos presented a severely flawed statement, completely misrepresenting facts about African-Americans in our country and the role HBCU’s play. HBCU’s are attended by African-Americans overwhelmingly.

DeVos’ statement called historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) “real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” this is after President Donald Trump held a meeting with several HBCU leaders on Monday. Though the discussion was billed as an hour long listening session, the listening session lasted 15 minutes, before the participants were brought into a photo op.

To claim HBCU’s have been a choice for education scoffs at hundreds of years of torture, rape, assault, brain washing and murder called slavery. It avoids the discussion about what happened to African-Americans attempting to attain an education, both during and following slavery.

DeVos forgot to mention during slavery that it was a punishable offense if a slave taught themselves or  if they had been taught to read. DeVos forgot or maybe she did not know that slaves could have their tongues cut out of their mouth for trying to sound smart. 

DeVos forgot to mention that following the abolition of slavery that most American institutions did not welcome African-Americans and/or did not protect them from persecution. Thus land was allocated and resources were gathered to provide a safe learning space for African-American students. 

If we continue down this path, segregation from educational institutions, water fountains, housing, bus seating, restaurant seating and even libraries were a standard not a choice. 

African-American students were provided outdated books, books with missing pages, tattered pages and vandalized buildings for attempting to attain an education.

The choice, Mrs. DeVos speaks of, was not much of a choice. It was the only safe and viable option to attain an education. As a result parents had to physically protect their own children pursuing education, the national guard was called in to protect young men and women from attack for their choice to attain an education. 

Mrs. Devos was not completely wrong, because of the choices people like my grandmothers, grandfathers,  and great grand parents individuals like myself were able to make the choice to attend two HBCU’s, Hampton University and Texas Southern University.

To reference facts listed throughout this post Click Here

The Library of Congress also provides a history Click Here


Click Here to read more at ABC News.

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Views… From the Right

This is part 2 of rights view of this past election.

Many individuals who voted for Donald Trump have come under fire and they have been unfairly labeled racists, mysoginistic, homophobic and their values have been questioned.

After several conversations I have found that so many people voted to spur economic growth and they also believe the Affordable Healthcare Act was detrimental, to their economic success.

What I have come to realize from discussions is those people who voted against Hillary wanted an America where an college education is not the key to having a better life. Donald Trump sold them on his ability to run businesses and that he could translate the experience developing into developing our country.

To these individuals healthcare prices are high for them and they personally needed a break from the prices they were paying. The blame for that has been placed on the Affordable Care Act. The honest truth is attending a doctor can be expensive and the monthly costs for healthcare can be expensive for families with children.

As an aside healthcare costs are the way they are due in large part to individuals who can not afford to pay and for those who chose not to pay. Here is an example. You and I visit the same doctor, I choose not to pay or cannot pay, but I still received care and you paid. The physician who treated us still worked on two people, however he was only paid for one. He has two choices he can offset his costs or take a loss. If he offsets his costs he has to raise his prices to make up for the shortfall. The insurance company who pays for the majority of the costs now has to raise their prices to cover those who pay for coverage through them.

The reality is just like the left many on the right who voted against Hillary or who voted for a third party candidate saw economic issues as the paramount issue for their future and they are justified. Hillary nor the third party spoke to the concerns of Americans.

Though more people are employed inflation, rising housing costs and slowed pay raises have made the ability for many families to create any financial breathing room.

As another aside many of the issues we face are due to a changing workforce and economy. It is cheapest for companies to automate their business replacing people with machines and finding ways to grow profits without growing their workforce, while investing in technology which costs.

As for the rhetoric that Donald Trump shared throughout his campaign, those who voted for him chose to look past it, as many due with their family members who have shared similar sentiments about minorities (even if you are a minority).

To lump those who chose to vote for Donald Trump in the same boat we lump Donald Trump in is a bit unfair. Their vote does not mean they are racists, bigots, xenophobes or mysoginists.

Please share, comment and of course like it if this resonated with you.

#iamjoecarnell

4 Reasons We need to Change the Elections

Do you remember what middle school and high school elections were like?

There was a group of students who wanted to work with the administration (principals, assistant principals and/or administrators) to get things accomplished. They campaigned with posters, gave campaign speeches and most times had platforms.

What if our adult political elections reflected those elections? If you recall those elections did not involve political parties, but the candidates were fostered based on the wants or needs of their constituency. However small and however insignificant high school students needs are, that is what happened. 
Somehow in our country we have gravitated far from our first example of how politics work. Here are the top 4 reasons why this political season made everyone very angry.

4.) The majority, formally white Americans, is no longer the majority. That is to say America has more Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Middle-Eastern Americans than ever before. Within those groups there are a lot of diverse issues each respective group feels are important. 

3.) Blanket statements and generalizations are no longer acceptable in our country. There was a time when you could say the Latinos, the Blacks or the Asians. Though I am black I grew up in a middle class neighborhood, I went to a middle class high school and I attended two amazing educational institutions enroute to a bachelors degree. The assumption that the schools I attended were run down and I could get shot going to the store are not only offensive to me, but offensive to the diverse community I grew up in. My neighbors were white, Latino, black, phillipino and black.

2.) A two party system no longer fits our country. It’s obvious. Unlike in high school everyone does not have a candidate they feel feels their pains and understands their needs. It was clear. Many democrats, republicans and independents found common ground on several issues.

1.) Over the next 4-8 years it is clear that we not only need a diversity class for everyone, but we also need to hold those in power accountable. Which may also include terms limits for congress as well. Unlike in high school that administration cannot be fired unless we vote them out. It also seems to be time to reform police accountability laws and to create civilian review boards (with subject matter experts of course).

The most exciting part of this election cycle is, it is over! People will vote today and our country will of course find a way to move forward, but it is clear we need to reassess how we coexist together and how we elect officials. Though #imwithher
I respect everyone’s choice not to be! I may not agree with their reasoning, but our country has to be liveable and beneficial for more than just me. 

If you have not voted today maker sure you do! If you have sit back relax and unblock the friends you previously blocked for not thinking like you. 🙏🏾😂😂😂

#iamjoecarnell

#whyivote

#rockthevote

Removing the Blinders

Grab Your Tissue, because 13th confirms everything African-Americans have felt about the American justice system.

Before we go any further about the documentary, 13th, by Director Ava DuVernay I have to explain I am no conspiracy theorists. In fact I tend to believe that in most cases we all have the opportunity to change our situation. However this film/documentary Breaks down so many facts, statistics and examples that you would have to be a deplorable to not understand the truth it sheds light on. 

However after watching statistics I have seen over the past few years, flashed across my screen an articulated after, social justice subject matter expert, after expert break them down I left feeling angry, shocked and heart broken. 

Ava DuVernay assembled, legal experts, psychologists, educators, and political experts to give us a history lesson on how the 13th amendment affected African-Americans.

It explains how slaves went from cotton fields, to prison, to share croppers, into Jim Crow victims thus spinning the African-Americans on their head. It confirms via video and tape recorded footage that politicians used the image of black people and the fear of southern whites to manipulate the masses and profit off of prison systems. 

It depicts how today we today have to say Black Lives Matter. It explains why this phrase is not to degrade any other race, but to particularly explain how phrases, images and laws have preyed on black people since the invocation of the 13th Amendment. 

There will be images of black men, murdered at the hands of police, that will bring tears to your eyes and have you heart broken all over again. It also goes beyond the surface of issues with police. Race is a very surface level issue.

Get your tissue, get your pen and paper and be ready to learn history omitted from nearly every text book.
The documentary can be found on Netflix. 

Racism Does Not Exist… If you are Lil’ Wayne

Undisputed hosts individuals with opinions. Usually the guests are focusing on sports and sports related topics as the show is housed on sports juggernaut ESPN.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 the shows guest was none other than Lil’ Wayne. During the segment that he appeared, the New Orleans native fielded questions about his business relationship with Birdman, his former rap partner, and business partner.

However we will focus on the ignorance that was then shared via Lil’ Wayne after a series of questions from host Skip Bayless. Skip asked Lil’ Wayne his thoughts of Colin Kapernick’s choice to not stand for the National Anthem. Kapernick’s boycott was launched, because he feels that people of color are being murdered by police without cause or punishment to the officers committing the reported crimes. Wayne first went on to say he does not know much about what Kapernick is referencing in terms of police brutality and then dropped a bomb. He believes racism does not exist!

Wayne used the example that his concerts are predominantly attended by white people and that he has been “blessed” and never experienced racial biased in his 33 years.

As I type this I have to take a deep sigh. Just on Sunday during a conversation with a friend who happens to be a New Orleans native, I said we have to be careful which musicians we support. The reasoning I stated verbatim, “Many artists are getting rich, by sending our young people false messages and they end up negatively impacting the masses.” Wayne proved my point. A man that has made millions of not hundreds of millions glorifying drug use, gun violence and dangerous sexual behavior since he was 16. That’s 17 years of music that has influenced young men and women to commit crimes for which the justice department reports they will be more harshly punished.

Wayne has encouraged the behaviors I mentioned above and done so without fear of the penalty he would face, because his money and connections afforded him a pass or so he thinks.

Yet many of the young black men and women who support his concerts and list be to his music will NEVER get a fraction of the “blessings” he has referred to. All that said, because he has not experienced it, it does not exist.

Even more dangerous Wayne is providing a sort of cosign to non-people of color who have been afforded privilege and cannot understand the fear that law abiding people of color face because of the acts of peers who live a life Wayne raps about.

My sigh earlier was one of disappointment. Not anger. I am disappointed in the loved ones, friends and business partners from Louisiana that have worked with Wayne and failed to have meaningful conversation about how people that look like him and live the life he raps about are being impacted. You see Wayne is from a state where black men are incarcerated at a rate more than double their white counterparts and face the death penalty more likely than any other group of people.

The danger in supporting artists who are not educated and not in touch with our communities is they send a message of ignorance to young men and women and profit off it while they get a pass. I’ll wrap this up, but if you continue to support artists who spew ignorance on a song do not expect your society to change. I for one will not be supporting any of Wayne’s work past or present starting today. It is not, because I disagree with his statement. It is because I find his statement to be dangerous and wreck less given his part in contributing to incarceration rates and behaviors associated with his lyrics.

If you missed he interview I speak of see the link below:

Undisputed – Lil’ Wayne 9/13/16

Compassion without Comparison

Our country does not have as much of stave problem as we think. What we have is a society that has a lack of compassion and a society that by in large is void of honest dialogue.

Far too often in this country when someone says I like cheeseburgers with ketchup the person sitting next to them has to say so you do not like chicken sandwiches. Black Lives Matters, while I do not care for their antics, is not an anti-police, anti-white group it is simply a pro-black life group. 

Blue lives matter has taken the angle that people who are black lives matter do not support police. There is nothing more false. 

The issue is that there is a notion that Black people do not like police. When black pepper typically are deathly afraid of the results of interactions that occur with police.

If we start to be compassionate about our neighbor one day we can work together to fix this. I saw a great analogy it went similar to this. If Joe and his family sit down for dinner. Then everyone gets to eat besides Joe. Joe then says Joe is hungry. Then his family who all have plates say we are hungry, but keep eating, they now have a standpoint, but Joe still does not have any food.
That is what the people of color. Be it black, Latino or otherwise feel about our interactions with police. We are not saying a white life or Asian life is not as important. We are simply saying we want our life to be valued and spared at the same rate as a white life in the same circumstances of police interaction. 

I feel extremely sorry for the slain officers, injured officers and the individuals subjected to gun fire at a peaceful rally, but my heart is heavy that yet another black man has had his life take and his family’s life forever altered. Altered by over aggressive police officers, who more than likely will never see the inside of a jail cell. A cell that if any of the black men murdered were found guilty of for the petty crimes they were accused of, may have seen should they have been over sentenced and convicted.

Sadly my soapbox falls on deaf ears. My life has a better chance of being reduced to a hashtag via a police interaction than it does at the hands of a gun by a black man. Our politicians are inactive and our police departments will not address the systematic training and disciplinary controls that are not working! What is even worse, when the President assembled a task force to address this, those suggestions have not been pushed by local leaders, activists or civilians.

Our issue is not racism as much as it is a lack of compassion. I pray for the safety of my black brothers and sisters as I do for the safety of everyone! 🙏🏾

3 Things a College Education Taught Me!

Over the next few weeks we are going to attend graduations and we will see images of so many people excited about the next chapter of their life.

While I know college is not for everyone, for those who see the benefits, you have the opportunity to expedite your professional and personal progress by attending.

Many of us we knew college was not an option it was the starting line for our life. It was our official introduction to our adulthood. As I look back on my undergraduate experience, there are three things I learned that have helped me professionally.

3. Education never stops!

Attending college entails studying for long periods of time, group projects, many tests and constant learning in short amounts of time despite what life throws you outside of that. The reality is that’s the REAL WORLD. Regardless of you being an employee or employer you have to keep evolving and that evolution takes knowledge and information. If you do not grow and evolve your competition or an alternative will surely take your place.

Be it books you read or courses you take to stay current keep educating your self on your craft or niche.

2. The institution you receive your degree from is extremely important.

Yes the name is important, but there is more to it. Many people do not believe this statement, but it’s real. What it means is your institution has to prepare you for what it is you want to do in life. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a couple years at Hampton University before I chose to attend Texas Southern University. Hampton taught me the value of networking and interacting with my class mates and that my presentation in my business interactions was extremely important.

TSU was invaluable. I met so many creative minds. I engaged with individuals who had so much energy and I never spent a day attending TSU feeling alone. Be it from my professors or class mates the resources I had available to me were first rate. I received my degree in journalism, which is weird, because I’ve spent the vast majority of my professional life working in business functions. I had the opportunity to write for a campus newspaper, work in front of and behind the camera in our news studio. I was able to learn how to structure and plan events and I did it with a great group of people.

By the time I had graduated I had theory and application experience.

1. Your degree is important, but not more important than your network.

Lastly, you cannot be successful without learning how to network. Networking is a scary word for some, but it is a word you have to become familiar with. Your network can provide you with resources you did not know existed. To this day other than my first job out of college with the Houston Dynamo, I’ve never really searched for the jobs I’ve received. Many of the opportunities were as a result of my networks.

Somewhere among the favors, encouraging sessions and phone calls with those individuals I’ve been blessed to work with and receive an education with, my name was passed forward. Even attending Hampton was a result of my mentor introducing me to a colleague, a Federal Judge, who was alumni and provided me resources and information about the institution.

To sum it up, college is not easy, but if you can make it through college you most certainly can make it through the remaining chapters of your life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worthwhile.