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What does that even mean?

So recently I found myself with more than 700 likes on my Facebook page and I wonder how good that is. How many like translate to success? I’m not one to believe that because I have a certain amount of Facebook likes or Twitter followers that I’m a famous or a successful person. However, it may mean that I know a thing or two about interacting with an audience which may mean a little more.

I do see this as way for me to get my name out there but I also feel that it isn’t enough and that perhaps I’m doing something wrong. The question that I immediately ask myself is how does all these likes and followers translate into new readers? This is something I still have trouble answering.

This year I realized that it didn’t matter. None of the likes or followers matter because at the end of the day, I’m still a new author with one book. Of course, this may end up changing as time goes on but as for right now, each new follower has to get acquainted with me. Each new like is a vote for the foundation of success and each new person is a potential customer.

As I push toward the second book, I start to look at things that worked and didn’t work over the past year. I’ve battled with the idea of just posting nothing but quotes and pictures of Hanging Upside Down on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. The problem is I don’t want to be that guy that people think uses social media as a spam platform. I would hate to lose anyone on social media if they felt I was being too commercial.

But here I am with 700 likes. When I made that page I didn’t know what to expect and I supposed I shouldn’t always write about it every time I get 100 more likes but It does make think about how this will play out once The Book of Isabel drops.

Will I sell more? It’s hard to tell.

Child Discipline or Abuse

This was my picture on Facebook to support child abuse.

Before I even begin I want to give a shout out to Brooke, who started this thought process for me on this topic. She wrote a very good blog post earlier today that made me think about a few things.

I really didn’t talk much about Thanksgiving this year. I did not talk about that week at all outside of Sarah Lawrence. I was in my own world doing my own thing and I know that it appears to some that I may have blown people off, but it is simply not that simple. But, if I can cut a small piece of that week out for all to view, it will be spending the holiday with my mother and that side of the family.

It is always interesting times to go over there. My aunt lives in Riverdale, which is a very upscale part of the Bronx. This was one of the few places in the Bronx where I spent some time living because Riverdale was spot number 2 that we moved to once my mom left my dad. It is really not a bad area, however, this was the first place I was called a nigger by a white kid and I have been thinking about my identity ever since (a story for another time).

The issue for that day was who was I going to go with. Was I going to go with mom or my brother? I ended up driving myself because at the end of the day, I would rather have the option of leaving when I wanted. Plus, I had another stop to make (benefits of having a big family…options and other places for food!). There is always a bit of trepidation when I am going to family gatherings because you never know. My history with that side of the family is an extension of my relationship with my mother. So, I had to be cautiously optimistic.

Dinner started as soon as I got there because I was the last one. It was not my fault it took me almost an hour to find parking in Riverdale. The food was good. We laughed and ate, things were merry. In fact, I ate so much that I was about to pass out. I wanted to sleep so bad! I decided to walk around and play with my smaller cousins and nephew.

Then desert came and we started this discussion. The kids were a little rowdy, but I know I have seen worse. One of older my cousins, who has no children, starts talking about how people need to discipline their children more otherwise these kids will run rampant. I knew what she was saying. The adults want to be adults and the kids need to be curbed. Somehow we got on this conversation about some kids need to get a beat down but the laws are so strict that kids these days like to threaten their own parents with calling child services. The running joke was of course, the kid would be like “I am going to call the police” and the parent would respond something like “Go Ahead…they can keep you” or “You wont make it to the phone” (all of this was amusing..trust me)

Let me just say that I know I wasn’t the best kid in the world. I used to get hit to and for the most part I deserved it. My grades sucked, I broke stuff, I would not listen, and I just could not get my shit together. So there was no surprise to me that my mother chimes in at some point and talks about how she used to beat me. We laughed as she told the story about how she chased me around the house and finally caught me in my bedroom. I started screaming for my dog, Bosco (which was this big wolf like dog). He comes running in and jumps on my mother! Then he realizes who it was he just tackles and runs out the room in a hurry. I remember this and it was very hysterical.

Then there were more stories and I started thinking… I can remember getting hit more by her than her hugging me. Now, I am not saying I was abused. I would argue that I was not. But, it forces me to think about all my relationships with women. One of my aunts told me that my mother had no patience with me many times and her anger would come out easily. I realize that I strive so hard for the approval of women and I take a lot of “abuse” when I don’t have to.

I bring this up because over the past week there have been many people changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters of their youth to promote child abuse awareness. The premise is to relive happy memories of our younger days. While some people have said that this is silly because it wont stop the abuse of children, I am for it because child abuse is wrong. Giving money wont stop child abuse either, but at least more people will be aware that some kids are born to some really bad parents.

Back to me. I am not saying that my mother was this abusive woman, but I was once for hitting kids when they were unruly. I am not so sure anymore. People do not seem to realize how fragile a relationship with a child is. The foundation of all relationships are laid when are children. If there are issues with this foundation, it will be something that kids will be dealing with for the rest of their lives.

Everything is About Race.

Yesterday I was called a Racist on Twitter. Reason being that I had the nerve to point out something on Facebook that that my guest blogger stated. If you read what yesterday’s blog was about you would know that Rameer was pointing out the simple fact that not many white people he knew posted anything about Haiti on their Facbook statues, yet just about all the people of color he knew, did. It was a commentary on sociology of race relations and what we hold to be important.

Like I normally do, I will tweet about my blog to let people know what today’s topic is. I asked a simple question: “How many white people do you know on Facebook that posted something about Haiti?” Let’s be real about this. I think it was a legitimate question in which I got answers to. One follower, who is a woman I have spoken to via chat and on the phone, was offended by my question. “Why do you have to make it racist?”

What I find interesting is that I just asked a question. Consider that I have taken classes in social justice, sociology, racism and education, and I am a trained facilitator in racist dialogue…I think I would know if I was being racist. But I digress. The point is, that Racism exists and pointing that out, does not make me racist nor does it mean I am perpetuating it.

“When people like you ‘point it out’ but are really just being racist yourself. I think its so ignorant.” I am one to believe that ignorance is bliss. If people like me do not point such things out then we are truly being ignorant about the world around us. Do I need to explain why Haiti is suffering so badly? Do I need to explain why that country is so poor? Race has everything to do with it. I was just saying this week that we need to know our history. Haiti was once a colony of France and after it was bled dry by the French, they left the Haitians to fend for themselves.

Let me explain what Racism is, since I am so ignorant about the world. Racism is a part of the system of oppression that is perpetuated by those who are privileged. Racism is power plus privilege. According to her, this definition is antiquated. I am not so sure how old this meaning is especially when sociologists still hang on to this definition, so let’s go with Webster’s Dictionary: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Ok…so how am I being Racist? Do not get me wrong, I can be prejudice. We all can be. We all have our thoughts about other people. Honestly, that is natural. “ANYONE can be racist! If you don’t like someone based on their race…your racist.” As I pointed out to her, I never said I do not like white people. But, if you really know me (which she does not), then you will know that I point shit out like this all the time. Why? Because I have heard people say that they think racism does not exist anymore…yeah ok.

“…and you are making assumptions. Maybe people didn’t post about it but chose to deal with it their own way or donated privately.” I will say this, I do make assumptions. But if someone points something out and many other people agree and see the same thing, what does that mean? I get the fact people want to deal with things in their own way. But, why donate privately? Do white people think they will be judged by their peers that donating to a “3rd world island” is not the in thing to do? Or would they rather hold up a blind fold and watch “Jersey Shore”?

Which being me to my point and why I had Rameer write that post yesterday. It is clear that we all live on the same planet, but we live in different worlds. It seems to me that most, if not all people of color, care deeply about what happen in Haiti. Most likely because they either have family there, or know people who do. More importantly, these people look like us! White people in general can be blinded to the plights of many of our people. The very system of privilege makes it hard for them to realize what we go through. So Haiti is a different world.

Everything is about race…Everything. If you do not think so then think about this. If you are a white person: Do get followed in a store because you are are white? Do you ever think you will ever be stopped by a cop because you are driving while white? Do you have issues buying a white doll from Toy R Us? Do you struggle to find a sitcom on TV that positively portrays white people?

Never EVER tell me that everything isn’t about race. When I think about Racists, I think about Pat Roberston. I am so not like him. I live my race everyday. Do you?

Truth Is Truth: Do White People Care About Haiti?

Guest Blogger today! My boy, Rameer Green. I had to hit him up yesterday based on what happened on his Facebook page…check it out:

I’m a Facebook junkie.

I fully admit it. Like millions of people worldwide, I can’t get enough of it. I connect with people, engage in online conversations…hell, I sometimes get news faster on Facebook than I do in real life. One thing is constant – regardless whether it be serious or jovial, I always have some stimulating online convos.

But yesterday, I caused a pretty significant stir.

One thing should be known about me – I’m pretty blunt. I say what’s on my mind, straight with no chaser. I’m also brutally honest…I rarely lie about ANYTHING. Some people love this about me, some hate it. People say they want honesty; I find most really don’t want someone who is ALWAYS honest.

This honesty upset A LOT of people on Facebook.

See, I took notice of something I found very peculiar. When the earthquake hit Haiti Tuesday night, my Facebook feed was lit up with reaction. People expressed shock, dismay, sadness, worry, offered prayers – everything you would expect to see in reaction to a horrible tragedy. I saw this all night, and saw it continue Wednesday morning when I logged on to my computer at work. That wasn’t the peculiar part.

The peculiar part was that not a single white person on my friends list had typed a single word in reference to it.

I have over 500+ people in my friends list. And I don’t add due to trying to take part in a popularity contest; I have some real connection with every person in that list. Out of the 500+, I’d say a bit more than 200 are white.

Not one had anything to say about the loss of possibly 100,000 human lives?!?

So I posted a link to the AP news story Wednesday morning, and I pointed this fact out. And inevitably, the reaction started to pour in: I was horrible to point this out, why do I have to make this about race, Facebook isn’t always for serious stuff, etc.

But no one could answer why none of them had posted any reference or reaction to the situation in Haiti. And my responses were consistent – truth is TRUTH. The reality didn’t change that none of them had posted ANYTHING.

I should point out that out of the 250+ people of color in my list, well over 50% posted *something*. A link, a reaction, prayers…something acknowledging the story dominating national news. I didn’t do the math, but I’d say somewhere like 75% of all people of color posted something. And, as I stated on the thread, this wasn’t the first time I have noticed a story or subject that resonates with people of color that whites seem to have no reaction or opinion on. This was simply the first
time I called this crap out on Facebook.

In my opinion, it comes down to this – the value of human lives is very different in some people’s eyes. A single white kid missing in Iowa can make national news and illicit the attention and sympathy of many whites; a good, promising young Black student getting killed as an innocent in the crossfire of gang violence in Chicago doesn’t. Mexico facing it’s worst violence to start a new year in over 50 years catches few whites’ attention, but violence in a European country is “terrible”.

I have concluded many years ago, and had it reaffirmed with years of research by experts much smarter and more knowledgeable than me – that this occurs at a subconscious level. It’s the result of attitudes that go back to the dawn of this country – that whites are somehow more important and substantiative as opposed to the brown, red and yellow people of this Earth. And this is propagated in the education we receive, the entertainment we watch, and the how things a represented in the media.

As we debated throughout the day, here’s the funny thing…I noticed many of my white peers did start acknowledging what had happened. Many copied and pasted statuses I had put up regarding donations and help. Others brought attention to their white friends on their lists. And in the most impactful instance, three people who work in media were spurred to give better coverage and attention to it than they had been. This LITERALLY resulted in newscasts being changed at THREE stations in my
market, and feature stories being done on the topic.

No one was ever able to give a semblance of a good excuse for the disparity. There was one guy who was actually honest…he said “Wow. Way to make us feel guilty.” But he wasn’t being condescending, he was sincere. He DID feel guilty, as he told me – because he knew he was one of those that post things daily about things of substance that effect white people…and that there really wasn’t a good excuse why he was apathetic to this situation. And I appreciate his honesty. Many others simply got
defensive and tried to turn it into a different type of debate. I didn’t really fight too much, I just pointed out the numbers don’t lie – truth is truth.

None of them either cared to post something or thought to when they do so for a number of other things. And that I don’t know for sure why that is…they’d have to look within themselves and determine why this had occurred. 200+, and NO REACTION?!?

Scratch that. One white woman I know DID post something that I missed. I gave her kudos. 1 out of 200. Less than 1%.

What started out as a convo actually made a much bigger impact than I could’ve imagined by the end of the day. And I’d like to think I gave my white friends and peers some real food for thought as to how they think and how they subconsciously view and value the lives of some people over others. I’m not making the argument that any of these people are blatant, hateful racists; as I’ve stated – I believe this was a subconscious thing much deeper than that, but still rooted in racism.
Like many things, we’ve all been indoctrinated with certain things in relation to whites being of a higher value than those involving people of color. I should note – I work in media. I see subconscious decisions as to who and what is important daily…and there’s a huge difference when the people behind the scenes are all white as opposed to when there is diversity.

Someone told me I was being negative. I think I made an observation that made a whole lot of white people feel uneasy. But like I said in my responses – a negative reality is STILL reality.

Truth is truth. I just happened to be the one who pointed it out on that particular day.

Feeling Good

Last week and this past weekend has been very interesting for so many reasons. The fact that I have been feeling really good has proven to make my life so much easier. I will admit that I am not entirely sure why I am feeling so good. I am thinking that perhaps it is a delayed reaction to my trip from Florida. All the the sun must have done me good. Perhaps it is the running that I continue to do. From what I am hearing the endorphins from exercising is what makes us feel better.

Regardless, I feel that I am returning to my cheerful ways. I feel that I have always had somewhat of a positive outlook on life. However over the last several months I think my view on love and life have been darker. I have become this person that can give great advice but has difficulty following my own. I am not sure why that is, but in any case, I need to have a positive look on life.

I am very amused by the people around me. I am not saying I take my impending divorce lightly, but seeing people react or at least not trying to react makes me laugh. It seems that my situation has sparked conversation at my work place when I was on vacation and I am ok with this. This essentially means I don’t have to talk about it to people I rather not talk about it with. So if they want to me shocked by the news while I am not around then I am good with that. However, there have been a few people who have been very supportive and that goes a long way with me.

It all pretty much started when I put “single” on my Facebook. Before I went to Florida my father calls me and was very concerned that I may not be moving on since my wife has put single her status. I was more shocked about him calling me about this (I mean really? is it that deep?). I didn’t update my status because I just wasn’t paying that much attention to it, but to appease my father so he does not worry about me, I change it.

You would have the thought the “Bat” signal went up. I am getting texts and emails asking why am I single on Facebook. Some have not been so discreet by asking me on my page why am I single (but we wont go there). Most people thought it was a mistake! That perhaps Facebook in the many version it keeps updating to, changed my status. I just smile and tell them that it is no mistake. Once they pick up there jaws, I inform them that we are ok. Sometimes it is better to be friends then to be married. Of course I am amazed how Facebook has played a role in my social life. I even gave my parents a tutorial when I was down there.

I was asked to take down my picture from Facebook by my mother in law because I looked sad. This was a difficult conversation with her. She is very much a mother to me and she is having a hard time dealing with our break up. This did upset me but I told her that once again, we will be ok. Speaking of family, I was talking to my niece from my wife’s side of the family. She too noticed the news on Facebook and asked me if I am still her tio. This broke my heart. I love that little girl and she is the closest thing to a daughter that I can get. I told her I would always be her tio.

I am feeling good because there are so many possibilities in my life right now that it is hard to decide what to do. Couple that with the fact that I have been able to accept our decision to move forward.

Tid Bit Tuesday

Finally Home!

After a 20+ hour drive, I am back from Florida. I had a great time. I didn’t do much, but that is the point right? I was able to chill out with the folks and talk. I feel bad because the stash of Bud Light Lime is gone. I am not sure how many of those I had. Overall, I had plenty of time to myself, which is what I wanted.

The ride back was better then the ride going. We completely bypassed New York and New Jersey. Of course, I am home now and I am pretty bored…already.

10 Things I Learned on My Trip..

  1. It rains EVERYDAY in Central Florida! Sure the Sun comes out, but you better head inside by 3pm.
  2. We, as in New Yorkers, cannot complain about rain. The size of these drops will keep you wet for hours. Trust me my sandals are not the same (squish)
  3. Running 4 miles is not happening after 9am. It is way too hot. Wasn’t trying to die.
  4. People from Virgina cannot drive…if you don’t believe me drive that portion of I95
  5. Pennsylvania has construction for no reason. They tare up the roads just to piss people off. The same project from last year…is still being worked on.
  6. North Carolina is a HUGE state…I am still dreaming about driving through it.
  7. Disney World has the best customer service period…hands down.
  8. You cannot drive that far without a GPS system. That thing (a Tom Tom) was great!
  9. I could live on Ceviche…I may have to blog about that.
  10. I discovered that I am down a pants size…(all that running)
I Got Darker

One thing I wanted to make sure was that there was some visible proof that I went to Florida. Sure, I can take pictures and show them around, but nothing says vacation like black skin! There was a point last week when I told myself I need to just sit outside and just cook. My dad has a nice pool behind the house that is screen in (damn those insects). I sat out there when it wasn’t raining and read my book.

Now, there maybe…some pictures that might get out, that perhaps my father in his infinate wisdom, will post on his Facebook. Yes, the man has Facebook. So does my step mother. I gave a Facebook 101 class the first night I was there. In either case, I will let you know.

I think there is video too…

Tibit Thursday…

Keeping it short today because I have plans to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine tonight at midnight. I have been waiting for this movie for awhile and I think this movie kicks off, what looks to be a great summer movie season. I will plan on having my movie review on tomorrow’s blog, just like I did for the Watchmen.

I wanted to make some comments on the changes that you maybe seeing on this blog. I have updated some widgets. I wont lie here. I have gone to several blog sights and saw what I liked and just copied. I am thinking a lot about ways to use more space for me to fit the things that I want. Not that I want to make this a busy page, but more a of space that expresses me and my interests more.

Which is the main reason why I added the Twitter updates.I am really getting used to using this sight and have even linked Twitter with Facebook. This way I only update one status message.

Anyway…here something is something that had me laughing all day:

My Addiction…

I think I am addicted to Social Networking. It has become quite clear to me as I signed up to LinkedIn. I am not sure what it is about these sites. Each one provides something different. Some are really way though, but others are pretty good to the point that they are very addictive. So I will just give a list of all the sites I am on. (Editor’s Note…Don’t Judge Me!)

  • Facebook – By far the most addictive. I have connected with so many old friends and so many students. I do love this site. However, it has been growing old on me. They keep changing the layout. But, every time I think I am getting tired of it I get a message from an old friend.
  • Twitter – This moved up quickly to me because so many people use it. I do not follow any of the celebrities, but I do love the quick updates that people give. Right now this is the most addictive to me.
  • Blogger – A no brainer here. I blog everyday…and I do mean everyday. It is my own personal soapbox that I control and I have met some cool people who always comment! (You know who you are)
  • Tagged – I joined this one a few weeks ago. This a what a site would look like if Facebook and Myspace got together and had a kid. Not a bad site. I am not so addicted to it though.
  • Myspace – This used to be my joint! I was on this site all the time. I just lost all its sexiness to Facebook. I have been on that site in weeks.
  • Adultspace – This is basically Myspace…but naked.
  • LinkedIn – I am actually liking this site. This is a site I can find people I know and look for a job! Hey, I am not gonna be at SU forever.
  • Migente – This is blackplanet (which I am not on), but Latino. I was into this site along time ago. I visit every once in a while. But, it just doesn’t do it for me.
  • Yahoo 360 – This is ok. I joined because I have a yahoo account, but it is quite wack in my opinion.
  • I have kept an account on these sites because you never know who you might run into. I do not normally erase a profile. I do have some on sites I rather not say due to personal reasons! I think social networking can be fun, until they get boring.

    I know there are other sites because I still get invites. Maybe I will check them out. But, one thing is for sure, I do not pay to Social Network.

    Tap Tap Tap….is this thing on?

    I guess I am not doing a good job in promoting my blog as I should be. While I am not necessarily writing for the world at large it does make me wonder who is out there. In terms of the blog world, I guess I would consider myself low maintenance. I don’t update this site much outside of blogging every day. Not sure if that is a good thing or not, but I want to focus of this site to be strictly on my words.

    I consider this site much like the hair cuts I get every 2-3 weeks. I make it short. I get a touch up. Trim the sides and make sure the edges are smooth. After all that, I am good for a few weeks. I can go about my business and not really care how people view me or what I am doing. Very much like this site.

    However, I have come to realize that readership is everything. While my topics seem to vary from day to day, these are still my experience that I share with the world at large. I will still say Latinos are black. I will still talk about how I see the world. The fine line I see is that this blogging shit is not a popularity contest. I think people may view it that way and the art of writing in general gets lost.

    I have done several things to promote this blog (although now that I think about it, I could do better) such as, word of mouth, commenting on other blogs, facbooking (status updates and network blog sites), myspace updates, etc. So, I am not sure I am satisfied with what I have. Not that I will change the content of even the way this site looks, but I feel I need to make a change in some way.

    Now, I have said before that I do indeed write for me. I truly do not write for anyone else, however, writing needs to be read. Just like musician may write music for the love of music…someone has to listen to it. So, I think I need to do a better job in promoting. I haven’t been receiving a lot of comments in general and it makes me think that I need to step it up a little.

    So, with that being said. I think it might be time to join the world of Twitter.


    Social networking seems to be the way to go nowadays. There was a time when Facebook was supposed to be for college students and now it has blown up to point where parents are now hooked. There are so many sites to choose from if you want to network of just meet people. The choices almost seem endless (I am still trying to figure out what twitter is). It seems that when it comes down to it you either like Facebook or Myspace. I haven’t met someone that likes booth, although they can have accounts on both.

    I started on Myspace. I thought it was a hot site that allowed me to keep in touch with people I knew. I could send messages to alumni that I knew or just meet interesting people. The Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas graphics were always something to behold. I actually started a blog there as well. But, then something started turning me off to Myspace. I am not entirely sure if it was the random spam messages from web hookers or the numerous amount friend request from web mistresses…I dunno. Either way I became bored.

    At the same time I was on Facebook and this was strictly to keep in touch with students, particulary the ones I advised or employed. This was a great way to do that. What makes me laugh is how all the educators and administrative heads of higher education felt that Facebook was this big threat. You could go to any of the Higher Education conferences and you would see several presentations and panel discussions on the dangers of Facebook. I even remember attending meetings on what we going to do about this site. I would at my co-workers like, “Are you serious?”

    Then the creators of Facebook became really smart and decided to open up all the networks to include people who were not in college. This is where the flood gates have opened for me. I have been in touch with so many people that is just hard to fathom. There are people I have not seen in over 20 years that I talk to as if no time has passed. Then when I thought it could not get any better, my family starts to join! What makes that crazy for me is that it is the family that I don’t see all that often. So, it has been such a joy for me.

    Sometimes I do think to myself what did I do before Facbook? The answer to that is clearly not keeping in touch with people.