Black Veterans: The Epitome of American Patriotism

I want to give a big thank you this Veterans Day to every Black man and woman that served in the United States military. It is ironic that patriotism and racism go together like baseball and hot dogs in the good old USA, as those who scream the loudest saying, “Support our troops!”, often care little about the domestic polices and de facto racism that keeps their “heroes” from living the very American dream that they are told to fight for and export to nations around the world.

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The Black soldier lined up to fight the British in 1775, even while they were being enslaved! To add insult to injury, many of the Black soldiers fought in the so-called Revolutionary War “in place of their masters, fighting for a freedom they would never see for themselves. (In many cases, their enlistment bonuses or even their pay went straight to their masters.)

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At the time of the Civil War, Fredrick Douglass argued that the Black soldier could help the North win the war, but Abraham Lincoln did not want armed Black slaves (and you were taught in school that he wanted to free the slaves right?). He later gave in, but imagine the horrific torture that awaited a Black Union soldier that was captured by the Confederate army? The Black soldier did not receive equal pay for his fighting, and heroes like Robert Smalls proved that the Black soldier really was as smart as the White soldier, which was a common stereotype of the time as well as today (e.g. “IQ tests”). These Black soldiers would soon be placed back into second-class citizenship in the U.S., as the Union and Confederate states sought reconciliation with one another, not the men and women that it had enslaved for over 250 years. Those same Black soldiers, like other formerly enslaved Black Americans, didn’t receive their ”40 acres and a mule”. That land was given back to the very people they had just fought against just years prior.

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Fast forward to WWI, right in the midst of the Nadir period for civil rights, as Black Americans were “free” but certainly not equal, so many Black men enlisted to fight, “the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled.” “African American men who owned their own farms and had families were often drafted before single white employees of large planters. Although comprising just ten percent of the entire United States population, blacks supplied thirteen percent of inductees.”  They returned to a nation who’s cities erupted with race riots that stole black wealth (Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921) and lynchings and sundown towns.

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By WWII, Black Americans still enlisted and desired to fight so-call fascism with pride. However, how embarrassing was it for the USA to be called out on its hypocrisy by none other than…Hitler. He noted that the USA’s treatment of the Negro set an example for how Germany must deal with “foreign Jews”. They returned home after WWII still subjected to Jim Crow segregation, more race riots, and once again, unequal pay, as 1.2 million soldiers were not able to take advantage of their GI Bill and be free to move into the newly formed suburbs which would soon create an even wider wealth gap through housing that remains firmly entrenched into the 21st century. The result, the Black soldier’s family could not benefit from sacrifice that he made for his country not just with housing, but because they were also unable to use the money for college tuitions or business loans. To add insult to atrocity, many were attacked by Whites as they were on their way home from the war.

 

How much changed by the Vietnam War for the Black soldier? I think you know the answer, as the 1960s are the one period of time most American’s did learn about in school as the “Civil Rights Era”, due to the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King. Black Vietnam veterans, as after every other war, returned to segregated communities and “their place” in society. However, this time, the situation was in the process of changing. Some of these veterans returned home determined to now make this country live up to the promise it had been making to prior Black veterans for generations.

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How will we look at the time of service for those who served in Desert Storm or the so-called Iraqi War and years of fighting the “War on Terror”? Fifty years from now, will we look back and note their time of service at the time when Black men and women were being shot and killed by police officers and the officers continuously get found “not guilty”? Will we see that they served at a time when “White Extremists” in their own country, are considered more dangerous than the terrorist they were fighting in the Middle East?

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In my opinion, the Black veteran is the epitome of an American patriot. Perhaps they have never fought for what America actually was to them, but for what America always promised it would be to them and their offspring for their service.

For that, I sincerely say, thank you for your service.

Cool Pappa

A New Year And A Time To Overcome Old Struggles

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First I have to say, Happy New Year to you as we enter 2018. No way to not date a blog post as you can look right at the date of the post right?

After a long 2017, I’m very glad to at least have the opportunity for a new start. This year, I’m all about trying to get more content posted. One error I may have made in prior years was not posting in the midst of struggles as I want to help others through the hardships of homeschooling as well. Over the years, people have said, “It’s so easy for you all to do it, but for me…” and then the excuses start flowing. Well, let me tell you, it’s not so easy for us.

The 2017-2018 school year started with me taking over the role as the sole educator. My wife is focusing on building her career as a doula. Therefore, I started teaching my 13-year-old, 11-year-old and to a certain extent, my 16-year-old as well (much less work is required with her as she is in college full-time right now as well). This has been more challenging than I first anticipated for a number of reasons.

First, my “9 to 5” workload did not see the expected decrease. For over a year, I have been playing more of a significant role in our group after the loss of two veteran colleagues. That means more meetings (some useful, most not) and more responsibility to make sure money gets made and customers notice very little of our internal changes.

Second, my Big Homie and Boney have completely different learning styles (although  I am hearing there is no such thing…more on that in a future post) from each other and different motivations than my oldest two. While this should be obvious, unlike society’s school, my job is to motivate, meet and lead them in their optimal learning sphere, not just from my learning sphere, a curriculum or other students sphere. Big Homie, once he focuses and if he’s engaged, is a tremendous problem solver. The struggle is to keep him focused. Of course, I’m so glad to be his teacher because if he were in society’s school, he’d likely be doped up on meds to make him “conform”, I mean…pay attention. Boney’s attention span is equally short as well, but she struggles with reading so more hands-on help is necessary for focus and explanation of lessons.

I’m going to be honest with all of you. I confess that there have been many nights I have felt like a failure.

As I have been focusing on work, other household challenges and my own health, there have been too many nights I have gone to bed feeling like I should have done more. I have been trying to at least get seven hours of sleep before starting my 6 A.M. workday in the home office, but that means I’ve gone to bed knowing I need to check work, but I’m exhausted and just don’t have much in me to push through.

I am a big goal person, so now this is one of my top priorities for 2018. I have a personal standard to do better because they deserve more and I know I can do much better. Don’t get me wrong, I think they have learned a ton over the last four months but I know we can do more and accomplish more.

So let me start this year by remembering one of my favorite Fredrick Douglas quotes,

If there is no struggle there is no progress.

I am standing on that quote right now. If you are homeschooling and struggling, or wondering if you can do this, I want you to stand on it as well. No, this is not easy financially; it takes time, resources, energy to bring it EVERY DAY. There are no days off in this game. But we focus on the payoff at the end of the race, knowing that the years will be gone before we know it.  We will look back knowing we have left our footprints in the drying cement of their hearts and minds. My size 12s are there, flat-feet and all saying,

“You have been taught at an incredible price because you are a worthy investment. Live like one and carry our new tradition from generation to generation. A new family tree and legacy with minds filled by Dad.”

It is not easy, but thank God for the grace to keep striving to get it right and for seizing this new year he has given us.

 

5 dream jobs that pay a good amount of money

Becoming an engineer, doctor, or lawyer can sound like a boring, and in the case of a doctor, disgusting job. Throughout my childhood, I have changed my mind a lot on the famous question asked to kids…what do you want to be when you grow up? The first thing I remember I wanted to be was a fireman. Because when I was little my mom took me and my siblings to the fire station on a field trip. After that, I wanted to be a doctor, but I grew out of that quickly because I can’t handle seeing people throw up.

The last thing I wanted to be for a couple of years was a veterinarian because I love animals. But after thinking about it for a while I realized that becoming a veterinarian can be just as disgusting as a doctor. Now that I’m 16, in college, and people are starting to ask me what career I want to go into in just a few years. So I ‘m on a quest to find I job that will fit my personality or talent (which is another thing I need to figure out), so I looked up the top five dream jobs that pay a good amount of money.

5.  Hollywood Stunt Person

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  • This job has fun written all over it if you like to get hurt. A Hollywood stuntman takes all of the explosions, punches, and risks while pretending to be a famous actor/actress. Stuntman work is not steady work because you need to find movie after movie to work in.
  • A stuntman gets paid as much as $100k for doing their stunts
  • Must attend a stunt training school.

4. Power Line Helicopter Pilot

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  • If you like heights and technology then this job is perfect for you. They fly next to power lines to inspect them by cameras attached to the helicopter.
  • They get paid around $101k
  • Must get a helicopter pilot license with 2000 hours of flying.

3. Race Engineer 

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  • Race Engineers talk to the driver and tells him or her what they can do to achieve maximum performance in a race.
  • They can get paid around $134k
  • They need A-levels in math and Physics with a university degree and proven experience.

 

2. Ethical Hacker (a.k.a Computer Hacker)

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  •  They are hired by governments and security firms to help design ways to keep hackers out of their systems.
  • They can get paid around $140k
  • Hold a relevant qualification and meet the additional requirements of The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) check scheme.

 

1. Unexploded Ordnance Technician 

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  • Mitigate the threat of an unexploded object
  • They get paid around $150k
  • Professional Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) qualifications are needed to increase in rank

None of these jobs interest me so I will have to keep looking, but I learned some pretty interesting things when I did research for this blog post. I learned that ice cream tasters can get paid as much as $60k to taste ice cream and that you can get paid $32k to dress up as a Disney character. So there are a lot of fun and crazy jobs that sound really easy and you can get paid pretty well “working”.