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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Superhero Women- Why They Don’t Sell

I’ve had the chance to read many comic books with female superheroines as the lead character.  Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, Wonder Woman, Claws of The Cat. Shanna The She-Devil. Red Sonja. The Black Widow.

I wasn’t impressed by most of them.

With the exception of Max Alan Collins & Terry Beatty’s Ms. Tree, John Byrne’s She-Hulk, Jo Duffy and Jim Balent’s 1990’s Catwoman run, AC comics Femforce, and Spider-Girl, I found most of comics I read featuring female heroines disappointing. 

If I had to pay for most of them I wouldn't be picking up a second issue.

Reading some of those comics I began to understand why most comic books featuring Superhero women don’t sell.

While many superheroines have visually striking designs, the books that feature them just aren’t written well. Instead of compelling stories featuring characters readers can relate to and identify with, Comic books featuring superhero women are usually misogynistic, sexist and patronizing. They literally insult your intelligence.

And this is coming from a man. Who grew up with sisters and a cousin.  They were a lot harsher on these comics than I was growing up.

Character wise, most superheroines are one-dimensional. They usually have no personality and no “voice” that speaks to the reader. Personally I believe not being able to speak to the reader is one of the reasons why many a comic with a superheorine fails to catch on and reach a larger audience. If a character can't connect with the reader then they have no reason to care about them or their adventures.

Outside of their costumes there’s nothing distinct to make most superheroines stand out. You could literally change the main character’s dialogue in a lot of these books with a supporting character and it’d be the same.

Most superheroines lack the multidimensionality of their male counterparts. Which is sad. After reading an issue readers know Green Arrow is a liberal, Captain America is noble, Hawkeye is a wise guy, Superman is a Boy Scout, Jughead Jones likes Hamburgers and that . Heck, readers know that Norman Osborn’s favorite color was green and that’s why he became the Green Goblin.

But the women? Can anyone tell me a superheroine’s favorite food? Their favorite color? What hobbies they have during downtime? Who is their best friend? Do they have a soft side? What's their strength? Their weakness? This is the kind of depth that turns a character into a fan favorite.

And when it comes to storytelling superhero women don’t get well action packed tales filled with fantastic adventures. No their books are filled with exposition, plot devices, and clichés.

To cover up for all the weak writing and poor character development, readers are distracted with lots of shots of a heroine or her alter ego in lingerie, in the bathtub, wrapped in a towel fresh out of the shower, or in some cases nudity hidden by a nicely placed piece of furniture or a wall. (actually saw this in a couple of issues in the first volume of Spider-Woman from the 80's ) Or they just take a trip to the beach for some bikini shots. Now I don’t mind this kind of cheesecake, but when it’s done excessively it takes away from the substance of the story.

On top of all this bad writing, comic book series featuring a superheroine have the worst villains. Superheroines often get warmed over third-rate bad guys. Rarely do they ever get their own distinct rogues gallery of bad guys. Moreover, they rarely ever get a chance to develop relationships with said foes that turn into the arch-enemies that keep readers coming back to pick up the next issue.

Thanks to the warmed-over third rate villains and the lack of a serious relationship between them, there’s never a sense of danger or tension in a superheroine’s adventures. The reader is never left on the edge of their seat anticipating the next issue like the stories featuring the male heroes. That alone keeps customers from coming back to buy the next issue. 

And every writers’ favorite theme in comics with superheroine protagonists is mental illness. Seriously, Why is it that every superheroine is always some sort of crazy at some point in their careers? I mean all the time superhero women are depicted as having some sort of mental problem. Phoenix went insane. So did the Scarlet Witch. Tigra. Carol Danvers, the feminist would blank out every time she went into Ms. Marvel in the early issues of her first series. Aurora from Alpha Flight had two personalities.

It seems every time a comic book writer runs into a jam with the development a female character’s personality or their storyline they pull out the crazy card.

As a man who writes multidimensional female characters I can tell you it’s a cop out. Giving up. Not pushing to actualize a character’s potential.

Personally, I feel writers use this tired plot device to avoid composing a distinct “Voice” for a female character and telling a story where a superheroine will stand out amongst the boys.

And when female characters start establishing a strong “voice” that speaks to the reader like Jubilee, Barbara Gordon, Sue Dibney, Alexandra DeWitt, Stephanie Brown and Pepper from Pre-Pussycats Josie, they wind up being raped mutilated, crippled, or in the case of Pre-Pussycats Josie’s Pepper, they’re sent off to limbo where they’re never heard from again.

It’s like comic book publishers don’t want readers to enjoy a comic with a female character in the lead. Moreover, I don’t think all the white males in that industry want a superheroine become as popular as a male superhero. In most cases, the ladies are just there to be a placeholder for a trademark for a publisher.

Maybe the white boys in the comic book industry fear girls and women coming into their Honeycomb Hideout known as the comic shop and playing with their toys. Maybe they fear being called on their sexism and misogyny. Maybe they fear being told to tone down the skimpy costumes, the gratuitous nudity and excessive violence against women. Who knows?

All I know is that the comic book industry could do a better job with in developing its female characters.

I feel it’s possible to write a superheroine who is multidimensional. Who has a personality. Interests. Hobbies. A voice. A sense of humor. A character who celebrates what’s great about being a woman instead of trying to be the equal to a man.

Moreover, I feel it’s possible to write a superheroine who has relationships and rivalries with bad guys that keep readers buying the next issue.

I feel the comic book industry has slept on the female reader for too long. And I feel they sleep on the potential for that demographic because most of the White boys  in the industry don’t know how to write for material for female readers.

Many of the superheroine books have failed over the past 4o years not just because of the misogyny, but because of the way they’re structured. The story models they use don’t allow female readers to access the content. Most female readers enjoy character driven stories. They enjoy watching the development of the relationships between the characters in the story.

In addition to being an escape, a comic featuring a superheroine should feature experiences women relates to and identifies with. I dare to say many a superheroine is too pretty, and that's a turn off for a lot of women. Most female readers want to read about women who share their experiences. Bad hair days. Costumes that fit one day and don’t the next. Ponytail days cause you didn’t have enough time to style your hair. That chick that just doesn’t like them. Hanging out with family and friends. Feeling nervous around that guy they like. Women aren’t perfect, and a character flaws make for a much more compelling read.

I feel if the comic book industry offered better written female characters in character driven stories filled with relationships they’d finally have an opportunity to reach a larger audience of girls and women. An audience of millions strong. An audience that will remain loyal for decades.

Authors like Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins, can attest to having 20 plus year relationships with readers through multiple books which are passed on from mother to daughter.

And the comic book industry would benefit from relationship with female readers too. Girls and women have a stronger-word-of mouth than boys. When a girl or a woman loves a product, she tells EVERYONE. They freely let people borrow their books. They buy books and give them to people to try out. They get on social media. They tell people where the book is sold.

And the people they recommend books to are new readers. Casuals. Non-comic fans. People who have never read a comic book before. The kinds of new readers the comic book industry desperately needs.

If a woman likes a product she’ll tell ten other people.

Women  bring foot traffic into stores. They are the primary consumer in most American households. What they bring into the household usually becomes a staple in that house. And if girls and women start buying comics in significant numbers it could help pull the comic book industry out of the slump it’s been in for the past twenty years.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Have Nothing to Offer the City University of New York- BULLSHIT!

For three years I pursued a Civil Service position with the City University of New York. 

Now some of these chumps out there who work at CUNY want to say that they don't discriminate against Black men. They think because they have a little $26K  a year job at CUNY as a CUNY Office Assistant that the discriminatory policies against other Black Men like myself doesn't exist.

Here's a little tidbit for CUNY's people to think about: When you are in the middle of a situation and you  you can't see what's going on.

It's only when you are an objective thinker and observe without bias that you can see the truth about someone or some organization. 

An outsider can see things much more clearly than an insider.  

And I see the institutional racism at CUNY.

But according to some of the people who work  at CUNY  I have nothing to offer their organization.

I’m a college graduate who got an 80 on their little Civil Service exam. But that and my 20 plus years of experience are  not good enough for CUNY's Office Assistant position.

Let me break down some of the skills I have acquired over the past twenty odd years:

A dedicated and committed worker. You want to see dedication, perseverance and commitment? Write a book. Then do it five more times. It takes dedication to sit there for months and sometimes years writing the first draft of a story. More commitment and perseverance to sit there and revise that story so each paragraph flows into the other.

When I worked at STRIVE, during my time as a project coordinator for Americorps* VISTA from 2000-2001 ninety percent of the employees were demoralized and headed for the door. I stayed the course and tried to help them through the storm.

Punctual and professional. In all my jobs I am always on the job early and ready to work. And when I’m on the job I always wear ironed shirts, pressed slacks, and shined shoes.

Some of the professors I’ve seen at CUNY don’t even iron a damn shirt when they come on the worksite. And some of these losers don't even comb their hair or wash their asses before teaching a class. 

Yeah, they really care about the students they teach.

A leader who can supervise a group or an event. When I attended the 2009 and 2010 Harlem Book Fairs. I coordinated and supervised events on my own. I bought the merchandise. I made up the flyers and business cards and supervised a staff of two.

In addition I organized and coordinated a successful book promotion campaign using social media like twitter and facebook. My Summer Young adult series I created independently, helped me to reach a larger audience of readers all over the world during the Summer of 2011.

And before then I was doing presentations for STRIVE a national job readiness program. Presentations I set up and arranged.

A skilled organizer who can complete a project from start to finish. A writer can’t quit in the middle of a book. No, they have to see it to completion.  And I saw books from start to finish six going on seven times. Then they have to do more work to either sell it to a publisher or self publish it. And when they self-publish, they have to coordinate the promotion and marketing to generate sales.  

In addition to writing and publishing my own books I have done paperback and eBook page layouts and setup for a national bestselling author and several other up-and-coming authors. And thanks to my support those authors are now more successful in terms of sales than I am. One of those authors I did page layouts and helped with promotion has now sold over 2000 eBooks over the holiday season on Amazon’s kindle.

A skilled researcher. Before I write I go and research my subjects. I go and make sure almost every little detail and every fact is just right so the reader can have the best reading experience possible. Even before I write a blog I research and check my facts.

Highly skilled in computers and Information technology. I know my way around Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat. Not to mention I have A+ certification in PC repair.

Highly skilled in sales, customer service and promotion. When I was selling and promoting those books at those book fairs, booksignings and online through social media, I had to field questions from readers and answer them in a professional manner.

When I was a project coordinator for STRIVE back in 2000 I had to pitch their job readiness program to homeless adults, one of the hardest to reach demographics of a program that finds work for the hardest to employ.

The ability to work independently on a project from start to finish. When I write books I work on my own. No supervisors, no deadlines. And I just don’t write the stories. I design the page layouts, design the covers and develop and supervise the marketing campaign.

The ability to think critically and objectively. When I write in most cases, I follow where the facts take me.

That’s what at CUNY would have gotten if they hired me for their CUNY office Assistant position for the low price of $26,000 a year.

But I don’t have anything to offer them. I’m not good enough to file their papers or answer their phones. I’m not good enough to interact with their students.

The City University of New York and its second-rate employees can go fuck itself.

This is why CUNY is so mediocre. A mediocre college that hires mediocre employees and has mediocre students.  Seriously, why the fuck are they still using ESIMS- a fucking DOS based program as the primary database for their students in 2012? 

A college which promotes a culture of mediocrity and settling for less. A college where employees are encouraged by supervisors to not do their best. I have heard from several CUNY employees that their supervisors told them NOT to do things like open their libraries on time, or try to give students their best efforts. That doing one’s best on the job would spoil students and give them a sense of entitlement.

Oh, so people who are paying their money into a school aren’t supposed to ask the college that is supposed to be providing services to them to do their very best in educating them? What kind of BULLSHIT is this?

Columbia University asks ALL their employees to provide the very best service for their students. Fordham University asks for ALL their employees to provide the very best service for their students. Monroe College where I graduated from asks ALL their employees to bring their very best. Even STRIVE, the three-week job readiness program where I worked at before applying to CUNY which serves ex-offenders, former drug addicts, welfare cases, dropouts and the homeless asks ALL their employees to provide the very best service to their program participants.

And I won’t even say these organizations ask for their employees to provide the best service to their clients. No, they INSIST upon it.

What CUNY employees call entitlement we call PRIDE. Pride in our work. Pride in our school. Establishing a standard of excellence that builds a reputation in the community and compels others to support that organization and tell their friends about it.

I truly feel sorry for any employer who hires any student who comes from the City University of New York. The culture of values their employees teach their students of not bringing one’s best to the table from day one is not preparing them for the competitive world of work in America.

I dare to say it prepares them to fail.

Because if you don’t bring your very best to the table every day, you are NOT going to survive in the world of work.

A college with such fucked up priorities that it would rather spend money to put carpet in a cafeteria rather than pay union employees overtime to keep their fucking libraries open till eleven at night. No, once the library budget for student workers is over in the middle of the semester, COAs have to work 17 hours and take comp time instead of being paid time and a half. A multibillion dollar organization that processes billions of dollars in tuition and fees and can’t pay some of its lowest paid employees overtime?


You know what City University of New York, take your mediocre Civil Service jobs turn them sideways and shove them straight up their candy asses. I don’t want their COA job. The chump change $26,000 isn’t worth the grief. I’ll take what I have to offer elsewhere.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The insanity of the American Job Market

The more and more I look at the American job Market the more I realize that American employers are crazy. Bonkers.

Only 29 percent of the people in the United States have a Bachelor’s degree.

Yet 100 percent of the jobs listings are asking for Bachelor’s degrees. Some employers are insisting that candidates have it before they apply.

Even President Obama has gotten caught up in the insanity of everyone having a college degree. He stated that over the next five years sixty percent of the new jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree.

I can’t do algebra but this math ain’t adding up regarding the job market.

So where does that leave the seventy percent of American citizens who don’t have a Bachelor’s Degree? Poverty? Starvation? Crime? Or are they just supposed to get on welfare and other government programs?

Seriously, college isn’t for everyone. And not every job should require a Bachelor’s Degree.

Most jobs aren’t as technical as employers want you to think. Seriously, what’s so complex about answering phones? Filing papers? Does a receptionist need a B.A? A Sales clerk at a store? Customer service rep? An Administrative assistant?

Some employers actually think you need a Bachelor’s Degree to do this type of work. And that it’s so technical.

If it takes that much education to operate the register at Starbucks or key in data at a computer terminal America is fucked up. No wonder so many Americans hate their jobs. The work isn’t a challenge for them.

Seriously, these jobs are not that hard. I doubt anyone needs a Bachelor’s degree for them. Even some managerial positions don’t require all that much education.

And if most jobs require a college degree then why were so many in that small number of college graduates with their Bachelor’s Degrees occupying Wall Street and other Main street throughfares throughout the country a few months ago?

Because it was next to impossible for them to find a job.

Am I making sense to anyone?

Seriously, I’m thinking American employers and even our President have some unrealistic expectations when it comes to the qualifications they require for jobs. Totally distorted.

And I’m thinking many employers who say they have jobs that can’t be filled because they’re “too technical” and they “can’t find anyone” are either have an unrealistic picture of what type of worker they need for their little jobs or they’re just too cheap to pay for on-the-job training. Nor do they want to pay competitive salaries that will attract and retain employees who will stay and learn a business.

So they use these excuses so they can hire cheaper foreign workers at a fraction of the cost. And they get what they pay for. Noncommittal employees with an apathetic attitude, low worker morale, and poor quality work.

Contrary to popular belief in America, college doesn’t prepare people for the workplace. I’ve run into some people with Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and PhDs who can’t figure out how to do the most basic of office tasks like making copies, sending a business e-mail (it’s different from the ones people send to friends) or answering a phone. Others that can’t figure out the difference between business dress and business casual. And even more who can’t come to work on time.

Besides, most people learn how to do things on-the-job regardless of whatever college degree or previous work experience they have. The way XYZ company makes widgets is totally different from the way ABC company makes widgets. While they may use the same machines, the approaches and polices for using those same machines are totally different.

It usually takes 90 to 180 days for anyone to get adjusted to the corporate culture and business policies of an organization. Another 90 to 180 days for them to get used to all of the procedures and policies of an organization.

But most American companies want people to know their businesses like the back of their hand in a month.

According to today’s American employers new employees are supposed to come straight out of college or from another job knowing exactly how their business runs. And they expect a recent college graduate to “hit the ground running” (a complete bullshit term) and be able to work in their company like they’ve been there for years.

That’s absolutely ridiculous.

The most a recent college graduate has done is an internship or two. And most of the time they’re getting coffee and making copies. If they have a project it’s not something a seasoned pro would be handling on the job. No, learning those skills come from actually working on the job.

American employers really need to wake up and stop making everything one size fits all when it comes to the qualifications for their jobs. Requiring every one in every job have a bachelor’s degree for every job is just insane. If every employee has the exact same education, how will this impact the long-term direction of a business in America?

It’d be hard for can a company to change and adapt when everyone is the same in a time of crisis like business slump. Why? Because no one knows how to be different.

And hasn’t having different types of people around with different types of experiences always been good for American business? Hasn’t that how American business remained innovative and competitive? By utilizing their most creative people who could create products that allowed the business to adapt to the changing needs of its customers?

A lot of people have different skill sets and experiences that don’t fit the norm. And employers are excluding many gifted and talented people from their talent pool because they don’t fit a narrow list of criteria that may or may not realistically fit their needs.

Just because someone didn’t spend four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree doesn’t mean they can’t do the job.

Sometimes innovation and creativity come outside the ivy covered walls of college, and American businesses will miss out on those new ideas from those great people because of their obsession with education from an academic institution. If I were hiring, I wouldn’t care what college someone comes from, I only care about where they’re going and where they can take my business. Throughout the history of this country the best ideas came outside of the box. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shawn's experience with Amazon's KDP Select program

Shawn’s experience with KDP SELECT

Amazon’s Kindle Select program offers authors a chance to offer their titles in Amazon’s Kindle lending Library. When Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle borrow an eBook, authors earn a percentage of a six-figure fund from Amazon.

Along with that chance to earn money on borrows, authors also get a chance to promote their books as free on the kindle for five days in that 90 day period. With the Kindle being the best-selling e-reader in the world, That’s a great opportunity for a self-published author to reach out to new readers.

However joining the KDP select program comes at a price. Authors have to make their eBook titles exclusive to Amazon’s kindle for a 90 day period.

This means that an author can’t sell their titles at other eBookstores like Smashwords, Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble or Apple for the 90 days they’re enrolled in the KDP Select program. That’s a huge financial risk for an author. Especially if they have titles which rely on international sales or they get a lot of sales by having their titles in multiple venues.

There’s also a chance that an eBook could languish for the entire 90 day period on with no sales at all. Moreover, there’s a probability that a book won’t get any of the lucrative borrows from those Amazon Prime Members who own a Kindle.

The KDP select program is a bit of a gamble so it’s not for authors who are afraid of risk. So a struggling self-published author like me really has to weigh the pros and cons of having a title in the program.

Understanding of the risks involved in the KDP select program, I experimented by enrolling some of my discontinued and poorer selling eBook titles in Amazon’s KDP select program. I figured I had nothing to lose since one title was going out of print and the other hadn’t sold in the US after being available on kindle over two years.

My experiment with KDP select started with the summer hit All About Nikki- Three Episodes from the Fabulous First Season. I discontinued the title from distribution at other eBookstores like Smashwords and Barnes & Noble in October because All About Nikki- The Fabulous First Season was available in eBook format. Moreover, it was available for the same price of 99 cents under the eBooks for a Buck campaign.

My first promotion with KDP select was with Nikki a Christmas promotion. I risked three of my five days from December 25th -27th because they’re the biggest days for eBook sales. Most people who got new e-readers for Christmas are looking for things to put on them. And I wanted to give holiday readers on the fence about my writing a chance to try my work at no cost.

The three-day Christmas Day promotion was a huge success. The free edition of All About Nikki-Three episodes From the Fabulous First Season had 381 downloads over three days, double the number of downloads the book got on Smashwords over the three months it was in the summer YA eBook exclusive campaign.

On top of that the book got four borrows over the holiday season from Amazon Prime Customers. Each of the four borrows paid $1.60, much more money than the $0.35 cents per copy I’d make on a straight sale of a Nikki eBook on Amazon, or the $.040 cents per copy I’d make on Barnes & Noble.

The fun part was for a couple of days (Christmas Day, Day after Christmas, December 27) All About Nikki-Three Episodes from the Fabulous First Season was in the top ten of Children’s eBooks. Well, the free ones.

As a result of the promotion the following month there were more All About Nikki eBook sales on KDP. I also received three borrows at $1.70.

With the Nikki test a huge success, the next month I enrolled All About Marilyn-Kindle Edition in the KDP select program. The eBook version of my critically acclaimed screenplay book got next to no sales on any website for a couple of months. On Kindle it sold no copies in the United States in two years it’s been available. I hoped that by making the eBook KDP exclusive it’ d persuade those Kindle readers who tried All About Nikki to give its sister book All About Marilyn a chance.

After enrollment, I did some more free promotions. One on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day received over 138 free downloads and a few sales. Better than what the eBook had done the previous two years on Amazon.

A promotion I did towards the end of January received over 160 downloads and a few sales.

My most recent promotion received over 209 downloads and five sales, the most the book has had since it’s paperback debut.

All About Marilyn was in the top 20 for Performing arts on Amazon and in the top 12 screenplays during the initial promotion.

In addition, as a result of cross promoting Marilyn sales are leading to Nikki sales.

From my experiment I quickly learned that Amazon gets more site traffic for eBooks than Smashwords, B&N, Kobo and Sony combined. So having my titles in the KDP select program be an opportunity to reach a larger audience of new readers.

From my experience the best time to do a free campaign in the KDP select program is over the weekends. That’s when a writer has the best chance of reaching a larger audience of new readers because readers are looking for new titles to try. I’ve had tremendous success with Free campaigns I did on Saturdays and Sundays over the past few months.

However, KDP select is also not an excuse to not to do promotion work. Just because an eBook is on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s going to sell. Along with being enrolled in the KDP select program I did intense social media promotion. I posted links to the eBooks on the free promotional days on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace practically every day several times a day, and promoted my titles on my blogs at blogger and Black regularly. The only way readers will know to download an eBook is to get the word out. If an author isn’t willing to make the efforts to let readers know their books are available, then no one will know their books are available.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the early results of participating in the KDP select program. I’m pondering offering other titles as part of the program. I feel KDP select is a valuable resource for an author with multiple titles to revive interest in older titles struggling to find an audience and great place for a self-published author looking to build an audience of readers or expand an audience of readers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


80 percent of Black women are single mothers.
70 percent of Black women are single.
70 percent of Black males drop out of high school.

80 percent of Black men under 30 are unemployed.
70 percent of the prison population under 30 are Black males.
50 percent of Black girls are dropping out of high school and this number is increasing.

Doing the math on these statistics one variable always comes up in one hundred percent of the dysfunction in the Black community: The Black woman.

A majority of the Black males who drop out of high school come from single parent homes led by Black females.

A majority of the Black males with literacy issues and come from single parent homes led by Black females.

A majority of the unemployed Black males come from single parent homes led by Black females.

A majority of the Black males in the prison system come from single parent homes led by Black females.

Now I can’t do algebra but the logic in this situation makes sense to me.

Single Black women promote dysfunctional values to their sons and daughters. Sons and daughters grow up to become dysfunctional adults.

Seriously, How can a man learn how to be a “good” man from a woman? How can a woman learn to be a partner to a man from a single woman?

This is why we have more weak males like simps, manginas, thugs, and homosexuals in the Black community than in any time in history. 

 It is also why we have so many girls abusing their bodies looking for love with the wrong men and reproducing more illegitimate children and becoming single mothers themselves.

And currently, a majority of the problems that made many black men dysfunctional and self-destructive are now making larger and larger percentages of young Black girls dysfunctional and self-destructive as well. As I stated before, more and more Black girls are dropping out of school, getting more violent and getting into trouble with the law just like black boys a generation ago.

Doing the Math I surmise that the majority of the ongoing problems come from homes led by Black women. And that the "Strong Independent Black woman" has failed in her attempt to lead the Black family. Miserably. 

Clearly the Black woman is doing something wrong leading their families on their own. Because it’s tearing the Black community apart.

It’s safe to say the Matriarchy led by the “strong Black woman” over the last 50 years has failed.

But tell Black women this and you’ll get shouted down. She blames everyone else but refuses to take a look at herself. She refuses to take responsibility for her actions. She refuses to swallow her pride and admit she can’t do it on her own. That she needs her Black Man to lead his family the way God intended for it to be. 

Black women over the past three generations have been so brainwashed by their White Man Uncle Sam that they can’t see how their co-dependence on him is leading up to the growing anarchy and chaos in the Black community. While they fight for government handouts like Welfare, Section 8, food stamps, College grants and loans and mortgages, their children are learning values that are killing them. 

Why is it in spite of trillions of government dollars being poured into the Black community by the government, individuals and corporations, the quality of life in the Black community continues to get worse with each passing generation instead of better?

It’s a question most Black women can’t answer.

They keep adding 2 and 2 hoping it'll come up 6. 

Doing the math on the Black woman’s behavior it’s clear she’s the prime number popping up in all the problems fractioning the Black community. Her mind just can’t process logically that the numbers given to her by White superemacists make no sense. And because she doesn’t understand she’s been given an illogical math formula by those White supremacists, she doesn’t understand why her life isn’t adding up.

Black woman Do the math. If things keep going wrong in your lives the lowest common denominator in the situation is YOU. Stop trying to follow a formula that doesn’t work. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Commencement Book Three Now available at online booksellers

In part three of this four part e-book miniseries, Allen believes he has finally discovered “his mission” and is anxious to get through it in order to get out of his present occupation. He then finds himself baffled by the opposition he encounters when he tries to execute his plan. Meanwhile Tim, Tamiko, and Jim are confronted by unforeseen events, which require each of them to re-evaluate their circumstances and make difficult decisions that will have lasting consequences.

Commencement Book Two
After experiencing a spiritual awakening, Allen begins to put away his own aspirations and tries to discern God’s plan for his life, making a new friend in the process. Allen’s friends try to assist him with solving his spiritual puzzle, but each one ends up distracted by his/her own personal trials and tribulations. This is the second part of four in this e-book miniseries.

Commencement Book Two on Smashwords (FREE!)

Commencement Book Two on Kindle (99 CENTS)
Commencement Book Two on Nook (99 CENTS)

Commencement Book  One

Allen Sharpe has just graduated from one of the most prestigious Ivy League universities in the nation and is eager to get started on making his “American dream” come true. However, the dream becomes a nightmare when Allen finds himself looking for work in the midst of an economic recession. Allen quickly discovers that finding a job is much harder than he expected and realizes that it’s going to take more than a fancy diploma to make it in the world. 
This is the first part of a four-part journey in which Allen learns important life lessons that he couldn’t ever get from a college textbook.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

America Lost the War on Drugs Years ago- It's time to focus on Rehabilitation instead of Incarceration.

Forty years.

Six trillion dollars.

1.5 million arrests a year.

Over Two million people in prison.

And despite a concentrated effort to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States we now have more drug abusers in America today than when the “war on drugs” started back in 1971.

Now I’ve never touched a drug in my life. Nor do I condone or support illegal drug abuse or prescription drug abuse. But looking at those statistics I’m wondering if America’s efforts to curb drug abuse over the past four decades by criminalizing it are really effective.

Ninety percent of the criminal court cases these days being prosecuted are for drug abuse and drug possession. And today a majority of those cases are for small personal amounts of marijuana, not hard drugs like heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. It actually costs states more to prosecute an individual than the street value of the drugs purchased in most cases.

And a majority of the inmates in federal and state prisons these days are non-violent drug offenders. In fact, there are so many non-violent drug offenders incarcerated that there’s practically no room for violent criminals like rapists, murderers and pedophiles.

And for all these efforts by law enforcement, to deter drug abuse by punishment and imprisonment over 
the past forty years, the cultural perception of drug use has actually become more glamorized and normalized by the media.

Athletes like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Pro Wrestlers openly abuse drugs like steroids.

Celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan openly abuse drugs regularly.

Politicians openly abuse drugs.

And oftentimes none of these prominent people are punished or ostracized by the public for their abuse of illegal drugs or prescription drugs.

Currently, Television and Movies openly promote drug abuse. Films like Pinapple Express, and TV shows like That 70’s Show often depict drug abuse as something humorous or harmless.

Over the past 25 years the United States of America has become #1 consumer of illegal narcotics in the world. Americans currently smoke more marijuana than European countries like The Netherlands and Canada where it’s legal and regulated.

So why are drugs still illegal in America?

I don’ think it’s to protect people. Laws would actually keep narcotics out of the hands of minors. Laws would maintain some type of safety standards and force manufacturers to reveal what’s in their product.

And I don’t think it has to do with keeping a moral and just society. So many of those who preached vehemently against illegal drug use like Rush Limbaugh were caught abusing drugs themselves.

Personally, I think it’s because of plain old American pride.

Americans hate to admit when they’re wrong.

We’d rather throw billions of dollars away and waste millions of lives than admit we made a mistake about a law or a policy we put on the books. That’s always been the American way.

An American would rather die than admit they made a mistake. Which is why America currently continues to fight a war against drugs that we’ve clearly lost.

I’ve known since I was 15 that a war on drugs is silly. You can’t fight a drug. It’s an inanimate object. It’s like declaring war against shoelaces.

There’s no way to stop the supply of illegal narcotics as long as there’s a demand for it. There’s no way to stop the abuse of prescription medication as long as there’s a demand for the product. It just runs counter to the free enterprise economic system.

The United States is the number one consumer of illegal narcotics and abusers of prescription medication in the world because we have the most drug users in the world.

It’s a painful fact that Most Americans don’t want to admit.

Moreover, The United States of America is the country that promotes the idea of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” People are free to choose their own path here in these fifty states, and the hard lesson no one today learned from prohibition back in the 1920’s was that the law can’t stop them from getting drunk if that’s their happiness they wish to pursue.

Unfortunately, to the chagrin of some Americans a majority of us are happy to be high. Others find peace in being strung out.

And you can’t legislate against the will of the American people.

Trying to focus on the supply side of the problem for the past forty years has only allowed for the further proliferation of narcotics on the black market. And this black market proliferation is what’s driving up the price of drugs overall. Moreover, it’s these high black market profits that are enriching gangs like the Crips and Bloods who terrorize inner-city neighborhoods. And it’s what’s making so much wealth in Mexico that drug cartels are killing and terrorizing Mexican citizens so one group can control the trade routes into the United States. If there wasn’t a huge U.S. demand for drugs, criminals here and in Mexico wouldn’t be going out of their way to risk their lives to supply it.

On the surface it looks great in pictures to show ICE agents in bulletproof vests with machine guns breaking down doors, and Federal Judges throwing the book at dealers in a courthouse, but the overall impact on drug use in America is negligible overall.

If all these efforts to stop the supply were curbing demand, why do we have more addicts now than in 1971?

In a free-market economy locking up one supplier is ineffective way of combating drug abuse because like a hydra another capitalist will just rise to take their place in a quest to make those profits. It does nothing to deter demand for the narcotics from the user, the primary reason why the suppliers are going into business.

I feel it’s time for a change in American drug policy. I feel the only way to deter the demand for drug use in society is to create a drug policy that focuses resources on the supporting the user, not combating the suppliers. What’s really needed for the country is a plan that focuses on hospitalization, not criminalization. There needs to be more government money spent on healthcare programs focusing on prevention, mental health counseling, and rehabilitation and less spent on law enforcement and prosecution. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Black Woman's Reversal of Fortune

In the 1992 Terry McMillan published Waiting to Exhale. That story detailed the struggles of single successful well-educated Black women who alleged they couldn’t find a “good” Black man. 

Over the course of the past two decades those single successful well-educated Black women who identified with the characters in McMillan’s novel constantly complained that they couldn’t find a Black Man. They went on talk shows like Oprah, and news shows like Dateline NBC and Nightline complaining about the shortage of “good” Black Men in their communities. 

These forums often devolved into man-bashing events where Black women called Black men cheaters, liars, criminals, no-good, trifilin’ and sorry. They whined about how these men didn’t take care of their kids, were uneducated, had no motivation and how they didn’t work. 

As Black women aired their dirty laundry, it turned into a cottage industry for writers, publishers playwrights, film producers, directors, and many others in the media. Many like Oprah Winfrey, Terry McMillan, and Tyler Perry got rich as Black women shed their tears for the cameras.

In all this media bashing Black men the question was asked: What do Black men bring to the table? 

Fast forward to today. 

In 2012 I’m hearing more and more from educated Black men who are now saying they can’t find a “good” Black woman. 

Brothers are saying that most of the Black women today have nothing to offer them. They say most of the single Black women today have illegitimate kids by multiple fathers. That they’ve been once or twice divorced. How some have incurable veneral diseases like herpes and HIV and AIDS. How others struggle with drug and alcohol problems. And how quite a few have mental health issues. Many are overweight, physically out of shape and barely able to take care of themselves let alone maintain a relationship.

Financially, many of the once successful single well-educated Black women who were making five and six figures on their high-profile jobs are drowning in debt and struggling to pay their bills due to years of irresponsible living. The years of partying, drinking, and cavorting have caught up with them. Due to their excessive spending they have amassed debts on student loans, houses they couldn’t afford, cars that they couldn’t pay for, and closets full of designer clothes they’re still paying for on their credit card bills. 

And now good brothers are asking those single successful well educated Black women: What do they bring to the table?

Unfortunately the answer is: Not much.

Twenty years ago many of the good Black men were ignored by the Black women in their communities. No, Black women put those men down as “boring” and wanted nothing to do with them.

And over those two decades these invisible brothers have persevered working hard behind the scenes to get their lives in order. They got their educations. They started business. They’ve established themselves. And now most of these brothers are ready for committed relationships. Many more are ready to marry, settle down and start families.

But the Black women aren’t available for them to marry. 

Why? Because the Black women wouldn’t wait on God. No, they wanted a man when they wanted to have a man when they wanted one, not when God wanted to provide them with one.

Moreover, they wanted a man on their terms, not God’s. Arrogant and belligerent the Strong Single Successful Independent Black woman wanted a man she could control and be leader over instead of letting the man lead her the way God intended to.

And while Strong, Single Successful Independent Black Woman pursued men on her own terms over the last twenty years, she ignored the good men in her community and didn’t provide support for them when they were at the bottom struggling to build themselves up.
And now while these Strong Single, Successful Independent Black women deal with all the emotional and personal baggage they’ve accumulated in their lives they’re unable to pursue the numerous good Black Men God is establishing in the community. 

When I think about today’s Black Women I think about the verse in The Bible about the parable of the ten virgins. Five had oil for their lamps and five did not. The five that had oil were ready to go into the wedding and the five that didn’t were cast into darkness. 

Today’s Strong single successful Independent Black women are like five foolish virgins who didn’t have oil for their lamps. Impatient, they refused to follow God’s will for her life and prepare herself for marriage. Moreover they refused to wait on God to provide the man He had for her to be with. Instead they went on their own way and pursued relationships with Men unsuitable to do God’s work.

Now after long delays and long suffering, the good Black men are ready to marry.
But a majority of the Black women aren’t available to marry them. No, they squandered the money they were supposed to spend on oil for their lamps years ago. And because they have no oil for their lamps they can’t see the way God has laid out for them to go, or the Man He had for them to be with.

Due to their sinful actions the Strong Independent Single Successful Black women are soon to be cast into the darkness like the virgins who didn’t have oil for their lamps.

But before they are judged, the truth is coming to the light about their numerous secrets.

And we find that these black women who were allegedly looking for the “good” black men weren’t actually so “good” themselves. Like the four women in McMillan’s popular novel many of those single, successful well-educated black women were holding their breath not in the hopes of finding that good man, but in the hopes that their skeletons in their closets wouldn’t be revealed to the world. 

The truth is now coming out about the adulterous affairs these Independent Single Successful Black women had with married men. The perverted sexual encounters they had with numerous strangers behind closed doors. How they dated thugs and ex-convicts in the hopes of controlling and manipulating a man. How they intentionally got pregnant in the hopes of keeping a dysfunctional relationship alive. How they had numerous abortions, and had illegitimate children by multiple fathers. How they started marijuana, cocaine and prescription drug habits. How they stabbed people in the back on their high-profile jobs to get ahead. How they mistreated people young and old with their horrible attitudes, foul mouths and abrasive personalities. 

All while presenting this façade of being the “good” Christian Black woman who just couldn’t find a man. The truth was they couldn’t find the good man because they weren’t good themselves. 

This is the Reversal of Fortune Black women. They payment God has given them for all their years of lies and deceit. Because they conformed to the standards of the world, these sistas have reaped what they have sowed. And it’s a bitter harvest.

Because they were unwilling to be a help meet suitable to the Standard of God, they are unable to pursue relationships with the Good Black men they say they’ve been pursuing for decades. 

Today in 2012 the tables have turned on the Strong Independent single, successful Black Woman. Understanding the truth about these women the good Black men don’t want anything to do with them. Good Brothers see past the façade of weaves, designer clothes and the content of their despicable character that comes from their hearts. 

Sistas, you have a chance to change your fortunes. But until you submit to God and Let Him change who you are on the inside, you will never find a “good” Black man. Because it is only when a woman conforms to the standard of a suitable help meet in the eyes of God that they will be able to find good Black man to share their lives with.