Lauren Adley

To what extent can we really work on improving ourselves? Are there better versions of ourselves which we haven’t discovered? What answer is your mind providing to these questions?

You probably think you are already the best you can be. But there is always that best version of ourselves hidden somewhere right within us. Only a few people are aware of this and not so many people become that best version of themselves.

How to become your best self

If you have been trying to become your best self, then this guide is going to be very helpful for you in discovering and bringing out the best in you. Let’s consider some ways through which we can make this happen and have our lives better shaped.

1. Think bigger

Great minds think very big. Begin with the pattern of your thinking. Think the way great minds think.

The thoughts that go on in your mind will go a long way in determining what you do practically and what view of yourself you have afterward. Think positively and every time, you should know assuredly in your mind that you can achieve anything you want.

By registering positive things in your mind, your whole being will work towards becoming that great person who you picture yourself to be.

Think Bigger for becoming your best self

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2. Motivate yourself

You will realize that motivation has a great influence on you. Even when things don’t go as you expect, motivation keeps you going and it helps you maintain your stand until you reach your goals.

You can motivate yourself by repeatedly reading out aloud some motivational quotes. You can also listen to great motivational speakers. Attend seminars that will motivate you for greatness in life.

Motivate yourself for becoming your best self

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3. Believe in yourself

Believing in yourself is very important. Believe you can be that great person. Look at yourself and see a successful individual. Do things that demonstrate your better self. Attempt entirely new things and believe that you will do them well.

Don’t go around with low self-esteem, thinking that you are a failure or a person of a low standard. Be sure that you have all it takes to be whoever you want to be.

4. Set goals for yourself

Tie every single thing you do to a goal. It helps you to be naturally more focused and determined. Write down the things you want to achieve within any certain period of time. Stick to your goals and work towards achieving them before the time you stated. Goals will definitely make you a better individual and make you more focused.

5. Spend your time wisely

How you spend your time is very important. Do not spend your time on trivial activities. Spend more time on activities that will mold you into being a better individual.

Learn to delegate your tasks when you have too much to handle. Seek assignment help when necessary and make the best use of technology to accomplish your tasks faster. Time management skills are essential to bringing out the best in you, and even after the best in you starts to manifest itself.

Spend your time wisely for becoming your best self

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6. Take up new challenges

Opportunities lie in challenges. Never be afraid of failure, so that you then fail to take up new challenges. Instead, you should be ready to explore other options and expand your comfort zone. Don’t run away from the herculean task because these tasks will mold you into a better person. Be daring in your attitude, by doing things that appear difficult.

7. Let go of past failures

Past failures will hold you down if you don’t let go of them. You only need to learn from your mistakes by making better decisions in the future. All the great people you know have also encountered failure at one time or another.

8. Take time to discover your strengths

In an attempt to become your best self, you have to discover your strengths and use them. Pay attention to yourself to see where your strengths lie. The starting point for the emergence of the best version of yourself is at the level of self-discovery. Whatever your strengths are, capitalize on them, as you gradually become your best self.

Some troubles you might face in the process and how to overcome them

Roads that lead to amazing places are not always smooth and you may encounter some problems while trying to be your best self. Here are some of the common troubles people face in the process and the possible solution to each of the problems:

1. Finding it difficult to believe in yourself

You have probably pictured yourself as being a nobody for so long, and now you wish to suddenly change that mental image of yourself and start believing in yourself. You may find it difficult to achieve this in a day, but you only need to give it a little bit of time. During this time, make a list of your abilities and go through it. You will discover you aren’t doing the wrong thing to believe in yourself.

2. Your courage is failing you

Your courage may fail you and you may feel like giving up the quest of becoming your best self. The change in your way of doing things is the root cause. Try to identify what new thing makes you feel like giving up and devise a way of performing well at it. If for instance, it is one of the new and daring tasks which you have adopted that is making you feel uncomfortable, consider training on how to perform the task in a way that requires less effort.

3. Fear coming to your mind

Fear is a foe and you must learn to overcome it. Fear can come into your mind and then you start to imagine unhelpful outcomes. Fear may suggest to you that you will soon give up the whole process or reduce your commitment to it. Fear is nothing but a waste of time. Try to identify the cause of the fear and address it from its origin. If you still sense the fear after many attempts to subdue the fear, seek counsel from your friends, family or from an expert.

4. Finding it difficult to discover your strengths

Your strengths appear to be completely hidden or perhaps you think you don’t have any at all. Maybe you aren’t using the right method to discover it. You may not be too sensitive to yourself and that is making you think you lack special strengths within you. In such situations, your friends and your family can be of great help. It’s possible they have identified your strengths. Seek their opinion and take note of what they have to say about your strengths.

5. Having problems noticing changes between the old you and the new you

If after some weeks of carefully following the guide, you haven’t noticed any change, your mind begins to have some queries and you begin to wonder why? I strongly believe that changes should be clearly visible after about two weeks of rigorously working towards becoming your best self. If you, therefore, haven’t noticed any change, then I suggest highlighting your recent success, or development, and carefully compare it with the development you used to have in the past. I’m sure you will notice an improvement.

Wrapping up

You will definitely have more success, achievement and fulfillment to record, the moment you become your best self. You only have a few things to follow and a few steps to take per day, in order to achieve this. Be determined to bring out the best in you today.

6 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Becoming Your Best Self”
  1. High Pappa Lora vs Low Pappa Hira? Sometimes, it just may not be you?

    LBRC- The current NOLA Council? Huey Long 101 for Negroes who require at least  2hrs. to watch 60 min., Low Pappa Hira vs High Pappa Lora?

    1. Huey explained it like this- Low Pappa Hira and High Pappa Lora were at a Bar- B- Q.

    2. High Pappa Lora always takes everything from “The Middle Up”, speaking Hog!

    3. Low Pappa Hira always takes everything from “The Middle Down”.

    4. A Barbequed Hog was laying on the table looking nice and tasty.

    5. High Pappa Lora Never stays around long, just like your Politicos and Celebrity Apostate Preachers, your frequent flyer ilk, just long enough to stroke some low self esteems, egos and Sycophants. Time to depart and…- High Pappa Lora takes their share of ‘Dat Hog from “The Top Up”/ Hog Head Cheese et al (Probably What Really Set off Low Pappa Hira The Negro), which leaves “The Middle Down” for everybody else! What happens next?

    a. Low Pappa Hira says, “Come back ‘hea High Pappa Lora and put ‘sum ‘ah ‘Dat Bar- B- Q back on ‘Dat Table! After all, what we ‘Sposed to eat, Party and Buck Dance with”?

    b. High Pappa Lora appeared indignant initially, then reluctantly complied! 

    6. NOLA Politicos pretend to commensurate Low Pappa Hira’s Caste. Yet, they vote themselves 100% raises, from “The Middle Up”! Low Pappa Hiras have short memories! Look at how easily Kira Orange won election with key endorsements from Coons! Then Low Pappa Hira wonders how 10k (And Growing) so- called “Opportunity Youth” ends up on I- 10 doing “Cart Wheels” on “Stolen” ATV’S at High Noon. After The RSD fired approx. 7k Certified Black Teachers and “Support Staff”, Low Pappa Hira had no choice but to except RSD “Choice” meaning a “Failing D or C” Public School! 99,999% of High Pappa Lora’s kids attend an A or B Public School or De Facto “Private Charter” with public “Vouchers”, generally in Caucasion centered areas, Commercial or otherwise. Most Negro RSD Schools? Guess!!! Nearly all are D and F! You can’t make this up!!!

    7. If it takes you at least 2 hrs. to watch 60 min., you’re still clueless! Therefore, your favorite hobby is probably sitting on your ‘Glute complaining! Where are your kids,  I- 10 or in “The Quarter”? How fast are “Radio Waves”, 1,100 ft. Per sec., sound? Does  NOPD have Radios, other strategies? Just can’t catch ’em, pun intended?

    a. In The Movie, “Planet of The Apes”, it only took 1 so- called Low Pappa Hira to say,  “No”! 

    b. NOLA Politicos are really Low Pappa Hira, except High Pappa Lora tells them, “You’re different”! Yeah right!

    c. What happened in Puerto Rico 2019? The same should happen in NOLA 2019! Politicos have bid you out and are planning more pain! Whether Gentrification, Taxes, Fees, More City Park Driving Ranges plus Debt Assumptions? More “Pumping to The River” weakeniing Levees and “Increasing Water Levels (Duh?) and yada…, 

    d. There is a pending “Economic Crisis” on The Horizon and Low Pappa Hira’s Service Industry Salaries ain’t ‘gonna cut it! Uh oh! Caucasions “and” Blacks are preparing for an SHTF Event! It’ll be a little different than the movies! ‘Dats for The Criminally inclined ilk! 

    Recommendation? Tell High Pappa Lora, generally not NOLA. proper, especially Metairie, to bring back sum ‘ah ‘Dat Bar- B- Q back, then fill your faces now! When “The Crisis” hit, at least you’ll start out with a Full Tank! Wished we could say the same about what’s inside some heads, for their kid’s sake! 

    Peace Out…

  2. You might perceive this insensitive?

    LBRC- Where You Are is Your IQ Norm! You might perceive this insensitive!?  

    MA/ CA x 100 = IQ (Einstein comprehended at 166, lots comprehend at 66)! Haters? 

    1. Without intentionally trying to insult others, IQ is a relevant aspect of “Quality of Life issues”!!! Problematic is- A “Low” IQ is hardly competent to comprehend what is beyond its ability to do so! How do you convince a 66 Quality of Life, ‘Dat 166 is better and Healthier? A Doberman less tolerant of abuse? Why? Of all dogs, a Doberman ranks High in Dog IQ! 

    2. What does ignorance (Do not know or incapable of learning) do when in conflict with knowledge, facts and/or data?

    a. Pretend to be infallible

    b. Threaten

    c. Seek safety in numbers aka “Genius is Rare” and “Ignorance has Legions”!!!

    3. Have you ever heard it said- “He or she has the mind of a child”? Well…, IQ is a relative description of those who fail to meet or exceede abilities keeping in pace with those of similiar age groupings (Thievies?). For example, if you’re 18 yrs. of age, and the majority of your age grouping is living on their own and providing fundamental necessities for family legally, and you can’t? Your IQ is whacked (Ebonics) in terms of what others in your age grouping are capable aka “Chronological Age”!  Where you are “Mentally” aka your “Mental Age” establishes your place! An individual with a Chronological Age of 18 and a Mental Age of 8 is hardly interested in seeking employment which provides food on the table for others, legally or via work, including family and/or siblings. Those who can, legally, have an “Exceptional” or high IQ with respect to  “Mental Age” abilities! Further, kids who analyze and capable of solving problems at “Collegiate” levels, being adolescents or yet at ages below what is considered average college age, are considered Gifted, Genius, Above Aberage and/or high IQ! 

    4. IQ generally, does not exceed 15 Points from Birth to Death in range, + or – Ranges. 

    5. What High IQ is not, generally? Rote, Polite, Memorization, Conformist, ‘Stuntun, Reputation, Sloggard, Non Evidence, Non Productive, Copy Cat and yada… 

    (Disclaimer about Facts: If you say 1 + 1= 2 (Base 10), it is a “Fact” this is what you said! Facts do not make truth! Verification tends to Truth, tends to What is comprehended via “Time and Space” or “Relativity”! Sorry for ‘Dat!!! Stay tunned…

    6. What High IQ is, generally? “Non Conformist, Productive, Perceived Arrogance, Non Rote, Impolite, Active, Unnecessarily and incessantly probing, analytical beyond average, purpose driven, Peer Groupings immune- even among Genius, ostracised, often “Isolated” and yada…

    6. While not absolutely immune to “Manchurian Candidate- ism”, High IQ Ranges are not easily accessible or “Propaganda” influenced with respect to vulnerablability! Low IQ Ranges are (They operate in belief minus investigation, little to no acedemic experiences)! 

    7. “Never equate intelligence with education”! They’re related with little to no high  “Correlation Co- Efficients!  The Skinny- 

    a. Lots of College Educated Fools nearly equivalent to Drop Outs and/or Street Wise Scholars aka “Non Certified”! 

    b. The Pied Pipper Theory of Genius? The Genius of Influence drove Mental Ages (Adolescents) over The Cliff! The Genius of Mental Age warned Peers and told the Pipper “No”! “Others tell them too and they do”! “A Few say ‘whoa and say no”! Think Noah? Of 8 Million, only 8 got saved (Noah/Wife, Shem/Wife, Ham/Wife, Japheth/Wife- Is ‘Dis ‘Thang on!!! What’s different in 2019? 

    Peace Out…

  3. Overcomming Some Other Obstacles?
    LBRC- Negro Schools Teach? DARPA manufactures?  A Negro Criminal is, besides Slave- at- Large? By design? However and equally dangerous is the common Negro Fool and attention seeking “Loud Mouth” (Some at Average Decibels), evidence immune, by design! Promulgating Stupidity and advocating “Knowledge” and Thinking,  esoecially 504, boring and arduous?  

    Beware of “Robo Negro” and The Designer 2019 Coon”! DARPA views Fool an Algorithim, assisted via ChemTrails, Radio Frequences, Nano plus yada… (Lots of Yada…)! DNA can be “Re- Programmed” via Solfeggio Scales, already accomplished in labs (Easy Research)! Fantasy Island? Avoid The Fool(s) (The Most High Also Says So/Proverbs)!!! 

    Lots is common knowledge and there are lots more, about what Eisenhower said and fostered! “The Global Useless Class”? According to Kissenger (Committee on Foreign Relations), “The Useless Eater”/Google it)! Evidence? 

    Building Data? Start here>>>

    Annie Jacabsen: Inside DARPA: The Pentagon’s Brain>>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6eS17F7nuTM

    Urban Warfare (Welcome to 5G, HAARP, AI, Weaponized Fools and House of Alice at CERN! “The Global Useless Class”? Now who’s Dat? Got a mirror? Next Part of Many>>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_JZot1YANL4 

    (Lagnippe) How Thomas Friedman (NY Times) and The Special “Genius” of Yuval Noah Harari Think About The Future of Humanity (Must See in Entirety) >>>

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5chp-PRYq-w

    You Decide!- Peace Out…

  4. What you sowed in grounds you are reaping! And will…, some “Eternal”!
    LBRC- Why Do Negro Politicos and Apostate Preachers, others believe impunity for Abusing,  Deceiving you? Why do “You” Acquience so easily, worship with your votes, other akin to “Barabus voters” and seek their “Favor”?

    1. Read, “Comprehend”, Satanic Operations like “Operation Paper Clip”, questions?  

    2. Now? Was “The Most High” kidding when He said, “What you do to The Least of Thee, you do unto Me”? You delude “Yourself” and lie again to claim The Most High! 

    3. True, False? “A Man sat across “A Great Gulf Fixed” and begged for a chance to warn others. For any destined there as well, it’s too late to repent for “Enternity” once convicted! What “sane” mind takes ‘Dat chance? Yet? Deceitful, lying Negroe Politicos and Apostate Preachers, ubiquitous, do everyday (Judgement will begin with “you”)! By design and “Training”, “De Facto” you worship, run with or desire too- serve ‘Massa, no less a 2019 Plantation Overseer! Question? What happened when Judas realized he lost his “Soul” for “Eternity”? Ans. “He threw his 32 pieces into the street”!!! ‘Dat should scare the “Hell” out of any being or “Entitity”, to include but not limited to a chair, auto, dirt, whore/hoe, stick, fly..- Certainly a lying, deceiving, filthy, ‘stuntun Council Person, Representative, Apostate Preacher, Frequent Flyer/Jet Owner supported by ‘Po Souls (The Median Net Worth of Negroes in America is less than what it takes to purchase “A Box Spring and Mattress” cash to rest their beat down Souls)! Believe this- Negro Apostate Preachers and Politicans delude themselves, thinking they won’t end up doing what Judas did with “his” Filthy Lucree!!! Trust ‘Dis (Our Best Ebonics!)- When these lying, worldly ambitious, deceitful, Negro beat down taxing guru artist (At The Behest of  Satanic Entities) and yada…, before a Nano Sec., when you realize your betrayal has “Fixed” your “Eternal” doom, too late to repent! “What does it profit to gain a filthy world and lose your soul” for Eternity! 

    4. NEWSFLASH!- You’ve fooled “Most” with your deceit and lies! “Most” is not “All”,  certainly not “The 1″, ‘Dat matters” who’ll “Judge” Eternal!!! Negroes are easy targets, right! Adam, Lillith, Eve, Lost Tribes, proved it (Even Evil Concedes, “Original” man and woman were “Dominant”, not “Recessive” DNA!!! Only “Ignorance” says otherwise!

    5. The Book of Enoch describes the “Physical” appearence of Evil Agents and “Fallen Angels”, why it was removed and banned! No clue? The Most High endorses  “Ignorance”? “Your” Ignorance is what dooms you and most certainly will for “Eternity”! You think impunity? Yeah rught! Gravity is everywhere, even deep in Space! Physics says- Escape Velocity (Where you are), not escape Gravity! Eternity in Hell has no Escape Velocity!!! Is ‘Dis ‘Thang on? 

    6. Good News? Those who subject themselves to “Beat Downs” advocating for “The Least of Thee” aka The Most High Who is Thee? At the point where these Santanic Agents and their “Complicit” Negroes and others cast their silver into Filthy streets in  America and/or any other world, a New Jerusalem will…? No clue aka “Ignorant”? Uh oh…

    7. Ends draw even closer, this Dispensation!!! No Gold? “Count it all blessings”!!! btw- “His” has now and always will, not ‘Dat we are worthy! He “Never” failed to prepare “Clean” Tables for us “In The Midst of Enemies”, no fear! Strong enemies are our witness!!! Evil has and is already lost! Why save us? “He” Chooses Who “He” Will!!! Abba Father, “THANK YOU”!!!

    Peace…

  5. Your Bank? Who’s Following?

    LBRC- There is a “Financial Crisis” at The Door/Hurricane to Follow! Uh oh!!! In comming weeks, you will hear talk about “War”, Currency Devaluations, Failure at Bond Auctions aka nobody is buying USA Debt (Bonds). “The Inverted Yield Curve”?  “Negative Interest Rates”? Stop Buck Dancing for a sec.! Diversions?  

    A Skinny, sort of-

    1. #45 is a “Stooge”! So- called Elites “Puppet” him! Meaning-

    a. Deregulate “Everything” (Business, Banking, Environmental (Poison The Useless Eaters and Takers who never give or contribute)! Dodd/ Frank is a sham, whereby executives “Certifiy Books” to investors. Corporations are Zombies and have already transferred “Risk” to investors via “Buy Backs”! 

    2. Risk for losses have now been transferred sufficiently! IRA Accounts aka “Your Pensions (Who invest in Mutual Funds) will vanish aka Stolen! TARP never ended! Who follows or understands their “Mutual Fund” transactions? Too busy Buck Dancing? Mustual Funds are controlled by “Non Fidiciaries”, those who seldom follow the advice they give you. 

    3. Here’s what’s “Critical” for everybody, to include but not limited to Sect. 8, WIC, Criminals, The Honest and The Poor/’Po, ignorant/’Ignant, Middle Class/’Stuntun…

    *Negative Interest Rates*? What’s Dat? Think?

    1. I ask you for a loan of $10 (Money in a Bank is Loaning The Bank. A Grade K- 12 “Kissinger so- called Useless Eating Thief never learned this”!). Then I tell you, I’ll give you $5 back in 5yrs., then consider the Loan Paid in Full! Is ‘Dat a good deal for you? 

    2. When you hear Banks talking about a “Cashless Society” and “Negative Interest Rates”, here’s what you’re hearing-

    a. Banks will begin draining cash from your Savings and Checking Accounts until depleted. How? Minimum Balance Standards and/or steep “Service Charges”, increased Over Draft Charges which when your Checking Balance goes $0, your Savings will be debited automatically without your consent and increased fees will follow until your savings balances read zero. All done “Digitally” because your cash will be!!!

    b. Cash will inevitability be banned! Why? Lots of reasons including cashless transactions can be tracked efficiently, the rich aren’t tracked! Also, taxes to fund cities in crisis can easily be deducted via a “Button Push” without your consent! Cashless  transactions limit your ability to purchase “Metal Currencies” and personal items (5G Big Brother) aka fewer “Real Tangible Assets” for “Retards”, sorry? “Private Transactions”? Digital is easily manipulated and  “Hacked”! Banks, others, LLC limit liabilities! Yada…

    3. Experts are predicting a “Greatest Depression” all time within 3 yrs., weeks, hrs.! When you hear “Reset”, it’s time! Maybe tomorrow!

    4. You’ve voted poorly and the Politicos you worship serve their ambitions, donors and family. Afterwards, they get jobs with ‘Massa after their Political Careers end! They kiss the ‘Glutes of powerful corporations and “Blow Smoke Up Your ‘Glute, then stroke your poor self esteem and ego with BS!

    5. You’re so dumbed down, you praise these ‘shisters who easily dupe! Never Brilliance, just a ton of BS which Baffle ‘Simps! They urinate on you and you think its rain! Sorry…? You never demanded accountability or deliverables from Politicians or Preachers! Caucasion Preachers deliver on “Supremacy”, why you worship their “Hypocracy” and Spaces (Willie Lynch!)! Everybody tells you, “I’m looking into it! Yeah right! Prepare!!!  Peace Out…

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It happens everyday in America!

By Jeff Thomas

Black men kill each other at alarming rates all across America every day. Nearly every city’s daily news casts reports, “Today in our city three (or thirty depending on the size of your city) men were shot and killed in three (or thirty) separate shootings.  Police have no suspects in any of the cases.”  And immediately and innately you know that the people killed were black and the killers were black.  This has been going on for the last 30-40 years and no end is in sight.  New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates nationally.  Why do black men kill each other?

First Let’s Dispel a Racist Myth

First thing you have to know is that 99.999% of black men do not commit murder ever in their lives.  That is a fact!  This is not a black man issue.  There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with black men. But the fact remains that daily hundreds of black men across this country are murdered everyday by another black man.  Why does this happen with this subset?

Common factors to Black men murdering other black men

RACE

The first thing about murder is that people usually kill people who are similar to them in many ways, particularly race.  White men normally murder other white men and black men normally murder other black men. 

PROXIMITY

In the black community, these killings are normally city events.  Rarely do you hear of a drive by in the country.  Most of these daily killings occur on the city streets.  People kill others who they interact with.

AGE

Young men engage in risky and violent behavior.  Most of the men dying on our streets are between the ages of 17-35. 

EDUCATION

Nearly 95% have not graduated from college and 65% have not completed high school.   

Socioeconomic Status

100% were not upper class in America. The links between poverty and crime are well documented.  And black men have lived in depression level economic conditions for the last 50 years.

But these are often cited, unsurprising factors.  More salient is what goes into the psyche of a guy who can look into the eyes of another man and pull the trigger at close range or jab a knife with the intent to murder another man?  What are the other factors that contribute to becoming a murderer? Why do Black men kill each other

Habitually Hostile Men

The guy who ain’t never scared and always looking to escalate a situation.  Down for whatever.  Nothing to live for and anticipating the day he will either kill or be killed.  This mindset is cultivated in a limited option, few chances, success deprived life.  This guy has had a number of arguments and fist fights throughout his life.  He hates authority and frequently feels angry or resentful towards people.  He often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.  This guy is a walking heap of rage.  He is always nothing but a gun and an argument away from murder.

The Disrespected Man

A man who feels like everybody but him gets respect.

For this guy, respect is everything and options to express anger or refutation are often limited.   He often seeks to overcome a feeling of impotence. If another who seems unworthy of disseminating criticism or scorn or generally crosses the line of imagined respect, then a high level of response will be meted out.

The Wannabe

When challenged by a non-believing skeptic, this man often acts in unnecessarily violent ways in unnecessarily violent situations.  Often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.

Self-Hate

The daily feeling of isolation, powerlessness and impotence is like being a prisoner of war.  One reason black men grab their genitals is to stress their vitality.  Men who have been literally stripped of the ability to display their manhood – great jobs, big houses, educational attainment and all the other accoutrements of modern society- are literally killing to express their power in life.  Twisted but true.

Given the opportunity to take back control of Orleans Parish schools and assume the lead in giving our kids the best education that’ll keep them out of prison, the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) thought about it and said, nah I think we’re good.

Actually, they didn’t just say it. They held a meeting. They put it in a formal resolution. So when it came time for the Senate to finally hear Sen. Joe Bouie’s bill (SB404), it failed. By 6 votes. The dissenting Senators were like, if the OPSB doesn’t want the responsibility, then why would we force it on them?

That raises a question: why doesn’t the OPSB want the responsibility? Maybe it has something to do with the present setup.

Charter schools are the gentrification of education

As it stands now, the OPSB is a conduit for state education dollars. It’s a golden setup. Any aspiring charter organization wanting to access state money and open a school has to get the OPSB’s approval. Once that happens, the OPSB plays a minimal role.

Once established, the charter gets to set its own salaries, hire its own teachers and principals, and establish its own curriculum. The OPSB then relegates itself to monitoring their performance via test scores. It also decides if the school will be reapproved when the contract is up. That’s called eliminating mostly anything to do with the day-to-day responsibility of educating our kids while still getting paid. Charter schools are the gentrification of education.

How much you might ask. Like $300,000 a year if you happen to be the incoming superintendent of the OPSB. That’s a raise of almost a $100,000 over the outgoing superintendent.  And $15,000 more than the Dept of Education superintendent who oversees the whole state. There’s also a $20,000 a year bonus if certain incentives are met. The OPSB cited cost of living increases to justify the salary.

Sen. Bouie has been trying to break up this arrangement for years. The central theme of his many bills has been holding the elected school board members accountable for the schools in their districts. As it stands now, the public can’t really hold them accountable for our failing schools because the charters set and run their own shows.

Many people would probably say what difference would it make. When the OPSB ran the schools, they were just as bad, in general, as they are now. But the whole charter reform movement was supposed to be about improving schools.  This ain’t that!

Going forward, the goal shouldn’t just be returning the schools to the OPSB. There should also be public involvement to hold the OPSB accountable once that does happen. Our schools won’t improve with a management change alone. It needs an engaged public to go along with it.

Of course, this will all have to wait until next legislative session. With this session ending in about 2 weeks, there will probably be little support for reconsidering Sen. Bouie’s bills. Until then, watch the OPSB members of your districts. Attend a meeting. Let your voice be heard. That’s the first step towards invoking true reform. Because now, charter schools are the gentrification of education.

From preschoolers to high school, schools discipline Black children at extremely high rates. Discipline means lost instruction time. Children are frustrated because they don’t understand. So instead of providing a nurturing environment, schools create children who do not like school. We know that children who do well in school often do well at life. For black kids this is especially true. Educational success can lift families out of poverty. But schools today are putting black kids out of school. In fact, schools use discipline to discourage black children.

Have an open discussion about race and achievement gaps and disparities in America. Invariably the discussion will consolidate around two key generally accepted factors – parental involvement and education.  Most people say parents have to be parents and influence their children. And an emphasis on education can transform the life of children.

Despite the best efforts of parents, schools use discipline to discourage black kids.  The Civil Rights division of the Department of Education released the latest results of its data collection of nearly every public school in the country.  And the results were disturbing nationally and alarming in Louisiana.

See how schools use discipline to discourage blacks.

We expect schools to be vessels for success. So they must be nurturing supportive places that welcome children and educate them.  Schools have always dealt with learning differences amongst students.  Little Tyronne is better in math than little Johnny, but Johnny reads at a higher level.  The best schools are adept at developing the strengths and weaknesses of each student.

 Schools must see African American children as valuable and teachable. But teachers are humans with biases and preconceived notions. Teachers with different socioeconomic backgrounds from their students must be able to overcome their own limitations. One stereotype is that African Americans are less intelligent than other students. Another stereotype is that Black boys don’t care about education. Another is that black children are just bad. Inexperienced and culturally bereft teachers might see black children as unworthy. How else can you explain black preschool children being suspended from school? How else can you explain the widespread expulsion of black children. Let’s look at some facts. This is how schools use discipline to discourage blacks.

Related: NOLA Charter Schools are the gentrification of education

Some of the most glaring disparities are differences in discipline:

In Louisiana the stats are even more disturbing.

In New Orleans, many point to the charter movement as progress.  But most of the charter schools operators in New Orleans are run by out of state companies. And they operate the same across the country.  Most have inexperienced, Teach for America teachers who have no cultural familiarity with the students they must teach.  Hence we have high expulsions and constant teacher turnover.  Our children are left in the lurch.

The children who drug the old white lady are teenage high school students. The boy was suspended from school.


by Preeti Vani

Your answer may depend on how we ask the question.

KEY POINTS

Gladson Xavier/Pexels

Source: Gladson Xavier/Pexels

What do the gender wage gap, race relations in America, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have in common? They are all intergroup conflicts — that is, multiple groups that have a stake in the conflict and its outcomes. For example, both men and women are involved in the work needed to close the gender wage gap. Similarly, members of different racial groups are involved in debates around racial justice. People also tend to make moral judgments in all of these conflicts, sometimes believing that one side is “right” and another is “wrong.”

Importantly, different people assign blame to parties in different ways. A team of researchers from Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that altering the way in which parties are presented changes the amount of blame allocated to those parties — even for important and long-standing divides, like the examples above.

Oftentimes, these conflicts invigorate the battle for public opinion. We spend our time and energy convincing people that we are blaming the “right” parties. The weapons deployed on this battlefield range from new social media influencers and photogenic images of human suffering to simplified narratives filled with old stereotypes and prejudices.

How do you win the battle for public opinion? By convincing the world that the other side is to blame for decades of bloodshed and hatred. This seems difficult — surely people hold entrenched positions in such protracted, moralized conflicts, forged by national loyalties and fueled by media echo chambers.

Or do they?

Study: Who’s to blame?

We recently discovered that shifting public opinion in entrenched conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can be surprisingly easy. In our experiments, we asked research participants a simple question: “Who do you blame for the conflict?” Participants allocated 100 percent of the blame between the sides of the conflict (the Israelis and the Palestinians).

While outlining the parties that one can potentially blame, the larger groups can be “unpacked” into smaller subgroups, or they can be left “packed” as the larger group. For example, Israel has three major political blocs — the Right-Wing Bloc, the Center Bloc, and the Left-Wing Bloc. We can represent Israel in a “packed” way, by simply having “Israel” as an option in the choice set, or we can represent Israel in an “unpacked” way, by having Israel’s major political blocs as options. We can do the same for the Palestinians.

You probably have an opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And regardless of how we present the options, you probably think that your opinions on the conflict — and the extent to which different parties deserve blame — are unlikely to change much as a function of how the question is asked. Here’s the fascinating part. When we “unpacked” the Israeli side to three political subgroups, the proportion of blame assigned to Israel increased by 30 percentage points, from 38 percent to 68 percent, with the Palestinian side receiving 32 percent of the blame. When we unpacked the Palestinian side into three subgroups, the same thing happened, only in reverse — now most of the blame was assigned to the Palestinians, with only a small portion of the blame assigned to Israelis. In other words, a slight difference in the framing of choices shifted the public opinion from allocating the majority of the blame to the Israelis to allocating the majority of the blame to the Palestinians.

We didn’t stop at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We found similar effects when we asked different samples of participants who they blamed for the gender gap in wages in the U.S. (between men and women), and who they blamed for current racial tensions in the United States (between White Americans and Black Americans).

In the case of race relations, we either kept the groups “packed” as “White Americans” and “Black Americans,” or we “unpacked” the groups into political subgroups (e.g., “White Democrats,” “White Independents,” and “White Republicans”). When only the “Black Americans” group was unpacked, 58 percent of the blame for racial tensions was allocated to White Americans — but when only the “White Americans” group was unpacked, our participants now allocated 84 percent of the blame to White Americans.article continues after advertisement

This shockingly large shift in public opinion has important real-world implications. For example, if the U.S. president were to veto a bill related to racial justice, a two-thirds Congressional supermajority is required to override the veto. This benchmark is encapsulated within our 26 percentage point shift in the blame allocated to White Americans. A simple presentational change dramatically shifted public opinion on topics where people could reasonably be expected to have established views. What’s going on?

Partition dependence and its effects

This phenomenon is known as “partition dependence.” It is the human tendency to allocate more attention to a category when it is unpacked into subcategories. Partition dependence is a natural cognitive process. Essentially, it means that when we think about groups, we don’t naturally think about every subgroup contained within that overall group. For example, when we think about “Americans,” we don’t ordinarily think about every subcategory of “Americans.” But when a large group is unpacked into its constituent subgroups, it commands more of our attention, which in this case results in a larger portion of the blame.

Importantly, the partition to subgroups can be along different consequential dimensions. When we asked about the gender wage gap, we unpacked “men” and “women” by race (i.e., “White Men,” “Asian Men,” “Hispanic Men,” and “Black Men”). When we asked about race relations, we unpacked “White Americans” and “Black Americans” by political orientation. Across multiple important social issues, we found that partition dependence can be used as a tool to persuade others and sway opinions by having people consider a more (or less) comprehensive set of potentially blameworthy parties.

Why should you care? We should all care because narratives of intergroup conflict can shape life-and-death decisions in institutions ranging from the United States Congress to the United Nations. Considering different sets of perpetrators changes how blame is allocated, which may matter quite a bit in the court of public opinion as well as in the International Court of Justice. The ease of using simple presentational tools to shift public opinion in complex and entrenched moral conflicts — such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conflict between White Americans and Black Americans — should be a lesson to all of us. How we ask the question determines where the blame lies.

Kari Rusnak, MA, LPC,CMHC

Learn why you need to prioritize time for dates.

First of all, date nights don’t have to be at night. You can do them any day at any time; the most important thing is spending quality time while engaging in shared meaning. The Gottman Institute’s research shows that 2 hours a week devoted to dates are part of a happy healthy relationship. Here are some date night ideas that could take at least two hours:

Why are date nights so important?

Get more consistent about date nights

Talk to your partner about setting up a time each week when you can spend two hours together. This can be the same time every week or you can schedule the next one at the end of your most recent date night. It can be helpful to schedule date nights like you would a medical appointment or work meeting. This makes it feel more prioritized and harder to cancel or forget about.

RELATED: HOW TO STAY HAPPY

Currently New Orleans has a major teenage crime problem.  Far too many teenagers are committing crimes. Car jackings, murders, shoplifting – nothing seems shocking anymore.  Many assume because they are black, they are prone to crime.  Others think young minds are undeveloped and do not understand the reality of their choices.  Listen to WBOK 1230am radio, the voice of the black community, and invariably a caller of three will call in blaming bad parenting. Some cite a complete breakdown of the family unit. A bunch of callers will blame absent fathers. Rarely do you hear about the effects of past mass incarceration. Yet past mass incarceration causes crime today.

If you just believe black people are naturally bad, then you are a real part of the problem.  I mean if your heart skips a beat when a group of young black boys turn the corner and face you, then you are just being cautious. But if you automatically feel like your life is threatened then you are a brainwashed fool.  This limited and stupid thinking is racism based and rooted in greed and corruption.  And it produced centuries of bad policy.

The bad policy?  Mass Incarceration.  How did we get it there?  Blacks and whites commit crimes at about the same rate.  Yet black men fill jails and prisons across the country. Why?

Mass incarceration was the backlash to freeing the slaves.  The 13th Amendment has a unique exception for those interested in the continued exploitation of black labor.  Read it:

13th Amendment

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Incarceration jumped a whopping 20000% after the amendment became law.  In essence, black men went from being enslaved to incarcerated overnight.  Today, Louisiana is still a worldwide leader in mass incarceration.  Even after serious and significant reforms. 

What are the effects of mass incarceration and how does it contribute to crime:

Mass incarceration, born just after slavery and continuing today has a direct impact on the crimes we see now.  This year violence is at levels not seen since 2005. And children who are 15-18 today were born in, just before or right after 2005.  Two things about the year 2005.  Louisiana was the mass incarceration capital of the world by far.  Oh and this storm tore through the city.  The federal levees failed.  And today we see the double whammy of our state’s bad policy and poor planning.

Past Mass Incarceration Causes Crime Today

Where are the fathers?  In Jail.

Why are families not intact?  Father in jail.

Why did the family breakdown? Father in jail.

Why are kids in gangs and don’t have fatherly influence? Father in jail.

Why are so many black families in poverty? Father in jail.

On and on and on and……

Storms are bigger and more frequent.  Crimes are more brazen and frequent.  Only smart policy can fix both. 

Crunch Time At The Legislature

Let’s talk bills. Not the money kind, but the ones our state legislators are proposing and pouring over. Previously, we covered 3 in particular. Here’s what has happened to them since. We are tracking the Louisiana legislature

HB248removing Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day from the state roll.

Now is not a good time to be Robert E. Lee. Yes, he’s dead, I know. But his legacy is alive and taking some serious Ls. Actually, it’s been on a slow burning descent since 2017.

First, his statue was plucked from his very own Circle. Then he lost his Boulevard. After that, the aforementioned Circle was renamed. Now, he’s on the verge of losing one of his last remaining signs of relevancy – his state recognized holiday. Yes, there’s a Robert E Lee Day in Louisiana [insert face palm]. It’s January 19th. Sorry if you missed it. Because if Rep. Matthew Willard’s bill passes, this year could be the last year the state recognizes Lee Day.

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Lee Circle in New Orleans.

As of now, Rep. Willard’s bill is still alive and kicking its way through the Senate. Surprisingly, it coasted out of the House with a 62-20 vote. And that was after a 12-0 romp through the House Judiciary Committee. It did all this with minimal headlines and fanfare.

You would’ve thought the bill would spark hyperbole of the highest order.  But the knives stayed in. And the red meat was left out. Instead of claims of attacking heritage and trying to erase history, members of the House treated us to efficiency and silence. Now it’s up to the Senate.

Over at the Senate, the bill is still waiting to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans hold a 4-3 advantage in that Committee. If it passes there, it’s on to the full Senate, then the governor’s desk.

HB209 – allowing Orleans Parish to go beyond state regulation of guns.

Just because you’re a chartered city it doesn’t mean you can chart your own path, at least when it comes to guns. That’s what the House Criminal Justice Committee concluded when they heard Rep Mandie Landry’s bill.  9 of the 10 members fired off nays and shot the bill down. That means in the midst of a carjacking, murder, and violent crime spree, a city like New Orleans can’t pass regulations to protect its citizens from people with guns.

If it’s not a good time to be Robert E. Lee, it is definitely a good time to be a gun owner. With this bill dead, it’s still legal for guns to be brought almost anywhere, like church, a kids soccer game, or a restaurant. And if you happen to lose your gun at one of these places or have it stolen, you don’t even have to report it to the police. That was another stipulation that went down with this bill.

The 9 -1 vote was a testament of principle over priorities. Or maybe it was a testament to Louisiana’s priorities. The state dubbed the sportsman’s paradise continues to support gun laws that make its citizens easy prey. And we will keep tracking bills in the Louisiana legislature.

HB798 – ensuring that neither BESE nor school boards can water down present social study standards for African American history. THIS IS NOT A CRITCAL RACE THEORY BILL.

This is also a bill that hasn’t been heard yet. The House Education Committee has left Rep. Royce Duplessis’ bill sitting on the shelf since early March when it was submitted. This is a bill you would expect to not be controversial. It simply says BESE and local school boards must abide by the social study standards BESE just approved for African American history.

The point is to prevent some rogue teacher or school board or even BESE itself from disregarding state law. If the law says such and such aspect of African American history has to be taught, then that’s what has to be done. Boom. That’s it.

You’d think this bill would already be bouncing from the Senate to the governor’s desk. But instead, it’s just languishing on the calendar as the legislative session counts down.

June 6th – legislative session adjourns

Speaking of counting down, there’s a little over 3 weeks to go before the session ends on June 6th. There’s much for legislators to go over, including the remaining 2 of these 3 bills. We will keep tracking these bills in the Louisiana legislature. And we’ll keep you informed on how it goes.

A Black truck driver on TikTok known as Gideon reveals in a viral video what he witnessed last week while traveling through a “sundown town.”

The video, which has been viewed nearly 800,000 times since posting, details the man’s experience while visiting the notorious town of Vidor, Texas.

Vidor was once considered a haven for the Ku Klux Klan and has long been seen as a “sundown town,” a predominately white area that is considered unsafe for Black people after sunset due to racial violence. Although city officials have claimed that the town has undergone significant changes in recent decades, Gideon’s experience reveals that some things still haven’t changed.

“Pretty much everybody I know in Texas that’s Black tells me, ‘Do not go to Vidor, Texas,'” Gideon says. “I’m like ‘OK’ but here I was in Vidor, Texas.”

The TikToker goes on to state that while driving to his destination to drop off his load, he came across numerous trailer parks with Confederate flags and even a doll of a Black man hanging from a tree by its neck.

Upon reaching his destination, Gideon says that he was approached by a security guard who immediately alerted his fellow workers that they were experiencing a “code red.” The security guard expressed that he did not want to be responsible for the truck driver’s safety by allowing him to drive further into the business to drop off his delivery.

Gideon says another man eventually appeared about 15 minutes later to quickly help him unload his truck before urging him to leave the area.

“He said, ‘Dude, you might want to get up out of here as soon as possible. We’re at sundown. You want to leave now.'”

After asking the man if he could rely on the police, Gideon was allegedly told that local law enforcement would “turn a blind eye” to any potential incident. The TikToker says he drove until he reached the next town over where he fell asleep in his truck with an AR-15 rifle. His account of the visit was made the following day after he felt he was safe.

The Daily Dot reached out to Gideon to inquire further about the video but did not immediately receive a reply.

Comments under the video were filled with remarks from other residents of Texas who were similarly aware of the town’s reputation.

“POV: You’re from TX and knew he was talking about Vidor before he said it,” one user wrote.

“I’ve always been told don’t even stop for gas in Vidor, Tx,” another added.

Some users even argued that a new “Green Book” was needed, a reference to the annual guidebook designated safe destinations across the country for Black Americans between 1936 and 1966.

“We need an updated Green Book,” one viewer commented.

Many were simply shocked to hear that such areas still existed in the country.

“Wow,” one commenter added. “I hate that there are places in our nation that are still this racist.”

At least one alleged resident of Vidor even left a comment regarding the town’s poor image.

“Not everyone in the town is like that… but it is the ones who are like that that ruin everyone else’s reputation… I live in Vidor myself,” the user wrote.

The experience came as an unpleasant surprise to many, but countless others have long been aware that such dangers remain ever present.

The post ‘We need an updated green book’: Black truck driver shares his harrowing experience in Texas sundown town appeared first on The Daily Dot.


by Gary Wenk Ph.D.

What you should eat, and stop eating, to avoid cognitive decline.

KEY POINTS

The New York Times recently published an interesting article by Amelia Nierenberg that asked about the effects of specific foods on the mental decline that comes with aging. Since publishing my book Your Brain on Food, I have been asked that question more often than any other: What can I eat to make myself mentally healthy and become smarter? The Times article was accurate but missed two critical issues that contribute to determining whether our diet can cause cognitive decline. First, dementia is a lifestyle phenomenon. Eating lots of leafy greens today for lunch sounds comforting but will not negate a decade of poor diet choices. Second, obesity is a significant risk factor for dementia. No specific food item can make you lose weight.

People generally have poor diets by almost any definition of the term. We eat too much fat, salt, and sugar. We consume too much alcohol and nicotine and exercise too little. Most of America, regardless of age or socioeconomic status, is overweight or obese. Our bodies are storing too much fat; this fat produces a harmful environment of inflammation, oxidative stress, and physiological imbalance that often leads to metabolic syndrome. Simply stated, our lousy diet generates an environment in our body that ages us too quickly and impairs our thinking.

Thus, your question should be the following…

What should I stop eating to avoid becoming unhealthy and demented?

A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, combined with reduced caloric intake, is ideal (and the one universally recommended) because it compensates for the numerous negative effects of your current diet. Dieticians, physicians, and all other health care providers beg their patients to change their diet; patients rarely do.

Poor diets cause some mental health disorders. The most common mental health disorder is depression. Obesity and the presence of too much body fat underlie our vulnerability to depression. People who lose body fat, via exercise or liposuction, experience improved mood and cognitive function. Thus, excessive body fat can make you both depressed and stupid and also make it less likely that you will respond to anti-depressant therapy. Today, an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence obtained across a wide spectrum of medical disciplines strongly argues that obesity accelerates brain aging, impairs overall cognitive function, and, ultimately, is responsible for the numerous processes that kill us.

vegetables and fruits

A little sugar is not harmful to your brain or body. From your brain’s perspective, dietary sugar is indispensable. Without a constant uninterrupted supply, you will quickly lose the ability to think and slip into a coma. However, diets high in sugar lead to metabolic diseases which have significant negative effects on cognition. Diabetes is a significant risk factor for dementia.

A small percentage of the general population is vulnerable to the lack of specific nutrients in their poor diet. This category of nutrients often includes vitamins and some minerals. Adding those nutrients back to their diet is often beneficial. However, numerous studies have now conclusively shown that for the overwhelming majority of us, supplements with vitamins and nutrients are a waste of money.

In contrast, a small percentage of the general population is vulnerable to the presence of specific nutrients in their poor diets. A good example of such a nutrient is gluten. If you are sensitive to gluten, do not eat it. If you are not gluten-sensitive, then avoiding gluten is a bad idea, according to the results of a study involving over 15,000 participants who were followed for 30 years. The American College of Cardiology now strongly recommends against the adoption of gluten-free diets for people without a medical necessity.

We are often told that our diet affects our health and mood.

That’s not quite the way it works: In reality, a healthier diet can only compensate for your current lousy diet. Fruits and vegetables and whole grains cannot help to boost mental health; they can only undo the damage that you are already causing.

No diet, no nutrients, and no drugs (do not believe the nonsense you have read about nootropics, a 21st-century brain placebo) have ever been proven scientifically to enhance health or brain function. The advice you hear about so often is designed to convince you to stop your poor diet in order to avoid becoming unhealthier and cognitively impaired. Therefore, choose your diet wisely—your longevity and memories depend upon it.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — If you are Black or Hispanic in a conservative state that already limits access to abortions, you are far more likely than a white person to have one.

And if the U.S. Supreme court allows states to further restrict or even ban abortions, minorities will bear the brunt of it, according to statistics analyzed by The Associated Press.

WATCH: What a Supreme Court ruling ending Roe v. Wade would mean for reproductive rights

The potential impact on minorities became all the more clear on Monday with the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion suggesting the court’s conservative majority is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion. The draft decision is not yet final but it sent shockwaves through the country. Overturning the Roe v. Wade decision would give states authority to decide abortion’s legality. Roughly half, largely in the South and Midwest, are likely to quickly ban abortion.

When it comes to the effect on minorities, the numbers are unambiguous. In Mississippi, people of color comprise 44 percent of the population but 81 percent of women receiving abortions, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks health statistics.

In Texas, they’re 59 percent of the population and 74 percent of those receiving abortions. The numbers in Alabama are 35 percent and 69 percent. In Louisiana, minorities represent 42 percent of the population, according to the state Health Department, and about 72 percent of those receiving abortions.

“Abortion restrictions are racist,” said Cathy Torres, an organizing manager with Frontera Fund, a Texas organization that helps pay for abortions. “They directly impact people of color, Black, brown, Indigenous people … people who are trying to make ends meet.”

Why the great disparities? Laurie Bertram Roberts, executive director of the Alabama-based Yellowhammer Fund, which provides financial support for abortions, said women of color in states with restrictive abortion laws often have limited access to health care and a lack of choices for effective birth control. Schools often have ineffective or inadequate sex education.

If abortions are outlawed, those same women — often poor — will likely have the hardest time traveling to distant parts of the country to terminate pregnancies or raising children they might struggle to afford, said Roberts, who is Black and once volunteered at Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.

“We’re talking about folks who are already marginalized,” Roberts said.

Amanda Furdge, who is Black, was one of those women. She was a single, unemployed college student already raising one baby in 2014 when she found out she was pregnant with another. She said she didn’t know how she could afford another child.

She’d had two abortions in Chicago. Getting access to an abortion provider there was no problem, Furdge said. But now she was in Mississippi, having moved home to escape an abusive relationship. Misled by advertising, she first went to a crisis pregnancy center that tried to talk her out of an abortion. By the time she found the abortion clinic, she was too far along to have the procedure.

She’s not surprised by the latest news on the Supreme Court’s likely decision. Most people who aren’t affected don’t consider the stakes.

“People are going to have to vote,” said Furdge, 34, who is happily raising her now 7-year-old son but continues to advocate for women having the right to choose. “People are going to have to put the people in place to make the decisions that align with their values. When they don’t, things like this happen.”

READ MORE: What is Roe v. Wade?

Torres said historically, anti-abortion laws have been crafted in ways that hurt low-income women. She pointed to the Hyde Amendment, a 1980 law that prevents the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in rare cases.

She also cited the 2021 Texas law that bans abortion after around six weeks of pregnancy. Where she lives, near the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley, women are forced to travel to obtain abortions and must pass in-state border patrol checkpoints where they have to disclose their citizenship status, she said.

Regardless of what legislators say, Torres insisted, the intent is to target women of color, to control their bodies: “They know who these restrictions are going to affect. They know that, but they don’t care.”

But Andy Gipson, a former member of the Mississippi Legislature who is now the state’s agriculture and commerce commissioner, said race had nothing to do with passage of Mississippi’s law against abortion after the 15th week. That law is the one now before the Supreme Court in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Gipson, a Baptist minister who is white, said he believes all people are created in the image of God and have an “innate value” that starts at conception. Mississippi legislators were trying to protect women and babies by putting limits on abortion, he said.

“I absolutely disagree with the concept that it’s racist or about anything other than saving babies’ lives,” said Gipson, a Republican. “It’s about saving lives of the unborn and the lives and health of the mother, regardless of what color they are.”

To those who say that forcing women to have babies will subject them to hardships, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, a white Republican, said it is “easier for working mothers to balance professional success and family life” than it was 49 years ago when Roe was decided.

Fitch, who is divorced, often points to her own experience of working outside the home while raising three children. But Fitch grew up in an affluent family and has worked in the legal profession — both factors that can give working women the means and the flexibility to get help raising children.

That’s not the case for many minority women in Mississippi or elsewhere. Advocates say in many places where abortion services are being curtailed, there’s little support for people who carry a baby to term.

Mississippi is one of the poorest states, and people in low-wage jobs often don’t receive health insurance. Women can enroll in Medicaid during pregnancy, but that coverage disappears soon after they give birth.

Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black infants were about twice as likely as white infants to die during the first year of life in Mississippi, according to the March of Dimes.

Across the country, U.S. Census Bureau information analyzed by The Associated Press shows fewer Black and Hispanic women have health insurance, especially in states with tight abortion restrictions. For example, in Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, at least 16 percent of Black women and 36 percent of Latinas were uninsured in 2019, some of the highest such rates in the country.

Problems are compounded in states without effective education programs about reproduction. Mississippi law says sex education in public schools must emphasize abstinence to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Discussion of abortion is forbidden, and instructors may not demonstrate how to use condoms or other contraception.

The Mississippi director for Planned Parenthood Southeast, Tyler Harden, is a 26-year-old Black woman who had an abortion about five years ago, an experience that drove her to a career supporting pregnant women and preserving abortion rights.

She said when she was attending public school in rural Mississippi, she didn’t learn about birth control. Instead, a teacher stuck clear tape on students’ arms. The girls were told to put it on another classmate’s arm, and another, and watch how it lost the ability to form a bond.

“They’d tell you, ‘If you have sex, this is who you are now: You’re just like this piece of tape — all used up and washed up and nobody would want it,’” Harden said.

When she became pregnant at 21, she knew she wanted an abortion. Her mother was battling cancer and Harden was in her last semester of college without a job or a place to live after graduation.

She said she was made to feel fear and shame, just as she had during sex ed classes. When she went to the clinic, she said protesters told her she was “‘killing the most precious gift’” from God and that she was ”‘killing a Black baby, playing into what white supremacists want.’”

Harden’s experience is not uncommon. The anti-abortion movement has often portrayed the abortion fight in racial terms.

Outside the only abortion clinic operating in Mississippi, protesters hand out brochures that refer to abortion as Black “genocide” and say the late Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and a proponent of eugenics, “desired to eradicate minorities.” The brochures compare Sanger to Adolf Hitler and proclaim: “Black lives did not matter to Margaret Sanger!”

The Mississippi clinic is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood itself denounces Sanger’s belief in eugenics.

READ MORE: How Congress could wield its power to affect abortion law nationally

White people are not alone in making this argument. Alveda King, an evangelist who is a niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is among the Black opponents of abortion who, for years, have been portraying abortion as a way to wipe out people of their race.

Tanya Britton, a former president of Pro-Life Mississippi, often drives three hours from her home in the northern part of the state to pray outside the abortion clinic in Jackson. Britton is Black, and she said it’s a tragedy that the number of Black babies aborted since Roe would equal the population of several large cities. She also said people are too casual about terminating pregnancies.

“You just can’t take the life of someone because this is not convenient — ‘I want to finish my education,’” Britton said. “You wouldn’t kill your 2-year-old because you were in graduate school.”

But state Rep. Zakiya Summers of Jackson, who is Black and a mother, suggested there’s nothing casual about what poor women are doing. Receiving little support in Mississippi — for example, the Legislature killed a proposal to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage in 2021 — they are sometimes forced to make hard decisions.

“Women are just out here trying to survive, you know?” she said. “And Mississippi doesn’t make it any easier.”

Associated Press reporters Noreen Nasir in Jackson, Mississippi, and Jasen Lo in Chicago contributed to this report.

by Orissa Arend

            Historically, we have thought of reparations for African Americans in terms of land or money. But a recent forum of Justice and Beyond (J&B April 25) focused on energy reparations in New Orleans. “Petro-racial capitalism” is a term used by Nikki Luke and Nik Heymen in a scholarly paper. They were panelists on the J&B forum. Delving into the history of both reparations and the exploitative practices of the energy sector, they noted the “racialized accumulation [of wealth and property] enacted through processes of slavery, patriarchy, imperialism, and genocide.” For an in depth analysis, see “Community Solar as Energy Reparations: Abolishing Petro-Racial Capitalism in New Orleans,” American Quarterly, Volume 72, Number 3, September 2020. 

            Luke and Heyman hold out the real possibility of a renewable and reparative energy system. It would require changing the norms about property, profit, power, and privilege. Maybe the seeds of energy reparations were there all along. In 1865 the Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman issued Special Order 15 on the recommendation of some Black clergymen. From this Order came the language of “40 acres and a mule.” It strikes me that the mule, that humble, over-worked beast of burden, was the energy part of the formula.

A LOOK AT THE HARMS

            The energy sector in Louisiana has created ecological and economic vulnerability through generations of dispossession and reckless disregard for the damage that industries are causing to our climate. The agricultural plantation culture was replaced in the early twentieth century with the oil and gas plantation culture to make Louisiana “America’s very own petro-state,” in the words of Michael Watts, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. Vast profits by energy producers have been realized through regressive taxes and utility rates, regulatory benefits, state subsidies, and tax evasion for extractive industries. Taxpayer money is given as subsidies to the oil and gas companies thus depriving the state’s residents of much needed funds for social services. 

            One result of these practices for African Americans in New Orleans is the fact that 30 percent more whites own homes in our city than do people of color. The gap has widened by 10 percent since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This gap is a result of racist policies in many sectors and state-supported asset stripping. In New Orleans Black households are six times more likely to live in poverty than white households. Lamar Gardere, Executive Director of the Data Center, was also a panelist. He provided much needed information from the Data Center’s “Prosperity Index” for Justice and Beyond’s call for a Reparations Task Force and Community Fund.

DATA CENTER

             After Hurricane Katrina, substantial property credits were given to HOMEOWNERS for renovation and also for residential solar energy. Renters were left on their own. Six percent of household income is considered an affordable amount to spend on utilities. In New Orleans, low-income residents pay 10 percent. Luke and Heynen recommend “continued organizing against the corrupt practices of utilities like Entergy, which advance petro-racial capitalism without concern for the planet or people.” They stress “continued organizing” because they want New Orleanians to be aware of bold efforts yielding  valuable lessons from the past.

A HISTORY OF RESISTANCE

            New Orleans has a history of reparations organizing and politics. A few examples: On February 27, 1865 the New Orleans Freedman’s Aid Association bought land from the government to lease to collectively organized groups of Black farmers. The cooperative economic model included self-help banks. That endeavor came to a screeching halt when President Andrew Johnson decided to give the land back to the former Confederates and plantation owners.

            Another example: Five days after Katrina, former Black Panthers Malik Rahim, Robert King, and a small band of revolutionaries, pooled their resources and started the Common Ground Collective. These revolutionaries resurrected the survival programs of the Black Panthers from the 1960s and early 1970s and taught their collective organizing principles to an immense cadre of young, mostly white volunteers from all over the country and around the world. They gutted houses, set up health clinics, planted trees and gardens, and showed what could be done with hardly any money and little or no government help. Malik was a Green Party candidate for New Orleans City Council in 2002 and for Congress in 2006.   Environmental Justice was central to his platform.

            Perhaps there is a historical thru-line and an opportunity to revisit some of the unfinished goals of emancipation. In 2018 New Orleans initiated the first community solar program in the southern U.S.  The City Council advanced the Community Solar Rule. Council President Helena Moreno says that by making solar panels available by subscription in communal areas   the new Rule would “allow individuals to benefit from the power and bill credits that independent solar projects produce without installing panels on their own homes. This helps all New Orleanians, especially low-income ratepayers, benefit from solar energy production without outsized installation costs.”

             Logan Burke of the Alliance for Affordable Energy explained our energy situation at the Justice and Beyond forum in this way:  “While Louisiana’s economic story is often told as ‘energy rich,’ the extractive nature of traditional energy economies have left most residents out of the riches. The power of renewable, distributed, and efficient energy is that it can be democratized, put in community hands, and benefit more than just corporations. The key will be whether policies are enabled that support individual rights, and whether the communities that have been so harmed by extractive practices, especially Black and Indigenous communities, will receive the first fruits of energy democracy.”

            “The first fruits of energy democracy.” Wouldn’t it be glorious if the institutional innovations currently being undertaken by the New Orleans City Council bore just such a bounty? But we know from experience that vigilance and continued anti-racist organizing will be required to accomplish this kind of repair.