Reform is insufficient. It’s time to democratize public safety.

Tim Wise · 8 min read

Police in Washington D.C. on June 2. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

IfAmerica is to live, policing as we know it must die. It is that simple. If we aspire for it to become a multicultural, multiracial, and pluralistic democracy, America simply cannot go on this way much longer. Too many bodies are buried in the soil, too much blood has been spilled, and too many families have been shattered.

Those bodies and lives and families have been sacrificed in the name of law and order. But when the law becomes lawless, there is no order, and so here we are. We are watching it all collapse in real time, in HD, on the nightly news, on Twitter, on TikTok, as police respond to nonviolent protest with brutality. They gleefully shoot rubber bullets at journalistsmace children, and shove the elderly, anyone who dares criticize them for murdering black folks.

The back of the national camel has met its last straw.

That things are breaking down is no surprise. It is only surprising it has taken this long. The United States was conceived from the contradictory impulses of liberty and slavery, freedom, and oppression. It was forged from the fires of a fundamental incongruity: On the one hand, the inalienable rights of man, and on the other, the alienable lives of those deemed lesser than human.

Beset by its split personality from the beginning, America has demonstrated the impracticality of trying to walk the thin line between tyranny and liberty, of seeking to have it both ways. This doesn’t work. Once you establish a country around the precept some are to be free and others not, that some are to be protected and others subordinated, neither time nor pretty words will undo what has been done.

Law enforcement has always been the root of the problem. It is the fulcrum of white supremacy and has been so from the beginning. Remember, the Constitution says it right there in Article IV, Section 2:

No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due…

Shorter version: If an enslaved person runs away to a free state and we catch them, their ass is going back.

And who, one wonders, would be given the task of “delivering up” said runaways? It would be, of course, the 18th century’s equivalent of cops, whether recognized as members of an official law enforcement body or simply white men deputized by dint of their skin to act as such. Slave patrols had been operating since long before the nation was founded. Indeed, many white men over a certain age were required to participate in them. In this way, not only was the oppression of black people baked into the nation from the start, so too was the collaboration of white people.

It was part of the recipe. It was the yeast without which the bread would not have risen. It was the roux around which all other ingredients would blend. And how does one undo the gumbo once it has been simmering for hundreds of years? Or more to the point, how does one unwind a culture of policing fostered over centuries?

Not with simpleminded reforms, and not with more training, that’s for sure. Training suggests law enforcement’s violence and misconduct result from some kind of failure in the system. But policing has been about violence from the beginning, at least so far as black folks have experienced it. It was never Officer Friendly who came to get your cat out of the tree or gave little Johnny a ride-around with the siren going just for fun.

Policing has been about violence from the beginning, at least so far as black folks have experienced it.

For black people, police served to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, and later, Jim Crow segregation. Sheriffs and their deputies would arrest black men, on suspicion of some fabricated wrongdoing, only to release them into the hands of a white mob that would hang them, burn them, and mutilate their bodies. Lynchings were a local spectacle and could only happen with the active collaboration of police.

How could training have made a difference? Perhaps we could sit down with the murderers and have a heartfelt discussion about their implicit bias? Please. And body cams? Those would merely have allowed us to witness the carnage in higher pixelation. Training assumes a system failure is the problem, but where is the failure?

When Jim Clark and his goons brutalized marchers on the bridge in Selma, they were doing their job, and that’s the problem. So too Bull Connor. These men weren’t failing under the terms set by the system under which they operated. Everything they did flowed from the system itself.

When cops enforced the war on drugs, they too were doing their job. It was not a system breakdown. It was the system operating as designed. Thinking that one can train one’s way out of oppression — when oppression is the point — makes no sense. It’s like standing at the end of a conveyor belt in a sausage factory waiting for it to give you chicken nuggets and becoming frustrated at its unwillingness to do so. It’s a sausage factory. Sausage is what it does. Expect sausage.

Ultimately we must envision a society without policing, at least in so far as we currently conceive of it. The purpose of such a body must be reconceptualized and rebuilt with the explicit participation of the communities it is meant to serve. Not just their participation — their control.

Police culture, as it exists, must be destroyed.

This means no more decommissioned tanks from the nation’s armed services, no more military hardware — which suggests to officers that when they go into a neighborhood, they are going to battle against a foreign enemy. No more camo. You don’t need desert camouflage in Ferguson or Baltimore or Minneapolis. There are no sand dunes with which you need to blend in. Police wear gear to feel like soldiers, and for no other reason. Enough.

The warrior mindset — which many departments openly encourage and even send officers to trainings to learn better — must be stamped out. So too must be the inward protectionism which encourages officers to place loyalty to the blue brotherhood (and sisterhood) above all else.

You’ll hear it often said by cops that “my number one job is to get home to my family each night.” No, it’s not. And any cop who thinks that’s their job should be fired on the spot. Their job is to protect and serve. It’s in the oath they took.

Ultimately we need a society built on the idea that communities are in the best position to protect themselves and to serve themselves, and that we — the collective — will provide them with the resources needed to do so. This means that rather than policing as we know it, we must move to conflict resolution models that are community-driven and bottom-up rather than top-down. Gang interrupters, drawn from the community, many of them formerly incarcerated, can prove far more effective at crime control than outsiders and enforcers, especially if we provide them with the resources we currently piss away on cops.

And I know, many will say that without aggressive policing, crime will spiral out of control. But it’s not true. Crime has fallen even in those cities that have moved away from broken windows enforcement and stop and frisk. It could fall even further were we to move to the next levels of de-escalation.

What is often missed is how criminal offense itself is a direct outgrowth not only of economic deprivation — which requires a much broader set of solutions — but also a sense of hopelessness and lack of control over one’s life. Lacking power, lacking perceived agency, folks will act out and hurt others.

De-policing cannot occur overnight, but we must begin the transition.

Some, feeling disrespected daily by the larger society, sadly, will manifest the same disrespect against others, including others in their own communities. But ask please, who taught them their lives and the lives of their neighbors didn’t matter? Where did they learn that lesson? Not on the corner. They learned it in our schools, our media, and from every instruction offered by our national history. Perhaps if we reconstituted the notion of public safety, beginning with the idea that the people themselves should have control, that sense of autonomy would translate into respect for self and others.

Such a sea change will take time. De-policing cannot occur overnight but we must begin the transition. So here’s an idea. It’s the kind of thing that activist groups like the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and others have discussed for years, and it’s time we took it seriously.

First, anyone looking to serve as an officer in a community of color — regardless of that aspiring officer’s race — should submit to a probationary period of, say, four months. During that time, they would be on the payroll, but they would not have powers of arrest. They would have no gun. Their job would be to get to know the communities and neighborhoods where they seek to serve — walking the blocks, talking to folks on their front porches, their stoops, in their barbershops, their cafés, their bodegas, their houses of worship. They would be talking, yes, but more crucially listening to the voices of those who live there. Finding out what they want and need from law enforcement. Assessing their hopes and fears.

After aspiring officers had gotten to know the people of the community — having met their families and shown them pictures of their own, and connected along the lines of a common humanity — the community would get to vote. The community would get to say yes or no to every aspirant. Having had the time to assess the humility, the character, and the commitment of each one who seeks to become a cop, the people would decide.

In all likelihood, those who weren’t cut out for this new and democratized culture wouldn’t make it four days, let alone four months. They wouldn’t even submit to the process in the first place. They would self-select out of policing as a career, at least in so far as they would be working in such communities. Good.

And those that stuck with it? Those who worked for months as community organizers, whose first job is always to listen? They would likely get the thumbs up. Either way, the control would be in the hands of the people.

This cannot be the endgame, of course. We need to rethink the entire concept of policing and move toward other forms of protecting public safety. But in the meantime, promoting self-determination would go a long way toward signaling that we were prepared to let the old ways die, to allow the scaffolding of police culture as we know it to crash and burn so that the nation doesn’t have to.

It would signal that we love the idea of America and still believe in it. Far more indeed than those who would defend the existing order.

4 thoughts on “The Fate of America Depends on Ending Its Culture of Policing”
  1. Think504.com compiles insightful and necessary information rooted in history. An absolute needed tool to navigate today’s challenges for safety, equality and justice. Smitty

  2. How does NOLA view “Due Process” for Kids and Others Madam Mayor?

    LBRC- To: Madam Mayor Cantrell, New Orleans, and Chief Shawn Ferguson et al, plus Law Enforcement and so- called “Peace Officers” Nationally- The Most “Abused” Constitutional Rights regarding “Negro Citizenship”, since the ratification of The 13th, are “The 5th and 14th Amendments! 

    Re: What constitutes Constitutional “Due Process”? 

    1. 1st and foremost- Due Process is a U.S. Constitutional “Right” and Mandate”! btw- As former Reserve and Military Law Enforcement, we have worked with others and attended lots of activities for so- called “Post Certified Peace Officers”! In our best Ebonics, “Most of ‘dees Peeps ain’t ‘gotta clue! Some are barely literate, notwithstanding the ability to comprehend “Fundamental” Constitutional concepts! And you wonder why Racist Patterns “Persist”, even after so- called “Re- training”?

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/due_process

    Amendment XIV- Section 1.

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws./end/ 

    2. At a minimum, “Due Process” means that a citizen who will be affected by a government decision must be given notice of what government plans to do and have a chance to comment on the action. Government takes many actions that may deprive people of life, “liberty” (Including Free Movement) , or property.

    3. Citizens “Paid” via taxes for the various roads, expressways, streets and salaries of those who intentionally or unintentionally violate their rights of ingress and egress! Yes, Public Safety requires examination, however- Let’s examine what happened regarding the “Chemical and/or Tear Gas incident several nights ago. 

    a. Children were among the “Petitioners aka Protestors” on and approaching the bridge!  What is so “Prudent” about Tear Gassing “Children” in 2020? Now say anachronism!!! In 1960, Bull Connor and other Southern Racist weren’t prudent either! In 202 Covid in on attack as well and flourishes with coughs induced by Gassing, especially kids and the  the elderly! We used to say- “If they did it to Christ, whatever, then they’ll do it to you”! Now we say- If Caucasian Racist leaders  and their ilk, did it to Dr. King, then their proxy Negro Willie Lynch Prison Industrial Complex Negroes will as well! Negro Children and The Elderly are still not exempt! Where was the Due Process for all those Kids? You didn’t see Them? The Most High did!!! 

    b. Protestors were already on the Bridge, and “Vehicle Traffic” had already been halted! (Disclaimer: “Citizen Protest and Democracy, as Rumsfeld, Bush Administration stated- “Is sometimes messy”, most Bobble Heads” nodded in agreement”! Those apart from all the “Bobble Heads” said ‘Nuttun or wrote no dissenting opinion as per our research, not even anecdotally! 

    c. Every action taken by government and its agents are funded by “Citizen Tax Dollars”! When Government errs via “Ignorance”, citizens pay and most egregious Madam Mayor and Chief- “Citizens paid for ‘Dat Tear Gas and The Time it took Chief et al, to Gas our Kids and The Elderly plus “Deny” others access to the Bridge, when hundreds of Petitioners with Children, were also De Facto Gassed and already “on the bridge”! 

    “Why didn’t you PROTECT them? Not all “Provoked” your so- called “Peace Officers”, who refused to turn a cheek like Dr. king did! 

    Orleans Parish has “More Wrongful Convictions than any city in the U.S.!!! Who trains your cops, and what has your (j)ustice system produced? Even the “Violent” deserve and are “Entitled” to “Due Process”! It begins on the streets!!! Neither you Madam Mayor or “Your” Chief has the authority to abridge it! Problematic is? The very reason you are in a 2020 Consent Decree, is you have established over decades, a “Culture” of “Non Compliance”! Non Compliance is “Law” via “Ignorance, Conformity and Submission” to the same!!! Solution: Read and if possible comprehend-  The 5th and 14th Amendments to The U.S. Constitution!!! 

    No Respect for Constitutional Rights, No Peace!!!

  3. btw…, Sent to The NOLA Mayor, Council and others et al…
    LBRC- Who should be held “Accountable” for Police Abuse in NOLA? ‘Simps will never get it and neither do most vote anyway!

    1. Children were “Gassed” on a bridge in NOLA. It’s not enough to say “Oops…, sorry”, because you do not comprehend the true role of “Peace Officers”! Police Aggression” against the whole (Including Children) of a Peaceful “Petition Mrch”, is not only counter- productive, but violates the rights of those “Petitioning Peacefully”!!!

    2. Where’s the “Logic”- Meaning?

    a. Peace Officer work requires discretion! Discretion is highly dependent on and related to “Intellectual Synthesis”! Show us a “Poor Thinker” and we’ll show you poor processes  with a high “Correlation Coefficient” to “Poor Outcomes” aka like “Innocent Children” and other citizens,  being denied their “Due Process” and frankly “Humanity”! A 2020  Edmund Pettus Bridge action? Poor thinking plus Racism and complicity,  promotes poor and Tragic outcomes! Just like George Floyd! In NOLA, the Mayor and Chief of Police are Negro!!! How can this abuse be in 2020? 

    b. The truth? In 2020, reigning “Cultures” have more to do with the perpetuation of linear traditions, than they do with solid or “Moral”  linear reasoning, i.e., Pork might be high in unhealthy Fat, ‘Greezy, High in Sodium, plus Pigs are “Slop Eaters”- But it taste good, right? So what’s the issue about its relationship with “High Blood Pressure and Kidney issues, right? Your Tradition says, generations of my family ‘Luved- ‘dead-ed’ it, and so do I”! Though “you” might have “High Blood Pressure” and Kidney issues, so what, right? Deep 6 the Logic of Eating to live in 2020? So… 

    c. NOPD has developed a “Culture of Policing Negroes and others over decades void “Consequences” and in fact- “They and their Complicit Negroes have doubled down”!!! In majority Negro cities, Negroes have moved into ‘Massa’s house and all the Negroes in it are Neo House Negroes! Even while under a Consent Decree since its inception in NOLA, “How many NOPD officers have been indicted, including so- called brass? What does the “Data” and “Facts” say? Most if not all of their brass are remnants of “Pre Consent Decree” and “Remain”! What was the current Chief doing during “Katrina” and “Pre Consent Decree” (Complaining?)? Citizens on The CCC were being fired upon by Jefferson Parish Deputies and others? What about the Superdome Chamber of Horrors? What about when “Riley” went house to house “Confiscating” weapons from “Law Abiding Citizens”, used for their protection, notwithstanding The 2nd Amendment? ‘Oops…, says The NOLA Culture of Policing, right? Who was held “Accountable”? We  ‘askin…

    3. The Point of all? Ans. Accountability!!!

    a. The current NOPD Chief is a Mayoral appointee!!! This makes The Mayor accountable for actions “Sanctioned by and even defended by The Chief”!!! ‘Oops is no longer a viable justification for abuse aka “Gassing Kids/Others” and denying them “Due Process”! 

    b. Additionally- Here is a “Moral Hazard” as we see it. We call this, The Negro “Preacher Apostate Syndrome” aka “Never Removed not even for egregious Sin”, just like Judas 32 Pieces of Silver Politicians! Traditionally, The Negro Church has been seen as a Sanctuary from overt and covert “American Injustice”! Once upon a time, especially when Negroes had little to no resources, especially ‘Mulla (Most Still Don’t, except in their Castles they build in skies), Negro Preachers were hardly impeached for Immorality, Greed for Filthy Lucre, Corruption”! Enter the “Post” so- called Civil Rights Era! Now? Negro Preacher Apostates require Luxury Jets, Planes, Autos, Houses, Disposable Income, High Maintenance life styles for themselves and so- called Ladies and Mistress, yada…! Priest Apostates aren’t exempt either! “Children” for “Sex Toys”? Their temples are Bankrupt and in fact have filed for it! Not until “Truth” got exposed by others, are lay and Priest been made to “Account”! 

    c. More egregious, Negro Apostates have imbedded and aligned themselves with Politicians!

    d. The Negro Apostate Syndrome refuses to abide by what “Clear Scripture” says about “Who and What” makes an “Altar”Holy (What happened to pretenders who went behind The Holy Curtain anyway “Old School”?).  “Deep 6 Holy” aka- “We forgive our Apostates for Theft, Greed, False Claims about The Levites and Tithes, Worldly Ambition and yada…, and btw- Moses left The House of Pharaoh, their City Hall and once gone? He never “Sucked- up” to ‘Dat government to regain his once prestigious place in it! In 2020, not only do Negro Preacher Apostates vie to get in, but Filthy Lucre is ambition and “Haughty” Appearances is Priority!! 

    e.We’re still talking Accountability Madam Mayor! You are admonished again- “Gassing innocent Children is totally unacceptable! You nor Chief are commonly regarded as “Spiritual Leaders”, but? Oops doesn’t cut it in 2020!  

    f. Negro Preacher Apostates have no place near an Altar, let alone on it (Read Requirements in Scripture for The Office of Bishop)! The altar of Public Service is a “Public one” and Literacy counts! We vote and our ranks are growing! Remember when Polls predicted Desiree, the so- called  chosen “Creole” aka “Light Bright and Darn near White aka close, to win by a landslide? We rallied and made waste of ‘Dat old “Tradition” of “Racist Press” determining who’ll rule in a “Majority Negro City”! Unfortunately, a few  still got in! Didn’t get the memo? YOU WILL!!! Deep 6 all the speeches, ‘oops…, “Bobble Heading”, Grandstanding and “Articulated BS!!! 

    No Constitutional Rights or Due Process for Us and our Other Brothers and Sisters/Multi- Ethnic, marching alongside and with us, especially Children- No Peace!!! 

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New Orleans Must Improve the Lives of ALL African Americans

By Jeff Thomas

Many people often say I’m too focused on race. But look around our city. Most of the big social problems are in the African American community. Murder. Car jackings. Poverty. Covid hospitalizations. Drug abuse. Unemployment. The list goes on and on and on. Fixing these problems in that part of the African American community that struggles makes the city great for EVERYBODY. So if you are black or white or Asian or Hispanic and doing pretty good want to live in a safer cleaner city, let’s fix the problems in the ailing parts of our city. Helping poor black people benefits everybody.

Good news is we can do it. And it is not that hard. New Orleans should be a sanctuary city for the poor and struggling African Americans.  Every policy and regulation possible should support this notion.  And given the egregiously regressive and burdensome past, city government should fast track all current, available solutions.   Even a cursory glance at   the plight of  hard-working African Americans  in the city provides ample evidence of the urgent need for change.

Broken Paradigm

Our current paradigm has created and sustains the crime-plagued, underperforming city. Low-performing schools contribute to the highest dropout rates in the country.  Gentrification and low-paying jobs force many into the rental market in our city.  And people who own their homes are nearly 90% less likely to commit crimes compared to those who rent. Though the murder rate is once again the highest in the country per capita.  African Americans in NOLA die at alarmingly high rates. Especially when it comes to young people.  We must fix serious and deeply-entrenched problems here quickly.  It can be done with surprising ease if a coordinated attempt is employed.

THE SANCTUARY CITY MODEL

Characteristics of the sanctuary should include

Combined, these targets will dramatically reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.  With access to good-paying jobs and pathways to home ownership, crime will drop precipitously.  Working men, who earn living wages, will fatten city coffers via property and sales tax payments.  Needing fewer police officers, more money could then be shifted into job training programs. These programs prepare young people to enter the workforce and become taxpayers.

SWB JOBS PROGRAM

The Sewerage and Water Board can be the greatest jobs program in city history.  Billions of FEMA dollars are scheduled to be spent repairing crumbling infrastructure. The board must hire, train and demand excellence from its repair people.  Our ability to pump water is our lifeline. We must invest in training our people to protect our property. The SWB is more important than the NOPD.  SWB must pay enough to enable employees to purchase homes. 

HOME OWNERSHIP

Eighty five percent of people who commit crimes do not own their homes. Neighborhoods where people own their homes are cleaner, safer. And they provide ancillary activities (kids sports programs, block parties, etc.) that promote healthier living.  Living wages help people qualify for mortgages.  City-sanctioned home ownership classes would motivate and inspire people to save for down payments and improve their credit scores.  The soft second mortgage programs should also be expanded.

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS

Working families need close and convenient good schools for their children.  Our experiment with charter schools must shift to emphasize local school excellence.  Good neighborhood schools reduce stress, increase participation and reduce dropout rates, which in turn strengthen families.  Parent-school partnerships are easier when parents are able to access school personnel close to home.  Friendly rivalries centered around athletic and academic achievement will transform educational achievement[  in The Bowl.  Businesses could offer cash prizes to the students who perform best and the schools which achieve great successes.

COMMUNITY POLICING

Police Chief Shaun Ferguson rose through the ranks. And he is a man from our streets who now leads the men and women who patrol our streets.  He says, “The community and police must form a partnership.”  He is correct when he says the NOPD needs citizen support.  Right now, our NOPD is dangerously understaffed. Shifting to 12 hour shifts increases presence on the streets. Good move Chief. Also moving more desk and clerical jobs from police to citizen staffing will enable more officers to get out. And top brass should patrol our neighborhoods. They are our best and brightest. They have the experience and authority to effectively decipher complex situations. Is a shouting match serious?

We know arresting and jailing people for minor crimes, even for short periods of time, has dramatic and real effects. And ironically results in yet more crime.  Instead, community policing operates in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect.  Too often, police have operated with rigidity and oppressiveness. That stifles the community support it needs, desires, and deserves. 

For too long, New Orleans and other municipalities have focused on fines and fees to finance government.  Police decide who gets pulled over and issued a ticket.  Furthermore, rigid rules and immediate late fees from municipal utilities create undue stress in an already overburdened populace. 

In the 21st century, our cities must uplift the lives of all the citizens who make these places home.

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.

New Orleans is one of the most poor and obese cities in the country.  And if health is wealth, then the city is sick.  Maybe even ICU sick in some instances.  If only we could create jobs in healthcare that focuses on improving the community’s health. And train and hire people from the community.  Then we could kill two birds with one stone.  Reduce poverty and simultaneously improve our health. The proposed New Orleans Biodistrict can do that and more.  That’s the kind of creative thinking our city needs. 

Crime leads the daily news cycle. We see senseless killing on our streets daily.  The mayor’s long-term approach to invest in youth training has yielded mixed results.  The short-term result is an increase in homicides.  But as terrible as these heinous crimes are, they pale in comparison to the destruction and devastation from health-related deaths.  We willingly invest in more police and police technology.

The “if it bleeds it leads” media obsession highlights the  300 tragic murders but completely ignores the thousands who needlessly die annually from poor health. Diabetes, heart ailments, and stroke kill more black men than all the shootings in all the metro parishes combined. People point to crime as a reason to recall the mayor.  But we struggle to form and fund an innovative corridor that will not only improve health but also reduce crime.

The Biodistict New Orleans was created in 2005 by the state legislature.  It is a business and health corridor from Carrollton Ave to Loyola and from Iberville to Earhart.  It incorporates

New Orleans Working BioDistrict

Their vision is simple.  It will make us healthier and safer.  The district will make our city a better place to live.  It promises not to gentrify the neighborhoods.  People won’t be displaced.  In fact their lives will be enhanced by the jobs and access to healthcare that our city sorely needs now.  According to their literature the BioDistrict –

Problems Exist

The biggest holdup had been an unclear vision and lack of oversight.  The mayor, the governor, state representatives, economic agencies and university leaders appoint the board. But as they say, the devil is in the details. But issues still exist-

If this is not possible, then the current CEA is not the correct agreement. The BioDistrict can transform our city. We have to do it right. It’s been 17 years in the making. Be intentional. Get it right.

We need new ideas and projects in order to grow the city.  The BioDisrict will attract startup companies.  Included in the new proposal is a startup incubator that helps local young business people become startups that will anchor the community.  Imagine out people healthy.  Imagine our people transformed.Then imagine out people enriched.  That’s a New Orleans we can all love. New Orleans needs the BioDistrict. But it needs the BioDistrict properly configured.

Maybe the mayor should show them a little leg. Maybe give them a lil extra twist in her hips when she walks by. Yeah. They’d like that. Or on conservatively dressed days, maybe cuff her pants to expose a bit of ankle, revealing the smooth contours of bone. Whew. That’ll get a rise out of them, those creepy white men.

Mayor Cantrell has a creepy white man problem.

If I was a creepy white man, I wonder if I’d stalk the mayor, too. I mean, she does look mean in a pair of jeans. On the dance floor, she does sway something sassy. She definitely got that black as you-know-what-attitude. Who knows, maybe I’d join them, those fellow creepy white men, tongue wagging and dripping saliva, nose to the pavement like a bloodhound. Who got that scent?

How does one become a creepy white man? Have you ever wondered? Do you merely have to do something creepy, like sift through 630 hours of surveillance footage, all just to catch a glimpse of the mayor? Is there an entrance fee? Some type of initiation? A ball? Do you get a discount if you donate to the Metropolitan Crime Commission? Can I simply identify as one?

Should the mayor be flattered? In this land of the free, selfish, cut-throat, and brave, creepy white men reign supreme. They’re the powerful possessors of privilege. And just think, here she is, little ole LaToya, the apple of their affection, the dimple of their desire. An explanation is required.

Ever since the mayor began doing an incredibly incompetent job of running the city, creepy white men have come out of the closet and become — well…increasingly creepy. Things they put up with under previous administrations are absolutely intolerable under this one.

Like possessive husbands, they now need to know when she comes and goes. They need to know how she’s spending “their” money (what you doing with those Wisner funds and first class flights?). Lately, her staying downtown in a city owned apartment without paying rent has become the most pressing infatuation. Even though city law possibly says she doesn’t have to. Is she staying there alone? Maybe……

This has clearly sparked creepy white man arousal. They can’t take it – visions of her black ass getting away with imagined atrocities. It’s just too much. So what do they do? They follow her, snapping pictures with telescoping lenses. They monitor her mail. Then they monitor her maintenance requests. They even camp out waiting to catch a glimpse of her sunbathing on a balcony, annoyed because she put up the privacy screen.

Do Powerful White Men Lust After the Mayor

Remember when the mayor said she flies first class to protect her mental health and safety as a black woman? Initially, that sounded utterly ridiculous. But who knows? She is being stalked, photographed, surveilled. And her picture is blasted on the evening news like a mugshot. Who knows? Maybe she’s onto something.

Sad.

Imagine what it is to be a creepy white man though. To get away with this, to live free with zero repercussions or judgment. It’s a facet of the American dream, one almost as old as white men lusting after black women.

Jeff Somers 

There’s little doubt that there’s a huge wealth gap in the U.S. along racial lines. As noted by Bloomberg, Black Americans have, on average, one-sixth of the wealth held by their white counterparts. And the racial wealth gap is getting wider every year. 

As noted by the Harvard Gazette, this disparity is the result of nearly 160 years of systematic racism in the wake of the end of the Civil War. After General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Special Field Order Number 15 gave freed slaves acreage of their own, there was a moment of hope that the newly-freed Black Americans would be given the resources to build wealth and achieve true equality — but after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the ascent of Andrew Johnson to the presidency, those efforts were reversed — and more than a century of Jim Crow laws and other racist policies essentially made it nearly impossible for most Black Americans to accumulate wealth. 

Nearly impossible — but not totally impossible. A remarkable handful of brilliant Black Americans managed to become incredibly wealthy and successful despite these organized efforts to hold them down. Their stories are remarkable considering that Black Americans still face innumerable barriers to gaining wealth even in the modern day. (Of the 2,755 billionaires in the world as of 2022, only 15 are Black — and of the 724 billionaires in America, only nine are Black.) Here are America’s first Black millionaires.

William Alexander Leidesdorff

Portrait of William Alexander Leidesdorff© Wikimedia Commons

As The Washington Post reports, America’s first Black millionaire was William Alexander Leidesdorff — a man Afro News notes is considered one of the founders of what would eventually be known as San Francisco. In 1845, President James Polk named him American Vice Consul to a Mexican outpost in California, making him the first Black American diplomat as well.

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According to The Daily Beast, Leidesorff was mixed-race and claimed to have been born on St. Croix in the Danish West Indies — though there’s some speculation he might have been born in Hungary. Whatever the truth of his early life, Leidesdorff was incredibly successful. He worked in imports and made a tidy fortune, then moved to San Francisco and became one of its leading citizens, launching a general store, building ships, and running the city’s first hotel. When he died, the city flew its flags at half-mast. His estate was worth about $1.4 million at the time — or close to $60 million today

One of the most remarkable aspects of Leidesdorff’s life is the fact that he lived openly as a biracial man in Antebellum America, which was not a time known for its racial tolerance. Legally, anyone with Black ethnicity in their background was considered Black, and as therefore subjected to racist policies and laws, even outside of the Southern states.

Mary Ellen Pleasant

Photo of Mary Ellen Pleasant© Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times reports that Mary Ellen Pleasant was born into slavery in 1814. In the 1820s, she moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts — and according to Investopedia, worked to assist the Underground Railroad, which helped those fleeing enslavement find their way to safe areas in the North of the country. She married a man named James Smith, and when he died, she inherited a small fortune. 

In 1849, she moved to San Francisco, possibly due to the blowback she received for her work on the Underground Railroad. There she found work as a cook — and eavesdropped on her wealthy employers for investment tips. She soon became the richest woman in the city through a combination of smart loans and businesses, including a chain of boarding houses in a booming city. She was known as “Mammy Pleasant,” and designed and built a fine mansion in the city.

Despite the change of location and her growing fortune, Pleasant remained committed to the abolitionist cause, and secretly donated money — an incredible $30,000, nearly a million dollars in today’s money — to John Brown, whose raid on Harper’s Ferry was intended to spark an uprising and is a key moment in the lead-up to the American Civil War. When Brown was hanged, the authorities found a note in his pocket from Pleasant promising more money — but no one suspected she was the note’s author.

Robert Reed Church

Photo of Robert Reed Church© Wikimedia Commons

According to BlackPast, Robert Reed Church was born in 1839 to steamboat captain Charles B. Church, who was white, and a woman named Emmeline, who was enslaved by Charles. His father never legitimized Robert, but he trained him and hired him as a steward on his boat — the highest position a Black man could hold at the time.

Investopedia reports that Robert Church was forced to serve as a steward on board the steamboat Victona during the Civil War, but was emancipated after the war ended. He moved to Memphis, where he began to invest in real estate, quickly amassing a fortune and a business empire that included hotels and a bar, and co-founded the Solvent Savings Bank and Trust Company.

Church’s fortune rested on his personal resolve and bravery. During the 1866 race riots, Church was shot in his own bar and left for dead. Yet he refused to leave his adopted home. When Yellow Fever swept through the city, property values plummeted — and Church began buying land. By the time of his death, The Washington Post notes that Church was one of the largest landowners in all of Tennessee — possibly the largest. In 1879, Church was so rich that he led the charge in buying municipal bonds when the city of Memphis teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, helping to save the city, and in 1908 he personally paid the debts of the historic Beale Street Baptist Church to prevent its creditors from seizing the property.

Hannah Elias

The© Detroit Publishing Co./Wikimedia Commons

According to Afro News, Hannah Elias was born in Philadelphia in 1865. Twenty years later, author Angus McLaren reports in his book “Sexual Blackmail,” she met the wealthy and highly respectable John R. Platt while working as a “courtesan” in San Francisco. Twelve years later, Platt met Elias again on the East Coast when she was working in a massage parlor — and the two began a relationship.

Platt helped Elias start a boardinghouse business in New York City, but the relationship soon soured, and Platt eventually accused Elias of extorting nearly $700,000 from him, threatening to reveal their sordid relationship to the world. Platt paid the blackmail for years, but in 1904 he’d finally had enough and had Elias charged. When the police arrived at her Central Park West home, she barricaded herself inside. Morbidly, her home then became a stop for early tour buses (pictured) for several days as she held the police at bay.

As noted by Investopedia, Platt’s lawsuit was eventually dismissed. Elias used the money she received from Platt and from her businesses to buy up real estate in Harlem, New York — quickly becoming one of the richest Black women in America at the time. The Atlanta Black Star reports her wealth at $1 million at its height. As noted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Elias is credited with helping to establish Harlem as an iconic Black neighborhood in New York City. She vanished in 1915; although rumored to have traveled to Europe, no one knows her final fate.

Annie Turnbo-Malone

Recipe for hair pressing oil from Poro College© Heritage Images/Getty Images

As noted by Vox, Annie Turnbo-Malone is an often overlooked figure in Black American history, but her achievements as one of the first Black American millionaires deserve more attention.

According to authors Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps in their book “Hair Story,” Turnbo-Malone was born in 1869 in Metropolis, Illinois, and was orphaned as a young child. Raised by her sister, Turnbo-Malone became interested in chemistry, specifically seeking solutions to the common hair problems Black women face, typically — even today — without much help from mainstream beauty companies. Self-taught in chemistry, she initially created a product called Wonderful Hair Grower and began going door to door in her hometown to sell it. It was an immediate success.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Turnbo-Malone later hit upon the idea of using lanolin ointment on damaged hair. She debuted her treatment at the 1904 World’s Fair, and by the end of World War I in 1918, she had a net worth of at least a million dollars, thanks to her Poro label of beauty products. The name “Poro” is a Mende (West African) word for “devotional society.” Turnbo-Malone soon had an international business that empowered other Black women, who could be trained to sell Poro products and even open their own hair salons under the Poro brand. The business was strong enough to withstand the Great Depression and was still going strong in the 1950s when Turnbo-Malone passed away.

Madam C. J. Walker

Photo of Madam C.J. Walker in a car with friends© Wikimedia Commons

Often (incorrectly) called the first Black American millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker was mentored by another Black millionaire — beauty products legend Annie Turnbo-Malone. Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 to parents who had once been enslaved, Walker was the first person in her family to be born free. History reports that Walker became an orphan at the age of seven, was married at age 14 — and a widow at age 20.

She became interested in hair care after experiencing the trauma of hair loss. According to Vox, the treatments marketed to women suffering her condition were known to actually make things worse — something Walker learned from beauty legend Annie Turnbo-Malone when the two met in the early 1900s as Turnbo-Malone was getting her Poro beauty product empire off the ground. Walker followed Turnbo-Malone’s advice, and soon her hair was healthy and growing again — inspiring her to launch her own beauty and haircare business, modeled very closely on Poro.

As noted by authors Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps in their book “Hair Story,” Walker introduced the “Walker System” for straightening hair, which became the foundation of the Black beautician industry. By the time of her early death in 1919, at just 51 years of age, she was not only incredibly wealthy, but she had also eclipsed her mentor in terms of fame and cultural impact.

O. W. Gurley

According to Forbes, Ottowa W. Gurley was born in 1868 in Arkansas, where he dreamed of a future far away from the Jim Crow laws of the South. In 1893, when Gurley was 25, that dream took him to the Cherokee Outlet Opening, a land run that gave away acres of land on a first-come, first-serve basis in Oklahoma. According to Inc., Gurley lived there until 1905, when the discovery of oil near Tulsa lured Gurley and his family there.

Investopedia reports that Gurley bought 40 acres of land and built a grocery store. Over the next decade and a half, Gurley was instrumental in developing the area into what would become the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa — which was also known as Black Wall Street, an incredible success story for Black Americans during a period of hateful racial oppression elsewhere in the country. The residents of Greenwood were prosperous and lived comfortably, seemingly in community with their white neighbors. Gurley thrived as well, and at its peak, his net worth was about $150,000 — about $5 million in today’s money.

As noted by History, Black Wall Street was destroyed on May 30, 1921, when a race riot of incredibly violent proportions broke out in Tulsa. Black families were murdered, buildings were burned, and within days the whole neighborhood had been wiped off the map. Gurley left Tulsa and moved to Los Angeles, where he died in apparent poverty 14 years later in 1935.

James Forten

Portrait of James Forten© Wikimedia Commons

OZY reports James Forten was born in Philadelphia in 1766 as a free man. He was strongly affected by the rhetoric of the American Revolution; despite the racial oppression that existed at the time, Forten didn’t hesitate to enlist to fight against the British Empire. Having worked in a sail loft since the age of eight, it made sense that Forten served in the nascent American Navy.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Forten was captured by the British while serving on board an American ship. The British captain had his own son on board, and paired Forten with him to act as a companion. When it came time for the ship to return to England, he offered to take Forten with him — but Forten would not betray his country, and refused the offer, winding up living on a prison ship for several months.

As reported by BlackPast, Forten was released in Philadelphia, where he resumed his job. After the war, Forten returned to sailmaking, and eventually took over the business from his employer. Forten grew incredibly wealthy — by 1832, his net worth was estimated at $100,000, which would be close to $3.5 million today. He remained both a patriot and an anti-slavery activist. When he passed away in 1842, his funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Philadelphia — and the crowd was decidedly multi-racial, as every aspect of society came out to pay their respects to a man who never betrayed his values.

John Stanly

Photo of John Stanly© WITN-TV/Youtube

According to author Loren Schweninger in the book “Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915,” John Stanly was born into slavery as the son of a merchant named John Wright Stanly and an Ebo woman born in Africa who had been transported to America by Wright. History Collection reports that Stanly was eventually enslaved by Alex and Lydia Carruthers, who allowed him to train as a barber. This, in turn, let Stanly earn enough money to purchase his freedom when he was 21 years old, and to purchase the freedom of his wife and two children a few years later.

Stanly’s business as a barber thrived, and he soon enslaved two Black men himself. He began purchasing property in North Carolina — and enslaving even more Black people. Despite knowing firsthand what it was like to be considered property, at the peak of his business empire, it’s estimated Stanly enslaved 163 people — according to Investopedia, Stanly was one of the richest men in his county at the time. At the same time, NCpedia notes that Stanly also helped many enslaved persons in North Carolina gain their emancipation, personally purchasing and freeing at least a dozen people.

In 1830, Stanly co-signed a loan for his half-brother, who promptly defaulted, forcing Stanly to mortgage all of his holdings — including those he held in bondage. By 1843, he’d sold off most of his property in order to pay his debts.

Jeremiah Hamilton

According to The Atlantic, when Jeremiah Hamilton died in 1875, he was the richest non-white man in America, with a net worth of about $2 million — more than $250 million in today’s money. Yet Hamilton is remembered as no one’s hero. In fact, BlackPast reports that Hamilton was known as “The Prince of Darkness.”

The first mention of Hamilton — which probably wasn’t his real name — comes when a counterfeiting scheme in Haiti fell apart, forcing Hamilton to flee to the United States. He became involved in Wall Street and padded his income by committing serious insurance fraud that involved buying ships, insuring them, and then purposefully sinking them in order to collect settlements. He lost his fortune at least once, but clawed his way back and eventually created what some believe was the prototypical hedge fund, pooling money from investors so he could borrow aggressively and dominate the market.

Hamilton was not well-liked, but in New York, respect for his financial acumen defied racism, and white New Yorkers happily sent him gifts and begged for his favor — in fact, Cornelius Vanderbilt (pictured), another man legendary for his ruthless approach to business, reportedly admitted that he respected Hamilton after the two tangled in court over control over a company.

Sarah Rector

Photo of Sarah Rector© Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Rector is one of the most unlikely millionaires, period, full stop. According to BlackPast, she was born in 1902 on Muscogee Creek land to a family that had been enslaved by the Creek Indians decades before. As reported by The Telegraph, an 1866 treaty granted all the former Creek slaves 160 acres of land, but by the time Rector’s family made their claim, there wasn’t much left, and according to The Washington Post, the land allotted specifically to Sarah was considered virtually worthless.

But the taxes had to be paid, so Sarah Rector’s father leased the land to the Devonian Oil Company — and in 1913, a miracle happened: The company struck oil on Sarah’s land. A lot of oil. In a matter of months, 10-year-old Sarah Rector was receiving roughly $300 a day from her oil lease — close to $9,000 today, or somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million per year in today’s money.

The reaction of the white establishment was, of course, virulently racist. She was described as “an orphan, crude, Black and uneducated” in a local paper, and was often referred to using racial epithets. Rumors that Sarah was being mistreated by her federally-appointed guardian and her family began to circulate — but the truth was Sarah went to school and had control over her wealth. By the time she was 18, Sarah was officially a millionaire. She lived well until 1967, when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away.

Charlie Brown

One of America’s first Black millionaires was also a driving force behind one of its most emotionally powerful holidays: Juneteenth, the day that celebrates the emancipation of slaves in the U.S. According to Forbes, a man named Charlie Brown was born into enslavement in Virginia and moved to Texas around 1865. It’s uncertain when Brown attained his freedom, but it’s known that he helped organize the first Juneteenth celebration in 1866.

As noted by the Houston Chronicle, despite his time in bondage and subsequent illiteracy, Brown was a shrewd businessman. Brown purchased land — including the plantation where he and his wife were once enslaved — and often saw opportunities no one else did. One of his first purchases was a plot of land no one saw much value in, but Brown cleared the land of trees and sold the lumber to a furniture company at a great profit. He quickly became one of the richest men in the country, dying a millionaire in 1920.

What makes Brown’s achievements more remarkable is the fact that Texas was not a friendly place for freedmen at that time. Very few emancipated Black people managed any sort of success, much less attaining incredible wealth, and Brown was himself kidnapped and beaten by members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) on several occasions. The fact that Brown died one of the first Black millionaires in the U.S. despite all that hatred and racial violence is incredible.

by Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW

What are the keys to a great sex life?

When sex therapists and researchers discuss what makes for a truly great sex life, their lists are mainly composed of emotional or psychological factors, not physical ones. Communication is vital to a satisfying sex life, as are being intimate, vulnerable, and transparent with a partner; allowing oneself to be open to new experiences, and to fun; being in sync with each other, emotionally and sexually; and an ability to be in the moment and to be open to transcendent feelings

Do people enjoy sex less now than they used to?

Some researchers believe that the pace of contemporary life, as well as distractions like cellphones, are leading couples to derive less pleasure from their sexual encounters. Therapists suggest that individuals and couples spend more time becoming open and attuned to their bodies, and to their bodies’ signals of arousal and pleasure before, during, and after sex, to restore higher levels of satisfaction

Is foreplay equally important to women and to men?

Contrary to the stereotype that men are primarily interested in rushing into intercourse and climax, research shows that men desire an average of 18 minutes of foreplay, very close to the average of 19 minutes sought by women. Women, however, significantly underestimate how much foreplay their male partners wanted. Other research has found that longer foreplay leads to greater relationship satisfaction for men and women.

How important is kissing before sex?

For women, kissing can be very important. Much more than men, women report finding it important to kiss a partner before sex, and they are more likely to report using kissing as a way to evaluate their interest in a new partner when considering having sex with them or not.

Are makeup and breakup sex really better?

They may be. The theory of arousal transfer suggests that powerful stimuli in one area can be transferred to another. Anger, for example, is an arousing emotion. In relationships, that high arousal state may be transferred to a high arousal state during makeup sex after a fight is resolved. Similarly, a couple breaking up may transfer the painful emotions of deciding to separate into intense sex as they say goodbye. Couples report intense lovemaking at these times, but there is a downside if, say, a couple rushes to makeup sex without truly resolving their conflict, or if a couple extends the life of a failing relationship because of great breakup sex.

Should couples schedule sex?

According to many sex therapists, they should. Different levels of sexual desire challenge many couples, but for others with high levels of desire for each other, the calendar becomes the enemy of satisfying sex because of conflicting work schedules, child care, or other commitments. Scheduling sex even days ahead of time can help a couple restore sexual goodwill, block out time for greater affectionate touch during sex, and, after the fact, elevated relationship satisfaction.

What is simmering?

For any couple, but especially one that has been experiencing challenges with sexual arousal, sex therapists recommend a practice known as simmering. It involves a couple scheduling sex and then taking moments throughout the course of the selected day fantasizing or daydreaming about sexual or erotic encounters to maintain a low “simmer” of arousal before going to bed together.

Orgasm

What is orgasm?

An orgasm, or climax, is the intense and usually pleasurable release of sexual tension after sexual arousal and stimulation. During orgasm, one’s heart rate and blood pressure rise, breathing becomes faster and heavier, and involuntary muscle contractions occur, not only in the genitals but often in the hips, chest, head, and limbs. In men, orgasm typically involves the ejaculation of semen, though not always. In some women, orgasm also leads to the release of ejaculate.

How often do people achieve orgasm?

Research suggests that only about one in four women regularly reach orgasm during vaginal sex, while more than three quarters of men do. For males and females alike, orgasm occurs faster and more reliably through masturbation. There are distinct health benefits in orgasm, including higher levels of oxytocin, which promotes bonding between partners, and increased blood flow to the brain.

For between 10 and 40 percent of women, reaching orgasm is difficult or rare. Causes include stress or anxiety, especially relationship anxiety; a lack of arousal or sexual stimulation or not enough time to reach orgasm during sex with a partner; poor body image; and pain during intercourse. PTSD, or reactions to certain medications, can also lead to struggles with orgasm. Many of these issues can be addressed in therapy that addresses emotional issues around sex, relationships, and self-esteem.   Why might women not have orgasms?

What Happens After Sex

What is sexual afterglow?

Some researchers believe that the most important part of sex occurs after climax. The term sexual afterglow refers to the positive feelings that follow pleasurable sexual experiences, and some research suggests that it, and not the sex itself, determines how positively people feel about their sexual partners. Cuddling, kissing, and other expressions of intimacy after sex can increase afterglow, boost satisfaction, and extend the positive effects of sex on a relationship.

What do couples talk about after sex?

Research on “pillow talk” following sex has debunked the myth that men fall asleep first after sex: There’s no evidence of a gender difference. Also, women who reach orgasm during sex tend to talk more intimately after sex, revealing more about themselves. The release of the hormone oxytocin during sex, which promotes bonding, may foster this effect. Men with higher levels of testosterone after sex, however, appear to talk less, limiting bonding.

How long do partners feel good about each other following sex?

About 48 hours. Research on post-coital sexual and relationship satisfaction has found that partners experience elevated positive feelings about each other, and about their connection, for an average of two days following sex.

Is it more important for men or women to experience great sex?

Women. Research into relationship satisfaction finds that a woman’s sexual desire for her partner is more closely linked to relationship satisfaction than a man’s. Women’s levels of satisfaction with a relationship are also much more variable than men’s, which tend to remain at a consistent high level.

So now you know!

Hey, remember when Brett Favre sent that Jets sideline reporter a picture of his penis?*
No? Ok.

Well remember when Brett Favre sent the Saints to the Super Bowl after throwing that horrible interception towards the end of the NFC Championship game? **
Yes? Cool.

Well the gun/dick slinger is back in the news again. Once known for playing fast and loose with the football, Favre is now doing the same with Mississippi’s welfare money.

Quick question: What do Brett Favre and people on welfare have in common? Quick answer: Nothing. Favre is world renown athlete who also happens to be a retired millionaire. Most welfare recipients are people just trying to make a living.***

Yet, the Mississippi Department of Human Services has decided that Favre is the person more in need. Actually, Human Services has determined that Favre needs run so deep that it directed $8 million his way to fulfill them.

Brett Favre’s Daughter

Brett Favre is a Welfare Queen

While mere mortals on welfare depend on Human Services for basic stuff like – I don’t know – food, Favre faces a greater existential dilemma. Like whether Human Services can direct $5 million towards a new volleyball stadium for his alma mater and daughter. Or whether Human Services can direct $1 million his way for speeches he’ll never give. Or whether Human Services can direct $2 million to a pharmaceutical company he’s invested in.

John Davis, the then director of Human Services, was like, of course we can. And just to make sure that a prideful man like Brett Favre wasn’t ever put on the spot, it was agreed that this “aid” should be discreetly laundered through fees for those speeches he never gave. Favre even once asked, “if you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?”  The reply was, of course not. Now, John Davis and others are facing criminal charges.

Ever since the federal government, via TANF, started giving states block grants for welfare causes, some states have played fast and loose with what constitutes a welfare cause. Now, instead of distributing money directly to the people who need it, states can throw the money to some non-profit and claim its fighting welfare and poverty on a different front, like through a Brett Favre speech.****

Mississippi, because of Favre, has become the poster child for welfare fraud. But the case expands beyond him. It expands to the director’s nephews, in-laws, and other athletes. A state auditor has found almost $77 million in fraud over a 3-year span. Who knows what fraud is waiting to be unearthed nation-wide.

The pharmaceutical company Favre stole money for is into concussion research. That makes sense considering Favre once confessed to being knocked senseless at least 1,000 times in his career.  

Speaking of concussions, that raises a question: does the sports media have one? Does it have some type of CTE post-Favre infatuation syndrome that has left it unable to do what the media normally does with stories like this, which is make a proper spectacle out of it. Right now, we know more about Tom Brady’s marriage than we know about Favre defrauding $8 million from needy families and the federal government.

Brett Favre is a Welfare Queen

Let’s be clear though: Brett Favre is a welfare queen. Instead of prancing through the grocery store in slippers and a robe dumping filet mignon in his basket, he’s assumed a more nefarious stereotype – the hypocritical white man in a business suit. He’s the republican talking about hard work and bootstraps. He’s the white man claiming black people on welfare are moochers bringing down the moral fabric of this country. But clearly, he’s not worried about boot straps or morality.  He’s just worried about getting his. Well hopefully the next time he hears a ringing in his ears and sees lights flashing before his eyes, it’s coming not from a concussion but from a squad car pulling up to his door signifying he’s about to get just that.

*clear indication that he lacks good judgment and character (he was married at the time).  
**that horrible pass was also a clear indication that he lacks good judgment. I’d be surprised if any self respecting Minnesotan has ever spoken to him again.

****maybe his words are nutritious 🤷🏿‍♂️?

Betsy’s Pancake House Blames Crime for Business Drop

Betsy’s Pancake House has been serving breakfast and lunch in New Orleans for 35 years.  But now Betsy’s pancake house business is suffering.  And Betsy’s Pancake House blames crime in New Orleans. This is a real problem.  If local businesses can’t attract customers because of crime, then New Orleans has a survivability problem.  Small businesses create 2/3’s of new jobs nationally and nearly 90% of new jobs in New Orleans.  If crime kills small businesses in New Orleans, then we can pack it up. 

Betsy’s daughter, Mary Murdock, now runs the restaurant. She said customers “are afraid to come and park their cars because of the carjackings and the break-ins,” Murdock said. “It’s not only us, it’s any place in the city that you go to.”  She also adds that hiring employees is difficult because of crime.  “We cannot get employees because people are afraid to come to work. We open at 5:30 in the morning and our girls and our guys in the kitchen have to be here at 4:30, 5 o’clock in the morning.”

New Orleans has a major crime problem.  And according to Betsy’s, crime is the reason for everything.  You get the idea.  If you let Betsy’s tell it, then their dry thin greasy bacon is because of crime.  The sticky old, cracked tablecloths in Betsy’s – crime.  The horrible smell just outside the door of the restaurant kitchen -crime.  The dirty cups and bent old silverware – you guessed it crime in New Orleans.  And let’s not forget that shiny clean new 24 hour Waffle House restaurant on the next corner.  Its always crowded and has a smooth new parking lot.  But the reason Betsy’s business is declining- that horrible crime in New Orleans.

Awning at Betsy’s Pancake House

The Betsy’s crime claim is a calamity.  You can either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.  Betsy’s blaming their business failing on crime is as bad as their dry oatmeal.  We need business leaders to offer good paying jobs with clean working conditions.  Calling the grown women who work in their kitchen “girls” is emblematic. Respect your employees and pay them a good wage.  Waffle House is less than 200 feet away and is fully staffed 24 hours a day.  The brand new hospitals with thousands of employees is easy walking distance.  Maybe market to those people?

There’s an old pancake joke that goes, “Did you hear what happened to the angry flapjack?  It totally flipped.”  Betsy’s flipped.  Instead of looking in the mirror, they are blaming the community that could support them.  And ironically they now beg for some community welfare.  Their dog whistle for customers as they threaten to move to Metairie is as appalling as the dangerous, slippery and greasy sidewalk by their side entrance.

Yea crime is bad.  But Betsy’s business is failing for about 20 other more significant reasons than crime.  No, these aren’t the first people to mess up their inheritance.  But them blaming crime is shameful. Listening to them whine flop around is like a short stack of pancakes without the syrup.

It really is that simple to make yourself a little happier.

by Alison DeNisco Rayome

Here’s a sad statistic: 45% of people say they haven’t felt true happiness for more than two years, according to a June Oracle report that surveyed more than 12,000 people. Perhaps worse, 25% say they don’t know, or have forgotten, what it means to feel truly happy.

While money can’t buy happiness (though it does help), spending just a few minutes of your day on one thing actually can make you happier right now, and into the future. And no, it doesn’t involve a meditation app or buying anything. 

A common misconception about happiness is that it’s fixed and we can’t change it. In reality, at least part of it is within your control. Sure, your circumstances (your job and your material possessions) matter, but not as much as you may think. Several science-backed methods can help you boost your own feelings of contentment. (If you have clinical anxiety or depression, these aren’t a replacement for professional help, though research suggests they can be a beneficial supplement.) 

Here’s one of the easiest ways to make yourself happier in just a few minutes a day. 

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for 

It’s that easy. 

Writing down three good things that happened to you — and why those things happened — at the end of each day leads to long-term increases in happiness and decreases in depressive symptoms, according to a 2005 study from Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The things you write down can be major, simple or somewhere in the middle — whether you got a job promotion or just saw a cute dog on your walk. You can write them on a piece of paper, in a note-taking app, in a journal or wherever you like. 

Your list might look something like this: “Finished a project at work, because I worked hard on it. Had a nice conversation on the phone with a friend, because she called me. Went for a walk and saw some beautiful flowers, because it was a nice day.” 

In the 2005 study, participants who were assigned to write down three good things and their causes each night started to see beneficial effects quickly. After one month, they reported feeling happier and less depressed than when they started, and they stayed that way through follow-ups at three months and six months, when the study concluded. 

The point is to train your mind to think about the parts of your life that are good, instead of focusing on the parts that are stressful or annoying, Emiliana Simon-Thomas told me back in 2020. Simon-Thomas co-teaches the course The Science of Happiness at the University of California, Berkeley, and is also the science director of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center

So take time to count those blessings, large and small. Science says it could have a real impact on your well-being. 

by Dave Smallen Ph.D.

Studies show that responsiveness benefits relationships and personal well-being.

KEY POINTS

In the world of relationship science, a growing trove of studies shows how a specific kind of experience between two people is crucial for satisfying relationships and individual moments of human connection. Researchers refer to this experience as responsiveness.

Consider the following scenario related to me by a recent study participant:

I have been struggling and have had many hard times emotionally due to my anxiety the last few weeks…The other night [my husband] called me on his way home from work and I just broke down in tears and explained how I needed him more than ever right now…He listened to everything I was saying. He validated my feelings and told me he understood. He made me feel like he got it. It brought me comfort just knowing he was hearing my feelings…

She describes a near textbook example of responsiveness. When you feel understoodvalidated, and cared for by another person–especially when you have disclosed something personal and emotional–psychologists would say you experienced this person as responsive.

Responsiveness Gets Results

Study after study shows that treating each other with responsiveness keeps our social lives healthy. Researchers have examined responsiveness between romantic partnersroommatesstrangers, and parents and teens, among others, and find that experiencing understanding, validation, and care in most kinds of relationships has measurable benefits–for the relationship itself and the two individuals who make it up.

Responsiveness especially helps us to cultivate the closeness and trust of intimacy by responding with understanding, validation, and care when others open up and share vulnerable thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Responding to one another’s vulnerability responsively creates a shared culture between two people of emotional safety and openness. This is imperative to quality long-term relationships and personal mental health.

Even more striking, people who feel their romantic partners are highly responsive across the arc of a relationship even experience better long-term physical health. This is likely because a generally responsive partner helps us manage stress, whereas perceiving our partner as unresponsive keeps us stressed. Throughout a long relationship, chronic stress can take a toll on a person’s body–for example, a lack of responsiveness may be related to poorer sleep, which adds up night after night.

Let’s call it a layer of complexity instead: Despite our best intentions, it is not always easy or straightforward to be perceived as responsive when we try to show up for another person.

All communications between two people must cross multiple thresholds: In my attempt to be responsive to you, I first must mold my thoughts and feelings into verbal or physical expressions; then, you must hear, see, or feel those expressions, and finally, make your interpretation of the meaning of my expression. This happens quickly and often automatically, yet in each stage, some of my original intended meaning is likely to be lost or misconstrued.

So, it is not enough for me to genuinely understand you and care for you; I must successfully communicate that understanding and care so that you interpret me as responsive. Only then do you feel that subsequent openness, closeness, trust, and comfort. This is why studies generally focus on perceived responsiveness–measuring people’s subjective experience of how responsive others are.

How we perceive another person’s engagement with us depends on many things, such as our feelings in that moment or our hopes for the interaction. If we are experiencing a stretch of loneliness, we also are more likely to interpret people with skepticism as to the sincerity of their care, making it more challenging to take to heart their attempts at responsiveness.

Because each of us has a different personality and past, our individual preferences for what feels responsive will be different: Some people feel cared for when they get a big hug, others prefer care served up with a dose of humor, and some appreciate the time to verbally process. We also differ in how we tend to display care to others, so it may be easier or more challenging to be responsive depending on who we are with.

How to Communicate Responsiveness

We can do things to ensure better that our understanding, validation, and care get across to another person. For example, a recent set of studies explores what the researchers call high-quality listening, showing how listening well to others promotes perceived responsiveness.

High-quality listening first involves paying attention, which is key to understanding someone. Attentive listening also demonstrates validation–that you respect the thoughts and feelings someone is sharing (whether or not you can relate), especially when you show your attention by avoiding interruptions, directing eye contact and posture in their direction, and practicing what psychologists call back-channeling: nodding and “mhm-ing” to show you are still there with them.

The effort we take to understand each other also matters to high-quality listening. Seeing that another person is motivated to understand you shows that they value you. Asking non-judgmental, open-ended questions and gently asking people to elaborate to help you understand also shows you care about them feeling seen and heard.

Practice, Not Perfect

We should neither expect to give nor receive responsiveness perfectly. Even if two people have an easy time conveying mutual understanding, validation, and care, they will still miss the mark much of the time.

Human connection is an ever-evolving practice in each of our relationships, not a puzzle with a perfect solution. What matters is our honest attempts to show up for each other day after day, developing a unique and imperfect shared culture of care.

The RTA is changing bus routes. In less than a week, more than 30,000 riders will see some changes to their bus route. It’s part of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority’s major overhaul of its bus network to accommodate areas with higher transit-dependent populations. Areas impacted include New Orleans East and Algiers. The new bus routes will start on Sunday, September 25. RTA will provide riders with shorter trips, reduced wait times, and increased access to jobs, grocery stores, healthcare, and other essential services.

Free Bus Rides

The RTA is offering a four-day free fare promotion to allow riders to adjust to their new routes without having to pay for their trips. Beginning Sunday, September 25 through Wednesday, September 28, riders can board – without payment – all RTA buses, streetcars, and Algiers Point-Canal Street ferry.

The bus route changes are the first significant effort since the agency recovered from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans has changed a lot since then, including where people live and where they need to go. And these new routes allow the RTA to serve our community better today.

The new bus routes were developed through a two-year study. RTA partnered with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. This study, known as New Links, reviewed travel patterns, community preferences, and ways to better connect transit throughout the region.

The upcoming changes reflect the extensive feedback collected during the New Links study.  The study had input from over 3,000 riders through surveys, meetings, and ride-alongs.

Bus Service Improvements in Gentilly, New Orleans East, and Algiers 

RTA says the agency’s existing network does not meet riders’ current transit needs. This is especially true in communities that are furthest from downtown. The agency has limited existing resources, including a budget and the number of buses and operators. So the agency redistributed the City’s bus service to areas where riders need them most. These route changes  provide better overall travel times, access and flexibility. Here are some bus service improvements riders in Gentilly, New Orleans East, and Algiers can expect:

The RTA is changing bus routes. The RTA kicked off an awareness campaign in early August with transit ambassadors talking to riders at some of the busiest bus stops. The transit ambassadors are meeting riders where they are – at the bus stops –across the city almost every day of the week ahead of September 25. Learn more about the new routes by visiting RTA’s website at www.norta.com/september25, calling RIDELINE at 504-248-3900 or texting “RTA Updates” to 41411.

In last week’s version of wild and misleading headlines, one stuck out. You may have come across it, something about New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and A.G. Jeff Landry joining forces to end the NOPD’s consent decree.

The headlines many have conjured an image of the Mayor and A.G. kicked back on a first-class fight, high-fiving, and toasting to the eventual downfall of the federal government’s intrusion into the city’s police department and politics.

But of course, that’s not what’s happening. The two won’t be clinking glasses anytime soon. For her part, the mayor is trying to resurrect her struggling 2nd term. She wants to tackle crime – one of the city’s most glaring problems. And Landry, Landry is just doing Landry, latching onto an issue for political purposes. Lately, it seems New Orleans has been the eye of his infatuation.

Previously on Pandering for Political Purposes, Landry tried to withhold funds for a S&WB plant because of the City Council’s and D.A.’s stances on abortion. If you’re wondering what the city’s sewerage and abortion have to do with each other, the answer is nothing. If you’re wondering what the city’s sewerage and abortion have to do with Landry lining up support for his run for Governor, the answer is everything.

The same applies in this situation. To his credit, Landry does have a New Orleans contingent in his ear – the self proclaimed Bayou Mama Bears. Yes, that is the name of a group of women who demand you take them seriously.

The Mama Bears came to fame by teaming up with Landry to oppose COVID vaccines and masks mandates during the pandemic and to heckle Mayor Cantrell over crime in the city. Like Landry they’ve now deemed themselves experts on the NOPD and consent decrees. Mostly by just talking about it.

This contrasts the heavy lifting Mayor Cantrell has done. Agree with her or not, the Mayor has put in an honest effort of going to Washington to state her case for ending the decree with members of the Justice Department. Landry’s stance, on the other hand, has basically been the equivalent of standing in a corner, shouting, “Yeah, what she said.”

Both are miffed with federal judge Susie Morgan for moonwalking away from her earlier vow to put the NOPD on a transition path. Judge Morgan had previously praised the NOPD for making progress towards its liberation. But that was before the department’s numbers started tanking towards crisis proportions.

Mayor Cantrell And A.G. Landry Aren’t Joining Forces Yet

Since then, neither Cantrell nor Landry have countered Morgan’s new concern – that the NOPD no longer has the staff on hand to continually enforce the tenets of the decree. As of this writing, there are barely 1000 members.

Surely, if Landry were asked his thoughts on this, he’d utter platitudes about federalism and the cost of federal monitors. Mayor Cantrell, for her part, would do what she has come to do recently when the media questions her – utter something infuriating.

Going forward, It’ll be interesting if the city has to turn to the same federal government it’s trying to free itself from for help in paying for new officers and retaining present ones. When those headlines come out, we’ll be back to write about the wild and misleading spectacle that’s made of that.