The Black Athlete, A Shameful Story

This is my cat “Africa,” the picture was taken by my daughter Ariel.  Africa is sitting atop my desk alone side two books of tremendous magnitude.  The first book, The Black Athlete a Shameful Story: “The Myth of Integration in American Sport.” (1968) by Jack Olsen is about college and professional sport and the Negro athlete. In his book, Mr. Olsen, suggest the Black athlete was but a pawn in the system of collegiate and professional sports.  He suggested that although the negro athlete appeared content and appreciative in front of the lights, a caste system maintain racist classifications behind the cameras.

“Every morning the world of sport wakes up and congratulate itself on its contributions to race relations…It goes: Look what sports has done for the negro.” Jack Olsen,  (1968) “The Black Athlete a Shame Story”

Olsen illustrates that although sport often received praised for its integration efforts, he however clarifies through numerous narratives from Black athletes and white coaches whom indicated nothing was further from the truth.  Olsen warns the Black athlete was celebrated on the field or basketball court but received second-class citizenship off.  For instance, the Negro athlete were warned not to date white women by white college coaches numerous times at different universities.  The Black athlete that disobeyed this mantra found himself back in the ghettos by sundown. Thus, the professional Negro athlete fared none better as he was called ‘nigger’ in the locker rooms and on the field.

“What they did not realize was that the white american was able to compartmentalize his attitude about the Negro, to admire his exploits on the field but put him in the back of the bus on the way home.”  Jack Olsen, (1968)

In such cases, the negro athlete remained silent as described by Olsen because he vision professional sports as the only opportunities to his upward social mobility.  In Olsen’s view, not only was the Black athlete used only for his physical talents but after his college eligibility expired: he was shown the door without a degree and woefully unprepared for life.

It could be suggested the integration into collegiate and professional sport was but a small step up from cattle slavery for the Negro athlete then and now.  I highly recommend you read this classic by Jack Olsen.  You will effortlessly draw parallels to present day college and professional sport issues concerning the Black athlete.

We’ll take a look at the second book tomorrow:  Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave

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On a Personal Note…

038I lost an opportunity to help my children at an important time in their development. As you recall or maybe not, my mother had a dreadful childhood and subsequent life of only 46 years. A young mother at 13 she lacked normal life skills and demonstrated a fierce sense of survival. In essence, we were poor but in areas more vital than socioeconomic status and wealth.

I had a childhood marred with dysfunctional behaviors and maladaptive developmental stages. Often violence or the threat of viciousness was a communication tool for my era of adolescence. I would like to blame my mother and father, but it would not help. However, their lives were marred in spilt-second decisions of survival, I praise them however for their effort to get my siblings and I along as best possible. Nevertheless, my maladaptive habits soaked my psyche and rendered me abnormal.  As a result, I ran away in my childhood to the form of violence, threat of violence or solitude.

Unfortunately I found myself high in this painful capital throughout my life. A reason? I had lost my guidance (e.g., father) when I was 15, much too early I would say. Thus, I was left to fend for myself personally and socially as a young adult.  I did not fare well. Decisions were hasty and unmonitored by a trusted caregiver, I was often doomed with regrets for unsound choices. Sadly, my children were encapsulated in this dreadful era also fueled by depression, substance abuse, and outrageous risk-taking. It had a tremendous effect on them.

On a personal note, I find my children not using my old technique of communication, (I’m happy) but they lack adaptive behaviors in other stages of development. Worse, I am locked out after becoming a better person to help them. Three of them are now adults and their adult stages do not permit my tutelage; I’m isolated in a form of family relation poverty.

Moreover this prison I’m incarcerated in has forced me to witness their maladaptive development at times. It is a penalty of untold measures and pain.  Sadly, I thought I could break the chain of behavioral abnormalities with my new consciousness but seemly evolution has discarded me. I missed the chance in their childhood it seems.  You cannot go home as they say.    I could blame myself but it would not help…

 

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What’s the Dragon Reading Now?

The-Trouble-With-Black-Boys-And-Other-Reflections-on-Race_51qt05EDMQL._308_301The Trouble with Black Boys: …And Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education.

Pedro A Noguera

BlinkBlink

Malcolm Gladwell

U.S. Commission on Civil Right Minorities in Special Education, 2007 Factors that Influence School Psychologists’ Special Education Eligibility Decisions

A Dissertation, Mikaela Bachoe, Rutgers University, 2011

 

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Depressive Rumination: Stopping Negative Thinking

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“You’re going to worry yourself sick”, was my mother’s ring tone. Those seemingly meaningless words crashed softly to the ground in my youth and young adulthood. Unfortunately, in 2005 with my life completely unmanageable did the phrase make its way home.  After suffering from major depression and depressive rumination for over twenty years, I learned “you’re going to worry yourself sick” was an understatement.

The Stuck Mind

Depressive rumination is repetitive thinking; the disruptive behavior is associated with affective disorders like depression. I was a slave to this horrible affliction. The ability to chew on negative thoughts for days was a common occurrence. These judgments originated from numerous mental queries, judgments, and suggestions (i.e., a perceived wrong from others, external forces, or future expectations).

Whatever the reason, thoughts or opinions would stew in my mind until mental exhaustion was achieved. Without question, I could not let go of repetitive negative thoughts; they were a normal element of my depressive life.

Major depression is a dark alley of hopelessness and its strangling mist slowly chokes rational thinking to death. The experience of depression is indefinable, and it becomes more horrifying; when we cannot articulate our mood, it’s scary as hell. But we can recover from both depression and depressive rumination.  We can find a way out.

Thus when the decision to face my darkness was sprouted, rumination or obsessive thinking was also in my crosshairs. I wanted freedom from depression, substance abuse, and repetitive thinking in that order.

Byron Katie

Dismantling depressive rumination became possible after reading Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is. Her book helped me learn more about Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy where thoughts are challenges for validity. In other words, is it true what we’re thinking or is it a false perception? Unchallenged negative thoughts have a direct impact on our behaviors and our depressive disorders.

Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is”, coupled with psychotherapy, anti-depressive medicine, and Taoism provided the strength to challenge my depressive rumination. Taoism is my philosophy and my path. I practiced five years reading, studying, and receiving therapy to not only conquer depression, but to manage circular thinking. In addition, the art of mindfulness helped challenge old habits as well.

Depressive rumination increases depressive symptoms in patients. This maladaptive behavior is detrimental to the mind, body, and spirit.  We ponder relentlessly about memories we cannot affect and likewise wait with heightened anxiety for future expectation.

However, major depression and depressive rumination are curable.  Please consider seeking medical diagnosis for your depressive symptoms or rumination.   By the way, only when we are present in the here-and-now do depressive ruminations begin to dissolve.

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Book Review: Greatest Salesman in the World

Note:  I have more Christian friends than a mega church could shake a stick at.  My friends and I share and read books.  We share books not as an attempt of conversion to either faith or philosophy but spiritual growth. Hence some books receive a succinct written appraisal because of their indelible impression on the Dragon.  Such a book is below.

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Overview

Og Mandino, (1968) “The Greatest Salesman on Earth.” Overview: Jay Redmond dutifully sworn to inform me of Christian genres did so with best-selling author Og Mandino’s book “Greatest Salesman in the World”. Why, the forewarning? Because we do not trade books so heavily slanted that any message of worth is drowned out by ideology or mythology.  This is not to say religious books make me scurry but some attempt to covert by text. I’m not a big fan of these books and pleasingly Jay takes this heed.

In fact, before Jay dropped it on my desk, I could honestly say, never heard of it. Jay’s an avid reader as well as philological gent, a light-skinned African-American fellow drenched in thought. He informed me of the mission, “read this book, I think you’ll enjoy it”.  This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, damn that Jay.  Spoiler Alert!!!   Greatest Salesman on Earth (1968) is not about last month’s quarterly reports.

Hafld:  Teach Me

The date did not bother me (1968) concerning contextual relevance. The Tao and Bible are much older; the Buddha, a tired elder, long should have retired. What the book has in common with these books and philosophical thinking patterns is the art of the parable. The story sets in Jerusalem in about the time before Christ’s birth, when the young man Hafld wishes and learns the secrets of success.

The educational tutelage came from one of the wealthiest men at that time. The well-off elder was repeating the gesture he himself requested and received long ago, “the secret of success”. The story reveals ten scrolls handed down to Hafld, these lessons of principles necessary to build one to self-actualization.  Without giving much if anything away, the scrolls provide lessons to change one’s circumstances through a change of consciousness.

The story inside the story is a powerful plug for Christians; as such reading the book in its entirety will be a great revelation. Greatest Salesman on Earth is a nice story of self-identity building and remaining faithful to one’s beliefs.

My Take:

Og Mandino’s “Greatest Salesman in the World” has sold over 14 million copies. There are some helpful, empowering tools in the classic. However, my reaction to the book was lukewarm mainly because the anecdotes were familiar to my schema. This book would be more advantageous to a person just beginning their journey, such as the main character Hifld.

In addition, the book offers great insights and then produces thoughts that baffled me, as such, “Experience is comparable to fashion; an action that provoked successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow, only principles endure (pp42).”

Principles become experience when applied in real life situations. It is similar to hope, it only becomes hope when actions are secured, or “when the rubber hits the road”.
This book favors individuals who desire external guidance in the beginning of their journey.

Three Dragons… Recommended for purchase…
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Next Book Review
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success

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