Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Rise Of AI In The Interview And The Fall Of The Human In HR

So according to this post from eFinancial Careers and this one from Business Insider, digital interview technology such as HireVue will eliminate human bias through the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into evaluation of the video recorded responses to interview questions, and improve the quality of the interviewing and hiring experience for both sides: the hiring company and the candidate.

Elimination of human bias is a LIE.  Don't you see, the human bias will now be BUILT INTO  the system and impossible to identify as the layers and passage of time build on top of it, much less fix.  Top performers in all major US companies' history are mainly white males.  If you are evaluating the facial features and movements, the tone, and the vocabulary based on the "ideal" candidate... who programmed into the AI algorithms the definition of the ideal candidate??  It's not going to be a black, Indian, or Muslim so such people automatically start out as less than ideal.  That is dangerous to have this hidden standard as judgmental as ever but now hidden in this disguise of total impartiality when in fact it is totally impossible to be impartial in a heterogeneous society where the criteria coded into this system has totally unknown unverified elements.  Culture and many other things such as English not being your first language can affect your facial movements and habits, and race or culture can affect your facial structure and your voice... culture can affect your appearance, so can religious beliefs... is someone in turban or an afro going to score as high, all else equal?

Tone of voice is already a problem with basic intelligence such as GPS... I have to make my voice sound closer to a white American at times to get GPS to reconize a word properly, and I pronounce all my letters per the Queen's English so pronunciation isn't the issue.  If the GPS already has racism built in because the people who coded it have a standard of normal or ideal that is based on their own demographic description and perception of normal, how can something that makes no mention of how it is addressing this bias be pushed out there to evaluate everyone by an ideal that we don't know the details of?  AI to evaluate customer activity by the choices they are making in stores and online is completely valid, because then physical description and so on would just be random data points collected along with the main criteria and POSSIBLE categories to give subjective flavor to objective decisions, not become the main decision based on subjective single standard that is a secret to all outside the database programming team.  When you are evaluating consumer activity we know what the norm is and the goal.  And you are always looking for improvement and change to expand to new customers and deeper reach with existing customers, not for the future to fit into the standards of the past and stay within the same depth as the existing.

Interviewing was supposed to bring in diversity... something regressing all the options to some mean is going to either artificially undervalue great candidates who have the skill set but do not fit the ideal programmed into the algorithms, or someone will be artificially programming in quotas based on artificial fit into certain legally approved categories, which is still defeating the already proven point that diversity including of thought is an asset to a business trying to reach diverse markets.  Elements that are not ideal and not even common, such as accents, will become issues according to this algorithms programmed judgments, when for example in real life most Americans love Jamaican accents but an algorithm isn't going to show the pronunciation of words with this accent as ideal since most of the top performers it's basing tone etc on, don't sound at all like that.  So unusual aspects that are either usually disregarded or an asset on the phone or in person now become a disadvantage because of this box digital interview technology is now trying to put everyone in.  Companies that are facing new challenges don't necessarily need top performers like the ones they had in the PAST to take them into a new direction, and such people may actually not be capable of the fresh perspectives or ways of doing things needed, in which case the entire core assumption of this AI algorithm becomes a moot and harmful point.  And that is one of many many ways this thing is going to bite people and there will be no way to identify it as the source of the problem.

Who did they involve in creating and testing and validating this?  And I repeat what is the "ideal" by which all other candidates are being judged?  Show us the ideal face, the ideal movement, the ideal tone, the ideal vocabulary range, the ideal behaviour, etc programmed into this thing?  Judging me by an ideal that I haven't been given the specifications on is ridiculous and an insidious way of turning the Fortune 500 landscape into a Gattaca... with the same potential for horrific unidentified abuse as the foolproof crime prevention system in Minority Report.  Matter of fact the problems I am seeing with its attempt to regress all "chosen ones" to some not-publicly-known mean and how it can exclude people whose differences are potentially valuable assets (especially if a company needs to improve or change direction) is a concept explored in the Divergent movie.  Everyone who is Divergent from HireVue's ideal as programmed by a human with unknown unchecked and therefore unbalanced biases is going to be pushed to the bottom rungs of the rankings by this thing, and the only way they get a chance is if the chosen ones are unavailable, i.e. accepted another job so this one becomes a backfill, or had something drastic happen in their personal lives, or had something drastic on their background checks that made it impossible to hire them, or possibly ran up against a non-compete clause or conflict of interest/nepotism laws by accident.

This is dangerous and incredibly lazy of the HR departments that are using it, I mean you can't even be bothered to get out of bed to interview someone but expect to use up their time and have them get out of bed for you and still dress up fully in their suit, still put in the work, even more work now actually because they can't circle back around to a point or have a natural back and forth to get into a rhythm of any kind with their interviewer...  If I say something great the first time it gets WORSE for me trying to say it again and again, especially as the type of person whose job is to automate anything I have to do again and again, not just keep manually turning it out, so guaranteed the practice time is going to include details that I might forget to mention the next time around trying to get my face to look perfect for the camera and remember not to move either my hand or my body out of acceptable range while thinking of the answers.  You are adding a bunch of hoops to jump through on the candidate's end while the hiring managers and HR turn this into swipe left swipe right type near-zero effort deal like the dating apps.  It's as bad as these canned applications online that obliterate all the personality and effort of your resume.  If you know exactly what you want you should know it when you see it on a resume, and if you are having trouble finding it you need to lower your standards and be willing to train on the job more.  The emotional IQ of HR has been getting more and more repressed of late, or maybe just showing its true colours because a normally friendly and social process is now becoming quite sociopathic and cold with a con front of being better for you when its better for neither.  A corporation is a legal person without a soul.  It does not mean the people who work there have to become, or proliferate systems and applications that turn the people who work there into, that same description.

Keep in mind companies doing this are also completely disrespecting the fact that the interview process is not ONLY about them seeing if the candidate is likely to be a good fit for them, but is also supposed to be for the candidate to see if the company and the department will be a good fit based on how they are being treated during the process!  I refused to fill out applications for any such company with these rigid online applications that don't allow you to attach your resume to basic demographic info such as via Careerbuilder or LinkedIn, because I was turned off professionally and personally by any company still so archaic in its approach and by company recruiters were too lazy to read my resume and do their job.  And I'm considering refusing to do any interviews with companies using this type of AI to get out of doing their jobs and actually interacting with me during the interview process.  The only way such a one-sided judgmental approach would make sense to me is if the position itself will be remote.  If you don't have time to take the time needed to deal with people while trying to hire, and aren't willing to MAKE the time, then maybe a candidate should be wondering what it's going to be like working for such a company and trying to get a hold of the people with the power to authorize needed actions or changes.  

In the days when I actually filled out the rigid lengthy online applications, not a single one of them contacted me for an interview.  All interviews and actual  hires came from positions I was contacted by a recruiter about.  In a rare case a submission unsolicited to a job posting resulted in an interview, but the jobs where the company cared enough about getting the seat filled asap to have a contracting agency do the headhunting and initial weeding, are the ones that move fast enough on hiring to not waste months of your time trying to get the one position.   If they are going to turn this whole job search process into the ADD hyperdating scene many already can't stand in their personal lives, I think setting some standards as to what company and type of job all of these additional hoops are worth jumping through for, is in order.

That said, a Fortune 500 company recently selected me for first round of interviews and sent a digital interview request without even a heads up in advance that this was how their interview process worked... upon researching the company the first thing I see in Google reviews are SEVERAL very recent complaints from its customers that they cannot get a hold of a person at all with this company to resolve problems.  So the same aloof isolation from their potential employees that they are displaying is already being dished out to the customers... a company that doesn't change this will lose customers and their ability to keep my paycheck going along with it.  My concerns are valid and if you cannot be bothered with the people that make your company, I am not sure it makes sense to be bothered with you (if I am doing the job for the job description and not just for the money).  If I am just going to do a job for the money it's better I do one that doesn't require so much front-end investment on my end and so little on theirs.

There is a red flag somewhere in there when a company tries to avoid you as much as possible during the time when they have such a life-changing decision to make.   Companies want more from an employee or contractor than ever before but are giving less and less.  At some point one must reclaim one's professional self-esteem and determine what the timelines and returns on investment must be and what level of brand name the company must be before committing to all these hoops to jump through.  Honestly I think there is an increase in people not having any idea how to relate to people socially and so they are relying on AI and such to handle the burden of interacting with actual people for them.

Just as its risen with social media, the rise of inability to handle extended real-time social interactions that don't involve being stoned or drunk or unable to hear the other person over a din is happening in the large corporate workplaces.  Which is funny considering the emphasis placed on being able to fit with the team.  A team you now apparently won't even be given a summary glimpse into because not even the interviewer will be present for your interview.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The changing face of the U.S. Workforce and The need for the evolution of child labor laws

The changing face of the U.S. Workforce

THIS part below is because the laws have become so restrictive on when teens can work trying to "protect" them that it has killed employer interest in hiring them.  This is where you see a direct effect of over-legislating something.  My son would like to earn some money, and minimum wage would be a LOT of money to someone like him who has no bills and is starting out, which is who minimum wage was SUPPOSE to be for... but now we have 18-30 year olds taking up the jobs and wanting the pay raised to match their adult lifestyle on the one end, and the government excessively restricting 15-18 and totally preventing 13-14 from working, even though no daycare license covers that age, on the other end.  Burning the candle hard like this on both ends what do they really think is going to be the result?

And furthermore all that work ethic they and social skills they could have been learning especially to take the edge off the single parents households and households having much fewer children than previous generations... all of that is gone so we have a bunch of adults who don't know how to really be a good coworker and stop feeling so entitled all the time... and a bunch of non-rich kids who are losing out on a chance to build up some savings while their parents still covering their food, basic clothes, shelter, and education, which would have been a good way for minorities to build up a head start in life.  ALL restrictions on child labor in non-mechanical jobs should disappear when school lets out each year for summer and christmas, and only go back into effect the first day of school in that child's county.  And honestly, if you're not going to have daycares licensed for k-12 instead of stopping at 12 years old, you need to free up the work laws so they can work that young.  The laws reflect the 1900s when women were home forever once they got married and got pregnant... all this feminist talk of equality and right to work and fair pay and they forgot to update what we are able to do with the darn kids once we are out there doing all this working and receiving all this fair pay. *rolls eyes* more ways feminism has half-stepped with this.  Feminism doesn't seem to care about family at all, it seems more designed for single childless women and after you leave that reservation and evolve into something more... good luck with your life. Series of weird conflicts til the children are 18.

If a teen was able to work full time and even overtime and save a minimum of $100 per week from an 8-week full time summer job (available hours convenient to the business) from the summer of age 13 through the summer of age 17, that teen would have $4000 saved up by the time they graduate high school, which is enough to buy a decent used car or even pay the closing costs on a modest new HOUSE.  I understand in the past children were being severely exploited, but now many of those jobs that exploited them such as mine work are not mainstream and/or on the decline anyway. Restrict them working in factories and on construction equipment.  Everything else should be left up to the parents to decide.  This no man's land from 13 until they reach 18 is something of a curse in the modern world of single parents and both parents working outside the home.

The child labor laws need to evolve to match the daycare restrictions and improve the ability of the lower and middle classes to get a needed headstart on getting their lives together.  If the government is so interested in making sure they have a good head start in life, automatically withhold half the pay of non-emancipated teenagers in an escrow account and pay it out to them or have them file a tax return for it on their 18th birthday so you'll be sure to have their correct address, and allow them to track the balance of it online or via text.  Then we know parents not stealing their money, and they are not misusing it's intent to give them a head start once they enter adulthood.


Simply put, the workforce got a lot older. In 2001, 14-18 year olds held 5.2 million jobs. That number dropped to 3.5 million by 2014 — a 33 percent decrease. At the same time, the number of workers ages 55 and up grew by 40 percent, from 20.6 million to 28.9 million."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Use LinkedIn

THIS GUY asked why he's not getting jobs out of LinkedIn since he's on there "daily" and has tons of connections and, in his opinion, a great profile.

On there daily doing what?  Has he researched how to create/tweak/use a LinkedIn profile on Google and get more objective input into how his profile needs to be structured and his time on LinkedIn optimized other than his own opinion?  Has he taken a look at those who recently got jobs or reached job anniversaries according to his LinkedIn news feed and really analyzed any differences between their LinkedIn profile and his?

LinkedIn helps you get jobs by showing you are not living under a rock and know how to position yourself with a professional online presence.  Some places expect you to have a LinkedIn and ask what is it/what name is it listed under, not IF you have one.   And that's the ones you may encounter either on another career site or offline in person/via phone.

LinkedIn helps you get jobs by allowing you to research the heck out of the people you are scheduled to phone interview or face to face interview with.  It's now considered de rigeur, a normal part of doing your homework for an interview to research whatever you can see of the interviewer's LinkedIn without adding them (although recruiters are fine to add before during or after the process).  Speaking of adding people, try not to add just everybody who sends you a request, because these people are going to be privy to your work history.  All college buddies and coworkers that you actually respected/liked back then and any recruiter who has been professional/pleasant in their dealings with you are great to add, any clients from a business or volunteer effort you were a part of or created are also great to have as connections.  Unless a random stranger who sent an add request has a title of "recruiter" or "HR something-or-other", I don't add them.  It's not personal like Facebook, but having a large pointless set of connections isn't how I do it.  Try to add with a purpose.

LinkedIn helps you get jobs by having jobs for you to apply to, and you can normally see the LinkedIn profile of the person that posted it, to address any cover letter sent, to them!

LinkedIn helps you give a subtle insight into your thought process on current events/issues in the business world when both recruiters/hiring managers and/or the strangers on LinkedIn who read your post and may not know you today but may know you tomorrow, come across your recent comments.  For people who aren't all over the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram type of life, having a business-related set of forums to post ideas is almost as great as having a blog to showcase them.

LinkedIn works as well in one most perfect way to help you get a job: RECOMMENDATIONS!  Standing recommendations posted by people you have worked with, worked for, or been taught by in school go a LONG way to solidifying you as a desirable candidate, so make it a point if you do nothing else to get 1or 2 coworkers, bosses, clients, even people or companies you volunteered with, to speak to their experience with your work and talent as it relates to whatever section of your resume they are connected to.  LinkedIn in is a nice living resume and the references standing right there with it are one of the best tools to use in it.

I have gotten interviews and callbacks off applying for LinkedIn jobs, and remembering a colleague may not have been sitting next to me at work but always got help from me resolving their problems and making their lives easier means if I can remember emails/conversations at work with that person helping them fix issues, I can request via LinkedIn that they send me a recommendation.  Some will, some won't, no hard feelings, but the ones that will make the resume shine that much brighter.  If you did volunteer work or even ran an entrepreneurial venture, get references for those areas and turn your resume from a semi-precious stone into a diamond.

And keep it current only if the current info helps you.  Because at the end of the day, a current resume and your discussion of your job history if the resume gets you an interview can fill in any gaps.  Don't treat it like an IRS transcript: it should match what's on your resume unless for space reasons you left some positions and volunteer work/achievements off your resume, but have them on LinkedIn and are fully prepared to discuss.

This part I need to do better with, but use it to check in even once a month or so with the "core" group as this article mentions, or if they are not online much, to remind you who was willing to be a reference offline or on the site, and shoot them an inbox message sometimes, or call them or text them sometimes, way before you need anything from them, and keep it up so when you do need something it's not coming across like you only talk to them when you need them.  Ask their professional advice once in a while (after keeping up semi-regular but not harassing contact) on an area they have shown themselves to be particularly savvy in.  I have a contact on my LinkedIn that I have not worked directly with much even though we did work at the same company, but we had excellent rapport while we worked at the same company and he was always interested in helping me think about what's best for my situation and my bottom line, just a serious interest in my wellbeing, so I run career updates by him at times and get help with certain decisions from him via inbox even though we worked at opposite corners of the office when at the same company.  He was someone who rose fast at a young age and I admired that he had earned himself a corner office and fully knew his worth, both on the job when dealing with customers and potential customers (he was in sales), and when interacting or advising personally.

The whole job search process including networking is like courting someone (the job or career goal) with the intention of getting from that first date impression to marriage (and the pre-nup aka salary negotiations). :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"This Is The Song That Doesn't End..." (RACE!)

So a facebook friend shared to his wall this article This Comic Perfectly Explains What White Privilege Is and I started to respond after reading it and some of the comments that inevitably bubbled, simmered, or raged beneath it...came back to his wall to respond but after seeing what flowed from brain to keyboard, was inspired to make it a blog post instead.

courtesy jamietheignorantamerican.tumblr.com

White privilege is there, but not so simple...and the big stats aren't going to resonate with people who haven't been affected by it.  Problem is really money...legal issues, for example, tie up black people (the most discussed minority when not talking about immigration, so I'll default to them interchangeably with minorities in general) more than whites because whites generally have the money to just pay the fine and move on or pay the lawyer and fight, and minorities esp. blacks don't and end up tied up in the system forever...  don't believe me sit in traffic court for a day.

It was brought up in the comments that "flesh-coloured" band-aids are an example of white privilege because the flesh that they are coloured after is white and there are no dark alternatives.  Everyone's used a band-aid so that's a more relevant example across the class and lifestyle lines.

White people are allowed to smile, frown, be bubbly, complain, and be b*tchy to anyone in the office and it's just considered typical various forms of coworker behaviour, from the mild to the Facebook-rant worthy.  Black people often find they are asked if they are having a bad day or told to smile or flat out avoided, all by whites, if they don't walk around corporate America with a cheshire cat grin everytime a white person lays eyes on them.  This is ESPECIALLY true for black men, and even more especially true for black men "allowed" in without the most common black male corporate image: clean cut and lightskinned.  Dreads or dark skin and they better be the friendliest people on earth, and sometimes not even that makes white people comfortable enough around them when not forced to deal with them directly as part of work.  Many of them have, in my experience, developed a bi-polar or two-faced Jekyll and Hyde personality where they are actually the worst mentors for another black person because they let it all hang out in ways that would have gotten them fired if they did that to a white coworker.  It has turned many of them into bullies.  Because they do not get to have an off day like everyone else where no sh*t-eating grins are shared like air.

Your money has zero black faces on it.  Minorities who are raised in the US from birth grow up their entire life seeing NO one that looks like them on the money and the psychological effect of being trained from birth to associate money with white men and everyone else invisible is a white privilege no one thinks of that is most relevant to everyone.  Google everything from the 1 cent to the 100,000 dollar bill.  For all the contributions blacks, Asians and others have made to this country, for the fact that this country belongs actually to the native Americans and was co-opted using some gangster methods that get non-white countries a lot of tsk-ing and behaviour suggestions and sanctions today...and not even the one dollar bill you can see a hint of diversity on?  The dollars are frequently reinvented to stay ahead of counterfeiters, and no one ever decides to throw a few black, asian, and native american faces in the mix.  Just the thought of it sounds like Monopoly money doesn't it?  Look at the story of the 10,000 dollar bill in the link above: the white man whose name we still see every time we see a Chase Bank had the access and the yes, comfort and surety of white privilege, to even have the ambition to want to be president, and that's how he got his name printed on the money.  There is no black person who has the pull to get their face printed on US dollars in a bid to psychologically embed themselves in the public's mind as a presidential choice, not even Barack Obama, the current president of the US and the first mixed (black Harvard-educated African-immigrant father, white American mother).  The richest black man in America I can safely guess CANNOT get his face printed on even the penny much less the paper money.  It would not even cross his mind to try.

You could even try googling "beautiful woman".  MYRIAD pictures of white women (and white-skinned women of non-European descent) pop up as far as you can scroll, with only a very tiny handful of pictures of black women, and most of these are of the same woman, Beyonce, who looks about as far from black as you can get within the racial category and still be visibly a black person, and she is actually mixed and in many of the pictures looks more like an exotic white woman with a serious tan.  Keep in mind when considering the entire PLANET not just USA, white women are a vast minority.

You would have to actually google "beautiful black woman" to see more than one picture REMOTELY resembling this (unless for resemblance you count the extremely pale Ethiopian on the beautiful woman search whose hair had to be hidden and who had to be topless in her pic to compete):

I posted that many on purpose, and tried to collect them with similarly varied styles of dress on purpose...because apparently not a one of them when one goes searching for such, are considered beautiful women, they are considered beautiful BLACK women...and that goes on by the minute everyday in America...THAT is white privilege, the media PUSH of the standard of beauty by which all other women are both overtly and covertly judged and we all know women in general are judged overwhelmingly by their looks in personal, professional, and academic life, and it is part and parcel of them getting ahead even more than men (that is why the public and the media obsess over what every first lady is WEARING and how she styles her HAIR and what she is doing, while the president himself is only discussed in terms of what he is doing).  White women fight pressure as well, the pressure to look slim, young, and rich enough to afford sunny tropical vacations.  Non-black minority women fight pressure to look slim, young, rich, and white.  Black women fight pressure to look slim, young, rich, white, eloquent, intelligent, moral, marriageable, and still be allowed to be HUMAN.  White privilege starts with the minimum standard (just being white is trusted to be safer, cleaner, smarter, better educated, nicer, more intelligent, more attractive, more well-off, higher class... whether they actually are when you first see them or not. (They have a POSITIVE bias) and works to improve it.  White privilege puts everyone who is not white as guaranteed losers (since they start out without the basic requirement of white privilege, being white), if they don't fight and hustle to get to the point white privilege allows white people to have a subconscious head start at, as in what's assumed a given for whites has to be proven for blacks and others (they have a negative bias).  

And I speak more of perceptions of life around you, mentalities, and (the effect of all this on) relationships, when I speak of the ongoing advantages of white privilege.  Not the cliche focus on who makes what and what one does for a living (which ties into the next most rampant set of cliches about who has what education level).  The headstart gained by slavery and Jim Crow is part of that cliche and real...but not the most powerful eye-opener no matter how we wish it were so and you know why? Every worldwide or widespread empire had that kind of head start.  It's not unique, unfortunately we just found ourselves on the losing end of it this time around.  I know, I know, heresy.  But true. From Historum.com and this bit about white people being enslaved with even an entire town in Ireland pirated en masse, you can see kingdoms and empires rise, fall, and the conqueror's reach spreads even farther than the previous, since the dawn of time:

Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt and Kush
Wikipedia: The name Kush since at least the time of Josephus has been connected with the biblical character Cush, in the Hebrew Bible (Hebrew: כוש), son of Ham (Genesis 10:6). Ham had four sons named: Cush, Put, Canaan and Mizraim (Hebrew name for Egypt).

Kush empire rose out of the Kingdom of Kerma, started 2500 years before Christ, both of which were located/based in the Sudan:
Wikipedia: In 2003 Archaeologist Charles Bonnet heading a team of Swiss archaeologists excavating near Kerma discovered a cache of monumental black granite statues of the Pharaohs of the Nubian dynasty including Taharqa and Tanoutamon, the last two pharaohs of the 'Nubian' Dynasty, whose statues are described as "masterpieces that rank among the greatest in art history.

Nubian (Kush) Pharoah Taharqa
We do not learn in western black history not even in majority black countries of pharoahs being black, unless you get lucky in a college archaeology or BLACK history course (why not guaranteed to have this covered properly in world history even at the high school level?  White privilege again, the winners of war throughout history colour their world in their image)....but, we are educated and if parented correctly or at the least educated with high enough quality, learn to be curious about ourselves and our history and our place in this world, and to do research, critical thinking, and compiling of various data into useful information.  It is not just about math, reading, language, and science, and appeciation for the fine arts, but the underlying processes you learn in these studies to take into life with you.  The victors of the most recent large-scale conquests aren't going to pump you up with how great you are and have been since before the book of Genesis was actually written: you have to have the sense to know how humanity is and go explore for yourself. And as many Asians are known to do, pass the sense of history and pride down to your children. 
The Masai, according to Africland the most photographed people on Earth

 In researching this piece of my post to show that conquering tribes and culture clash are not new concepts and not limited to any one race, my child saw the maps and pictures and asked questions as a child will, and so this is now the first time I have explained a brief bit that these are kingdoms in Africa. and pharoahs, kings and queens, and the word seen at the top of a particular page is pronounced NUBIA.  So then a picture of pyramids in Sudan came into view and the guess of course was,, "are those in Africa?"  Now my child wants to know if it takes a plane to go there and when told how far away these places are, and that there is a bed on the plane because it's on the other side of the world, now wants to go.  If I had not decided to edit this post to add in this section of pictures, and had not taken the time to answer a curious child, she may never have shown the interest to now go and see these wonders...it starts that small.  Not growing up hearing me complain about white people and the power the man has and will always have (supposedly) over my life, but a focus on awareness, knowledge, and the confidence that comes with it.  My child is mixed but still shares this heritage and I did not know how to teach it before now, and so I did not.  I teach by doing and explaining as I go along, and had I not decided to write this blog post and further come back and expand on it, I would not have been "doing" anything about the necessary knowledge while my child was awake (cause I clearly couldn't write as much as when sleeping).

Kingdoms of Aksum and Adal

The Kitara Empire (approximately the Great Lakes region of Africa)
Known via the oral histories of the region so I can't even find a proper map

Qing Dynasty
Han Dynasty 

The Roman Empire
The Muslim Empire (Abbasid Caliphate)
Abbasid Caliphate territories: All middle east, North Africa, southern central Asia, Spain, Portugal, southern Italy (Sicily), parts of south Asia.It is the largest Muslim empire in the world, it was during this time that muslims spread to all corners of the world, surpassing the number of Christianity. They defeated the Romans, Persians, Chinese in battles but were eventually completely destroyed by the Mongols

Ottoman empire:
all of Balkan/Southern Europe, parts of East Asia, all Caucasus, most of North Africa, western middle east.

The Ottoman lasted for 600 years and caused panic and fear to all of Europe for an [sic] long time, they were literally unbeatable until the mighty British came, in almost every Turkish-British war, Turkish have lost and had their territories taken.

 But...now that we know this, now what?  Did anyone reading this change their mind about however they felt previously about race relations and their own advantages and disadvantages in life?  If I make a post like this every week for just the rest of this year, will it improve your outlook on race relations or start becoming like that one mosquito in your air that you just can't quite slap and put out of your misery?  Barack Obama made salient points during two main parts of his career on race in America: when running for president the first time, and in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, since he as a man who identifies as black and visibly looks black and socially is considered black, has received black treatment, shockingly even as president.  But imagine if he made it the topic week after week or month after month or combed back through it all in detail for his second presidential run?  It would not have NEARLY the same resonance, and would actually start to take on negative instead of enlightening undertones.

The big stats are getting too cliche and people are growing tired of and desensitized to them.  While the privilege is there, harping on it creates a sense of non-urgency in the section of the victim's brain that drives one to get out of bed and move life forward, and says life is this because of external factors so why bother?  You need to know odds are against you and leave it at that...when we keep pushing these negative stats out there they not only show whites the stats are in their favour and potentially give some who didn't have a superiority complex before a new one, we push into the brains of blacks and others who didn't even feel behind before, a sense of menacing, omnipresent, intangible and invincible inferiority that becomes some kind of latent virus.  

It kills ambition, it kills innovation on how to get out of x situation, it kills hope, it kills spirit... I use to expect a 4.0 out of myself and be annoyed that I had not applied myself enough or kept my head clear enough/had a stable enough home situation to get it... and then a professor in college (HBCU) told me my incoming high school GPA and SATS were top third of black scores nationwide and to me my SAT was very mediocre, and pure laziness and fear of sleeping partway through the math portion again made me not retake it...I also didn't have a parent with the money to buy me an SAT prep course, 'cause graduating high school at 16 with near a 4.0, I should have really been able to ace that thing and have an Ivy League worthy score.  Plus the parent I was living with at the time was not the one who had a college degree (was finished much later).  I did the couple practice exams they had in the high school brochure from the guidance counselors office and that was it.  My parents had never been through the US K-12 nor college system at that point and I was always considered brilliant and never had to be told to do homework or aim for straight As (which I only started getting consistently in the last half of high school because my grades were going to be my ticket out of there or die)... so I pretty much handled my whole college prep on my own.  Once he said that, a certain inner push was no longer there cause sitting there looking back in hindsight with him, it seemed the goal to beat was not the national top scorers (who I researched trying to figure out what the competition was like for this test, because back then it did not cross my mind to look up to the top BLACK scorers) or the maximum score possible on the test (which was what I was comparing myself to) but the black average, and the black average was not hard to beat, since I was topping it with basically no prep and sleeping off in math.

We need to stop drilling it into black children and young adults' heads about all these damn stats...they won't know they are suppose to fail or be so-so if we just let their curiosity and talent (and parenting) guide them on how high they can rise.  I am really at the point where I am deciding to stop reading these things because they have a negative and downward pressing psychological effect that I wasn't born with and did not immigrate to this country with, and over a decade now of reading them I am feeling the drag backwards and need to get back to looking at benchmarks to beat not focusing on how the system is set up against me, which yes it is but unless I'm about to commit suicide and end the game I can't keep absorbing negative energy.  Same reason I stopped listening to black relationship drama on the airwaves and in certain repetitive culprits' personal lives...yes we have our bad experiences including my own and it's good to know no one is alone in that but the party cannot last forever far as wallowing in all that is wrong is concerned...feel bad, vent, rant, then what?  If you keep rinsing and repeating the levels of toxicity build up in your psyche...

Time heals all wounds but no wound heals if you keep picking and digging at it 24/7, 365, every.freaking.year... if I not just acknowledge but FEED my brain this on and on, I will not be able to hear my own intuition and brain speak nor realize a lot of it (relationship drama) is common to all single people of a certain age range, it's not because omg I was born black and this is what's also wrong with me because of (and in addition to) that.  I will not be able to innovate, I will not be able to dream, I will not be able to think my way out of a paper bag. When you stop with the negative input from left right AND center you can clear your head and breathe and hear that inner still voice, and develop your own position on how to handle your life not the external boxes and cliches.   In Jamaica there are black people with no clue of their entitlements because they are born with a gold or platinum spoon in their mouths, their entire social circle is this way, and they will likely die in this comfortable cocoon.  And poor people tend to hate them for it and for the fact that they can go through their entire lives unaware of the poor's true hardships and suffering and be A-okay cause they don't know about it, and hear about it the way you hear about the Loch Ness monster and Area 51.  Historically the lighter were richer but as that changes the feeling of "them" vs. "us" that goes with class warfare includes ALL the colours that are at the top.

Big point America hates because since the break from England this is a bad word: this is good old CLASS warfare that happens to fall along colour lines, with some racism mixed in.  If someone is born in a comfortable upper class cocoon and doesn't know anything about your kind of life growing up roughing it or having to do without at times or even falling on hard times, they are not automatically racist, but they might be classist.  However everything here gets labelled racism and since no red-blooded American discusses class, those who know it's not all really racism start chafing under the label and before you know it, everyone feels like a pressure cooker for a different reason.

The important discussion isn't really the existence of white privilege but HOW DID THEY GET ON TOP TO HAVE IT?  Way back to the first tactical advantage that set the trends and standards of colour today...how did they get it?  And I don't mean beginning of US history I mean WAY back.  It is always said that black kingdoms in Africa had the upper hand in health and agricultural practices, in higher education (e.g. Timbuktu), in engineering with the pyramids, in comfort with human and esp. female sexuality with powerful kings and queens and multiple types of relationships, and elaborate beautiful garments and accessories that showed off the body to its best advantage in a natural way that carried no hiding, no shame, in natural resources (still tops there).  It is even said that white people were still living in caves covered in animal skins at the point in history when they first came into contact with blacks who had medicine, science, natural living, education and engineering at a maximum and family dysfunction at a minimum.

What was the point in history where people who achieved this were able to be mentally messed with enough to have the issues we see going on in black communities to this day?  No one discusses this critical moment in ancient history, it's as if history begins with the English colonization of countries in Africa, Asia, and the New World...because when people talk about the olden days they refer to the caveman days of whites, the dark ages and middle ages of whites, the Victorian and Elizabethan eras of, again, whites, and the post-slavery neo-colonial times, where the slaves (and the mentally enslaved) learned the mannerisms (which is different from manners), routines, mentalities of...whites.  The world had much more variety in thinking and curiosity about diversity overall before everything became colonized and now increasingly Americanized.  How did they manage to collect this advantage virtually everywhere they went?  Making everyone aware white privilege is there isn't actually a necessary exercise, turn on a television anywhere in the world almost and you will know. Check who is overrepresented and who is underrepresented racially in the group that has the most money to afford the most varied and lavish experiences and modern comforts in life and has the most ownership of factors of production.  <<<Pause here and click that link because all this talk of white privilege rages daily and none of it discusses what the core assets foundation to the privilege are that are so vital, because many don't know the factors of production.  Africa has the most resources on the planet but it's native residents have the lowest in ownership of the factors of production.

Their descendants cannot fix it, even though some do want to.  The only way to fix it is for everyone to return from whence they historically came before the "discovery" of the New World and the rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  That is the conclusion Marcus Garvey reached why he was was pan-African...because if you remain here you must know after a thorough review of the situation on the ground we cannot turn back the hands of time, we cannot fix this, and being ON about it builds up psychological toxicity levels, so it is either re-patriate yourself to the distant lands of your ancestors if you even know who they are with the rupture in recordkeeping that plagues the family heritage and lineage of Western blacks, or make a plan of action tailored to you and free of the toxicity we are fed under the guise of ad nauseam race relations/white privilege discussions.  For those who feel we NEED this discussion, HOW they historically first came by this advantage is a more original quest for enlightenment and if a white or black or other person is truly that concerned about how to resolve it, they would first need to reverse engineer it.

Figure that out and you can maybe figure out how to undo the privilege and make things more equal, but again, to accomplish that calls for ownership of factors of production...   through INDIVIDUAL research, or through a dedicated college major of Africana studies and/or anthropology, you will see that I am sure as a recurring theme throughout the history of various parts of the world.  If you can't figure that out then figure out how to engineer your individual life for happiness given the cards you are dealt, and to help any children step higher than you reached when your time on this earth is done... 'cause the way its going with these endless stats about how much lesser in everything minorities are, it's germinating complexes (both superior and inferior) in people, worse from BIRTH...and removing the competitive spirit needed to beat odds in this life or at least die with some pride and dignity knowing you lived to your max despite the odds.  In all-black and all-white countries something else holds some group back.  (Remember Czechoslovakia?  Now two countries.  Remember the Sudan? Now two countries; South Sudan is the newest country in the world.)

There will always be something, we have to make up our minds to find our slice of achievement and happiness despite it all, because even if we were all still in Africa we would not all be kings and queens.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From Girls Just Wanna Have Funds: 5 Finance "Musts" You Don't MUST Do!

My response to this article:

Amen to this post!  I still say I want somewhere paid off/paid for when it's time to rest my old bones and I'm too old to work, but honestly, I've seen plenty articles advise retirees that retiring OUTSIDE OF AMERICA is the best use of their fixed income dollars...and that lines right up with this blog entry which advocates not killing yourself to pick up a home debt here with all the financial burdens that come with it, and with my secret dream which is to retire back home!  Homes down there are cheaper especially if built from scratch, and nobody cares about credit they care about income and job history and whether you have any banking history with them...always said to myself instead of killing myself over the credit score thing here, why not just get a home in an area I can use it for a vacation rental there, then move into it at the end?  Now I read your article it's making even more sense.  I can't plan on a 30 year career in the same place so i find it hard to buy a house here even though i want one...Jamaica though, I am guaranteed to go there again and again til I die, it's the only stable place in my heart/life when looked at over a 30 year period....I can't get too emotionally tied to anywhere in the U.S. cause it's always and only about where the jobs are!

I do also think the cheap/extreme coupon clipping versus wise spending thing is an important point to note...TIME is MONEY especially if you work and run your own business(es) and the time spent trying to shave pennies off the dollar is better spent making dollars multiply or gaining the peace of mind you need to do so.

There is no way somebody like me is going to work hard to turn into a slave over nickels and dimes...I work to live, I don't live to work!  Plus then the things that make life worth living like vacations and quality time with loved ones would be spent stressfully chasing down the blood out of turnips...

I have nearly died at two different points in my life and neither time was I concerned with the bills that I had paid off up to that point in my life...what flashed across my mind were the great MEMORIES, EXPERIENCES...travelling, with friends and family, the things I'd wanted to do or have done to me that I experienced so far...life, love, romance, children and laughter...that is what made me smile, not how well I had paid the cell bill or whatever!   Which doesn't mean don't pay the bills but it also means if I rather spend time growing my business or going out with the family than spring cleaning, best believe I consider it wise use of my money to hire a helper to handle that so I can do and enjoy what matters most!

I do disagree though that never owning a house is a wise move...when this blogger is old and can no longer work or they will no longer hire her...is she going to be comfortable paying increasing rents to remain stable or moving every year or two to a cheaper place, or stressing over the same bills in her 70s that she was in her 30s, with half the money to handle them?  Buying a house is about looking forward...but just like the first house she bought wasn't the right investment, it's possible that retiring in this expensive country period isn't the right investment either...something to seriously consider.