Welcome to CulturalConscious.com

In a world that is rapidly changing, where the advancements of technology create larger and larger gaps between generations, some things still remain the same. Technology is bridging the gaps between cultures throughout the world, bringing them closer and closer. Yet, our cultural subconscious fights to keep them apart.

Culture is defined as the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group. Conscious is defined as aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc.

I define cultural conscious as being aware of your culture, while still being able to understand other cultures and the differences that exist between them. Unfortunately, most people do not reach the state where they are using their cultural conscious. People respond to and formulate opinions of cultural differences via their sub-conscious, meaning they form a response or an opinion without new thought. The problem here is the sub-conscious is developed based on one’s own culture, so any opinions are going to be based on a cultural bias until an experience occurs that changes the subconscious. Unfortunately, the subconscious is not easily changed.

On a daily basis, we all struggle with our subconscious. Situations arise where we formulate thoughts about other people based on stereotypes, media portrayal, "what we heard", appearance, ignorance, etc. Because decisions are made in the subconscious, we are unaware of any wrong doing unless someone else points it out to us. The goal of this blog is to point out areas where our conscience should override our subconscious.

These are my thoughts…This is my Cultural Conscious.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Same Face...Different Color

I would like to introduce another writer, Dr. W. After reading her story, I have to once again ask what is wrong with society. When will we be able to look past color and see people for who they are versus how they look? This is Dr. W's Cultural Conscious...

“I’m Monique, Asha’s mom,” I smiled. “I-I-I,” she sputtered, “I thought you were one of the teachers.” She stared at me like I had two heads belying her slow comprehension that I was not who she thought I was and that, who she imagined would be me, did not look like the real me at all. This woman was the mother of an Indian boy who also attended my daughter’s daycare center. Our children played together every day, but we had not yet met. The look of shock on her face as she realized that I was the same Monique who sent emails to all the parents urging them to confront the staffing issues at our center, the same Dr. W. who worked in the swanky downtown office and, therefore, did not drop-off or pickup my daughter from the center, the same Monique married to the tall white guy that she had, in fact, met before, and the same Monique who was the mother of the white-skinned blonde baby named Asha--- a Hindi word that she no doubt knew to mean hope, would have been comical if I didn’t see it every time I introduced myself to a parent there.

Hi, I’m Mo. I am 32 years old. I am a wife and a mama. I am a chocolate-lover and Harry Potter fanatic. I am an African American. Yes, my husband is white. No, my children are not the same color as me.

How I came to be one of the proportionately few, but growing number of black women married to white men is probably a story about racial assimilation, educational attainment, and social mobility; but it comes down to the day that he, a History Ph.D. working as a statistician at the Census Bureau, brought me a data file from the 1950s. This means nothing to people who don't study statistics; but I am a demographer. One of the true hallmarks of a demographer is that we will do anything for data. I mean anything. And so when he kept lingering around my desk making jokes and asking to see my lifetables, I grew fond of him; he had delivered me microdata after all. And when, at his birthday party, he asked me to go hiking one weekend, I said, "OK." After four months of dating, we moved in together. After a year, we were married in Las Vegas at a wedding chapel with fake flowers and four guests.

That's the abbreviated version of an already short story. In the years leading up to that day, I had very little interest in marrying a white man. I am black. I expected and wanted to marry a black man. That is how I was taught. I had only dated black men. I kissed one white guy in college after drinking a bottle of wine with him at happy hour. He asked me for a kiss. It was sweet and I think he really liked me, but it was the wrong place for either of us to cross the divide. Even kissing on a major street in Nashville was a big deal, a really big deal.

So what happened to make me consider becoming serious with this guy who happened to be white? Was it really all about some data? No, of course not. What happened is that my attachment to racial homogamy lessened through graduate school where I was the only black person in many of my classes, my friends were all different races and nationalities, and interracial/ethnic marriages were approaching the norm. Every one of my WASP girlfriends was married to a guy who was racially or ethnically different from her. Among social science Ph.D.'s intermarriage just sort of happened. We drank a lot of beer and coffee and spent long hours learning new things. Perhaps somewhere between the beer and the sheets, we discovered that biology is a more powerful force in human behavior than social sanctions.

But being romantically entangled with a white man brought me more attention in the world outside of academia than I had bargained for. We only had a few episodes of negative attention as a childless couple. On one of our first dates, a group of young black men threw ice at us from across the food court in Union Station. I asked them to stop, and they did. Once as we walked to church, a couple of black men said something like "yuck." to us. My husband was confronted by an old white guy at our coworker's wedding. The man called him a warmonger for supporting Lincoln in the Civil War. I guess it does all hinge on the Civil War for racist whites, hence their clinging to the Confederate flag in times of racial inclusion.

Those few encounters were annoying, but they were absolutely nothing compared to the near constant racist experiences we had after the birth of our first child. On the first full day home from the hospital, we stopped at Target to get more diapers. I was standing with Asha in the cart. A Hispanic woman approached me to see the baby. She gushed over how pretty. She asked me whose baby. I told her, “Mine.” Who else would be alone with a 3 day old baby? She blurted out, “Your Baby?!?” Was it really that unbelievable? Apparently so. I’ve lost track of the number of people who have responded to me that way since then, the number of times I’ve been asked if the child I’m with belongs to me. A month ago a woman on the bus asked if I were my kids’ childcare provider. I said, “Yes. I’m also their mother.”

At first my husband didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem when I described it to him. No one ever seemed to say anything race related in his presence. Then he was along with us one day buying cat food when the white cashier could not shut up. “OHHH! She looks like Dad. Oh, blue eyes. Blonde hair. If she’s lucky she’ll just look tan.” My husband was so harassed that he kept entering his PIN wrong on the card thing. She just kept blabbing as loud as she could until we walked away.

We soon discovered that we would not eat in a restaurant in peace again. Waitresses lingered way too long. White people talked to my husband about the baby as if I weren’t there. Hispanics liked to tell me, “She looks like her dad,” as if I didn’t know what she looked like. Many people said, “Oh, she must be a daddy’s girl,” and people, including my own mother, assumed that my infant must be closer to her father than to me---her mother who only nursed her day and night and slept with my arm around her to keep her safe and warm. Why? Because I was the dark one, the one who did not fit.

The nastiest thing anyone ever said to me came from a black man who was walking on the street downtown where a friend and I were having lunch with our new babies. My friend is black and her daughter is the same color as her. The man told her that she had a beautiful baby. Then he turned to me and said, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for having that white baby.” I didn’t get it at first because I wasn’t listening. My friend yelled at him to mind his own business and go away. Then I realized that he was trying to insult me. I just glared at him and finished eating.

But on my walk home, that confrontation bothered me more and more. What made him feel so comfortable and compelled to shame me, a total stranger? The last thing I felt about my baby was shame. I’ve done some things in my life that I’m not proud of at all, but having that baby is the thing I’m most proud of. I survived 20 weeks of constant nausea and vomiting without any drugs for relief. I gave birth to a healthy full-term baby without any drugs for relief. I was fiercely proud. By the time I got home, I felt the tears coming. And I cried and cried and cried.

I could list conversation after conversation, recount one hundred and one times that people stared at us or were surprised by my presence, times when the grocery store cashier would not ring up my drink along with the rest of my groceries because my husband was paying and she couldn’t figure out that I was the mother of the baby he was holding. I could tell painful stories about how I had to confront family members on both sides of our family about objectifying my daughter and teaching her anti-black sentiments. Ever wonder why racism is so deeply ingrained? Because it’s taught young. And even in picking my battles to educate our families about how we expect our daughter to be treated and what messages we wanted to give her, I was made the bad guy. I was the one with the problem because I won’t tolerate racism.

It’s been a difficult couple of years with such little support for what we are encountering, but it has made us a closer nuclear family. Most of my family and friends don’t have any advice for me and don’t want to hear me complain about the added burden racism puts on my already difficult task of raising two babies. One friend absentmindedly advised me to read slave journals because they probably had similar issues. I don’t think I need to look to slave journals for validation. I understand the problem. I’m just not sure how to solve it.

One thing I know is that no matter her skin color, my daughter does look like me. She has my eyes, same shape different color. She had my nose, chin, and cheekbones. To this day we have the same smile and exact same crinkle on the bridge of our noses. People don’t care to see past color to see that we are very much alike. What matters most of all is that she knows that she belongs to me and that I belong to her.

She likes for me to put her to bed at night. When she should be winding down, Asha likes to talk. There are some nights when she’ll want me to squeeze myself onto her toddler bed with her and she will touch my hair. She says, “I like you hair, Mommy. It’s so bootiful. I like you face, Mommy. You so bootiful.” I tell her that I like her hair and her face. I tell her that they are beautiful, too. Then I say, “I like you, Ashie. You are beautiful inside and out. I love you, Bug. Now go to sleep.”

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Posted By: Dr. D

Thirty is the new twenty, or so I would like to believe as I’ve just celebrated my 30th birthday amongst friends. While we all can think back to the younger days when there were fewer responsibilities and careless fun, I am unfortunately reminded all too frequently on what a blessing it is to reach this milestone…especially as an African American male. I realize what you’re saying, “we’ve heard this before.” While this is most certainly the case, why has the situation continued to worsen? True story, within one weeks time, I have heard of two relatives in separate regions of the country, both black males aged 17 and the other age 23, murdered by other young black males. There was no involvement of either in any questionable activities. I don’t know why I even made that statement. As if a murder that occurs while participating in illegal activity is any different from that of a black male who is on his way to college. Some would like to think there is a difference, and others would not. Truth be told, our young black men are dying and it is all the same. We are dying at such alarming rates that many who have to deal with these deaths time and time again are becoming immune to the genocide. Whether you hear the morning news discuss the murder/murders of the previous night or work in the hospital and see time and time again our young males present with multiple gunshot wounds; it is draining and becomes tolerable. I know because I’ve been involved in both examples. The violence that occurs in the black community is different than the violence that occurs in many other racial groups. It occurs so frequently and is so senseless that many become numb to feelings while others don’t care because they feel it doesn’t affect them.

In the medical field, we use screening techniques to potentially detect certain forms of cancer in high risk populations with the goal of prolonging survival. Is it time we have a screening mechanism to protect our black males? The question is only hypothetical, but the problem is real and exists in all of our lives. Life is so important and we must somehow make everyone understand this. We are losing the black males who are murdered and we are losing those who commit the crimes to prison. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; murderers need to be in prison. The goal should be to reach these individuals early enough to prevent them from going down this track.

As black males, we all must choose at some point which way we’re going to go. For example, my best friend growing up decided to quit high school in the 11th grade after deciding to follow a certain crowd. He was actually a better athlete than I was. I say this because I went to college on a football scholarship and subsequently completed medical school while my former comrade has spent many years in and out of the state penitentiary. This is not an isolated story. We can analyze what variables might have played into the lives of one versus the other; but we all have choices.

I am thankful to be thirty, and thirty is thirty. We must all figure out how to help our black males make it to thirty and beyond.

Monday, April 23, 2007


People are still concerned and pissed about Imus. I'm still of the mindset that Imus is not the problem. Hell, I, like a lot of other people, didn't even know who Don Imus was until a few weeks back. I could care less about Imus being fired. My life, your life, and the life of future African Americans will not be affected by Imus getting fired. There is a bigger picture here, and firing Imus does not solve that problem. What he said isn't anything new. I agree that his comments were inappropriate, but I do not agree that it is OK for Snoop Dogg to use the term over Imus. If it is offensive, stupid and idiotic coming from Imus, then isn't it offensive, stupid and idiotic coming from anyone else?

I told a friend about my Imus dilemma and the quote from Mr. Snoop Dogg that I previously mentioned. To him, Imus should be fired for using the term, but it was OK for Mr. Snoop Dogg to use the term. His logic was Snoop Dogg is Black. Hmmm...makes sense to me! (sarcasm) My next question to him was, "Can Mr. Snoop Dogg call your mother a Nappy Headed Ho? After all, he is Black!" The response was a resounding "No!" This way of thinking in the African American community, not Imus, is the problem.

I could go on and on on, but I still defer to others on this topic. Check out this short video interview. Also, check out the article posted in Part 2 of 2. This is Niger Innis's Cultural Conscious...



I'm still going to let someone else speak on the subject for me. Check out this article, "Imus Isn't the Real Bad Guy" by Jason Whitlock at http://www.kansascity.com/182/story/66339.html or you can read below. This is Jason Whitlock's Cultural Conscious...

Imus isn’t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.

It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.

I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to jwhitlock@kcstar.com. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus vs. Rutgers Women's B-Ball team

I know...I know...this story is all over the news. Friends have been telling me I need to write about this here on CulturalConscious.com. I do feel that this is an ideal place for a debate, especially since the issue involves race and gender, but honestly, it already has too much coverage. There isn't much more that I could add to the tons of blogs and articles already posted. I did, however, run across a quote from Mr. Snoop Dog that put the whole thing in perspective for me.

"(Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about hos that's in the 'hood that ain't doing s**t, that's trying to get a n**ga for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them muthaf**kas say we are in the same league as him. Kick him off the air forever."

Hmmm. I'm going to have to give that quote a "WTF!" All of a sudden, the use of derogatory words towards females in rap music makes sense to me! (sarcasm). I think Mr. Snoop just opened another can of worms about issues within the African-American community. To avoid hearing me rant and rave on the subject, I'm going to have to defer you to my fellow blogger, Brandon at http://www.intellegentignorance.blogspot.com/ to discuss further.

Whose Cultural Conscious is worse...Mr. Imus or Mr. Snoop Dogg??

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I saw this video and felt compelled to post it. I had and still have some reservations about posting it. I am in no way promoting religion and/or the teachings of the Nation of Islam. I am posting this because it affected my cultural conscious. The speaker is an intelligent individual and makes a lot of sense. The video is pretty long...30 minutes, but it's worth a listen. This is Leo Muhammad's cultural conscious.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Tiger made this term famous when he used it to describe his mixed ethnicity. A simple term made up by mixing Caucasian, black, Indian, and Asian into one word caused a huge debate. Ten years after Tiger mentioned the term on Oprah, I am still asked if I’m one of those guys who think they are Caublinasian. My laid-back nature does not allow me to be upset at the question, but it is frustrating to hear. Tiger said he developed the term as a child to help identify himself. I can totally relate. I remember answering the question of what’s my nationality by simply stating that I’m part of the human race. Can’t we all just get along? To this day, I refuse to answer race/ethnicity questions on surveys. I simply check “Other” and write in “Does it Really Matter?”

Many people have an issue with Tiger’s classification. Here’s this great athlete who has finally broken the color barrier in one of the “Whitest” sports and he doesn’t even consider himself an African-American. Their argument is that if you have one ounce of Black blood in you, then you are all Black. I’ve heard this statement from many nationalities, and I must admit, to me, it’s just pure ignorance. I have three main issues with this statement. First, no other ethnic group defines themselves by this standard. Secondly, as a person of mixed heritage, it is disrespectful because it forces you to identify with one part of your heritage over the other; and lastly, it perpetuates a slave mentality.

Conduct a test. Go out and ask people what their nationality is. You are going to get a myriad of answers, but they will be similar to this…
White person: My mother’s parents are Italian and my father’s parents are Irish, so I guess I’m half-Irish and half-Italian.
Hispanic person: I’m from Mexico or I’m from Brazil or my mom’s from Puerto Rico and my Dad’s Dominican.
Asian person: I’m Korean or I’m Chinese or I’m Japanese.
African-American: I’m Black.

Any other nationality can associate themselves with a country, but I’ve never heard of a country called Black. The African-American community in the USA has nothing to identify itself with due to the years of slavery, oppression, and inequality.

If you look at my family portrait, you immediately see that I’m not 100% Black. Actually, you don’t even need the family portrait, just look at me and you are going to wonder what I’m mixed with. As a kid growing up, I was called Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, a Chink, and even nicknamed Julio. It never bothered me and I never had any identity issues. I never felt compelled to be Black like my Dad or Filipino like my Mom. I never felt that I had to choose one over the other, and to this day, refuse to do so. Many will say that since my Dad was Black, then I’m Black. I totally disagree with that statement. My Mom is from the Philippines. She is from a culture totally different from my Dad’s and I refuse to just totally ignore that by classifying myself as only Black. It would be unfair to her to do so, especially since she was the primary caregiver in a single parent household.

“If you have one ounce of Black in you, then you are Black.” Okay, now let’s think about this. Repeat that statement over a few times. Close your eyes and ponder over it for a second. After you are finished, ask yourself this question, “Who would make such a statement?” Hmmm…Let me see. If I was trying to enslave and oppress a particular group of people I would have to make them different, make them inferior. Any mixed offspring may taint the superior race, so I have to make them different also. I’ll just say that if you have one ounce of the inferior blood in you, then you are inferior. Was this statement derived during the days of slavery or shortly thereafter? Honestly, I don’t know…It’s just a thought. What ever the case, you never hear people say if you got an ounce of German in you, then you are all German. No, the statement only applies to African-Americans??? I just don’t get it.

Anyhow, these are just my thoughts on multiculturalism. I do not disagree with Tiger for using the term Caublinasian and applaud him for not allowing others to label him. Please don’t misunderstand what I have written. Both Tiger and I are not discrediting our African-American heritage. On numerous occasions, Tiger has acknowledged African-American golfers from the past who paved the way for him to reach his current status, and his 1st Tee program (http://www.thefirsttee.org/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp) has a huge impact on African-American youth. We both fully embrace and respect our African-American heritage. We are just not allowing the Asian side of our heritage to be disregarded. I know people are going to disagree with my thoughts here. But they are just that…my thoughts. The truth of the matter is, no matter how much time and effort I put into the above words or how much conviction I put behind those words, they simply do not mean a thing.

The real problem here is not how I identify myself. I can say I’m 50% this and 50% that all I want. No matter what I say, people are still going to look at me and say I’m Black. No matter how many times Tiger says he is Caublinasian, he will never be noted as the 1st Caublinasian to win the prestigious Green Jacket at the Masters tournament. No matter how many times they show his Thai mother in the stands at his events, Tiger will still be considered a Black golfer. Again, the problem is not how Tiger and I choose to label ourselves. The problem is how people label us.

Our cultural conscious sees things in Black and White, and unfortunately, does not allow for any shades of gray. Times have changed, but peoples’ cultural conscious has remained the same. Immigration, inter-racial marriage, trying “something new”, and a growing global economy means that the future is going to be even less Black and White. Current labels won’t be able to define the next generation. As long as they are still used, society will not be able to advance to the next stage. This is my cultural conscious…