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I learned the hard way how to stop hate

Urban Marketing Group Staff

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Arno Michaelis is a former activist in the white power movement. He is the author of “My Life After Hate” and works with Serve 2 Unite, an organization founded to stand against violence and hate in the wake of the 2012 Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. Follow him @mylifeafterhate. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)After Charlottesville, many around the country and the world are talking about hate. I define hate as the willful denial of compassion, a lesson I learned from a Marxist who once told me, “I will never have an ounce of compassion for a Nazi!” It’s a definition of hate I learned the hard way.

Arno Michaelis

I’ve come to understand this definition after a long journey, which includes seven years in hate groups as an active organizer, leader, recruiter and street fighter from 1987 to 1994. I recruited white people who were as angry as I was. I wallowed in violence during that time and got beat up as often as I beat anyone else up.
I grew up in a well-to-do suburb of Milwaukee. Compared with my classmates, my family was poor. By world standards, we were incredibly wealthy. My parents were together and both loved me very much. I was showered with affirmation by all of the adults in my life and reminded how gifted I was at every turn.
Yet I came from two long lines of alcoholism that resulted in a lot of emotional violence in the household. That twisted my adrenaline junkie personality toward lashing out at other kids, which soon became a habit that required ever-escalating, anti-social behavior to be satisfied. By the time I was a teenager, and drinking myself, I was all too familiar with hate and violence. White power skinhead music gave it all a seductive, glorious meaning.
Being on the receiving end of violence never made me any less violent or filled with hate. What changed the course of my life was the profound courage extended to me by those I claimed to hate; their kindness, forgiveness and compassion destroyed my narrative of oppression. As ridiculous as it may sound, I had myself convinced that white people were oppressed, and that there was a centuries-old Jewish conspiracy to exterminate us.
Read more @ CNN

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Blogs & Op-eds

OP-ED: Sharpton, Jackson and Winfrey Ignored Trump’s “Racism” for Years. What Changed?

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By Raynard Jackson (NNPA Newswire Columnist)

With the mainstream media focusing on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville riots of last year, many news organizations are basically blaming President Trump for stoking the hatred and racial tension that led to the violence in that small college town, because of his coarse rhetoric on immigration and the NFL player protests.

I will concede that Trump is not without blame in contributing to some of the coarseness of our society, but its hard to deny the fact that Trump has been consistent his whole adult life.

Trump has always been brash, arrogant, self-centered, abrasive in his language, and never one to let the smallest slight go without a response.

For decades, Trump has been the toast of New York City elites and the media has always clamored to get interviews with Trump. Anyone who spends time in the Big Apple knows that stories about Trump sell newspapers and his TV interviews garner epic ratings.

Read more HERE

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West Virginia HUNTING WHILE BLACK

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I had never hunted before moving to West Virginia, never tasted venison, never skinned or gutted anything larger than a channel catfish. But moving to the Mountain State triggered an interest in wild food, foraging, hunting, and the skills needed to get out and take advantage of the food landscape.

There was only one problem: I am a 250-pound, bald, bearded black man in a largely rural state with less than 5 percent people of color.

The fall of 2012 was a mixture of emotions and transition for my then-girlfriend (now wife) and me. She had completed her Ph.D. and been offered a faculty job at West Virginia University. We had finally found a house in Morgantown we wanted to buy, and I was negotiating my postdoc offer from the geography department at WVU while trying to figure out the most romantic and creative way to propose. Compounding my anxiety was the constant reminder that the state I was moving to was predominantly white and presumably not the most welcoming place for black folks.

Here’s how virtually every conversation I had with my black friends and family before my move went:

What part of western Virginia are you moving to, again?

Morgantown. But it’s not western Virginia. It’s West Virginia.

Oh … Oh, shit, are you sure you want to move there?

No, I’m not sure, but we both got jobs at the university, and that’s hard to pass up.

No doubt. I hear you. But West Virginia? Good luck, brotha.

My first two attempts at hunting were awkward and successful and among the most memorable experiences of my life. A mentor colleague in the wildlife department was gracious enough to invite me once to hunt on his land just outside town and again after he and his wife moved to a larger plot farther out. On that first hunt, I didn’t see a single deer and mistook the sound of squirrels foraging in dry leaves for the footsteps of a deer. My host didn’t know me well enough to let me borrow one of his rifles, so I just tried to soak up as much of the experience as I could. I’ve yet to see a more beautiful predawn in the woods.

Two years later, he trusted me with his spare rifle, and we went out again to hunt deer. Two and a half hours into the hunt, I was so lost in my insecurity of not having any camo that I failed to notice a grazing deer less than 30 yards away, broadside, head down. As the animal’s two vertical antlers came into view I silently moaned in disappointment. A spike buck—too old to harvest. My only consolation was the young male was never quite sure I was there, despite his becoming increasingly agitated as he grazed within 15 yards of me on his way down the hill.

It was the middle of the night in late September—two years after my second hunt—and my dreams were a constant replay of the landscape we would be hunting in at dawn, a landscape filled with deer willing to graciously fill my freezer.

“Wake up, dude. It’s time!” Mike Costello, a co-owner of Lost Creek Farm, said as he walked past me sleeping on his futon. Damn it! I had overslept, and it was almost 7 a.m.—too late to get into a spot without being seen by our quarry. Time for plan B: Hunt any deer naive enough to walk close to the house. It could work. Twelve hours ago, I could have thrown a rock from the porch and hit half a dozen deer. Perhaps they’ll think the house is a safe place amid the growing number of rifle shots echoing in the valley. We still have a shot at this.

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How Adopting Mindfulness Can Benefit You and Your Business by Dr. Toya Wilson

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What is mindfulness?

A simple definition could be stated as: the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Why should business owners care about mindfulness?

Top executives are starting to see by decreasing how much they stress out over today’s problems, and decreasing anxiety over tomorrow’s potential woes, they pave the way for mental clarity, creative thinking, higher-level awareness for better decision making.

But what about entrepreneurs: The startups, the one-woman show, life coaches, mentors, speakers, and authors— those out in the wilderness on their own, taking risks and trying to change the world in their own little (or big) way. How can mindfulness help these ladies?

When we give ourselves 10 minutes (or more) of space to quiet our mind we become better at noticing the opportunities that otherwise might pass us by as we go around in a state of overwhelm. As you create a regular time for yourselves you’ll notice that you can achieve more in less time, interruptions become less bothersome and life feels more effortless.

By creating time and space for you to think, to quiet your mind and focus you can grow your business without distraction and hard work. I don’t mean you don’t need to work hard, I mean it doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Here are 3 mindful practices you can incorporate into your day to help yourself and grow your business:

1. Create time for a ‘Creative Hour’ where you turn off all external distractions, gather your thoughts, settle into what you want to achieve for the day and bring your full attention to the tasks at hand. Perhaps you don’t need an hour – do what works for you.

2. Make time for regular breaks – get outside if you can and go for a walk around the block. It can transform your mindset and bring inspiration, focus, and insights.

3. Practice “active listening”. When we focus on listening fully to what the other person is saying we have to be present. Go into conversations with clients/potential clients/stakeholders with an open mind, trusting your intuition to guide you to say or do the best thing.

The benefits of all this on your business will be reduced stress, more time to think about your business and making decisions from a place of wisdom and authenticity, and strong working relationships with those you do business with and the clients you serve.

Read more HERE

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