He Might Not Think You’re A Sex Worker. He Just Might Be Into You

So, we’re back to this again? Dismissing white male attraction to Black women as a form of deviance on their part? In my last post, I talked about my first impressions of a new TV sitcom called “Here We Go Again,” from TV One. The name of that sitcom sums up how I felt after reading this personal essay, “What Dating Abroad Taught Me About Stateside Racism,” on the Jezebel.com, and reader reactions in the comment section.

BWWM Valentine

In the main essay, the Black female writer describes her experiences dating in the U.S., where she pretty much felt like a wallflower, in stark contrast with her experiences overseas, where she felt much more appreciated and attractive. It’s a wonderful essay, except for the fact that this apparently smart, engaging Black woman who is easy on the eyes, has accepted her wallflower status in the U.S. dating market because of the color of her skin. The author is obviously a smart and capable woman, at a level in her career that requires travel abroad. So I was aghast that, to shore up her point she cites the now-infamous and very unscientific OKCupid study claiming that Black women were the least desirable in its pool of online paramours; and he vile pseudo-scientific Psychology Today article written by a Japanese scientist asking “Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women.”

It only got worse in the comment section, where women frequently and flatly asserted that European men are culturally trained to assume that certain women, not just Black women, are sex workers, and that might partially explain some of the response she was getting while overseas.

So we’re back to the idea that attraction to Black women from men outside our race is a sign of sexual deviance in non-Black men? Because only very the rare European man dates outside his race with sincere intentions? It never occurred to the author that maybe these men were also attracted to her professional confidence.

In the essay, everything seemed to be tracking along with other experiences that I, and my other friends who have dated out, have had, until somehow her dating psychology swerved out of the confidence lane and into the oncoming traffic of a racist American society. I know it’s a personal essay, but the author never balanced the article by pointing to the fact that the Psychology Today article was debunked and wiped from the magazine’s Web site because it lacked any scientific grounding — and was cruel and offensive. Colleagues who rushed to defend the author spewed even more vile and racist assertions, like the need to look into the so-called fact that Blacks are more promiscuous, and Black males are more prone to rape white women! The OKCupid study was also effectively rebutted in several essays. And who really cares what a singer says about having a “David Duke cock” in an bizarre interview, anyway?

I hope the author has a change of heart down the line, I do. Her point of view is counterproductive, especially in an era when Black women are learning to should carry themselves with more confidence and come to each others’ rescue when an outsider tries to tear us down. We live in a culture that takes from us and shames us at the same time, and it’s a mystery that at a moment when Black women’s confidence is building, the author goes to a forum for white feminists to argue that she, as a Black woman, has resigned herself to a lower position in the dating marketplace. She might not be speaking for all Black women with that conclusion, but she should have found way to disconnect her thesis from her identity as a Black woman.

There is nothing inherently less attractive about our hair, not when white girls always cycle through toying with afros, cornrows, box braids and dread locks. Not when they’re paying money to get plumped lips, tans and fannies like ours. And we will inevitably dance and sing again in ways that other women will want to emulate.

The essay was also linked to Tumblr, where I first saw it, and in that thread, one writer, who claimed to be biracial, jealously added that her dark-skinned friend got most of the male attention overseas. Incredible! That ought to tell you that colorism among Blacks is still alive and kicking here in the U.S., if a biracial woman is so spoiled by the existing racist social construct that she can’t handle the shine her dark-skinned “friend” gets when they are overseas. I wanted to tell her, ‘Grow up, my dear. The sexual psychology of males is not, by evolution, creation or any other default, geared toward light-skinned and white women.’

I tell you what. Let’s stop playing defense against Fox News, the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackGirlMagic detractors, Jezebel, and anyone else who has a problem with Black women coming into a critical era of greater self confidence. Why don’t we scrap the loathing of Black women and have an essay exploring the fraying egos of the certain people spoiled by an aberrant racist society?


#BlackLivesMatter, Just Beware the Misogynegro

A few months ago I started to wonder if Black women who discuss their interracial relationships online weren’t doing themselves more harm than good. It seemed like we could hardly post a blog, Facebook post, Tweet or Tumblr update celebrating our relationships without intense backlash and unfounded claims that we were “bashing Black men.”

I had hoped the drumbeat would die down, since Black women were not backing down from marrying out. Actually, the phenomenon gained steam. Also, independent think tank data, mainly from the Pew Center, suggested that Black women who married out were often just as healthy as any other woman in a stable, healthy relationship, so it seemed like “swirling” did us no harm.

But the hypersensitivity didn’t die down. In fact, it has morphed into full-on hatred. For reasons that no rational person will ever be able to work out, a specific strain of Black men have intensified their campaign of railing against an oppressive white regime, proclaiming that #BlackLivesMater, while instilling self-loathing in Black women. Incredibly, they begrudge Black women of the happiness they find outside their race! Their videos, crude artwork, photo manipulations and blog posts communicate one message: Black women of every educational and social background are the scourge of the Black race, and are the cause of its “downfall.” It’s not enough that they don’t want us, but they don’t think anyone else should want us, either. To them, it doesn’t matter if we are cut from the same cloth as Michelle Obama or relate more to “New York” of reality TV infamy. To them, we are all trash, and deserve to be reminded of that fact whenever anything, be it innocuous or really troubling, sets them off.

Also, I couldn’t help notice that they idealize women with brown, caramel, olive and white complexions. Remarkably, the one or two men who had the courage to show their faces on their troll accounts were often very dark-skinned, broad-nosed, coily-haired and thick-lipped Black men. What else could this content be but hypocrisy and a bit of self-loathing itself?

Notice that the ideal male ruler has a "chocolate" complexion, and his so-called Queen is significantly lighter?

Notice that the ideal male ruler has a “chocolate” complexion, and his so-called Queen is significantly lighter and significantly softened Black features?

That’s when I gave up on trying to make sense of the pointed attacks that these men leveled from their cowardly social media troll accounts. I systematically began reporting all videos and channels with disembodied voices ranting about the evils of the Black woman, and then blocked them from my feed. That’s also when the word “misogynegro” came to mind. That type of character underpins what I call the hidden Third World in the Black community, and I define it this way:


  1. a man of African, particularly Bantu, descent who zealously and irrationally vilifies women of African, particularly Bantu, descent. Such individuals tend to display an obsessive interest in ancient Egyptian of African Hebrew culture. They also devoutly glorify women of all other ethnic groups, regardless of their socio-economic background, educational attainment, or personal mores.

Mind you, misogynegros don’t all subscribe to a specific pseudo-religious sect, hail from the same socioeconomic background, and they are not all straight. Several of the most demeaning misogynoiristic hate speech, be it public, private or online, come from gay or trans men. You’ll find misogynegros all over hip-hop, which is why the “Straight Outta Compton” movie phenomenon can miss me forever, no matter how phenomenally it performed at the box office. No narrative about the Black experience is so important to Black people that it can be allowed to ignore the degradation, brutal violence, blackballing and finally, abandonment that Black women endured to prop up Black men.

I have some theories about what might be driving this visceral hatred of Black women, and maybe it’s something I’ll address in another post. My point for now is that Black mothers need to prepare their daughters for the inevitable encounters with these guys. I don’t believe these guys are harmless, docile internet trolls. A video composed of a disembodied voice feverishly cussing out Black women dubbed over footage of boys wielding guns and smoking weed is a sign of a troubled mind, ready to blow. I would hate to see violence against Black American women to the point that it’s indistinguishable from what you hear of in oppressive paternalistic societies. Don’t think that gang rapes on a bus, honor killings or dowry murders is something only East Asians are capable of doing. We live in a society that has a cavalier attitude about violence on Black women. How long do you think that those fever-brained rantings will stay confined to the outback of the Internet before something happens on Main Street? Black women will need to learn how to either talk their way out of confrontations with these guys, or knock them down and run!

How Ya’ll Like Us Now?

“Weave, weave, we don’t care. Give them horses back their hair!”

NaturalHairFrohawkIf you came of age in the 90s and the early millennium, you remember that chant. It was Black men’s favorite rebuttal to Black women who insisted on styling their hair with weaves, and a knee-jerk response against any female hostility they might incur for marrying out, particularly to white women. Black men thought they were pulling our cards by calling out the weaving. They said the artifice was one reason why they would not consider Black women for committed long-term relationships. Their other grievances included our supposedly disproportionate:

  • rates of obesity
  • crass and loud manners
  • hostile attitudes
  • slack moral standards, e.g., the tendency to be baby mamas from various men

Sooo, I couldn’t help wondering how they like us now, after so many of us have ditched weaves and joined the natural hair movement. Not only have we waved the white flag on that issue, but we’re hoisting the natural hair banner with pride. ‘Begone with fake hair, and embrace what God gave you!’ is our mantra. Are Black men changing their minds about us? Sorry to say, that’s not the case. In my very unscientific estimation, it seems like Black men have not had a change of heart at all, and they continue to date out without consideration for how we physically present our hair. I realize that I’ve listed four other strikes against us, but I also couldn’t help notice that the rates of Black children without a father in the home have skyrocketed among Blacks. So they are happy to knock us up, but still no ring, house, or coveted wife status. I guess Black men have trouble extrapolating how their individual dating choices might have broader implications and perpetuate attitudes of colorism, racism or self hatred among us.


NaturalHair2It’s hard to tell if Black men are cutting us more slack for making this major concession about our crowning glory. I just know that wearing our hair natural and ditching the European standard of outward presentation is not impeding us from attracting men outside our race. Truth be told, today I see more Black women with dreads, TWAs, twist-outs, Bantu knots and temporary press and curls — and these are dark-skinned sisters, OK — who are side by side with Asian and white men than I did in the 1990s. (Less so among Hispanic men, but I can only suppose that Hispanic men generally prefer to date among themselves.) A lot of them are wearing wedding bands and some are not. They’re in church. At Target. On the trains. For goodness sake, New York is starting to look like London as far as this goes.

Black women are making other changes that might also shift the dynamic of their dating practices and eventual partner choices. After they became more aware of the potentially damaging and harmful ingredients in their hair styling products, they carried that over to what they were putting in their bodies. I observe Black women in my everyday life being more committed to eating right — drifting into vegetarianism and veganism, exercising and bettering themselves in various ways. I think that is throwing us into the company of broader groups of people, honestly. Maybe women in my age group are leading the way on this out of some midlife course change, but I also see it among Gen Y and the Millennials. What I do not see are vast numbers of Blacks pairing off. I’m seeing a lot of gloating and backlash from the OK Cupid data that inferred that Black women are the thirstiest and the least desirable among other races of women in its pool of users based on historic response data. The best situation analysis I’ve seen comes from Cornelius Eady, writing for The Atlantic. First, he offered a rundown of OK Cupid’s findings.

Black women write back the most. Whether it’s due to talkativeness, loneliness, or a sense of plain decency, black women are by far the most likely to respond to a first contact attempt. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and, overall, black women reply about a quarter more often that other women.
Men don’t write black women back. Or rather, they write them back far less often than they should. Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race–including other blacks–singles them out for the cold shoulder.

Then he offered this breakdown:

People passing this data around need to be really careful about using this study to draw inferences about the dating world of black women. One significant problem is that, as any black person will tell you, when black folks date online they don’t go to OKcupid. They go to blacksingles. They go to soulsingles. Or if they’re truly high post, they go to EliteNoire. (Dig the sensuous piano riffs and candelabra.)
Black people who are going to a site like OKcupid are generally black people who, with some exceptions, are open to interracial dating. But the same isn’t true of white people on OKcupid.
So the game is rigged–on OKcupid you have many white men who have no interest in dating black women, but very few black men with no interest in dating white women.
That’s because all the black men who don’t want to date white women are on the African American Dating Network or Blacksinglesconnection. There simply is no real white corollary. Stormfront excluded, there aren’t many “WhiteSingles” websites or “EliteIvory” dating sites. There is no Caucasian Dating Network, because the broader world is the Caucasian Dating Network. OKCupid is the Caucasian Dating Network.

I set the OK Cupid study aside right away when it first came out, because it seemed unsupportable in some level. There is no level playing field in the dating world, and so for various reasons Black women always seemed to be at a disadvantage. But we are beginning to make strides, based on attitude changes. And mind you, the are not adjustments in our disposition. We’re still the same women that we were in the 1990s, but with different cosmetic needs and dietary preferences. And yet, aside from one or two videos in which a lot of Black men say they prefer to see a woman’s natural hair, I don’t see Black men meeting us where we are on on our journey.



Let’s All Keep Charles Barkley’s (Latest) Tirade in Context

There they go again, the outside world making it all but impossible for me to stay in my lane, mind my own business, and live a quiet mixed-family life. This time, Charles Barkley — not known to keep his highly charged opinions to himself — has weighed in on some intra-racial conflicts between a couple of NFL players.

The backstory, according to a report in The Grio, is that one of the reasons wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets was his “increasing animosity” towards Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Part of the root of that animosity, Freeman writes, is that Harvin and several other players felt Wilson was “too close” to the front office and – yes, not “black enough.” That was enough to set off basketball legend Barkley, who expressed complete frustration with whom he called “unintelligent Blacks.” Appearing on a Philadelphia radio talk show, Barkley said:

It’s a dirty dark secret in the black community. One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole [is] because of other black people. For some reason, we are brainwashed to think that if you’re not a thug, or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades and speak intelligent[ly] and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person.

I can’t say I disagree with Barkley here. I can remember being harassed very early on in grade school by other classmates for “acting white.” Yes, that whole tendency of mine to use clean language, solid grammar, dress neatly, not participate in cheating in the classroom and making great grades. That sort of “white behavior.”

But the worst stings came from the people in church who felt the same way. There was no escape from peers who were skeptical about my conservative ways. There was no sanctuary in the sanctuary of our little cathedral in Paterson, or the Sunday School class sessions in the mezzanine loft, or the small grassy yard where we had “recess” between Sunday School and midday service. Every now and then, I would get peppered with silly questions:

‘Why do you always use those ‘big words?’

‘You act so white!’

One day at church, while the kids were waiting to be served supper in the Fellowship Hall, I pulled out a paperback and started to read. A few minutes in, a female voice over my head snarled “Give me a break!” Then a hand reached down and snatched the book out of my hand. It was the daughter of our bishop and prelate, a full-grown woman with kids younger than me, who just felt like the sight of me reading, yet again, was irritating at that moment.

Barkley makes a good point — even if it is easily overshadowed by an important counterargument, which I will get to later. Blacks can’t succeed corporately without a few good brains behind the operations. We need a deeper appreciation of the discipline, focus, and yes, good old-fashioned smarts that it takes to succeed in today’s world. We’ve all heard the stories of how President Barack Obama’s mother used to wake him up in the hellacious wee hours of the morning to review homework before school. How do the boneheads harassing Russell Wilson, and others in that ilk, think we got the likes of Ursula Burns, Eric Holder, or Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Do they think these good people goofed around half the day? Do they even know who those people are and how they shape our culture?

We will probably never put away the petty, low-brow nitpicking on people with first-rate brains. In what culture, nation, race or other large cohort do the smart ones ever have it easy? If you look into the childhood stories of some of humanity’s best minds, you’ll probably find sad stories from childhoods punctuated with taunting and torment from peers, no doubt. Being intelligent and accomplished often means being different, and kids punish the different ones. A lot of people just don’t think it’s a big deal at all to be uneducated and uninformed about life around them. A friend of mine openly admitted to me about 10 years ago — in casual conversation, now — that she had just realized the Earth revolved around the Sun. We were both grown women at the time — she had been working for a number of years and I was out of college. I remember once goofing the location of Peru once in the office, and I felt like disappearing. I would never want to admit openly to not knowing things like that. But some people — and I’m sure they exist in every culture — feel no shame about betraying their own ignorance in open, casual conversation.

I think it’s best if the undereducated and underperforming ones in our midst just quiet down and get used to the fact that the thinking, reading, rational, well-rounded achievers are not going anywhere. Better get used to the likes of Russell Wilson and the others I’ve mentioned above, since a lot of Black people actually revere erudition and achievement over feckless coonery.

And for the record, I don’t agree with some of the readers comments I’ve seen on this issue. In a frightening betrayal of ignorance about U.S. history, some are claiming that this petty internal strife is what’s really holding Black people back. But also, Charles Barkley himself puts another stunningly ignorant and patently false notion out there about what impedes our progress. He said:

“Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful not because of you white people but because of other black people,” Barkley said. “When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”

No ma’am! It is safe to say Jim Crow laws, three-fifths rules, the Willie Lynch papers, and other written, documented blueprints for racism and oppression written into the code of the United States have been the bigger enemy to Blacks than petty infighting between the brazenly ignorant and the smart kids. If you want to talk about what the impediment has been to our progress over the years, it’s been Jim Crow laws, redlining and social and economic disenfranchisement. In modern times, we continue to contend with voter suppression laws and police brutality, mainly. The nitwits who taunted Wilson for being “too white,” or the myopic ward heelers who harangued U.S. Senator Cory Cooker (D-N.J.) for not being Black enough, or even the ones from my childhood who tried to throw fists with me over the issue, are nothing compared to the legislators — sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, by the way — who are conspiring to weaken our fundamental rights to vote. Their taunts are a hiccup compared to oppression of the armed and uniformed brutes who are supposed to protect all citizens, but wield justice with deadly force when it comes to Black men. Barkley doesn’t know what he’s talking about here. He can placate and brainwash his white friends if he wants to, people who are informed know better.

Every so often I run into a young Black person who claims that college, “isn’t for me,” or that the experience of being in a lecture hall or classroom is “soul sucking,” because “my heart wasn’t in it.” I tell those young people to awaken their brains, and push themselves to get something after high school. When it comes to succeeding in today’s world, you’ll find that the ones who can sit down, focus and string together trains of thought in a smooth and logical way are the ones who will call the shots. So to bring it back to the NFL, Russell Wilson holds the position of quarterback, the thinker who has to keep strategies in mind and run the plays. If he’s doing a great job, of course they’re going to keep him over idiot playing petty games off the field. It’s the same way in the big, wide world. So get with it: Use your ever-loving mind, before you lose the race.

The Militants, the Handmaidens and the Liberated Sisters

My YouTube subscriber list is a lot more than just a source five- to 10-minute videos to kill time while I wait for a train or wait in line to pay at Target. It’s an entertainment option of choice that seriously competes with television and magazines as a source of cutting edge cultural news and opinion.

So when I saw that I had a bunch of unwatched videos from Christelyn Karazin’s main channel, I clicked in and saw the headline “The End of Beyond Black and White.” (See below) I was alarmed: Had she shut down her blog?! The main Web site is a terrific societal hub of intelligent discussions about interracial dating and cute couples photos, of course. It turns out that the blog is still live and kicking – whew! In my view, as a writer, it’s a very good lifestyle e-zine that stands head and shoulders above similar Web content. It is updated regularly (unlike this one – mea culpa!) covers a range of smart topics, is attractively laid out, and is well written (a different blog with a similar mission was an early pioneer. Alas, the writing is impenetrable and the overall execution is poor). The Facebook page, sad to say, was shut down after it came under orchestrated attacks from readers who claimed that some of the content was offensive and derogatory against Black men. But those of us who have engaged in online discussions about anything from a cat video to Bobby Brown firing an imaginary gun at a reporter’s head while his superstar wife looked on – increasingly anguished and humiliated – can smell a troll a mile away.

I’ve had the chance to read the feed of “Beyond Black and White – The Rebirth,” and it doesn’t have to do much to strike a nerve with the militants and “handmaidens,” whom Christelyn mentioned in her vlog. I tried to read the feed objectively, and I couldn’t find anything objectionable about the group or what it posted. So apparently the people who forced Facebook to shut down the original page take extreme and irrational offense to any discussion boldly promoting the well being of Black women. And they are still waging their campaign of intimidation.

In what world do Black women deride Black men by accepting respectful treatment from guys outside our race?

In what Bizzaro world do Black women deride Black men simply by accepting respectful treatment from guys outside our race?

On the feed, I read comments going back a day or so, and from what I observed, “derogatory” appears to be any statement or material in which Black men are not the hero in a Black woman’s story or the centerpiece of her world. What really galls the critics is when any Black woman happens to be showered with affection and regard from a man who isn’t Black, and when the failings of Black men (and there are many, in reality) are frankly and unavoidably identified as part of a situation that she overcame. I know the type; these are callous tyrants who care very little about Black women. They have come to believe that our rightful place is by their side – as their donkey lugging all their crap up the rough side of the mountain. They either don’t notice or care that Black women routinely squander their childbearing years either having multiple kids for men who repeatedly let the family down, and they do not give a second thought to the reality that Black women drift from the bloom of youth into spinsterhood waiting for an IBM who never arrives. I’m certainly not begging for the approval of Black men, or their love or their sloppy seconds. But going a single day without their scorn heaped on my kinky curly head would be nice. So along comes a voice – and an intelligent, appealing one, too – that encourages Black women to get the best out of life, and all of a sudden the ones who treated us as an afterthought just can’t live with that?

I wasn’t a member of the old “BB&W” Facebook community, simply because I didn’t know it existed. And to be honest, I didn’t want to politicize an area that I feel should be treated with levity and humor. When you look at the raw numbers from studies that attempt to measure the well-being of Blacks or women or both, startling findings emerge: Black women have been heroically holding the line for a long time in our community, but after a generation and a half of denying ourselves the full social and economic rewards of our loyalty and hard work, it looks like Black women are actually in danger of being left holding the bag. As much as I sympathize with Black men for taking the brunt of police brutality and economic marginalization in American society, they haven’t given us the best of what is in their power to control. Black women are not building wealth like we should, not living the healthy lives that we should, and we lack the richness of family life that we deserve, and part of that has to do with sacrificing or neglecting our potential out of blind loyalty to Black men. People like Christelyn are trying to enlighten and strengthen Black women to change those realities – even if they firmly want to datewithin their race. It’s unfathomable to me that anyone would object to our self-improvement, unless of course they enjoyed wiping their feet on Black women’s backs, as if we’re doormats, and saddling us down like beasts of burden. They’ve got a good thing going with this oppressive regime, and they are not about to give up that power.

ANY statement encouraging Black women to improve the quality of men they date and marry WILL be taken as an insult to Black men. Any woman making such statements will be harassed b the hordes of militants and handmaidens. Got that?

ANY statement encouraging Black women to improve the quality of men they date and marry WILL be taken as an insult to Black men. Any woman making such statements will be harassed by the hordes of militants and handmaidens. Got that?

I wrote in a previous post that I was skeptical about the Swirlr Web dating show. Part of me still does side eye any deliberate effort to “date out,” because I think it should happen naturally, or under specific circumstances unforced. But I have always respected the core of Christelyn’s work, her basic thinking, and I’ve never been able to watch a good Black women get steamrolled by a tyrant. I can’t now. Black women are just beginning to learn to claim their blessings, and no deranged, insecure Web bullies are going to censor that again.

Share of the Week: Watch “DEALING WITH LONELINESS” on YouTube

Patricia Bright is one of the sunniest aspects of life in the U.K., in my opinion. This week on her YouTube vlog, she gives 5 tips on how to overcome loneliness. That’s a great topic, especially for people who live in big cities. You might think that in bustling metropolises like London or New York people run into each other all the time, and that no one would want for companionship or friendship, ever. But it can be very hard to connect with others in places like that, to establish reliable and close friendships to share the highs and lows of life. Patricia takes that subject on with her usual charm and aplomb.

I just wish a “Patricia Bright” had been around for my rather tough re-entry into ths country. My mother had brought me back from Jamaica when I was six, and she sent me to the local public school. I was really struggling to make friends among these American kids. They seemed so rough, loud and  unforgiving. They didn’t like my accent, clothes or religion. And I was naturally shy, prim and conservative, so I got a lot of “Oreo” and “house negro,” with the name calling, and I got into a lot of fist fights on the schoolyard and in the neighborhood. On one really depressing day, I remember sitting in the kitchen crying about how I didn’t have friends. There was no pep talk for me! Instead my mother gave me a scornful lecture for being soft. But I eventually learned from her how to make a fist and throw a punch, so the physical bullying faded by the 4th or 5th grades, once the tormentors realized that I wasn’t going quietly.

I eventually grew out of feeling sorry for myself. I always treated others with fairness and respect, and I figured if someone didn’t like me, I would have to fight them and just move on.  By fifth grade, I had friends, some of whom I keep in touch with to this day.

Patricia Bright doesn’t advocate that we box our way out of uncomfortable social situations, but she did lead us off in singing with a new attitude — “Encourage Yourself,” from Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers.