Saturday, October 3, 2015


Misery loves company     Law of Reciprocity

You'll reap what you sow                              Law of Karma
A house divided against itself cannot stand                            What u give is what you get

A man’s worst enemies are often those of his own house     As you sow so shall you reap

As you make your bed, so you must lie upon it        Evil begets evil

What goes around comes around                               Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

Reading through the list of American and religious Proverbs, there is no doubt of their common thread. The stark reality of these truths in times of great sorrow and anger is extremely prophetic and for far too many, poetic.
I listened to a statistic that stated that by definition “four deaths” are considered a massacre; as such, the U.S. has experienced 294 mass shootings out of 274 days in 2015.ˈ Such a large number obviously includes the street violence of urban America.
I recently attended a vigil for a young child I personally know who was shot 3 times near her home, in a relatively “stable” area of the District of Columbia. She physically survived but far too many of her contemporaries have not, yes, children.
The right of the people to “bear arms” has spawned a culture of violence unparalleled by any other western nation on earth. It is as if “how the wild west was won” is a continuing American saga – a live action game perpetuated by nefarious gamers. We speak of the “ethnic cleansing” that happens within the war torn countries where the U.S. tries to provide intervention, but our own country has become an experiment of freedom that many may label as a dismal failure in civil diplomacy. So whereas we are too “civilized” to kill off whole groups (though there are those who have called for such drastic measures for the “undesirable”), we are obviously not too civilized to pluck each other off a few at a time far surpassing the numbers of our terrorists related deaths.
The aforementioned Proverbs, many of which are ingrained into the American religious and secular psyche, bring forth a generational truth. As a nation, we are taught to believe an action breeds a just and reciprocal action. So what’s the catch? I have come to believe that most people deeply believe this only for others and not for themselves individually or for those they consider within their in-group.
As long as the desperation and subsequent dying is in “other” neighborhoods happening to “other” people, it must be “the others” just reward. Well, the “other” appears to be proliferating into every neighborhood, along every street, among every racial, economic, and philosophical background.
Violence as a solution to personal, social, and religious “ills” is being funneled into the hearts and minds of our young as routinely as the daily news. We are indeed “reaping what we have sown”. We as a nation must acknowledge the complicity of our anti-humanity climate in the propagation of hatred, self-interest, and sometimes in the name of God!
Many Baby Boomers grew up with the wisdom of these Proverbs but somewhere along the way stopped passing them down. Maybe it is time for parents, elders, community leaders, town hall meetings, associations, and the like, to begin a serious dialogue about the POWER OF A PROVERB!
P.S. Perkins, Author


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Absence of Unkindness is NOT the Presence of Kindness

A Valentine’s Prayer

The history of most traditional holidays can be traced back to the coming together of diverse peoples with their diverse religions and secular customs that were often combined. Regardless, for many, Valentine’s Day is dedicated to connecting heart-to-heart with those we love and care for. It’s about remembering that the most important role of our humanity is “who we touch and how we touch them” for I truly believe this is all we get to take with us.

The question that this holiday brings forward for me is an age old one that humanity must revisit daily…”Am I my brother’s keeper” and “who is my brother?” It seems like more and more people are opting to make their circles of brotherhood smaller and smaller…it feels like a regression. Maybe this Valentine’s Day we can reverse this trend bought on by increasing “in-group” versus “out-group” ideologies and “special interest” rhetoric.

Remembering the old adage “Actions speak louder than Words”, I began noticing that most people in my small sphere of life are not intentionally unkind. Really…most people do not go out of their way to harm others. As a matter of fact, it appears that most people have a great aversion to causing or being the receptor of pain. They do not want to experience unkindness and they seek not to be unkind. As humans we tend to be so self-preoccupied, that we don’t even have time to think about making someone else’s life miserable, except if you are living a reality TV show, BUT…

How are we at being KIND? Yeah, I know many would say they wouldn’t “hurt a fly” if they didn’t have to, right? But would you intentionally go out of your way to be kind to someone not in your in-group? Kindness when practiced is intentional, in the moment, in a present state of awareness or forethought. Whether it’s holding the door open for someone behind you or remembering to hold-up a community experiencing a tragedy in prayer; it’s an intentional thing. The opportunity for kindness often appears in the moment or instance it can be executed. The moment is often brief and fades quickly especially if our mental chatter and personal preoccupations have us so self-absorbed we miss it! Yes, I believe this is often the case for most of us.

I mean think about it…most people are not trying to be intentionally unkind but the absence of unkindness is NOT the presence of kindness! Where is the purposeful-life filled with simple, loving, humane acts of kindness to those in and out of our daily sphere of life? Could this be the “missing link” to a “gentler, kinder nation”, the “good Samaritan” community? Even the words we speak. Many have challenged themselves to cease using their tongues to harm, defame or discourage those around them, including their own selves! They have come to understand and believe there is POWER IN THE WORD! But have we learned to intentionally use our words and actions to intentionally bless, praise, and encourage others? A smile goes a long way and has very little value unless you give it away!!!

Instead of concentrating only on not “harming” anyone, why not practice “kindness mindfulness”. In Galatians 5:22, it speaks of the fruits of the spirit and “Goodness” is one. Do you think God intends goodness as a synonym for kindness? If so, those of us who choose to live in the humanity of love, mercy and grace, have a huge responsibility to “enlarge the borders” of God’s intentional love and kindness.  We must be vigilant, open and aware of the moments of kindness God shares with us and allows us to share with others…ALL others. Stop looking the “other-way” the “self-way”. Question: Do random acts of kindness enrich our lives, benefit the giver?  I am sure you already know the answer; if not, try it and see. Nothing to lose, everything to gain!

This Valentine’s Day and each day forward, move beyond the absence of unkindness into the intentional, purposeful acts of kindness to everyone we have opportunity to give. If we preach it, teach it, do it and pass-it-forward a change is gonna come! Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! Tag, you’re it!

Author, P.S. Perkins

CCO, Human Communication Institute, LLC


Friday, January 27, 2012

Color Struck

In honor of Dr. MLK, Jr. National Holiday, January 16, 2012

“….where my children will no longer be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” MLK, Jr.

Have Black people finally gotten to the point where they no longer judge each other by the color or hue of their skin? Do we see each shades of Blackness in an equal and desirable manner? Sadly, we would all have to say that it is very apparent that lighter-skin is revered and desired more than darker-skin (especially in women). Amongst the members of the African Diaspora globally, the darker brethren are (generally) the least beautified, quantified and qualified.

Houston…we have a problem!

Listening to MLK, Jr. quotes on BET 106 Park music show, the tribute to Dr. King was set to a backdrop of very talented young musicians. The hosts were interspersing King quotes and viewer’s reactions to the King holiday on the show. I was very proud of the show highlighting the contributions of Dr. King. It was wonderful to hear them speak about the shoulders on which they stand. But there was a very disturbing trend amongst the videos being lauded during the music video countdown…

ALL  the Black male videos featured female groupies that were of a different ethnic group (the majority) and the rest very light-skinned Black women; only an occasional drop of dark chocolate. It did not matter whether it was a single woman featured or a huge dance floors filled with “beautiful” women – all were light with long or straight textured hair. Interestingly, just that week I watched a new Black film premiering on a movie channel and I remembered a scene where a mocha-colored man told a dark-skinned, beautiful woman that he “usually don’t do dark-skin women” but he would make an exception for her. She responded by throwing her drink in his face. But what really added psychosis to neurosis was when the “ditzy” white girl paid him some attention at the end of the movie and he looks upward to “thank God” for his change in luck. I know the movie was intentional about sharing this cultural ailment with its audience, but did we learn anything? Did we take enough pause when Chris Rock released his “Good Hair, Bad Hair” parody. Are we still heart-broken over Precious?

The issues of “color inequality” are coming to the forefront of cultural stratification. The persistence of a people suffering from being “color struck” is crying out loudly to be examined and called out for what it is – prejudice, stereotyping, bigotry and racism - and what it is doing to our young, darker children! It is shameful, ignorant and ungodly to continue the perpetuation of seeing and treating others different because of the color of their skin. It is particularly damaging when your own race continues to self-inflict itself. This mentality appears to be becoming an “acceptable norm” and it is considered normal not to see dark-skinned women being embraced, honored, beautified or in any way desired in mainstream mass communications. Dark-skinned women with “big bootys” are continuously the brunt of ugly or undesirable jokes, by their own people. Our young dark-skinned brothers are constantly portrayed as thugs, gang members, con-artists, pimps and felons in all aspects of mass culture. How can we blame a 2012 GOP Presidential candidate for describing our young boys in the following racist manner, “We don’t think a child of 13 should be held as responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult, and should be treated as such.” Are we as a people complicit in our silence and shame?
Even some of our most notable celebrities find themselves in the middle of this distressing issue. MSN news tabloid Wonderwall reported on the new cover art for Beyonce’s album “4” commenting:
Whether or not Beyonce herself is to blame, she sure seems to be a magnet for skin color controversy. New artwork from the singer's album "4" surfaced this week, and her skin (not to mention, that blond hair) appears dramatically lighter than it does in real-life. Although Bey has not yet commented on the growing Web buzz about the image, it's not the first time she's come under fire for the apparent changing color of her skin. In a 2008 L'Oreal campaign, Beyonce's coloring was digitally lightened in post-production. At the time, writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote in the Daily Mail, that "when black celebrities appear to deny their heritage by trying to make themselves look white, I despair for the youngsters who see those images." Wonderwall, , 1/17/2012
The question stands, “Are we really addressing the lingering consequences of slavery, Jim Crow as well as the internalized and institutionalized legacy of racism? Are we still ashamed of our ancestry? We are a people who are still trying to marry-up, or lighten our family lines. We want to make sure our children are light-skinned with “good hair”. We are the only people on the planet that still believe that a “watered-down” version of who we are is preferable to the original. We learned our lesson well. In the spring of 2008, Harvard University, Department of Government Professors Jennifer L. Hochschild and Brenna M. Powell wrote a white paper on Racial Reorganization and the United States Census 1850-1930: Mulattoes, Half-Breeds, Mixed Parentage, Hindoos, and the Mexican Race”. When detailing the 1890 census, they cite that:
As in 1850, the expansion included more detail on racial mixture. With regard to “color or race,” enumerators’ instructions specified: ‘Be particularly careful to distinguish between blacks, mulattoes, quadroons, and octoroons. The word “black” should be used to describe those persons who have three-fourths or more black blood; “mulatto,” those persons who have from three-eighths to five-eighths black blood; “quadroon,” those persons who have one-fourth black blood; and “octoroon,” those persons who have one-eighth or any trace of black blood.’”

The authors go on to reveal that there were no instructions given as to HOW this was to be determined. I wonder…Ambi skin cream anyone?

We are damaging and in some respects, destroying our young boys and girls born of a darker hue with hair tight&curly in texture. Add other ethnic features such as broader lips, nose, (think Michael Jackson) hips, and ample-behind. It becomes common place for members of our culture that are not mixed enough; to experience the consistent repudiation of those who are (mixed enough). Sadly, many do not recognize this as a dis-ease of self-hate and complicity. Yes, complicit in dishonoring our own magnificent diversity! Still believing the lie that to be “white is right” and continuing to believe all the ignorant stereotypes about dark toned people. And so, agreed upon cultural biases continue to fuel the “need” to buy weaves, eye contacts, nails, sexualized clothing (and behavior), skin lighteners, straightners and cosmetic surgery.

Black people globally need to take the cultural, moral, and spiritual responsibility for the poor self-esteem and self-worth that is being generationally passed down to our children! In addition, the false messages being sent to the “beautiful ones” that they are what they look like and the things they own – by any means necessary!

Every living creature on the planet possesses its own unique, incredible, one-of-a-kind beauty from the Creator. We need to honor this, help everyone embrace their own magnificence and teach all of us to appreciate beauty from the inside-out. See the splendor in all our diversity! Whether white, milk or dark – chocolate is a wonderful thing!!! And remember, most of us grew up with a saying “God don’t like ugly!” I am pretty sure it means an inner thing.

P.S. Perkins
Author and Founder,
Human Communication Institute, LLC

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

IS ANYBODY HOME OUT THERE? …or death of a planet

I delight in seeing the light-bulbs go off as discussions open mental doors that communication is a skill that can be and must be developed. The conversation always gets personal then professional – “Wow, my mate and I need this or my team could use some help!”  Communication is the major factor in how we are experiencing life and those around us. For 5 plus years, I have engaged in co-building an institute dedicated to the skills of effective communication. Everyday I continue to introduce, share and grow the Human Communication Institute, LLC (HCI). The most common initial question I am asked is “What do you mean human communication?” It’s one of those questions you welcome but also makes you wince when you hear it. I usually succinctly answer, “The research and training of effective interaction between people. What we are doing right now.”
The focus here is that so many, so very many are unaware that communication is the key to how and what they are experiencing in life. It is with amazement that most people approach our practitioners remarking, “Can you really make money doing that!”
Riddle: What can create a computer chip, is as invisible but more visible than the wind and able to defeat dynasties in a single dose?


 I sit here in the recent after-math of: U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting and mass killing in Arizona, the latest fatal school shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, stalled and violent elections in Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, headless murders in Acapulco, Mexico, Southern Sudan’s possible succession, global terrorism and the list remains endless, all the while being questioned daily about the “importance” of communication training.
Is anybody home out there?

About a decade ago, it began to dawn on me that there was something vastly missing in the socialization processes – “growing up” was missing a vital tool of instruction that most of my eager college students came to class greatly unaware of.  Countless “older” students were experiencing the information in the Human Communication classes as “never heard of, where has this been” information important to life! Classes on self-talk, interpersonal conflict, empathetic listening, small group effectiveness, cross-cultural communication, nonverbal communication, the list goes on. All of these tools were locked up behind the walls of academia. These “adults” already well on their way to LIFE wanted to know why they were just learning these tools vital to a good marriage, healthy childrearing, personal and professional success? Surely, their caretakers must have understood the important role of communication in preparing them for life – all of it!
In 2005, the Human Communication Institute, LLC was born to answer this need. So you may be wondering why I have time to write these blogs/articles and chew the fat with you while the world is going to “hell in a hand basket”?  
P.S. Perkins, Founder
Human Communication Institute, LLC

Monday, October 11, 2010

"YOU take YOU wherever YOU go!"

All around us, people are waking up to the wisdom and understanding that most of what is being experienced in their lives is coming from their own mental, emotional, physical and spiritual creation. The TRUTH is your circumstances are being created by the way you are thinking. Yes, the old “positive thinking” tricks…or is it?

As a Man thinketh, so is he.

You will reap what you sow; what are you sowing?

It is not what goes into a man that defiles a man, but what comes out of him.

Thoughts are mental units of energy that materialize.

Every deed is first known as thought.

PERception is PERsonal.

How does the truth about you relate to your relationships?

If you take you wherever you go, then what have you brought to the table? Who are you: your likes, dislikes, personality, habits, beliefs, and customs?

The person sitting right across from you ALSO brought all of their “stuff” to the table.

How can two or more people navigate this very vital, influential FACT about creating partnerships?



   Begin the journey of self-examination.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

a cry for Haiti

Once fertile valleys of magnificent mahogany surrounded by curvaceous mountains lying beyond vast oceans of darkness; Haiti your beauty belies the tragedy of plunder torn asunder by exploitation and greed.

Rising like the phoenix out of ruins of corrupt conquests of conquistadors to claim your rightful place among humanity deciding its fate; no more auction block for thee!

A testimony to the price of self-determination levied on the scarred backs of brave warriors witnessing to the world; African and Arawak (now deceased)leading righteous revolts.

“Unity makes Strength, L'Union Fait La Force”, your cry of endurance never broken as they toss guilt-ridden tokens of admission and denial at you mud caked feet; all the while interfering in your sovereignty.

And now the weight of nature brings forth its waves, shakes and tremors of release felt deep in every soul; women and men of the African Diaspora,once again fortitude calls you forth.

Hold tight your resilience, your spiritual strength. Hearken! Your recompense is nigh; for the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Hold on Haiti, Hold on! The Promised Land is near!

P.S. Perkins

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good Hair, Bad Hair, et al.

Do you have good hair? Straight hair? Bad hair? Nappy Hair? Wavy hair? Does it make a difference? According to our culture it does! Preference is an interesting word….Some people cry out against “special preference” given to others while they themselves have experienced preferential status all their lives. Maybe they were tall enough, light enough, smart enough, rich enough, male enough, and the lists of preferences goes on. It’s in the language that we label, categorize, stereotype, prejudice, prefer. The image of straight hair is clear in your mind along with its connotations of place in society. You understand its label, category, stereotype, prejudice, preference as well as the characteristics of its “antithesis” nappy hair. However, anyone using their common sense knows, good hair is healthy hair and bad hair is unhealthy hair which of course has nothing to do with the curl of the hair. But beauty does. And we have ascribed certain traits (words) to beauty.

Language and culture create a shared meaning. Some labels are so toxic they induce self-hate. How can you love something called “bad hair”? Some words are supposed to evoke envy such as thin and rich. Language strongly influences reality. (Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, 1920, 1959, 2008). The words being used are the ones that are creating the realities we are living. Why would Black Women of all spheres of Black life invest in “taming” their hair into culturally accepted European styles? Maybe they do not want to be seen as having bad hair.

Yes, I am a survivor of the language of oppression and its deep scars that have tried to rip my self-esteem and self-worth asunder. I survive to spread the words of conscious acceptance or rejection choosing to create a new vocabulary of empowerment. Let’s take this “insightful” moment as an opportunity to have a deeper discussion about WORDS and their power. Movies like “Good Hair” and “Precious” are trying to have a serious dialogue with us on far deeper levels than most feel comfortable acknowledging. Maybe its time for a new language; maybe its time to choose different words. We can make different choices – we can use our words to heal, uplift and create inclusive beauty – its all in what we say and it’s always your choice!

By P.S. Perkins, Author, The Art and Science of Communication, Wiley, 2008