Friday, May 27, 2005

Two Sides of the Same Mirror

Below is a copy of my article published in the Journal of the Student National Medical Association spring 2004.

The saying goes beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But, in most cases it's in the eye of the culture. Television and written media are controlled predominately by white America, so the message of beauty is portrayed as a thin body with minimal curves. But, beyond color lines, the messages change.
Growing up as a thin African-American girl, I endured high pressure to gain weight. I was told by my African-American peers and family that I needed to "put on the pounds." It wasn't until my family moved to a mostly white neighborhood that I was envied and told by my white peers that I was beautiful. Twenty-three years and three kids later, I am still thin and I still get jokes from other people in my race about my "flat booty and white girl shape."
As the article, "Sex Roles:A Journal of Research" states, "research has found that African-American females are less concerned with being thin. When asked, sixty-four percent stated that they would rather be a 'little overweight than a little underweight" (Herzberger, Molloy 1998).
The article goes on to expalin that African-American women have better body images than white women, because women base some of their views of themselves from what men in their race prefer. Since, generally speaking, African-American men prefer larger women, African-American women have less of a desire to lose weight. Therefore skinny African-American women are more of an outcast and their bodies are seen as in need of improvement.
Twenty-five year old black woman, Lakeisia Kimbrough and husband Ron feel that there is nothing wrong with her 5 foot 4 inch, 214 pound body. "I think I'm a nice looking woman," says Lakeisia, "I don't feel like I have to be skinny. Skinny girls have issues too," she continues.
When asked if she has ever had pressure to lose weight, she gives an undoubted, "No." She continues to explain that ever since she was a young girl her grandmother, who raised her, put emphasis on her to gain weight. Lakeisia's husband, Ron, adds that he loves her curvaceous body and if she were to suddenly lose a drastic amount of weight, she would be too thin. "I like my women thick and healthy," he says.
Although deadly eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia are practically nonexistent in African-American women, killers such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease are prevalent.
"Although obesity contributes to heart disease, certain forms of cancer, hypertension, high blood pressure and diabetes, black women are continuing to pack on the pounds,"says Chicago obesity specialist Soundrea Hickman, M.D. in a March 2000 Ebony Magazine article. Hickman is founder of the Association for Improving and Maintaining Black Health. The article continues to state, "In 1998 the average clothes size for black women is 18; today it is a size 20," Dr. Hickman asserts. She goes on to say, "I think the mistake that is happening is the 'full figured woman' title-she's no longer considered obese, she's just full figured- it's a death sentence for the black's killing us, and I'm sick and tired of going to funerals of black women in their 50s."
Not only is it more acceptable for African-American women to be overweight but it is for African women too. The New York Times reports in an October 2002 artcle, "To anyone who has traveled across the continent, especially in West Central Africa...many ethnic groups in this region hold festivals celebrating big women. In Niger many women take livestock feed or vitamins to bulk up."
This is not to say that no women of the black race diet or isn't concerned about the way they look. In fact, being thin but having some extra hip butt, hips, and breasts are more popular then being outright obese. Essence Magazine writer, Afi-Odelia Scruggs, reporter in April 2001, "The New York Times recently cited a study conducted at Northwestern University. Researchers found that white women began complaining about their bodies at a body-mass index (BMI) of 25-which is considered officially overweight. Black women, by contrast, didn't become dissatisfied with their bodies until they approached a BMI of 30, the starting point for obesity." This shows that even though most African-American women do not desire a thin body, they do want a healthy one.

The best thing to do is follow your doctor's advice and to embrace the body God has given you. Although I may still receive "white girl" comments, I no longer rush around trying to eat everything in sight. Instead I eat healthy and accept who I am. Whether you are big or small, black or white looking at yourself as beautiful through your own eyes is most important.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Patience is more than a virtue

I used to think patience was something some lucky people had in their personality and some didn't. I used to wish that I was a more patience person but that I really couldn't do anything about it. I always needed what I needed immediately and instead of waiting for it I would make all kinds of back door plans to get it for me, even if I knew that what I was doing was taking a risk. For an example, my family was constantly being homeless. I would pray for God to send me and my family a home and then instead of waiting I would gather what little money I would have and get what I would get. I wouldn't wait for my husband to find a better paying job or for me to finish school. I would up and go and force whoever was with me to go too. We were always getting in debt because of that. I never understood why God just wouldn't instantly answer my prayers. To me faith was praying for God to do what I ask and expecting it. But faith really is believing in God no matter how long it takes and believing that your suffering is for the better. I also realized faith was thanking God for what I already had. That my children would go to well-baby check and come out fine, that no one kidnapped or hurt any of my children when I was away. That my husband loved me and was willing to sacrifice for me even when he didn't disagree. I had to learn this after years of harships and living from place to place. Today me and my husband just signed the lease to a home in Illinois. I took the time to place my life fully in God's hands and this beautiful home is my reward. We had horrible credit, and I thought that would stop us. But nothing can stop God. I now see life so very differently that I feel like a different person. Patience is more that a good quality that some acquire. Paitience and faith is a necessity. Without it you lose strength and it's hard make it. Thank God I made it. And will continue to make it, as I believe God will send the right career my way now that I am finished with school. and I won't try to force my way into any doors either. I will believe, I will wait and I will be patient. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Open Views is Okay

I was watching Bill Oreilly today and I don't know why I was torturing myself. But the fact that most of the time he has ignorant viewpoints is not what drives me crazy the most. It's the fact that he feels that he is always right and he doesn't accept anyone else's opinions. How immature! He had a guest on today for the purpose of her saying her side, a different side then him, and he kept cutting her off, yelling and doing everything toddler. You would think that this supposedly educated person with their own show would show some maturity and at least hear what someone else has to say. I am always open to someone's opinion. I also try to stay open in my beliefs and if someone brings me enough proof to change them, then I don't mind changing them. The one unique thing about me is that I don't stay stuck to shallow beliefs. If you can prove me wrong then I am open to it. I noticed many blogs of people that tend to be angry and shut out different posted comments. To me, that is not a sign of maturity. My father-in-law is atheist. He basically believes that religion is in everyone's head. Me and my family lived with him at a hard time in our lives. He was kind enough to open his home to us and I always gave him respect for that. Even though I was on the opposite side of the spectrum, I didn't preach to him and I didn't dismiss him when he preached to me. He saw me go to church, he knew I read the Bible. But I didn't blatantly throw it in his face. A few months later he was asking about coming to church with us. He didn't become saved or anything. But that just shows how a little can go along way. I firmly believe that and hold to it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Lulu the opportunity

The internet's ability to globalize the world around us is endless. Even the most dedicated and knowledgeable surfers don't exactly know all of the opportunites that the internet holds. Whenever I bring up, I often receive dumbfounded looks even when I am amidst the online elite. Many people don't know that they can publish their own sky-limited ideas and get them out to the masses for next to nothing. makes you your own boss, creator, and publisher. Write a book, publish a magazine, create a great work of art. You hold all the rights and there are no limits to what you can do. You also set how much you want to sell your masterpiece for and how much your royalties will be.

I went beserk the minute I found out about lulu. All in one day, I pulled out my notebook of poetry, typed it in Microsoft word, added a title and searched my own graphics. I downloaded it all at lulu where they automatically transferred it to their software and made it available to buy. Unfortunately, I did have to pay to receive my hardcopy of my poetry book, but it was the price I made up. (You can't set your price to zero, believe me I tried)

What about libraries, bookstores, You can sell your work on much larger avenues, but you have to pay for an ISBN. An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a controlled, 10 or 13-digit identification number allowing publishers, libraries, and book dealers to locate books. You pay $35.95 for your own ISBN.

My Heart's Translation of the Word is the name of my Christian poetry book I am most proud of. You can order it at Not sure you want to order it? I provided a sample for you to check out. Lulu gives all publishers the opportunity to provide a sample for prospective buyers.

If you really think about it, this is an awesome opportunity for someone looking to motivate or uplift others around them. gives people the chance to literally change the world around them.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We are all born homosexual

The title sounds strange, I know. But it's true. I was inspired by this post at my church service today. My pastor, Gregory Dickow of Life Changers International Church is an excellent non-denominational pastor. He teaches the truth and is not afraid to tell it, yet he leaves you feeling rejuvenated not guilty. Anyway, He spoke about the question are homosexuals born that way? Of course most Christians say no. But it's yes. We are all born homosexuals. We are all born liars. We are all born thieves. We are all born sinners. That is precisely the reason why we all need to accept Jesus and be born again. I think that is the one thing that Christians and non-Christians just don't get. No one sin is worst then another kind of sin. For the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23 It doesn't say that the wages of some sin equals death. Or the really really bad sin( or what we feel is bad) equals death. All sin is death. Homosexuality is sin just like any other sin. We need to accept Christ because he took all our sin and brought it with Him on that cross. God loves and accepts everybody. The prostitute, the homosexual, the liberal. He doesn't care what nationality you are, what politics you are for etc. This sounds simple enough, but this is the one thing that people tend to forget. Devout Christians begin to treat one another bad because they think they are more dedicated. Sinners don't want to accept Christ because they think that they have to be perfect. No one is perfect but Jesus.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Picture of Telika Howard creator of this blog Posted by Hello

Conservative not always synonymous with Christian

Hello everyone this is my first blog. I recently found out about blogs when I was at a World Journalism Institute conference. The World Journalism Institute encourages Christians who desire to be journalists to let their lights shine through the media. Anyway, one of the speakers there was LaShawn Barber, a very well known, well respected blogger ( and she spoke primarily on being conservative and how she basically uses her blogs to stamp out liberals. She pretty much assumed that we were all conservative because we were at a christian conference. After her speech, a few other christian journalists there spoke to me about how they weren't conservative or in favor of President Bush and that they didn't agree with her. I certainly am not. I believe that someone can be Christian and not be conservative. I think that being a Christian is simply believing in Christ and the principles in the Bible. I can't say that I am in favor of everything liberal either. I think Christians should be somewhere in between. I am against Homosexual marriage and abortion but I am also for helping the poor and peace. I don't think God is in favor of this long drawn out pointless war. We are to love those in spite of their beliefs and culture not force others to be like us. America and Americans aren't perfect and neither is anyone else in this world. We should let God do our judging and punishing. Jesus also reached out and helped the poor and sacrificed for those who were need. I named my blog site Matthew 1236 because of the scripture that basically states that we will be held accountable for our words. I will use this blog to share my opinions with a christian world view and occasionally publish some articles I write. Please feel free to respond but no negativity or harsh words allowed.