CC™ Flashback: Every bad encounter with a white person does not constitute racism.....

Dr. Akabogu-Collins
By Dr. Akabogu-Collins

..... But as they add up, run-ins become harder to see past. 

Before delving into this sumptuous piece by Dr. May Akabogu-Collins, a Nigerian-American economics professor as well as freelance writer, it is rather timely to note that while the afore-headlined article will be the main crux of my piece, in reading her entries, she also talks about the "prejudices" harbored by African immigrants against African-Americans and how over time, she has come to realize that the majority culture does not necessarily view blacks from a nationality perspective, but essentially as one-in-and-of-the-same. 
In her piece "Coming to Black America" she states with regard to her initial prejudiced opinions about African-Americans....

"My sister Agnes was visiting from Harvard Law School in 1989. At that time, I was a doctoral student of economics at USC and we were strolling through the streets of Korea-town that summer of 1989. We entered a video store and were excited to find a copy of the movie "Coming to America". What do we need to rent a movie? Agnes asked the cashier. The Korean cashier then told us to hold on for a minute while she disappeared to the backroom to ostensibly ask what it would take to get this done. Moments later, she emerged from the backroom and said in a thick accent.... Sorry, only Koreans. Not even the owner of the store could accede to our desire to rent the movie in question as he declared: One hundred dollars cash deposit and you leave license here."
This experience made her realize that the Korean, much like the Caucasian did not exactly see her as different from the African-American as her equally ignorant (much like the Korean store owner and attendant) father had told would be the case as she prepared to come to the United States in the early eighties, saying:

"If you look for racism in America, you'll find it. But prove to them that you are a tribal African, not one of those addle-brained former slaves. And do steer away from them; they're nothing but trouble."
"But the Korean video store was a turning point. As a target of old-fashioned explicit racism, for the first time I felt the rage and frustration of black Americans. As I watched Korea-town go up in flames during the L.A. riots of 1992, I understood the motivation."

You can read more on her piece "Coming to Black America" on her page, it is quite a read and shows how we all have a prejudiced bone in our bodies, and it is only to the extent that we either nurture or regulate it that determines through which prism we view not only our world, but the world around us.
Now to the original piece I wanted to talk about, Dr. Collins talks about her aggregate experiences in the United States as both an intellectual and a black person. She talks about how the same father who had a well nurtured but debilitatingly ignorant opinion of African-Americans was the first to intimate her of the need to not view every encounter with a white person in America as racism. Quite an irony and the various twists and turns in her piece (reproduced with permission) below would go to show, it is not really quite as simple as that.
"Vista, Calif. – I was about to kick my white neighbor out of my house. Then the memory of my dad's voice intercepted me.
In 1980, when I was coming to America from Nigeria to attend grad school, my father told me, "Not every unpleasant encounter with a Caucasian constitutes racism. It might just be ignorance – stupidity, in fact."
When I arrived at the University of Southern California, the dynamics of black-white politics were still alien. That first semester, I received the highest score on a test. As he handed back my paper, the professor publicly announced, : "You surprised me; I kept slowing down for you, thinking you were lost." A compliment, I thought.
"An insult," said a classmate later. "The professor had presumed you were dumb because you're black." I wasn't convinced. But events moved on. Sometimes preposterously.
A year later, I was walking back to my hotel room in Baltimore when another hotel guest stuck her head out her room and addressed me: "I need extra soap and a towel." I smiled and replied, "Me, too." At that point, she flushed and disappeared. I chalked it up to rational discrimination.
Soon after grad school, I arrived at a college for an interview and introduced myself as "Dr. Collins." The secretary replied, "And I'm the president." She later apologized profusely, adding, "You look too young to be a PhD." "It's the melanin," I deadpanned, adding with a wink, "Black don't crack." She cracked up.
Never having been a target of old-fashioned, explicit racism, I still couldn't distinguish between imaginary and real racism. That changed when my sister and I entered a video store in Korea Town in Los Angeles. We were excited to find the Eddie Murphy comedy, "Coming to America." The clerk, without batting an eye, announced unequivocally, "Only Koreans." That was the turning point in my assimilation to my new environment.
For the first time, I felt the frustration of being black in America. "It's an Asian thing," a friend explained later. "They tend to be clannish." For a while I shunned Asians – and consorted with Caucasians.
In Africa we attended the same schools as the Caucasians. There was no built-up animosity and, I suppose, the Caucasians in West Africa never had a reason to draw racial lines or feel superior. Hence, I had no self-consciousness among Caucasians. The O.J. Simpson verdict in 1995, however, changed all that.
I was the only black professor at a small college in Pennsylvania. When I heard my all-white colleagues denouncing the verdict at the department lounge, I stepped outside my office to join them. The lounge immediately went silent. Everyone froze, like a still frame in a movie, and the tableau resonated with the unspoken, "You're black, therefore..." I spun on my heel and fled campus.
I'd spent 15 years in America resisting racializing my feelings, but that incident at the faculty lounge gave me a new pair of glasses.
In San Diego 10 years later, as I was walking my dogs (Akitas) one Monday morning, I encountered an elderly white woman. "They are absolutely gorgeous!" she declared. Before I could thank her, she added, "Are they yours?"
Here's the thing: After 25 years in America, as such encounters accumulate, subconsciously, resentments also accumulate. "Fat chance," I replied, "I'm dog-sitting for a rich white family." And I strode away wondering if I was becoming racially paranoid.
I was still wondering that when my white neighbor knocked on my door that same day. She was having an off day, so she took the day off and came over to vent. "It's like," she began, tears welling. "How can I put it? I feel like I've little black people inside my stomach."
Huh? I'd had three little black people inside my belly and those were the happiest months of my life. So what could I say?
"What do you mean?"
A litany of woes ensued: hubby's worsening Alzheimer's, facing foreclosure, teenage turmoil – my mind strayed.
Black market, black sheep, Black October, Black Sunday, black Monday, black weekend, the blackest day in history (9/11). Granted, those held no racial connotations – they were just terms for bad things.
People having a bad day often say they're having a black day. But little black people in her stomach? Why, that's racist! I should just kick her out, I thought. Then I heard my father's voice: "It might just be ignorance...."
"Hel-lo-o?" my neighbor reeled in my attention. "Yeah, I'm listening," I said.
She continued, but my mind kept wandering: Had I just been insulted? Should I demand an apology at least? Or was I becoming one of those "overly sensitive blacks" – you know, the ones who criticized David Howard, a former Washington, D.C., mayoral aide, for saying "niggardly" (which means "miserly") at a budget discussion in 1999?
I still can't, be certain, of course. And I'm still not convinced that kicking my neighbor out would've been wrong. Yet, I'm bothered that my feelings are now colored by race.
I now empathize with blacks born here who, due to the country's history, are sensitive to these issues. But at the same time, I sympathize with the uninformed whites who must watch their language lest they inadvertently offend our sensibilities.
That's where America is. And until whites make the extra effort to understand the source of "black rage," that's where America will remain.
Why didn't I approach my neighbor later to tell her that I felt insulted by her metaphor?
I was afraid she would consider me "overly sensitive," and that it might cause a strain between us. Race discussion is uncomfortable. And that's exactly the problem in America – the lack of trust between blacks and whites and hence the inability to engage in an open and frank discussion about the causes and effects of racism that can clarify our different reactions to the same racial landscape.
As President Obama has said, for America to progress, both blacks and whites must listen to one another with an open mind. Only then can we understand where the other is coming from. Yet it has to come from our hearts. And that requires mutual trust.
Blacks must be able to talk to whites about their fears and resentments without presuming that whites would consider them racially paranoid.
Whites must trust that blacks won't label them racists for expressing their frustrations. This is the way toward a more racially tolerant America. And in order to get there, we must be open with ourselves and compassionate with others.
Until then, these incidents will proceed with black – oops – bleak predictability: Ignorant white says something racially insensitive. Sensitive blacks overreact. And we're all tired of that broken record."


Liverpool destroy Manchester United 7-0

CC™ Monday Brew

By Imran Malik

Nobody would have predicted this. Not even in their wildest dreams. The Reds produced a dominant performance to thrash their fierce rivals in the Premier League clash at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were relentless in their pursuit of victory and never took their foot off the gas. United struggled to answer the questions posed by the Merseysiders and they outclassed the visitors from start to finish.

Liverpool’s resurgent form has seen them move ominously close to a Champions League spot while this massive defeat must have ended Erik ten Hag’s slim prospects of winning the title. This 7-0 loss equals United’s biggest ever defeat, which last happened against Wolves in 1931.

It was their heaviest defeat in the history of this fixture, and it could have a wide-ranging effect on their campaign, despite only being their second defeat in 21 games. Their renaissance under the Dutch coach already has the tangible reward of the Carabao Cup but Liverpool unleashed a brutal reality check on their progress with a severe thrashing.

They returned to vintage form and chalked up a fifth straight Premier League clean sheet to boot. Dutchman Cody Gakpo and Uruguayan Darwin Nunez - two United targets nabbed by Liverpool - inflicted the defeat with two goals each, and Mo Salah hammered a double of his own to complete United’s misery. This was Liverpool’s third consecutive Premier League victory and a perfect weekend for them, having been heartened by defeats for top-four rivals Tottenham and Newcastle.

They began with aggressive intent, and a full-throated Anfield behind them. United struggled to find their feet early on. The hosts took the lead just before halftime through Gakpo’s fierce shot. It was Liverpool’s first shot on target and sent Klopp’s men into the interval with their tails up. United had looked like taking control, having come from behind to defeat Barcelona and West Ham in the previous 11 days.

Liverpool doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart through Nunez, capitalizing on a loose pass from United’s Luke Shaw. United’s collapse was complete a few minutes later with a stunning Liverpool break, culminating in Gakpo netting an angled shot.

Fifteen minutes from time, Nunez got his second after United failed to clear a Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick. Klopp’s men continued to cut United to ribbons, with Salah netting his 129th Premier League strike for the Reds to become their highest Premier League goalscorer passing Robbie Fowler and then sub Roberto Firmino fired home the seventh to send The Kop into raptures.

Liverpool are now very much in the chase for the Champions League places, standing only three points behind Tottenham with a game in hand while United remain third but heavily bruised mentally and physically after this mauling.



The best West African destinations

CC™ Travel Scope 

1. Ghana

Hailed as West Africa’s golden child, Ghana is an ideal destination if you’re looking to relax, immerse in the authentic African culture and learn more about African history – no wonder it’s called ‘Africa for beginners. 

For a more exciting getaway, visit the country’s capital – Accra.  You’ll find beautiful beaches (like Labadie beach), luxury hotels and fascinating museums. Don’t forget to stop over at the marketplaces where you can shop African prints, jewellery and souvenirs.

Also read: Epic adventures in Ghana

Amaiashome Beach, Ghana

Image Source: @amaiashome on Instagram

2. Cape Verde

With an abundance of spectacular views and rich culture, Cape Verde is one of the most beautiful countries in West Africa. Located on the west coast of Africa, it’s an archipelago out in the north Atlantic, consisting of 10 islands and several islets. 

Be sure to visit the beaches, the restaurants for amazing seafood and the local market for some artefacts. A visit to the salt lake (Salinas de Pedra de Lume) is a must if you’d like to try a mud bath.

Also read: 12 Reasons to visit Cape Verde

Sal, Cape Verde

Image Source: @rivo_lution on Instagram

3. The Gambia

Despite being the smallest country in Africa, The Gambia is regarded as West Africa’s best-kept secret. Surrounded by golden beaches backed by swaying palms sprinkled with scenic lagoons, an abundance of wildlife, vibrant history and culture, it offers visitors an opportunity to get in touch with nature.

The Gambia has amazing reserves, such as Abuko National Reserve, Gambia National Park and Bijilo Forest Park, where you can see various animals and rare species of wildlife.


Image Source: flikr

4. Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is one of those undiscovered countries in West Africa – a hidden gem. It’s a country surrounded by picture-perfect palm-lined beaches, offering incredible attractions for visitors. The food in Ivory Coast is incredible. A bite of kedjenou and poulet braise will have you begging for more!

Explore the oldest park in Africa, the Comoë National Park, where you can see the lions, waterbucks, hippos and other animals frolicking in their natural habitat. It’s an ideal destination for a family vacation.

Also read: Six amazing things to do in Ivory Coast


Image Source: @cheffe_naomi_a on Instagram

5.  Nigeria

Dubbed as the “giant of Africa” Nigeria is one of the most beautiful countries in West Africa. Its subtropical climate, wide beaches, superb restaurants, excellent shopping malls, exciting craft markets and lively nightlife make Nigeria a year-round destination. 

Nigeria will captivate you with its rich and multicultural society. It boasts beautiful tourist spots such as Olumirin Waterfall in Erin-Ijesha, Ife Museum in Enuwa Square, the Olumo Rock, Agbokim Waterfall and plenty more. 

Also read: 10 Romantic honeymoon destinations in Nigeria

Civic Centre, Lagos

6. Senegal

Home to the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine, Senegal has come a long way in its fight for independence.The African Renaissance Monument, which was built in 2010, is a statue expressing a rebirth of Africa and commemorating Senegalese independence, so be sure to check it out. 

Like many countries in West Africa, Senegal is also famous for its food. The Senegalese glean their culinary inspiration from far and wide, combining French and North African influences with ancient local traditions. The staple dish for most families is thiéboudienne (fish and rice). You’ll find different variations around the country.

Senegalese food

Image source:

7. Togo

Togo is part of the few countries in West Africa known for its white-sand beaches and perfect scenery. Its multistorey Grand Marché bazaar in Lomé (the capital) is also worth a visit, so be a tourist and do some sightseeing. Start with the Monument de l’Independance and learn about the end of the colonial rule in Togo. The national museum, the food market and the Lomé Cathedral are a must-see as well.

Lome beach

These are the best West African destinations you can visit for a nice holiday. Remember that any way you plan to spend your vacation, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and stay safe. Don’t forget your camera at home because the memories should be documented in pictures.



Two vehicle crash in Federal Way, Washington. No reported fatalities…..

CC™ Breaking News

Two vehicle crash around 10:10AM PST in Federal Way, WA involving a Tesla and a Toyota Camry. Police arrived on the scene shortly after and although there were no reported fatalities, there was significant damage to both vehicles. The accident occurred at the intersection of S336th and Pacific Highway.


Dealing with an incompetent and unethical lawyer

CC™ Informational 

It is frustrating when you are dissatisfied with your lawyer or her work -- especially if you don't know what to do about it. Here are some strategies for dealing with common problems that arise during legal representation. 

For starters, the distressingly common problem of non-communication doesn't have an easy solution. A lawyer who doesn't return phone calls or communicate with you for an extended period of time may be guilty of abandoning you -- a violation of attorneys' ethical obligations. But that's for a bar association to determine (if you register a complaint), and it won't do you much good in the short term. 

If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, sending a polite but firm letter laying out your concerns should get your lawyer's attention. Don't threaten to file a malpractice lawsuit or complain to the bar association; such threats will probably make your lawyer angry and defensive, not attentive.

If your lawyer does not respond, or subsequent meetings or conversations are not fruitful, consider suggesting mediation to work out your communication problems if you still want this lawyer to represent you. A bad deskside manner doesn't mean that the lawyer isn't an excellent lawyer, and it can be difficult to find a new one in the middle of a case.

If you conclude that you simply can't work with your lawyer anymore, fire your lawyer and find someone new. You may also want to have a second lawyer evaluate your first lawyer's actions and advise you about paying (or refusing to pay) any bill you receive, filing a complaint with your state lawyer discipline agency, or suing the lawyer for malpractice.

The Lawyer Is Dishonest or Totally Incompetent
If your lawyer has actually stolen from you or acted with gross incompetence, the authorities in charge of disciplining lawyers in your state should show some interest.

File a complaint with your state's lawyer discipline agency

Every state has an agency responsible for licensing and disciplining lawyers. In most states, it's the bar association; in others, the state supreme court. The agency is most likely to take action if your lawyer has failed to pay you money that you won in a settlement or lawsuit, made some egregious error such as failing to show up in court, didn't do legal work you paid for, committed a crime, or has a drug or alcohol abuse problem. 

Unfortunately, these state agencies are famous for moving at a slow pace, not pursuing complaints vigorously, and communicating poorly with people who file complaints. Still, it is important to report a legal skunk. Many agencies wait until they have several similar complaints about a particular attorney before taking action. 

Getting compensated 

State bar associations are primarily concerned with punishing lawyers (though rarely severely), not compensating clients. But all states except Maine, New Mexico, and Tennessee do have funds from which they may reimburse clients whose attorneys stole from them. 

You're Concerned About the Lawyer's Work 

It's often hard for a client to know whether or not a lawyer is doing a good job. But if you think your lawyer's ability leaves something to be desired, investigate -- before it's too late. 


If your lawyer doesn't seem to be working on your case, talk to your lawyer and explain your concerns. 

Get your file 

If you can't find out what has (and has not) been done, you need to get hold of your file. You can read it in your lawyer's office or ask your lawyer to send you copies of everything -- all correspondence and everything filed with the court or recorded with a government agency.

If you've already ended your relationship with the lawyer, you need your file pronto to make sure all deadlines are met, mistakes are repaired, and the matter keeps moving. If the lawyer is unresponsive and the matter involves a lawsuit, go to the courthouse and look at your case file, which contains all the papers that have actually been filed with the court. 

If you've hired a new lawyer, ask her for help in getting your file. Also, ask your state bar association for assistance. If that doesn't work, as a last resort you may need to sue your lawyer in small claims court, asking the court for money to compensate you for what you've spent on redoing work in the file or trying to get the file. 


If you're not satisfied with your lawyer's strategy decisions or with the arguments the lawyer has been making on your behalf, you may even want to go to the law library and do some reading to educate yourself about your legal problem. 

Get a second opinion

If you've got serious doubts about how your case is being handled, see a second attorney. Second opinions are relatively inexpensive -- an hour or two of a lawyer's time spent talking to you plus any time spent reviewing papers. And they are often very valuable in helping you decide whether to stay with your current lawyer or change to someone better suited to the task.

The more you can tell and show the second lawyer about your case, the better advice you will get about whether your case is being handled correctly and what might be done differently. Keep in mind, though, that no two lawyers handle a case in exactly the same way, and that a second opinion is usually a cursory review, not a comprehensive analysis.

Fire your lawyer

It's your absolute right to fire your lawyer at any time for any reason. Give it serious consideration if you're convinced the lawyer is doing a bad job or if your relationship with the lawyer has become intolerable. 

But dumping a bad lawyer can be expensive. If you hire a new lawyer, you'll have to pay him or her to get up to speed on your case. If the first lawyer hasn't done much, this shouldn't cost a lot. But if you have a trial scheduled for three weeks from now, your new lawyer will have a monumental and time-consuming job. 

Sue for malpractice 

If you lost money because of the way your lawyer handled your case, consider suing for malpractice. Know, however, that it is not an easy task. You must prove two things:
  • your lawyer messed up and
  • you would have won your case otherwise.It's not enough to show that your lawyer made a mistake -- you must show that the mistake caused you financial loss that you would not have suffered if your lawyer had handled your case properly in the first place.
If you want to sue for legal malpractice, do it as quickly as possible. A common defense raised by attorneys sued for malpractice is that the client waited too long to sue. And because this area of the law can be surprisingly complicated and confusing, there's often plenty of room for argument. 

Legal malpractice cases are expensive to pursue, so do some investigating before you dive in. There's no point in suing if the lawyer doesn't have either malpractice insurance or valuable assets from which to pay you if you win.

Source: NOLO


16 Laws of Psychological Power

CC™ VideoScope


10 key leadership skills for successful cross-functional team management


An organization's cross-functional team provides many benefits and can be a veritable asset in helping to ward off divergent obstacles, that naturally arise in the workplace. 

Management is key to determining whether your cross-functional team either delivers on a consistent basis or itself becomes an impediment to its effectiveness. A well organized, transparent and flexible management structure is crucial in ensuring the success of a cross-functional team.

The following represent some key leadership characteristics of a successful cross-functional team.....

a) Effective Organization - To manage a team of such diversity and complexity, you’ll need a system for organizing deadlines, files, notes, data, research, and whatever else you bring to the project.

b) Equally Effective Communication - Without a clear but concise strategy for effective communication, your cross-functional team doesn’t stand a chance. This is the first and most crucial component of your team’s success and should not be taken lightly.

c) Unified Objectives - It is extremely vital that every one of your team members understands the importance of the task(s) at hand. Keep in mind that the responsibilities of the cross-functional team are often in addition to your team members’ already established duties. If they don’t value the cross-functional team’s objective, they won’t put in the time or effort you require. Help them understand why the team’s objectives should matter to them.

d) Clarity of Purpose - When working with a cross-functional team, conflict and misunderstandings that result in a lack of accountability are commonplace.You can prevent potentially frustrating situations by instituting clearly-stated goals and expectations, not only for the team but on an individual level as well.

e) Conflict Resolution - As should be expected, when a team is comprised of people from different functional areas of any organization, you are going to experience some conflict. It’s important to be prepared to handle this naturally-evolving conflict effectively. Many industry experts suggest you provide your cross-functional team with conflict-resolution training before bringing them together.

f) Be Flexible - One of the greatest benefits of a cross-functional team is that it fosters innovation. By bringing several different areas of expertise together into a positively enabling work environment, you’re creating fertile ground for fresh ideas and new, game-changing insights to flourish. To take advantage of these ideas and help the company improve, you must be flexible, open-minded, and allow these opportunities to manifest. The worst thing you can do to your cross-functional team is to stifle it with narrow thinking.

g) Only The Best (OTB) - Before assembling your "A-Team", it is advisable to spend some time defining the team’s goals, while making a list of the strengths and skills required to accomplish those goals. You will then be able to put together the "perfect team" according to your predefined list of required skills and qualifications.

h) Requisite Cohesion - Provide ample opportunities for your team members to get to know each other better through team-building exercises (both indoor and outdoor). This will foster a spirit of mutual trust and engender a unanimity of purpose and direction.

i) BEFA (Build Each For ALL) - It is important to get to know each member of the cross-functional team with a view to ensuring that the sum of each person's individual strengths is commensurate with the PIE (Professional, Intellectual and Emotional) Capacity needed for the team to achieve its defined objectives.

j) Individual Accolades - Even though at the end of the day, it is all about achieving something tangible for the team/organization, remember to acknowledge the contributions of each member of the team towards realizing the desired goal of the project.

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