CEROW or ZERO: principled research

I started thinking ’bout this stuff, YEARS ago. When I was a student, watching from the side of an overly crowded classroom. Insecure not because I didn’t know

or understand the flow

of things

as I saw them

but because I was one

of only a few

introverted extroverts

who wore wears a mask

that grins and well…you know the rest.

Thank you Mr. Dunbar.

In the sciences I have studied, the students’ work is often commandeered by the advisor. Ok. It did not matter much when all I knew to do was follow a protocol and directions…

But now…

When asked by my students “why do we need _______”, I tell them this:

Me: you need middle school to learn how to recognize directions.

Me: you need high school to learn how to follow directions.

Me: You need college to learn to teach others how to follow directions.

Me: You need your master’s to learn how to write directions based on other people’s visions.

Me: You need a Ph.D. to design the protocols that will teach others how to write directions for the clients who will pay you–never what you are really worth–to give directions.

It still remains an important habit and discipline of


knowledge construction, and


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and so I present (for the first time in public)

A golden rule of research:


There are two sides to this coin key principle. Be careful to see the markings.

  1. Confirm, Extend, and Refine other’s (lower case O) works or else you have nothing! Know the literature and do quality work. Don’t just cite yourself or the first source in your first search; pay attention to other people on and in the field. Earn respect (and be respectable) by respecting that there really is nothing too new under the sun. Be humble…get down. Thank you Mr. Lamar.
  2. Cite, Evaluate, Represent Others’ (capital O this time) works: be intentional about including a diversity of perspectives in your research and respect the cultural norms of the observed and their overstudied and often invisible communities.

What does it mean on the tail-side of this coin? On the B-side of this record. What are you really trying to say?

antique bills business cash

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To cite is to celebrate. It is like saying “amen” to the preachers in a crowded church; it is an encouragement to them and an affirmation that you are in the write game, on the write field, on the write day.

(Yes…I take a liberty of interchanging write with right which is alright all right by me!)

To evaluate is to be critical without being judgmental; note the difference between this and assess. Don’t use oppression or colonizing, condescending language to read their or speak your truth. If you really disagree, don’t throw shade, check and use another source…for real. The arrogance of critique is not necessary when all this $#@% (shit) is f#&*ery (fuckery) too most.

The privilege of arguing about “scholarly” things, is for sure a first-world problem in the face of hunger, poverty, neglect and abuse…hold your “peers” accountable though…’cause that’s the WRITE (I mean right) thing to do.

To represent is to honestly spend time with the subject. Re- present information so that people who missed “it” as they hurried past its nuanced beauties and coincidental tragedies in the hustle of their own lives can see it anew, for the first time, or simply again.

On this side of the coin principle, the OTHERS’ are the group of very specific others who are usually invisible in the mainstream…

  • Others from non-dominant cultural groups
  • Others from lesser-abled cultural enclaves
  • Others whose power is only discerned in our classrooms, where they shine with us as suns because we center them and listen (or bask in the rays of their light)

I was admonished today to write/right every day…I agree.

Looking forward to tomorrow…


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An Open Letter to Black Parents Whose Suns Have Been Pushed Out of Preschool

To my Black Sun who will be 19 in only a few days…going back to school, now college, is now a joyful experience. I look back on taking you out of that colonizing environment mid year, in 2nd grade, with rejoicing. You are my Black Son and you shine.

Single Mom So Far

Open Letter to Black ParentsDear Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandma, family member of a Black sun:

I have to begin with this affirmation: I see you. I believe you.

As we gear up for the start of a new school year, I suspect you might feel the same familiar knots of tension beginning to twist in your stomach that I do, often coming at unexplained moments: while pushing him on the swing, while reading a book together, while chatting about his day over dinner. You’ll wonder if his new teacher will take the time to listen closely to the way he gets excited about superheroes, about building volcanoes with his friends, about waiting for a tomato to ripen before he can pick it.

You’ll wonder if his new teacher will listen to him at all.

You’ll covertly search the internet, chaining together all types of words in the search bar: whatiswrongwithmyblacksun, howtohelpmychildsurvivearacistteacher, whatdoidoknow, howdoihomeschool. You…

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A Mother’s Cry

HandsJartI didn’t watch it

The show movie about a boy killed while carrying some candy & a drink

In a town down South

By a brown man exercising his

right to carry…

as he

stood his ground…

and measured life

on a stick

metered by white supremacy.

I couldn’t bear to watch

the story play out



A Black Mother’s Cry

As I recount going to a mall in Philly & chiding the store manager,

a young SUN

for what I thought was irresponsible posturing of hoodies as FLY merch!

In any color–red, blue, heather, black–it would be read blue whether gray or white on BLACK

boys and men

whose lives were are valued only as in sport

like game

in the wild…


Rest in power

Trayvon Martin


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Learning to…

IOyouIt is interesting…

Learning to

Live and






It is painful…

Learning to

Love and




Without you.

It is curious….

Learning to

Live and Love

With and Without


What was the lesson?

Only one letter apart: LIVE and LOVE; its the OUT that makes the WITH so hard.

I miss you

but I am learning…

time heals wounds and fills gaps…soon all will be well and grief will be no more. Loneliness will be liberty and freedom will feel free…


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Shades of Yellow

To my Beloved Grandmother…


Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 9.17.02 AM

She knew the sun would release its light to reveal the brilliance of the Son…

She knew that YELLOW would sit between Florida ORANGES and the GREENER pastures of this life like the colors of the spectrum that define all that is radiant..energy

She had heard it somewhere in that segregated school where ROY G BIV meant something in science or space or time, new dimensional and yet the same…

She took those lessons condemning that which was Black and turned into White light that leads toward salvation

She took her last breath as night became day on the East Coast and as day became night on the West

Yellow was her favorite so today I will wear yellow rather than my red, not blue but full of joy.

Move in power…

Rest in peace…

Sunrise: December 5

Sunset: June 9


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Locs & A Nose Ring

A standard of beauty

That sparkles in the sun

That hints at the love of Africa, Asia and New Amerikah

A mother’s love

Sitting in the pews on the side

Next to the prince

Birthing a duchess

Guiding her choices with grace and steady love for everything she is you are the standard

of motherhood

of womanhood

of beauty

Doria Ragland. What a beautiful name.




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Open letter to my Mothers’ generations

To the Camilles, Phylicias, and Beyonces of the world…

From the daughters (and sons) who have wrongfully judged…

You are the Queen


Grand, great and regular…

There is so much that you have




Struggles from within and without

The love and provision

Support and guidance

of the men that you have loved.

Victimized as you meet the needs of them and us, your children and your loves

You have been the “ride or die” type but questions from your daughter–regular, grand and great…

How did you survive the abuse from inside (within) and outside (without)

The love and provision

Support and guidance

of the men (and the children) that you have loved?



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