Malchijah Hats x BlackFashion

“Hats are Back in Fashion”

After the loss of his son, milliner Marcus started creating hats as a way of coping. This therapy process later tuned into the go-to hat shop that many Brooklynites patron. Every hat is personally made by the milliner himself inside. Malchijah Hats is located in the heart of Fort Green, Brooklyn. The shop is always filled with neighborhood kids doing their homework, or random art folks straggling in from the art galleries across the street. What I love most about Malchijah Hats is it’s fondness for the church culture of hats as well as the everyday funky hats that can be found there. 

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The Problem of Dealing With Racism Without Being Smug & Snarky: And Two Questions That I Ask Every Racist.

Racism exists, and I have the scars to prove it.

But when we hear a racist remark, it doesn’t automatically mean this person is a Nazi who reads Mein Kampf for breakfast. When we confront racism, we often confuse “overbearing Hollywood-type racist portrayed in movies” with buried, implicit, culturally conditioned racist attitudes. It means that most of us have layers of systemic, racist dogma that have been indoctrinated over years of apathy and ignorance.

If we attack racism with the force of a sledgehammer, it’ll preach to the choir and win internet-points — but it will change no one. We need the subtle skill of a surgeon to extract and kill a racist attitude. It doesn’t mean we’re pampering or wearing kid-gloves. It doesn’t mean we overlook the very real violence of hate crimes and racist-affirming groups. But all throughout history, the undercurrent of culturally ingrained racism was dismantled by patience, firm conviction, and open dialogue. It’s how Daryl Davis, a black musician, effectively helped to end the Ku Klux Klan in Maryland. (Give the podcast a listen, it’s incredibly moving.)

The reason I believe Martin Luther King Jr. had such a sweeping effect on our national psyche is because he managed to be both compassionate and just. He asked the right questions and navigated with the right surgical touch.  He reached across dividing lines to the people in authority and was able to negotiate without haranguing them. He believed that people could change: not by smug, snarky, sarcastic eye-rolling or throwing lyrical grenades over a fence, but by challenging others on common ground without capitulating to hateful, reactionary methods.

Systematic change began when someone entered the system through wisdom instead of slamming against it from the gates — and I believe we can be wise enough to do this today.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the patience or perseverance. Here’s the truth. Most bloggers are using Social Justice and “cued buzzwords” to go viral and get attention. It doesn’t help anyone and it only diminishes the actual issue of racism.  It turns it into a circus carnival, and I’m begging you: if you’re another blogger who just randomly reblogs SJ stuff with zero context or care, then please stop.  We need more depth and not shallow sound-bites.  You’re actually parodying the whole thing into a laughable hand-wave.

It’s almost impossible to gain any traction with guerilla tactics online or even face-to-face. It’s simply yelling as loudly as possible to point at our own platforms.  And I’m saying this for every side.  We all do this.  I think the majority of Social Justice bloggers are making it worse.

If MLK was a blogger today, I think he would be embarrassed and ashamed to see that no one was trying to reach outside their polarized box; he would see a lot of little unorganized choirs with zero consensus squabbling for each other’s attention and then closing their browsers to watch the next episode of the Kardashians.  MLK, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Han, Mother Teresa, and Jesus would all see blindness, on every side, and most of all, starting with me.

Here’s what I suggest if you’re talking to someone who might be racist or blind to their own racism.  It’s a modified hybrid of Aristotelian philosophy and Jesus’s approach to wealthy upper-class men.

We can ask two questions.

1) What do you mean by that?

2) Why do you believe that?

When we only make propositional statements from opinions, we immediately put another person on their automatic preprogrammed defense.  I’m not above this; I do it too.  It goes nowhere.  You can’t possibly peel back years and layers of racism in another person during a heated exchanged of ideas versus ideas.

But when you ask questions about a person’s belief, several good things happen.  You then put the other person on equal footing so they can explain themselves, and instead of defending, they’re now confessing.

The hope is that they’ll hear their own ideas out loud as you continue to ask “what” and “why,” and they’ll realize that their own ideas are not as sound as they had once believed.  It’ll start to sound silly, even to them.  I can almost guarantee you that most people have never been openly challenged this way and have only perpetuated their ideas with like-minded people. By questioning them, you are entering softly while still turning over stones.

This is not a trick, by the way.  People can tell when you’re pulling a fast one. People can tell when you don’t love them or you’re using a formula.  So please do love them.  And be open to hearing them out, because maybe they have a painful story behind their anger and prejudice.  Maybe they simply need to tell it to be set free.

It’s easy to stand up for something.
There are enough soapboxes to go around.
I’m waiting for the person who will actually kneel down with me in the trenches, roll up his sleeves, and hurt with me.
I’m waiting for the one who will listen to my story as a victim of racial abuse and prejudice.
I’m not interested in debating, because talk is a cheap dress that you can buy with a free blog in your basement, and I’m done with people preaching pretty words without doing what they preach first.

I hope we can each take a long real look at our own platforms, and then ask, "If the ‘other side’ had my exact tone and argumentation and methods, would I even care to read them? Would I even listen to myself?"

That sort of self-honesty is painful: but so it begins the way to healing.

— J.S.


Afghanistan is a mountainous country, but scaling the peaks for sport is a new concept here. Mountaineering is considered an odd pastime for men, let alone women whose modesty Afghan society demands be protected at any cost – even death.

But there are enthusiasts. Zahra Karimi Nooristani and her sisters have inspired Marina Kielpinski LeGree to aim to create a crop of Afghan heroines passionate about improving their country and who inspire other women here to break barriers. 

LeGree, a 36-year-old resident of Norfolk, Va., who has spent years shepherding development projects in northeastern Afghanistan, directs a non-profit called Ascend that funds and organizes not only the training, but leadership classes for the Nooristani sisters and a handful of other Afghan girls recruited to be mountain climbers.

The Ascent Of Afghan Women

Photos: Sandra Calligaro for NPR


Phil Robertson Condemns Atheists

Sure, atheists may think of themselves as a moral person, but moral according to what?  There are atheists that are as moral as Christians, but by what standard are they acting morally?  And their perceptions of morality can change.  God’s commandments haven’t.  And remember, what’s okay for one atheist, may not be for another.

As far as Christians go, you’re going to have some Christians who think something is okay when it is not, but the bottom line is that we have a standard to go by.  That doesn’t change.  And that standard is what protects the balance of freedom between people.  Some people choose to interpret the instructions selfishly and justify their actions by assuming that ‘the Lord will condone this’ or ‘only God can judge me,’ etc.  Again, this violates the Commandment to not take God’s name in vain.  The Commandment of God is what protects the balance of freedom between people.

Unfortunately, selfish people only see it as ‘us Christians want to impose our beliefs onto them’ - that we’re trying to impose a theocracy.  Just because they can’t do what they want which comes at the forced expense of someone else’s rights.  They don’t care that what they want infringes on another person’s rights.  They only see it as someone else is being mean to them because they can’t do whatever it is they want to do.

I’m not attempting to get preachy with this post, I just thought Zo did a great job of explaining the concept and origin of morality.  

I’ve had this philosophical conversation before, but morality is a set of principles and values that are taught and which must be held accountable.  You can be a moral atheist, as he said in the video, but whether you like it or not, those morals most likely had a Judeo-Christian origin.  Also, your morality must be held to an account by something more powerful than yourself - this cannot be government, because government is comprised of fallible men.  For the same reason, you cannot be held accountable by society.  You cannot be accountable even to yourself because you are also corruptible to your own selfish will and desire.  So, who are you accountable to then?  It is a very onerous personal question to ask one’s self. 

I honestly believe the further people or a society as a collective push themselves away from our predominant Judeo-Christian values, the less morality will exist.  This is how cultures fall.

Morning News Rundown

As deadline looms, red herrings recur in Iran nuclear coverage

Challenger ahead as count resumes in tight Nigeria poll

San Antonio polices the mentally ill by treating them

Sri Lankan ex-leader’s vanity airport project grounded by costs

ISIL attacks Syrian village, kills scores

Ark. vote on ‘religious freedom’ bill looms

Sanders will run, if he can ‘do it well’

US sales of execution drugs discouraged

Opinion: ISIL’s new model of resistance

Clock ticks on Iran nuclear deal

Arizona gov. signs controversial abortion bill

Who is Martin O’Malley?

Woman sentenced to 20 years for feticide

Ex-federal agents charged with bitcoin theft

Opinion: Tweet-shaming isn’t organizing

Singapore teen charged over video

Yemen intervention threatens protracted war

Indiana to ‘clarify’ religious freedom law

Ferguson police chief on challenges ahead

Reporters losing war zone protections