Black merit has been a constant threat to America, exacted by white rage

Image for post
Image for post
NBC News

Today’s events have been all of the possible descriptors of terror and anarchy available in our lexicon. We have been gripped by sensations of angst, panic, confusion, and anger. We have tried to find solace in memes and gifs, only to manically refresh news updates and compulsively watch the news. Today has been a day.

As I sit down and reflect a bit on what this day has meant and what it has become, I am saddened. I am saddened, of course, for the violence and domestic terrorism; but, I am saddened because today was supposed to be a day of celebration. Admittedly, I am biased as a Democrat but, today was to celebrate the election of Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock as the U.S. Senator-elect of Georgia, becoming the first Black senator from the State of Georgia and only the second in the South since Reconstruction (U.S. Senator Tim Scott R-SC being the first). In addition, we would later know that Jon Ossoff would win his election to the U.S. …

Image for post
Image for post

The weight of it all

Grandma was right when she said that secrets, lies, and the truth all carry weight. Unfortunately, it took me 30 years of carrying the weight of secrets and lies to realize that they were wear you down differently than the truth. Where one keeps you grounded the others keep you from flying — weightless like a feather in Spring.

Grandma was right when she said that secrets, lies, and the truth all carry weight. Weight that pulverizes confidence, hope, and dreams. Weight that, when lifted, makes you wonder how words can can bring you so low — unrecognizable and jaded — weight of such frivolous things. …

An examination of my appreciation for my name and why names signify more than just what people call you

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Recently, my friend and talented blogger Dion Hudnall wrote about his name and the origins of his first name and why he goes by his middle name. It was a story that clearly inspired me to write about my own experience with my name, but also was resonant because I believe that it is a story in which many Black folks can relate. Many of us have an older sounding family first name or a nickname that escapes the clutches of family into the public sphere. Some of us have names that we may feel needs to be hidden for white acceptance, usually in professional settings, as a form of code switching. And, still some folks may create or organically grow into a nickname as part of a selective in-group identifier or persona. …

Examining the lies that make America

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ludovic Gauthier on Unsplash

Welcome class to a new semester where this course, Mythology 101, will test your knowledge of what’s fact and what’s fiction.

We’ll have discussions that galvanize and create friction, depending on the subject. But, this course will test your currently held belief of truth and myths while researching the rest.

As you look upon the syllabus, you may be wondering where’s Achilles? Where’s Hercules? And, where’s Damocles and other warring figures? Instead, you see familiar tropes, not characters, because myths — past and present — are remembered for their scope and resonant messaging. The characters are interchangeable vessels who drive the message to action. …

The fight has begun and we all need to be a part of it. This cannot not be for naught or some interregnum of Trumpism.

Image for post
Image for post

Congratulations Mr. President-Elect Joe Biden & Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris!

You’re election to the highest offices in our great nation is historic and ushers in a bee era for the nation and the world.

We rallied around your calls for the restoration of truth, decency, and respect from our leaders. To respect all who call America home — citizen or refugee. To lead with morality and compassion domestically, and with consistency and collaboration abroad.

We believed that it was time to elevate the standing of women, particularly Black women who have supported the Democratic Party, exceedingly and abundantly time and time again, by galvanizing around Kamala Harris. …

The current relativity of Audre Lorde’s work

Audre told us that

The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house

the tools that were given








These tools form modern — white — society

These tools institute “order” and reinforce station

These tools preach unity yet act on divisiveness

The master’s tools, made in America, made America

The master’s tools beget war only to be destroyed by it

The master’s tools creates money only to be run by it

The master’s tools marries policy & patriarchy only to be failed by it

The masters used these tool, to seize and infect land — creating cities, states, and nations — that didn’t…

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Black trauma, its connectedness to the Bible, and creative blockage

For a month now, I have not been able to write. I have written down over 10 topics that I would like to write about yet I have not felt the energy, mental clarity or focus, creativity, or passion to write. I have had writer’s block before but this feels different, I feel disconnected from writing.

Because I haven’t felt like writing, I haven’t stated my thoughts or how the Jacob Blake shooting has affected me. …

Image for post
Image for post

My story of colorism, bleaching creams, and facing past trauma

The title of this piece comes from a Pharrell Williams song called “Freq,” which goes “[y]ou gotta go inward | To experience the outer space | That was built for you | You gotta go inward.” In going inward, I realized that I would need to write about topics related to lifestyle and race that I struggle with or am working on, otherwise I’d be doing readers and myself a disservice. With that in mind, one of my most persistent, though subconscious, struggles has been with colorism. Colorism is a prominent racialized topic within many ethnic groups including Asians, Native Americans, Latinx, and more. However, it is most insidious within African & Black communities, primarily due to its legacy with slavery in the Americas. Colorism is a surreptitious byproduct of slavery, miscegenation or rape of slaves, and much more. …

Image for post
Image for post

When Life, COVID, Work, and Other Shit Has You Down, Exercise Your Right to Enfranchise

I’ve been stuck in a rut. I’ve been in a mental and physical funk. This has been going on for about a month now. It started off with a sluggishness, mainly trouble getting to sleep or getting out of bed. Then, I started having weird dreams like…really weird dreams. Next was the mental funk or haze that was a jumble of melancholy meets inadequacy meets apathy. Followed by weird eating habits — 3 weeks of ice cream binges, 4 trips to McDonald’s (I’ve gone to McDonald’s maybe 4 times in the last 5 years), inconsistent eating patterns, and higher sugar intake. Finally, it was energy and focus issues. …


Karlton Laster

Cleveland | 30 | Seeking to make small change with my words and thoughts. More material available on The East by West

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store