What Happens When A Black Man And A White Woman Speak For Each Other~ Alanna Vagianos


Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley begin to speak into their individual microphones — but then they stop, switch mics and start talking again. 

In the video below from the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, the two Eastern Michigan University students perform their spoken word poem “Lost Voices”and discuss white privilege, reproductive rights, male privilege and dating while black. 

But instead of telling stories from their own lives, Bostley and Simpson tell one another’s experiences. The result is a powerful commentary on white privilege and male privilege, respectively.


When the two trade their respective privileges they’re allowed to say things they normally wouldn’t be able to. Bostley says things that Simpson cannot because he is black, while Simpson says things Bostley cannot because she’s a woman. Each story holds more weight with this added (normally absent) weight. 

Bostley shares Simpson’s experience as a young black man, while Simpson mouths the words. “The first day I realized I was black it was 2000,” she says. “We had just learned about blacks for the first time in second grade, at recess all the white kids chased me into the woods chanting ‘slave.’” 

Then Simpson takes over to speak for Bostley. “As a woman, having a boyfriend is a battle,” he says. “If 70 percent of us are abused in a lifetime what is the number of men doing it? The answer is not one man running faster than light to complete a mission and that is what leaves me sick.”

They each go on to tell one another’s story: 

“As a woman I’ve learned to answer to everything except my name,” Simpson says, while Bostley mouths his words. “‘Little Lady’ is not said to mean equal, but to make sure I remember my place. I battle between wanting to own my body and accepting there is a one in four chance a man will lay claim to my skin.” 

“Do you know what it feels like to be black? To pop-lock your way in and out of hugs — it is not a problem you want to sympathize,” Bostley says, speaking for Simpson. “But to tell me you know my pain is to stab yourself in the leg because you saw me get shot. We have two different wounds, and looking at yours does nothing to heal mine.” 

Finally the two switch back and speak for themselves. “I fight so my voice can be heard,” Bostley says. “I fight for the voices you silence all in the name of what is right.” Simpson continues, telling the crowd, “I am black and bold and beautiful by nature. Ain’t no income that can change that.” 

Watch the full video above to hear the rest of Bostley and Simpson’s riveting spoken word.




How To Make Friends As An Adult In 4 Simple Steps ~ Margaret Manning

As many people in their 50s have discovered, making friends as an adult is difficult. Without the social bonds that connect us to others as parents, many of us feel isolated — or even a little lonely.

The truth is that it is possible to have an active social life at any age — but, first, we need to accept the fact that making friends after 50 is an active process. We can no longer afford to wait for other people to come to us. We need to take action.

This is the main reason that I decided to build Boomerly. I wanted to create a place where older adults could go to meet like-minded people. Along the way, I had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people about their experiences making friends as an adult. Through these conversations, I learned that the people who succeed in building meaningful friendships as an adult are the ones that follow these four steps. 

Step 1: Start by Getting to Know Yourself

When you ask people how to make friends as an adult, they usually give you suggestions like, “just get out there,” “join a dance class,” or, “try speed dating.” On the surface, these are fine suggestions. After all, making friends does require us to get out into the world and take a few emotional risks.

Most of the time, however, we are not lacking for ideas on where to meet people. We are missing the motivation, confidence and self-esteem to get started. For this reason, most people find that reconnecting with themselves is a prerequisite to reconnecting with others.

Think back over the last five decades. Have you spent most of your life looking after other people? Have you left your own passions on the back-burner? Have you let your physical appearance go as you focused on raising your family? Do you feel a bit emotionally bruised by the disappointments that you have faced over the years? Do you have regrets that are holding you back?

Dealing with these issues won’t happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. If you don’t feel like “getting out there” right away, don’t force yourself. Instead, identify the issues that you can control in your life and focus on those.


Step 2: Develop Your Physical and Emotional Resources

If you feel tired, out of shape, or sad, most of the time, making friends is going to be extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple things that you can do to increase your physical and emotional resources.

Most people don’t realize just how disconnected from their bodies they have become until it is too late. Fitness after 50 is not about looking a certain way for other people. It is about having the energy and confidence to explore the world and make friends on your own terms.

Start small. Use the 1-minute technique to gradually increase your commitment to exercise. Get out into nature. Set a timer to remind yourself to get up every hour to stretch. Try gentle yoga.

Then, as your confidence and stamina improve, increase your level of commitment. Join a local gym or see if your community center has fitness equipment that you can use. Find a sport that you love. Whatever you do, do something.

While you build up your body, don’t forget to nourish your mind. Write down one thing every day that you are grateful for. Spend a few minutes every day in meditation or prayer. Learn to become your own best friend.

Step 3: Chase Your Passions, Not People

When people tell you to “get out there and make friends,” they are telling you to chase people. There are several problems with this approach. First, it puts other people on a pedestal. They are the prize to be won. Second, chasing other people simply doesn’t work. By this point in our lives, we know that the best way to push someone away is to follow them.

The alternative is to approach relationship building from a position of strength. Instead of chasing people, we need to chase our passions. This is the only way to meet people on an equal footing.

What have you always been passionate about? Are there any activities, sports, hobbies or skills that you sacrificed to give your family more attention? What fascinates you? What are you curious about? What gets you excited? These are the questions that you need to answer to make friends after 50.


Step 4: Be Proactive and Invite People Into Your Life

By the time you reach this step, you will be in great shape. You will have a better understanding of who you are and the kinds of people you want to attract. Perhaps most importantly, you will have recommitted yourself to exploring your passions and getting the most from life after 50. Now it’s time to invite people into your life.

As you explore the world, you will meet hundreds of people who share your interests. Don’t settle for acquaintances. Look for opportunities to bring people deeper into your life. Organize movie nights. Invite small groups over to your house for cocktails. Propose hiking trips. The specifics aren’t important. Just don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. They usually won’t.

Making friends as an adult is possible, but, it requires a new approach. Instead of relying on our social circumstances to bring people into our lives, we need to take the initiative. We need to learn to understand ourselves. We must build our confidence. We need to pursue our passions, not people. Then, when the time comes, we need to reach out and invite people into our lives.

What do you think are the secrets to making friends as an adult? Do you agree that the first step to improving our relationships with others is to learn to understand ourselves? Why or why not? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going.


Thankful Thursday – Brene Brown on joy and gratitude

“Vulnerability expert Brene Brown talks about the relationship between joy and gratitude and offers a few tips on how to cultivate more joy in your own life.” This video really needs no introduction; a simple yet profound message on the power of gratitude.

Gratitude is a practice, it must be cultivated and you must keep at it especially at the lowest points in life. My favorite part of this video is when Brown discusses how gratitude has changed the life of her children and the dynamics of her family; a simple man-made miracle that can take place everyday. The is the power of practicing gratitude.

“It’s not joy the makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.”

Always grateful. Enjoy.

Open Call for Submissions – Writers and Artists Wanted


Do you have an original piece that sheds new light on the human experience? Then please send it to minustheboxmag@gmail.com. The theme for the February issue is “I will survive – In Honor of One Billion Rising”

Minus the Box, a new quarterly online magazine, is requesting submissions to be included in its February issue. The magazine is dedicated to young, progressive, educated, and diverse self-identified women. There is no limit to what can be covered. All self-identified women are encouraged to submit; regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The more diverse the better. Our goal is to create a positive space where all young women can feel appreciated for the individuals that they are.

Submitted pieces should be thoroughly proofread, correctly cited – MLA format, and a minimum of 1000 words. Minus The Box does not pay for contributions, authors retain full copyright of their work. Although there is no monetary compensation, our goal is to heavily promote this publication and its featured writers. The act of submitting a piece for consideration constitutes the express permission for Minus The Box to publish that work. Please indicate if the work submitted has been previously published.

In order to be included in the magazine’s February 2013 issue, work must be submitted by January 28, 2013. Send submissions and a brief biography to minustheboxmag@gmail.com.