Having My Say: Ramblings of Professor Marsha


365 Days of Retirement: "I Love Natural Hair"

The Matriarch


Humbled: FB Birthday Wishes Thank You

Electric Shock Therapy Used on Autistic Students

August 29, 2014 12:49 PM PT

#dssSurvivor #scleroderma #retirement #Siblings #family

I recently relocated to the San Diego area to fulfill a lifelong dream and also better manage my scleroderma. When I arrived, my brother Kyle gave me this awesome "housewarming gift."


No, I'm no where near retirement so I could not quite understand the intent... unless he was telling me that I LOOK old enough to be retired (as brothers do). Then, I noted the author. It is the work of my first cousin, Duane Filer, chronicling his first year as a retiree. He shared a story involving a trip to see one of Kyle's hometown friends perform at the Troubadour Nightclub in Beverly Hills. While the entire experience is engaging, I was struck by a passage in which Duane describes his fondness for natural hair:

My favorite bank tellers at the Bank of America in Carson are Shayna and Jackie. Shayna is this beautiful young black girl who is doing this beautiful/popular thing with her hair - JUST LETTING IT GROW WITHOUT ANY CHEMICALS ON IT...NO STRAIGHTENING...AND IT LOOKS GREAT. My nieces and even Arinn [his daughter] are trying this natural hairstyle - which I prefer sooooooooo much over the long colored weaves. Hey......... I love natural hair! (pg. 637)

I just thought how terribly nice to have such a wonderful affirmation of the natural beauty in women. And I happen to know Duane; he is a highly intelligent man who has devoted his entire life to family and community service. Ladies -- this is male advice we can trust!



Original post, Mothers Day 2014;
Reposted August 28, 2014
in celebration of the birthday of Matriarch Aunt Phyllis Davis for all of your unconditional love and guidance throughout my entire life.

“We will never have better men, until we have better women.” ~ Ethel Burson

My mother was a Family Matriarch. Like most women of her day, she felt it was important to “tow a line” and that line fell to the woman. Sure, she believed that men were the heads of the household but it could not be achieved without the assistance of a woman who had a vision and sense of purpose, usually enough for both! One of her favorite jokes was a fond description of Eve’s beginning: “Sure! The Good Lord took a rib from Adam to create Eve; it was the very first miracle because that rib immediately turned into a BACKBONE!” She was the planner, cook, housekeeper, hostess, family organizer, keeper of family secret’s, family policy and law holder, homework director, and wielder of the switch, referee. She was WISDOM. If others cast stones at her mistakes, she would take those stones to build stronger foundations in her children. However, if someone cast stones at her children, she came out swinging. She used family issues to build her family stronger; creating a fortress of solitude necessary for children to flourish. She kept it impenetrable from all outsider predators. All children knew they could trust one person in the family, the Family Matriarch. I’m sure you all know a Family Matriarch whether she (or he) has been given that title or not.

Family Matriarchs extend beyond their immediate families because they understand it does take an “entire village to rear children” who will grow to reach their fullest potential. Friends often recall that they felt comfortable talking to Mama when they came to visit me. She always made everyone feel “right at home.” But family and friends didn’t run rick shed all over the house at that time anyway. We knew how to behave; most children were raised on “the truth shall set you free” and “The Golden Rule.” (I wonder how many people even remember what the Golden Rule is?) However, no matter what mistakes we may have made as children (and I was NOT an easy teenager/young adult by the stretch of any distorted imagination), she found the recipe that continues feed Michael, Kyle, and I the glue that she knew we would need to carry on in her absence; she took care of everything.


Family Matriarchs know that God blesses generations, not individuals. Mama made a conscious choice to protect her children, and their generations to come, from many of the dark spirits that plague all families (NO FAMILY IS WITHOUT!). This is what a matriarch does – she prepares a better future for her children for in doing so; she knows she is preparing an even better future for her grandchildren and beyond. Mama knew a priceless and valuable secret – the Lord cannot champion a lie and He is the only One who can heal the pain of betrayal. If He is on your side, what else matters? In order to manifest the power she believed she held in the blood of Christ, she lived on truth. I was fortunate to spend time to hear many revelations in my older “wiser” days as I sat by her hospital bedside silently wondering why in the hell did I put this woman through all that I did????? However, for the mistakes she believed she made, my mother apologized to me. She apologized for not having a clearer understanding of depression and how it could make me feel or behave. She felt responsible as my mother, and I get that. She also confided that she felt it was important to raise girls differently from boys because a woman’s walk is not gentle in this world (and we know this is true, even worse, today). And while Mama wasn’t perfect, she did little to have to apologize for because she lived true to what she stood for. I know how she felt about me because what she said to others she said to my face. And each painful truthful word built me into who I am today (that’s another story).

Too many have forgotten that the Family Matriarch is the Queen to be treated as the Bride of Christ (as Christ would treat His people). But too many matriarchs have forgotten how to rise above the spiritual turmoil that comes to destroy families. They fall into seasons of un forgiveness, mean spiritedness, and idleness. Without the matriarch, the family structure falls into disarray. I am sure you know a family which, either through death or other relationship barrier, has failed to be able to recover a family matriarch. Right or wrong, someone must serve. Someone must provide focus in order for children to feel secure. How can children come to feel safe in families in which chaos is allowed to rule? So the way of the Matriarch; so goes the way of the family -- positive or negative.

I loved (and still am delighted to be able to still see some) family matriarchs I have come to love in my lifetime – my GG, Daisy Burson, who controlled the Usher's Pew at church (and got all the respect), my sister-in-law Nedra (super Matriarch with 4 kids), all of my family (Burson, Whitfield, Hunt), my beautiful niece and the mothers of my nephews' children (all in Matriarch training) and that of children's father's family (EVERYONE knew his mother, “Aunt Mary” and HIS Aunt Barbara was named after mine; how could I not love them) -- the mothers of my friends – some were even neighborhood matriarchs...Aunt Phyl kept a switch on top of the china cabinet. She didn't have to use it but the reminder kept us in line!! You COULDN’T kidnap too many of us because there were too many eyes on us! I see the love poured into me from every Matriarch I have had the pleasure to encounter flowing through the eyes of my own children. I enjoy honoring them especially now as a woman who, even with 20 years in as a mother, still am FAR, FAR behind in the wisdom they have to share.

It is my simple prayer that THIS Mother’s Day, all families get back on track. It is OK to fall down. But we must get back into the “blessing of generations” business. Everything before now, this moment, gone – that is how forgiveness works. It may take time for wounds and injuries to heal. Governments can take way privileges and freedoms, employers can take away jobs, but I refuse to let anyone take away the future of my family because I promise you it IS going to be better. If your family hasn’t quite found a Family Matriarch – be one. If you have one, support her. This life is hard, hard, hard, especially for women. And in the words of my very good friend, Shelly Madison, let us learn to fight the dark spirits that bind us – not each other…

Recognize the difference and keep moving forward.
Happy Mother's Day, 2014

AUGUST 15, 2014 7:47 PM ET

"A riot is the language of the unheard." Dr. Martin Luther King


#Ferguson #TrayvonMartin #EricGarner #MichaelBrown

Some people always overlook the blood, tears, and loss of life that have paved each path to such desperate acts. No matter what injustice happens in the Black community, there are still those who find a reason to somehow see nothing but a few unruly folks getting out of hand and make comments alluding to the fact that our mistreatment is somehow warranted because, as a community, we do not know how to behave when wronged.


Do not be deceived. The media may not show it but there are people of all backgrounds, races, cultures, and faiths supporting the #Ferguson community and protesting against the local law enforcement brutality. Many are waking up.
Many know that if we do not value one life, we value none. Many know that time is near before several communities could find themselves under siege by local police forces equipped with military grade weaponry but no proper training. Law enforcement personnel are the experts in public safety. They should be trained in how to AVOID escalation and LEAD the public in this manner (not unlike teachers should know how to avoid escalating issues in the classroom). No one skips into an arrest. There is a great opportunity to help make changes for the better for many communities across the country if we can overlook the cosmetic issues that take precedence over the real tragedy.

But to the few who seem to see "looting" and "rioting" as the greatest difficulty here, then let us review a few truths:

Suspicion of a crime in the Black community often leads to the death of the unarmed. I, for one, would rather see this trend stopped now as it IS spilling out to other areas of society. But it is MOST PREVALENT in the Black community.

Suspicion of guilt (OR JAYWALKING) does not warrant a gunning down in a street (and being left like an animal -- this is someone's child).

For decades, issues related directly to the Black community have been pushed aside and ignored, especially since many felt the election of President Obama signaled a perceived "end" to racism issues. The disorder you see is the result of waiting too long on a justice system that never seems to get it right with us.

Can we not all agree:

A child gunned down walking home from a convenience store is wrong..
A child gunned down for jaywalking is wrong.
An unarmed man choked to death for suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes (after he had just broken up a fight himself)....???? Really???

August 7, 2014 5:55 PM ET



I know Facebook serves to give us a shameless 15 minutes of fame, but every year at this time, I am reminded of how terribly blessed my life has been.  Through all the challenges of “the now”, we often forget about all the people who helped nudge us back to the proper path when the journey got more than just a little rocky. 

With each name read on my wall, I recall how you have touched my life in some unique way. To be able to have so many wonderful people take time to consider me on this day is truly awesome!  I am especially grateful to have been able to reconnect with some childhood friends who gave my spirit a chance to reflect on the feelings of  youth.  You know me best and have held steadfast through valleys, mountains, feast, famine, tears, and laughter.  Best birthday present was spending time with everyone in California in July! 

My Facebook prayer for the coming year is that I am able to offer a prayer, comforting words, or just support when it is needed. I believe that we owe it to each other to make sure our meetings always touch the lives of others in some positive way.

I’m so thankful that God loves me, I’m happy and blessed to reflect it in return, for as many more birthdays as He allows! Thank  you for your birthday wishes!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8

August 7, 2014


Electric Shock Therapy Used on Autistic Students at Judge Rotenberg Center in Cambridge Massachusetts.

#Really? #WhatHaveWeBecome?

When I first became aware of this story on CBS, I was immediately reminded of the movie Frances, the story of Frances Farmer played phenomenally and unforgettably by actress Jessica Lange. As one diagnosed with depression as a teenager, I was once asked if I would consider electric shock therapy. The news of this story caused the very same chill to rise on the back of my neck. I have to believe that we have come far beyond the antiquated and obsolete mental disorder treatments of the 30s and 40s AND EARLIER. As some of the most dependent members of society, mental health patients should find comfort from others not a dangerous threat of pain in order to curb what is perceived as offending behavior.

Autism is a neurological disorder that cannot be SHOCKED away. Many autistic children cannot even communicate how painful the treatment is. This is why I applaus Jennifer's decision to champion this issue even more. As an educator and parent, I would NEVER treat a child in this manner. I know that we are constantly seeking ways to help children find success in the classroom but THIS is NOT it.

Lavender essential oil burning gently in the background, hugs, praises, a calm voice -- these are all techniques that can positively affect behavior in the classroom. I am hoping this treatment is banned.


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Professor Marsha


Marsha Burson Bass, ABD




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Having My Say: Ramblings of Professor Marsha

September 2014:

I Had the Meanest Mother in the World

August 2014:

365 Days of Retirement: "I Love Natural Hair"

The Matriarch


Humbled: FB Birthday Wishes Thank You

Electric Shock Therapy Used on Autistic Students


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