When was the last time you used or heard the word integrity? It is a word that is rarely used. I sometimes think of the word as a ghost/smoke or cloud that is moving further and further away from us. With luck, it might show up as the $10,000.00 word on a game show.

For many, integrity is nothing more than an inconvenience. It takes time, effort and just isn’t cost effective. I am amazed how often I see people lie and make empty promises. What I find more horrific is how easily and naturally their words flow. These people will say anything to be heard, to take up space and to silence others.

I watch them rebuff the challenges to their statements with ease. They shift shamelessly into what I call “Gas Light” mode and challenge your sanity. The good ol’ standby responses include but are not limited to silence, sighs, rolling eyes, hostile stares, blank stares, and my favorite, the “I never said that” chant. Note no exclamation mark needed here since the chant has been transformed in to a statement of fact.

  • The results create and nurture one sided historical accounts that justify/rationalize.
  • The stealing land and lives.
  • Placing profit over people.
  • Sacrificing the many for the few.
  • Blaming victims and rewarding/sympathizing with the aggressors.
  • Solving the easy and/or high profile crimes while ignoring cases that are too labor intensive.
  • Doping to win.
  • Building casinos to create (minimum wage) jobs.
  • Infidelity.
  • Winning games with deflated balls to inflate egos.
  • Letting the rich get richer, the folks in the middle get poor, and the poorer get squashed.
  • Increasing the minimum wage, which still won’t be able to support a minimal standard of living.
  • Allowing/encouraging/rewarding stealing ideas and discounting creativity.

Integrity is becoming an extinct value. To keep it alive, it may be necessary to travel with body cameras to family functions, places of worship, in the workplace, social and political gatherings, on public transportation, in newsrooms on the campaign trail, at the polling stations, and any black folks engaged in the following activities: driving/walking/shopping/ breathing/standing still.

As-salaam aleykum (peace)


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers…a lot. Her column appears regularly in Oddball Magazine.