That night John met Debbie at the door when she got home.
“How was it?” he asked excitedly.
“I’m sorry I forgot to call you,” she replied in a stressed tone that spoke volumes about her day. “The meeting was very good. But when I got back to my office, the place was on fire, and I didn’t have a moment to call.”
“What advice did he give you?”
“Nothing?” John asked in disbelief.
“Nope. He said he wanted to get to know me and give me a chance to know him. He said we would have time in the months ahead to find the answer to my question about what makes a great leader.”
“So you asked him?” John wondered.
“Yeah. He said it was an outstanding question, and we would explore it together later.”
“So you spent how long getting to know each other?”
“Almost an hour,” Debbie said.
“Wow! What did you learn?”
“I came to two conclusions based on today’s meeting,” Debbie said. “One, Jeff is a good listener. And two, I know very little about the people on my team.”
Spanish Texas was not a great place to be a woman of African descent. Black women in Texas suffered from social and legal constraints upon their freedom. Spanish society left a legacy of racism that relegated blacks to the lowest caste and allowed many to be held as property until the Mexican Revolution concluded in 1821. However, Spanish laws and then the Mexican Revolution held some opportunities for black women to gain their freedom and even rise in social and economic stature. However, the Texas Revolution, supposedly fought for freedom from tyranny, erased centuries of the promise of freedom for black women in Texas and fastened the legal and social distinction of slavery upon them much more firmly.
Africans and their descendants accompanied the Spanish from the earliest years of conquest of America both as free and as slave, and they continued to occupy an important place in the development of the Spanish colonies. In areas where labor demands were high, such as in Peru, the Spanish brought in hundreds of African slaves. However, the predominant labor force in most of Spanish America continued to be Native Americans who were not enslaved but treated as peasants who owed tribute to the conquering Europeans. Spanish authorities might have preferred three distinct classes—free Spaniards, Indian peasants, and African slaves—but what actually evolved was much more complicated. The paucity of Spanish women enticed many Spanish men to have liaisons with women of the other classes, and whether or not the liaisons were legally sanctioned through marriage, the children of such unions often were recognized. Additionally, Native Americans and Africans living and working in proximity often formed liaisons of their own, so that there emerged a complex caste system with full-blooded Spanish at the top, full-blooded Africans at the bottom, and gradations in between including full-blooded Indians, and mixed-blooded people of every group.1
ost people can identify situations and events that trigger their states of sadness. And, as the situation responsible for those feelings passes with time, most people overcome their melancholy and are able to move on with their lives. This is known as situational depression. For others, however, when the events or situations that trigger bouts of sadness are overwhelming or unrelenting, the body, mind, and spirit are incapable of adjusting to the emotional demands placed upon them, and clinical depression is the result. This type of depression usually results from disturbances in the brain and endocrine system, which regulate our moods. Many factors can affect this disturbance. The Golden Rules and themes discussed in this chapter can help you alleviate the harsher edges of depression.
CLINICAL DEPRESSION—ILLNESS OF THE BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT
Some of the world’s most acclaimed and talented people struggle with clinical depression. It affects people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders from every walk of life, making most of us vulnerable. Approximately 25 percent of Americans suffer varying degrees of clinical depression at some point during their lives. Almost all depression results from a combination of factors, including drug or alcohol abuse, environmental factors, heredity, nutritional and hormonal imbalances, personal loss, side effects of medications, stress, and trauma—emotional, spiritual, or physical. In addition, depression often accompanies chronic illnesses, such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, or debilitating heart or lung disease. For people who are depressed, the condition usually represents a significant amount of unhappiness and, in the most severe cases, results in bouts of total despair and disability, and may even end in suicide. Therefore, depression is not a casual concern, and you should be aware of the signs and symptoms so you will know if you or someone you love needs professional assistance. The following are the most common and well-known symptoms of major depression: