So y’all already know I think and process in song lyrics.
Trump: This monster who was onstage with Mike Pence…
Senator Harris: Just killed another career it’s a mild day… (Nicki Minaj, Monster)
I got your monster, you joker!
We all saw VP Pence do that white patriarchal privilege bullshit at the VP debate on Tuesday, speaking over Senator Harris, attempting to force her to bend to his whim, mansplaining, being condescendingly disrespectful, undermining her intelligence and experience, and speaking to her as he was the superior intellectual on the stage. But like a true Boss, she tapped that. She gave him the business. She did so with full on face language in moments that cursing him to hell would have been inappropriate, by coming at him with facts, and calling him on his lies despite his evangelical tone.
“Ok first things first I’ll eat your brains…”
Meanwhile Black women far and wide could relate, and were posting and group texting about how they endured that same level of sexism that showed itself in his ‘the man will get the last word’ behavior and the added intersection of race that led him to question her qualifications and experience like she could not be the most qualified and experienced person on stage. It is a reality we are all too familiar with, sadly. We are often the first or the only in the room. Our intelligence, skill, and ability questioned and excused as good guesses and somehow only pursued to engage in some nefarious activity like we are all out here on our Jamila Davis. No shade to Jamila… she’s a Boss in her own right.
Not just victims of sexism or racism, Black women face the intersectional realities of being both Black and female in a nation that hates women and both fears and despises Black people. We are often marginalized by everyone… White men, White women, and sometimes Black men. We are labeled as weak of mind to expose our alleged inferiority to White men, but strong of body like animals, to inform our need to be controlled like savages. While white women are seen as needing protection to maintain some false purity standards. Yet we are among the most highly educated group of people in America, we have increased our entrepreneurial efforts by over 200% in recent years, and we are making it harder for anyone to deny our skills, talents, and success by how unapologetic we are being about spreading our accomplishments across the social sphere. Despite the stereotypes, we are professional, educated, skilled, and respected in every facet of American finance, law, industry, government, education, healthcare, technology, art… everything!
“You could be the King but watch the Queen conquer”
The truth is, like Senator Harris, we come prepared with a script on how to handle these shenanigans, borrowed from the boardroom and translated now across every place where we take up space. Our facial expressions say everything from …
And when you don’t get those, we are forced to use our inside voices and our SAT words to slice you a new asshole, and you know it’s happening, but it’s done with such precision and care, you don’t know you are a bloody mess. Then we settle back into ourselves to give you a chance to right your wrongs. But when you question our very presence, you can’t help but be a bigot and throw your privilege around like a boomerang… until we again, less gently, fact check the shit out of you, and your own privilege ricochets to smack you upside the head. We have an answer for your every move, but it’s an exhausting game that we have been told we must tiptoe around to avoid being cast as the very stereotypes that haunt us.
But I am here to tell you, after a decade of fighting with White men and women with my pen, careful words, tempered anger, and lowered voice, I can tell you that it won’t change your circumstance or their behavior to stay in the pocket. Being angry at mistreatment is normal, you don’t have to scream and holler but you can surely call out their discrimination, bias, privilege, and disrespect by name as your full self without worrying about the stereotypes you might fall into. You were born into these stereotypes, they aren’t yours by ownership though to claim or discard. God gave you a voice to speak up and out, to educate the ignorant, and to call out the clowns. You were put into that position divinely.
You don’t think some fool man tried to take over Harriet’s plan and try to mansplain to her how to best cross the delta in the darkness… you know Soloman B. did. But Harriet’s sideeye said to him…”How many slaves have you freed?”
You don’t think some extra dainty White woman hasn’t tried to tell Serena Williams a lithe body would fare her better in tennis, of course Amy did. But Serena had to politely tell her with a laugh… “I got Masters you just got plans.” But Queen Serena wasn’t joking.
You don’t think some White man told Oprah she’d never amount to anything more than a local TV host, of course Tanner did. But now Tanner works for her, and at the latest Harpo picnic Oprah invited Jay-Z to perform … “Call me a Phil Collins I feel a billion is in the air. I affiliate with Billy Gates, that’s my peer.” (Jay-Z, A Billi)
So my sistas, don’t cower, don’t bend or beg, don’t wait for scraps. Let them know you are there and if you don’t get equal pay, equal billing, and equal time where you have earned it, first you’ll ask for it. Then you’ll take it. Periodt!