All My Life I had to Fight

Oh you know…

Mrs. Sophia is home now and there are about to be some truths told and some discussions had. Mrs. Sophia is the collective 40+ Black Woman who has lived a little life, turned a couple of heads, kissed a few toads, had to tell some wrinkled old ass White lady in the store that she is not her errand girl or handmaid and will not be cut off or disrespected, and had to get into someone’s actual ass, like a baby mole, because they fail to get the message… I AIN’T THE ONE!

Imma be all over the place this time, cuz this is an all over the place kind of conversation. But bear with me, because I guarantee you are gonna wanna shout, do a praise dance, sit in silence, and plan as my girl called it “a pajama and bonnet caper” all at the same time after you read some of these stories I’m about to tell you. So let’s jump in the deep water.

• • •

A girlfriend of mine sought my counsel (I’m kind and smart, but twice as ignorant and very liable to choose violence… in other words, very wise counsel) because her Black child’s predominately White school decided it was a good idea to take a trip to Monticello and Jamestown. Wait… one second. Monticello, the place where Thomas Jefferson owned 600 slaves that does tours of slave quarters. The same place he impregnated his slave, a woman he OWNED, who was not considered a WHOLE HUMAN, Sally Hemmings, with six children. A place where young Black girls were enslaved and raped. THAT place. And Jamestown, the site where Africans stolen from their land were sold to White plantation owners who enslaved these people in what turned out to be hundreds of years of violent servitude. We have primarily White teachers taking their White students and a handful of Black and Hispanic children on this trip down fucked up memory lane. You wanna beat them over the head with your privilege?

I have been to Monticello, now I hear that now they are much more forthright about Jefferson’s slaveowner history. But it’s been clear… the slave cabins are still standing. They talked more about his china service than the very real historical implications of this plantation. So my friend was concerned about how these teachers were prepared to have discussions about slavery in Monticello and Jamestown and asked such questions to the teachers and staff promoting the trip… and she was ready to scrap if the answer was wrong. Cuz this is often our lives. Taking responsibility for educating clueless White people on how their actions, choices, decisions have racial implications and moreover exposing to them how unprepared they are for the ricochet. Be clear its not always a contentious conversation, but we go into it ready to pounce. There are just some fights we shouldn’t have to continue to have… but yet ALL my life I had to fight.

• • •

Another friend of mine moved her family to take a position that promised upward mobility, greater responsibility, and support in meeting her professional goals. Not very long into her position, she realized that while she was extremely qualified for the role, they had hit the jackpot by hiring a qualified, Black, female for this job. So many tokens earned off the one hire. And like a company that lack diversity and inclusionary policies, she soon realized she had jumped in a chlorinated pool of White tears and privilege. But Black girls put on a swim cap and a one-shoulder ruffled one piece… and swim. So after being questioned by one of her colleagues to the point of harassment, she had to “per my last email”, “to reiterate” and “kind regards” her way to Human Resources. If “Get this bitch the fuck off of me QUICK” was a person….

Understand… I can get her off of me, but neither of you will like how I do it. This is a professional environment, and if you want to keep this Eames chair and Steelcase desk you paid a thousand dollars for from sailing through the hallway at her big ass head, I suggest you be the one to remind her of where we are. For many Black women in the corporate space, the expectation to keep quiet and tolerate discrimination and bias; being overlooked and underpaid; having folks think they can touch or comment on our braids, natural hair, or African wax print blouse, or for that matter any parts of ourselves, is still a power play. But we often out work these clowns and are more educated and experienced, and know we can take our talents elsewhere… so it’s in a company’s best interest to ensure it’s slow are made fast and those of limited intellect are made whole. I mean there is always the parking lot… cuz All MY life I had to fight.

And just so we are clear, this is not necessarily a White v. Black issue, but a Supremacy & Privilege v. Black issue. There are some real self-hating Black people who align with the discrimination and anti-Black tactics in the workplace (and out). One of my former co-workers was often commented upon by a jealous hating ass Black woman in a management position, about her body. Sis is thick like Luke dancers, and this woman would ask her about having work done, what undergarments she wore, why her body was shaped that way, and why her clothes fit like they did. “Why is your body so big and your stomach so flat?”

See… I can’t even put into words how magnificently I would have burrowed myself so deep in her ass she’d have been defacating dance videos, candy corn, J. Alexander crab cakes, and Jordans for three months. But alas when this same old miserable cow attempted this line of similar foolishness with me, I let her know all bets were off in your neighborhood Spartan store… and there was nothing but space and opportunity outside the company gates. I was prepared to make her pay for all the Africans who sold slaves off the coast of Congo, and each of the “my name is Toby… the first time” slaves who readied young Sally with a lemongrass bath and a starched yellowed petticoat to Jefferson’s liking. While White folks are lynching us in the streets and in our homes while we sleep or watch tv, often there are a few folks that look like you who try to hang you by the rope they are dangling from. But nope… you can’t take me out. All my life I HAD TO fight.

• • •

So here we come full circle. As much as you shouldn’t try me, my kid is a war you don’t want… and don’t let it be a race war, I’m playing whack-a-mole with a frying pan. My kid had to be about five and his teacher, a substitute, called a group of Black boy children being a little disruptive… but it was KINDERGARDEN so there’s that… thugs. Yep, you read it right. THUGS. I picked him up, dedpite bring under the weather, and he told me immediately upon getting in the car. So I slid into a parking space, got my blanket and my box of tissues, and we proceeded to her classroom where I went off for for every wronged Black student since Ruby Bridges.

I inquired whether calling her, she was Arabic, brothers terrorists would be acceptable, or whether talking to her with a stereotypical “hiyact” or “ach” attached to English words would be offensive… as I sneezed, collected snot rags in my palm, and swaddled myself in the Spongebob blanket. She didn’t say much, and the couple in the room with us were chuckling when I was serious. I reminded her that boys and girls, young little ladies and young lads, or descendants of African Kings and Queens, was to be the extent if her name calling. She remarked she hadn’t said it to my son. “They are ALL my sons!” I exclaimed. Listen, I won’t bring you none, but don’t start none either! All my life I had to FIGHT.

Fight for respect from old, racist, crotch rotted Millys. Fight for my people against Donald and David and their lynchmob of good ole’ boys. Fight against Candaces and Condoleezas who were live and in living color Pecola Breedloves secretly hoping for blond hair and blue eyes to the point of being cultural turncoats. Fight against Karen and her group of Susans and their fragility and tears, while siccing their racist hounds upon us. See while fighting for a seat at the table or for the capital to buy our own table, against racism, for diversity and inclusion, against the “strong, Black, invincible” woman trope, we still gotta knuckle up against other humans. It’s exhausting, we tired. But trust, while my sister is about to go in with a hot 16 on dat ass, I’m always there to be her hype man, repeating the last word of every sentence, to let folks know, “Mrs Sophia home… and things are gonna change round here!”

Bonnet Applebum

Ya’ll have taken bonnets so far… to places they never imagined they would go. Misgynoir. Hating Black women. False narratives. Freedom. Being chastised by a woman with her breasts hanging free in a robe on a video broadcast beyond just outside, but for everyone to see. My sweet babies never did anything to anybody but try to preserve your roller set while you slept. But like ya’ll do, it’s gone too far.

This is simple shit. Let me tell you what it is not before I tell you what it is. It’s not misogynoir. Stop it. Stop that now. So someone pointed out to me that it’s been said durags, the Black male version of a bonnet, are worn outside and haven’t received as much static. Others that the bonnet is just a stand in for anything that represents a Black woman’s freedom, and this backlash as a way to police our freedom by limiting our comfort. Nope and nope. Back in the late 90s when durags came in black and the occasional white, Black guys started wearing them under their caps, tied with the flap in the wind, or untied flaps to the side similar to a Nemes headdress worn by Egyptian pharaohs. In fact it’s designed in exactly the same style.

In 2001 and 2005, this primarily Black cultural item was banned by the NFL and NBA and then several school districts as gang related. This item made specifically to help lay down hair to create a 360 degree wave hairstyle, which was coincidentally (or not) started in ancient Egypt was not gang related but used as a tool of racism. So it cannot be said bonnets are receiving some unprecedented hatred. In protest, durags in multiple colors and styles started being worn by Black men and women. This isn’t new… but I would venture it is different.

Venture with me… take a walk if you will. The original version of “Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest was rapped by Q-Tip in a typical rap cadence that confirmed to the beat. He read an 1985 issue of SPIN magazine with an interview with Miles Davis who spoke about using pauses, or moments of silence in the song, to create space for conversation between the notes, the instruments, or in this case, the words. When the song was mixed for the ATCQ first album, Q-Tip slowed down the cadence and used pauses to mimic having a conversation with a young lady about his interest in her. “Hey Bonita (pause) Glad to meet ya!”

Bonnets, Bonnets, Bonnets…

Bonnets aren’t being chastised by the White establishment as some object of racial negativity. This is mainly sistas talking to other sistas, a moment of pause, to create a conversation about the phenomenon of wearing hair bonnets outside as a head covering. Every sista doesn’t engage her peers in the most compassionate and understanding way… understood. However, this isn’t an attack, it’s an observation and the attempt at conversation. Women in my age range were taught that you don’t go outside representing yourself poorly… you can be unique,yourself, and comfortable while being the best version of yourself. There was a separation between what you did in the privacy of your home and how you showed up outside those doors. Women in younger generations seem to attach themselves to the IDGAF mantra, and present and dress however they want in any forum. Social media has blurred the lines of private and public and all of your life is on display, so there is no privacy. No one is trying to police Black women, but simply trying to understand and educate. The hair bonnet is a tool of self-care, like your perm rods to set your natural hairstyle, your nightgown, your unicorn slippers, your pajamas with the feet in them, or the little pieces of paper you stick to your face after you do your weekly facial. Self-care can be many things, and one of those things is engaging in sacred self rejuvenation to reenergize and reinvigorate. We typically emerge from these rituals ready for the opportunity that awaits us. Oh you fancy hunh?

And that doesn’t mean we present how men want us to, or White people want us to, but how we feel our best and most prepared selves. Being able to present that self to the world is freedom. She can be fresh faced or made up, hair natural or straight or brown or blue, clothing tailored or bohemian, pierced or tatted or bejeweled or thicker than a snicker. But she is prepared for the opportunities she wants to find her, so she can scoop them up and take advantage of them. The blurring of the private and public is real, but that doesn’t make everything private, it makes it ALL public. Saying mind your business is cute, but if I’m the one with the opportunity that you want, good luck with that! How you present is my business. Freedom is more than just doing what you want. Lots of people in jail did what they wanted…

Freedom is the ability to be our best self without constraint, to practice self-determination in a responsible and bold manner, and to have equitable access to the reservoir of opportunity. When our choice of head gear was being used to discriminate against and punish us along racial lines, we cut patterns out of floral velvet, lace, and rhinestone mesh and made a fashion statement of it. When our hairstyles were being banned at work we made noise, made our natural hair a cultural phenomenon, and got legislation passed to protect our right to wear our hair as it grows from our head or any other way we choose. But labeling bonnet gate some kind of ministry against Black women by some phantom Black woman hater is bordering on the dramatic. Mainly because it’s us heeding the call. I don’t hate Black women… I am a Black woman with a drawer full of bonnets, naturally curly hair, and an occasional bad hair day. Yet I despise seeing women in bonnets in public.

Now I’m not gonna sweet baby you to death and approach you about the bonnet on your head in Target. I am not gonna do a bonnet call to action. I’m not going to tell you what you cannot do… you certainly can wear a bonnet in public. But I am going to tell you that object was not made for outside wear. That object is a tool of comfort, and if you feel most comfortable in it, more power to you, but chances are you are hiding or protecting what’s underneath it. If you are hiding it, trust that the bonnet is worse. If you are trying to preserve your curls for your date night, trust that ain’t the way. There are a bevy of scarves and headwraps made so that you can do just that, and still present like the free woman you are, who does and wears what she wants, who is ALSO prepared to meet all the best opportunities the world may offer you at any moment. You are best prepared for that with your bonnet on your bedside table. Trust me.

What I am not interested in though, ever… is the false narratives we didn’t author being the reason why we make choices. What White people or men think… which is often the underlying idea… especially when those thoughts are teamed with racial and sexual stereotypes and biases, should never be our raison d’être. Ever. Fuck racism and sexism twice. That is not our ministry. Everything that centers Black women does not have to be about or regarding negativity surrounding our Blackness and our womanhood. Black women are highly policed in terms of how we present. Black women are also highly criticized for how we look while simultaneously mimicked by the most famous White women in the world. So I get it, but this isn’t that. This is simply another sista reminding you who you are, what our freedom looks like, and how we can seek and express that freedom responsibly and boldly free from racist and sexist gaze. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, especially our younger selves, that our freedom, my sweet babies, doesn’t look like anyone else’s… it’s intersectional, complicated, and more nuanced. Let’s not confuse us reminding each other who we are for misogynoir. That’s not hot. And you can accept it or reject it, but I’m gonna always put you on…

black is the magic color

This isn’t about Black Girl Magic or Black Boy Joy. In fact, all magic isn’t good… and that’s what I’m here to talk about today ladies & gentleman, boys and girls. Black is the color of American racism… it’s the color that most threatens White supremacy and privilege, the magic color of hate and racism. So today, this, this is about calling that out, and simultaneously honoring the lives and protesting the deaths of Trayvon, Mike, Alton, Amadou, Breonna, George, Philando, Akai, Freddie, Oscar, Jordan, Ahmaud, Daunte, Atatianna, Sandra, Tamir, Ma’Khia, and all of our other murdered Black people at the hands of White people and police officers that most often goes unpunished.

Murders supported by the powers that be, per their lack of action.

I’m all for anti-discrimination legislation. Full stop.

Black people have a history of enslavement that dates back to the 1600s in America. We were the subject of Black Codes which limited our movement in post-slavery America; legal lynchings; Jim Crow practices in the South that maintained segregation; and continuing programs, policies, and legislation in housing, education, finance, employment, and politics in national, state, and local levels. While the 14th Amendment and Title VII have been enacted to seemingly deter racism, these and other anti-racism and anti-discrimination laws do little to stop the outright racist killings of Black people, even unarmed Black people.

The Dyer anti-lynching law was introduced in 1918, to make lynching illegal. 103 years later… ONE HUNDRED THREE… this bill is still awaiting passage in the Senate. 103 years. The act of hoisting a Black body from a tree limb, in public, by a rope, from the neck, is not EXPRESSLY illegally federally, after that practice claimed so many lives throughout Black history in America. One hundred and three years later we are still waiting for that law to pass Congress. Yet in 1998, James Byrd was effectively lynched by being dragged by truck until his head was severed. Black is the color of racism.

In 1999, 22 years ago…TWENTY TWO… Amadou Diallo was shot by police officers after being mistaken for a rapist, while unarmed. He was shot several times in his armpits, showing he had his hands up in surrender to the police. Yet just a few days ago a thirteen year old child, shown in a video with his empty hands raised above his head, was killed by police, and a young lady defending herself with a kitchen knife against adult women at her own home was shot and killed by a police officer, no deescalation tactics used. These kinds of stories come every few months if not every few days. So many times White police officers enter situations involving Black people and deadly force is the only tactic they recall, not deescalation, disarming, crisis management, nothing. The only skill they recall with Black people is how to fire bullets into our bodies. Yet Dylan Roof killed Black parishioners in a church and got Burger King after, and probably his choice of Coke or Sprite. Black is the color of bias.

In 1998, along with James Byrd, Mathew Shepard was murdered, but not because of his race, Shepard was a White gay male. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act which added gender and sexual orientation to the 1969 Hate Crimes Act, and removed the requirement for race based hate crime victims to be engaged in certain federal activities. The law did nothing to make lynching a federal crime and is known as the Mathew Shepard Act because of its sweeping addition of gender and sexual orientation based additions to the law. While we can all agree it was a necessary and needed piece of legislation, Congress failed to effectively legislate on a practice that Black people in America had feared and faced for hundreds of years. Black is the color of inequality.

In 2020, COVID-19 spread throughout America. In part due to the then administrations messaging regarding the virus being a “Chinese virus” due to it’s impetus in Wuhan, China, anti-Asian attitudes heightened in America. This led to the introduction of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. This came to a head on March 16th when six Asians were killed in Atlanta. By April 22nd, just yesterday, the bill had passed both the House and Senate. It will surely become legislation once signed by President Biden. While we can all agree this is a necessary and needed piece of legislation, Black people have been being shot and killed by police and targeted by racists with weapons they should not have since well before COVID. Yet police and gun reform remain elusive, and people still coddle and make excuses for White people who murder Black people. Black is the color of injustice.

Hate, bias, discrimination, injustice, inequality… are all colored with the Black crayon in American culture. Devoid of light… dark… negative… unworthy. But we know better. We know we are enchanting, captivating, joyous, charming, fantastic, mystical, mysterious, desirable, amazing, miraculous, and magical. Black is not the absence of light, it is the physical absorption of every hue of visible light. We must act like we know who we are despite how others might try to convince us otherwise!

We must demand better. We must use our vote, our financial power, our voices to demand better. We can post Black Lives Matter memes and Black fists raised in solidarity in social media all day, but until we truly hold America accountable for the way it backseats Black life because of the notion that our magic makes them disappear, those posts hold no weight and don’t elevate us. The haters already know we are magic…

“Hate won’t get you high as this
Levitate, levitate, levitate, levitate”-Kendrick Lamar

“I really didn’t expect to live long…”

Those are lyrics, words, a “Prayer” from rapper DMX, who died today after overdosing on narcotics. We wish him peace, after what has been a self-admitted difficult, tumultuous, and traumatic life that was dotted with moments of brightness, great success, and much fanfare. DMX was the shit, ya heard! Nobody could make us lose our minds… say it with me… “up in here, up in here” like the Dark Man. He kept it trill always, and we wish him serenity and calm and happiness. We love you DMX!

This mantra of dying young is one we hear way too often by young Black successful rappers. Their lyrics are filled with premonitions of early death.

“What’s the 27 club? We ain’t making it past 21.” Juice WRLD, deceased

“Every breath I get closer to the death of me.” Like Me, Joey Bada$$

“Never we sleep, a thug doesn’t rest,
Cause a wise man said: it was a cousin of death”-Who Is a Thug, Big Pun, deceased

“I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death”, N.Y. State of Mind, Nas

“Tell the homies I’m in heaven, and they ain’t got hoods.” Thugz Mansion, Tupac, deceased

I don’t wanna live no more, sometimes I hear death knockin’ at my front door.” Everyday Struggle, Notorious BIG, deceased

When we look at reality, so many of these young Black rappers die at an early age. Jam Master Jay, XXXTentacion, Pop Smoke, King Von, Fred the Godson, Pimp C, Eazy-E, Nipsey Hussle, Nate Dogg, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Proof, Soulja Slim, Heavy D, Prodigy, Guru, MC Breed, Blade Icewood, Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly, Mac Dre, Craig Mack… the list sadly continues. Then television and media feed us the deaths of Black men littering the blood stained pavement like used napkins and receipts thrown out of moving cars. Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. We are inundated with images of young Black men dead; the Emmett Till photos are permanently etched in most of our brains. So there is a generational, cultural, and social preoccupation with dead Black men that MOST DEFINITELY impacts their physical and mental health… and clearly their living… their LIVING.

Yes, DMX died by his own hand, but he needed help. He has needed help for a long time. He knew he needed help. Yet, for so many brothas, death is just a next step, the next progression of life. Wrong. Death is the finality of this life, regardless of what might lie beyond it. Yet when you are used to watching an image that mimics your own, dying or dead all over every source of media available, it is no surprise death isn’t expressly avoided but almost welcomed. It’s health avoidance and rejection… risky behaviors, narcotics, alcohol, unprotected sex, seeking whatever thrills one can in life to either deaden the trauma or excite the depressed mind.

It is common to accept as nutrition what is fed to you daily. So you eat poison, when poison is what is on every commercial. You similarly injest self-hate and Black phobia when that is what you see everywhere you turn. Black folks are too hood, too thuggish, too dumb, too poor, too violent, too scary, too colorful, too loud, too alive. The opposite of alive is dead. Even when we are dead there is an examination into how much drugs were in our system, how thugged out and violent we looked in photos, and how disappointing we were as humans when we were alive. Black life has no value, and Black death has no repercussions. This is the poison these Black boys and men are tasting daily. No wonder they have bitter feelings about their own existence.

We have to, as a community and culture, reject these images socially for our own mental and emotional health. While watching Derek Chauvin kill George Floyd proves his guilt on video, it does nothing but desensitize us to and normalize young dead Black men. Parents are not generally supposed to bury their children, that is not the natural order of things. Yet this is more and more common as these young men perish too soon. We want to normalize Black men living into old age, healthy and happy. We want to normalize images of old Black men in rocking chairs… not young Black bodies lying like fallen strange fruit on the ground. We want to normalize Black rappers rapping about living… not dying.

“And for as long as I can, as long as You permit me
Please give me the strength I need to live, bear with me
Amen” -Prayer II, DMX

What is Caucasity

Oh the caucasity…

It is the express or implied utter audacity to say or do something knowingly out of sheer White privilege or supremacy. It is also a group activity where White people react and respond to that audacity with surprise, amazement, confusion, denial at the heinous activities of those of Caucasian descent that they would demonize from another racial group. So now that we know what it is, a little talk on it…

So this past weekend I was literally disgusted by and simultaneously baffled by the Woody Allen documentary Allen v. Farrow. The movie documents Woody Allen’s obsession with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter and his sexual abuse of her as a child. It also highlights his relationship and marriage to her older adopted child, Soon-Yi Previn. Moreover, however, it highlights Allen’s adoration even during and after these allegations and the media’s vilification of Farrow and questioning of the truthfulness and memory of his victim. It made me angry that I loved the movie “Blue Jasmine” and had watched and supported it, after knowing of his marriage to Soon-Yi, even though his sexual abuse of Dylan Farrow I was unaware of. Like my utter distaste and disgust for R. Kelly, I took on a similar feeling of Allen. But I watched these White actors and actresses, as Allen’s films rarely have any people of color, call him genius, brilliant, praise him, gush over his talents and his personhood. The caucasity.

Woody Allen is a vile creature. He ruined the lives of these women and their mother by sexually abusing them in the home she chose to share with and welcome him into. These women will forever be traumatized by his presence and America’s adoration of him… not just as an artist but as a man. These actors and actresses were aware he was married to the adopted child of his partner of 12 years and had at the time allegedly molested her other daughter. He predicated his financial support of his other children, biological or adopted, with Farrow on then condemning their mother and sister publicly. He is a monster. Everyone should agree. White, Black, Puerto Rican. The act of dismissing this, especially so strongly in the White community… caucasity.

Piers Morgan & Sharon Osbourne… the British caucasity… it’s international. So first, royalism is a code word for racism when it insinuates that a Black person in a royal role is somehow against the royal code. It is no different than that former President questioning the birthright of Barack Obama to be the President. So, defending that shit is what… you guessed it… caucasity. It is also something else… racism. Defending racism is racist. You don’t have to lynch Black peole to be racist. You can sit next to and touch Black people and be racist. You can claim to have Black friends and be racist. You can never have called a Black person a nigger and be racist. Defending racism makes you racist. Period.

But for Sharon Osbourne to have the express gall to tell a Black person, who was actually extending grace to her racist sympathizing ass, how to react in a conversation about racism… ooooh chile. Sheryl Underwood should have Queens of Comedy’ed her ass and cussed her out to the white meat. That was some of the most extreme caucasity ever. It was also dangerous. I don’t promote violence… but folks have been jumped on for much less. Plus, you can’t hide behind being British. You just racist. I don’t care if you live off the Nile in a small home, you have tribal marks, and you are mashing casava for tonight’s fufu… if you are White and you defend racism or you try to judge what a Black person experience’s due to her race, you racist and you are displaying pure caucasity.

Apparently there is a documentary in the college admissions scandal with Aunt Becky. I don’t have the energy to talk about that at length… just know this… folks been worried about getting in trouble using someone’s Southfield (a close suburb of Michigan) address so their kid’s could escape the reality of their poor Detroit neighborhood school if they couldn’t afford or didn’t want to pay for private primary school. That’s for a basic kindergarten through twelfth grade education… that everyone needs to get a minimum wage job. But we got millionaire’s paying for kids to gain admission to a university and taking photos rowing for scholarships when Madison can’t even swim?!? What is you doing Rebecca?!? You can PAY for these brats to go anywhere in the country where they can legitimately gain admission… do that. Don’t display this level of caucasity please…

It’s simple… White people don’t get to play by different rules and the rest of us are going to be silent about it. Nope. We are calling you tf out. If you believe that White privilege and supremacy are tools that you should use to gain advantage, you are a ridiculous and racist person… and you are the poster child for caucasity. Know what it is, reject it, or be labeled. It’s simple. And Black folks will gather others together in the name of caucasity if they want to join… cuz that shit is wack.

Black… and Yellow

Some mediocre singer made a song calling herself (and referencing men who want) a “yellowbone” or light skin Black woman with yellow undertones… similar to the term “redbone” which refers to lighter skin Black women with red undertones (perhaps from mixed heritage with Native Americans). Folks are like “OUTRAGE” it’s colorism.

The system of privilege that is begat from favoring people of lighter skin color over those of blacker skin color… that is colorism. Talking, singing, writing about complexion is not colorism, Being light skinned should not be a source of shame because it comes with privilege… mainly privilege we didn’t request and don’t want. I can assure you as a “redbone”, I don’t want any parts of colorism. Matter of fact don’t call me a redbone. My preference.

Ya’ll… we cannot be this silly. Let this girl make a song and get her coin. She’s light skinned, she thinks she’s the bees knees, let her. Men have been referencing redbones in their songs for decades, and nobody writes whole articles about some random song. But again, the problem here is that (1) women are held to a different standard than men and expected to stifle ourselves to promote and suport the masses when the masses don’t support us and (2) Black folks think we can ALL only be about some universally Black ideal and anything else is a problem.

Women can’t tall about our bodies, our hair, our wants, our dreams, the kind if men we want, nothing without some backlash on how what we said makes us look. I’m a hoe if I’m comfortable with my sexuality. Im a golddigger if I like men with their finances in order. I’m a golddigging hoe if I only date men who have stock options. But he can want a hoe, talk about his money, swipe his credit card down some chick’s ass and it’s all good. Hell Lil Wayne had a song Redbone Girl and Childish Gambino’s hit … like BIG HIT… was just entitled Redbone. But Danileigh (I know nothing about her so I had to look up her name) says “Yellowbone” and she’s a full on racist. Stop it. Stay woke.

Black people run the gamut from the palest to the darkest with everything in between. She simply said “Yellowbone that’s what he wants
Prada, me in Saint Laurent”… not Pulitzer Prize winning lyrics… but not worthy of outrage. It’s fake outrage. Be clear, it’s a horrible song and I’m sonically outraged, my ears are upset… but that’s it. She didn’t put anyone down. I think team light-skinned is dumb… but SO IS team dark-skinned… because we are one team. The facts are some men/women prefer light skin, some men/women prefer dark skin. It’s all good, like hair, it’s skin… it covers your body, it’s great. Whatever color it is. Bug let the girl sing her little song.

“French Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate Deluxe…

… even Caramel Sundae” (Ice Cream, Wu Tang)

It makes ZERO sense that a light skinned woman cannot attest to her virtues the same way a brown skinned woman is celebrated for attesting to hers… despite the past or the present. A brown sister posts that she’s a beautiful chocolate melanated Queen and “Yaaaassssssssssss” fill the comments. We should all get that same love if we celebrate ourselves. Black women are the least celebrated people walking the planet… all of us should come together to big up each other, skin color be damned. If she thinks she’s “sweeter and thicker than a Chico stick” (Sometimes I Rhyme Slow, Nice & Smooth) then that’s her prerogative the same as “drip broke the levees when my Kellys roll in” (Brown Skin Girl, Beyoncé). As long as she’s not proclaiming that she is the only image of beauty in the diaspora of Black skin… it’s all good. Relax.

Again, we have to stop being so judgmental of whatever sits outside of the box that Black Twitter has created. We are not meant to fit in… boxes or stereotypes. It is a stereotype that all light skin Black women are conceited, narcissistic, and vain. It is a vestige of racism that dark skin is inherently bad and therefore lighter skin automatically means a person is smarter, kinder, more beautiful, more desirable, more refined, worth more. That’s a lie that has been told to us… because in general we are darker than those who built the White power structure. It isn’t light skinned Black people racism was meant to exalt… be very clear! These ideas are not our own, they were given to us. It’s time to give them back. We can’t get over this hump because it has been so deeply ingrained that the lie keeps getting passed down in our DNA. I personally have benefitted from that dumb ass line of thinking and never ever wanted it.

There is a reason why a lot of militant ass folks… Huey P Newton, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver were light skin Black people… on the receiving end of racism but somehow labeled the perpetrators of colorism. Nope… I will not be the bearer of your hate because the darkness if my skin was tainted by your rapist kinfolk. FOH! While it’s hurtful to be on the receiving end of racism and colorism surely, it is MADDENING to be both hated and seen as the puppet of your hater. I don’t subscribe to any tenets or byproducts if racism. I see beauty in all that Black people are… and I don’t have to damn any part of it as pennance for my privilege. I’m militant AF. Black mixed with Black. Be completely clear. I’m also smart, cute, and the whole bag. My skin color is apart of me just like my eye and hair color. All together that shit is popping. I hope you feel the same about yourself!

Frankly, Im tired if discourse on this subject, but it’s still a very real source of trauma for Black people. As such, I’ll do my minuscule part in helping solve the problem. But we gotta start with giving each other a bit more grace. If we are going to chastise this girl, let’s berate her on the quality of this song… cuz it swings real low on that scale. But if Childish Gambino can sing to his “peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid” (Redbone)… then she can sing about being yellow. Revamp those he-man woman haters club bylaws and take the fake outrage out. These ultra raggedy dudes still out here calling beautiful brown skinned women “blackie”… be outraged about that shit please!

“Let the Willie Lynch theory reverse a million times with Complexion/Complexion don’t mean a thing…”Complexion, Kendrick Lamar

Divorce is Ok

I have a wide cross section of friends who are married, single, divorced, some in relationships and others not. Most of us don’t define ourselves by our marital or relationship status, they are surely a large part of who we are, but not indicative our whole person. There are a few women I know personally and many I’ve encountered socially who are married and believe divorce is quitting… or they say things in that spirit.

I’m here to tell you that it most certainly is not!

I have been married. I’m currently divorced and in a committed relationship. I am a serial monogamist. I am that girl whose friends say “you always have a man.” The truth is, if I always had a MAN, I’d still be married. I have been in relationship with many men who simply were not mature enough to be with someone who has her shit together, standards, and her own. I have never been looking for someone to take care of me or to lace me, I lace myself… but I am certainly looking for a life partner. In that process, I have had to learn the hard way what is best for me. That means there are some things I’m unwilling to be involved in long term. Period. But ESPECIALLY for a lifetime. We should all have some boundaries. I honestly believe many women get married and shed and erect those boundaries as they go. As Tamar would say… that right there, she don’t do that !

Gone are the days when women had to be and remain married for financial security. Hell, not that I would suggest it, but women are choosing to have babies without a mate… times have changed. Women spend as much time outside of the home, working to financially support her family, as men do. I have plenty of friends who bring in more than their spouses. But even with those very clear markers that women no longer need to completely sacrifice and compromise themselves to stay married … never had to frankly… we continue to do so.

Be clear, I’m not suggesting divorce as a remedy for simple marital problems. I am suggesting that when you see signs that the man you chose does not intend to respect, consider, and commit to you as fully as you have him, after you have exhausted all other remedies, you don’t have to remain with that person who is refusing to treat you well. Period. We all have our own boundaries… mine are simple. If you are unfaithful to me by bringing another person into the intimate bounds of our relationship or by sharing your body with them, you gotta go. If you mistreat me or my child, you gotta go. If you steal or take from me, either materially or otherwise, you gotta go. Lastly, if you are unable to be trusted and show that continuously by your actions, you gotta go. Otherwise, the table is open for discussion and solution. But I’m not talking about you being unable to control yourself sexually, financially, or behaviorally. Go talk to a therapist.

Those women who qualify it as quitting, are typically women afraid to be alone. Women who say things like, they feel sorry for women who are dating. Women who don’t know their own strength and power.

If I’m practicing for a marathon, and the shoes I picked are not supporting me, are hurting me, are making me feel like I can’t finish the race, it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Doesn’t matter how much you spent on the bad shoes, how long you had them, or how good the reviews were. You need good shoes to plant in to make your relationship with the ground as steady and solid as possible. It may rain, the sun may go down. Other people may be ahead of you, or pass you, but your only competition is you and if you felt like you gave it your best. You can’t be at your best with janky shoes. You can’t be at your best with a janky man either sis!

Marriage is hard. Divorce is much more difficult. When you cleave to a partner, to end it, you have to chop them off like a limb. And like an amputee you will feel phantom emotions from that person you cut off. It’s very much like death. It’s also much like ending a book before the last chapter and having to wonder what might have been. So before you make that choice you have examine and exhaust all the possibilities for healing. But if you dig and find nothing but more dirt, eventually you can stop. There is nothing there. The choice is yours… but by no means is it a choice based on quitting. It’s a choice based on you, choosing you.

If you happen to be reading this and you are married and have sacrificed and compromised yourself into a person you no longer recognize for the sake of marriage, but you choose to stay, I hope you find comfort in that decision. But don’t attempt to weaken the person who makes a different choice. Like you, she too deserves support.

As for me, I chose not to subscribe to the very negative propaganda that is spread about Black couples, Black marriage, Black men, Black women, and Black love. Marriage is difficult to maintain across the board, but so can be your sense of self. One shouldn’t be sacrificed for the other, ever. Choosing you is NEVER quitting. It is imperative. Divorce doesn’t make you a quitter, just a survivor.

If you need to… and only you know that, quell the chatter, divorce is ok!

Micros in the Macro

Microagressions and macroagressions against Black people in this country are both symptoms of the same disease: racism.

Police brutality, unequal wages, the lack of justice for the murders of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, educational funding that is determined by property taxes, mass incarceration of Black people and unequal sentencing, housing disparities… those are the forms of racism we are used to hearing about. These government and legislative oriented issues that we know are major impediments to Black success, but things many of us see as factors we have little influence upon. These are macroaggressions… large scale injustices towards a group of maginalized people to further restrict their progress. These are the things we protest against and write books about.

But it’s those smaller, more prevalent, daily and incessant indignities that communicate hostile, discriminatory, and prejudicial slights against us that really eat away at our peace, emotional stability, faith, self-worth, and truths. Microaggressions are those things that happen across our intersections… sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, educational level… to weaken us in our social spaces. They are often harder to identify and certainly harder to prove. But they are nonetheless the most fucking exhausting form of racism.

We are in the midst of some sort of paradigm shift. Our kids care not about Black, White, gay, straight, rich, or poor. Hip hop concerts are filled to the brim with White kids who know every word of Kendrick’s “D.A.M.N.”. Black boys blasting Jack Harlow, a white boy rapper who looks like an extra from Dawson’s Creek. Black girls rocking creepers and Hispanic girls rocking baggy jeans and crop tops in reverence to Aaliyah. They march together for Black Lives Matter. The protests boasting as many White faces as Black ones. A majority of people in America recognize and speak out and about white privilege and it’s affects in the lives on non-White Americans. Yet, the shift hasn’t quite happened yet. And the shift is in the macro.

Ask any Black woman about microaggressions. It’s in the comments, the slights, the looks, the 911 calls trying to report Black people for being, impeding people of color in social spaces, and the social media comments that don’t exactly promote racism but somehow justify behaviors that slap the hands of Black people for touching the glass objects, their fragile ass egos. It’s at work when the White supervisor accuses you of something with no proof, at the store when she clutches her purse, at the restaurant when she asks to speak to your manager because you gave her three and not four ice cubes. It’s a use of power, white privilege, to demote you to a place lower than where you started. It’s racism. It’s bullshit.

The same way we do blackouts, shout and share on social media, protest and engage, and mass call and demand for arrests for the murderers of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor… we have to expose this shit in the same way. Don’t just videotape and share Black deaths. Videotape and share White ignorance… show and tell that fool calling the police on a man minding his business at the park or at his house. Then let’s go en masse to the police station with their names and addresses to demand their arrests for filing fake police reports. Let’s call out folks at work and file mass EEOC and Title VII complaints. If she stands behind your car to impede your movement, call the police, lay on your horn, videotape her and post it everywhere. Yell out loud… I’m being harassed and stalked!!!!

In 1988 Donald Trump put an ad in the New York Times demanding that New York bring back the death penalty, particularly in the case against the Central Park Five, Black males all of whom have been exonerated of their wrongful convictions of the rape of a White woman in the park. The racists use their money and access to continuously attempt to dismantle our communities, success, families, and businesses. We have to employ the methods available to us to fight hatred and fear. We also have to expose all forms of racism.. but especially those that eat away at our individual and collective psyche.

Microaggressions are used to weaken us so we submit to macroaggressions… too exhausted to fight or fight back. Imagine how many time Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown had heard themselves, their friends, or other young brothas called thugs, uneducated, stupid, violent, or worthless. How many times had Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines heard they were bitter, angry, less refined than their white counterparts, needed to straighten their hair, lose their hips, or calm down their attitude. How many times have you been told you are LUCKY to have your job, you can easily be replaced, you are too sensitive or angry, everything isn’t about race, you have the chance, opportunity, ability to come so much farther than your ancestors… as if it’s a gift, as if our ancestors were ALL born into slavery, as if we voted George Washington and his 123 slaves having ass into office.

NOPE!

These microaggressions are not just being mean, being an asshole, ignorance, fear, because leadership positions are hard, because you reacted wrong, or because it’s your job to educate or change the minds of the ignorant.

It’s RACISM! These actions are a systematic part of the same systems that are written into our governments and made legal by our lack of legislation.

Period.

Call a thing a thing.

Call it what it is OUT LOUD!

Signed, a Negro with Attitude

You Ain’t Black… not with a capital B

Okay let’s start here… The Breakfast Club is not necessarily the place one needs to go to explain ones political platform and policies to the Black community… but someone on Uncle Joe’s staff, that’s Joe Biden if you didn’t know, figured it was a good idea. So he talked with Charlemagne, I refuse to call him the god of anything, about what will ultimately amount to a pile of nothing anyone will remember because he made this statement…

If you got a problem figuring out if you are for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.

Joe Biden, The Breakfast Club Interview

So what’s the MF fuss?

Let’s first just keep it all the way one hunnid… Uncle Joe meant… you ain’t Black with a capital B. Cuz the truth is if you are not for the freedom and liberation of all Black people from systems of oppression, you might be born black, but you ain’t “loving this melanin, beautiful as we are, stand up against racism, rooting for everybody Black, for the culture” Black! If you are… there are just some things you will not do. Period! One if those things is voting for the incumbent in November. Period, the Sequel!

Now Uncle Joe has apologized, it was a gaffe, a mistake, he misspoke… BUT the sentiment of what he said is correct. And this is coming from an educated, privileged, middle class, professional, and militant AF Black woman… mostly educated and militant if anyone is asking. You should tho… ask about me. I’m Blackity Black, Black mixed with Black. I don’t play those reindeer games, and I despise anything that seeks to hint that all that is Black is not beautiful. We are who they (supremacists) want to be, but they can’t. So they paint us lesser than, in need of saving, uneducated, ignorant to try to cover up all of this colorful wonderfulness and inherent goodness.

Recall… we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us because white nationalists threw it at us. So we good people out here in these mean streets. It was our sister who was pushed, shoved, and struck by supremacists at the incumbent’s rally. It was our people he called “the Blacks”… as if we are some foreign object and not native people. It is President Obama, who we showed up for by the bus loads, that lives rent free in the incumbent’s head as the recipient of the Presidency by affirmative action and at the expense of some other old White man. He abhors Black success… because in his mind it is never supposed to usurp White success.

Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States because old and angry White men hate women and Black people, and poor angry White people never thought they’d be in the bottom of the totem. They thought, at least we above the Blacks… until Obama. I mean Jay-Z, a Black rapper became a billionaire. Kanye West married the rich White girl who had no talent to speak of…none. Beyoncé… well she bodied everybody constantly. And Mrs. Obama was a movement by herself. And White folks were big mad, bigly.

So the patriarchy reviled, attacked, sabotaged, and voted against Hillary Clinton. The racists, which outnumber the patriarchy, enter old and young, bitter, and angry White women, were trying to right the wrongs of a Black man at the helm by reestablishing the White norm. White primacy. The black peoples who voted for him want to be White-ish. They want to be free of these burdens of not being accepted, being treated as lesser than, having their success challenged. And they will throw others of us under the bus to get there. But that comes with the territory… it’s the hard water, spiders, and tall weeds that come on that forty acres. It’s our mule… but it comes with all this sauce, this dope AF, creative, historic, beautiful, overcoming, uplifting, communal, and fly ass sauce!

So if in November you are confused about who to vote for, because in the 80s, Joe Biden wrote a crime bill during the height of the drug game and the proliferation of assault weapons in communities across the country, I suggest you free your mind. Today, unarmed young Black men and women are being gunned down and hunted by police and other White people in daylight, on social media, and on camera not because of drugs or guns but because they are Black… period. We should be holding those people whose jobs are paid for, in part or whole, by our tax dollars and especially those we elect, to the highest standards. Racism and promoting a cost policies is a no go. You cannot care about your Black progeny and your Black ancestors if you vote in favor of anyone who supports that.

So while the media has big fun with Uncle Joe, keep your eyes on the prize. We need a leader in this country who values all of us and our humanity. Who speaks out against police brutality against black and brown people, who hires people who will promote our education and fair housing, and who doesn’t think there could ever be anything good about white supremacists who run over innocent people in the name of superiority. And if you would ever vote for a man who thinks that your mama is a second class citizen and only deserves a job that includes ironing his big ass draws… you ain’t Black with a capital B. You just black and you hate yourself.

Joe Biden for President 2020 … suckas!

Proud does not equal Prejudiced

Only modern marriage has been concerned with the notion of romantic love as its impetus. Historically in America and currently in most countries and cultures, marriage serves a far greater purpose for continuing and maintaining legacy through progeny, wealth, and cultural traditions.

Anti-miscegenation laws in the US were enacted in many colonies in the early 1600s, forbidding marriage between African slaves and White colonists. Even as white men were allowed without punishment to engaged in most often forced sexual relationships with Black women, marriages between Black men and White women were strictly prohibited. Into the early 20th century many states enacted miscegenation laws also banning minority races from marrying each other . The Supreme Court ruling of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) struck down those laws as unconstitutional. Many legal historians and sociologists have cited the threat of miscegenation as the primary reason for segregation laws from the 17th to early 20th century. These laws were used to set racial boundaries, control immigrants, and set up a racial hierarchy.

That’s racism at its finest!

Yesterday I read an article on Black Detour, You Can’t Be Pro-Black and in an Interracial Relationship, which stated emphatically, pausedwriter’sthatideabecauseisisn’tofmanyit’ssomereasonmentallyword

I’velongershe’sexperienceIlearned

Let’s

hundredslanguageslaveryhierarchymembers ofexistedcycledayJamestown

enactmentmiscegenationofcoloniesconcoctamiseducateofandthathumanthat’sandmuchature, just wild and reckless actions in the name of racial purity and the rejection of difference. Who are we if we take on these pathologies. I’m pro-Black but I will never be a a Black supremacist.

Let me assure you, I’m educated, middle class, I’ve succeeded in terms of the American Dream, but I am not immune to the system of racism and the virulent White supremacy that infects far too many of our White counterparts. I have been targeted because I’m smart, Black, and female by mediocre White men and scared but protected White women. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My parents were big Afros with fist picks and Black Panther Party Black. I’m my Grandma played the numbers around the corner; dressing not stuffing; hair braided in the summertime; Pink Oil moisturizer; bamboo earrings; asymmetric hairstyle Black. My high school graduating class was 98% Black, and 98% college educated. I’m pro-Black; Black and Proud; Young, Gifted, and Black; Blackity Black. But I’ll never be a Black Supremacist.

Marriage is a civil institution, and in most of Western civilization it has morphed from a contractual agreement between families into a partnership agreement between individuals. In America, the results of immigration and war changed the priorities of marriage as different cultures brought their traditions and women went to work. The changing gender roles and integration put people in different spaces, so women no longer looked to men primarily to take care of them and people if different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups were in closer proximity to one another. As the climate changes, so does the landscape. Interracial marriages grew in number as the climate changed.

Love has always been the foundation of relationships between humans, how that love or genuine care for another began, was expressed, or was manifested has certainly changed over time. But love, at the end of the day, is the expression of understanding and acceptance of another in their truest form. Love is a choice to grow with that person and support them in finding their true self. It is void of all prejudice, celebrates difference, rejects ego, and is never an act of power or control. To declare that to be proud to be Black, and for the forward progress of the Black culture in America is impossible if you partner with someone other than a Black person is a statement of power, control, and supremacy. It seeks to keep us separate to advance some notion that the purer our Black, the better.

Purity is a racist notion. In every iteration of the word where race is concerned, pure equals White. There is no such thing as racial purity. Europeans have colonized almost every country in the world, and they have had jungle fever, rainforest fever, dessert fever, you name it, since the beginning of time. Miscegenation was began by White colonists and continued by White people until it was in their best interests to control it. They did so under the guise of purity… yet that didn’t keep Thomas out of Sally’s bloomers. So clearly, purity was just a decoy. Power and control were the captains of that ship… and the love boat simply doesn’t sail with them at the helm.

People should be free to love who they love. Regardless of how they arrive at that choice, it’s their choice to make. That choice does not alone take away someone’s pro-Black card. Any Black person about the forward progress of Black culture is going to marry someone who is also about the forward progress of Black culture. That is not an idea that is bound by race. Ultimately, anyone pro-Black should first and foremost be pro-humanity, pro-inclusion, pro-equity, and pro-diversity. Our allies, regardless of their heritage, share that with us. That is what we should desire to see in the image of our partners… real acceptance and understanding. Love.

We can uplift, support, and celebrate all of who we are, what we produce, and our talents and still be interested in being members of the larger society that respects all people, who they are, what they produce, and their talents. Period. White supremacists have tried to paint us throughout history as savages, ignorant, unable, uneducated, thugs, miscreants, nothing more. But we are as unique, creative, intelligent, talented, and different as humans are. Yet ancestrally we come from a more communal culture that is unlike the individualistic culture that is America. Our nature is different, and that is okay. It’s neither better or worse, right or wrong, it’s just different. If we start rejecting difference, we are no better than the supremacists our ancestors were tortured by.

If we attempt to police love by injecting it with prejudice, we are attempting to build our own systems of race based exclusion, in the image of White Supremacy. I refuse to believe that is who we are. That is not who I am. I once married, and if I marry again he’ll likely be a Black man. I could also meet and eventually marry a man of any race who was interested in all people being celebrated, respected, included, and considered not in spite of their differences but because of the richness and diversity of difference. But trust…

To simplify pro-Blackness as one thing is to simplify Black culture… it’s too colorful, creative, and beautiful to fit in a box. We can spread love, promote love of all colors, still and root for everybody Black… at the same damn time!