Friday, December 27, 2013

What about me Harpo? A Plea for our Black Girls and Women

Yesterday,  I was on Facebook as usual.  My Facebook feed is a purposeful mix of like-minded and not so like-minded individuals.  I think it is important to know and understand both sides of an issue regardless of what side I take personally. In the midst of a “conversation” about Beyonce and her appeal; a male acquaintance I know strictly via social media asked “what exactly are black women faced with today?”  in attempt to dismiss a point being made about the struggle black women face daily.   On another unrelated thread about “man law”  a woman is berated for providing an opinion outside of what is generally accepted but a sound and logical point nonetheless and grown, educated, black men felt the need to tell her to “know her place”.
Most people in my social network know several things about me.  I am pro black, pro women, pro rights for the  LGBTQ community.  I proudly identify as a black feminist  (yes the “black” is necessary).  Based on my pretty liberal social stance I have been in a lot of discussions, debates and flat out arguments via social media  and throughout them all  I have come to understand one sad and consistent fact.
Black women are out here alone.  As journalist Jim DeRogatis stated when speaking about R Kelly in a recent interview: “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women.  Nobody”.    Black women are hit from all angles.   We are the cause for the demise of the black family, we emasculate our men, we coddle our men. we keep them from becoming men.  We are single mothers and  single motherhood is the root cause of all  of the issues in the black community.  Yet we cant remedy the situation because black women cant get married.  Why?  because  black women are too busy being black women and that’s why we are single .  We are the generational curse.  We are consistently told how unattractive we are ,not only to our own black men, but to the masses.  It is a million dollar business to “fix” black women because everyone knows that black women  are all f!cked up.   If we are educated and have standards we are “to full of ourselves and bitchy”.  If we are poor and proud we are ratchet and unworthy.  If we fall in the middle we are literally invisible.
We are expected to play every single position and require nothing in return.   As Zora Neal Hurston writes in my favorite novel “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as ah can see”.
We grow up in a world where how you dress determines your worth.  It determines whether you have the right to grant and deny privilege to your body.   WE live in a world where a “fast ass” 12 year old is more responsible for her own violation then the adult men that seek her out.
We live in a world where when a  black girl experiences  a rape , one of life’s most tragically common situations,  the FIRST thing most people ask is ‘where was her mother” and then “what was she doing to deserve this”.
This is a world where Eddie Long is a monster and R kelly is heralded as the king of R&B (for the record they are both monsters, don’t get it twisted).
Everyone has black women in their corner.  Black women can be anything except human, vulnerable, and protected. We can demand respect and consideration for everyone except ourselves.    Im sure you have seen the internet video of the woman who stops a crowd from attacking a person perceived to be a skinhead by covering him with her own body.  Or the staged video where a barber brings his white girlfriend into the barber shop  and is attacked by a black stylist  and a black woman comes to the rescue of the white lady.
I don’t have an issue with any of these things. These women are not uncle toms, or coons, or lost etc for their actions but what I do immediately think is how many times the opposite scenario played out?
Where are the videos that feature someone that  comes to the aid of the  black women who are harassed on the street daily?  Surely there are videos of  someone protecting and defending black women from that?  Oh that’s right.  Most people refuse to even classify that as harassment (It Is).    Where is the widespread support for  articles written in defense of black girls who grow up in terrible conditions, who are harassed daily for any and everything that we do and are victimized by a pathology  that tells us we deserve it because we are less than any other culture?  Where are the likes and shares and call to arms for those writings?  Hell, where are more of those writings?
Trayvon martin highlights the issues that surround being a young black man in America but we overlook the story of the young black woman.  Yes, you have to have a hard conversation with young black men to explain that they are seen as a threat; but we also have to have very hard and very real conversations with our daughters as well.
1 out of every 6 women have been the victim of rape or attempted rape.  93% of these victims will know their attacker.   And these are reported rates.   Do you know how often rape goes unreported?  Do you know how many times a child has been a victim of coerced sexual activity that they feel is their fault.  Do you understand that rape culture is dangerous for all women but prolific in the black community?  Where we commonly joke about how  women and girls need to dress to be addressed? This is a favorite meme and mantra because women, especially black women, don’t just deserve decency outright.   What about the conversation we have to have with our daughters about the pain and the hurt that will come once they reach puberty? When the prevailing standard of beauty tells them they are not enough. That their skin is too dark and their nose is to wide and their hair needs to be tamed and if they try to assimilate and meet the prevailing standard they will also deal with the issues that come from a broken people  and be called out for their self-hate.
We have to tell them how  their body and natural curves will draw unwanted attention.   We have to tell them that  the best way to avoid altercations is to give in to the street harassment that demands they smile and give their attention to men and boys that don’t deserve it.  We have to tell our daughters to “smile and play nice”  because if not they are likely to be attacked verbally and sometimes physically if they do not.  We have to tell them that once they are the recipient of that attack no one will defend them.  In fact the law, the media, and most everyone around them will reinforce the message that it is her own fault and “all she had to do was”  be nice.
We have to explain  to our daughters that they  must be diligent on dates and try their best not to give off “the wrong signal” because consent doesn’t come down to yes or no but a complicated game of charades that include how much was spent, what you wore, how you spoke, where you placed your hand, how much you smiled  and much  more.  Because society reinforces the lesson  that no, can and often does mean yes, simply because you are there.  In a world where no woman has the right to change her mind; we have to let our girls know that much like black men and boys who will  likely have an encounter with the law that will treat them unfairly; most of our black girls and women will have interactions with men that will leave them bruised, broken and confused.
We have to tell our daughters that although they are human and have wants and needs;  if they  ever decide to take control of their womanhood and declare full agency of their bodies they will be ridiculed, taunted and stamped as a ho.
We have to teach them that boys with broken hearts will share their secrets and their pictures all over the internet and that it is THEIR fault for providing them with that ammunition.  They will be outcast and the boys in the videos or who had “game” enough to gain access to the pictures will receive no such  backlash and in fact,  those guys well be applauded for their actions.
We have to teach our daughters that because our men have been so beaten down by the system that we have to stand by them, even though they continue to disappoint us by the memes, statuses and actions that prove that while they love us.. there is resentment there and we must be okay with that.  Never mind that we have resentment, that we too are beaten down by society.
And lastly we must discuss with our daughters that should they choose to love themselves enough to overcome all of these obstacles and still demand the  right to be whatever and whoever they want  and uphold that choice for all other women, the biggest adversaries will be the very women they are fighting for and yet we must teach them that they must fight  anyway.   We must teach them that despite that hurt and confusion they will experience and how alone they will sometimes feel, there are others that also feel like them, there are black women who are dedicated to creating safe places for women of color. Who fight alongside you, who will be your friend, your confident and your release.  There are black men who will fight alongside you who will love your independence and not see it as a threat, who understand that you OWE them nothing and will work hard to earn what they should not take .
We must build our black girls up to be black women who understand their plight but know that there is hope.  We must raise our black girls to be there for each other… because no one else will be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

the only

my poem was selected for Viral Voice's "poetry week". Check it out and go leave comment on the blog. leave one here as well. 

The blinding flash of truth
Exposed you as something other than mine
Your hands, once my only place of solace
Now my only source of pain
My mind retreats,
Trying to see the world as I used to
Bright sounds, and flashing colors
Instead of the stark whiteness
Wanting to wrap myself in the comfort of lies
Wishing I could go back in the matrix
But this isn’t a movie
 And there’s no Red or green pill
No happy endings or
A knight on white horse
There is only silence
Only  you and I
Moving around each other
Planets whose orbits are now unaligned
Floating with no center
Gravity pulling me crashing to the ground
F!ck a rollercoaster
A natural disaster is more apt
It was only natural that we were together
And it was your nature that broke us apart
I sit in shambles of nothingness
Trying to catch the bits and pieces of what was
Attempting to piece together the crumbling pieces Of our foundation
There is no FEMA for broken hearts
NO disaster relief for lost love
Only questions and uncertainty
The realization that ignorance might not be bliss
But a whole hell of a lot better than this
The alien feeling of something once second in nature
There is no longer peace in US
No longer forever in your eyes
Or home in  your touch..
there is no longer us
only
you and I

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Foolishness: didnt your mother teach you better?

Friday foolishness… Didn’t your mother teach you better?




Yall, Look I don’t do internet beef and arguing.

Mainly for 1 reason, where im from we fight.

And that means that I am careful about how I approach people with whom I disagree and what I say when disagreeing.

I give respect until you disrespect me in all instances.

Why? Because I have both been popped and popped a muthaf!cka in the mouth for coming at me wrong.

You learn from those experiences. Which is why when I see these peeps online that pride themselves on “going In” and “going hard” on people via the internet I smh.

Because I know for a fact that these people “aint bout that life” in real life.

I was raised don’t say anything you would want someone to say to you and don’t hit anyone unless you are prepared to be hit back.

So imagine my surprise when this past week during a discussion on the role the school system plays in the education of a child some random ass chick decides to come at me sideways.

The disagreement was simple, I think that parents should reinforce and assist with the formal education of a child but that the school is the primary resource for formal instruction.

Several tweeters felt like the parent and other outside resources should be the primary resource.

I agreed to disagree and this chick tells me “she feels sorry for my child that they aren’t being taught at home”. It went downhill from there.

Now I don’t follow her she was just a part of the discussion I was having. So I don’t know her MO, nor do I care

My issue is that as a grown ass educated woman, I know how to disagree. I don’t hit below the belt or get personal because there is no need but I swear that at the end of our exchange, I was pissed the f1ck off.

Why because I knew that this chick is getting her life off of these type of interactions, that she has developed a following and made a name for herself by being “that bitch” when in real life “that bitch” is a lame scared little girl hiding behind a keyboard.

Also as a person with a masters degree in the dozens and prolific vocabulary of profanity resorting to either of those things would have made me look like a fool so I had to refrain.

And I hate refraining.



Because in a discussion about education and learning

I think displaying actual intelligence served me better.

And I hate that shyt. Cause I love the opportunity to be ignant.

Smh ….



Monday, September 10, 2012

That Awkward moment when......

Ok, I have been at my new job a little over a year. My manager is/was a crazy lady nearing retirement that really was all about retirement. My last meeting we spent about 3 minutes talking about my development and the rest of the time discussing her liking for “young’uns” and how she use to get it in when she was younger.


While discussing a new business proposal with a big prospective client she literally fell asleep on the call for 20 minutes.

Over the weekend my manager died.

We weren’t close, she wasn’t my favorite manager but she was aight. I find it sad that she was so looking forward to a new chapter in her life that she will never get to see.

I am sad for her friends and relatives.

I am sad about the fact that while I didn’t always agree with her methods I knew what to expect from her and now I have to learn all over again with someone new.

And then I came in to work today. And that’s when it started. All of the people looking at me , at her team expecting something?

What I don’t know. Tears? Outbursts? A dance off? Im not sure but I know its been awkward as hell.

The soft voices, the offering of unneeded Kleenex.

The faked and forced camaraderie of it all that was compounded by the fact that the systems have been down all morning so I had no way to block it out.

I don’t want to sound mean but gotdayum.

Sigh.

And then they brought in lunch and forced us to sit in a room while our director tried desperately to find something to talk about and ended up with 9/11.

Yes. Really.

And then when he finished we sat in awkward silence till the grief counselor came in.

I just couldn’t take it. Like I told him, I just want to go home. Im tired, Im already socially awkward, I don’t deal well with emotion and I wasn’t close to my manager,Hell Im not even close to my team. Some of my teammates have worked with her for years. 3 people have worked with her 10+ years.

They are grieving im sitting here trying not to look at them and feeling guilty for my lack of grief. Im frustrated and tired of people touching me and the soft voices and the awkward silence that follows the “how are you doing” When I answer “fine”.

Im just here.

Feeling a ton of awkward and weird and uncomfortable.

I feel the grief of everyone around me pressing down and I cant sympathize and my frustration at being forced to feel like I should feel some kind of way is preventing me from empathizing.



*sigh* and then I decide to leave for the day because I don’t want to deal with it anymore and out of habit I email my manager.



The return out of office message is both eerie and surreal.

this is probably disjointed and full of all type of spelling and grammatical errors.

imma just say my bad and chalk it up to the 7.5th stage of grief which is awkward stream of consciousness blog writing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

HOOD? Why is it a bad thing?

So a couple of days ago I was talking to one of my melanin challenged friends and she mentioned that she loves how “hood” I am. She continues on saying that she isn’t hood but she can deal with it.




I felt some kind of way about it but wasn’t to messed up about it. Later that week in a less polite conversation I was having with a co worker (who was full of melanin), she referred to me as “hood” as well with a derogatory tone and facial expression.

I got upset then, both at the tone and the usage.

I am sick of it really. This whole “Us vs them” mentality within the black community.

I grew up in the hood. I learned to read before the age of 3, write before 5 check/roast a ninja by 8 and fight by 10, all in the hood.

I played hopscotch, couldn’t let the streetlights catch me outside, had block parties, borrowed a cup of sugar, flour, and washing powder on a regular basis.

I hung clothes on a line. Had an old man that sat on the porch and drank 40’s out a brown paper bag. Ran through water hoses when it was to hot, and had to drink out that same water hose cause my momma told me if I “came inside I had to stay inside” I wasn’t “gone be running in and out the door running up her lectricity bill”. I got into fights, had people call me names. I ate watermelon on a stoop with the juice running down my legs. I didn’t win every battle or every award.

And yes there were others that were worse off. Yes there were others that slacked off. That hung on the corners, there were robbers, and thieves. I ve seen people shot, I ve been shot at, I saw and held a gun at an early age. However most of the people in the hood? Looked and thought like me.

Yes there were pitfalls. I went to schools were the funding wouldn’t allow us to have computers, or labs. I graduated top of my class but behind the digital divide.

I am the hood. Im not special, its not by God’s grace that I made it out but by his grace that I was there molded and raised in an environment of love and acceptance. Where everyone was fair game so no one was left out.

Where everyone did what they liked, with no regard for why or what or labels. Because we were all ultimately working for the same thing. To get ahead, to really live the American dream as we see it on tv.

But those of us that manage to get close to it…. Look back at the hood with disgrace. They don’t reach back and help.

They don’t remember the small gestures that helped them get out.

And so now hood has become something derogatory, something shameful.

When it shouldn’t be.

I am hood. Born and Raised. I speak well, I work hard, I give back. I know the value of the dollar and of hard work. I know how it feels to be stepped on, looked down upon and deal with lowered expectations.

I am hood. I am not ignorant or class-less. Tacky or uncouth. I am hood. Regular, Ordinary there are many just like me. Im not the 1% I am the 99.



So the next time someone calls me

hood.

I will respond gladly; Thank you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shay-D-Lady's #soyounowitsreal List

So the hubby and I celebrated our Anniversary on yesterday, June 19th.



It was a Tuesday so we didn’t do much at all and really after so long all you really want to do is eat some chicken, have a little naked playtime and go to sleep. And not necessarily in that order. Oh and don’t forget I proclaimed my love via facebook which means I meant it and he knows its real.



But anyway

so in the afterglow of love I was on facebook and I saw a link for the root article 12 signs You’re already in Love.

The article was ok. It just featured the stereotypical things we hear all the time.

I have decided to create a list of things that you don’t realize it but really mean you are in love


1. When you in the middle of a good conversation on the phone discussing the ratchet reality tv show and what you woulda did, they shoulda did, and what nobody betta do when your SO calls… Not only do you answer the phone but you try your best to mask the high pitched aggravated voice and not answer with “WHAT!”



2. When you say you going to the store, kitchen, etc ask if they want something they say no and right when you about to sit down and get comfortable they say “hey can you get me or can I have some ___________” and no only do you NOT cuss they a.s.s. out you get up and get it for them.



3. You let them drink out of your BOTTLE drink without making them open their mouth so you can pour it in old school style.



4. When their phone rings and you DON’T want to answer it.



5. When they leave their phone or their Facebook open and you DONT get up and go through the text message, instant messages, dm’s etc.



6. The fact that you’ve never had the “whats your body count” or the can I have your facbook, twitter, email password convo



7. When a friend or family member makes a joke that you’ve made about your SO A million times i.e. that big head a.$.$ ninja and you have to stop yourself from talking about they momma in retaliation. I can say it but ninja you done got way to comfortable LOL



8. When you root for different football, baseball, basketball, greatest rappers and take opposite sides in the Jay-z vs Nas debate and you emerge from said arguments with voice in tact and no one has been choked out.



9. When you go to take a bath and you realize your man has used all of your philosophy 30.00 as.s body wash/bubble bath running around smelling like peaches and cream and you just take a deep breath sigh and resign yourself to the Vaseline intensive care beads you keep in the pack of the cabinet for these types of emergencies.



10. After said bath you (the man) emerge smelling all peaches and creamy only to find your girl in your favorite t shirt, stretching it around her knees, ruining the shape and you are sure she is doing it because you used the last of her body wash (it makes your skin so soft) and instead of blowing up, you sigh and pull her as.s over onto your lap.







That’s it for now.. what you guys got?



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BasketBall Wives and irony....

Okay so yall know I love the Basketball Wives.
I know its ratchet and the ladies are amped on 10 all the damn time but its funny and basically the ladies act out in ways we have been taught better than but Im sure many of us have wanted to do on more than one occasion . Okay ignore all that is grammatically wrong with that sentence but you get my point.

So I was watching and I witnessed the Tami and Keisha fiasco that took place on the last 2 episodes.
I am not going to go all in on Tami. She did handle the situation in a childish manner and she went way over the top with it.
I don’t have any sympathy for Keisha though because she is a throw the rock and hide the hands type of chick. She hyped up the whole fight with Kenya and Evelyn and relished in Kenya’s uncomfortable time in the hot seat.
Hey you live by the sword die by the sword. Turn about is fair play.. Karma is a bitch. Feel free to insert any other relevant quotes as you see fit.

What I find entirely ironic is the way the internets responded.
There were calls for boycotts and petitions being signed. Look I am not signing a petition for a grown woman making a decision to put herself in the cage with wolves. Im sorry, instigators and bullies are in the same boat in my opinion and I aint throwing not a nan one a life saver.
What tickled me even further is that many of these same twitterer’s, facebookers and blog commenters who were leading the charge regularly participate in mass internet bullying.
I mean I watched the internets get in an uproar and felt the same way I felt when Tammy talked about Keisha’s “childish behavior”.
The same way I felt when Evelyn cried over Tammy’s behavior but bullied Suzy out of Miami the first season.
She ran the chick Out of MIAMI! And turned her into this timid tell a tale spineless creature that vaguely resembles a woman.
Not to mention all of the plates and bottle throwing antics she has participated in since that time.
*Insert “ni%%a please face here*
These same anti bullying, anti ratchet peoples are the same ones
that go in on dumbest tweets for spelling and grammatical errors,
The same ones who will take a picture of someone’s kid and make it a trending topic (#youngstruggleface anyone?), the same ones who will gang up on a celebrity and @them rude shyt they will never say to their face (Remember the nude photo link of Brian White), the same ones that pride themselves on the number of “celebrities” that have blocked them because of this behavior.
These people *in my high pitched voice*
Now don’t get me wrong,
I loves me some dumbest tweets and ratchet gossip blogs and ratchet twitter comments and commenters. Hell most of my favorite follows are ratchet tweeters.
But lets stop living in the grey areas.
You cant twitter and facebook bully, berate and tirade and hide behind the “its just twitter, etc etc” excuse for ratchet mob mentality any more than Tami can defend her purse napping antics as doing a favor for Keisha.
Oh wait that did happen. LMAO
But anyway
We know what it is
And a spade is a spade
And ratchet is as ratchet does.
But hey these are just my thoughts.