RUNITBACK FRIDAY-5/18/2018

#TI #BeingAnythingWhileBlack #BBQBecky #WhyKeepCallingThePeople #WeGonBeGreat #WakandaIsEverywhere #WeGonGetHerAllSummer #BlackIsAmazing #BeingBlackIsAmazing #TheFuzzAintGonStopUs  #DontBeAColonizer So, our big cousin Clifford Harris a.k.a T.I. got arrested this week outside his own house, in his own gated community, because he misplaced his keys or other reports say he was drunk and … Continue reading RUNITBACK FRIDAY-5/18/2018

Pretty If You’re Less You

Image result for black girls putting on makeup

 

I remember the first time I was told I was ‘pretty for a black girl’. I was 19.  I legit did not know how to react to such a statement. I really didn’t. I remember looking in the mirror at my sun-kissed caramel face and wished I was lighter. I remembered how I didn’t want to go out in the sun in anymore. I remember crying because I couldn’t process my caramel self not being light enough.

I had never been super conscious of my skin tone before this. I remember the white guy who told me this. I remember looking for the whiteness in all my caramel–and didn’t see it. I didn’t see it. In not seeing it, I felt so sad. I was relegated to all my blackness. All of it, and didn’t know how to process trying to be anything else other than that.

I remember wearing pants all summer to keep my legs light. I hated the darker makeup  I wore in the summer months. I remember I didn’t look in the mirror for a couple weeks. What this random dude at a bar told me had totally knocked me off my square. On top of the fact, my best friend at the time was a fair-skinned black girl–like so fair she could ‘pass.’ Being her best friend left me super aware of my blackness.

 

Image result for black girls putting on makeup

 

I remember when I snapped out of my colorism funk. I was watching my mother get ready. I thought my mother was gorgeous, and still do. I watched her put her makeup on as I had when I was a little girl. I thought like that same 4-year-old girl did, “If my mama is pretty, then I am too?” With that simple statement, I began to love me again. From my hair, my lips, my nose and my booty to my caramel skin tone.

In being a mother now, I try and model the same thing for my daughters. I want them to know that their hue is theirs and cannot be defined by someone else. They will never be “pretty for a black girl”–they are “pretty black girls”. The word pretty just reserved for non-women of color. They don’t own the beauty standard.

The most powerful weapon wielded by any woman is self-confidence. If I could tell my 19 year old self anything about that period of self imposed self-hatred, it would be this:

You are beautiful. From head to toe, from nappy roots to calloused feet, you are goddess gorgeous. If a dude in bar can’t tell that, if a dude in a mall can’t tell you that, leave them where they lie, babygirl. You are worth more than a second look in a bar or a bus stop from a dude that doesn’t know the impossible divinity you hold. Your skin tone doesn’t stop or exclude you from the pretty quota or standard–you make the damn standard. Act like it.

The same advice I give to you. Pretty is a disposition and in the eye of the beholder. The world desires to make black girls hate their reflections. In that case, we change the mirror. Change how you see yourself and watch how marvelous the world becomes–that is the roux of black girl magic.

 

[images from Google]

WEEK 15: SHIFTING MINORITY MINDSET

I’m free, white and 21. When you figure out you’re free white and 21, you’ll be alright too.”

-Paul Mooney, comedian/author/activist

 

As a writer, your ears and eyes take on a bionic nature–you pick up the intentional, the unsaid, and the unheard. You begin to see the world behind the world. That is an admirable thing, I assure you. There is a quote I rolled over, and over again when I heard it, and I mention it in the above box.

When I heard Paul Mooney, yes that Paul Mooney, I fought to understand it. How could a black man as unabashed and proud and American-fluent as Paul Mooney say something that is damn near outlandish even for him! Then, I had to wonder why he said, what he said–and with utter confidence. That’s when I figured it out! This quote means just this:

When you realize you can do anything, you can do anything.

 

No more, no less. In revealing this quote, Paul Mooney has given us a people of color an ace in the hole! What stops you, is just that–it’s a what, not ever a who. The who is a personification of the what! To be free, white and 21–mean you can do whatever you see white folk doing–if you believe you can. It is the concept of believing you can, the finding the way to be better at the game being played is what systematic oppression never wants you to know. Lena Horne said people aren’t born second class, that has to be taught.

Just like you have to be taught to ride a bike, to be racist, you have to be taught that you are less than, not valued, and you will never succeed. In accepting this lie, you stymie anything which you may aspire to become–you begin to believe what you see, is all there could ever be. In changing mindsets, you must become comfortable with being uncomfortable–challenging the status quo will be your norm! In pushing against the expectations of systematic racism you will encounter both enemies and allies.

Ignore the enemies, but categorize them.

Verify the allies, and watch their motivations.

In shifting your mindset, you must understand it is a process. It will be a process, and you are going to have to be able to withstand what in order to free yourself of the shackles of oppressive expectations. However, when you realize you can do anything, you can do anything. Your color or socioeconomic status doesn’t determine your destiny or limit it–so don’t let any else do the same.

 

[image from Google]