It’s still February which means it’s STILL BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Today, I want to highlight Tiffany Shawntay (@errybodylovestiff on IG). Tiffany is a 34-year-old graduate of the historic HBCU Benedict … Continue reading #28DaysOfBlackness: Hair & Thangs With Tiffany Shawntay
Chocolate, my butterscotch, my beige dream. Do you know what you mean to me, and the world you house? Do you know the fire your cause as your hands go … Continue reading In The Company Of A King (Love Letter To Black Men)
“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]
In this modern era, getting over on people is an art form. In the age of #45 and other mutant tyrannical white men like him, it is easy to be deceived by those my grandmother would call the good white folk.
When things are looking horrible, even bad looks good! Remember that, family. In the portion of time we are living in, aided with the cloak of invisibility known as social media, anyone can pretend to be anything. That itself is scary and problematic. The scarier thing is those who pose as help, backup or ally.
A friend of mine, for the sake of this post I’ll call him Tony Stark, has this saying, “Trust but verify.” This translates to,”I need to know your intention before I give you full attention.” No more. No less. Everyone who wears a BLM shirt, supports social justice and believes white privilege exists oractivist lingo and safe spaces believes there for support and to push progress. Some ‘allies’ are indeed catfish—they are there to gather intel, cause confusion or disrupt the minute they are challenged or exposed.
Trust, but verify serves as your Spideysense and your verbal warning. It is a reminder to be observant for all in your melaninated and non-melaninated worlds. If you can master this concept and implement it, you won’t succumb to the trickery treachery of white catfish.
The job of a catfish is to deceive and misrepresent themselves. White catfish are no different. They are obsessed with image and access. When they are exposed and dealt with according to knowledge–which will always lead to their removal from a space–they will react by faking outrage and accusing people of color as the ones who are really racist and have a problem.
At this point, you understand because you didn’t verify, you have a chaos cleanup. In this march towards freedom and justice, you have I know who is there to help, whom is there to hinder and who is there to spy. We don’t have time for those who just wanna ride to see where we’re going.
In the end, we all learn to start screaming–just like we do at the beginning of our lives. We scream and cry before we ever talk to express what it is we need. In being a minority and desiring to be heard, we do same thing. Being any minority and attempting to be heard requires a special level of tenacity. This is one of the reasons why protecting and preserving a platform (such as a blog, podcast or a website) is imperative: we make more noise with the more people we get to rally with us!
I am thrilled organizations like Black Bloggers United, Brown Bloggers United and The Bronze Hustle exist (all can be found on Facebook). These are just a sample of those platforms that I engage with personally and on a daily, if not a weekly basis, which champion my voice, push me to do better, and give me help to determine what direction to go next.
In securing a platform, be open and observant to those around you whom you can reach back and help! Issa Rae, the creator of Awkward Black Girl, and HBO’s Insecure, says it this way, “Look around you and see who is hungry.” Centering minority voices cannot go forward unless you look around you to see who is hungry, whom is working as hard as you are, and whom you feel or know if y’all combined forces, or if you opened the door for them, what they contribute would only add to the overall vision and power of your platform.
You have to be willing to protect what you are building, and realize you cannot build alone. When we work together, we can be quicker and more efficient than we ever could alone. What makes this such an art is the fact we build in the face of a societal sphere which wants us all to conform or give up. It abhors aberrations to what is deemed safe (read: white) and appropriate. When a minority begins to make noise and it’s presence known as it relates to our voices–we will either get allies or backlash. Rarely is there a neutral parties.
There is nothing wrong with seeing who is hungry around you and building. What also makes this such a an art is the believe that you are able to trust who you are building with. You cannot have a crab in a basket mentality when it comes to this concept. Don’t make the row harder to hoe because you believe someone is going to steal from you.
We have more together, than we do apart and it costs nothing to ask someone to feature on your blog. It costs nothing to open your podcast up once you get it how you want it. It costs nothing to recognize the hustle in someone else. The world outside of us seems not to, we can no longer afford to do that to one another.
[images by Google]
Greek life has always been a part of my childhood and teenage years. My godmother is SGR (Sigma Gamma Rho) and my father was a Kappa (Kappa Alpha Psi). I … Continue reading WEEK 12: SIS VS. THE SISTERHOOD
*Sharon Reed is not here for the bullshit.
When I saw this topic, as well as Ms. Reed’s eloquent response to this fragile pigeon last year, I laughed. Loudly. Women like Kathy Rae are the equivalent to the Regular Rachel’s all black women encounter. Consider this post a pro-tip on how to identity these Three Billy Goats Gruff heffas, and how to neutralize them.
Women like Kathy Rae will swear up down and center that they are not racist. They may have donated to a jail fund, have a token gay friend, have a trendy activist shirt, and know at least three people of a minority status. She doesn’t consider her life homogenous and uber-white, she considers herself a contentious liberal.
However, what you cannot do to Miss Ann/Kathy Rae and her ilk is call her on their bullshit. What you cannot do, to break up her share in the world, and all her faith in the god of #45 and Fox News is to tell her about her skewed beliefs and tell her racism exists and is propped up by white supremacy and privilege. You cannot tell Kathy Rae/Regular Rachel that because she believes in the supreme power of her own whiteness–and don’t you dare tell her the Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is not the white man on her collective plates with light hair, light eyes and straight blonde hair.
Women like this move through the world and this society at large like the common cold. Everyone knows a Kathy Rae. EVERYONE. Don’t debate me on this, fam–I’m trying to help you.
Here is how you find out if your white friend/ally is a Regular Rachel/Kathy Rae.
1.) Kathy Rae watches FOX NEWS. At this point, Fox News is the equivalent of state propaganda found in pre-WWII Berlin or Russian State TV. You cannot reason with people who do not believe what their own eyes are telling them. Fox News only exists as a sexual harassment mill meant to prop up the aging, scared Republicans who fear change and people who are not white. That’s it.
They exist to be eye candy to men old enough to be the fathers of some of these women on shows like Fox & Friends! There are no facts presented save for maybe two ACTUAL journalists: one of them is Shep Smith. Their job is to assuage the ego of white America–no more, no less. This way the ratio of white ignorance/political embezzlement (ie GOP contributions) keep at the clip they are. Find the lie.
2.) Talk about these three topics: systemic racism, black lives matter, economic disparity. Kathy Rae believes as long as black women and men Mammie and Buck respectively, nothing bad should ever happen. Anything contrary to what Tucker Carlson says must be a lie! She does not, will not examine her social status and the inherent privilege granted to her. She believes America is an equal playing field because, “None of my family have experienced this.” She does not do self-reflection, historical research or value the experiences of those whom are not white.
3.) You can see she has a ‘token’ friend and references them in conversation. In matters of race and its effects, Kathy Rae will resort to microaggressions. She will tell you of her gay friend, or her one black friend so she simply cannot be racist! When you confront the topics of race and class with her, she will call you one of the worse things she has been taught to call someone who is black, or brown. She wields that as her family crest and shield. Kathy Rae will not suffer to confront her own racism–she will always project to the other. In doing so, she believes she has won the day or and the conversation will end. It hasn’t. It won’t.
4.) She will not admit white privilege exists. In the world according to Kathy Rae/Regular Rachel, we are all equal unless you do better than a white woman she knows, and you happen not to be white. She will not admit privilege or what it does in the lives of people whom lack it, neither will she cop to the fact she uses it on a day to day basis. Don’t hold your breath for it, fam. She can’t be reasoned with because she is scared you may just be right. She fears the loss of status and control being white and in America has given her.
Guess what? Confront her on it anyway!
This type of nonsense continues because there are too many people willing to condone and benefit off its innocuous nature. Until you are willing to confront these dames where they are, they will continue to believe nothing is wrong and we are the ones with the issue! As long as Kathy Rae/Regular Rachel is someone else’s friend or family, it doesn’t affect them. But it does. You are an accomplice to bullshit. Congrats!
And if that doesn’t bother you, and you say you’re an ally, that’s a bigger problem.
*-This story was reported by The Washington Post on December 7, 2017. The CBS Atlanta affiliate anchorwoman, Sharon Reed (formerly from the CBS affiliate in St. Louis), answered this trollop’s comment about Ms. Reed talking about race and its far-reaching effects on air. Kathy Rae didn’t like that. Ms. Sharon Reed didn’t give a damn.
[images from Google]
I cannot and do not count the number of non-black friends I have. I have no reason or desire to count the demographic of the diversity of people I encounter. Why? I have no need to be/search out/confirm who is the token.
To those unfamiliar, a token is the person that is among a social group to offset a homogenous appearance of said group. The/A token doesn’t hold any real status or power in the group but can claim some sort of exclusivity from some other social group.
Pro-Tip from Your Big Sis At The Ideal Firestarter:
DO NOT LET YOURSELF BECOME THE ONE BLACK FRIEND!
This type of nonsense opens you up to coonery and being the social fulcrum and focal point for the phrase, “Well, I have a friend and he is black and he’s not offended by ______.” Don’t do it!
By all means, associate with the well meaning world, but don’t cotton to madness either! If you look around your social circle and you are the only black person in it–and there are no immediate plans for that to change? Nall.
Don’t be used that way, fam! Don’t be set up to be sat out like that. Don’t become numb to the microaggressions and coded languages. Don’t become immune to what your spirit senses and reminds you is right!
Don’t allow yourself to be the one black friend because you may have no other black friend to help you when you wake from The Sunken Place.
[images from Google]
Microaggressions are always meant to minimize or question blackness or anything different or non-white. It’s a slick way to chip away at your person, your worth and right to be whom you will.
It can be a simple as your name! The thing behind your birthplace, family and cis-gender you cannot control. I was told that my name was a white girl name since I started school! And this was told to me by black and white kids! I tell my children that the easiest thing you can do to show someone that you respect them is to learn to pronounce someone’s name correctly.
In addressing microaggressions, these slick social assaults, you have to understand microaggressions have their roots in the following: stereotypes, prejudice and racism. They are ways to poke at racial issues without being seen as being noticeably racist.
But here’s a pro-tip: it’s still racist.
No more, no less. No retraction.
You have to consider the source of this ignorance on order to defuse it. It’s like the sun in an empty room—once you see it, there is no way to unsee it.
The defusing of these situations requires you remain confident in who you are in the midst of white supremacist nonsense. You have to be willing to look at the situation you are in so that you can effectively defuse (lookahere, and when need be? READ FOR RUPAUL LEVEL DRASTIC AF FILTH.)
Microaggressions are to make your doubt your worth and all you contain–to undercut and devour. Even if it’s one cut at a time. But like any other bully or virus, unless you are willing to confront it where you find that bullshit, it will persist. Whether that be ally, enemy or friend! If they can’t handle that–treat them like Beyoncé would.
Microaggressions lead to a comfort in those whom tolerate and perpetuate it! Which allows room for the one black/Asian/Gay/Hispanic or Latinx/Muslim friend they have. Microaggressions cannot allowed to flourish because they breed–bringing their cousin big cousin bigotry, Auntie -Isms, and their roommate, Apathy.
It’s 2018, y’all! Solange told Becky not to touch our hair. Next time she do? We snatching her up!
[images from Google]
My good girlfriend, Kelly, is a working single Mom who has landed this bomb job at a law firm. She is slated to graduate this summer with a stellar GPA. As she is an executive paralegal, she is familiar with the demands of a law firm, precise nature of the work required and she is getting invaluable training which will only make her a better paralegal. And she can play Wu-Tang Clan at work! Kelly’s job is awesome!
However, there was bitter broad in her class cohort. Let’s call her *Regular Rachel. Somehow, Regular Rachel found out about Kelly’s job, and went to the head of the program to complain that Kelly had an unfair advantage.
Yes. That happened.
This advantage is the similar to a nursing student employed as a CNA through nursing school. You literally are employing skills which will make you a better nurse. Chile, please.
The epilogue to this is my girl emailed her program head, and let them know in 2018 this is still happening, and how silly it is, and how Regular Rachel needs to find some business. Regular Rachel responded to the situation as all Regular Rachel’s do:
“I am not a racist, and I just want to put this whole situation behind me and move forward…”
Ta-Nahsi Coates said the white people in this country are taught that everything belongs to them. I would have to agree. White privilege can only permit as long as there are systems in place to keep it untouched and unchallenged. White privilege is fragile AF because it is dependent on reinforcement, oppression and the game staying rigged.
Kelly couldn’t have an advantage that outdid her own advantage because that would mean she wouldn’t win. White privilege is steeped in the idea of winning, indoctrination of inherent minority loss, which allows a learned helplessness to become a ceiling to all those who would dare challenge it: you can go no further than what we believe you should. If you happen to assert yourself, and use the same tricks we use to get over, WEE WHEEL NAWT HAAV EET!
White supremacy needs to take L’s on two occasions: continuously and often.
“If the only way you can be tall is if someone is on their knees, then you have a serious problem.”
-Toni Morrison (a revered Mother Oracle)
White privilege is fragile because it cannot stand alone, or apart from an oppressive system of operation. It remains fragile because it has to be retaught, reinforced and oppressive all those who challenge it. This social construct, much like race, is to assert the belief where to not be white is to be less than.
So, how do we combat it? We combat it just as my girl Kelly did! You call it out, you confront it and you don’t let Regular Rachels, Bitter Beckys and Tryingit Tanyas ruin what you want to do, the hustle you have, and the ambition you power.
The moral of the story: Keep it pushin. If they can’t stand you, tell Regular Rachel to get a seat and saddown.
*-Regular Rachels are pervasive!
They are the Beckys with chips on their shoulder and just enough sense of self to believe their own bullshit. Regular Rachel’s are built to fight, but they call managers if the melaninated girl behind the counter is to ‘brash’. They email professors if they find out someone has an ‘unfair’ advantage. Regular Rachel’s are the goons of white supremacy. Beckys are the molls. Allies don’t allow their circles to have Regular Rachels in their midst and not allow them to roam unchecked. Firestarters, check your circles. None of us have time for the ridiculousness Regular Rachels bring.
[images from Google]