WEEK 14: STOP FALLING FOR WHITE CATFISH

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.

Colorism For Dummies

In my mother’s generation, it was called being colorstuck.

There’s a entire industry dedicated to skin and the changing of its hue. But there is an element to colorism that is insidious. The fact you whole self can be discriminated against over how dark or light your skin is seem especially mean. Colorism was used, is used to further divide us as African-Americans, as black people, using a European standard of beauty. The same system of oppression that sought to buy and bind us, makes us hate the one thing uncontrollable and beautiful about ourselves.

From house negroes to field negroes or mulattos,  colorism is steeped in perceived advantages–if you are light, the closer you are to white, can you do what lighter (i.e., whiter) people do, and will you treat, can you, would you, treat people who are darker (i.e., blacker) than you the way white people do?

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Is darker skin undesirable, because it is an ancestral reminder of what we were, are and descended from? One of the tenets of colorism is self-hate! Colorism desires us as people to grade, gauge, and degrade each other on a European beauty standard. Everything about the beauty of us as a people flies in the face of that standard:  our lips, eye color, and body shape. We are a delicious anomaly! And because we are, and the gradient our melanin comes in so dope, of course the euro-ethnic standard of beauty seeks to control that and smash it into one standard to be equitable to that standard.

Last year, almost two years ago now, I came across the documentary, Dark Girls. This documentary is mandatory if you have a black daughter to raise, or black female child to influence. Dark Girl with unsparing detail, spoke to women whom dealt with colorism from the spectrum of bullying to fetish. There was one woman they interviewed–whose hue was almost ebony–reported her friend whom was lighter had a child and was told her, “Girl, I’m so glad she didn’t come out dark.” Her friend cried remembering the conversation.

The documentary depicts the roots of this phenomenon, and its perpetuation not just through African-American culture, but others as well–where was an Asian-American woman interviewed who was bullied because her skin wasn’t egg white, a cultural ideal esthetic. See? I told you it was insidious. Even to how dolls are marketed to little girls of color–there were always more white dolls growing up. I had more white Barbie dolls with ‘the pretty hair’ than I ever had black doll–if for the simple fact there just weren’t enough of them.

In looking through this lens of sociology and psychology of colorism, I sugguest lookoing at  The Doll Test , first administered by Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark. The test was administered in the 1940s to examine the role of segregation on African-American children. The test has been augmented and readministered since then, with similar outcomes:  the lighter/white doll is or may be seen as pretty or smart or good, while the darker/black doll is not.

In this standard, in this deception of colorism, the other tenet is to make you feel like you are ever enough–to be accepted, you must be less than–you must change. Your blackness is not immutable but malleable. In being malleable, it is subject to the whim of your oppressor–even if they are in a mirror.

 

[images from lunemagazine.com and nccj.com]

Scars & Secrets

Black children have a right to be heard, loved and believed.

In the raising of Black children, we often overlook the need to provide a place of comfort for them. We become concerned, consumed by protecting them from the evils of the world, the flesh and the devil outside the walls of our homes. However, in attempting to endow them with the strength to go and conquer, we forget they are subject to the same psyche assaults of anyone else–if not more. I cannot tell you how often I have been told during the course of this month, in dealing with this topic, this quote, “Black people don’t get depression.” When the countenance of a Black child isn’t perpetually happy, or easily dealt with, those issues are ignored because so much else is going on:  working, paying bills, raising children, adulting and trying to take care of ourselves. In the haze of trying to make it, things are missed–and what is missed? It’s often overheard at dinner tables, or kitchen phone conversation.

While we are or may be taught to ‘what happens in this house, stays in this house,’ in certain instances, family members vent to the willing listening of their family members about the issues facing the child or children–sadly, even in cases where the child may be struggling with an emotional issue- can be or is made fun of! It is not totally unorthodox for Black children to suffer from anxiety or depression or helplessness. Is it not fair to assume they  need care and sensitivity as well? And why are we so quick to not extend it to our children?

Providing a place for a Black child to be safe is paramount. However, there must be an willingness to provide that. In the world we decide to make for ourselves, in trying to make sure we are okay as parents and adults, in masking our own untreated traumas, we assume that as we got over our stuff with no help, these little people being our children should be able to as well!

Not so.

Trauma of any kind has to be dealt with, it doesn’t just get better. It can fester, morph and become something else all together different which may impede your ability to be sensitive trauma in people close to you–including your children. In that callous space, where you could attend to them, you shun them. In that shunning, we make our children less likely to come to us with matters that hurt or break their hearts because they don’t want to be made sport of.

In a world that wishes to devour black children, strip them of confidence, belittle them, hide their history from them so they may never know what heights they may reach, to have a safe space in their own home is phenomenal. The African-American community is the least likely to reach out for counseling services or mental health services. We make fun of people who do therapy or counseling services–we say ‘that’s what white folk do.’ This notion of trying to equip Black children for the reality outside of their homes, while not allowing them total personhood is monstrous on some level. A child that doesn’t feel safe at home, may never feel safe or wanted elsewhere.

Life is hard enough, and we all fight wars no one knows about. Sometimes its nice to be understood, listened to and not have your depression, bad break up, anxiety or ideations sniggled about over the cookout barbeques in the summer.

[images from Google]

So This What We Doin Now?

So…this is legit where we are now? This is the state of the nation in the face of #MeToo? We still have trashass dudes defending what is and what is not rape?

Aight.

This photo was taken from my personal Facebook account two days ago, and I was incensed. And when writers get incensed, we let the whole world know. What I find so disheartening and angering about this is the cavalier nature these young men (Loose. Term.) and their non-respect of women and the hunger to sexual gratification. The sheer fact that all men have a mother somewhere would even create or be part of a hashtag that says #ItAintRape.

I read this and was horrified. From that horror, as a mother, went to rage with a litany of curse words. The entitlement of this hashtag, of the audacity of the male bravado wrapped in sexual privilege? Bruh, it was like nothing else.

One of the best people on planet Earth, fellow writer Angel Carter, in the age of #MeToo did a brilliant post on Facebook and titled it #YouTrashToo. Men who do not value women, whom believe “No” isn’t a word that applies to them, or to women that have to be drugged or in some way impaired to be had. Yes, that makes you trash, bruh. Cheap GLAD bag quality trash!

What gives consent its power is the autonomy it grants–it give a full physical stop to what it going on. It is a revoking of the right to have your privacy or personal space invaded. It revokes the decision power of another person over your life and what you decided to do before another opportunity presented itself. In taking consent from a woman, makes you trash. Having your identity as a male determined by your penis and our sexual body count makes you that much less of man.

Y’all are better than this, mane!

Y’all are better than this. The thing is, what I need to know, what my daughters who will be women need to know, do y’all believe you are!

It takes a special kind of deviant to take someone else’s body, man; especially when you have the biologic ability to determine the sex of a child. Meaning, you perpetuate a culture which can put your own daughter at risk. Rather than be a force in your sphere of influence, it’s safer to be trash because nothing is expected of you. Rather than be called soft, or gay or a pussy (the same thing you stalkin’ doe!) it’s easier to fit in or keep quiet. And some men wonder why women say, “Men aint shit.”

When you take away a woman’s right to own or possess or give consent to her body, the only thing she was born with which she will take with her, you give the adage that men ain’t shit roots, fruit and orchards.

If she don’t want you, bruh. You need to sit with that. If she doesn’t want to sleep with you, you need go sit with that. Men need to grasp the concept of “No”, and not see it always rejection–but preference. Spoiled children take and cannot be taught to cope. If y’all keep holl’in about what real men do–then Imma need the men of #ItAintRape to find out if their manhood is determined by action or is only as long as what hangs between their legs.

We as mothers, sisters, daughters and friends are tired of telling our daughters how to dress their bodies, conduct themselves, cover up to minimize being accosted, assumed interest or raped. In this climate–it’s always the girl’s fault. So to minimize that, you get apologize by fashion, by being pleasant and letting your inner Nene Leakes be heard, and if he calls you name because you won’t someone undeserving of what is so precious to you:  you said what you said.

You have enough to worry about, Sis. Trashass dudes should not be on top of that list.

[Top image by author, article images from Google]