In the age of pandemic and police brutality, this Father’s Day feels different. It is different! It is easy this day, this holiday, to do the normal: Give the cards. … Continue reading Father’s Day In A Strange Land
The Impeachment Hearings are looking like a episode of Divorce Court, Kanye West is now joining a force of missing Black folk in the Sunken Place to form a Supercoon … Continue reading RUNITBACK FRIDAY-01/24/2020
Depression is becoming a pandemic within the African-American community. We as a people must begin to admit this. Ignoring this, minimizing this, is costing the lives of our children. Little … Continue reading FIRESTARTER HOTSHEET-BLACK CHILDREN MATTER
I have been following John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) for about a year on social media. However, the key thing that put him on my social media radar as a Firestarter was … Continue reading All This, And He Knows Jesus Ain’t White: The Gift That Is John Pavlovitz
I miss my grandmother. I miss her on a level I didn’t realize until after she had already left the world. I needed more guidance. I need more from her. … Continue reading #28DaysOfBlackness: The Value Of Eldership
From the staff and administration of The Ideal Firestarter: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! This December marks two years of me being at the helm of this blog and we are … Continue reading MERRY CHRISTMAS!
The Movement is now a buzzword. It’s a cliche, much like it was a half-century and more ago. The thing is, by nature of the word, movement is not never … Continue reading The Motive, The Gag & The Game
Activism: the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.
There are so many things going on in the world today. Honestly, none of it is new under the sun. However, there is a lot being brought to the forefront by way of social media, camera phones, blogs, etc.
While people may see social media as this horrible media giant that has doomed us all and may be viewed as a curse, I view it also as a blessing!
This has steered activism by the listed. In this post I won’t touch on political change, and in the service of being honest, I will pose this question.
If we can truly be frank and honest, what political change has really helped to advance African/Black Americans? (See, the thought you just had? That’s why I won’t touch on it. FOR NOW!) Socially, African-Americans have always fought to be treated fairly and afforded the same opportunities as our lighter skin/white counterparts. It’s not surprising that in the world we live in, we have to yell at the top of our lungs that we are important and that we matter, so we don’t have to hold our head down in shame. We have to constantly confirm and reaffirm our natural beauty is enough; it’s perfectly normal to exude and walk in the excellence that we possess. You want to talk about activism? Fine. Let me present to you this: workplace activism.
To be clear and to an extent, I have always been a rebel. I have always been one who when she sees something morally and ethically wrong, I’ve never been afraid to address it. I have had some of the most prejudiced, racist situations happen to me and unfortunately, my (read: black) people didn’t stand behind me for support! I have come to accept this fact. It is disheartening, but I am okay with it. Not everyone is built to handle a tough road or ask hard questions. Here is an example.
I worked for a company who prided themselves on being honest, helpful and happy. As long as you possessed those qualities, the sky was not the limit–the limit was endless! Our opinions were valued and this place of employment cared about who we are and what we could bring to the company. When I was promoted to a higher position, and if things in this department didn’t align with the core values of this company, I spoke out about it.
Initially these confrontations would begin with an email to my direct manager, then in a meeting with my direct manager. Once I realized that the associates under me were still not happy about the blatant racism and being treated in a manner of disrespect, I sent an email to all of our leads, managers, supervisors and direct managers. Of course, after me trying to say something to the leads/managers/direct managers face-to-face, or could send another email, I would be called to another meeting!
I would be told in these meetings that my sitting upright in a chair, hands folded on the desk and giving direct eye contact to my district managers was deemed as “hostile and negative (his words, not mine).” I was also told by people in the black community who worked for this company I should “keep my head down,” and I “just need to just follow along with what the white manager had to say”. I shouldn’t smile too much or laugh because white people are threatened by that.
I have had people stop me and say that my dashiki shirt is offensive to the white race that I shouldn’t wear it. I shouldn’t have too much ‘joy’ because me being a darker skinned, African-American/Black women; it is deemed to be mean, aggressive and takes the power away from my white counterparts. I should act stupid so that I can ‘get by’ so that my white counterparts don’t see me as a threat or challenge.
I want to make this clear. I, in no way shape or form, hate any ethnicity. But, I refuse to be a watered down version of myself so that I can make everyone else comfortable!
You may think that this has nothing to do with activism in a traditional sense, but it does! In that manner, this continuous have to fight to be my unapologetic self, so that others who see me, or come behind me may know a few things:
You are more than enough!
You don’t have to fit in with the standards that this society has tried to make you out to be!
That you can be you unapologetically!
In your campaigning to be yourself, to walk in the grace and confidence all you are allows you to bask in the refreshing feeling of being yourself! That knowledge that even if your situation doesn’t change, that the road may be easier to the next person to comes behind you! While the ones ahead of you may tell you to keep your head down, will no longer be afraid to show who they are!
My encouragement for you today, is continue to be courageous. Continue to go against the grain! It’s a shame the only thing that separate you from me, is my skin tone and the fact that some can’t seem to see or grasp that? It’s amazing.
This skin I am in is wrapping paper! How I treat people, everything that is constituted in my character, is who you should be focused on. I will continue to fight and spread the word that while you try to ignore that my blackness didn’t change the world, but socially? You can’t deny it. Ask Kim Kardashian: How you like those “Bo Derrick braids?” Knowing that they were brought to you by a black slave who served your ancestors house hold? How’s that for social activism?
[Images from Google, Medium.com & Pinterest]
My pen is tired. I am tired of writing black men’s names as hashtags. Reducing promise and power to a series of symbols which translate to a mere name. And … Continue reading For Antwan, And Those Before…And After
In this the fourth month, eighteen years into the new millennium, my heart has an ache, it’s as heavy as stone (I Cover The Waterfront-Billie Holiday). In this most rainy month, with the freak weather the Midwest had over the holiday weekend, perhaps it is fitting this month I talk about, the contributing staff talk about, is this uptick in black children, young children, committing suicide.
Ending the life not even two decades old!
Consider this an introduction to a portion of Black life, the Black experience, we don’t talk about often or often enough. We fall victim to the invincibility of our own mythos. Too often we despise and detest the frailty found in ourselves, but accessible to non-people of color. Psychology and coinciding therapies are or may be seen as stuff “white people do.”
But we’re supposed to fight through it? Because we saw our mothers, fathers, grandparents and alienated family fight through it? From that legacy, we get children whom wander through these dark orchards, eating of these bitter trees.
We see children now, the children that hold and bear our reflections, in a place of learned helplessness, panic, isolation and apathy. If the police aren’t murdering their neighbors and family members, they get made fun of at school for being smart like 12-year-old Storm, in Washington, D.C. in January of this year!
Black children are expected to deal with trauma, death and suffering like no other demographic of children. They are supposed to be impervious to bullying, immune to billets and illiterate to the world around them! The emotional soil tilled in the life of black children in this nation is hard, rocky and neglected. Today, I will start tilling this ground, planting trees and gardens to offer help, safety and space to not be okay.
We who are alive and remain can no longer sit as if this slow catastrophe is not happening! We must be proactive in the lives of children who do look like us, whose struggles we know and have overcome. The time has come and now is for us to pay attention!
The children are crying, but they keep covering their own mouths to muffle their own screams of pain. Why? It’s what they have been taught to do.
Share this post often.
Share the suicide hotline number.
Life is all our responsibility. Help someone keep living. Thank you.
[images from Google]