Tag: influence

WEEK 8: WHITE PRIVILEDGE STILL SO FRAGILE

Image result for snowflakes

So…aight.

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…”

Girl.

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!

Nall.

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]

Mirrors On The Wall

The most radical thing you can do in the land we now inhabit is to love yourself. I mean really, love yourself. That type of love is beyond selfies, ‘Gram posts, video hits and likes. It’s beyond the reach and opinion of other people. This love cannot be defined by the witness and presence of other people.

Love is defined in three ways. Two are nouns:  (1) an intense feeling of affection of (2)  a person or a thing that one loves. The last is what is called eros, erotic or romantic love. However, self-love is or can be defined as to “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Whereas this would be seen as selfishness or vanity, it is not. It’s not a bad thing to be aware of yourself, your needs and wants. It is not selfish for you to be aware of yourself. It is not selfish to be aware of your hurts, fears and frailties.

None.

It is not vanity to be introspective. It is not vanity to be self-aware and present–present in your own life. It is not vanity to acknowledge your own presence, participation and contribution to the life you lead. In acknowledging your entire self, in all parts, you become a sentient being. A being with autonomy, passions, history and future. You indeed are you.

The act of self-love is radical. It involves what a good friend of mine calls *shadow work. It’s unpleasant, it’s hard, and it’s freeing. It is the gathering of the broken pieces of yourself in order to be whole again–recognizing them as still pieces of yourself, and you are worthy of healing and not weight. In loving yourself, you have to become able to love the things you don’t like about yourself, the dirty secret things you will never reveal to even your Creator. Forgiveness is a part of shadow work. Being able to look at whatever you have done, and own it. It is a portion, not the definition, of whom you are.

When you can love yourself when it is hardest to, this is a portion of what it means to love yourself. When you can begin to see yourself as entire being of and for value, this is the beginning of loving yourself–practicing self-love and care.

Life is a journey dear one, do not fear it.

There will be times where the hardest thing to be is yourself–however, that is the only person you cannot do this life without. The beginning to love yourself is to remember you cannot do life without you.

(Luke 1:37:  For with God, nothing shall be impossible.)

*-There will be a post about Shadow Work later this month.

Going From Here

The first thirty-one days of the new year are almost over.  I used to hate January. Like, hate January. I would sulk, and be standoffish and wish it were warmer. Missouri winters can be just harsh and dark. I’m a summer baby, and I thrive when it’s warm and covered in light.

This year was different.  I cannot tell you how and why, but it determined before December 2017, that I wouldn’t be sullen in the new year.  I determined that all I had used up in 2017, I wouldn’t  bring its remnants into 2018. Part of that is in conjunction with my participation in The Awakenings Project. The basis of this project is self-determination outside of the labeling of society.

That’s powerful.

The word I used for the previous cycle was ambition. Ambition is my rocket fuel. When I decided my word, that was a seed unknown that pushed me to examine what it is I wanted, wanted to do, and how I was going to get it. More importantly, it challenged me to see what I could do without:  what could I leave behind? What couldn’t go with me?

I decided the sullenness couldn’t go with me. The waiting couldn’t go with me. Waiting for time to be perfect couldn’t go with me. I had to be determined to leave behind what weight I carried. The weight I carried was who I thought I wanted to become.

I had to let go of the dream of–everything. This identity I made for myself, and tried to maintain before I became a wife and mother. I had to forgive myself for the her that I was, and embrace the she I am becoming. I had to embrace what I lost:  time, energy, people, money and be content knowing this is not the end. Even the Bible says better is the end of a thing than the beginning.

The beginning.

Those thing we say we need, we try to get back, and need one more of. But will you take the step of giving yourself grace and love and acceptance to start over without benefit of a new year?

From right where you are now–right now–can you let go of whatever has plagued, promised  and passed? Are you willing to let all that doesn’t serve you–go? If you can, this is the first step towards the crucial thing we never give ourselves:  credit and forgiveness.

Credit allows you to be confident in what it is you desire to do and admit that as your decision. Forgiveness allows you to accept yourself where you are, and for whatever you did and move forward!

That is today’s impartation:  move forward.

Stagnation mires.

Change frees.

We all sometimes need a do over–but what are you will to part with to get yours?

RUNITBACK FRIDAY- 1/26/18

#Monique #ThisAMess #WhatsNext #Netflix #Boycott #Purpose #PurposeOnPurpose #PUSH #UnderstandDynamics #DestinyInTheRoom #NameInTheRoom #Observations #Realizations #Business #Economics #DontMissThis #TheSetUp

This is my official position about the Monique situation.  There is a way you do business, and a way that you understand the opportunities presented to you. I was asked about this at work, and I said this, “God put her name in that room, and this is how she acted. You don’t know what God was going to do–had she used wisdom.” This is why I say this.

Monique was on a talk show with Russell Simmons around the same time she had her own show on BET. She said that in regards to being black and in entertainment she said she learned to ‘make opportunities’. No one said she had to take the money, no one said she was untalented or undeserving of literally ‘being in the room.’ This is my issue.

This is what agents are for. Had she played a little 3-D chess, she could have maximized her opportunity to make the most of what was presented to her. This nation constantly underpays, undercuts and devalues the talents of black women and women of color since–ever. From Ma Rainey, to Moms Mabley, to Bessie Coleman, to Oprah Winfrey, to my mother, and even myself. How we overcome this is to have people in our corner whom can fight for us, even when we aren’t in the room. Instead of maximizing what was presented to her, she lashed out.

Monique did what so many people when the are hurt do–look for someone that will and would listen to her. She went to Instgram wanting boycotts. She did the talk show circuit and said she was the most decorated living female comedienne. Monique went into recon “Imma get all these hoes” mode. Whenever  you get pulled off your square like this, God can’t move, the universe can’t be open to you because you are too busy trying to overwhelm to bash in, rather than create to be granted access.

I can understand Monique’s frustration. I am empathetic to feeling you need to defend, check, buss in, buss up and let every hater know. TRUST. I GET IT. However, one thing I have been graced to understand that the opportunity, even the smallest is maximized by finesse and wisdom. She has snapped off, and we as the Fam at large have heard her, but now what to do, bae?

I support Monique, and I need her to #LevelUp. Like for the culture, for herself and those that follow, #LevelUp. It’s time. It’s time.

#JemelleHill #ESPN #AprilDRyan #BigSisterJemelle #ThisSo meOle #TheSix #Solidarity #Family #AuntieApril #WhoThisWomanHarpo #TryingToBeGreat #HowLong #IRideForThemDoe  #GetEmSis

Folk can’t stand to see black women being great and leveling up (yes, #LevelUp is now an official hashtag of TIFS–Fight me.). Sometimes the biggest stumbling block to you leveling up as a black woman is another black woman. This is non debatable fact–I have lived this. Often. This is why I do my best to not let another black woman who is my life, my sphere of influence to never feel less than. She is not my enemy nor my competition.

I am She. She are we.

We are they.

These are not greater than those whom are for me–or her.

Now, that said–the awesome news this week is Jemelle Hill is leaving TheSix on ESPN (the 6pm SportCenter with Michael Smith) and is going to the show The Undefeated.  This show fuses race, sports and culture. I think this is awesome for her and I’m excited to see her blossom–and flex–and be brilliant! #GetEmSis

For all this dopeassness this week, there was a tweet towards April D. Ryan, journalist whom is indeed a superhero, by this legendary bedwench of the Trump suppository whom now has a cushy job in the Department of Health and Human Services when she used to be a wedding planner–I will not mention her name here. Y’all goggle it. This same woman called April Ryan, “Miss Piggy.” And when this wench got clocked by Ana Navarro, then she wanted to apologize and delete the tweet. April Ryan, in her clapback akin to thunder, gathered her like kids under streetlights, telling her how wrong this was of her to do and was like ‘this is not over.’

Pause.

I know in the first portion of this blog, I said I do not make habit or room to come for black women–they are not my competition. However, in love, I will gather a sis when necessary. This trollop has forgotten how expendable her boss sees black women, and chose the wrong one to come for in April Ryan. See? What she forgot is, how they came for Omorosa, they will come for her! Rather than accept and see what is, she feels like her boss’s incompetence is her cloak of invisibility. She is legit maximizing her coonery through the vessel of white privilege–who has time for that?!

There is a madness afoot, y’all. Friends don’t let friends come Stacey Dashes or Omorosas or this trollop whom will not be named. You can’t tell a broad to level up whom thinks the bottom is all she needs.

If I Don’t Get There With You

Reproclamation.

This act is defined by the reannouncing of something public and official.

According to USA Today in January 2016, here is history as to the legislative history around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:

On Nov. 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill marking the third Monday of every January, as Martin Luther King, Jr., day, according to the center. The holiday was to begin in 1986. In January 1986, the first national Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday was observed.

Coincidentally, 1986 was when I began my elementary education. Moreover, every president since Regan signs this proclamation every year, ergo it remains a holiday. Seems redundant.

However, in keeping with the man and the honor expected of today, I offer the same wisdom he did half a century ago:

It’s expected to say something today to be encouraging and profound today. The life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  is encouraging and profound. However, there are portions of his life and work, that don’t qualify him as ‘the good Negro’ he is sometimes classified as.

The work, social justice, civil equality, dismantling of systems of oppression, is not easy and is thankless. We see now the lust towards the power certain white people had generations ago where words and looks could, would end the lives of people of color. We see a march towards the reversal of things equitable, just and fair in favor of reestablishing what white supremacy has dictated to be the most right way. We see those using coded language for its implementation–and the silence of those whom have seen such an incarnation before, yet do nothing–because whiteness, its privilege and the profits gained or granted therein.

There is a romance to racism this country worships and imbibes  which I’m sure that my grandmother could better explain, and my mother endured as a nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Being alive to see this, it is easy to be afraid, and look for the rescue from the slow march to national destruction from Washington, D.C. Even one of my writing sheroes, Roxanne Gay, in an article from the New York Times details that no one is going to save us from this administration.

She’s right.

However, there was no one to protect us in administrations prior. We as a people began to do that–creating our own schools, businesses, and edifying one another. And we still had to fight to get a cat up off you because in the words of Barack H. Obama “Folk wanna pop off…”

On today, I want to know that you are valued, you are worthy, you are entitled to all this life has to offer. Today is a celebration of the life of a man that embodied one aspect, one facet of a movement meant to uplift and encourage people, and change the face of this nation. This work, social justice, civil rights, equality for all people, dismantling of systems of oppression is on-going. Now, in this dispensation it is our turn, my turn, your turn to fight. The rescue is in your mouth and resources–and what we as a people are willing to pull together to create the better we so desperately want and know what can have.

Today, we celebrate the life of a man who dared to look this nation in the face and call it a lie:   in word, in action, and in deed. Today, we celebrate a forged path able to withstand those that walked with him, ahead of him, and us coming after. Today, remember your power is service–even when no one calls your name or sees you.  You must remember the rescue you seek, you can create.

Today, let no one tell you that you cannot. History has proven that you can, you shall, and you will. We shall overcome indeed, but sometimes, you need to first acknowledge you first must get over.

 

Sun & Bells

You’ve heard the expression Whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee by the poet John Donne–and the Hemingway book of the same beginning clause. Check this explanation:

“…for whom the bell tolls definition. An expression from a sermon by John Donne. Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

What is death except the ultimate change and and letting go. What we forget is the impact life, and its loss, has on us as individuals and humanity.

In the space of grief and acceptance, we have to be reminded to live. We must live and continue to live as best we can. Sometimes, this needs a reminder. There needs to guideposts and other people whom love you to continue to remind you life has not ended because one life is not present.

It is trite to say ‘live and do how they would have wanted you to live.” Death does not take or replace personal autonomy. You still own the outcome of your life.

So own the outcomes.

Own the uncomfortable places, the secret things, indeed every outcome. Do not be taken hostage to the dreams of people whom never voiced their own or could speak to yours. Do not be persuaded from what you desire in favors for what may have been hoped for in another person.

This life, and all is sorrow and boundless wonder, is yours. Do not live as if your presence offends people. Do not live your life for the dead. Live your life because it is yours, it is excellent, and it is waiting.

Pretty, Petty & Black (1808)

(1808-This is going to be NSFW. Fair warning.)

Brianna Brochu put a toothbrush in her ass and gave it back to her roommate.

Let that shit sink in. The reach of white supremacy and privilege is mind-boggling.

She smeared used tampons on her roommate’s bookbag, put old food in her toiletries, even going the extra step of being beyond trifling, and spit in her coconut oil.

Now, this silly white girl bragged about this mayhem on the ‘Gram and called her roommate Jamaican Barbie. This is sh she got caught. But she swears up and down she’s not a racist. So she just trifling and evil?! That makes this better.

She wasn’t charged with a hate crime, but with, lemme get it right, it reads in part from NBC News:

Civil rights advocates had asked the state to add a hate crime charge to the criminal mischief and breach of peace counts Brochu faces. NAACP Greater Hartford Branch President Imam Abdul-Shahid Muhammad Ansari attended the hearing and said that he, along with other NAACP members, are not pleased with the decision.

Allow me to translate:

“This is some absolute bullshit.”

This girl got expelled from University of Hartford, and assaulted her roommate but people want to shift this as “an ill-suited dorm assignment.” Nall. She clearly don’t need to be on anyone’s dorm–she ain’t been taught nothing!

There are RAs, and Housing Directors for “ill-suited dorm assignments.” She’s smart enough to get into college but can’t fill out a form to change her dorm assignment? And she says she’s not a racist…

Nall.

If you put my toothbrush in your ass, imma whup yours. Flat out.

The killer part? Peep what she called, Sis, doe! Jamaican Barbie. I don’t know what it is about white women whom see black women as pretty. Like you hate us…but wanna be us ala GET OUT?!

The reason why this angers me so is I’m a sister, a godmother, mother and a black woman all my life, with a black mother and father whom told me I was pretty–and never be ashamed of who I was.

This broad assaulted her black roommate, bragged about it in detail to the world, but doesn’t want to be seen or labeled a racist.

Tough.

She is.

The reason she gave as to why she did what she did was this (from the Hartford Courant):

Brochu, who is white, told police that she did not have a good relationship with her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, who is black. Brochu claimed Rowe was rude to her and posted videos online of her snoring to make fun of her.

I’m not even amazed. But this being the Christmas season, the one piece of advice to give to the young woman this happened to, Chennel Rowe aka Jazzy, is this:

Shine.

Get this degree. Make your money. Make this system work for you. This trollop, this school may never apologize or recognize you for all that has happened to you. However, don’t let one silly (bleep) who couldn’t be you, or like you, stop you. This broad will ever be famous for what she did to you–but that won’t define you. You can be mad, embarrassed and ready to fight. You’re entitled. But also know what the real enemy is.

We got you.

In All You Do

Power is to whom you give it. There comes a time in this life where you will be forced to evaluate whom has power over you, and why.

Outside from the agencies whose existence is based in protection, there those in your life whom will try and tell you their intent is of a similar ilk.

This power, this influence, for the most part is wielded by people in your life whom only wish to see you win. It is wielded in benevolence, with courage and boldness to remind you of whom you are and can become.

However, more often than not this influence roots and lingers in under the beds Shakespeare says are crowded. This is from the people closest to us whom have seen us at a point of weakness–rather than helping us, they tell is what we did wrong, always do or will never do right.

They become evil sooth-sayers, casting hexes of discontent, bitterness, jealousy and apathy over all those in their pathways. They will tell you these things as if you have no concept of your own self. They have not lived a life or had experiences where someone celebrated them, wanted to celebrate them or denied their existence.

These people can only give you what they have: nothing.

Every day you choose whom you will become. Each day you are given holds the potential to be life-changing. I don’t say this as if the world around you does not present or beset you with unique problems. I say this because no matter how big the problem is, you will always be larger than the problem. You determine what you determine.

Some things spoken over you may be hurtful, disguised help or frank opinion. You do not have to accept this, even from from the people you know or love.

You don’t have to accept poison as medicine or influence as a Gospel. You determine what will steer your life–nothing and no one else.

I am fond of saying the first 18 years of your life may not be under your control, but the rest of your life is. Uprooting the weeds in the garden of your heart and head is never easy, I assure you. It took me a decade to get over what my father had said about me writing as a career.

What helped me what the feeling I had when I wrote. The attention I got as a I wrote and now that feeling could not be replicated by anything else.

Choose what you will listen to that will shape and empower you. All you are exposed to indeed shapes you. What does not add to you will only steal and a chief thieves of joy ads competition and envy.

What shall you become once you decide who it is you are?

All The Black Women Named Charlotte

When I was growing up, I wondered by my grandmother had named my mother Bessie. There was no other woman I knew named, Bessie. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized that name was short for Elizabeth. The only other Elizabeth I knew not in a Sweet Valley High book, was Queen Elizabeth II. My mother said that was whom she was named after. She believes it, so why not let her have it?

However, with the women my mother’s age the names I heard often where Esther, Estella, Dorothy, Elizabeth and Charlotte.

Charlotte.

My adopted mother’s name is Charlotte.

I always thought the name sounded–hard. I think it was mean sounding because of the hard Ch that started that name. But there are few women I knew with that name who were mean.

It was this year that I found out why that name had the toughness that it did. It’s regal. Charlotte, Charlottesville,— the very name Charlotte–is after the British monarch Queen Sophia Charlotte, wife of King George III. And she was what was called a Moor, we would just call her black.

Yes, black.

With all I knew, I considered myself to be well read until now. I literally found this out as concrete fact over the weekend! I had heard the historic rumors of her existence, but didn’t want to get my hopes up with research. But indeed this was fact! She was beautiful, multilingual, an abolitionist–and she discovered Morzart! Moreover, she was one of his early sponsors!

As I sat listening to News One, I absorbed this information in smooth waves. I searched Google for images of her. I needed to know what likeness there was of her. In seeing her, being able to associate name and face, I thought I would be able to further validate my own ambition. I wanted proof to be an ambitious, beautiful black woman was hereditary, not fluke. I needed the lingering parts of me settled about that. There was depiction of her I found where she looks like me or my mother when she was younger.

Names indeed have influence, prestige and lineage. Names let you hold you head up a little taller, especially if you know there’s a history behind them! Make no mistake, because you have the name you do, you already get to establish history and prowess with it. Need I remind you of  *Quvenzhane Wallis?

Nikki Giovanni said,”If the black woman wasn’t made, she would have to be invented.” So accurate. It indeed is marvelous to be young, gifted and black.

*She the actress in the movie Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and most recently, Annie. She is an author, and actress whom was the youngest nominated for an Academy Award. There is a quote that is ascribed to the pronunciation of her name that the author, says requires one have ‘full use of the tongue.’  That article  was in response to a Annie press interview Ms. Wallis did where the interviewer was having an issue saying her name, and wanted to shorten it. Quvenzhane said, “No, you can call me Quvenzhane.”

My Dad And NAS

Sooner or later, we’ll all see who the prophet is…”

-Nas, Nas Is Like (Album:  I Am…)

The first time I heard Nasir olu dara Jones’s voice? I can’t even explain it. I remember I smiled on the inside. My household wasn’t terribly conservative, but my parents monitored the music choices of myself and siblings. And being born in the era where hip-hop was in its infancy, kept their ears to my Sony Walkman and my radio when it was on Majic 108 (yes, I’m old enough to remember listening to that station here in St. Louis).

I remember how my father really didn’t pay attention as closely to what I listened to like my mother did. My taste and love for music came from him. He listened to Muddy Waters, Clapton, Pop, Doo-Wop, Soul and Digital Underground. Yes, THAT Digital UNDERGROUND.

In the sea of hip-hop, of all the people I was listening to, I came back to Nas. I kept coming back to his lyrics, his voice, his–musical presence in my world. As I moved through middle school aged girlhood, I was shaped by these male voices in my world. Even with the discord which comes with being a teenager, my Dad was one still one of the loudest voices inhabiting my social world. It was my father that told me, “Why do you want to go to school to write? You can’t eat with an English degree?”

I know, right? That cracked my heart–I didn’t think he believed in me. But I kept at it.

This, I believe, is the reason why I loved (and still love) hip-hop so much: the words, the freedom, the creativity–I saw this music genre as an art form. 

For the first twelve years of my life, I wanted to be a physician. A healer. A wielder of heart and head, of logic and art. I wanted to be a doctor because my Dad was one and I, too, wanted to heal. But when I discovered this mastery of these letters? When I found another way to heal? I told my father, I no longer wanted to be a doctor.

Our relationship deteriorated soon after.

In that space, that influencer power  of my father quieted. In that space, I crawled inside music and words and Nas in my junior year of high school. I would hear his voice and that lie that rooted in a mind and heart would shut up. It would shut up.

In a pen, I found peace.

In the pen I found healing, and I found that what he told me, was only true for him. It was only applicable to him, and what he wanted for me, he superimposed on me, rather than accepting me for who I was. I was not broken because I didn’t fulfill someone’s expectations.

I remember I began to preserve this gift the only way I knew how–blocking out the world, including him. I honed the craft, listened to my English teachers that told me what I could do. I I re-read their edits, asked questions about how they graded and what I could do better. I listened to my favorite emcees, memorized lyrics and at the release of I Am, confirmed what I wanted to do.

From that day to this one, I have made it mission to uproot that lie. In doing so,  I can be confident every time I publish a blog, freewrite,or edit a book, I burn a hole in each letter of that childhood false hood, and grin at their ashes around my feet.

Why?

I’m a linguistic acrobat. A wordsmith. A delicate, intricate raconteur.

I does these words.