chescaleigh

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Hey y’all!!!

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It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Needless to say, the final weeks of 2014 were a bust in several ways.  There were things to discuss, but nothing was positive and our drafts listing is filled with half-written posts.  But it’s a new year and I’ve decided to dive back in as a manner of expressing myself again. So let’s talk.

What’s Yo (Relationship) Status at the Bank?
Guess who happens to still be single in the most vivid way imaginable?

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Over the course of the holidays, it was almost as if everything I did involved hanging with couples, listening to the drama between couples, or getting advice on how to end up in a couple.  It was harsh to say the least.

Even worse, I realized that my type is still relatively elusive.  While Class may try to act like my requirements for dating are obscure, they are actually not that bad.  But the two requirements that are most important to me seem to be the hardest to find.  Internally motivated and an interesting conversationalist seem to be rarities these days.  Lacking in these areas render even the most superficially attractive specimen useless in my world.

But the largest obstacle standing in my way is my reluctance to put myself out there.  For many years, it was fear of rejection that held me back.  That I was too big or not attractive enough to be worth anyone’s attention.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m okay looking.  I’m relatively funny.  I’ve got some things going for me.  Also, I’m Important.

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Seriously though, I’ve exhausted my desire to go out.  I’m tired of checking apps and dating sites.  I’m just in this place where I’d rather not be bothered.  That attitude doesn’t fix the situation, but it is where I’m at these days.  We’ll see what changes this year.

On Blackness
This blog isn’t even a year old and we have a full archive on Race Issues.

But it seems 2014 was the year where racists just said “Fuck It” and went hard in the paint to make America miserable unsafe for Black people. I remember back when President Obama was elected, there was a mixed feeling of elation and fear.  One of the biggest lessons I’d learned was that when white people feel a loss of perceived power, they lash out.  No matter what.  Whether it’s getting angry and upset with harsh words and attempts to ruin the victor’s credibility or attempting to utilize the one perceived slight as an example of how hard they have it, it is going to happen.  The only other reaction I’ve ever seen is the defense “I’m not racist, I hate everyone.  Racist comment, racist comment, racist comment.”  That’s probably the worst of all.

But to keep myself from going full-on thesis, here’s Miles Jai:

Here’s Chescaleigh:

Here’s Tre Melvin:

I’m using these as examples because I’m trying to swallow this rage and keep it trucking. But the end result is that people are pissed at the injustice.  And no one cares how much it inconveniences you.  Our lives are at stake.  Until there is real change, there will truly be no peace.

Pettiness and Heartbreaks: Celebrity Style
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“Cut that Chinese Pussy Hair off my face. Lol”

When I tell you that Sass and I cackled for hours on end over the Lispy/Fanny Pack brief separation.  But something about this douchey face and the Lol sent me over the moon.

Both of these people truly need to leave their lives off the internet, but for the first time in ages, I laughed at their antics instead of rolling my eyes.  The involvement of Drake. Her tears of melancholy and faux-inspirational Instagrams from the Jhene Aiko playbook of songwriting.  The phrase “Chinese Pussy Hair”.  This is classic.

2014 also saw the breakup of Amber Rose & Wiz Latifah. I like Amber and Wiz is entertaining to look up so hopefully things will be good for their baby.  However, this my friends:

is good times. I love this like I love cheese.

Some Last Minute Jams
Here’s two of my favorite songs.  Leggo!

In The Presence Of Mirrors – PM Dawn

Ugh, love this group so much.  I wore my aunt’s cassette for “Of The Heart, Of the Soul, And of the Cross” out when I borrowed it back in middle/high school.  They have an interesting way of speaking about life and love in a way that’s emotional and masculine if that makes sense.  It’s melodic but it’s funky.  It’s definitely a product of the early 90’s free-for-all music scene. I’ll leave the song’s interpretation up to you, but this song still takes me to a place of wondering who I am and what I’m doing.

Please Don’t Turn Me On – Artful Dodger

With my very public love of Craig David, I don’t think it is surprising that UK Garage music appeals to me. Artful Dodger did some production work on Craig’s first album too, but it wasn’t until much later that I took a dive into his singles. I love the softness of his production, the abundance of harmonies, and his ability to give songs a groove while downplaying the drumbeat. It’s all very lush, if that makes sense.  This song makes me happy.

So what’s happening in your world? Are you looking forward to 2015?

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Let’s Talk: Microaggression

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Source: haringtonskits.tumblr.com

This morning, I woke up and read an article I saw mentioned by @Chescaleigh on Twitter. It’s an article from the New York Times discussing the recent I Too…Am Harvard and the history surrounding the term “microagression” and what possible ramifications of its growth in usage means these days.

Here’s a link to the article so you can take a read.

Now as an African American man growing up in North Carolina, I encountered a lot of incredibly racist situations and remarks. In fact, I can make a laundry list of microaggressions of which I have been a subject. Enough to have to decide what “battle” am I going to fight today.

There are two sides to the argument:

1) Toughen up and stop taking offense to everything.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve listened to someone complain and my thoughts were, to quote Alyssa Edwards, “Get a grip, get a life, and get over it!”

It’s not because I don’t care or that I don’t understand the frustration. It’s that you’re wasting energy on something that in the long run doesn’t affect your future unless you let it.

The comments that I do my best to shake off are usually around non-serious issues.

If someone doesn’t believe I’m an Eagle Scout because of my race, that isn’t a microaggression for me.

If I’m asked where I’m from, I don’t take it is as a microaggression. I simply say that I’m from North Carolina. Perhaps if I was foreign born, this would sting more.

If someone is surprised that I listen to classical music or play the music, I don’t take any offense to it.

Again, these are a few examples that I try to shake off because I feel these types of comments are not intended to belittle me but merely an attempt at small talk.

2) Correct the tone deaf person because you’re offended.

The second argument means that I take the role as “spokesman” for all black people and try to teach and explain why things are this way and why what you said can hurt people. I’ve given up on being angry in how I discuss the issue because then I would be angry all the time.

Here are just a few examples:

I spent the past 2.5 years in public accounting. There is an internship program that takes African-American, Latino, and Native American freshmen and sophomores who meet the criteria for hire. I’ve worked closely with the program because I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for this group. I was asked by a coworker (in good faith) if I thought that this was fair to white or Asian students who wanted that opportunity. My initial thought was “hell yeah! Our team of 125 has 9 non-white team members including East and South Asians!” But I pointed out that these students meet the exact same criteria as their counterparts (high GPA, strong extracurricular activities, full interview process). This program simply increases the pipeline so that the firm can be more diverse, a stated goal of the company. He left the conversation saying that I had made a lot of sense and thanked me for helping him see the value in it.

But that’s just it. Until I took my time to clearly state why the program existed, he didn’t see any value in these kids and this program. I have
had co-workers dismiss my opinions and thoughts only to find out I was right. I have had clients straight up refuse to respond to me. It’s not that I automatically attribute this to my race, but I hope that it is clear that it can be hard not to when there truly are no other differences between me and anyone else.

Another example, I went to a PWI (predominantly white institution) for my undergraduate degree. I was a part of a Fellows program where 20 students were selected from 500 applicants to take advanced courses and be the face of this part of the university. Only 4 of those 20 received the scholarship. I was blessed enough to earn one of those scholarships. During the first few weeks of getting to know my fellow Fellows, (no pun intended) I felt completely out of place. I skipped events because I hated interacting with them. On one particular day, they all went around asking who “got the money.” Everyone was asked with the exception of me. For my money, it was no one’s business but this was a way to “rank” each of us. I remember being offended that no one thought I could have gotten the scholarship over them.

When someone finally did ask, it became “Do you think you got it because you were Black?”

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The thing about that situation is that I already felt excluded simply because I could not relate to the conversations. That sucks but there is no way to change that and they were not responsible for making me feel wanted. However, when the assumption was made that I won something over my counterparts due to my race, I took that to be offensive and it automatically pushed me to have my guard up at all times.

For me, the answer to dealing with these situations lie somewhere in between. That is why discussion around microaggressions are important. We do have to toughen up as a whole, but living your entire life with your armor on is exhausting. The more exhausted you are, the closer we get to snapping should a careless comment be thrown our way.

That means we have to ensure that what we say is what we mean. Advising someone to think before you speak is not “tone policing” and “reverse racism”. It simply is the mark of a mature adult who wants to connect with anyone.

With that said, I think some may confuse microaggressions with snide or insincere “compliments” that are, in fact, hurtful. People shouldn’t be called “exotic”. That’s a term for fruit and remote desert islands.

No one wants you touching their hair. NO ONE.

Asking an East Asian person, “What type of Chinese are you?” is out of line.

Remember, people are going to be offended at some point. No one is perfectly okay with every single thing that is said. But I think the ability to think critically and apologize for poor word choice are really what’s key. Learning about people who are different than we are is rewarding. I recently learned a lot more about Orthodox Judaism thanks to a car ride with a co-worker. It was fantastic and because we both asked questions in good faith, there was nothing impeding our exchange. add sentence…I’ve embedded Chescaleigh’s how to apologize video as a start.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think that everyone is looking for ways to be offended? Have you ever felt slighted? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter at @ClassNTrashShow.