race

Pull Over! Team Trash is Back!

Woop Woop!

Hey people, I’m finally feeling like myself again.

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Despite my good mood, y’all hoes continue to try the fuck out of it.  Let’s take a look.

“Natural Hair for White Girls”

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Where do I even start at this point?  Like don’t you all ever get tired?  This dumb broad didn’t read this and think, “Oh, I might offend everyone with my malformed attempt at satire?”  She didn’t take any time to actually look at what natural hair means to Black women.

But let’s slow down.  The first “joke” is that she is part of the most statistically oppressed group in America. This is a trap.  What you absolutely never want to do is compare your struggle in an effort to out “oppression” anyone.  Especially as a white woman.  Every person has their individual struggles and every group has a goal that they are working towards.  To recklessly make a joke about being an oppressed white woman without context is dangerous and frankly, irresponsible.

Let me pull a direct quote from this thing.

“We can’t simply refuse to shampoo and condition and get that look in the way that women of color can. This is the face and scalp of black privilege, and if we want a more cohesive society, we need to peel that black scalp back and take a look at the systems that oppress us.”

This ashy ho has somehow interpreted natural hair as not washing or maintaining hair.

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Source: RealityTVGifs)

Besides the sheer inanity of this statement, there really is a far worse implication here.  That natural hair as it grows is “dirty” and “unkempt”.  Without knowing it (because obviously she’s too dumb to function as a real member of society), she has insulted all Black women.  With the actual amount of issues black women encounter on a regular basis (included casual insults from other Black people), now is definitely not the time to sound like a slave master arguing the 3/5 rule.

“The two black women I know – Acura and Delicious, coworkers of mine – come into the teachers’ lounge every day with a sense of confidence that I could only hope to one day fake. Where does that proud sista-girl disposition come from? It comes from their exotic manes.”

Acura and Delicious are obviously real coworkers.  She didn’t make these up these “ethnic” names for the sake of insulting stereotypical Black names while also insulting their attitudes.  Why do they get to be proud of who they are?  Why do they get to enjoy their lives?  It can’t be because they worked hard to get their education degrees and obtain employment.  It can’t be because they are happy with who they are.

It must be their “dirty” afros that give the confidence that I so clearly lack because I’m not doing enough in my own life.  They are so exotic and different. I simply can’t accept their choices because it makes them different than me.

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(Source: RealityTVGifs)

 

“But, how can I have it? How can I get that ethnic flavor? How can we, as white women, cast off the shackles of the patriarchy and achieve true beauty and agency through the power of natural hair? How can we join in and have a part of that look – the part that is naturally owed to us as women?”

Because these women, Acura and Delicious, are happy ONLY BECAUSE OF THEIR HAIR, I’ve decided that I deserve that same happiness.

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I don’t just deserve it, I’m OWED it because I’m a woman.  Our struggles are EXACTLY the same and the only fix to this is for me to somehow obtain an afro.

Sorry, I have to cut the sarcasm here again.  Though this is “satire”, she still does not get how much she has just marginalized an entire group of people.  To ignore all of the actual challenges that Black women face in an effort to jokingly wonder how white women will ever catch up is so selfish and ignorant.  It truly blows my mind that the phrase “oppressed white lady hair” is actually something she typed.

For YEARS, Black people (women and men) used dangerous chemicals in order to fit in with white people.  Relaxers, weaves, and hot combs are all products used to straighten out the natural curls and kinks of our hair in order to fit the standard.  Shit, Countess Vaughn got incredibly sick because of a lace-front wig.  Madame C.J. Walker became the first Black female millionaire through hair care products.  Your “white” hair is not oppressed.  It served and continues to serve as the absolute standard of beauty for all people.  This is in fact why the natural hair counter-culture developed. Natural hair helps to empower Black women because they are allowed to believe who they are is enough.  The “instructions” that this asshole gives in order to change their look to an afro makes light of Black history and the continued struggle to assimilate into “American” culture.

The next few paragraphs of this fuckshit go on to “instruct” white women to use a combination of motor oil, Vaseline, gasoline, and bleach to strip all of the nutrients out of their hair. Making their hair so fragile and unhealthy is the key to happiness, Black lady style!

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Like I said earlier, the implication here is that the hair that grows out of Black women’s head is unhealthy, weak, and less than ideal.  Don’t forget that it’s all dirty and unkempt!  Pride comes from being a gross Black lady!

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Now listen, I’m a dude.  I’m not a woman with natural hair, so I don’t claim to be an authority on the topic.  But what I do know from discussions with my friends and family is that the power to choose how you want to look is one of the reasons that these women feel confident in themselves.  Their hair is not exotic.  Their hair is not to be mocked in some dumbass “Thought Catalog” blog because you think that you are so clever.  Making jokes about race, especially in light of the past few years, is not easy and not for the stupid.

What this woman has done in an effort to get a few chuckles is reinforce the notion that Black women are unclean and unnatural.  She has implied that Black women should not have the facility to decide how they want to look based on their own merits.  Every decision made is an attempt to embarrass white women.  There is a conspiracy to use their “gross” hair to take over.

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The fact that the editors at a blog called “Thought Catalog” didn’t see the problem with this piece is scary as well.  This was not funny, not informative, and not an opinion that we needed.  To see people defend it and frame Black people as quick to jump to offense lack basic critical reading skills.  I’ve mentioned to a few people that the worst type of racism (for me) is the complacent type who are resistant to change because it makes them uncomfortable.  They would rather not say anything and comfort themselves with the belief that it is “not me” who is being racist and therefore it’s okay.  It’s dangerous and these are the people who block change silently.  I’ll take the KKK over you any fucking day.

In addition, one of the frequent complaints that I’ve heard about feminism is their refusal to acknowledge the difference in the struggle of the minority woman.  The complete disregard of intersectionality has weakened the movement and creates more problems than the group seems to be able to solve.  To me, this article demonstrates the clear amount of disrespect that black feminists complain about.  I’m not even a woman and I’m livid.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think I’m overreacting?  (I’m not.)  Do you think that the post should be removed?  (It should.) Let me know in the comments.  Seriously, I would love to you all weigh in on the issue.

 

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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.

When Will Being a Minority Stop Being a Crime?

Blatant acts of racism have got to stop. It’s time that we stop saying that it is just a coincidence.

So I’m sitting at work scrolling through blogs and the news when I come across this article:

https://news.yahoo.com/blogs/oddnews/man-blows-0-00-on-breathalyzer–gets-arrested-for-dwi-003450614.html

Now the reason I’m upset is because, once again, another black man is imprisoned for no damn reason. Did he break the law? Yup. That’s why you give him that traffic ticket like you should. He could have carried on with the night mad that he must pay a ticket. BUT TO LOCK HIM IN JAIL OVERNIGHT?! AFTER he passed the breathalyzer test?! I’ve had it.

I’VE HAD IT.

It is just so frustrating to be guilty of everything in life because of the color of your skin. The blessing is that with all of the technology, the unfair treatment is coming to light. The amount of videos that flood Twitter and Facebook of minorities being abused by police is sickening. The problem is that noise is being made and no one is listening. This unjust treatment continues and minorities are just supposed to bear it.

The writers of this blog are both successful, masters degree holding, law-abiding gentlemen that would like to exist without being bothered. We would like to listen to Partition as loud as possible. Sometimes, a late night craving for Taco Bell calls and we need to get a Chalupa. CAN WE DO SO WITHOUT RISKING ARREST?! No I’m not bashing the police by any means. There are some TERRIBLE people out there and without the police, we would not be protected. However, can they worry about finding those actual CRIMINALS and leave me and my late cravings ALONE?! Damn.

Georgia On My Mind

So….

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/confederate-flag-approved-for-specialty-license-plate-in-georgia/

Let’s discuss.  I’m actually moving to Georgia in the coming weeks so this story jumped out a bit to me.  I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the so-called “Southern Heritage” and “Southern Pride” movement.  To me, it is an idea that makes sense on paper but still bothers me at my core. 

In school, I’ve always tried to be fair to those who defend it.  Their parents and ancestors have been in the South for many generations.  Their lives and their histories are tied up in the complex history of the states below the Mason-Dixon.  Why shouldn’t they be proud and allowed to celebrate their past?  The Confederacy was about States’ rights.

And while I can’t say that I agree on all points, understanding and knowing your family’s history is something I think is really important.

However, let’s be clear.  While the Confederacy was fighting for States’ rights, the key right they wanted was the right to own slaves.  The reason that the Confederate flag is such a polarizing symbol is because the Confederacy sought to limit the rights of my ancestors and fought the war in order to prevent their freedom.  While the flag represents history to you, it represents oppression to me and many others. 

We live in a world where many symbols have had their meaning corrupted from outdated and outright hateful movements associated with them.  The Confederate flag is one of those symbols.  It’s steeped in an ugly history with ugly meanings behind it. And because of that, its use as a source of pride is almost a slap in the face to all African Americans, but especially those with ties to the South.

It says that I support my ancestor’s decision to try to keep you from being free. 

It says that your families didn’t deserve to go out and live lives based on their own choices.

It says that I’m proud that my families wealth was built on the backs of other people.

It says that even though I’m “not racist,” I don’t think that what happened in the past was “that bad”.

It’s tough because America as a whole has and continue to has a complicated relationship with race relations.  But there has to be a better way to show Southern pride.  I can’t tell you what to do, but it’s similar to what I said in this post about skin darkening.  It may not be out and out racist, but you have to know that it is going to offend people.

What are your thoughts on the use of the Confederate flag as a symbol for Southern Pride?  Do you think that there is a way that it can be used without offense?  Let us know in the comments.

EWB (Existing While Black)

Bonjour tous les mondes!

It’s snowing in Boston for what had to be the 100th time this winter. I’m so sick of it

But that’s not why I am here to talk to you all. If you’ve been following the news, you know another killer has gotten away with the murder of a young black male.

I can’t even begin to express my frustration with this case and those like it. To be honest, I’ve always tried to keep my opinion to myself because I’ve been at a predominantly white university or job. I don’t want to come across as the angry Black man. That is not a good look professionally, even when I’m completely valid in my feelings.

But that’s just it.

I’M SICK OF YOUR SHIT, AMERICA.

I’m completely over having to teach my niece and nephew that there is a full set of rules they have to learn just to live their lives. Yes, we have to and yes, it is your fault.

I’m completely over having to smile and laugh at dumbass racist jokes and questions.

I’m completely over having to defend every action that relates to Blackness in America.

I’m completely over code switching.

I’m completely over “reverse racism”.

I’m completely over micro-aggressions.

AND I’m completely over the loss of innocent lives because these people happened to be BLACK. And having to defend their existence and fucking prove that they were “the right kind of Black” who was worth living.

As I’ve explained to many a curious white friend, minorities (especially in corporate America) are forced to act as the face and voice for our entire race when these issues happen. So when an innocent person is murdered, I am going to take it personally and I am going to be offended when you treat the death like nothing. That’s what happens when I’m constantly defending what “black people” do.

I don’t have the luxury of being treated as an individual 100% of the time, because when the chips fall, I’m just another negro to you.

And that’s the gospel truth.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, know that this rant doesn’t apply to everyone. I shouldn’t have to say that.

But I want to specify that if you are an “ally” who won’t say shit when something wrong happens, you are worse than those who are actively racist. Wrong is wrong and if you aren’t willing to stand up against it, I simply do not have time.