Racism

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Hey y’all!!!

dusting

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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Another Feelings Dump

What’s up y’all?  While I wouldn’t expect a return to regular posting just yet, I do have some stuff on my mind that I need to get out of my system.  So what better place?

This list is not at all in order of importance.

1) Coping (How to Fail at It) featuring Trash

You all have to know what’s going on in Ferguson, MO at this point.  I’m not here to recap it.  I’m not even here to argue the facts.

I don’t have the strength to point out how all of this is because Black people and their lives are denied value in America.

You should already know that no matter what you wear, no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how much you avoid being “stereotypical,” you’re still just another black person.  When the chips are down, you can be shot.  They will get away with it.

We all know that this teenager is going be criminalized and smeared in the media, because any minor discretion is just another reason his life didn’t matter.  You’re constantly going to be reminded that any fault in his character justified his murder.

We all know that clueless assholes are going to idiotic statements.  Newscasters will say to use “water cannons.” The killer will talk about how his life has ended too, even though he’s at home on paid leave.  New Blacks are going to talk about how Black on Black crime and rap music is the cause of all of this.

You’ve already seen someone on your social media try to make it about them with clueless statements, incorrect information, and a general ain’t-shit demeanor.

Truth is, I’m tired.  I’m trying to deal with all of my outrage, my inability to create meaningful change, my inability to protect people I love from the same fate.  There’s not a day where I don’t think, “I’m blessed to be alive.”  I haven’t done anything to deserve it.  But I am.  Instead of productively letting it out, I’m just stewing in my anger and hopelessness.  It’s making me feel ugly inside and preventing me from enjoying the day-to-day.  I don’t want to be around people because all I want to do is talk about it and be angry.  I don’t have the luxury of taking off and being alone until I’m able to face regular society again.  I’m trying to just plow through life in order to sit home in the dark and think about this situation.

There’s no comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, no matter what advice I give my nephew and niece, no matter how many books I read, and no matter how polite I am, my life means nothing if a White person so deems it.

2) Taylor Swift

I haven’t really raged against the Swift in recent moments because she doesn’t really have a song out and she hasn’t been publicly dating anyone.  Not so lucky for me and the rest of the world, she released “Shake It Off.”

emmaoverit

I’m not going to link because she’s not getting a single view on my behalf.

But this is tangent to the first point.  The root of my hatred of Taylor Swift (and Jennifer Aniston) is that for my money they represent peak whiteness. This isn’t a critique of every white person (again, I should not have to say this) but of the dominant American culture.  I’ll let Omarosa take over…

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Where a “wholesome” and “sweet” girl who are just “hassled” are given passes for complete mediocrity because of her perceived girl next door image.  It’s like “Ooh, she’s bland and I can sing better than her.  Give her all my money!” 

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Throw in some questionable appropriation moments and her absolute refusal to sing on key and it’s already terrible.

But this song has a message of “SUCK IT HATAZ” for critiquing her image.  So she’s shaking off any criticism of her bland, mediocre, white bread music and image that appeals to middle-of-the-road, “put-upon”, middle class America. The very same America that is notably quiet whenever an unarmed Black man is killed in cold blood.

For me, this song is the essence of “First World Problems.”  And this is not the day, the week, the month, nor the year for this shit.

Sure, that may seem like a reach for some readers, but think about it this way.  Think back to a time where you felt depressed or upset over something in your life.  Now somebody you don’t particularly like (a coworker or classmate) comes up gloating about their promotion when you know they do nothing or a great exam score on a test where they have cheated.  You wouldn’t have the time for it.

And that’s what this song is to me.  It’s Taylor Swift singing a song that say “nah nah ni boo boo” to all you minorities for not being White.

Fuck.  Her.

3) Reality TV Thoughts

On a lighter note, Project Runway and Top Chef Duels have come to television.  Since So You Think You Can Dance continues to be pretty terrible, I had high hopes for each of these shows.

Project Runway is about as average as any of the other later seasons with some confounding judging thrown in.  Three of first four episodes have handed out wins to questionable garments. Props to Tom & Lorenzo as the source of these photos.  Also, if you love celebrity fashion, Mad Men, Project Runway, or RuPaul’s Drag Race, it behooves you to frequent their site.  Also, read their book!

amanda1 amanda2 sandhya1 sandhya2

The first two are from comeback contestant Amanda.  Fringe really shouldn’t be a thing.  The second two are from Sandhya.  I like the pink look with the metallic detail, but that poorly dyed, ripped shoulder, frayed edge abomination should have at least put her in the bottom.  No thanks.  That said, I do think that there’s some talent in the cast and the judges seem to be making good cuts.  I have hope that someday Michael Kors will come back.

Top Chef Duels is pretty good!  It’s a lot more low-key than your traditional Top Chef, but it brings back familiar faces and gives them space to be creative.  As a huge Gail Simmons fan, I’m glad she’s a part of the show.  I could live without Curtis Stone, but that’s not my decision.  I hope that the show does well and continues to bring back some great chefs.  (Although, go away Mike Isabella.)

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is finally winding down after a particularly raggedy season.  When Karlie Redd is the source of your most entertaining moments, it’s time to take stock.  Seeing Rasheeda take Kirk back after complete and blatant disrespect for her, their child, his mother, their family, and her image (which is the family business) is not good television.  Seeing Erica and Scrappy be friends is nice for the sake of their daughter, they’ve been complete non-entities since we stopped seeing O’Shea Da Model and The Bambi.  Benzino continues to be neckless and ThiThi is the most obvious case of fame-hungry gold digger we’ve seen since Flavor of Love 3.  Stevie and Joseline’s soap opera relationship is not funny.  Joseline is best when talking shit about other girls, not crying about beefcake and her awful music.  Tammy & Waka are sweet but boring.  Karlie is trash on trash, but at least she gave us more terrible music and Yung Joc’s decision to air our her sexual habits.  Momma Dee & Deb are reliably fun though.

But let’s about Mimi again.  All of Mimi’s struggles, barring the death of her father, are her own doing based on her own choices.  Her absolute refusal to be told that she is wrong only serves to make her look like the weak-willed dingbat that she is. It’s painful to watch her get mad at people when she is forced to reveal her lies.  Like if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, stop going to them.  If you’re going to defend being wrong so vehemently, you’re going to continue to have to eat crow.

To be frank, I’d have cut her off when she accepted Stevie’s car.  Girl, you can’t be over him and accept things that aren’t child support.  Your dependency is showing.

But truth be told, she needs to leave the show.  Nothing has been good for her since it started and now the world knows her for being an idiot who is easily fooled and bought.  Sucks to be you.

dumbledore_welp

4) The Future Looks Bleak

If you haven’t gathered, I’m not in the happiest of places now.  As cliché and standard as it sounds, I’m used to telling myself that it will all work out. It will all be okay. But these two weeks have reminded me of the feeling of despair that I either ignored or suppressed as a part of the move.  It’s that I don’t know the future and not seeing much in the way of encouragement.  It’s not that I don’t believe God has a plan or that I believe I should have all the answers.  It just seems like I keep waking up to bad news. It’s like a nightmare. I want more than what this is for America and for my friends.  I don’t know how to tell them that, being someone who hates only tolerates melodrama/emotions.

That said, I’ll end this with simply.  I care.  I’m not great at letting people know that.  I may not ever say to your face.  But you’re cared about and I want what’s best for your mind, body, and soul.

Stay safe everyone and do your best to maintain positivity in your days.

A Hiatus & A Last Word

Hey everyone, this is going to the last post for a bit.  I’ll explain as this post unwinds.

To say that this week has been completely draining would be the understatement of the year.  There’s only so much rage you can feel.  There’s only so many days where you can feel hopeless.  There’s only a few times I’m going to let you tell me that wearing a suit will protect me.  We don’t want to hear any more lies or coverups.

While this blog has been amazing for getting these feelings out, I’m not really in a place to give you the fun stuff that attracted you here in the first place.  It’s not gone forever and there may be a post here or there, but for now, this is a smooth see you later.  But I do want to leave you all with a few mini-playlists to hold you over.  So here goes nothing.

(more…)

Quickie Post: Grief & Social Media

Hey folks. I don’t want to hold you up but I had this on my spirit.

With the tragic news of Mike Brown’s murder in Missouri as well as the suicide of Robin Williams, this week has been a grim reminder of many things. Police brutality, the state of being Black in America, and mental illness just to name a few.

In my experience, grief is a messy and difficult emotion. A mix of anger, despair, and sadness that is unmatched in how it affects a person. You don’t just get over grief. You don’t just talk it out once and it goes away.

We also live in a world where everyone feels like they need to share their every thought via the Internet, regardless of the topic, mundane or emotional. I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

If the people in your lives feel as thought you not making a grand statement is “offensive,” these are people who don’t live their real lives.

Part of the human experience is dealing with these types of intense moments in the way that is most fitting for your life and your emotional state.

You should also feel free to share your feelings on your page. My only ask is that you look before you respond. Posting incorrect names and information only serves to make you look inauthentic and erode whatever sentiment you were sharing.

That’s all and I hope that this week only finds a way to be better.

Pull Over! Team Trash is Back!

Woop Woop!

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

laffytaffy

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”

1

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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.

fixit
(
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.

neneoverit
(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.

 

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.