Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is This Thing On???!!!---Gabby/ELLE

This is my response to an insightful post at http://www.bettychambers.com/. Read her September 19th post for a little more context, though this post/comment should suffice.
-------------------------------------------------------------
/sarcasm on

OMG!!!

This is all Michelle Obama’s fault!!!

/sarcasm off


If you didn’t know, now you know!

The gloves are off! MSM are getting their psychological warfare on!


THE WHAT: The First Lady is a clearly definable, unambiguously black woman, who is smart and attractive and slim/fit.

People were/are wild about Michelle (real or feigned). Some black/AfAm women stand a little straighter and felt more attractive, more viable, more visible with a First Lady who looks like them.


THE WHY: Which is why the larger society has to demean/deface/destroy our image, in the eyes of non-black men and in our own eyes!


THE HOW: Another BWE (Khadija) blogger posted recently how people, when they want to destroy you, join your cause or act as if they are on your side. They know most black/AfAm women are desperate for allies and will volunteer all kinds of information, secrets, and strategies to people who say they are ‘on their side’; all they have to do is imply solidarity and black folks will jump through hoops they specify with little or no hint of reciprocity.

Make no mistake. ELLE supposedly ‘embracing’ Gabby’s beauty is straight-up GAME! They are selling fat acceptance to black/AfAm women who will take the cover as a sign that the larger society accepts fat women as beauty and will ‘sista-soldier’ for the cause.

AND they are laughing at us!!!! Why in this world does Gabby’s picture take of the whole frame! We see the airbrushed perfection of the other women. We see a body shot. With Gabby, the subtle (or not so subtle) subtext of the picture is….she so fat, she took up the whole frame!

The brouhaha about the ‘lightening’ of her picture is pure derail and distraction!!!

What's the popular maxim: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Are you listening to what ELLE is really saying????


A MESSAGE FROM BWE: Ladies. We have reached the event horizon. The tipping is here! We are moving from early adapters spreading the message into the larger arena! The larger society may not know exactly what is going on, but they know something is going on.

Nah! I take that back they know. And so must you! More and more AfAm women are realizing they have to move beyond the black community for love, safety, protection, and family. There are far too many groups with a vested interest in keeping as many AfAm women as they can in a position of perceived lack. It’s less work for the oppressors when you can get the oppressed to do the work instead.


This is what ELLE is telling you:
We the progressive forces of the media have made ginormous allowances outside of mainstream femininity and pulchritude in order to ‘showcase’ your ‘beauty’. And, really, black women, you should be grateful that we did this because otherwise you wouldn’t be seen at all. Oh, and don’t blame us that we had to use Gabby, after all, we are just trying to reflect you people as you are….in all your fat-is-beautiful glory. And please pay no attention to the fact we have never, and most likely, will never ‘showcase’ a morbidly obese white-woman on our cover…..we have standards…we are selling the dream of fashion and beauty! We just put her on the cover for PC points. And she’s one of four covers, so she won’t hurt our profit margin.

Peace

Monday, September 6, 2010

Contemplate, Ruminate, Elevate

Labor Day is one of the few holidays I get to take off. The fitness industry generally tries to capitalize on holidays using the same rationale as retailers, grocery stores and hotels – money.


“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.’ - Seinfeld


Silence is Golden

There is no specific agenda for today. I’ll do so light cleaning and I’ll work on some overdue filing in my home office. My windows are open (clearly it’s between mid-morning and noon, because it’s not 112 degrees Fahrenheit yet!!), there’s a nice breeze blowing through the house, I hear the occasional car passing by (no booming system) and of course the neighbor’s dog barking every now and then (he’s behind a privacy fence a yard or so over). Mostly it’s quiet in my neighborhood. I don’t even hear the lawn mowing, leaf blowing, lawn edging guys out doing their thing.

I don’t watch television. Even my music (new agey, kirtans/chants, cello-laden classical, variously alternative, some popular) is off today.

Silence predominates. I. Love. It.


Fear Factor

Yes, I live in the ‘burbs. Predominantly non-AA. I am not worried somebody might break into my house; rob me, assault me and steal my car. Yes, yes, yes, such crimes are not limited to urban neighborhoods. Yes, yes, yes, such crimes do happen in the quiet tree-lined streets of the suburbs. There, I’ve said it, so let’s not spend time in denial or on a tangent about whether such things happen and accept that in some neighborhood these things happen with a much greater frequency. They frequency is so high; these crimes are seen as commonplace, the price you pay for living in neighborhood ‘X’.

The price is too high when:

One must accept deviant and criminal behavior as normal;

Your children become inured to violence;

You must accept street harassment as a part of walking in your neighborhood;

It is unsafe to exercise outdoors (walk, jog, run);

Your house/apartment has been broken into twice this year and you feel grateful no one was home;

There is a known crack house less than a block away from where you live;


Escape Plan

The above list is no where near exhaustive. Most of my life has been spent outside toxic neighborhoods, so I’m sure I don’t know even half of what women experience in these environments. That said, I know it is possible to escape.

My single mother did.

Was it hard work for her? Yes.

Are her children thankful? Umm… Duh!

Effecting this escape take research, planning, saving and lots of energy, resilience, and motivation.

Use the local library internet service to research ways to improve your job skills and general knowledge of the working world; with an eye toward improving your employment possibilities.

Use this same research for ways to find free training and maybe even ways to make extra income (but don’t fall for the work-at-home-scams!!!).

If there is a local college offering enrichment classes, take them!!! They are usually free and who knows, learning how to garden can benefit in the short and long term (local, organic, cheaper veggies).

Look for housing in safe areas of your city. It doesn’t have to be the newest neighborhood being developed, it can be an older neighborhood, but with people who are invested in staying in their homes and who agitate the local city government and law enforcement to keep the neighborhood safe.

Look for a house YOU can afford in the safer neighborhood. McMansions are so nineties! Who are trying to impress? You are looking for safety, not looking to keep up with the Joneses.

Spending plan, budget call it what you want, but create one and live by it. Find a not-for-profit credit counseling service (no not the ones who promise to cut your credit card debt in half in two weeks) and discuss your goals with the counselor.

Document every cent you spend! Did this over ten years ago and it was amazing because I could see what I was spending my money on and where I could make the necessary cuts in order to attain my goal.

When you get a raise (don’t’ laugh, it could happen), put the money directly into your savings account. If the cash hits your hand or your checking account you will spend it.

Do not spend money on expensive clothes or accessories. It is possible to look feminine and fashionable and not spend $400 on a purse (I wish I would!!!). Icon latest post at colorsevolving.blogspot.com is about what looks stylish, and how you can recreate those looks for less; fashion is so not my strong suit. Remember; always have your eye on appropriate attire. Your image matters!

Create a timeline or project management worksheet and stick to it. Document how much money to need for a down payment or first/last months rent, moving costs and necessary appliance purchases (notice to $3000 new bedroom suite is not included! If you have a serviceable bed, use it!).

Keep you plans/goals to yourself. People will sabotage you if they think you are trying to crawl out of the barrel.

Finally, just do it!!! Stop finding every reason in the book to stay stuck where you are! Make the move. Baby steps works.

“Every million miles
      have to take a first step” - Michael Franti/Spearhead



Peace

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mind the Meme, Media, Myths

There is a lot to unpack from Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s wildly inappropriate rant. She ran the gamut from white skin privilege to knee-jerk bigotry to just plain rude and wrong.

At this point, I think we understand acquiring a doctorate in Physiology and a certificate in counseling does not mean a person has the sense ‘God gave a billygoat’ as my grandmother would say; at least as far as racial issues are concerned. Despite all the heat, Schlessinger shed very little light on Jade’s problem. However, within her rant were some pretty amazing ‘tells’ to which women of African-American descent must pay attention.


Thoughts
White skin privilege exists. If you think this country is post-racial---- well, trust me it is not. White women, be they feminists, progressive, democrats, republicans, whatever enjoy, utilize and enforce female white skin privilege. Everyday. Movies, books, television and radio shows routinely tell us who is the fairest of them all…..white women.

It is so common place as to be unconscious and make no mistake the thoughts are absolutely real. If you had any doubt, the Dr. Laura incident serves as confirmation. In the larger society, black women are not seen as the equal of white women. Bw are generally not thought of as equally attractive, intelligent, feminine, loving, supportive, maternal, responsible, moral….. I could go on.

Please do not think I am saying this is true! I am merely saying this is the thought pattern, the meme, if you will, with regard to black women. Might the above be true about an individual black woman? Yes. Is it true about most black women? I hope not. Is it true about all black women? Absolutely not!!

The banality of Schlessinger’s intolerance is stunning, yet she has remained on the air for years. The use of the n-word is not the only issue at hand! We must, more importantly, focus on how bw were portrayed by the radio host amidst this tumult: hypersensitive, nitpicking, unappreciative, presumptuous, and uppity. How dare this bw complain about the behavior of her white husband’s friends and family?!?! He did marry her after all!!!

To justify this display of white skin privilege, the host went there. Twice! Not only did she basically say, ‘One of my best friends is black’….the security guy she employs!!! She also decided to defend herself by using black culture’s own shining personifications of morality and paragons of virtue: no, no, wait for it……. Rappers. And. Comedians.

Rappers. And. Comedians.

Who in the heck patterns their behavior after rappers and comedians?

Okay fine, what people with common sense…..

Okay, okay! What people with the desire to do better, have better and pass on a better way of life to their children emulate rappers and comedians?!

Did I miss the post-racial revolution? Since when do conservative republican operatives cite rappers and comedians as their role models?!?!

Perhaps this is all a huge publicity stunt for Schlessinger’s next book: ‘Think like a Comedian, Act like a Rapper’.


Feelings
The negative feeling (generated by thoughts) Schlessinger, has regarding black people and bw in general were on display. We need to recall that evidently, to Schlessinger, the caller had forgotten her place. In all her privileged glory, Dr. Laura communicated she did not feel black women were worthy of being taken seriously, of being protected or of compassion as another woman on the planet.

The one feeling distinctly conveyed in her diatribe is this: Black woman, you are not my equal.

Clearly Schlessinger felt/believed there would be no fallout for attacking this woman in this fashion. So, she ‘went all in’ on a black woman, who cares? Indeed. The only heat she worried about was her use of the n-word. She issued an ‘apology’ about her use of the word AND then true to form and expectations of privilege, claimed she was the victim in the exchange!!!


Behaviors
In this instance, as a certified counselor, Schlessinger is a big fail. She behaved in a dismissive, derisive, abusive manner toward someone who was seeking her help. Apparently in Schlessinger’s view, who was this black woman to complain? Her opinion seems to be, Jade shouldn’t have married inter-racially if she couldn’t handle the hateful, intolerant and rude comments of her husband’s friends and family. Jade should have expected to be treated with this lack of disrespect. To Schlessinger the entire matter seems unworthy of serious contemplation or compassion. What else should Jade have expected? It’s not like she’s entitled to or deserving of protection.

Sound familiar. Isn’t this remarkably similar to the burden-bearing-mule role AA women have been assigned in the black community? The larger society believes black women are supposed to take on other people’s hatred, bile, and intolerance without having their feelings hurt. Black women are strong; they can handle insensitivity, disrespect, and other-ization and not bat an eye. After all, it’s not like black women are human.


Going Forward
I say again, what AA women must pay attention to is not the use of racial epithet alone. Yes, AA women must refuse to use, laugh at, or respond (except indignantly) at being called the n-word by anyone! Schlessinger’s behavior alone should wake us up to the detriment this word is doing to our brand! If black men want to use the word, so be it. There is no reason for black women to agree actively or tacitly or otherwise.

What AA women must pay attention to is belief of some people (ww, bm, other haters) black women must stay in their place. This is nothing more than yet another scare tactic to get you not to consider dating in the global village. Jade is supposed to be a cautionary tale about inter-racial marriage. Don’t marry the evil white man, he will not protect you! Allow me to debunk this myth. The situation Jade found herself in is what happens when a woman fails to properly vet her intended. Period. Whether the man is black, white, grey, green, whatever!

Pay attention! The ultimate message of this entire media storm is: AA women, don't date outside your ‘race’ stay in your place like the strong black woman you are.

Disregard this foolishness! Resist!

Peace