Thursday, October 20, 2011

Protect Your Daughters (Nieces, Granddaughters, etc.)

I thought I was done with this blog. BUT, then something like this comes along. Sadly, I refer to the Amber Cole situation. I will certainly not provide a twitter link or any direct links; I will, however, direct you to 'What About Our Daughters' (www.whataboutourdaughters.com) so you can read the October 19th post regarding young Ms. Cole.

The fact that someone (man or woman) recorded this fourteen year-old AND posted said video on twitter is a sin and a shame and a CRIME!!! The GIRL is fourteen!!!! Anyone who views this video and anyone who retweets the hashtag is trafficking in CHILD PORNOGRAPHY!!!

What is wrong with those of you who watched this trash and rather than report this to law enforcement or child protective services decided to retweet this filth!!

Really?! Really?

Is this who you want to be?

Don't even start with her being 'willing' or 'giving consent'!!! She is FOURTEEN!

How are you present when this 'ish' happens?

There is no defense for recording this child.

There is no defense for posting the video. 

None. Fullstop.

Attempting to do so is perverse.

This is NOT funny!

This is NOT entertaining!

THIS IS DEPRAVED!

You cannot care about women and retweet this malicious attack on a fourteen year old.

YOU CANNOT JUSTIFY THE UNJUSTIFIABLE.

Friday, May 20, 2011

...With Malice Toward Black Women

A popular trope on the Internetz is how paranoid black women are when it comes to how we are perceived by the larger society. Black women are often told WE are the ones suffering from the delusion of being attacked by the media; WE suffer from the delusion anyone pays attention to us, other than the stalwart black men who love us of course (duh!); and WE are the ones who see enemies where none exist.

The stereotype of black women being angry, jealous, incompetent, and hard to get along with are served up weekly on 'The Apprentice' (from what I've read, I do not watch the show). The straight up hot mess that is the 'Real Housewives' franchise - again I have not watched any of the shows but the media saturation is so pervasive with this type of show, one would have to abstain from all forms of media (internet, TV, smart phone, computers, newspapers, magazines, etc) to escape having a nodding acquaintance with this kind of 'entertainment'- black women are constantly shown in a negative, lowest-common-denominator light. Don't even get me started on the music videos and rap music and ghetto culture!


Psychology Today vs. Black Women

Media matters! How black women are portrayed in the media matters! I was already disgusted by the NPR and AP coverage of the floods in Mississippi which seem to include the most poverty stricken women whose pictures and on-air interviews are cringe worthy; then there was the reaction by some to the mEssence cover featuring Wendy Williams; and then this absolute junk science foolishness by this so-called 'evolutionary scientist'! This man uses supposedly 'objective' survey of British adolescents to declare black women are less attractive than everyone else on the planet. And the Psychology Today publishes this tripe online! Their excuse for publishing the author's article is they don't exercise editorial review with their online articles and since they didn’t pay for the article, it should not assume the article reflects the opinion of PT; even though it appeared (briefly) on their website.

Apparently since the man publishes online articles with PT on a regular basis, they allow him to publish his opinion without reading the article prior to publication. It's not like this person hasn't published controversial articles in the past, he has; yet PT has decided exercising editorial discretion when it comes to junk science claims put forth by their authors is perfectly acceptable standard operating procedure. There was enough blowback early enough on Monday for PT to tweak the title of the article before finally removing the article (there was so much traffic the site crashed) without comment. Of course you can find screenshots of the article if you look.

I used to think PT was reputable publication online and hardcopy, however, their recent covers resemble nothing as much as a glossy fashion magazine! For me PT now carries as much intellectual weight as TMZ or Bossip.


Oh Great and Powerful Oz…err DSK

The media storm surrounding the alleged assault in New York by the former director of the IMF will be instructional. In the media capital of the US (if not the world), a perfect storm of media frenzy is taking shape. A rich, powerful, white guy who is/was a leading contender to be the next president of France is accused of sexually assaulting a poor, immigrant, black woman who worked as a ‘chamber maid’.

The French media has already published her name and the names of her family members. The US media has already visited the apartment building where she lived in Brooklyn and spoken to neighbors to get background on her. REALLY, they went to where the woman lived?!?! I say lived, because her lawyer has said it was necessary to move the woman and her child from the building because of the stalker-razzi (press).

So now her neighbors know she was assaulted. Privacy, Privacy, wherefore art thou, Privacy??

The rich guy has his defenders; they question why in the world would a man like Strauss-Kahn; who, at least in theory, can have his pick of women for consensual relations; force his attentions on an unwilling BLACK woman? Never mind rape is not about sex. Never mind rape is about power. Implicit in the statement is why would a man of power and influence even take notice of a poor black ‘chamber maid’? I guess this person is wholly unfamiliar with the history of sexualized violence against black women specifically, in this country and women in general around the world.


Media Tricks and Obfuscations

The negative framing of the complainant has already begun. The media tells us she is a single mother (reports are her husband died); they have discovered she is {gasp!} a Muslim; they want to know why she went to his room alone (blaming – how original); they are speculating she is part of an international conspiracy to ruin Strauss-Kahn and dash his plans of becoming the next president of France.

What are her motivations they wonder?

What are her motivations? I’d say a desire for justice.

I expect the media will be as salacious and crude as they can. I will not be surprised to see them turn up the titillation factor to get people to click on their websites or buy their newspapers and magazines.

The question is can the one woman withstand the media firestorm? Media does not care about a routine story of a man allegedly assaulting a woman. Crimes like this happen every day; a fact the media finds largely unremarkable. This case, however, has it all; money, power, class, race, immigration, international monetary policy, presidential aspirations, and at least in the short term, the opportunity to pit one system of so-called journalism against another (US vs. France).

Can you see a movie coming out of this, or at least a two-part episode on Law and Order SVU? {sigh}

What the coverage will obscure is the right of this one black woman to her bodily integrity. What will be glossed over is the idea the larger society has that yet another black woman is falsely accusing a white man of rape (Duke, Brawley, etc.).

The subtext of debates about what happened is the belief (1) no one would bother to rape a black woman and (2) black woman cannot BE raped.

Who will protect and defend black women? What institutions and media concerns gather to protect our collective backs? Pay attention because many fake allies and false friends may just show their true intent either by what the say or by their conspicuous silence.


Peace

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

iRant: All the Single Ladies

Is anyone else tired of looking for a relationship or is it just me?

I am weary of being told I'm doing something wrong if I'm not married by now despite all the advice and Internet, speed dating, online matchmaking options. Single black women are told to lose weight (were I to lose 10 pounds I'd look like a crackhead); change our attitude (I have a happy, friendly disposition most of the time); and to grow up and stop being so superficial (as in: stop looking for Adonis with a huge bank account and a PhD (wait…who's been reading my perfect husband list :-D )!!!

Granted, some of us need to hear these admonishments because some of us are tragically superficial when it comes to the opposite sex. On the same hand; black women also get slammed for not having standards (ex-cons, criminals, the permanently unemployed, players, baby daddies, pimps, and various other losers).

What is a single woman to do after she has retrained her brain to screen out low/no value guys (regardless of race), whittled her figure down to a single digit dress size, is childfree, travelled the Internet dating route and yet is still single? No she's not looking for guys in the club or the strip bar; yes, she has changed her social circle (hanging out with married women may not prove helpful), has expanded her mind, has changed her wardrobe (do not fear color!) but, she remains persistently single.

According to some of the blogs she has done something wrong. Perhaps she needs to move to another state where inter-racial dating is more commonplace. Perhaps she needs to get out there more (wherever out there is). Perhaps she needs a better plan of action or she needs to be more realistic about what type of man she can reasonably attract with her looks, age, weight issues.

I've seen a lot of people online professing to be dating coaches, who will guarantee success...after you pay them a couple hundred dollars. I've already given eharmony and match as much money as I'm going to at this point and I'm not about to give some person I've never met more of my hard-earned money. Bloggers and online dating business people suggest single people consider the money paid for their ‘service’ as an investment in future happiness? Future happiness? Whatever! What about present happiness? How about being happy right now! How about purchasing a small house on/near the beach in Costa Rica! Now there’s a better investment to my mind.

This is my independence day. I am done with the husband hunt. If you want to think of me as a failure, that's your prerogative. If you envision me as a lonely bitter woman who will die alone and become food for cats (actually read this on an BW-IR marriage blog recently) again your prerogative, though what distinguishes you from the damaged men who cheerfully predict a similar fate for women who refuse to lower/remove their standards and 'help a brother out' is not clear.

Making this declaration feels good! It feels like the resistance I have been experiencing is gone. It feels like a weight has been lifted. I am free to wholeheartedly pursue other goals I've set for myself such as creating an intentional community of friends and researching retirement communities which provide safety, intellectual stimulation, physical fitness, and opportunities to socialize with a diverse group of people. It means I am deliberate about my present and my future. It means I will not allow the fact I am not married to stop my progress, nor will I allow myself to be relegated to a lesser status by married women.

Empowerment blogs must also include women who are single by choice; single through no fault of their own; and single despite their best efforts. I don’t think perpetuating the class system of womanhood where married women are on top and single women are at the bottom is healthy or emancipating. If you are married, congratulations! Be aware, the thinly veiled contempt/disdain leaking through some blog posts and comments in regard to your fellow women who are single is not attractive, helpful, or empowering.

There is more to being a woman than marital status. Yes, I've wanted to be married; no, I am not currently married. No, I am not wasting anymore time wailing and gnashing my teeth either. I have a fabulous life! I am fortunate! I am living my life as a whole human being, a first class person not second class or third class. Feel sorry for me if you want. Feel superior to me if you need to, but personally, I don't care. I’m busy living my life.

Peace

Monday, April 18, 2011

Voices Carry: Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is not wrong. She may not be the person black folks want to hear from on what is considered an ‘in house’ problem, but her observations are not false.

Far too much rap/hip hop music is misogynistic, violent, degrading and glorifies base/deviant behavior. Far too many videos depict black women as ‘things’. Things exposing their butts. Things gyrating on a bed. Things dancing on a pole. Things flashing their boobs. Things on their arms. Things in their cars. An interchangeable set of parts offered to the rappers because the have money to pay for it.

Black women as perpetual prostitutes; prostitutes get no love or respect or protection.

Are You Complicit?

Rappers and their apologists (male and female) defend the videos, insisting the women want to be in the videos. The women don’t have a problem being treated like this and if they do they shouldn’t be in the video. It’s the fault of the women, because they allow themselves to be treated like ‘property’. If black women wouldn’t let black men treat them this way, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

Historically, black women have been considered sexually promiscuous, licentious and immoral. Prior to the 1960’s the larger society did not believe black women could be raped! The specific history of bw in this country MUST NOT be ignored. The attitudes and actions of black women today are played out against the brutal history of sexual violence and terrorism of yesterday. It is this history of violence and deliberate mischaracterization of black women that color how black women are perceived by everyone who is not a black woman.

Clearly the fact that a man is black means nothing in light of how they characterize individual bw or masses of bw. The numbers of black men who care about the black experience of black women appear vanishingly small. Far too many black men seem happy to objectify, degrade and dehumanize black women for fun and profit, completely disregarding how treating black women like property in their videos helps to further the perception of black women as ‘thing’. Reduced to being merely a commodity, one bw (thing) can be easily discarded for another. Once the ‘thing’ loses its value, it does not matter what happens to the ‘thing’.

In these videos and in this culture, black women become replaceable and unimportant because there is always another ‘thing’ somewhere.

‘You remind of me of my Jeep….’ Indeed.

Are You Responsible?

Apologists (male and female) tell women it is their responsibility to fix the situation. When bw (black women) demand black men respect them and treat them better; when bw stop accepting thugs and ex-cons as suitable dating partners; when bw teach their sons to respect bw; when bw create a source of carbon neutral, sustainable, low coast energy……. Well, maybe not the last one. Maybe.

Notice how all the work falls to bw. Notice how bw have to fix themselves and black men. Notice how the problem is framed as black women!

Are You Strong Enough?

It is not the job of black women to fix black men or the black community. It is the responsibility of every black woman who has broken out of the matrix to remove herself from the deviance running rampant in many black communities.

First, shift your perceptions.

Second, lay the plans to shift yourself right out of the toxic environment.

Third, make that move!

No it’s not that easy! There are baby steps along the way.

Start small: make a budget and stick to it; save every extra penny you can; research safer places to live (with better school districts if you have children); keep your mouth shut about your plans!!! Saboteurs, haters and the indoctrinated will try to dissuade or straight-up destroy your plans.

Are you strong enough to take action?

Remember, Ashley isn’t wrong…….

Peace

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Forever War in Your Town

There is a de facto war against women in this country. African American women are the primary target in many cases and unacknowledged collateral damage in the others.

Cleveland, TX and Moreno Valley, CA in 2011.

Trenton, NJ in 2010.

Milwaukee, WI and West Palm Beach, FL in 2007.

Shall I mention the countless number of domestic violence situations occurring daily or the countless number of assaults perpetrated on women on a daily basis or the countless number of rapes not reported or the staggering amount of street harassment women and girls endure.

Most of the victims in the above mentioned cases are under 12 years old.

I’ll say it again. Four (4) out to the five (5) female victims in the above mentioned cases are younger than twelve (12) years old!!

I bring this to your attention because it is foolish in the extreme not to understand the Congo-fication of our neighborhoods, especially all-black neighborhoods.

Excuses, Excuses

They go something like this:

Black men suffer post-traumatic distress due to the history of slavery in this county.

Black men suffered through one hundred years of Jim Crow where he was oppressed, dehumanized and lynched.

Given the history of this country, it is too early to expect black men to be the moral equals of white men because to the centuries of indoctrination and programming to believe they are something less than human.

Etc, etc, etc.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s black people managed to lift themselves from the hell of chattel slavery to owning business, building towns and schools and colleges and infrastructure to sustain a community against all odds; against the active enmity of white people; amidst poverty and lack of education and while being subjected to the state-sponsored terrorism of white citizens organizations.

It appears despite the Underground Railroad, nascent organized resistance among black people and a national civil rights movement later; some segments of the black population seem be taking a step or three backward?

A Considered (Sane) Reaction

The reaction by some of the adults to the horrific events in Cleveland, Texas must serve as a call to action. These people appear to blame the victim for being somewhere she should not have been late at night. Never mind their non-adult children were not at home either and they were allegedly engaged in criminal activity!!!

If you missed it, these people; mostly women (at least initially); were portrayed as something significantly less than human in the media. The media constantly asked what kind of person would blame this poor child???? Even NYT defended the reporter of its infamous article declaring it wasn’t the reporter blaming the victim, it was the community blaming the victim; the reporter was, supposedly, just reporting the news.

The undercurrent, the subtext of this reportage is the less than reasoned, less than human reaction of the townsfolk. The townsfolk were shown as mostly African American women.

AfAm women + blaming the victim = AfAm women are not normal.

Normal people are horrified by this attack. Normal people cannot feature any kind of defense for this behavior.

Classic African American women as Other trope.

Denial is Not An Option

African American women must pay attention to the subtext of these media reports!

I suggest AfAm women bypass the microphones and ignore the calls from reporters until they know what the situation is. I’m not saying AfAm women should not advocate for their family members or be watchful of the police investigation; but the reflexive reaction to weep, wail, gnash teeth and assume an injustice has been perpetrated against Pookie, Junebug, ‘nem' is not helpful for the overall image of African American women nor reasonable in light of the subsequent investigation.

Denying the evident deterioration in various neighborhoods is neither a productive nor sane response to the terrorism women face. Ghetto-fabulous, ghetto-rich, ghetto-whatever is not a culture that is safe for women and girls. Getting out of these toxic environments is paramount.

We are now in a forever war. On one side there are those who desire safe neighborhoods and schools and who believe in education and disciplined work are a road to a better life. On the other side are those who want what you have, are jealous because you have it and are willing to work for what they want. Instead, they will engage in criminal activity to get the things you have worked hard to attain. 

Word to the wise: As resources diminish, the pitched battles will only get worse.

Peace

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Women’s History Moment

The current fight against the demeaning, hyper-sexual images of black women’s bodies; the negative, stereo-typical depiction of black women as bitter, evil and angry; the belief black women are extra-human with their strong, fat, black selves; the trope/meme that black women do not require – indeed do not recognize/understand/possess and deeper, vulnerable, fragile emotional self is a part of our continuing journey to full personhood/humanity.

From ‘things’ to be owned, sold, traded, assaulted and killed to ungrateful, materialistic, de-feminized ‘other’ black women have consistently had to work to wrest control of her self, her ‘bodily integrity’, her psychological being from those who benefit from degrading and de-humanizing her.

‘At the Dark End of the Street' (atthedarkendofthestreet.com/the-book/) by Danielle McGuire takes a look at the history of violence against black women and the institutions designed to distort, suppress and deny the violence directed at black women. In examining the permissive atmosphere of violence against black women in the early part of the last century, the book details how black women were denied the inherent protections of femininity. Viewed as ‘other’ or not feminine or not human, violence against was widely regarded as the woman’s fault.

The book details the courageous steps black women took to speak out about the crimes committed against them. As well as the organization of women to document and bring awareness to the on-going campaign of terror black women endured during the years prior to what is now called the civil rights era.

‘At the Dark End of the Street’ documents how black women were not ‘led’ by black men in the early days of the civil rights movement, but were equal partners in the movement and in some cases de facto leaders. The book also observes how history subsequently pushed these black women; bravely protesting against the terrorism and sexualized brutality of Jim Crow America – the spark helping to ignite the nascent civil rights movement; into the background of one of the most important chapters in American history and the history of the civil rights movement.

The ‘hook’ if you will, is Rosa Parks. Far from the media generated image of the humble, God-fearing black women too tired to give up her seat to some white man on a public bus in Alabama, Mrs. Parks was a field secretary for the NAACP and was also one of the top field investigators who worked tirelessly for justice for black women victims of sexual violence. Mrs. Parks may have been the perfect symbol of virtuous, middle-class black femininity used by the NAACP to press their cause in the media, but Mrs. Parks was also radical in her pursuit of justice for the victims of sexualized racial violence during the 1940s and 1950s. The book turns the spotlight on such women as Mrs. JoAnn Robinson, the organizer of what became the Montgomery Bus Boycott and tells the story of Mrs. Recy Taylor, a woman, who despite all the threats against her and her family; told the truth about the heinous crime perpetrated against her and helped shape the world we live in today.

This book is like looking in a rearview mirror. We see where we have come from and we use this information to navigate our way further down the road.

Black women have history too. Happy Women’s History Month!!!


Peace

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Re-Train Your Brain – Scientists


Photo: billnye.com


Scientists.

Scientists?

Yes! Scientists!

Scientists are ignored by black women in the main. They are a resource we cannot allow to remain untapped. I know what you are thinking…. scientists are nerds. Well, some scientists can be considered nerds in the traditional sense. However, some are considered nerds due to vocation (physicist, astronomer, computer programmer, microbiologist, mathematician, etc.), not because they are unattractive or ineffective. As a matter of fact, scientists (generally speaking) are effective. Scientists are smart! They produce, deduce, create things!!

Case in point: Bill Nye - Engineer

Bill Nye (who at last check was single) was the host of his own television show, Bill Nye: The Science Guy, which made its debut in 1993. Original episodes ran from 1993 to 1998. The show tackled new scientific topics during each show and was geared to educate pre-teen (and some older person if you watched the show) about the wonderful world of science – yes, I watched the show.

Since that time Nye has appeared of various shows including Living with Ed on Planet Green and has had his own Planet Green series; Stuff Happens. Smart, funny (he was a stand-up comedian), and ecologically conscious; Nye has a Bachelor Degree in Mechanical Engineering and three Honorary Doctorate degrees.

What qualities might attract you to a man like this you ask?

Consider the following:

Intelligent

Humorous

Inventive (holds two patents)

Eco-conscious (watch Living with Ed)

He’s fit (rides his bike to work)

He loves his parents (stable family)

Loves his work

Clearly since I don’t know the man, I don’t know anything truly personal about him (only what’s on his website). However, he is exactly the type of guy we need to start considering as date material. He may not be Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper or any other Brad, but do you really want a guy like Brad who changes women regularly or do you want a good man other women may not consider because they are so busy chasing Brad.

Think about. Retrain your brain.

Peace

Monday, February 28, 2011

Re-Train Your Brain – The Series

What do you find attractive in a man?

Does he have to be six feet or taller? Does he have to have a full head of hair? Does he have to make six figures? Does he have to drive a flashy car? Does he have to be the envy of men and women alike?

Does he have to look like a movie star or professional athlete or, heaven forbid, a rapper?

Have you ever stopped to examine why you think this is the kind of man you need?

Have you ever looked beyond the handsome, well-dressed exterior?

Is what a man looks like more important to you than the kind of man he is?


I’m going to be blunt here, so fair warning……

If you are still chasing the bad boy -- you need to grow up.

Bad boys, thugs, the formerly incarcerated, baby daddies, player, pimps are all persona non grata!

If this is the typical guy you look for be he white, black, Puerto Rican; then perhaps it’s time to look for something else.

Perhaps instead of looking for what every other women is looking for, we might start looking for and taking an interest in men who do not conform to the mass media is selling us as the ideal male.

It is important to work against this brainwashing. Over the next few months I will publish blog posts concerning our idea of what constitutes attractive and/or desirable with regard to men.


I’m calling the series ‘Re-Train Your Brain.’

The purpose of the series is to get us to notice/consider men to whom we wouldn’t normally pay attention. Not because they are persona non grata (see listing above) but because we accept without reflection popular culture’s definition of a desirable man.

Join me on the journey to discover men we wouldn’t normally consider as mate material! Your input is welcome! Your questions and comments expected!

Peace

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Race Woman…..Defined???

It is expected for black women to carry the burden of her race. Whether it’s sustaining the black family or knitting together the fabric of the black community or supporting the poor, downtrodden, oppressed black man. Yes, indeed, a Race Woman!

A Race Woman (in today’s definition):

keeps the African-American family together during its darkest days;

believes in social integration but NOT assimilation into racial oblivion;

sees clearly through the smokes and mirrors of white supremacy, and calls it out;

knows what it is to be loved by a Black man because she was (hopefully) loved by her father;

whose mother (hopefully) knew how to raise sons and daughters to be Men & Women;

who puts her race first (out of necessity) in a world in which our race is put last;

whose ‘race memory’ will never allow our sworn enemies to come between her and her man.


I did not make this up myself. I merely paraphrased sentiments I read recently in the blogosphere.

I’m curious. While black women are busy holding the family/community together and calling out white supremacy and putting the race first, what are black men doing?

Are they:

praising, uplifting and defending black womanhood;

protecting black womenfolk, related or not, from the disrespect of the larger society;

creating content (movies, music, etc.) glorifying/acknowledging the beauty of black women;

proclaiming love for the diversity of black womanhood holding all skin shades equally beautiful;

committing to black women in marriage/long term relationships;

committing to raising their children in a two-parent household;

holding the behavior of their player/pimp brethren as unacceptable.


How about it ‘Race Man’? How’s your ‘race memory’? How about you guys step to the plate and represent?

And if you don’t feel like it’s your responsibility to step up and provide/protect black women, then don’t hate on black women when they decide to look elsewhere for love, respect, protection; you know, the things women are supposed to look for in a man!!

Ladies, don’t fall for the ‘Race Woman okey-doke' some guys will throw at you to keep you in your place! A place they define for you.

Most men/black men put their manhood first. Don’t ever forget it! Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

It’s 2011! You are a woman first, last and always. Do what is in your best interest. If it means expanding your dating boundaries, social circles, vacation destinations then so be it! If you are not satisfied with your life at this point, stop doing what you have been doing! You must, we must, do something else! No, I don’t mean go to a different club, I mean attend a play; check out the local art museum; sign up to learn a new language. Do something to take you out of your normal circles and into new ones.

Be adventurous and enjoy the journey!


Peace