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Monday, February 20, 2017

No More Fucks To Give

I’m about to talk about white America, aka mainstream America, aka the American majority (although the numbers are rapidly changing), aka the status quo. But before I get into a discourse about all the fucks I no longer give where white America is concerned, let me preface with this. I am fortunate to have known some beautiful and loving white people in my lifetime so far, some of whom treated me like family and some who are still my friends. In addition, with all the millions of people who live in this country, I know there are plenty of white people who I’ve never met who are not only awesome, but also just as kickass about social justice as many black people are about expanding civil rights.

With that said, try not to make what I’m about to say about you unless of course this applies to you, in which case, it’s about fuckin time you opened your eyes about the ongoing disparities which enlarge white privilege, while keeping so many black people disenfranchised in America.

I am all out of fucks to give about white people in America. Seriously. The election of a bigoted, mysogynistic, blowhard, despot like Donald Trump has sealed the deal for me about white people in America. I am so over you people. I have zero interest in anyone’s reasoning about the political weighing of thoughts that went into casting a vote for Trump, especially if it had anything to do with how much you didn’t like Hillary Clinton, someone I disdained as much as the next conservative. I do not give a fuck about your reasoning. President D. Cheetos Valdemort Trump is the fuckin devil and I would have voted for Mick Jagger or the Easter Bunny or Kim Kardashian or Ron Paul or Ann Coulter or Arnold Schwarzenneger or Chris Christie— anyfuckinbody who opposed him!— before I voted for that ignorant and hateful sonofabitch. A vote for him was a vote for domestic terrorism. Have you seen how many mosques have been burned down since his election? 

Let’s make America great again?

Maybe for some of you that sounded like a rally call for patriotism, reducing the deficit and repositioning the country as a more worthy ally and formidable enemy. Really? Well, for a lot of us blacks that slogan sounded more like nostalgia for a precursory season when blacks were seen as less than human and comparable to cattle, the good ole days when good ole boys ran violently rampant against non-white citizens with impunity. Beyond that shitty slogan, I couldn’t hear what Cheetos Vandemort was saying about his political positions. Many of us (black and white) took one look at him and said, Oh hell no, republicans! You’re joking right? 

And then for the rest of white American Trump supporters, instead of swallowing your political pride and taking a stand against bigotry and misogyny—and I really don’t care if you held your nose as you voted— you voted for the worst presidential nominee in the history of our democracy, in my opinion. But let’s not forget, black people couldn’t even cast a vote that counted in this country until 1964, a mere two years before I was born.

So I’m over you, America. I am redirecting my energy away from interest in your opinion and your views, and funneling them into my people and their advancement. When I was playing nice you gave no fucks about the plight of blacks in America. I conducted myself in the ways which made you comfortable, even if it made me throw up in my mouth sometimes. I was exceedingly polite, I toned it down with the cuss words (I tried anyway), I spoke softly and kindly in professional settings, I spoke softly and kindly in public places, I kept the volume of rap music to a low rumble in my vehicle, played genteel sounding music on Sundays, my resting face was pleasant— although sometimes cold, bitchy stare came through when I felt irritable— I leaned toward priorities which weren’t mine, followed the dumbass American trend of the day, watched the TV shows, read the bestseller listed books, frolicked on the online social networks, discussed the weather, opined about the the teams, celebrated the seasons, etc. 

Basically I played your shitty game of life because according to you, anybody can win on any given day and everybody loses sometimes. Well that is bullshit. The game is rigged and even if I am not often on the losing end, my people continue to lose way more than any of you. And then some of you have the audacity to bandy about the phrase “playing the race card” like this is some big joke, meanwhile my black husband is just one cop in a bad mood away from being another tragic American statistic. My front door is a few paces away from where I sit writing this, which puts me that much closer to being in the potential line of fire of the next Dylann Roof, exposing myself to the kind of domestic terrorist who is white, armed, racked and loaded on his troll through random black communities. 

So I’m done playing your games. Oh yes, I admit, I’m not proud of the way I blogged when I was complicit in your anti-black president campaign of the last eight years. One of the consequential issues (among many) of being raised black in a country with a history of violence and vitriol against black people, sometimes a black girl/woman like me will go down the wrong roads repeatedly just to fit in. I spent my whole life building and projecting an image of typical girl from typical family, loathe to submit to any perception of myself as a statistic. The truth is I am all kinds of statistics and am finally, not only okay with it, but proud of it too. 

I am black. I am a black woman. I have been depressed. I have been a single parent. I have been raped. I have been beaten. I am an alcoholic. My parents struggled with mental illness and therefore failed, despite trying, to show me love— the kind of which makes a child feel cared for, safe and protected— so I rolled into the world on a constant search for the very love I felt devoid of. Unfortunately for me and countless others like me, this country thrives on shaming, which is why bullies are so pervasive in schools from as early as kindergarten. America has a history of hating the ones who look different and/or don’t blend in. I was damaged goods and I didn’t fit in, so I hid myself in plain view, pretending to be things I was not.

Now what?

Now you decide, that’s what. If you’re a white person reading this, I don’t expect you to be consumed everyday with the plight of the marginalized and disenfranchised of our country. That would be nice and impressive, but that’s not realistic. Go ahead and keep living your lives, prioritizing yourself and your family. It’s what I’ll be doing too. But I am also going to be standing the fuck up for my people, no more shame or apology in my game. 

White people, you can do SOMEthing, as small as not going back to sleep, pretending black people are not under attack by the ignorant bigots on your side of American life. You can stay woke, America. The day after that horrible Wednesday, June 17, 2015, when Dylann Roof murdered nine black people inside a South Carolina church, ONE white person approached me to speak about it. ONE! He was a colleague, roughly fifteen years my senior. He entered my office with tears in his eyes and offered condolences, knowing full well those people were strangers to me, but understanding that it was a hate crime against black people, therefore a terrorist act on American soil which threatened me and contaminated him. 

Stand up, white people. It’s time for your neighbors and your friends and your family to see you stand up against the numerous acts of hatred in this country. Racism is alive and not only kicking, but it is killing ALL of us. You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem. Being silent is part of the problem. 

Whatever you do or don’t do after reading here, be advised, I will keep loving America, I will support her and follow her laws as long as they don’t impinge on my rights. But outside of that …. 


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How I Finally Found My Real Voice

Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

That’s how it went for the last four months before finally deciding to come here and write this post. To write or not write, say or not say, speak or not speak, tell them or just say fuck it. One day they may see me elsewhere and make their own connection. But did I really want to leave my narrative to chance? Nah. 

It is black history month after all, I finally decided. What better time than now to say what I have to say. It is one year since Beyonce stunned and blessed the world with her ass-kicking album, Lemonade

In a nutshell, I have transformed. For the entire eight years of blogging, I knew I was morphing into someone I had yet to really see fully. I felt the occasional rolling wave of  new thoughts, heard unexpected cracking noise in a moving joint, felt a tickle in the throat, there came a cough, a stomach tremble, was my skin stretching?— sometimes I would simply freeze, stare off into space …. wait, listen, and wonder ….. who

To allay my confusion, I distracted myself with lighter blogging fare, listing books I’d read, describing novice sewing attempts, dragging out ephemera from my childhood, navel gazing on nail polish, hairstyles, TV shows, photography, change of seasons and other random topics.  

Finally, I shut down the (politics) blog, went in search of my soul, started another blog (online journal) to give myself a place to just let go, be me, and yet I still struggled to unleash my true voice. Sure, through the journal blog, I did find my voice a little …. kinda sorta, but not really. 

In a last ditch attempt to stay online — why I felt the need to stay online to find myself is a laughable question in retrospect, and yet very much par for the course — I turned to Facebook and Instagram, hoping for what? Alliance? Encouragement or cheering? Kindred spirit connections? I was the very definition of lost. That experience? That search, going from blogging to Facebook and Instagram? It was like having a taste for something delectable, staring into the fridge, then the pantry, and finally eating whatever is available, but then feeling stuffed in the gut while your tastebuds sniff disdainfully, gawking at your protruding belly in unfulfilled horror. 

So I deleted the affronting social networks without so much as a backward glance. And I stopped blogging altogether.

I can’t give you all the details of how I finally found myself, at least not yet, and unfortunately, not here. But here’s what I can tell you. I made a decision to stop lying to myself, and consequentially, I had to stop lying to the people around me.  Seven months following that decision (coincidence? or a prelude to a seismic social shift? time will certainly tell), Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade was released. And in those lyrics I was inspired to face the pain wielding, lying husband, known to most of us as AMERICA. Finally, I found the remaining pieces of my woefully lost self, the self who had begun morphing as I blithely blogged for years about what I thought I knew. I knew a lot less than I cared to admit. 

I know it sounds crazy, but that's what happened. I listened to the lyrics of that album and I couldn't stop thinking of all the terrible shooting and wrongful deaths which have continued to riddle black communities across the nation without legal consequence: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, (and more recently)Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott (to name just a few). Get it? Who do I love that keeps stomping all over me and mine? Who keeps asking me to forgive and be patient, trust and obey, even as they claw and rip at our pulsing jugular veins? Dammit! Who refuses to see, refuses to talk, makes up a litany of excuses so they don't have to change? Hello!?! America!

Relief! At last! This is all me. Black and proud, shouting it with a smile! Nodding to my two beautiful daughters and saying, Thank you, girls for your undying Beyonce love. It took a few years, but I've finally caught up. In February 2016, as I watched the last ever Super Bowl to broadcast in our home —because in another turn of events I would eventually cancel our cable TV subscription—my amazing daughters were texting and cheering in praise of Beyonce’s outstanding super bowl performance. As my all grown-up girls reveled and celebrated their music queen, a new dawning of self was taking place within me.

So that’s my story (in part). If ever I’m thought of again by someone who once followed my blog, I wanted to reveal the truest part of my story so far. Don’t misunderstand me, I still love America. But the country is a bundle of unaddressed pathologies which are killing us all slowly. I will never again pretend otherwise. I will also never give up on this place which is our home, the very nucleus of our collective social order. I have hope (yes, I’ve come to LOVE and RESPECT former President Barack Obama too) that together, if we can commit to speaking the truth, and if we are courageous enough to act in sincere regard on behalf of all people, while we may not be able to fix all of our collective broken parts, we can remedy a significant amount of our social ills. 

Will I continue blogging along this new vein of thought? Nah. I have learned that my mind and voice thrives best in solitude. Will I keep writing? Most definitely, yes! Have you heard the last of me? I certainly hope not. 

One love.