Archive of ‘Social Commentary’ category

Your Facebook Picture Isn’t The Focus of The Paris Attacks

Paris Attacks

My Facebook profile picture does not have a French flag overlay on it, but it has also never had a rainbow overlay, or a pink  “I stand with Planed Parenthood” overlay. It’s never had any of these things, because I personally don’t feel inclined to use them to show my solidarity. The overlay is a way of showing other people a personal stance, but I know I already do that through my actions and words. Posting an overlay is an easy form of passive protest, and personally it’s not my style.

For a lot of people putting the French flag overlay on their profile picture has been a big issue of contention because Facebook didn’t offer the option for a number of other attacks that took place around the world; but I think that people are missing something in their arguments. (more…)

Race Over Privilege?: Identifying with Baltimore

RACE OVER PRIVILEGE copy

There has never been a moment in my life where I had to stop and consider where my next meal would come from. I’ve never worried about the cost of books, about how I would get from one place to the next, or even where I would live. I have never wanted for anything in this life and I recognize that my parents, to the best of their ability, have spoiled me with privilege. While I may not be upperclass, I don’t come from any means of significant economic struggle. I’m not ashamed of or feel the need to apologize for the fact that economically I’ve rarely if really ever struggled. I’m forever grateful to my parents for what they’ve afforded me, to my grandmother who cleaned floors for 20 years so I could be born in America; but I will also never pretend to understand the daily frustrations of those who are not afforded the same opportunities or lifestyle that I am.

I recognize that there are people in Baltimore who have been given very few if any real legs up in the world, and when you’re consistently beaten down by those who don’t understand your struggle, how are you supposed to feel? How are you supposed to feel when you consistently lose people in your life to the circumstances of your surroundings. When you lose someone at the hands of those who are designated to “protect and serve” you? Would you honestly be able to “Chill Out”. How would you feel if your community leader, whose face resembles yours, whose skin is your skin, took no real provisions for ensuring your wellness and healing your pain?

I’ve always been raised to understand that the destruction of property is senseless, purposeless, and wrong, so I can honestly say that riots have always made very little sense to me. I can’t say whether I agree or disagree with some protesters in Baltimore who have chosen this option. What I can say though, is that I can’t pretend to understand what fuels people’s decisions to respond this way. It’s easy to judge and condemn, shake our heads and click our tongues, because we haven’t lived their experience. Rioting would most likely not be my choice of protest, but aspects of my life have not warranted such a response, my community hasn’t failed me, my school system isn’t ineffective. I do not know their lives; but what I do know is that those faces filling the screen each night are mine. I know that I can’t wear respectability politics on my sleeve to protect me from becoming another hashtag. My privilege does not ensure that I won’t be Freddie, or Rekia, or Trayvon, or Amadou, or Eric, or Emmett.

For every moment spent lamenting over how awful the destruction of stores and property is consider how many people did not feel that lament over the loss of a life, something that cannot be replaced. I cannot pretend to understand how a person can be more frustrated over the loss of property than they are over the loss of life. I can only understand that those faces are mine, their skin is my skin, their blood is my blood, and we will always carry that common hardship.

Manufacturing Black Girl Magic

MANUFACTURING BLACK GIRL MAGIC
MANUFACTURING BLACK GIRL MAGIC

 

When I was in elementary school my favorite thing to do was go up to the chalkboard and show off my right answers in any subject, but by fifth grade I loathed & refused to do it. By then I’d hit puberty & every moment spent with my back turned to my classmates was another moment of snickers, mockery, & body shaming. I could hear it while I was working, “why is her butt  like that?” So it was no surprise when the tiniest & palest of my all white classmates came to me & blurted, “you’ve got a huge butt & it shakes when you erase. Why does it look like that?” Having been the resident pancake ass in my family, I never considered myself to have a big butt, nor was I ever self conscious about it. But the consistent teasing & shaming at the hands of my non- POC peers resulted in me hating my butt & my curves. From then until high school I wore loose fitting jeans or long skirts and boxy shirts and sweaters to hide my shape. Now fast forward to 2015 where white women are bending over backwards & physically harming themselves to look remotely close to what natural features Black women have. But Black women aren’t credited as the trendsetters, The Kardashians are. We’re praising Kim for paving the way for wide hips and curvy shapes, as if Black women haven’t had fat asses for centuries, but I digress.

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Black Women Magic

BLACK WOMEN
In honor of Black Women Appreciation Day...

BLACK WOMEN

As a Black woman, it is almost in my nature to not feel loved. It is almost coded in my DNA to accept that there is a rejection that comes with my existence. Understand that this is not a complaint, it;s a statement of fact. The irony of it all is that I embody love; we embody love, Black women.

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A Tourist In Shondaland: How I Grew To Love Scandal

From A Tourist In Shondaland

From A Tourist In Shondaland
If a week ago you asked me where Fitz and Olivia met, why Abbie left her her husband, or who Quinn had slept with, I would have given you a blank stare. You see up until a week ago, I had NEVER watched an episode of Scandal. Actually I had essentially refused, because I just couldn’t get past the Black mistress of a white president thing. Well, when I got the chance to go to a Scandal watch party with the some high level bloggers hosted by one of my favorites, Luvvie Ajayi,queen of all that is Scandal,I decided this was my opportunity to sit down and watch it from the very beginnning in exactly one week. I began as a tourist in Shondaland, but after binge watching 3 and a half seasons worth of Olivia Pope, red wine, and popcorn, I finally have enough to decide if Scandal was worth my watch after all.

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Pitfalls In Dating As A Young Feminist [BlogHer Post]

Dating While Feminist Featured

“You can’t curse, it’s not lady like.”

I was so stunned by the statement, I actually took a moment to think carefully about myDating While Feminist Pin response. I’d been seeing this guy for just over 2 months and this wasn’t the first battle of wits we’d had. After a pause I calmly explained that, as a person I was free to curse at will and that if he felt it was offensive he was free to state that, but at no time was he going to tell me that I couldn’t curse because I was a girl. (more…)

If Loving Dr. Huxtable Is Wrong: Prioritizing Gender and Racial Identity

Prioritizing Race and Gender
Prioritizing Race and Gender
Note: This was written before the release of Cosby’s deposition, in which he clearly states his use of drugs for sexual relationships with women. 

Over the course of the last few weeks more than 20 women have come forward with accusations of sexual assault by media icon, Bill Cosby. The media has exploded with coverage of the allegations and Cosby’s response. What has caught my attention the most in reading through all of this though, has been the difference in reaction between communities.

I read articles on two of my favorite news platforms, The Grio, which is geared towards the African diaspora community, and Jezebel, a more feminist toned outlet. Both articles adressed the same thing, Janice Dickinson coming forward to accuse Cosby. However, it wasn’t the articles that caught my attention but rather the comments on the articles. I get a kick out of reading comments, because I feel it tells me more than the actual article sometimes. The comments on Jezebel were as I expected them to be, a long list of women sympathizing with Janice’s plight and asserting the unfortunate upholding of rape culture in society. The comments underneath The Grio article were a conglomerate of side-eye emojis and memes that labeled Janice Dickinson a liar who was reaching for another moment in the spotlight. What was probably most interesting about the differences in the comments wasn’t that it was women on one side and men on the other, but instead that a majority of the comments condemning Janice Dickinson on the Grio were from Black women.

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What #CrimingWhileWhite Means For #BlackLivesMatter

Criming While White

The short answer to that is a very simple, nothing. Last night in the wake of the decision not to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner using an illegal chokehold, social media erupted once more in protest of injustice. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter resurfaced with just as much force as its use in the Ferguson decision. What was different about last night though was the accompaniment of the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite. The hashtag featured white people’s admissions of instances where they clearly got away with a crime because they were white. It was a stream of tangible admissions of white privilege and was relatively refreshing in the wake of events, but where does it go from here?Criming While White Trend Cropped

Having grown up as the only Black face among quite a few white ones for most of my life, I watched the experiences described in #CrimingWhileWhite, first hand. I watched friends in middle school shoplift and loiter. In high school I watched as my white friends strolled off of our closed campus to get high while security smiled at them as they passed, instead grilling me for not having my student ID clearly visible around my neck. Going to college at a predominately white institution just further confirmed white privilege to me. #CrimingWhileWhite while a step forward is still, as a whole, an example of white privilege. It exemplifies the privilege of white America to not only escape persecution for crimes, but the allowance for them to blatantly state it without any form of repercussion. It’s almost like being teased, “look at what we could do and you couldn’t.”

I have some white friends who used the #CrimingWhileWhiteHashtag last night but most, if not all, were already allies (good ones at that) who were fully aware of their white privilege and had an understanding of the significance of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. For some, the use of #CrimingWhileWhite was a wakeup call to the existence of their own white privilege, something that they had never before been able to really grasp. Some felt the need to apologize as the revelation of their privilege began to resonate, but there’s not much POC’s can do with that apology. As many on Black twitter pointed out last night, #CrimingWhileWhite can’t pay my bills, the apologies can’t bring back lives lost to injustice, and it can’t make white society care more about Black lives. What #CrimingWhileWhite has the ability to do is give perspective to white people about their privilege and create a space for the conversation about it. However, unless those who used the #CrimingWhileWhite hashtag realized the importance of and began to support the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, we’re at a standstill.

The power of social media is not to be underestimated. If Black twitter can be “blamed for the non-indictment of Darren Wilson,” according to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Robert McCulloch, then we wield much more strength than we even recognize. To all those who felt compelled to join in on #CrimingWhileWhite, my question to you is, what next? If #CrimingWhileWhite compelled a percentage of the white population to recognize that they have power as allies, then it did something positive to contribute to an overarching issue, but Black twitter is most likely not holding their breath in hopes that there will be a fresh wave of new non-POC faces to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At the end of the day, with or without the admission of white privilege by white people, Black lives matter and that’s the battle that the Black community will continue to focus on.

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The Problem With Loving Black Men Redux

The Problem With Loving Black Men Featured

I have chosen not to post anything new today in light of the Ferguson decision last night. I went to bed feeling numb, because I couldn’t watch anymore and I woke up to footage of mass chaos. I just want peace.This piece was originally written and posted in August, but I feel that it is still fitting now in November. 
 

I love Black men. I love their skin, their strong jaws, those heavy lips, and wide-set noses. Black men are these beautiful amalgamations of strength, pain, growth, and determination; which makes them my greatest weakness. I love everything about Black men, everything except their disposability. (more…)

5 Times This Week When Black Culture Needed To Say Bye Felicia [BuzzFeed]

nene bye felicia

Sometimes a situation is so ridiculous, so overwhelmingly irritating, and causes you to feel so over it, that you can’t find words to deal with it. That’s when you turn to the age-old reliable adage of “Bye Felicia”. So here are five things this week that were so upsetting to Black culture, that there was nothing better to say then “Bye Felicia”. Check out my BuzzFeed Post here.

nene bye felicia

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