Ineptitude 101: Color of Change & the Van Jones Fallout

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

He who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building.

Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
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There was a lot of chatter yesterday about the resignation of Van Jones. He didn’t even last six months in his position as Special Advisor for Green Jobs for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Now I admit when the post was announced I immediately questioned why Majora Carter had not been appointed instead. As the founder of Sustainable South Bronx and now the Majora Carter Group it was she who had pioneered the “green jobs” movement amongst a certain population during a specific time and had “inspired” Jones. Now I’m just relieved she stayed far away from the fray.

If No One Else Has A Problem With Things Why Care?

I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days. In discussing the Chris Brown interview on Larry King, Tyler Perry rewriting and directing the film version of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf, the ongoing slaughter (that includes kidnap and rape) of black women and children in the United States by black males (not some far off land and NOT by de evil white males), the very public attacks from other black men who insist black women are not worthy of anything and shouldn’t expect anything from anyone and the number of black women who don’t seem too upset by any one of these things I wonder if those of us who DO have a problem with this are fighting a battle that’s already been lost?

The excuses I hear online and in real life are very disappointing to say the least. I think this is probably more related to a situation I need to distance myself from offline but it is mirroring situations that are being covered online. That’s in addition to the political kowtowing of our current President and the state of the economy. Either people are in denial, opposing the wrong things or are just plain overloaded. This is when being a woman in a patriarchal/racist society gets to be burdensome. I’m working on having my support systems and preferred lifestyle in place though!

Opposition is one thing. That lets me know my contribution to dismantling this hierarchy of pain and confusion is working. After all I had questions about the status of black women, why things had deteriorated for so many and how it could be addressed. I was greatly relieved to find answers from more than one source. Now I had to discern what would work best for me and yes I needed to change my thinking AND have it reinforced from time to time. It was always my choice though and I took the time I needed, asked questions and made my own decisions about what mattered most.

Apathy is something else. I cannot and will not subscribe to the theory of things being the way they are for many as being normal – or necessary. It’s why many black female bloggers who speak of empowerment or leaving a mentality behind or seeking out men from other backgrounds to marry or not being physically/mentally tied to all black people 24/7 or choosing differently or telling about the specific acts of violence against black women & children that aren’t covered on the evening news spend so much time discussing these things.

It isn’t because there aren’t other things they could be doing! I think there’s a saturation point and I may have personally reached mine. I’m not sure yet but I know if I see someone bleeding on the street my instinct is to try to help them not walk away. Yet if they insist it’s all in my head or worse yell at me for being alarmed then honestly why should I bother? **When I’ve had enough of this I doubt that I’ll announce it.**

I leave with you with something encouraging from my maternal grandmother’s favorite singer.


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Jimi Izrael: The Root’s Resident Misogynist Is At Again

Of course since we know Skippy Gates is the “mastermind” behind starting The Root on behalf of his white benefactors (at the Washington Post) my thoughts on this shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. I’ve already made my feelings known that Gates offers NO VALUE to black women whatsoever. It’s why we have to evaluate why certain blacks are elevated to a certain status and for what purpose. It was a reward in part for his loyal servitude at letting the world know black men are naturally brutes.

So someone sent me a link to Izrael’s latest ridiculousness: Memo to Black Women Get Real. Are you feeling warm and fuzzy by the title? I basically skimmed his latest “black women ain’t *hit” hack piece. Is Toure taking notes? I’m not even upset about it. In fact I laughed because I realized I’m reading the rantings of a weak, subjugated man. As long as he limits his jabs to the keyboard (yes that would be a Chris Brown reference) I can simply tune him out. Remember those commericals that said “living well is the best revenge”? I hope other women realize a few things:

1. Izrael has a book he’s trying to sell
2. He’s counting on black women being confused
3. He assumes that women will automatically take advice from a man
4. He hopes no one will ever question his motives for regarding all of the above

From the mule’s mouth: “You are not Michelle Obama, and you will probably not end up with Barack … or Denzel. If you want to find the right one, lose the high ideal and get your priorities in order.Please trust that it takes more than an education and a successful career to be wife material. And women think if they wait long enough, they will find their own Denzel Washington. The problem is, there isn’t enough Denzel to go around. As I mention in my upcoming book The Denzel Principle, if black women want to marry a black man, it seems as if they have only a few choices…”

The Denzel Principle….seriously?! Hmm I see he hopes using the oft-touted male role model of desire would automatically prompt black women to buy this book sight unseen. Plus how many times have you heard some random Negro sniff that Michelle is the lucky one and how Barack could’ve “done better”! In case you’re not aware Denzel Washington is supposed to be the epitome of a quality black man and the one that ALL black women want. Mmm okay. Not that he isn’t a great actor but of course he’s put on a pedestal by some for being married to a non-Euro looking black woman, etc etc. He is still a man though, flaws and all. So let’s get real here.

This also feeds into the indoctrination of black women only being available for black men and not considering men by CALIBER and AVAILABILITY. This “Black Love” myth needs to be slayed and I have to thank Izrael for helping do so. Does he think he’s doing himself any favors with his hurt boy throwing rocks routine? Race cannot be the main thrust of the tie that binds people together. We already know by sheer statistics there simply aren’t enough black men to go around anyway. So black women can either hope for the miracle of that one black man, be alone, settle for less or LOOK ELSEWHERE and find a man who’s able to love and protect them. I go for the last option.

Besides the last time I checked Washington is still married and I cannot co-sign panting after a married man under any circumstances. Man sharing questionable men is why black women have the highest rate of HIV/AIDS rate to date. So let’s recognize these articles as the last vestiges of a dying breed: bitter, angry, low-caliber black MEN who can’t compete in the real world so they have to level the playing field by knocking us down. I trust more of us see this from a mile away and aren’t falling for the okey doke.

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Old School Friday: Sometimes All We Need Is A Cuddle

Cuddling is a very intimate act. Parents comfort their children. A friend offers a hug and a kind word of encouragement. Two people can use cuddling to be close without crossing physical boundaries. Some hug their pets in this manner as well. I think it’s safe to say it’s a wonderful gesture of affection if not love. It’s why Cuddle Parties have taken off. Couldn’t we all use a cuddle? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more of us expressed affection instead of fear, anger, disdain, impatient and hatred?

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Tyler Perry Will Botch For Colored Girls No Matter How Hard He Tries!

“I WILL NOT BE NICE…”

Black Women Need to Stop Giving Black Men Carte Blanche to Tell OUR Stories!!!

I admit I was absolutely LIVID when I read this in the entertainment industry trade paper Variety yesterday:
Lionsgate has tapped Tyler Perry to write, direct and produce an adaptation of the 1975 play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf”. (It’s a play written by Ntozake Shange)

Lionsgate noted the project’s the 10th title in its ongoing franchise with Perry, and Perry’s first film to be based on non-original source material. “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself” opens Sept. 11, and “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?” is set to open April 2.

Perry is also a co-presenter and exec producer of Lee Daniels’ Sundance winner “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” which Lionsgate is releasing in November.

Lionsgate announced in March that it had acquired the feature rights to the stage play and signed music video director Nzingha Stewart to helm from her screenplay adaptation.

I included that extra little blurb that many will have missed from seeing red. There was a black woman writer/director who’d originally been attached to the project and was subsequently DUMPED in favor of a man whose films range from Mammy to Sapphire and Back as the only image of black women.

I don’t care that he’s friends with Oprah either. Oprah has been VERY suspect lately with her endorsements anyway. Now that she’s interviewed Jay-Z for her magazine and Chris Brown has been complaining about the “hard time” he’s received from her I’m almost ready to bring out the DUNCE CAP.

How in the heck is HE supposed to be able to tap into the nuances of these characters? He’ll do about as well as Steve Harvey has done with his watered down hack version of that relationship book he’s claiming as his sole invention. Yeah right. I’m still waiting for “Madea Goes Away Never to Return” but I fear I’m asking for too much.

What’s the solution? Writing to Lion’s Gate and telling them we’re going to BOYCOTT this film? Well it’s already been cast apparently. Not to support it when it’s released? That’s a possibility. There’s always this catch-22 with Perry because he hires out of work black actresses but we don’t use our power properly to demand the entertainment industry respect us. The majority audience for his films lack a certain amount of discernment and critical thinking skills. Not enough of us are seeing our reflection on screen (and are desperate to) while the focus on fake religiosity (being some variation of a holy-roller) and race over gender (thinking in terms of our blackness instead of our womanhood and individuality) means very little criticism for Perry. It also means we’re cheating ourselves by settling. Some of us still fight.

Before everyone gets totally depressed from reading this post I’m including some of the jokes and comments a few people made via Twitter last night to lighten our distress:
  • Tyler Perry Is Why the Cage Birds Drinks..Heavily
  • Is Tyler Perry seriously adapting For Colored Girls? I thought it was a joke.
  • He’s going to play the rainbow since there are no male roles.
  • Am I the only one who thinks TP should stop making movies?
  • Dear Tyler Perry: Please stop making TV shows, movies, books, scripts, doodles, etc. Just to be safe, please cease all creative endeavors.
Here’s an PBS segment featuring Shange.
 
Supplemental Reading at Jezebel
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Rihanna Who? Chris Brown’s Mommy Would Rather Cry For Her Son’s Loss of Income Instead!

Now you KNOW I had to discuss the Chris Brown interview that aired last night. The fact Chris Brown and his momma Joyce Hawkins (along with his lawyer thrown in for good measure) appeared on Larry King spoke volumes. This is part of the “Don’t Believe What Your Eyes Are Showing You” Tour. Or as Khadija, blog host of Muslim Bushido so aptly wrote about recently: The Mass Gaslighting of African American Women.

We are being pressured to have a pity party for a felon and:
  • Ignore the fact this is a grown man over the age of 18.
  • Ignore the fact he beat and threatened to kill a woman.
  • Ignore the fact the police report states he was a serial abuser.
He claimed to “love” Rihanna. He talked about how difficult this “situation” is. Boo Hoo. He said he couldn’t “remember” punching, kicking, biting a woman with one hand, seeing blood splatter the dashboard all while driving a car with the other hand. That’s a skill set! Someone from his record label likely screamed at him how that’s serial killer talk. So he tried to amend what he STATED VERY PLAINLY by claiming he “misspoke”. Which is PR talk for Cover Your A**. See what had happened was/I meant to say.. Give me a break.

We don’t remember things that have no meaning to us. So his beating a woman to a bloody pulp was so far down on his list of priorities he couldn’t even recall that he’d done it. It had happened so many times before that he couldn’t recall that one particular act of violation. He had dance routines he could think of first but using his fist to communicate his inadequacies..nope!

Read the police report for yourself.

I was waiting for a litany of excuses. I was waiting for the “but what about blah blah who did blah blah“. The same variation of “my baby isn’t a criminal”. Mind you this “baby” is a grown man! That doesn’t stop these women from ignoring the crimes their sons have committed and declaring them “victims”. Victims of what I don’t know. Being held responsible is a foreign concept to some people no matter what the price.

Just ask Nathan Walker’s mommy. Just ask William Balfour’s. Just ask the one who’s going to cry for “Jesus” and say you need to “forgive” the next miscreant that shoots at, rapes or steals from you or your child. Ok I’ll bite: what about OJ, R Kelly, Miles Davis…and let me tell you the list could go on and on…..and on and on. This history of abuse from black men against black women has always been there to view for those who decided to look and SEE it! It’s time to take a stand against this blanket knee-jerk criminal amnesty being given to men who have no REGRETS, haven’t CHANGED one iota and have no plans for making amends.
*In case the above video doesn’t play I’ve enclosed a Showbiz Tonight segment about the interview.

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Asking Black Women to Change Is Part of A Larger Spiritual War

Every time I wonder what I’m going to write about, if I’m offering something of substance and whether I should cut back on my blogging schedule of daily posts I am constantly inspired!

A few thoughts occurred to me as I was writing Part 2 of Getting to Where We Want. One is that it’s really about getting to where we NEED to be, so take that added dimension into consideration. The other revelation I had is the fight for the minds of black women is a SPIRITUAL WAR as much as one deploying COMMON SENSE.

There are several black female bloggers writing about ways other black women can improve the quality of their lives. Whether it’s interpreted that way is left to the discernment of the reader. Whether the messages being offered have benefit may be open to debate. Whether that message can be ignored is the giant pushback going on right now. Think about it: there’s a few “ragtag” band of women literally shouting in the “jungles” and the “wild” banging their drums. They’re visiting homes (via blog writing) of many sometimes in the guise of one thing but with the intention of something else (all good). They’re imparting knowledge or sharing stories. They’re getting a LOT of resistance. People lie about the positions being offered. Others don’t quite understand what the heck they’re talking about or are only getting 15% of the message.

Some brave woman had to be willing to step forward to address the chaos. If this could be thought of in investment terms it’s a Capital Call for funds so a future purchase can be made. Others have followed suit. We’re from all corners of the world (blogosphere). We’re sending correspondence back and forth but may never meet. We have convergent purposes and can strategize together on some things or offer words of encouragement to each other. We don’t agree in every way all the time. We learn from each other even as we have our own (teaching) purposes. We may not be “leaders” per se but we’re offering examples of leadership (of self) for everyone.

These messages can be of benefit to ALL women but they are specifically being offered to those most in need. That’s what makes this so radical. Black women as a collective should have the same high standards that other women from other groups have. We also have to acknowledge our individual perspectives, needs and ethnicities as it affects who we are and what we may need to do. Reaching for our purpose requires a thorough examination of ourselves and those around us. Everyone doesn’t always have our best interests at heart. If that means leaving behind the majority of other blacks then so be it!

Some need to know of the mistreatment of others. Some need to be challenged. Some need to know how beautiful they are. Some need to know they have options outside of their immediate surroundings. Some need to hear about the successful lives of others. Some need to know the storm is coming. Some need to know they’re surrounded by poisonous snakes who will strike and kill them. Some need to have their blinders removed and their shackles removed. Some need to put into practice steps they already know they need to take. Some are confused and may need time to figure things out. Some will not listen and must be left behind for the survival of others.

Here’s what I know to be true:
  • Black Women should have suitable mates.
  • Black Women should have protection and care.
  • Black Women should have relationships that are fulfilling.
  • Black Women should have opportunities for growth.
  • Black Women should not be around anything that drags them down.
  • Black Women should not settle for anything that is of little benefit to them.
  • Black Women should know how to make life-affirming choices.

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We Need A Training Course on Transgender 101

I can’t help but think how the greater LGBT movement has been so focused on an orientation hierarchy they’ve dropped the ball with regards to “normalizing” trans men and trans women. There’s been a huge push at reducing the anxiety and generating familiarity for lesbians and gays that it doesn’t seem so “weird” anymore. It’s still opposed by many but it’s not a wholly foreign concept. Think of it in terms of how relations between whites and blacks were addressed.

As a cis-gender woman I often cringe at the public fumbles and stumbles of others who are lesbian, gay and straight alike who exhibit their lack of understanding of trans-related “issues”. I have to qualify this with the quotes because I do not purport to understand what it’s like to be a trans woman. Just as a white person will never understand what it’s like to be black or a wealthy person not know all the ways they’ve benefitted from not being poor we all have our own set of blessings and obstacles. I do think the standard should be higher for the lesbian and gay collective but we as individuals can pick up the mantle as we see fit.

I expect reciprocity in my support of all LGBT “issues” but realize that as with many things in this society certain people of color may have an extra burden. I’ve also written about numerous cases of violence against black trans women like Lateisha Green and Duanna Johnson. I have also found that for every person willing to examine how they relate to others many still exhibit virulent discriminatory behavior. Including gays and lesbians. So if they engage in such foul behavior against their trans kinfolk how is that the straights will learn? Not to mention the racism and gender bias that exists amongst the entire population.

I am confident that I examine the ways in which I express my gender privileges if only because I’m willing to be put through the paces by others. We have to be humble enough to consider the fact that being well-intentioned is no guarantee of complete success in dismantling our prejudices. There is a big difference though from deciding to hate in thoughts, words and deeds.

There’s been a discussion at Pam’s House Blend about the review of this dance crew on an MTV dance competition show by a recording artist. The comments by Lil Mama displayed a lack of understanding that should be addressed but are by no means as offensive as statements made by gay politician Barney Frank for example. Any standards for evaluating behavior should be applied across the board. I see this as a teachable moment IF people are willing to learn. Like most reality shows they’re edited to promote high drama and ignorant behavior for ratings.

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Getting To What We Want From Where We Are Pt 2

Alrighty, picking up from where we left off yesterday, the first step at progress is changing our perspective, our point of view and our outlook as encompassed by our mindset. How we see what’s before us makes all the difference in the world. If for example you think something doesn’t have value that may in fact be helpful you’ve just eliminated a source of inspiration at the least or what could have been your breakthrough path. If you’re reading this thinking, “Ok Faith how do I change my mindset?”. Well let me share this with you: we must RENEW our minds.
Romans 12: 1-2

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. The Message

I decided to use the Peterson verse translation as I think it’s the most plainly spoken i.e. less “religious”. One can insert whatever your own individual practice into this to what works for you. I am trying to offer this as an assist, not something that will trip others up in incorporating. This is also for those of us who’ve been burned by the fake religiosity of others which is something I’m personally working through. I’ve come to realize you can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak which brings me to the next step.

2. We must access spiritual power

If we think of this in exercise terms it’s building your abdominal muscles to sustain you. It’s strengthening your core. Believe me as I’m writing this there’s a part of me that’s surprised if only because it’s something I’ve fought against. People have used and misused various religious tenets to control and harm people since the beginning of time. For many of us it has a particularly misogynistic bent as well that’s being used to subjugate women. We also have to figure out how to place into proper context sacred texts and how it applies as well as knowing there has to be boundaries and consequences for going against our best interests. That could be an entire post in and of itself! Perhaps it will be, but for NOW this is in relation to finding our path in life and staying the course.

We all have our own paths in life. Since no two people are alike our experiences will be different. I’m reading Oprah’s September message in What I Know For Sure (it’s the last page of each O, the Oprah magazine) where she states: “When you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire, or whatever you chose to call it [they’re all the same thing]. When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful. And you may stumble, but you will not fail.”

How do we access spiritual power? I think we have to ask for it first and foremost. There can be no assumptions. Just like doing inverse crunches will strengthen your body we must find a set of spiritual “moves” that will yield results. Having a trainer to guide us can certainly help but in the end the work is solo and the efforts must be our own. We have to push through the discomfort and be consistent. We have to exercise AND change our eating habits to things that sustain us. We may have to limit our intake of certain people/thoughts/circumstances that are of no benefit to us. We have to be willing to change and be vulnerable.

We all have an inner voice, an intuition that guides us if we listen to it. What ways do you know for certain you can make changes in your own life?
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