When Stumbling Out of the DBR Matrix These Are Great First Steps

Or you might consider this part of your escape route when deciding which pill to take when you decide to get out of **DBR-Ville!!

This scene is from the television show The Game. I have mixed feelings about this show overall but this was an excellent example of what a woman should be doing with her life. In case you can’t watch it from work the female lead is treating a patient who overhears a c conversation. She offers counsel to her by referencing women who style their hair a certain way as a metaphor for not taking chances in life and weeding out those who would hold her back.

I loved the fact this older woman gave such common sense, no-nonsense advice to the younger (still confused) woman. Her advice is to NOT let OTHER people dictate the standards by which you live! Skip ahead to the portion starting at 1:45 and end at 6:00. A quick backstory: this series is about the relationship between a med student and her NFL player boyfriend. It is based on the real-life story of Staci Robinson who wrote a book titled “Interceptions”.

For the series to work the guy is supposed to be decent underneath blah blah blah but honestly he seems to be a lesser value man and the female lead isn’t setting high enough standards – which is why their problems constantly obstruct the relationship. They often break up and during one of their off periods he impregnated another woman. The ensuing conflicts from the conflict is why they’re not together during this period and the female lead makes another poor decision by sexing her supervisor. This show is a paint-it-by-numbers of WHAT NOT TO DO!

In TV-land things will be wrapped up but the reality is far more tenuous and can have negative generational ramifications. Of course because the male leads on this series are supposed to be a high-profile individuals the implied message here seems to be that any woman who chooses to be with them is going to have to tolerate a lot. Next!

Last time I checked a pig wearing lipstick is still…just…a…pig.

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Sometimes Love Is A Battlefield – But It Doesn’t Have To Be

I heard this song “Battlefield” by Jordan Sparks on the radio and like the lyrics. I of course give a hat tip to Pat Benatar’s classic Love Is A Battlefield. This has me thinking about the concept of why we “fight” for love and relationships. Sometimes incompatible people are locked in a battle of wills and broken dreams. Other times this could apply to working through an addiction, either your own or being helpless to witness another’s decent into madness. Or speaking of that….it could also be a mental disease or defect. Perhaps it’s a Romeo & Juliet scenario where outside instigators are throwing obstacles at you left and right.

Maybe it’s our own inner demons that we are fighting for as we’ve been discussing indoctrination tactics that keep women subjugated to false concepts are varied and deeply ingrained. The tie that may bind (and the subsequent chains that may shackle us) is some concept of love that we have. Maybe we think certain people and concepts are worth the fight. At some point though we must realize that the one person and concept we should love the most must be ourselves. This may run concurrent with a spiritual practice but I think even in that situation it’s still a relationship and we have to be fully present to have the most fulfilling engagement. Being distracted, pulled into opposite directions, dealing with warring factions (either internal or external), wrestling with adapting concepts that work for us as individuals and being positive above all takes a lot of mental/physical/emotional capital. We cannot run on empty lest we stall in the side of the road.

Isn’t it time for many of us to step forward boldly and declare that we will live our best lives, not one of getting by? If you’re already there perhaps you may want to reflect on how you got there and where else you want to go to continue.
Don’t try to explain your mind
I know what’s happening here
One minute, it’s love
And, suddenly, it’s like a battlefield

One word turns into a
Why is it the smallest things that tear us down
My world’s nothing when you’re gone
I’m out here without a shield – can’t go back, now

Both hands tied behind my back for nothing, oh, no
These times when we climb so fast to fall, again
Why we gotta fall for it, now…

I never meant to start a war
You know, I never wanna hurt you
Don’t even know we’re fighting for
Why does love always feel like a battlefield (2x)
Why does love always feel like a battlefield (2x)
Why does love always feel like

Can’t swallow our pride
Neither of us wanna raise that flag, mmm
If we can’t surrender
Then, we’re both gonna lose we have, oh, no

Both hands tied behind my back for nothing (nothing), oh, no
These times when we climb so fast to fall, again
I don’t wanna fall for it, now…


We could pretend that we are friends, tonight (oh)
And, in the morning, we wake up, and we’d be alright
‘Cause, baby, we don’t have to fight
And I don’t want this love to feel like a battlefield (2x)
Why does love always feel like a battlefield (2x)
I guess you better go and get your armor
(repeat to fade)

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Oprah Might Relinquish Her Crown..Discusses Whitney Houston

The queen of all media just might be announcing the end of her show. Oprah Winfrey left a teaser with Good Morning America as she promoted the newest season. Can you believe it’s been 24 years! I grew up with Oprah and can’t imagine a time when she wasn’t around. It has been nice to see her evolution as a force to be reckoned with.
Nobody will be able to fill the void that will be left once Oprah moves on. NOBODY. Whitney Houston appears in a 2-part interview starting Monday that is likely to be one of the biggest seasons ever. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood interviews Oprah speaking her truth and discussing Whitney. I wasn’t that Houston’s appearance until the zinger portion of the interview.

Did you get the part where they discuss how Whitney tried to shrink herself to remain in a relationship with (my words) an inadequate man? We all know what Bobby Brown came with (less funds, baby mommas, a stalled career, etc). This is gonna be deep…..
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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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Tyler Perry Will Botch For Colored Girls No Matter How Hard He Tries!


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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When Your Mother In Law Sues You She’s Just Not That Into You!

I had briefly heard of this story in passing but hadn’t realized all of the ramifications involved. Comic Sunda Coonquist has been sued by her mother-in-law for making jokes about the behavior of the family. Much humor is rooted in pain and certain comedians are very skillful at dissecting the actions of others. Sunda is a bi-racial black woman, her husband is white and she converted to Judaism to marry him. At the crux of this case is the story of her husband’s family who have a history of exclusionary antics. The fact that Sunda’s husband is representing her in court has been lauded by some. I think the entire scenario is ridiculous and clearly was escalating for some time.
Croonquist’s act includes jokes about her many encounters with her husband’s family over the years, like her first visit to her mother-in-law’s house. She gave Roker a sample: “I walk in, I say, ‘Thank you so much for having me here, Ruthie.’ She says, ‘The pleasure’s all mine, have a seat.’” Then, in a loud aside, “‘Harriet, put my pocketbook away.’ 

On a more serious note, Croonquist said that despite her obvious commitment to Judaism, she has suffered through painful incidences of exclusion from her husband’s family. “It’s not been easy,” she told Roker. “I’ve been asked to step out of family photos. I guess I’m just not right for the bar mitzvah picture.”

The comedian said that she has been the brunt of her in-laws’ jokes as well. “They made jokes at my expense. Not on stage, but in temple.”

Cinderella: Guerilla Training Manual for African-American Women

I was about to write this post from a completely different perspective but thank goodness for stream of conscious writing. First, I’d like to thank my naiveté. I think this is the first time I actually understand what Neo felt like after he was freed from the Matrix. Although I’ve been reading about the behavior of these DBR (damaged beyond repair) AA males I noted it from afar. Sure I have some male relatives I would say have some of those tendencies but for the most part they’re a good lot.

Yet, I’ve also observed the mating patterns of many of my female relatives and have seen how it’s they who have chosen varying degrees of mediocrity. That would be collectively with particular quality choices made by a few individuals. I think that is representative of the black collective as well. The majority are on a major crash and burn voyage while a few wiser individuals are on the periphery. Some are preparing and others are rolling in the mud trying to get as much on as possible. Well…that’s my observation and I’m still processing this.

Second, I think it’s important again to make the ethnic distinctions of which majority I’m referring to and ding ding it’s African-Americans. We have to have something else that binds us than admiring the accomplishments of Michael Jackson. We have to have more than fleeting outrage over the latest public spectacle of a rap music artist – or now some swimming pool controversy at a private club in PA. People are praising Al Sharpton for his MJ Memorial speech (which wasn’t bad) yet forget (or never even know about) that he publicly supported the rapists/attempted murderers at Dunbar Village apartment complex in West Palm Beach, FL. I haven’t forgotten. He was more concerned that those DBRs (damaged beyond recognition/repair) black males would potentially be “railroaded” rather than stand with the survivors of the attack, a black woman and child.

I wonder what it will take for some people to wake up – a pound of flesh maybe? Dead body after dead body from the mass black on black crime? The 50% high school drop out rate for black teens? The out of wedlock birth rate for black women was listed at 72% by the CDC in their preliminary report for 2007. The official 2006 report had it listed at 70% but it had jumped 25% in a five year period. So even with a conservative estimate of 2.5-5% growth rate that number has to be somewhere around 76-83%. It’s pretty much over for a particular segment of society. I’m speaking in terms of quality of life and productivity. That’s going to lead to a lot of struggling, abandoned and angry women and children. Some of whom are boys and so the cycle of destruction will continue. *I modified my original 80% OOW birth rate and added in the data instead. You can do the math or dispute it to your heart’s content. It’s a TRAGEDY not to be taken lightly!

I’m not prepared to say this results solely from growing up in all-black (physical) environment. The indoctrination I’m talking about can still occur even if you weren’t physically present. Isn’t that why you’ll get immigrants who move here still practicing things that might run them afoul of cultural norms (or laws) in this country? It’s the mentality behind it and that goes beyond a residential area. You take your thoughts and attitudes with you wherever you go.

Some white feminists have complained about faerie tales like Cinderella saying they set women back and teach women to expect to be rescued. In those books the heroine is always rescued by a man. Where some see oppression I see a man understanding his role and stepping up. They see a woman in distress and they resolve the problem to her advantage! They offer to love and protect her. Also the woman has to let the man rescue her so she is accepting his help. Where’s the weakness in that?

I get the overall ramifications of why some women think being put on a pedestal is sexist and problematic. These women have not had the AA woman experience of being stripped naked and spit on in the public square for hundreds of years. Collectively these groups of non-black women will NEVER know what that’s like because their men will never allow it. If they did their group would have to be in a state of chaos and dysfunction like the AA “community”. It’s not going to happen.

The word “cinderella” has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes are unrecognised, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. Wikipedia

I’m thinking Cinderella is in fact a secret stealth training manual showing women how to get your “fantasy” life become your REAL life. It’s for women who are unappreciated, unloved, used like a mule for all of her resources and cast out when she will no longer play ball. This describes the state of the average AA woman to a tee, doesn’t it?

These phrases should go in the canon of lies/manipulations told to a black woman to keep her down:

  • Help a brotha out
  • I need a place to stay
  • I’m in between jobs
  • I’m hungry
  • I need help
  • You’re being selfish
  • You have to help your family
  • You think you’re too good
  • You’re ugly
  • Don’t go to school
  • You have no credibility
  • The white man keeps me down w/x,y,z that’s why I don’t x,y,z
  • I want a wife who brings in some money
  • You’re supposed to clean, take care of the baby & cater to me
  • Why do you want to hang out with your friends?
  • Are you cheating on me – then prove it by x,y,z
  • If you really loved me you’d do x,y,z,
  • I’m clean baby I swear, we don’t need to use a condom
  • If you get pregnant I’ll be there for you
  • I’m seeing somebody else but…,
  • I’m a man I need to do x,y,z,
  • No dark butts
  • It’s not my fault I sell drugs/went to prison
  • I like light skin/light skin is so pretty
Cinderella is a story of how one woman overcome intense cruelty and oppression. She took help when it was offered. She had one person who believed in her, but she had to believe in herself as well. The ball, the prince and everything was laid out for her but she still had to go after it. The prince was looking for a specific woman & only she could fit the bill. She emerged triumphant because she fought for her freedom! She got away from the indoctrinators and leeches that wanted her to stay subservient because they benefited from her being under their heel. She NEVER needed them. She was always her own powerful woman – she just had to realize it. She had to step into her power in order to access it. The guy was just part of the package. He didn’t want a subservient mule, he wanted the scrappy fighter. These stories are told to a general audience. She didn’t “need” the guy at all. Today she may not even chose a guy, but you get the point.
I think we can revisit this story and reevaluate it for the subversive message it really tells. Black females are literally cinder girls. The next step is to get out of the pit.

Leave ideologies, unsafe residential areas, concepts and people that are of no benefit to you and don’t look back!!!

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I’m Not Sure If Empowerment Is the Real Goal For Some Black Bloggers

So if you read a variety of blogs like I do you may start to notice certain trends. Some of the same readers of one blog may also read another with varying levels of interest. Sometimes blog hosts may link to each other or mention something they’ve read or commented on. Often some will read but not quite comprehend and misinterpret the position of a blogger. I think we have to remember that bottom line we are all human and make mistakes.

Some may use their forum to uplift, challenge or reinforce existing commonalities. Some may inadvertently tear people down while claiming to do the opposite. Some seem to enjoy reveling in the dysfunction of others. Some may have perspectives that are completely different from what would be expected. All of these things can be useful for us if we are interested in renewing our mindsets or are otherwise open to being engaged.

Now I myself have found it necessary to be firm in my positions even as I seek to challenge myself to be a better person. Bottom line though is that I generally like Black people though I may question the motives of some and their impact on the general public. I have never wanted to not be Black, though as an African-American woman living in the US I have often wanted a less arduous journey. I know some of the challenges have been raced-based, but there has also been gender bias at play as well. Class mobility comes into play as well.

I’ve had quite a few moments of clarity reading the works of some Black female bloggers this past year. I’ve had things articulated in such a way that a few online conversations have resolved some things that I could never work through to my satisfaction in therapy. Which I recommend as it can have the same positive benefits of going to the gym to work on your body. Sometimes it takes another person who’s had a similar experience to fully understand where you’re coming from. Other times we need a completely different perspective to gain new ground.

This is where I find myself at a quandary. Some have been dubbed “empowerment” bloggers because they want to elevate the level of discourse. Or have others evaluate their choices. In theory this is great. Some people have a lot of wisdom to share and reintroducing common sense shouldn’t seem like a foreign concept! Others seem to offer bold and brash ways of thinking by getting us to ponder several objectives. I’m just not sure if they all really like the others they claim to want to be participating with. It has to be about principles not individuals, right?

I say this because while we are certainly not a monolith, or share the same backgrounds we do have some commonality somewhere down the line. We also have differences that need to acknowledged. Why is it threatening to discuss the intra-ethnic differences amongst Blacks but still want African-Americans to be given their proper respect? Some blog hosts say a lot of things that have me scratching my head at times because I feel as if I’m getting my hand slapped versus a pat on the back of encouragement. If we’re supposed to be coming together to hash out strategies and reevaluate how we think why do I feel the tone is off – harsh or even full of admonishment? Why do I feel condescended to at times?

Sometimes people assume and attribute things that were never explicitly said, sometimes I think people are responding to dog whistle disdain. If we can talk about class envy then we should also talk about class prejudice. If historically the Black elite did things to set themselves apart from other Blacks to further elevate their status how would that be any different today from the way those few that have access to and have owned media show how little regard they have by their content? Look at what Essence magazine (dubbed “Messence” by another blogger) is doing by suggesting going to a strip club to meet a Black man.

Why can’t we discuss opening up our social circles and world outlook to include many people from diverse backgrounds but still remember who we are? This can’t be about running away, for wherever we go there we are. We can’t look externally or through consuming goods to feel good about ourselves. Yes, we are responsible for our own self-esteem but it gets to be a little bit more challenging when a) white women are still being held as the standard of womanhood b) So many Black people are self-hating c) They have access to the media to promote their self-hate and hate of BW. We’re working with certain unmovable factors, but others are entirely our own design!

So I think it’s a valid argument that we should look at those individuals who’ve been elevated to “desirable” status and question why. That some of those happen to be multi-ethnic/have certain features is not an accident. When they claim the full spectrum of their heritage it’s a great thing, but can we not also acknowledge that some are also diminishing certain parts of their heritage for others and the one that they seek to lessen is their Blackness? If we’re going to discuss the internal motivations of some who need to step it up then we must also recognize the barriers others would like to see in place.

When do we ever hear of a bi-racial/multi ethnic POC with white ancestry deny or try to diminish it the way they do their Blackness? There may be confusion about race versus ethnicity not because of a lack of understanding it but because so many are trying to deny certain parts of who they are. I don’t think every brown-skinned person is Black (or African-American) but I know we all share a common African ancestry via DNA. That also applies to white-skinned people. If Italians were touted over Germans and Poles were stopped for walking down the street and followed through stores it would change the order of how whiteness has been established in this country. If an Estonian and Dutch person married and produced children and that child wanted to acknowledge its combined Du-Esto heritage fine, but if the Dutch side was featured more and thought of as more favorable wouldn’t the Estonians have a right to give pause to it? If all the white people from each ethnic group said “Hey we’re all white why do we need to discuss intra-ethnic matters” wouldn’t that seem strange?

I also have concerns about certain discussions being framed using the term “all-Black construct”. Certain mindsets are being discussed as the source of those that come from one versus its opposite as one is better than the other. Are we talking about geographical location and residential neighborhood or a state of mind? There needs to be a distinction. We need to continue discussing how culturally adrift many Blacks feel today and why researching one’s lineage is so important. We need as many pieces of the puzzle we can put together so people stop clinging to false tokens and throwing away what heritage we do have left. Yes, we need to recognize the unique talents and contributions of those descended from the mostly enslaved populations from the US and how other Blacks get to benefit from those historic struggles. That doesn’t diminish any individual any more than someone who wishes to acknowledge their full spectrum non-Black heritage.

I don’t like criminality, I don’t like apathy, I don’t like mediocrity. Having standards is necessary but I know that I tend to be hard on myself and perfection cannot be a goal. There are still real-life structural barriers in place that we have to knock down. For example this recent disclosure about Wells Fargo Bank pushing sub-prime loans onto Blacks. It’s either outright racial prejudice, racialized sexism via dismissal of women with more traditional African features or further disdain amongst Blacks. As a woman if our outer presentation doesn’t reflect our truest inner selves do we have to have that held against us until and unless we conform? Would part of the reason for that be a reaction to all of the things I’ve discussed so far?

We may not agree on how we want people to get to their own “promised land” but I can say unequivocally for myself that I do want it to happen. I like Black people after all. I can still demand respect be given to me as African-American woman though. I’m not sure I can say the same for everyone who’s claiming to be empowering for all of us, what “all” they’re referring to. 


***Just wanted to add in case it wasn’t clear that we have to look to our inner motivations, spiritual beliefs and life plans as we continually evaluate where we are in our lives, where we want to go and how to get there. Sometimes our plans may place limitations on what we can actually accomplish, sometimes we have to re-route our paths.


There may never be a singular consensus for what path is best. We have to make the choices that will hopefully work for us and our own best interests, not for the comfort and convenience of others. Not even when they claim to know what we “need” to do.

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Deploying A Little Negro Spirit: When Black Female Artists of Substance Are Ignored

This is the fourth conversation in a series where I discuss race, culture, appropriation and the abdication of African-American touchstones due to devaluation of our unique perspective and shame.

Right now as I write this there’s a fight going on between the RIAA, radio broadcasters and the public. Only we don’t realize what’s at stake and who’s fighting for what, but when the dust settles we may be regretting our collective lack of participation. The RIAA is the lobby group for the record labels and distributors. You know, the majority of white men with all the money. They’re the ones suing 12 year olds for downloading music files. They also claim to be working in the interests of musicians, but in my opinion the fox doesn’t look out for the best interests of the hen house.

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