The Ballad of the Post-Racialism Bullshit

trying to make be believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here

so they can have my voting rights back

 

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here

so they can take the quota back

 

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here

so they can take King’s dream back

 

that the price of my mind

is on the struggle sakes rack

$25 mill on the tag

can’t we see through that?

that my schools have to go

yet they won’t let me in their doors

and when they do, it’s a limit

that they keep suing schools for

saying, “oh that’s not fair.

because the president is black. 

he’s done enough for those people.

he’s pulled up all their bootstraps.”

what if i straightened my hair?

what if he pulled up his pants?

we’d magically change our status

we would be given a chance

and let’s ignore the fact

riding a Benz from a hoop

as Mr. West has said

i’m still a nigger in a Coup

white women are enraged

about this unequal wage

but low-key

they’d still make more than me

depending on shade

oh the shade my shade

plays in our daily lives

since they gave us a black president

they can also give us lies

 

trying to make me believe

because OUR President is Black

playing with toy guns in Wal-Mart

means that i’m shot in the back

that a hoodie is a threat

when you’re armed with snacks

jaywalking costs your life

so does loose cigarette packs

this shit ain’t Martin’s dream

this our reality

that i’m still subjected to

police brutality

from cradles to caskets

from playpens to prisons

profits from infancy to inmatehood

the American vision

 

trying to make me believe

because OUR President is Black

there’s no need for me to fight

because i’m not under attack

but if America has changed

why do i feel chains?

not the ones on your ankles

but the ones in your brain?

we say we live in a time

where race means nothing anymore

we’ll if that’s the case

why am i still followed in the store?

if that’s the case

why am i still beaten till i’m sore?

trying to use my rights

to protest my fight

against moral double standards

my people’s daily fight

 

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

we good, let’s clear the hood

and take those ghetto slums back

“let’s give them all the police

they asked about for weeks

let’s build new condo spots

let’s clean up all these streets

let’s have a whole foods here

let’s have a day spa there

let’s charge them over their checks

let’s raise up all the bus fare

let’s force them over yonder

so they’ll never bother

to come back home

they’re not welcomed back at all, Mr. Kotter”

displacement through replacement

of all our residents

 

but it’s all good

after all

WE have a Black President

Sit Down, MotherFather

A few blog posts ago I commented on how American Feminism begat Fuckboyism in our society.  In said post, I mentioned in the last paragraph, “And how about single motherhood?  Yes, that too can be considered a bi-product of feminism begetting fuckboyism.  Shouting to the mountaintops how we can do bad all by ourselves will leave us doing just that” (February 2014).  On Father’s Day, I want to tease that little piece out for a minute.  And it’s not just the holiday that is bringing on this discussion.  While minding my business in the grocery store, I happened upon this little gem in the card section:Image

Two things must be recognized before I break how I break.  1) This card is very real.  I actually was in the Giant and saw the card with my own two eyes and 2) This is not the first time a card like this has been printed.  In fact, I went off about this same shit last year on IG:

Image

(Yes, I charged my phone after I took this screenshot)

But based on the way the internet is going nuts this ‘go round about this old issue all over again, apparently “y’all ain’t hear me though.”  I’ve read post after post from both sides who are either for the card or against the card.  While I understand what the card may have been attempting to do, I’m still not here for it.  The thing is when card companies (especially Hallmark since they are like the holy grail of holiday validity) make these kinds of cards, they are quietly sending messages about the state of our society.  The message I’m getting from the Mother’s Day card on Father’s Day leaves me with a few questions.  The first pertains the idea that this is a unique issue in the Black community.  If you were to look anywhere else in the card section, you would only find this kind of card under the Mahogany brand.  Okay, Hallmark, we get it.  We get that we have a painfully publicized history of absentee fathers within our community.  But guess what, there are other races that have the same problem as well.  It may not be as sensationalized and publicized, but it is still a problem nonetheless.  Haven’t you been watching Teen Mom 234 lately?  Where is their card?  The second question is what is the ultimate point we are trying to make with these kinds of cards?  Cards on holidays are meant for celebrations.  What exactly are we celebrating in this case?  The fact that Father’s Day can be a painful reminder of what you don’t have?  Are we celebrating brokeness?  Looking at these same cards in this same section for Mother’s Day, I did not see not one card that was a Father’s Day card for Mother’s Day.  With that being said, I’m STILL confused as hell as to why we are doing this.  Thirdly, while I get that having a card like this may be a type of moral alarm clock meant to “wake up” people about the issue of fatherlesness in the Black community, are we aware that this can also be a snooze button of sorts as well?  This is where the feminism part kicks in with “normalizing fuckboy behavior” (The Read, Break Babies, 2014).  To me, making a grand declaration that you are “playing both roles” with the feminist idea of “women can do it all” won’t inspire men (who probably ain’t worth shit anyways if we have to have this conversation in the first place) to step up, but moreso continue to step to the side.  As a man, why should I even bother to try to take my place if you’re clearly already taking it for me?  Furthermore, I think it sends a fucked up message to our kids as well.  For little boys, it increases the likelihood that when they get older and have children for them not to be present in their lives as well.  This stems from the idea that “Well, if my momma played the mother and the father, so can shawty.”  For little girls, it further perpetuates the myth single parenthood is the only parenthood.

 

In closing, before you single mothers out there hit me with the, “you don’t know what it’s like” and all the bitter baby momma bullshit, allow me to clarify.  I am not saying that single mothers should not be praised for their efforts and sacrifices.  I am the product of a single mother.  But in doing so, they should be praised JUST as single mothers on days designated for them (i.e.- Mother’s Day).  Growing up, my mother made it very clear to me that while she was a single mother, I still had some fatherly figures I could look to if I so chose.  She didn’t come at my with that “I’m your mother and your father” bullshit ever. Looking back now 21 years ago when my parents divorced, I can understand why and am appreciative that she didn’t do that to me or my sister.  Am I totally free of daddy issues?  Absolutely not.  But where I am thankful is that I did have some semblance of father throughout my life.  Even now.  So with that being said, I celebrate and salute all the men who step up as fathers and assume fatherly roles.

Leslie, Lupita, and the Ongoing Banter About Black Beauty

Image

*checks watch to see she’s at 14:55*  Yeah, I have enough time to chime in on this.  Sooooooo about this whole SNL “slave joke gone wrong” debacle.  I will admit, it took me longer than it probably should have to formulate in my mind about how I really feel about the now-infamous joke made by newly hired Black female SNL writer, Leslie Jones.  But the reason is pretty solid (in my opinion).  For one, I actually didn’t watch the show.  The only reason that I even knew about this mess was because of the fuss my Facebook newsfeed and Instagram timeline was making about a “highly disrespectful” joke that was made on SNL.  Of course that sparked my interest and I clicked on the link to see what was all the noise about.  For starters, I was surprised to see the person that was making the joke was a familiar face.  I knew of Leslie Jones back in the days of sneaking late on a school night to watch Comicview as a kid (Still remember how she said a White girl knew how to suck the paint off of a Cadillac.  Had no idea what she was talking about as a middle schooler, but hell it was funny to me).  So in already being familiar with Ms. Jones and her kind of comedy, I really wasn’t all that shocked.

I think what got people more was the venue in which she said it.  Instead of saying it on the Chapelle Show, In Living Color, or on Comicview back in the 90s within the comfort of an audience of Black people, she said this on Saturday Night Live in front of White people.  And said White people laughed about it.  The reaction kind of reminded me of a joke that another one of my favorite female comics, Wanda Sykes, said on her HBO Special Imma Be Me.  In one segment, she talked about how her mother would scold her if she did or said something “Black” in front of White people.  Be it singing in public or getting watermelon for a snack, she remembered when her mother would hit her and say, “Stop, White people are looking at you.”  The Black outrage and backlash against Jones could be perceived in the same way.  The joke itself may have not been the issue, but the fact that it was another opportunity for White people to laugh at the expense of Black people was the problem.  And let’s not abandoned the fact that Lorne and the folks at 30 Rock (mostly White people) gave the okay for this.  Nobody said, “Hey, Les.  I know your brand of comedy is a little out there and edgy hence why we brought you here.  But er um, nobody has really made any slave jokes since this movie.  Be that as it may, we may not want to rock with this at 30 Rock.”    Yeah, it seems like this joke was out of place and didn’t have any business being told on SNL.  Or did it?

Let’s look at the anatomy of this “joke” and decipher the messages it was conveying that evening.  To me, it was a raw, hard-hitting, “Don’t Get This Fucked Up (DGTFU)” moment.  Leslie’s commentary begins with the praises of the sudden mainstream embracing of Lupita N’Yongo (Sidebar:  Please note that the following analysis show no shade towards our new, fearless, Blerd girl leader, Miss Lupita.  It’s shade against the structure and standard which her beauty is being recognized).  That was the peak of her position.  And then it took a dive into DGTFU.  When Jones jokes how back in slavery she would be the prime choice for forced breeding and her offspring would have been the likes of LeBron and Blake, she essentially was reminding America, specifically Black America, how we shouldn’t be too jaded by the mainstream attention being given to Miss N’Yongo right now.  An outpouring of love for Lupita does not constitute as an outpouring of love for all Black women.  Aside from the continuing of the bad habit of the Academy only seeming to recognize Black Americans in stereotypical roles, we must also consider the look of Lupita seeming “safe” to mainstream as well.  As seen in pictures, Lupita’s shape and frame falls in line towards the White, Eurocentric standard of beauty (being tall and slim).  While this is cool for her (I, too, share in the skinny Black girl struggle), I’m willing to bet that had she been any taller, any wider, and/or any thicker, mainstream society would not be checking for her.  We sure as hell didn’t do it for Gabourey Sidibe when the Academy nominated her for Precious.  Hence why Leslie had to remind us, DGTFU.  Basing our Black beauty standard according to the mainstream standard of beauty still doesn’t work.  And when it does, we fall into the issue of being a commodity of the standard instead of comparable within it.  Long story short, they ain’t totally checking for sistas.

While I cringe at how this conversation happened, I can’t totally argue that it needed to happen.  It was a much needed reality check that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  So the real joke was that none of this was a joke at all, I guess.  Ain’t that funny?

Uncle Ruckus

dear white people,

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

i hate the system built

to punish me

for

my hair

my lips

my nose

my skin

with hatred i cannot see

my beauty from outside or in

a system that tells me daily

that i’m the wrong shade

to have the aforementioned attributes

that OUR God made

so to “fit in”

(or try to)

i change

my hair

my skin

my nose

my lips

but then i see praises hailed to white women

with my face

plus ass and hips

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

i don’t hate the person

i hate the mentality

i hate the bullshit about

“post racialism” or “neutralization”

oh, wait.  you really mean

“assimilation?”

where my culture is only valid

if it’s based in the foundation

that white supremacy is right

staple of success in our nation

i hate the system built

creating Black and African division

adding fuel to the fire

through telling lies to our vision

because in Africa, they see us on shows

like Basketball wives

in america

we see swollen bellies covered in flies

and when the television goes off

and when we meet face to face

we don’t see our brothers and sisters

all we see is a disgrace

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

that profits on imprisoning

the male version of me

that waves shiny new townhomes

outside of the city

while they finally upgrade the resources

we’ve complained about repeatedly

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here so

they can take my voting rights back

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here so

they can take the quota back

trying to make me believe

because OUR president is Black

that equality is here so

they can take King’s dream back

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

i hate white supremacists

who look like me

same hair

same nose

same lips

same skin

same appearance on the outside

different hate from within

because you have to understand

all white supremacists aren’t white with white hoods

some of them aren’t white at all

and come straight from our hoods

sell out is what they call them

but how i was taught

you can’t sell out of an idea

that you never even bought

dear white people,

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

i don’t hate the person

i hate the mentality

i don’t hate you

i hate white supremacy

while you may not understand my struggle

just respect it please

there is a difference.

How American Feminism Begat Fuckboyism

I know this post may draw some hell with most feminists.  In fact, I know a lot of my posts are going to draw hell from a lot of people.   But to be quite honest and serious, I really could not care less.  This post and this blog is not about how others see things.  It is a commentary about how I see things as a young, Black, twenty-something woman scholar from Baltimore from my vantage point.  With that, I will say if anyone has a problem with anything I say at anytime, kindly feel free to line up behind me, kneel down, and kiss my ass.  And please use Chapstick or Vaseline before doing so; I’d rather not cut myself with your chapped lips.

With all that out the way, let’s start from the beginning on where the title came from, shall we?  Earlier this morning when buried under the covers contemplating the meaning of life, I recalled a life lesson from one of my graduate professors.  We were having a random debate about gender equality in policy when he said, “Feminism was probably the worst thing that has happened to women ever.”  Lord, the uproar from the other women in my class.  You would have thought the man said that maxi pads and chocolate were going out of business for good.  When challenged to give more details about making such an “absurd” statement, my professor simply took a sip of his Starbucks and replied, “You’ll understand it later.”  I was about 23 at the time.  At 28, it took me five years and a lot of life lessons later to realize as macho and chauvinistic as such a statement sounded, the man was possibly on to something.  As a natural observer and a trained social scientist, I see the world through trends and stems when it comes to addressing a social issue or behavior.  Considering my past relationships, situationships, sharing plenty of “Waiting to Exhale” moments with family and friends, reading blogs and Facebook statuses, and watching television I noticed a trend (as in one factor, not the whole thing) in otherwise seemingly intelligent women dealing hard and heavy with fuckboys.  What exactly is a fuckboy, some may ask.  To answer, I yield to the reference for everything ratchet: Urban Dictionary.  While the first definition identifies a fuckboy as “a person who is a weak ass pussy that ain’t about shit,” I think part of the sixth definition is a bit more fitting for this discussion.  As it states, a fuckboy is “a word commonly used to describe a male who’s levels of bitchassness are astronomical.  Fuckboys have a way of fucking things up for the worse.  They have an inability to get their shit done and when given a responsibility they pussy out and usually leave it for someone else to take care of…”  Earlier terms used to describe fuckboys include scrubs, bums, losers, and jerks.  It must also be clarified while such a term may have stemmed from the Black community, fuckboys can come in all races.  I offer the examples of Adam from Girls, about 85% of the dads on Teen Mom, and Scott Dissick to name a few.  Now that we’ve identified the trend, what is the stem?  While there could be a plethora of contributing factors as to why good girls fall for fuckboys, I want to examine the concept based on my professor’s statement.  Is there a connection between feminism and fuckboyism (the practice or philosophy of being a fuckboy)?

Let’s skim through the history of American Feminism a little.  For those that know (and those that don’t), the American feminist movement started way before women were sitting on top of hills with a picket sign in one hand and a burned bra in the other shouting “I am woman, hear me roar.”  That was around the 1960s when most of the social movements we know today (Civil Rights, Environmental, Anti-War, etc) were kicking off.  The origins of American Feminism actually begin with the Women’s Suffrage Movement between the late 19th century and the early 20th century.  Much of what you hear about the suffrage movement was that it was about equal voting rights, which is true to an extent.  What you don’t hear is that the suffrage movement was really about women (specifically White aristocratic women) gaining equal (or greater) power.  To vote in this country meant that you had power.  The only people who had such power were White aristocratic men.  So in an nutshell, the foundations of this Suffrage movement which would later become the American Feminist movement were so that White aristocratic women could be equally as powerful (or greater than) White aristocratic men.  As time progressed and women were allowed to vote, the suffragists (who would be later known as feminists) began to take on more causes centered around women gaining power.  With that, I’ll break like this.  I don’t believe that feminism in and of itself is a bad idea.  I give credit where credit is due for the political changes as seen in laws such as the Violence Against Women Act, Lily Ledbetter Act, Roe vs. Wade, and others that help me go on about my business as a woman in this country.  What I’m questioning is some of the social behaviors, norms, and mores that also came with feminism and whether or not they were more harmful or helpful to women.  And it’s right there where I think feminism and fuckboyism meet.

The social demands of American Feminism often translated to most as women wanting to be treated the same as (not equal to, there is a difference) men.  Being treated as a lady was a form of oppression.  To be a stay-at-home wife and mother was a not seen as progressive.  Being chivalrous was patronizing.  It was an expectation that women can and should do everything by themselves.  While certainly it was understandable that women wanted to overcome some the  condescending and tyrannizing behaviors of men, it does bring to question if all social graces should be overhauled as well?  Let’s look at dating.  Prior to the pick-up of the American Feminist movement, men were expected to court women.  Before asking to even speak with a lady, a man had to ask permission from her parents.  That was the original fuckboy barrier, if you will.  Although I hated to admit it as a kid, your family is normally perceptive when it comes to picking out raggedy folks in your life.  But with all this women’s liberation through feminism talk, the fuckboy barrier goes bye bye.   And that opens the door for other fuckboyish behaviors.  Like situationships instead of relationships.  With the feminist idea of women “not wanting to be tied down” that leaves plenty of room for fuckboys to carry on situationships (that gray area of “kinda sorta”  and “not really” a couple-couple) instead of moving on to relationships.  Then you have the suga momma syndrome.  No, I’m not saying that a relationship should be built totally on money.  However, you cannot TELL me it would not irritate the depths of our soul to come home on a Friday after working a whole week of working forty hours with a nigga on your couch sitting in the same spot you left him since Monday, Cheetos on his chest, controller on his belly, dirty sock with a hole in it, and half cans of beer all around him.  And it has been like this for YEARS.  But this case of fuckboy behavior is brought on with the idea of working women being the sole “breadwinners” if you will.  And how about single motherhood?  Yes, that too can be considered a bi-product of feminism begetting fuckboyism.  Shouting to the mountaintops how we can do bad all by ourselves will leave us doing just that.

So there is my theory, how feminism begets fuckboyism.  Is there a way to change it?  Probably not across the board, but personally is a start.  For me it’s realizing the balance of being both a lady and a woman and owning it.  According to Theophile Obenga, the Ancient Egyptians were able to understand this masterfully when it came to male and female relationships.  Men and women were treated as equals, still respecting the fact that men were men and women were women.  The good ol’ days.