Black History Month

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(Photo Dorothy Counts 15 years old, North Carolina 1957)

 

I've never had any sort of love for Black History Month. Although I have tried my best to find my place in this month, using it as a tool to uplift and amplify what I already do every month, I hate February. I don’t hate it because I hate Black history. I hate Black history month because I hate the diluted, whitewashed version of Black History that we are fed on a silver platter by America every February. This is all done in an effort to make it feel as if we, as an American society, are fully progressive and in acknowledgement of the past, pain, and systems that sustain this country. America pretends in this one month, that these things happened but are not still happening. And the only reason it is being properly represented now in 2017, is because of social media. Because of Black people (and some allies) taking this month and knocking the white washing out of it and teaching true history that most of us never learned in school. Every February many white platforms focus solely on people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and not on anybody that white society isn’t able to change to fit their own narrative. Many white people talk about how brave Martin Luther King was. But not the real reasons why he needed to be brave. Then In an instant this same man is used against us as Black people whenever we think for ourselves and don't replicate ideals that 100% align with him and his need to send love to oppressors. Most white people that highlight his work have no idea who the fuck he was as a man. They never talk about how he adapted and changed his stances on many issues. White people didn't give him the ability to finish evolving because he was shot for existing in the only way Black Americans are told to do so. He was meek, loving, and kind. MLK gave white Americans what they wanted and he was killed for it anyway.

 

Many white Americans use this month to speak about Black oppression as if it no longer still affects people, as if people arent still dying because of it. Meanwhile they label anyone that fought against white supremacy without being nice to white supremacists, as terrorists & rebels. This is the reason that people like Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, & Fred Hampton are not often reguarded as positive Black activists. This is why these people are not taught in most schools, because in America in order to be accepted as a Black freedom fighter, you have to adhere to white hate. Kindly educate, love and respect the hand that slaps you, teach, but don't call out white ignorance, privilege, or make white people feel guilt whatsoever. Black history did not start with Martin Luther King. Black history did not start with the Jim Crow era. Black history did not start with the Civil Rights Movement. Black history did not start with slavery.

 

To speak about Black history we must speak only in the truth. That truth has to reflect the history of racism, colonization, genocide, environmental racism, and forced assimilation of black people along with other minority groups. The truth must also include the beauty. Black art and Black excellence. We must speak about our history but remember that history is still among us. That this painful yet beautifully diverse history helped to build this "The Land Of The Free."

 

Speak about the fact that this is a country that still celebrates colonization in the form of national holidays and the elected president. We can not speak about Black History in the past tense when the mere mention of privilege causes most white people to be sent into a bitter rage. Which then leads them to insult, dismiss, talk over, and avoid people of color. That includes many of those calling themselves allies to us. We, Black people, are living Black history. We must speak about Black history while including what internalizing this hate that we receive has done to the Black community inside of itself. It’s pointless if we don’t also use this month, as we should use all months, my Black people, to also try to dismantle colorism, misogynoir, and homophobia. You do not love Blackness if you don't love all Blackness. The dark kind, the light kind, the fat kind, the immigrant kind, the Muslim kind, the descendants of slaves kind, the Jewish kind, the mixed kind, the sex worker kind, the trans kind, the gay kind, the gender non conforming kind, the woman kind. All Black Lives Matter.

 

So I cannot talk about Black history in the past tense until I feel safe walking on the street as a Black person in America. I cannot talk about Black history in the past tense until cops and white people stop killing us for the color of our skin. I cannot talk about Black history in the past tense until men stop raping us because we are Black woman. I can not talk about Black history in the past tense when I am still asked to separate my womanness from my Blackness. I cannot talk about Black history in the past tense until Black parents do not have “the talk” with Black children about how to survive in America. I cannot talk about Black history in the past tense until we are treated like equal human beings. Because until then this is still Black history.

 

Remember that this month is nothing without the works of Black activists and Black artists creating and educating. Giving ourselves, our energy, and our resources to make sure this month and all months have depth and true history. If you want to celebrate Black History, do more then celebrate how hard we love you back despite how you hurt us. Celebrate our fight and our resistance. Celebrate our ability to create despite what has been taken from us. Celebrate the uniqueness of our Black culture. That we could be kidnapped from all different parts of Africa, speaking different languages, yet together form subculture on this soil that still exists today, despite most of us never knowing our full ancestral or geographical connections. Celebrate the diversity of Black minds because Black excellence is more extensive than just the inventors and the scholars. Celebrate our beauty. Celebrate our works even when we didn't get famous for it. Celebrate social media for giving us a platform and helping many of us to find our voices. Celebrate even what you do not agree with. All Black people are Black History.

After March, A Letter To White Women-

After March, A Letter To White Women-

(Not all photos were taken by me. Pictures at the bottom of this post, I did that to force you to read the entire thing. Don't scroll past all this.)

The Women's March is complete and now the work continues. Over 5 million marchers worldwide, over 1.3 million in DC alone, this is the largest mass mobilization in world history. Obviously this is the largest thing I have ever been able to be apart of organizing. I am beyond proud of us and the work and the turn out. I want us to feel all of the good parts that came from this. I will write about how Inspired i feel soon. But I want to talk about something else first. I want to discuss this problem now so that I can let go of it and get back to feeling this high and prepare to do more work.

 

Many Black women opted out of participating in the march. They felt that they didn't want to be apart of a mass mobilization of white women. Although this march and the organizers behind it are diverse in every way including race, sexual orientation, gender, class, ability, and language, this march still created a mass calling in of white women that should have already came in long ago. However, they came now which is great on one hand but on the other.... now many white women are judging Black women for not showing up to this march in full force.

 

Women of color have already been showing up in full force for every movement. We show up and carry the movement only to get left out of the movement. Black women have already been giving white America reasons to show up and many did not listen until they felt like they were under threat as well. That is a massive privilege.

 

Women of color and other marginalized people couldn't turn away from any of these issues because it affects everything we do. It's the same reason that 94% of Black women tried to save the world and voted for Hillary Clinton. We voted for her despite her calling our children Super Predators. We voted for her despite her supporting a bill that gets us and our family members thrown into jail at higher rates. We always try to save everyone but instead get left behind ourselves. We get walked on, we have glass ceilings shattered over our heads by white women constantly. They shatter glass ceilings and say that that is in the advancement of ALL women but the women of color are left to clean up all the shards of glass.

 

This time some Black women choose not to show up with a bunch of white women that they don't trust. We always show up.

These particular white women attacking Black women verbally online, may not have voted for hate and bigotry themselves but they knew people who did and most didn't try to convince them otherwise because they were not personally affected by it.

 

Many of these white marchers are the same ones that wouldn't listen to us speak about how Hillary Clinton makes us feel unsafe and therefore didn't do enough to force her to be better. Many of these white marchers are the ones that have turned away when they saw someone being racially discriminated against. Many white marchers have also been the ones who talk over us and down play our oppression. I have seen comment after white comment of white women judging Black women on their posts, for not attending the march. I see white women quoting Martin Luther King as a way to shame women of color. MLK's vision of unity does not mean that white people can force Black people to do things or that white women get to drain the Black wells of knowledge even further. White women demanding that Black women further explain why they feel unsafe around the most privileged among us is the root of the problem. Black women being required to create the unity among white supremacy is the root of the problem.

 

So what now? We've organized and we've mobilized, what comes next? Well there's a shit ton of work ahead of us and this is work that needed to happen regardless of who won the election.

 

Remember that, get it in your head. This system is broken. It ALWAYS needed to be fixed.

 

It's time to unlearn, acknowledge, and do better. Here's some things to remember:

 

  • It is your job to unlearn your worst thought patterns. You will never be finished unlearning. You need to be open to the idea that you don't know everything because everyone has growth left to do. The best way to accomplish this is to listen and not to always talk.

 

  • Acknowledge that you have privilege, everyone has a form of privilege. It's not about being ashamed of it, it's about using it for good because we need it to fuel change. This does not mean you are not oppressed in other ways. I wish I didn't have to keep repeating myself with that statement.

 

  • Acknowledge that this is not about who was elected this is about the systems that elected him. If he wasn't here the systems still wouldn't work properly because as long as this system is shackling some of us it is shackling all of us.

 

  • Acknowledge that as a white woman you don't get to judge Black women for not coming to support you because white women collectively do not support Black women. Over 53% of white women voted against their own best interests, over 53% of white women voted for racism.

 

This means white women do not even have time in their social calendars to find anything wrong with what Black women are doing, including Black women not attending the Women's March, because white women need to clean house. Black women put the interests of women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, global warming, differently abled rights, immigrant rights, etc at the forefront and voted for the best option in a box called "the lesser of two evils". More than half of the white female voter population voted against all of those things.

 

We have watched white women who have never been involved in activism before, cry over this 5 million+ mobilization, and i want to celebrate with them all but I still remember that it hurts us that they weren't crying as Black bodies were shot dead on the streets and Black women were raped and killed by officers sworn to protect the people. There were no tears a few years ago, as Black girls were thrown around class rooms and public swimming pools for an entire summer,  getting their arms and jaws broken by officers meant to "protect".

 

There was silence.

 

These little Black girls lives don't seem to matter nearly as much as Trump saying he would grab a white women's pussy.

 

Korryn Gaines being shot while holding her 5-year-old son didn't seem to be included in many white fems definition of Women's Rights.

 

Proving to republicans that we shouldn't keep talking about Hillary Clintons emails could warrant thousands and thousands of posts, tweets, and articles but Sandra Bland getting killed by a cop for failure to use a blinker on the highway didn't bring in the same demand.

 

Recognize the privilege in all of this. In the fact that indigenous women have been going missing for centuries and they have been screaming for help yet the white population remains silent. Recognize the fact that in 2016, 26 trans people of color were murdered for being trans and for being of color and most white people didn't speak on that. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the ones who were killed for being trans but their families didn't label them as the gender they are. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the trans people who were killed but their death wasn't ruled as a hate crime. Recognize that the number 26 doesn't speak for the trans people who have been assaulted but not killed for being trans, and that those assaults are even higher for someone who is of color and trans or differently abled and trans or all of the above.

 

White women haven't been doing very much that wasn't convenient for them since even before they could easily force Black enslaved women to breastfeed their own white children.

 

So when we ask you, white people, if you're in this with us, we don't just mean that you need to show up at rallies. We mean that you need to show up entirely. What are you willing to risk to fight in the revolution? If the new president creates a Muslim registry and we tell you that we ALL must register as Muslim to flood the system are you also willing to risk jail time for lying on a federal document? If you say you will come to a march for people of color, are you willing to put your bodies in the revolution when a cop gets out of line with your sister or brothers of color? When more states than Dakota, Flint, Chicago, the Bronx, etc experience environmental racism in the form of water pollution and other things, are you willing to physically (more than just Tweeting) fight in the struggle with them as they defend their right to clean water? Will you be standing there with them as rubber bullets and concussion grenades are thrown at all who defend water?

 

How far are you willing to go in the struggle white people? If your activism doesn't go past tweets and instagram reposts than that isn't being 'down' for the struggle. But if that is as far as you wish to go....well you better blow that shit up and virtually support the work being done in the ground. But do not be surprised when people of color say they don't trust you or call your activism white washed and fake because it has to many limits. Marginalized people have been putting their bodies on their line to protect rights.

 

I understand that by saying all this to you, many white "allies" that do put in work will rebuttal what I am saying by responding: "well I'm not like this!" But what you should be doing is reading this post and saying "How can I be better?" Black women are tired. Women of color in general are tired. I am tired as well but I have taken on the job of educating. I made that choice. However that is not the job of women of color. We are not required to be a shoulder for white women to lean on after how we have been oppressed by them. We are not required to show up in spaces where white women will be. We are not required to educate white women. And we are not required to trust white women when white women have repeatedly, for CENTURIES, proved themselves untrustworthy.

 

White women have work to do. White men have work to do. So decide if you're gonna do it or not. Then be up front about it. That's all you should be worried about.

 

Signed,

Another stereotypically angry Black woman who voted for Hillary Clinton and who marched with you.

 

MLK Day

Malcolm X with Martin Luther King

Malcolm X with Martin Luther King

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. day. Today is his birthday, he would have been 88 years old.

 

I have such a complicated relationship with this man in my own head and I never met him. I hate the way his want of peace has been used to silence those of us who fight. And the way he has been tokenized by white America angers me. His words consumed but only to be spat back at us. Holidays and street signs with his name on it is supposed to smooth out the fact that he was killed for fighting for justice. All of these 'things' seem to just give us something pretty to look at. Similar to when we promote the Black Lives Matter movement we are told we have nothing to complain about because we have a Black president.

I've realized that many of the ways America paints itself as progressive, enlightened, or diverse, is really a silencing tactic. 

 

I don't like the constant push for peace because to me, that is telling the oppressed that there is only one way to respond to their oppression. It is not the job or right of any of us to police people's reaction to threats of violence. To me, only preaching for peace, sends the message to the oppressor that they can do anything they want to us mentally, whatever they want to our bodies, and our loved ones, and yet we will still only respond with love. That we will only speak kindly, be docile, and educate sweetly to bend the ears of those who oppress us, even when they still will not listen to our pleas.

 

Likewise, the families of victims are always expected to publicly forgive after police brutality or terrorism in a church. They are demanded not to wish death or harm on the person that through death and harm ruined their lives. Black people are always expected to love back.

 

It angers me that Martin Luther Kings quotes on peace are so readily available yet so many of the other amazing things he said have to be dug for.

 

My favorite quote of his is this one: "The riot is the language of the unheard."

I believe there is room for peace AND radical action. Neither should be condemned. Some people can only do one and that's okay.

 

It takes many kinds of people to lead a revolution.

 

I believe people grow and change, and I think MLK did a lot of that in his lifetime. He would have changed even more and done even more had he been given the chance to live. Although I appreciate this mans activism more when he modified some of his stances I am still deeply grateful to him because I am here today able to fight because of him and others like him.

  

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta Scott King and daughter Yolanda King.

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta Scott King and daughter Yolanda King.

Martin Luther King and daughter Yolanda King.

Martin Luther King and daughter Yolanda King.

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta Scott King.

Martin Luther King with wife Coretta Scott King.

Martin Luther King with Stokley Carmichael

Martin Luther King with Stokley Carmichael

Rosa Parks with Martin Luther King  

Rosa Parks with Martin Luther King

 

Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King

Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King

#ObamaFarewell


This is to everyone that hates the government and that found nothing of comfort in Barack Obama after some of his shitty democratic policies and a continued war. For those of you that hate a tokenized family of color that seems to often suckle at the teat of white supremacy to maintain a position in a place that is the creator of the systems that shackle us, I want you to know that you get to feel that.

 

But to everyone that saw him, saw all four of them, and felt hope, felt that even tho he was a token for a white capitalist society, he was still there. For the ones that looked at him being in that position and felt like they could be anything, that they could do anything they wanted despite the color of their skin, you get to feel that.

 

Stop shaming each other.

There is space for both truths.

 

The government is a tool to be used against the marginalized. We know this. Our country feeds on power so to take it we blow up the children of other countries. Obama was given that seat with hundreds of years of colonization and genocide already sitting in it. Slaves built that White House.

But some of us still have hope that this place can be better one day despite every bad thing that has been done in the past.

There is still love in this soil.

Please don't crush people's hope. Hope just isn't the same for everyone. Some of you wish to be completely ridden of the systems, but some of us want to infiltrate it and make it better. You don't have all the answers and neither do i.

.

All I have right now is that I had a Black president. Regardless of what he did wrong or how white Americans used him against me, I had that. I saw this in my lifetime. I saw beautiful black women in the White House. And it gives me chills to think about the fact that they weren't cleaning it.

 

Some starts have rocky beginnings but pave the way for better one day. We will have better than what we are receiving on January 20th

 One day.

Teach Black and Brown children to dream.

They are the hope, the love we planted in the soil.

Remind them that we had a Black president.

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

This year for Halloween I decided to be Harley Quinn. I choose her because she has always been my favorite villain since I was a child and because October was Domestic Violence Awareness month. “The number of America troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001-2012 was 6,488. The number f America women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during the same time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of causalities lost during war.” (-Huffpost article: 30 shocking Domestic Violence Stats) Around 3 women are murdered daily because of domestic violence. Women with disabilities are 40% more likely to experience partner violence. Black women experience partner violence at rates 35% higher than white women. Every minute 20 people are victims of partner violence. 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe violence by their partners in their lifetimes. 40-45% of the women in physically abusive relationships will also be raped during the relationship.  

 

 I wanted to close the month with my favorite character because I grew up reading those comics and watching the cartoon and this couple is one example of me seeing abuse and toxic relationships being romanticized as a child. So since becoming an adult and truly finding my own feminism I’ve realized how many things I watched in media, saw in my own life, and took in as a small child that perpetuated Rape Culture and made abuse or domestic violence out to be a joke. And it all leaves its impact. So now I am left unlearning all the things I was taught about what love meant. Now I am left trying to figure out what constitutes respect and safety in relationships. All while navigating the dating world as a 20 something woman of color. Which is scary! From a one night stand to a long-term relationship women routinely are killed and abused and many never make it out alive.

 

I remember once that I posted something about Rihanna on Facebook and a friend commented saying she didn’t like her because Rih kept going back to the man who beat her. To which I promptly responded by saying that that was the reason I didn’t like HIM. Chris Brown was the one that did wrong. He was the one who abused and manipulated another person. Yet still because of the male privilege that he holds, he was not only able to maintain a career after doing something so horrible, but was able to maintain most of his female audience. Similarly, Amber Heard can have photographic evidence of Johnny Depp’s abuse and people can still make excuses or say that Amber should have left a long time ago. Since my previous Blog post was about rape culture I decided to make this one about why a lot of women stay. Because we as a society, need to end the victim blaming and understand how abusive relationships work.

 

1. A lot of domestic violence victims have already been victims of another form of abuse. Meaning not only are they more likely to stay or keep going back to the abuser because it feels familiar, but they feel this is what they deserve. (see next point)

2. Abuse is formed on manipulation. You manipulate someone by controlling how they think and how they feel. Abusers tell victims that they have no worth, that no one else will love them, that no one will believe them and that it was something they did wrong

3. Abusers deflect attention/accountability off of them & onto the victims. This way no matter what they do the victim will automatically blame their own actions and not those of the abusers

4. Many abusers have also been abused and back to accountability, they blame their past experiences for their current actions. They use those experiences to make their victims feel sorry for them. So you will hear things like "I can’t help that i'm like this, I was abused as a child." Even tho being abused isn’t an excuse to hurt others.

5. Oftentimes we lack the resources/programs/support to properly help most of these women. You could get a woman out of a situation but without proper support she could easily go back or fall back into the same lifestyle with another man.

6. Financial security can also play a role in how long she will stay. Many women without help would rather stay & have a financially secure life then leave and be homeless. Because once you have nothing in a society run on class systems then its hard to ever dig yourself out. Along with this many abusers dont allow their victims to work so that they have full control over all finances and so that the victim will feel that she can not make it in the world without him with no job experience. 

7. Once children are involved its harder to leave and find support or stability. Single mothers are very often stigmatized and further oppressed especially if they are mothers of color.

8. A lot of the abuse you see as an outsider isn’t the full extent of the suffering that is happening. Or the manipulation that the victim has gone through. By the time most of us realize what is happening to the victim the abuser fully has her under his control, therefore leaving for her would require love, care, support, patience, and resources from those on the outside.

Women shouldn't hold responsibility in escaping abuse. Men should be held accountable for abuse.

Watch the ways in which you with your thought patterns contribute to rape culture and victim blaming.