For Black girls who have considered suicide when the light skinned girl decided that talking about her mixed ancestry for 2 hours wasn’t enough.

I haven’t written on this blog in a minute, but after checking my pending posts I noticed that I have some good stuff that has yet to see the light of day. So at the risk of being outdated in my material, I’m just going to post the shit and keep it moving. With that said, this post was written in November of 2016. Enjoy!

You ever have a long ass conversation with someone and think about all of the things that you wanted to say but didn’t… when it’s too late?

I did.

I recently had a conversation with a light skinned woman of mixed heritage/race. She was part Black, European and Asian. In appearance, I would have guessed she was Latina although she said most Black people just assume she’s Black and that’s what she identifies as. (I’m terrible at these things, to be honest. I’m not good at guessing accents,  or countries of origin either.)

Throughout our conversation, I could tell that her mixed race was something that was very important to her. It was something she brought up constantly, without prompting. Even before meeting her, I checked her social media profiles  and noticed that it was just a list of her entire racial breakdown.

We talked a ton about how she identifies and why she feels that mixed women aren’t given enough of a platform to speak about their specific issues. We talked about light skin privilege and she expressed that she feels that it is a burden and she has more anger toward racism than other Blacks because of it. At times I didn’t agree with her feelings, but I’m a good listener so I took in what she had to say.

After a restless night, I realized that this was one of those conversations that was going to bother me. Why? Because there were so many things I’d left unsaid.

I have a ton of mixed race friends and many of our conversations always ended with them telling me how hard they’d had it, with no regard whatsoever for the plight of those with dark skin (who undoubtedly have it harder.) And I’d always tried to argue with them that there’s another side to the light skin thing that they’re not acknowledging. But this never seemed to sink in for them. Light skin privilege is not so much a privilege but a burden, they’d say.

Fast forward to now, I’m having this conversation and it conjured up so many memories. And my only regret was not being able to say the perfect thing at the perfect time. The best way to get it all out, though, is for me to just say what I feel right now with no pressure. So here are some of the statements that the woman made the other day and the replies I wish I’d have said to her and many of the mixed race/light skin people who’ve made these same kinds of statements to me before.

“In situations where I’m treated better than my Black counterparts, I feel that this privilege has been forced on me and that leaves me feeling angry and helpless.”

Forced privilege doesn’t come close to having no privilege. Ex: If a bunch of your friends were wrongfully thrown into prison with the exception of you, you will NEVER be the helpless person in the story. Never. No matter how upset you were over what happened. If anything, you are in a better position to try to get them out of jail – by using the ‘forced privilege’ you were blessed with – as opposed to turning the focus on yourself and cursing the fact that you are free. Use your privilege to help those who don’t have it otherwise, it’s a waste. Also, turning the situation into a way to center yourself is disgusting and wrong.

 

“When I get angry, people think it’s cute. They don’t take me serious. They think I’m safe.”

Yet another good problem to have. Use it. As a Black woman, nearly everything I say is taken out of context. (Look at Michelle Obama. She is one of the most glorious women alive and they’ve tried to reduce her to an “Angry Black Woman” stereotype.) Personally, I am silenced at every turn. If you are allowed to speak up, then do it. Amplify the voices of Black people who have been silenced for centuries. Don’t curse your privilege, USE IT.

 

“Light skinned people are angrier than regular Black people because they’ve gone through so much more. They’re never ‘Black’ enough for the Black people or ‘White’ enough for the White people. We have more fire in our spirits because of this.”

Yes, there are identity issues that mixed race people must deal with but that does not make them angrier, more fiery or more righteous than anyone else. If anything, light skin people have the privilege of being more visible. They’re given more representation in Hollywood and in print media, among other advantages. With all of these advantages come platforms that allow more lighter complexioned people to speak up on issues that darker people are not given as much opportunity to talk about. This does not make them more fiery or upset, this just means the world is more likely to see them speaking about issues and allow it. (See Jesse Williams, Amandla Sternberg, etc.)

 

“I wish racists could see that I’m just as much of a threat as someone with darker skin.”

No, you don’t. And even if you did, what would be the point? Unless you want to be killed in the street. Unless you want everyone to know that your life doesn’t matter just like all of the other Black lives that have been snuffed out with impunity. Philando Castile didn’t commit suicide. He didn’t want to die and be a martyr. He was killed and the rest of us that have the privilege of being alive, used this situation as – yet another – example of why we need to continue the dialogue and civil unrest until something is done about it. We don’t need more dead bodies. We need action. And again, what would your being seen as a threat prove? It would strip you of the very privilege that might actually help the rest of us in the cause. Use your privilege to help the cause. Use your privilege to help the cause. Use your privilege to help the cause. Anything else is a selfish waste of time.

 

Too bad I don’t get a do-over. Any who, I understand that being of mixed race has its struggles. But a red flag always goes off for me when people shoehorn a ton of info about their very specific racial makeup into conversations without prompting. A racially ambiguous friend once told me that “What are you?” is one of the most annoying and commonly asked questions they receive. So with this in mind, I’ve never asked anyone that question and to be completely honest, I’ve never really cared to ask. Why? 3 main reasons …

1) There’s usually no reason for me to ask.

2) I’ve never found it particularly interesting and lastly…

3) I don’t even think to ask this when talking to people.

Either way, I’ve sat through a lot of conversations with my mixed-race brethren in which they’ve broken down to me what they identify as, why they identify as such, how much of each culture is in them and the history of their family’s racial makeup. And for someone who didn’t ask… this is exhausting.

Granted, it’s not the worst thing that could happen and I’m not completely oblivious to the idea of bringing up things that are important to how we navigate the world. I just hope that with this blog post, I can provide some perspective for those who feel that the struggles of being of mixed race is a subject that they must lead with or shoehoas opposed to allowing the conversation to organically progress there.

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The World Turned Upside Down

I haven’t written on this blog in a minute, but after checking my pending posts I noticed that I have some good stuff that has yet to see the light of day. So at the risk of being outdated in my material, I’m just going to post the shit and keep it moving. With that said, this post was written in July of 2016. Enjoy!

WARNING: DIS FINNA BE A LOOOOOOONG BLOG POST!

I’m going to attempt not to be all over the place with this post. It’s been a minute since I’ve even posted anything real so sorry for that, but with everything that’s going on, I don’t have time to catch y’all up on my personal life.

Let’s get on with the get on, shall we?

To give some context to what I’m about to write, here’s a video of Louis C.K. explaining historical context (the relevance of which I will expound on in a moment.)

Okay, so I am a fervent believer in karma. Whatever you put into the universe is coming back. Skrong.

And deep down inside, I think most people and societies have a sense of karma. Hence popular expressions like, “chickens coming home to roost,” “what goes around, comes around,” and, of course, the George Washington on the face of Mt. Rushmore of karmic sayings “you reap what you sow.” Yes, the last one is biblical but you don’t have to go to church to understand it.

Any who… a lot of foul stuff is going on in America and it’s all centered around race – specifically crimes committed against Black people.

But whatoh delicate, gentle reader –  is new?

To prove my point, here’s a brief (and very broad) history of racial systems as it pertains to Black people in the U.S. …

1620 – 1865:  Slavery

1865 – 1968:  Discrimination, Lynchings, Jim Crow

1969 – Present:  Diet Racism (of the de jure and de facto variety)

So, with all of this unfairness going on in history, many White Americans have always had a sense of uneasiness around Black people. For example, during slavery, slave holders had the fear that their “lazy, no-good, untrustworthy, sneaky niggers” would run away or stage a rebellion and kill all the White people. This feeling was so strong that extreme precautions were taken in order to police slaves and scare them into submission. Although this didn’t always work and slave revolts/runaways were a reality, the measures taken were effective enough to keep slavery economically viable for a few more hundred years.

After slavery was over, there were numerous lynchings and riots as well as laws and policies created in order to systematically disenfranchise Black people and keep them out of White neighborhoods. These laws were created because of hatred, but mostly because of (drum roll please) fear.

Do you see where I’m going with this… ???

No?

It’s cool. I’ll keep going.

Despite all of the disenfranchisement-ness going on, over time Black people were able to become successful doctors, teachers, pullman porters, lawyers, journalists, morticians, janitors, pilots, I.T. people, housewives, house-husbands, dancers, beggars, criminals, veterinarians, rappers, golfers, etc., etc., etc. and the list goes on and on and on.

And although many of the laws that governed our society changed in result of the more enlightened times, the original mindset behind these policies and organizations remained in place.

Here’s an example… During slavery times Black people’s lives weren’t valued as much as White people. So if a Black person was killed, finding and convicting their murderer was not a priority. And if their murderer was White, forget about it. On the flip side, if a Black person was convicted of a crime, they were charged to the fullest extent of the law (and then some). This supported systems like penal labor which kept slavery going.

Fast forward to today. Although Black people are no longer slaves (and are considered an entire person) and the Civil Rights Act was passed (among other laws that make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, sexual orientation, age, etc.) the mindset when it comes to policing Black communities and valuing Black lives has not changed at all.

So just like in slavery times, if a Black person is killed, their murderer is going to face less prison time (if they have to serve any time, that is) than the murderer of a White person.

Sidebar: As many complaints as I’ve heard about slavery movies, I’m still a big proponent of them for the reasons that I’ve laid out above. They tell you A LOT about our present society.

I’ve laid out a lot of facts just now but I want to revisit fear and chickens coming home to roost. And I’m going to keep it really real…Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 10.03.29 AM.png

As much as slavery was economically beneficial for White people, it was horrible as fuck. And no matter what historians want to tell themselves, slave masters back then knew slavery was shitty. They knew that slaves would have rather had a better life. In the back (and maybe even the front) of their minds, slave masters knew that these dark-skinned human beings that cooked, cleaned and did everything for them resented this “peculiar institution”. That’s gotta be scary. Knowing that the people you rely on the most, hate your guts and have every reason to kill you in your sleep.

And when slavery was over, White people continued to give Black people hell. And because of this, they constantly feared retaliation.

And nowadays, fear of Black retaliation is not as evident but it still exists. Phrases like “race war” or “race baiting” are indicative of a fear that if anyone brings up race, it’ll make the Black people angry. Then we (Black people) will suddenly remember that this country has not been very kind to us.

As if we ever forgot.

Every Black American family – I PROMISE you – has had some negative history as regards race. And we don’t have etch-a-sketch memories. We have centuries of knowledge about racism that has been passed on through generations for our mental, physical and emotional preservation. There has been no “reset” button on our feelings just like there’s been no reset button on America’s unfair treatment toward Blacks.

There is no “bringing up the past.” The past has not passed.

My grandma (may she rest in peace) never woke up one day and declared to the family, “You know what? I’m totally over my brother’s lynching.” To be honest, she never talked about it, which goes to show you how deeply buried this pain was for her and the rest of my family. A pain that has never gone away.

And I can say with confidence that every Black family has a similar story. Some unfathomable tragedy that has happened on the basis of race, that can never be undone. That they’ve had to move on from. That is now embedded in their DNA. That is added to the heap pile of indignities and injustices never to be remedied.

So the collective American fear is that one day, these proverbial chickens will some day come home to roost. And the sleeping (Black) giant is going to wake up and retaliate for every past grievance.

I’ve heard so many people warn against conversations about racism so as not to incite a ‘race war.’ And to be honest, I don’t know if I believe in this particular boogeyman. All of the races in America are too inextricably connected for there to be a successful, clearly defined war of Black people against White people. It’s ridiculous.

But I do know that what we’re seeing in terms of protests, outrage and activism in terms of police brutality is not surprising whatsoever considering this country’s history.

Cell phone video footage has played a huge part in connecting people all over the world and shining a light on the unfairness that’s been playing out in this country for centuries.

And this, I believe, is the karma I referred to earlier. It’s the “fruitage” of what was sewn so many years ago. For years, Black people have been on the receiving end of a different kind of America. And it’s scary for us. But there’s a bigger picture. If this has been allowed to go on at all, it means that we don’t currently live in the country that many of us thought we did.

That’s a chilling thought for those who didn’t know.

Black people, of course, have been saying this for years but there’s nothing like providing visual evidence. And if a picture says a thousand words, a video says ALL THE WORDS.

Police officers having the ability to detain, beat up or kill citizens for no reason, is scary as shit no matter what color your body meat is wrapped in.

My White friends have seen these videos and they are shook as hell.

They didn’t know that this was a real thing. And now that they do, I’ve gotten a ton of messages from several of my White friends asking when’s the next “Black Lives Matter” meeting or are there any protests they can go to with me. I’m actually going to one tonight with some White friends of mine.

The gravity of the situation has finally hit. People are entertaining the for real possibility that we could be living in a police state. (I don’t know about all that). But the way things have played out over the past few centuries, crazier things have happened.

Either way, the (smart) people understand that if you give police officers this kind of power – the power to murder innocent people with impunity – then you are essentially declaring war on the citizen population.

And yes, all cops aren’t bad. But it doesn’t matter if there’s just one cop being given permission to go out and wrongfully kill people he deems scary… it’s still a problem. In a sense, Black people are canaries for the rest of this country. Race is at the center of this but it doesn’t take a genius to know that we all are affected.

So in conclusion, I think that fear of Black people starting a race war in retaliation for what’s happened to us has prohibited a very necessary conversation about race. I feel that addressing racism and all its many facets is the ONLY THING that will upgrade the United States to the status that it pretends to be at now.

Yes, acknowledging racism, the thing that many White Americans have been fighting their entire lives is the only thing that will set this country free from eating itself alive. And police being able to kill innocent people in the communities that they’re supposed to protect and serve is the very definition of eating oneself alive.

Trump is Our Next President

Yes, it’s been a while. But let’s skip the obvious and get to the point. As I’m sure you know, Donald Trump is officially our next president. I’ll go ahead and give you a second to recover from that horrible statement.

I’ve personally gone through my period of grieving to the point where I was physically sick. But now that I’m fully recovered, I’ve entered a new stage of coping. And that phase is survival.

I’m talking Bear Grylls shit.

So in order to reinforce what I’ve learned, I’ll be posting my survival findings in the upcoming weeks as part of my new series – How to Survive the End of the World a.k.a. A Donald Trump Presidency.

Stay tuned…

Apocalypse Now

It’s been a minute and I don’t have the time or words to catch you guys up with my life.

So let’s just jump right into the shit storm which is present day, shall we?

First of all, what in the entire FUCK is going on?

You know what? I can’t even say I’m confused. I grew up in a (very) Christian household. And due to this, I’ve been preparing for Armageddon my entire life.

“Do you think I came to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

– Jesus Christ (Luke 12:51)

So, the way I interpreted the bible was that things would get crazy in the last days because Jesus is coming back and he’s bringing the thunder.

But lets talk about race relations in America real quick. They’ve NEVER been good. Ever.

And to a lot of *cough, cough* White *cough* people that’s shocking. They had no idea Black people were so unhappy.

And so Alton Sterling is shot, on camera. And Black people – myself included – were upset. Then shortly after, Philando Castile is murdered and to be honest with you, I felt like a part of me died inside. That was the last straw for me and a lot of other Americans. I decided to join the local chapter of Black Lives Matter as well as a number of organizations. And I got to marching.

To give you some background as to the fire in my bones about this issue, I’ve been pulled over and harassed by cops my entire life. I’m talking about from the age of 9 years old I have stories about cops NOT being my friend. I don’t know any Black people who haven’t been mercilessly bullied by police officers.

And so I’m getting on social media and educating people. Sharing memes and stories. Giving encouragement. Giving advice. Just sharing the enlightenment.

Now I always thought I had well rounded friends – Black, White and other. But then I discovered that I have a bigoted-ass, racist-ass, “what about me”-ass, All Lives Matter-ass, so-called friend that was hiding in the woodwork and waiting for a day like this to come out and say a bunch of bullshit.

This dude came out spewing all kinds of vitriol about Black Lives Matter and race relations in general. Saying that he wants to be considered as an individual but talking about Black people as if we’re a monolith. Saying that White people are afraid to talk to Black people because WE’RE scary and they’re afraid we’ll call them racist. So yeah. Black People. We’re the scary ones y’all. And apparently the only thing that’s worst than being murdered in the streets is being called a racist. I’m getting angry just typing this.

This human excrement decided to use the times that we’re currently living in – where Black people are being murdered in the streets – to derail the conversation and talk about White people’s feelings and say that Black people don’t have any right to be angry. His rant was so racist that I wondered how he could have possibly been in my presence for as long as he was without attempting to lynch me from a tree. I unfriended him immediately but not before having a very long discussion with him in which I attempted to see what he thought it was best for us negroes to do to avoid his constant irritation.

Now this piece of garbage said that he wants to do away with cops completely because they’re racist and terrible to Black people. But he couldn’t wrap his microscopic brain around the fact that terrorism for Black people goes beyond law enforcement. Any mention of unfairness lead to him ranting about how he personally wasn’t responsible for slavery, as if that was the ONLY disenfranchisement committed in the history of this country. He said that he thinks every interaction between the races should be approached as if history didn’t exist and we’re living in a vacuum. I asked him how that’s possible. He attempted to direct me to his youtube video entitled… wait for it… “How to End Systemic Racism.”

I love people of all races. I really do. But I’m going to need all of the decent White people in the world to listen to me and take these very important steps in the weeks to come…

Step 1 – If, during these very sensitive and painful times, you hear your fellow brethren being a massive dick and speaking about racism as if they themselves are victims and asking questions like “What about the White people?”… go out and buy a handgun and hit them really hard in the back of the head when they’re not paying any attention. Then clean off the handgun and return it to the store, because you don’t need a reminder of that kind of negativity in your life.

Step 2 – (See Step 1)

That’s all I have the energy to write.

For real.

I’m exhausted.

And I want to go live on the moon.

 

 

Exodus into the Job Abyss

I’m leaving my place of employment and here’s the dealio. I’m feeling good about this decision but I don’t know that I’ve ever given y’all the details.

So here’s some things concerning my premature ejaculation…

from my job:

 

WHEN?

My last day is this Friday.

WHY?

I’m leaving this gig because I’m overqualified. That’s prettymuch what it all boils down to. I could break down all of the little things that make me want to leave but every grievance, complaint, annoyance, mistake and/or confusion within my workplace experiences centers on the fact that I am overqualified to be doing what I’m doing.

WHAT EXACTLY AM I DOING?

My job is to help someone else to do their job. Again, I could break down my position and give you my official title and every single requirement but this is really another ‘bottom line’ element which everything else boils down to. There is not one thing that I do on any given day that is independent of my helping another person to achieve their professional (and many times personal) goals.

Which is totally fine…

…but that’s not what I want to do. And more importantly, I’m not gaining skills that could help me to get a better job.

WHAT DO I PLAN ON DOING?

Well, I’m glad you asked! You’re so considerate… we should really do coffee sometime.

I’m leaving this job so that I can pursue personal projects. My goal is to produce short films, feature films, web series, hell… maybe even a TV series. I want to do my own thing.

And that is where ish gets scary.

Because despite the fact that I followed my dreams up to this point, I’ve always done what I’d like to call “asking-for-permission-ass” jobs. (An asking-for-permission-ass job is pretty explanatory, I think. Just imagine a grownup version of the game “Mother May I.”) Anyway, I’ve spent 10 years ‘paying my dues’ and asking Mother if I could take a few bunny hops forward only to be told, “nah Peggy… but you can stay your ass where you at tho”. The shit is old. And I can’t imagine spending another year not having a job where I can work from home. Or take a client to lunch. Or fire someone.

So here I am.

HOW TO DO WHAT I’M DOING

First of all, I ain’t doing shit yet. I could fail miserably and come crawling back to my current job, begging for a chance to be in the building again.

Just as – you know –  a janitor.

I don’t need my old job back, Marie, I swear. I just need a job. Any job ya got!

**Picks up mop**

See, look at this. I’m mopping the floor. Ain’t too proud for this, Marie. I know it’s a carpet… just… come on! Work with me here.

So don’t copy offa me because I have no idea what I’m doing. Anywho, it really helps that my hubby is working again. Otherwise, my other go-to would be to live in my car. I think about living in my car quite a bit, actually, dunno why.

But my hubby is taking on the brunt of our bills because he knows that I got the goods and will probably be a pretty decent Producer. We’re going to rely on his paycheck and thank God he’s been able to find more freelance work recently because, I planned on quitting no matter what.

So I’m ready to give this entrepreneurial life a try because I’ve done everything else and can’t fathom spending another day wondering “what if?”