Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Depreciated

When you bring your grandmother's jewelry to be appraised, they call them heirlooms and offer to pay a premium for the piece itself.  "Beautiful", they say.

When I bring my grandmother's jewelery to be appraised, they offer me the advice to pluck out the stones and melt down the metal. Bought in the 70's when my black family found themselves, for the first time, with money.
"Dated", they say. Worth three times as much from 1930.

But tell me again how long it's been; how free we've become.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

White Dread



Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 44 seconds.

I'm just so tired of reading the same old problematic arguments over and over. "black people steal blonde hair from white people" "Vikings had braids centuries ago".

#1 black people can be blonde or have red hair. Just because you *think* we are a monolith doesn't mean it's true.

#2 Are you a Viking? No? Okay, glad that's settled.

#3 the problem is not just that white people wear braids. I don't really give a **** how you do your hair. The black community's frustration with this trend, however, is a symptom of the injustice in our society at large.
The systemic issue with this is that white people are allowed, by other white people, to wear their hair in braids or dreads and they do *not* face racist discrimination as a result.
And please, nobody white tell me about how they didn't get hired at Starbucks* because they had locs. 

That 👏 Does👏 Not👏 Negate👏 Black👏 Oppression!

The reason you didn't get hired at Starbucks might be because of your locs, but THAT is because Starbucks has discriminatory policies on "dress code". These are meant to exclude people of color, and are based in racist stereotypes which reinforce negative opinions about locs and other "black/brown" hairstyles. One example: locs are not clean because you can't wash them (completely false)

If you really want to be able to wear locs with no issue, maybe you should realize that's what the black and brown community wants for themselves. Instead our bodies are policed and if we don't have the right hair or the right clothes, we could die.
So instead of yelling at black/brown people about how YOU should be allowed to wear a hairstyle that we have been fighting to make acceptable for generations, maybe you should redirect your indignation at the people who make our society dangerous and unfriendly to black and brown bodies.


If you are white and haven't ever read about locking 4C hair (description of 4C hair coils here), take a look at this list of things a woman of color has to say about the process here.



*Using this as a generic corporate entity

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Above and Beyond: When the standard is killing, is being just above that really laudable?

"GA police officer seen lying in grass, comforting child after wreck"



Photo Credit: Officer Kay Denton

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 4 seconds.


The original photo caption reads: 

"With all the "anti-police" propaganda that is seen in the media, all of the "bad cop" stories, and stories of "racial" issues, I wanted to share THIS. This is a photo of a wreck scene today on I-85, if you look closely you can see a police officer lying on the ground to the left side of the car. This officer was not hurt or injured in any way. This officer was comforting a child who was injured in the accident. This child was an eight year old black male who was scared to death and had some internal injuries. This officer laid on the ground with this child, cradling his head in his hand and talking to him to keep him calm. When we found out that today is the child's birthday, this officer sang Happy Birthday to him! At one point the child reached over and patted the officer on the head and then played with the officer's hair! THIS is why I'm a police officer, to help people, to be there for them no matter what the circumstances and no matter what skin color! I pray that this beautiful little boy is okay and I thank God that I work with some amazing officers who are so compassionate and caring! Thank you for making me proud to be your supervisor!"

                                                                                               •••


This is really sweet, but is this supposed to negate everything else we've seen in the media? All the shootings, bloodshed, and "I can't breathe"? I can't erase those moving moments from my mind with this one still image...


When black men and women are killed by police, the media bolsters the story of a (falsely) criminalized history with unflattering photos, and thinly veiled words like "thug".


When police kill black men and women, the media counters calls for their accountability with videos of ice cream traffic stops, and slanted words like "compassionate".


This is America, 2016.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Gatekeeping Feminists: "You can't sit with us!"



Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 48 seconds.

So, Huffpost published an article titled "Let's Stop Pretending Kim Kardashian is a Feminist"

Some points I almost agreed with, but for different reasons than the author listed.
I took a section of the piece and broke down my reaction, sentence-by-sentence, below:


"What matters is not what she does, but how the rest of us talk about what she does. Is she really a feminist?"
That's not really for you to fucking decide. There's no Tribunal for Feminism where you have to prove you allegiance...

"Is she the kind of woman who should be given primetime slots at feminist-minded conferences?"
I think it's less about how KK is not "worthy", but rather that maybe there are other (lesser known) women who actually 
blog who could have used that platform to amplify a marginalized voice. A trans woman of color blogger like Kat Blaque for instance.

"Does financial success alone merit such a huge platform?"
Does it negate such merit though? Can she no longer participate because she's part of a money making machine? Pfft. Tell that to Oprah, with your respectability politics

"Is every act of disrobing in and of itself some progressive stance on female sexuality?"
Her disrobing has nothing to do with whether or not she is a feminist.
Similar to the arguments I've heard about Nikki Minaj, KK may very well have been swallowed up by the system and spat out looking like a tan, long haired, brows-on-fucking-fleek goddess, but that makes her a product of her environment and doesn't strip her of the agency to choose a feminist lifestyle. This conference, going to it, speaking at it and therefore drawing attention to it, is a personal act she is taking. The personal is political, and her participation/support of the event shouldn't be discounted because some people are feeling slut shamey and victim blamey.
If KK uses her sex to conquer the system and get fucking paid and survive the deadly misogyny pervasive in our day to day lives? Then more fucking power to her.


•••

If you're interested, here's a link to some of Kim Kardashian's comments at the BlogHer conference this past Friday in which she says she doesn't identify with the label "feminist", but that she does like to support women.