Identity

 

thesearchThe most painful part of being a Black American is the fact that our history stops at slavery. Many African-Americans know nothing beyond that their people were once slaves. We don’t know our African tribal languages or rituals. Our ancestors were so terrorized by slavery that survival was the only imperative. Documenting their past wasn’t high on the agenda of a black American slave. So the past went undocumented and soon unspoken of and then completely lost.
Because of this stoppage, this unknown component, it is so easy for us to develop low self-esteem. Jewish people can hold on to a time before and after Hitler. They have a lineage to reach back to and know that they functioned with pride prior to being dehumanized by the Nazi regime.
Black American’s have tried to reach over the sea to the African continent and use African traditions as a foundation for a declaration that even before slavery we proudly existed and thrived.
I am Black American female and my ancestors, no doubt, were taken from somewhere from the shores of the African Continent. Where, exactly? I have no idea.

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My skin is black upon me; my bones are burned with heat…

Job 30:30

When you are a black and female and over twenty nine you sort of know where you stand in American society.  You understand you’re that your grace and beauty and femininity are well hidden behind the guise of youth and fashion and the lightness lie.

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You hate to always bring things back to tedious race relations as if you only see yourself from the counterpoint of others. You must learn, and you will, to view yourself from your own perspective.  

You learn not only the paradoxical nature of your social position, but the contradictory nature of life itself.  Humanity is darkness and light, in and out, up and down.  Life is made up of the two’s and we must all find a way to honor our darkness while embracing our light.

I am dark and succulent and soft and feminine.  Many slave girls have endured the evil eyes, the downward looks, and the fake indifference.   I have succeeded them and have been thought of as exotic and foreign, forbidden, untapped.  Too many like me have suffered sneaky hands in the dark touching, feeling the thrill of our foreignness, groping our flesh feeling its free, its open, its secret, its available for use.  The “otherness” of the black female makes it erotic, and weird, and odd.  The black female is a museum and they all touch the treasures inside because no one has put up a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign.

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The black female screams, and fights, and yelps, and rolls her neck for her own protection because there are no signs, no warnings, no armies standing in to fight her battles.

We live in “post-racial” America where black women are more fiercely ignored; still in the shadows, some on platforms dancing around poles still being secretly groped, they think willingly yet they remain enslaved by their perceived circumstance.

We soon find our humanity.  We caress thick hardback books and learn about astronomy and psychology and politics.  We learn that none of that race/stereotype/categorical stuff matters when we are in the troves of solving a linear equation.

What does my gender and skin matter when I am constructing archetechtial blueprint?  My work means both everything and nothing.

Oppressors accuse of “playing the race card” as if it is a game. It is not a game.  We must not shame the decedents for exploring the past hurt that has trickled into new generations.  Let them grieve.

We must face the fear to truly vanquish it.

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We must also remember that we can promote love by showing love.  We must demand humanity by showing it.

Attitude: the shield of protection

How did black women get their attitude?

 

blackgrlsThe origins of snappiness come from slave life in America.   Black women were brought and sold right beside the male slaves.  Many slaves were naked as they were auctioned; their body parts appraised and audited shamming them in front of crowds.

 

 

 

 

 

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The black female body was a commodity.  The white female body was considered pure and feminine and worthy of protection.  Black female slaves had no right to claim femininity, thus they warranted no protection.  Black women were property and did not own their bodies which meant that anyone could do anything they wanted to a black female and not face any punishment at all.

 

 

 

 

 

foxbank-plantation-houseIf the slave master wanted to have sexual relations with a black female slave he did it without question or protest from anyone.  And as historical legacies go, a subculture that included the sexually ferocious black female was born.

 

Black women were considered uncivilized workers with vagina’s.  Anyone who wanted to quell their human urge for sexual pleasure could take up a slave girl who didn’t have a say in her own life.

 

 

As time passed the Constitution was updated, slaves were freed, civil rights were heard, and progress towards equality in America started to take shape. All the while black women were still being objectified.  Black feminist issues were not dropped in the American bucket of issues.  Our stories did not change much from slavery.  Black female issues still take back seat to racial profiling and other issues that deal with black males.  Even in modern times, black women and children are still being raped, touched, groped and fondled secretly in their homes and at their gathering facilities.

No one is paying attention.

Many black females will tell stories of their childhoods where they were repeatedly molested and taken advantage of by both strangers and family members.  Not to suggest that every black girlhood includes sexual exploitation and degradation.

Many black females have healthy molestation free childhoods. But many people will look at these women and assume that they have lived a horrid life comparable to Sapphire’s “Precious” character.  But one thing most black woman can identify with is being tied to a stereotype of having an “attitude”.

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This attitude was formed out of necessity to protect oneself.

 

Linking our ancestry back to slavery times we see that we had no recourse. No one shielded black woman from the force of brutality and labor. Black woman worked hard and maybe even harder than the male slaves in the cotton fields.

Since no one took us in, we took ourselves in.  We internalized our struggles and use the pain to fuel our verbal and physical attacks.

 

 

slaveladyBlack women slaves were brutalized and abandoned. Today I can say that we feel the same.  At least I do.

 

We still think that no one loves us and we have to “look out for our own”.

Today black woman are still viciously combating their attackers with tough language that makes even a manly man fall back.    We’ve learned that a “don’t mess with me” attitude aids in deterring unwanted people from our presence.  But there is a down side.

This use of power has expanded to any and every one.   We’ve turned on each other.  Girl fights in clubs and jealous rages have become the norm in black girl world.

 

I’ve spoken with many black women who said “I don’t let nobody disrespect me.”  I truly understand this.

 

 

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But we must be careful to remember that  Respect is earned.

 

The horror of slavery has shaped our ancestors thinking and behavior, thus shaping our grandmothers, and then our mothers. Now us…

I can see and feel the change in the American air.  Some say we are in a post-racial society, with the black President, black first lady, black kids in the white house, and self-actualized black women all around the country. I’m not sure if we are in a post-racial society or not but what I do know is that the fragile black female is a beautiful relevant member of American society and she can be herself without an attitude.

I am not against sass. I am against unresolved anger.  We should extinguish our anger and move forward.

 

 

 

Movies that freaked me out

 

 

Fightclub (1999)  Edward Norton, Brad Pitt

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OMG, what even happened at the end? I felt like my head was about to explode after watching. I refuse to watch it ever again because I think it has subliminal messages that hypnotizes the mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind (2004)  Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet

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I kind of liked it but it was freaky looking at dream/memory sequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insidious (2011)  Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne

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I thought a demon was hanging above my bed for two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precious (2009)  Monique, Gabourey Sidibe

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Monique was more frightening than the demon above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sybil  (1979)  Sally Field

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Think I was about eleven when I watched and have never forgotten it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girl with the dragon tattoo (2011)  Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara

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The rape scene was shocking…

 

 

 

 

Monsters Ball (2002)  Halle Berry

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That was some scary sex

 

 

 

 

 

Gothicka (2003) Halle Berry

OMG. What is going on with the torture of women in these movies?goth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuck (2007) Mena Suvari

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I am voting this as the worse movie ever made in the history of cinema (Showgirls is #2 on that list)

 

 

The Departed (2006) Leonardo DiCaprio

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Matt Damon’s character gave me the willies. He was overly conniving; Psychopathic behavior at its best.

 

I don’t need a gun to protect me

Oh, America and guns. What a pity. I feel for those who cling to the 2nd amendment thinking that it would be a betrayal of America’s legacy if we alter this erroneous right.  All legacies don’t need to be upheld.  This country is built on murder and betrayal. Why are we proud of that? Just as we are expanding our thinking of racial tolerance so should we deepen our scope and liberate ourselves from our country’s sadistic past.

The definition of an amendment is to alter or update. Our country updated in the right direction with the 5th Amendment giving voting rights to all and the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. It would not be so atrocious to “update” the 2nd amendment as well.

I am not against guns. I am against Gun Violence.

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Protect Yourself

When I think about the Protection Argument in gun control it makes me roll my eyes. Really?  So if some dude breaks into my house in attempt to rob my family I should go to my lockbox take out my pistol and pursue this man. If he is armed and returns fire, I’m suddenly in a war zone having a shootout with a criminal.   Pass.  I’m not killing no one.  This is stuff of the movies.

I want to live. But I do not want to kill people to save my own life. I do not want to live in a war zone. If I wanted to go into battle I would have joined the army.  If it is my time to go…then, guess what? It is my time to go. I’m not going to create a warzone in my home trying to fight off some mad man.

My unwillingness to tote around a firearm doesn’t make me a cowardice it makes me brave. Some might say that it makes me stupid….well, I’ll be that…but hear this:  I do not need a firearm to provide me with a convoluted sense of power. You have a gun that will most likely be used in suicide, theft, or crime of passion…not “protection”.

Think of it like this…would you really want a person who thinks like me to possess a gun? Really? I hope your answer is no, because I certainly wish that you didn’t have one.

I don’t need a gun to protect me

Oh, America and guns. What a pity. I feel for those who cling to the 2nd amendment thinking that it would be a betrayal of America’s legacy if we alter this erroneous right.  All legacies don’t need to be upheld.  This country is built on murder and betrayal. Why are we proud of that? Just as we are expanding our thinking of racial tolerance so should we deepen our scope and liberate ourselves from our country’s sadistic past.

The definition of an amendment is to alter or update. Our country updated in the right direction with the 5th Amendment giving voting rights to all and the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. It would not be so atrocious to “update” the 2nd amendment as well.

I am not against guns. I am against Gun Violence.

gun

Protect Yourself

When I think about the Protection Argument in gun control it makes me roll my eyes. Really?  So if some dude breaks into my house in attempt to rob my family I should go to my lockbox take out my pistol and pursue this man. If he is armed and returns fire, I’m suddenly in a war zone having a shootout with a criminal.   Pass.  I’m not killing no one.  This is stuff of the movies.

I want to live. But I do not want to kill people to save my own life. I do not want to live in a war zone. If I wanted to go into battle I would have joined the army.  If it is my time to go…then, guess what? It is my time to go. I’m not going to create a warzone in my home trying to fight off some mad man.

My unwillingness to tote around a firearm doesn’t make me a cowardice it makes me brave. Some might say that it makes me stupid….well, I’ll be that…but hear this:  I do not need a firearm to provide me with a convoluted sense of power. You have a gun that will most likely be used in suicide, theft, or crime of passion…not “protection”.

Think of it like this…would you really want a person who thinks like me to possess a gun? Really? I hope your answer is no, because I certainly wish that you didn’t have one.

what I read this Christmas

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This Christmas I sat beside the tree and read this book. I laughed out loud.  What a hilarious book by a hilarious fellow. And even with the light hearted humor the book noted some truths that I allude to on this blog and in life in general.  My favorite quote from the book is one where Thurston explains, most outrageously, how to be a visible black person in America. In it he notes that the first thing you need to be is male. He writes: “Overlooking the contribution and perspectives of black woman is essential to the media narrative of the black experience (p. 68).”  Wow. Black female invisibility is real.