Pride & Precedents

Standard

Last night Clinton hearkened back to the Seneca Falls Convention where in 1848 people gathered to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman … Fredrick Douglas was even there in favor of the rights of women… but which women? I was sickened to hear her declare victory in the name of all women…in my name.
The Woman’s Suffrage movement led to White Women getting the right to vote in 1919 while Black Men’s rights had been smothered post-reconstruction.

ALL other people of color remained an after thought until 1947 when Natives were finally allowed to vote in the country of their origin and 1952 when people of Asian descent were granted the right to be citizens; but it wasn’t until 1965 that my Grandfather was allowed to vote…1965!

Much like the erasure of people of color from the history spouted in her speech, you’ll probably notice the platform issues Clinton used to lure you in sliding off her plate and onto the rubbish heap.
This election has lacked in genuine inclusion…Ask Bernie. Ask the Beautiful Black women who have been manhandled and jailed by HRC’s security for simply quoting their fearless leader. Ask the voters in the 7 primaries between yesterday and the election who were told their voices don’t matter by every major media outlet a day before the last Super Tuesday…
Last night I watched as my FB feed flooded over with ‪#‎ImwithHer‬ and‪#‎GirlPower‬ hashtags and I felt truly saddened, not angry like some, but saddened that after all the fighting, protesting, tears and lives lost when it comes down to it we are still sheep… still asleep… still unready to take the leap…What will it take?

My mentor Kevin Gershan always says “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change”… I am deathly afraid of what future we face… I am terrified when I ponder the consequences.

What Happens to a Vote Deferred?

Standard

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you feel personal failure because people close to you…people you hope you positively influence made a bad decision today that will haunt all of you both disproportionately and indefinitely?  Well ya… I’m feeling that coupled with a deeper understanding of what it looks like when people confuse the definition of feminism with sexism and don’t even know it. I did my part and regardless of the outcome I can tell my daughter genitalia didn’t sway my vote.

As a feminist by definition I viewed both candidates equally as politicians with agendas and when I compared their records, ethics, and platforms…I can tell her I voted for the right guy and fought for him all the way to the convention…I hope I can tell this story to her one day and laugh about how silly it is that I was afraid for her very life…

I hope I can look back and I don’t remember the nightmares I’ve had of her replacing Sandra Bland on that video or her growing up in a world dominated by war and ruled by resource scarcity… I hope that my hope comes peeking through the clouds of media dust storms that bury FBI investigations and passive aggressive racism under girl power puff pieces and celebrity obituaries.

I pray that before it all falls to shit something pulls the pin out of this grenade and we explode into enlightenment propelled by the understanding that although things aren’t perfect it isn’t impossible nor is it unrealistic to demand real progressive change in a country that has always been dragged, kicking, and screaming into the future…

I’m hoping someone reads this and feels regret…deep mournful regret for not taking a chance on the underdog today… but instead of deflecting they take a hard look at WHY they felt OK with self identifying as unworthy of hope… I want them to ask themselves “what happens to a dream deferred”… then I want them to watch a Trump rally and find out.

Lemonade: Rejoice or Simply Recede  

Standard

I finally tasted #Lemonade and it wasn’t anything like it was portrayed to me. It was a full bodied thirst quenching tall glass of amniotic bliss… It was a rich visual embodiment of the call and response like conversations that women of the diaspora play out internally on a daily basis. It is sheer and utter blaspheme to paint Beyoncé as an “Angry Black Woman” seeking to publicly air a lovers spat…The images… so carefully crafted are delicate representations of our strength as black women… don’t you see?

It’s a celebration of life and vibrancy in face of dull toned turned backs… It’s a chin held high in face of misplaced applause… It’s the acknowledgment of the side eyes we’ve dished out to those whose very image we were trained to covet over our own… It’s an ode to the colored girl… and an antidote to the colorist. If you watched an hour of sunshine and chose to see rain… I can only deduce that it either wasn’t made for you or you were not ready to receive it. 

I was ready though…I been ready. I needed this more then I knew I did… a burst of brilliant blue-black ultra violet light. So many talented womenfolk pooled together in a single contiguous heart string… lined up in Formation… calling me with their eyes saluting me, emblazoned with the symbols of our pride.

I’m glad to be alive in these strange times…these fearful, exhausting, yet awe inspiring times. I finally tasted #Lemonade and all I could muster to say out loud was thank you … Thank you to the ancestors for laying the foundation for Formation by turning lemons into Lemonade under the watchful eyes of your little girls…because you never know who you are raising until they rise up.

 

An Open Letter: to the passive aggresive broads trying to school me in feminism and guilt me into voting for Hillary…SPOILER ALERT: It ain’t working.

Standard

 

Dear Kate Cronin-Furman, Mira Rapp-Hooper , and all the other woman trying to school me in feminism and guilt me into voting for Hillary,

I believe your assertion that for some “late-breaking sexism often means later-onset identification with the principles of second-wave feminism”, however that experience is EXACTLY why I’m CHOOSING to vote for Bernie Sanders as opposed to Hillary Clinton; and I’d like the think pieces on why I’m naive or somehow less of a feminist than you are to stop.

I am an HBCU Dean’s List grad. I am a Black Single Mother of a 4-year-old daughter. I am a proud member of the LGBT community, and I have been eking out an existence working 10-12 hours days for $12 an hour in one of the most discriminatory industries (Hollywood) in the world. You assume that because I won’t blindly vote for Hillary I must be naive to the discrimination of the business world or the social structure of this country in general; this position is not only disparaging, but sexist, and ageist all bundled up nicely in a tight fist that I’m tired of being assaulted with.

I’m proud the woman before me have paved a pathway for us, but didn’t they do so in order for me to have the freedom to vote about the issues and the candidates’ political and social anatomy not their physical anatomy? Making young educated women out to be people pleasing and inexperienced shows a level of callus that is scary and truly disheartening. The woman of the baby boomer age were once idealist…what happened to that belly burning fire that was emboldened by opposition and in search of true progressive change? Why settle for just any woman when there is more at stake here than ovaries in the oval office? We have a Supreme Court justice nom on the line, we have oil pipelines from Canada pending, we have a trade deal that could dismantle what little democratic power we have left over corporations, and we have a privatized prison system that threatens to sue if we don’t continue to fuel them with free labor. I and thousands of other women graduated from college as the economy fell apart; we faced even more abysmal job prospects than we would have had we been met solely with the sexism already expected in the workplace.

I am not some starry-eyed child who doesn’t know what’s good for me. I am the product of my history, culture, and environment. I am the niece of two Uncles jailed by Clinton’s 94’ Crime Bill. I am a bi-sexual woman who is puzzled that the same woman who supported her husband in signing DOMA, the HIV travel ban, as well as overseeing the doubling of LGBT discharges from the military in his tenure, can act as if that never happened or claim to have magically “evolved” dismissing my and countless other peoples pain. Hillary didn’t fully support same sex marriage until 2013…yes…2013! She flew in the face of change and only joined our ranks as the prevailing winds of pew polling blew. She’s never stood true as a weather vane for equal human rights for all…only the humans who benefit her public image.

Bottom line: I don’t trust her. I don’t trust Hillary to do right by me or any of the issues I care about. If I were a man the very women who bash me would respect my right as an American to vote for the person, male or female whom I’m most ideologically aligned with. However, I am not a man…and these women… my sisters claim “there is a special place in Hell” for me and that I only support Bernie because his camp is where all the boys are. The legacy I want to leave my daughter isn’t one of forced affiliation or entitlement; it’s one of progressive ethics so I’ll stand tall in my opposition. If Bernie wins on a platform of revolutionary change I can take comfort in the fact that regardless of which side they played ALL women will benefit both directly and indirectly from that.

I do hope that a woman will inhabit the white house one day soon, but that isn’t my ONLY hope… I pray that by the time my child is of college age she won’t have to tackle the issues I have had to. I hope she won’t have to decide between living a life and paying back student loans. Yes, sexism is very real but so is the need to reduce income inequality, corporate welfare, and the cost of health care. I have aspirations for myself and my daughter that are bigger than the shadow cast by Hillary and when I look into my child’s eyes and my own in the mirror, I know there are better female candidates out there, but we as women need to recognize them… let’s not squander our “1st woman” card on a layup.

Please.

Most Certainly a Feminist,

Lauren J. Croom 

FAUX DIVERSE – Thank You Style & Grace for the spark

Standard

Growing up…I transitioned from an all black private school to an all white public school… My lips were too big and my curly “Ms. Frizzel”  hair (as they used to call it) was made fun of all because I actually had a top lip and my hair wasn’t like their long dull straight hair… Now…watching this I am most disturbed by the fact that the women making the video have zero idea that they are culturally appropriating the nuances of beauty that woman of color are taught to dislike about themselves. Until I grew to love who I am, I would straighten my hair and subdue my features… It’s almost like they are saying our beauty traits are a “style” or “fad” and really only attractive, cute, or unique when they rock them… Feel Free to post an opposing view… if you have one…I will counter whatever it is with sunless tanner and pictures of Bo Derek with cornrows…

Check out the article I got the videos from written by my friend Carla Thomas of STYLE & GRACE

White Girl Beauty Hacks I Want No Parts Of – Style and Grace.

Kendrick was sitting at the GRAMMYs like…

Standard

“Ok, soooo the awards are mine? It’s official? Let me drop this single on um right quick”
Sheesh… I’m with EVERYTHING HE SAYS… EVERYTHING…
Poetry at it’s rawest, Kendrick pulled my heart out with this one.

Wells Fargo Explores Definitions of What it Means to be African-American

Standard

Although I may not always agree with Wells Fargo’s Business Practices, this #MyUntold Project is really worth checking out.

This story-telling initiative offers a glimpse of what it means to be African-American today.  View the stories & share your own using #MyUntold.