Month: July 2016

Forgivable Blackness

The first time I felt racism wasn’t at the hands of police officers, enraged racists, or even decrepit and old southerners. The first time I realized I was black was when two little white girls scoffed at my family as we went to our neighborhood pool in a predominantly white neighborhood in Maryland. We’d moved from Wilmington, NC and until then race hadn’t ever been an issue. Sure I knew that I was darker than some, but I’d never felt racism. My best friend in the world was a white kid named Nick who lived up the street.We went to my Dad’s predominately black church and he ended up joining. As time went on we made other friends became the poster children of diversity. By the end of elementary school we were a close knit group of Mexicans, Indians, Whites, and Blacks. That glass house of inclusion broke that day those White girls spoke. I’ll never forget their conversation.

“Oh my god they’re black people who live here now?” One said staring at us disgustingly.

“No, they probably snuck in here from the hood.”  The little girl said satisfactorily.

They sneered at my little sister and I with so much hate. Like our presence was going to cause the sky to fall and the pool to boil over. We’d never even spoken to them. We stood by our bikes hurt and staring. My Dad was furious. He respectfully told the little girls that black people lived where ever we wanted, and to think we all lived in the hood was the dumbest thing he’d ever heard. I was so confused that day. My father is a preacher, and up to that point I’d never came so close to cursing. The little girls walked off as if he’d never said anything. Completely unbothered by his loud reprimand. When they’d walk off my Dad pulled us close and tried to comfort us. No other time in my entire life had any judged me because of my skin. I’ve never forgotten their faces. Not even to this day. If you ever asked me what racism looked like their faces would be my immediate answer. 

That depiction of racism was replaced after witnessing the death of Alton Sterling. There’s been  myriad of death these last few years at the hands of police officers and neighborhood vigilantes, but this one hit me harder than any other. Watching the video I felt hopeless, truly hopeless. Seeing Alton’s pained and bewildered face as he looked up into the cold fluorescent lighting while his life slipped away hurt (If you watched that video and weren’t equally hurt I have serious doubts of your humanity and soul).  Alton didn’t look like he knew what was happening or why he was being harassed, and that’s the trend we never know what we’ve done wrong. None of the other deceased men and women knew that they had committed any acts that qualified them for an immediate death.

As Black people we live in a different reality then our White counterparts, that’s just the facts. When they encounter police officers they don’t ever worry about not ever making it to the jails. Hell even the white serial killers who’ve blatantly murdered in the public eye have that level of faith. No Black person can say that anymore. We live in a desolate reality that reminds us daily that we are totally different from White people around us. We’re glaringly treated with a level of disdain merely because of our skin everyday. No matter where we go it’s there. In our workplaces we walk a fine line if we make one white person uncomfortable that’s our jobs. Don’t not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. If you doubt that go to any office building and ask even the most passive Black man if he spoke loudly in a white woman’s direction would he still have his job. If you need more proof ask a Black woman has she had an outburst around her White coworkers. The answer would be no. We are trained to restrain our negative emotions out of fear of a looming misunderstanding.

We live in a world were simply being Black is an unforgivable offense. It’s an immediate strike on our records, and we are constantly forced to make others comfortable because any fear or open opposition results in negatives ranging from a) death  b)loss of finances or c) jail time. Our very existence makes some people nervous. Our emotions are censored by a board of individuals around us who are sheltered by their complexion. We’re forced to hold in those same emotions whenever people speak negatively about things like #Blacklivesmatter, any racial based conversation, or even when we’re hurting following cases like Alton’s were being Black is a death sentence. We don’t hold in these emotions because we feel diminished, that’s not the case. We hold them because loosing that flood would devastate any left in it’s wake.There’s too much pain for us all to express in one moment. I’ve wanted to shatter the privileged mirror that many of the people I’ve known have been looking through their entire lives. I want them to feel the uncomfortable feelings I constantly shelter them from so equality can truly happen. But that will never happen. Never in a way that won’t result in a loss of life, or some glaring negative. The inconvenient truth is that White people are kept away from fear in any form. Just look at the “war on terror.” Any Muslim in their respective garb can find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun all because some “vigilant” person feels uncomfortable with something they don’t understand.

This world as shown me that my blackness is unforgivable from an early age. Being black means to be devalued and seen as less than in the eyes of so many. Growing up I wanted my blackness to be “forgivable” so I could live without fear of retaliation. I didn’t want it to hinder me and my goals. It wasn’t till later I realized how damaging of a psychosis that is to live under. Thinking that I needed forgiveness for how I came into this world. There’s a generation of children who like me feel that way now, and that’s a tragedy especially when it’s the majority who should be asking forgiveness for treating Black people so poorly merely for the color of our skin. We should no longer seek penance for our blackness in a world that holds it against us. I learned this lesson these last few months, and I’ll be sure to teach my daughter the same lesson.

 

Sexual Responsibility: A Defense Against Post-Fuckboyisms & Thotisms

I’ve always found it so interesting how people become blinded by sex. The “dickmatization” of women and the “lost in the sauceness” of men are constants in modern relationships and always end up back in a place where the “victim” of said traumas find themselves becoming jaded by their sexuality and feel as if the sex was responsible for whatever relationship issues that followed. Like sex was directly responsible for blinding them from other glaringly wrong things with the relationship.

I for one never understood it. I’m sure there’s some deep sage out there who will say something about how sex opens your soul to other people’s baggage (or spirits, I’ve heard that too) and the need to protect your essence. I don’t think that’s false, and as a Christian I totally believe that, however my stance on the issue is much different. I think it all comes down to Sexual Responsibility (and while I’m not talking about contraceptives you should already be using those. Gosh be an adult already).

Before you roll your eyes, here’s what I mean  it’s taking sex seriously and articulating your needs and expectations to your partner. All the issues we see normally stemming from sex come from people who blindly leaped into the ocean never really understanding the current or even how to navigate it before they went for a swim. Sex is a great thing, I mean I’m a big fan, and when handled responsibly it builds an incredible bond between people. Issues arrive when we let the wrong person in, stop seeking to get to know the person beyond a sexual level, or blindly let the positive emotions sex provides to steer us to a phony realization of emotion. We’ve all (if we’re being honest here) have had regrettable sex with a person who ultimately was a waste of time. We just made a poor choice, and we hopefully learn from it and move on. What blows me is when people use sex as the scapegoat instead being truthful with themselves and realizing they made a shitty choice.

I’m really tired of hearing women say they’re giving up sex because it complicated things. All that translates to is someone felt something that wasn’t there, or someone let sex build a false closeness between them. I totally get that these things happen from time to time, but what bothers me is the thought process that stopping sex will keep it from happening again. Not dealing with the issues don’t magically erase them. It’s something that you have to confront and deal with it. Sex is just like every other issue in life. You need to accept the issue before dealing with it. If you’re dating a man who isn’t worth much, sex won’t make it better. It’s a terrible reason to keep involving yourself with that man. The sex while probably great doesn’t give you some magical glasses that give you sight beyond sight into the man’s heart. As soon as the that great sex is over as  fuck boy is still just that, a fuck boy.

Don’t use sex as the reason behind failed relationships. Be an adult and just accept you made some bad decisions. As men sex is different. Sure it’s intimate, but there’s work involved. After said work is done we do feel lighter. but we’re going to feel the exact same about you as a person. Sure you may have shown me some great talents but my heart will be in the exact same place it was prior to sex. Sex is a form of intimacy, but it doesn’t really teach you about a person’s personality, their dislikes or likes, hell even what foods they enjoy. It only teaches you to have better sex.

Men aren’t often  as quick to say sex complicates things, but we definitely let it. We let sex drive us to do some immensely stupid things with women who weren’t worth any of the effort we put into it. Sex for a man in his prime is the quickest morale boost. A great night of sex will undoubtedly lift your spirits, but that’s not the way to do it. Just like women we let sex take the blame for so many of our relationship issues when in actuality it was just a sexual relationship anyway with a woman we allowed to believe it could be more. A Lie of omission is still a lie. One thing I will add in just as a caveat to the ladies who are reading this is that you make it easy. Great sex over time leads to emotions. As my friends and I say, “Life changes at the bottom of the box.” Emotions will appear and undoubtedly unless you check them will manifest themselves. Men aren’t responsible for that, but we do take advantage of it. Not all women are pray to this, but it happens way more than it should. Ladies think through your emotions, and keep them in line or better yet don’t involve yourself with a man who isn’t interested in what you want. Okay, back to the men. Brothers we make rookie mistakes too often because we want the easy lay up. Either we date women we’re really not interested in due to the sex, or we stay in a relationship with a person we don’t care about till we find better sexual options. I’d to say that this is only from the fuck boy portion of us but it’s not. It can happen to a post-fuck boy too. Sometimes we just gotta take the quick L, and plan to win a better more decisive victory. Lose the battle, Win the war.

Across the board, men and women can definitely start dealing with the issues we blame on sex. We’re adults in everything else so why not add another thing to our adulting list?

“But that’s just my interpretation, of the situation…” – Benjamin Andre