So I wrote this blog post a few months ago. September 15 to be precise. And yea, I know, I haven’t posted anything on my blog since September. Why? Well there are a couple of reasons:
- I just opened a new business (whiskeysweets.com) and hadn’t had the time to focus on writing anything. I was too busy trying to do shit like eat and sleep in my downtime.
- I’m trying to get promoted at my REAL life job and writing this blog wasn’t contributing to that happening!
- I wasn’t really, honestly ready to address what I KNEW needed to be addressed. I wasn’t ready to talk about it but I also wasn’t able to fake like I shouldn’t discuss what so desperately needs to be discussed…
So…here we are. Rather here YOU are, finally getting a taste of what has been floating through my mind for the last 3-4 months. Ruminating in my spirit and vexing my soul. I’m about to get deep so I hope you can listen and we talk about it and still be cool (ish) later.
Race, Misogyny and Domestic Violence: Part I
I can’t and I find myself without the ability to can. I simply can’t about so many topics right now that in order for me to can (yes that is a real thing) and move forward with blogging about other topics I simply have to get this shit off my chest.
Yesterday I spent the better part of my day writing a blog entry about all the crazy shit that has been going on. I tried to put a spin on. Make it teachable. I tried to write some enlightening shit about how we need to do better. Teach our kids better. Be better as adults. However, all of that “attempting” to teach made me lose the message I so desperately wanted to get across. So I scrapped it. And decided the best way to tell someone is to tell them.
As an adult, I find myself UNABLE to deal with a couple of different things.
- People the refuse to acknowledge the existence of racism.
- Men AND woman who perpetuate misogynistic views in our culture.
- ANYONE who victim shames or minimizes victims of Domestic Abuse.
As a mother there are a couple of things that I feel I have been assigned to do in order to raise my son. He’s a male, so I cannot teach him how to be a man. I don’t know how to pee standing up. I’m not good at playing the dirty dozens (which seems to be a bonding ritual amongst men) so teaching him how to relate with other men is not a skill I possess either. There are other things, most of which I probably couldn’t even name since I am not even aware of them because I am not a man. Thus, I leave the raising of this man to his father while I focus instead on raising a good human being.
I want him to be conscious. Conscious enough to know and care about the world around him. Conscious enough to know that everyone he encounters may not have the same experiences as him. Conscious enough to understand that the decisions he makes can impact none, one or many. Conscious enough to know that while he is only one man, one man can be the difference between excellence and devastation (in his family, in his community, in his job and other areas of his life). But as I look around the last few weeks, it’s become painfully aware that a lot of adults don’t even have that level of consciousness.
Last year my son was called a dirty porch monkey by a white class mate. Another time he was out right called a nigger by a DIFFERENT white class mate. As a parent to say I was horrified and infuriated would be an understatement. I handled it though, the way that a parent should handle such things (even that is ridiculous..why the fuck should I be handling such things like that in 2014) but it was one of those moments in my life that just kind of solidified what my mother taught me so many years ago: don’t forget where you came from because “they” never will.
Racism is alive and well. Anytime I go shopping for my son and refuse to buy him dark colored hoodies because, you know Treyvon Martin. Anytime I have to teach my son that if he is ever approached by the police to keep his hands out his pocket, the scowl off his face, tell them where your ID is and by no means raise your voice or engage in any debate with them because you know…Mike Brown. Anytime my son misses his train stop returning to his “safe suburban life” and I flip out because I don’t know where is he is (even though he’s only decided to walk home) and the only thing I can think of is what if he gets hurt and goes to a “neighbor” for help who isn’t used to seeing a 6ft tall, 200 lb. kid and he’s accidentally shot because you know….Renisha McBride.
But you know what REALLY burns my britches? Those people who pretend like it doesn’t exist or that it’s just another “isolated” incident. Those people who play possum anytime something happens in the African-American or Latino community because it’s not happening to you. Asking questions like, “Who is Darren Wilson?” (Yes that happened). Really? Please stop playing dumb. Not knowing who Darren Wilson or Mike Brown is, is not a good look. Not knowing why black face (when white people paint their faces black) is not a good look. Not knowing why calling a black woman “Aunt Jemima” is offensive is NOT a good look”. Not know that Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman are two different people is not a good look. You don’t get a pass because you’re white. And it’s not okay. Your privilege is not okay. Not with me.
My friend Heather Carper summed the sentiment up perfectly, “When you hear about someone doing or saying something blatantly and outlandishly racist/ offensive, please do not respond with “That guy’s crazy! She’s a NutJob! They need to put down the crack pipe!” or whatever form of derision you think sounds supportive. By doing so, you are being dismissive of structural racism, and the very real impact it has on lives like mine. These people are not “crazy”, and their behavior is not an isolated outburst of someone off their meds. Their actions are the direct result of racism and patriarchy, two systems that drive our nation and most of their ills. Stop belittling the size of the problem we are all in. This won’t go away when that one blowhard dies, or the other is voted out of office. You cannot help me fight what you are too cowardly to call by name.”
Basically: Do better. If you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
Stay tuned for Part II…misogyny.
The Mistress of All Things Fabulust