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Good morning. I just want you all to know though tragic and terrible, *I* am not sorry about the kidnapping and torture of a developmentally disabled White man at the hands of some idiot Black folks. I offer no apologies, I feel no shame, I am not compelled to explain anything to anyone, and I am not embarrassed as a supporter of the BLM movement or as a Black person.

I am tired of being grouped as one gigantic Black collective operating on one mind and one method of living. I am tired of people talking to me as if the actions of questionable Black folks are somehow my responsibility to explain, rationalize, or rebuke. We are not one humongous Negro and we don’t owe anyone shit in the way of justifications and details about others.

Some fools kidnapped a man and were cruel to him. It is awful, but I’m not apologizing for it any more than any of the White folks around me come to apologize for Dylann Roof, James Holmes, or Jared Lee Loughner.

Hate crime charges filed after ‘reprehensible’ video shows attack on mentally ill man in Chicago


When I was a child, The People’s Court was a big and new thing. A mostly grumpy older white man, Judge Joseph Wapner preempted Judy, Mablean, Lynn, Mathis, et al. He was no-nonsense and before anything else was discussed, he wanted to know if there was a receipt for whatever was being refuted. From damaged hair weaves to unpaid rent, a receipt could change everything in the original People’s Court.

From watching the show and being raised by a mother who believed in keeping receipts for EVERYTHING, I grew up believing in the power of proof – whether it was proof of purchase or proof why a premise is problematic. So, feeling the way I do about receipts and walking around with at least ten or so in my wallet at any given time, I am staring and 14203141_517529551791528_2196566812361166770_nslow blinking at all I’ve been reading about Colin Kaepernick’s allegedly patriotic opposition.

Yes, I understand folks don’t have to agree with him. I mean, viva la difference, right? Yes, I know some folks feel personally connected to the Star Spangled Banner because patriotism, warm hearts, apple pie, baseball, mayonnaise, and what not. I mean, I genuinely believe America is one the best places to live – despite the racist oppression, human trafficking, tearing up of the middle-class, and that pesky way it was established on the literal blood and attempted genocide of the Indigenous People and the slave labor of Africans. I like that I can write this without fear of prison (mostly), though I might end up blocked from Facebook for 30 days if the racists get upset. I appreciate how Kaepernick can hit that football field, take a knee during the National Anthem, and be well within his rights to do so. What I don’t appreciate is the way we’ve dug into our wallets and pulled out receipts for the racist lyrics and history attached to The Star Spangled Banner and a paid invoice for the issues to which Kaepernick wants to draw attention only to be told, “Eff your proof of purchase.”

I don’t know about you, but if I return to the store to get my money back on a defective product for which I paid my hard-earned money, there will be furniture moving. If a store clerk looked at the defective item in my hand and the receipt that proved I paid for it expecting it to be whole and told me, “Screw you AND this defective crap you probably broke yourself because you’re Black,” suffice it to say, there would be a problem or two.

And so it is with Kaepernick, the issues he is protesting, and the Star Spangled Banner. Granted, he didn’t start this to draw attention to the song itself, but in all the ballyhoo surrounding those who are angry with him, the unequivocal evidence of the racist basis for that song has come out and there are still folks wondering why a Black guy wouldn’t want to stand hand over heart whilst singing along with the artist du jour. With the frequency with which reports of physical abuse and murder of unarmed Black folks increasing, the relevance of the receipts is being downplayed. The right of the unwilling consumer to be made whole by the retailer is repeatedly ignored. Judge Wapner would be so displeased.

Trayvon, We Love You

I’m not going to post an article. I’m not going to speak his name. I just know I woke up about 3:30 this morning and saw a tweet about the auctioning of a murder weapon used to kill a child the killer was stalking and words about being exonerated and not “cowering.”

I’m not going to go into the depths of my fury. I’m not going to expound on the rage that results from the increasing difficulties in my life because of this brown skin and the triggers that cause it to bubble to the top. I just know when I read that tweet, the kindness and decency instilled in me via my upbringing dissipated – broken down by the status quo of my Blackness.

I’m not going to pontificate on the far reach of racism. I’m not going to talk about the tears I’ve cried because my people are being used for life’s target practice. I just know I’ve BEEN tired, I know others like me suffer the same fatigue, and my full expectation is for all of us to be unyielding in our actions.

I’m not going to talk about praying for peace and understanding in this matter. I’m not going to acquiesce and say all the words we’ve been taught to say about forgiveness and healing. I just know there must be action and that action is about three years past due. What is the hold up?


tamir-rice-e1433821904368I cannot write about Tamir Rice today. I can’t post pictures of him on my Facebook page or write words about how sorry I am he’s gone, how I hate the lawlessness of law enforcement and the bigotry behind the preconceived notions that led to his death, or how folks wrote, screamed, protested, prayed, petitioned, wept, and donated all in the interest of seeing his murderers on trial – to no avail. I cannot write or post about those things because all that talking simply makes me feel inadequate and I think I – all of us really – owe him so much more than that.

Black folks have mostly been protesting on the peaceful end of the spectrum. We make signs, march, write poems, create memes, call congress people, light candles, fuss on news shows, and talk about our right to equal treatment under the law, but in the end, we are repeatedly reminded who we are in this society and how little, if anything, our lives are worth to those who’ve spent hundreds of years employing various tactics to oppress us. In all this, I keep wondering when we will turn the tables such that when I speak of Tamir, I am speaking of a rarity instead of regularity. I wonder when we will stop asking nicely for what is owed us as human beings and start acting on the very entitlement we frequently have to rally against when it’s being used to deter us from receiving what we’re owed. I wonder when we will start to manipulate circumstances to work in our favor the way those circumstances have been manipulated and used against us to keep us incarcerated, impoverished, and impotent.

I cannot talk about Tamir right now because I feel like a debtor avoiding a bill collector’s calls. I can’t bring myself to speak on him until I have something to say TO him. Right now, I don’t even have a small payment on the bill. I need to be able to tell him we fought for the trial and incarceration of his killers and won. I need to tell him those men will never work in law enforcement again, never kill another child, never make another dime, and never again feel comfortable in their bigoted thinking because the guilt of murdering a child keeps them from sleeping, eating, working, or earning an income. I want to be able to tell him we fixed it and because we haven’t, I cannot write about him.

I cannot cry for Tamir right now because I’m too angry, too hurt, and too disappointed in the way we tried to do everything the “right way” according to the laws of his murderers, yet still were unable to get so much as a glimpse of the justice his loved ones deserve. I do not want to speak on Tamir until Black folks with active social consciousness realize sometimes, we have to put down the boycott signs and pick up a pitchfork instead.

I really want to talk, write, and cry about Tamir in the worst way, but I don’t think I can until we fully understand we can’t always politely ask for what is innately ours as citizens of this place. We have to know the “justice” system will fail us the majority of the time because it wasn’t created with us in mind. There will be times we have to take what belongs to us because pleasantly requesting it isn’t always the most effective course of action. We have to be prepared to change our course – something which admittedly, is much easier said than done. But until this starts to happen, I won’t be able to talk, write, or cry about him without feeling like I failed him. He deserves better than that. ©


Praise The Pie, Saints

So, I counted myself among the fortunate last Friday night. I got together with the crew and we sat eating snacks and drinking wine like any good crew will do, but after a couple hours, PIEthings got real. A friend came in with a Patti pie and our dispositions changed immediately. Was this truly the magical pie about which folks had been raving? Was I really going to get the change to treat my palate to a forkful of “If You Asked Me To” goodness? I was beyond excited.

Before we got started, we took a moment to read the back of the box. Mostly, the verbiage just talked about making much with the little one has, taking pride in one’s life, and enjoying life’s moments. I mean, how sweet is that? You know what I didn’t see on the back of that box? I didn’t see anything about Patti claiming her pie was better than anybody else’s mama’s, meemaw, ainie (Yes, “ainie,” not aunt or auntie. If you know anything about Black folks, you know what the hell I mean.), that her pie, when eaten in copious amounts, could never cause a spike in a diabetic’s sugar levels, suggestions one lay prostrate and worship the pie as his/her savior, or that the less than four damn dollars it costs to buy one is all part of her nefarious plot to singlehandedly bleed Black folks all over America dry financially. Nope. There wasn’t any of that. It was just a nice message about being a well-adjusted human damn being. Are you surprised?PIE2

Per the instructions on the box, we heated that thing up and sliced it as much as one can slice a somewhat small pie between six salivating sistas. And boy did we play it up. We took pictures. We sang a bar or two of Patti hits, and we even did a few dances in sheer anticipation of what the future with our forks might hold. I tasted that pie and was immediately impressed. No, it didn’t make me feel like my mother came over and baked my friends and I some pie. No, I didn’t close my eyes and imagine I was in the deep South on somebody’s grandpappy’s farm where fresh sweet potatoes were picked, boiled, mashed, and seasoned to perfection while grandmammy rolled out her homemade dough. But I didn’t need to feel any of those things. I just needed the pie to be good and that is exactly what it was. It was good. It was the very best store bought dessert I have ever had and every ingredient was evident in each bite I took. I can’t say as much for any other store bought dessert I’ve had. Sure, some have been pretty decent, but none of them came close to the experience I had that Friday night.

PIE3So listen, before you try to come off as super savvy in the kitchen (you probably aren’t) or as some sort of potato pie pontiff, just understand you don’t ever have to eat a Patti Potato Pie. Not ever. You don’t have to smell one, warm one up, slice one, or put that fork to your lips and taste one. There is no Patti Potato Pie mandate. There is no requirement to eat one (or several) in the interest of maintaining one’s Black Card. You simply don’t have to indulge. However, in the interest of decency and avoidance of general douchery (yes dammit, it’s a word), shut up about it if you don’t want it. Just keep eating that Sara Lee sadness with a dollop of wack whipped cream because that is what you like and that is wholly ok – just like it’s ok for me to be over here naked – crouched down in a corner – hording Patti Potato Pie straight from the pan. Plate? I don’t need no stinking plate.




Do you ever have those moments when you realize you just aren’t cut out for basic and widely adhered to traditions and that it might mean you’re a bit on the sorry side? I hope it isn’t just me. While messaging a friend on Facebook today, I had to acknowledge I still owe her a wedding and baby shower gift. By the time I get around to these things, she and her husband will be well into the “leather” year, which sounds oddly kinky and like a winner to me, when I should have been there with my present on their wedding day. The baby will have all his teeth, a full ride scholarship, and his first car before I get her a gift for the shower that took place whilst he was still in the womb. At times, I think I just might not be good at old school “womaning.” Posh-52-dot-com

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think I’m a good woman overall, whatever that means, but when it comes to the traditional behaviors of women, I seem to be failing on all fronts. My wedding gifts are almost always late, I hate every kind of shower that doesn’t involve hot water, massaging jets, a loofah, and maybe a handsome and muscular co-bather, and I’m always trying to find ways to make baby/kid birthday parties bearable with things I need – like a flask or a couple Vicodin. I know it’s 2015 and these aren’t necessarily as weighty as they once were in determining a woman’s “ladylikeness”, but still some seemingly antiquated part of me feels the ghost of one of my prim and proper ancestors is looking down on me, shaking her head, pursing her lips, and wondering if my womaning shortcomings are a result of the Suffrage Movement.

I have been functionally and happily single for a very long time. I live alone with just my solace to keep me warm and home life sans someone to whom I’m accountable has been a dream. But what am I supposed to do if I get serious with some man? Like, what happens if he’s over, says he’s hungry, asks me if I’m cooking, tells me he’s willing to eat whatever I am going to have and I inform him the night’s culinary delight is baked chicken and Rice Chex? Does that mean something bad? I mean, I’m the type of woman to get a dress out of screen-shot-2013-10-28-at-12-40-41-pmthe hamper and rinse out the armpits in the interest of restoring freshness followed by blow drying it back to crispness. Surely, some publication should be knocking my door down to interview me about how a woman can really have it all – providing “all” means several new pairs of panties because I hate doing laundry, several boxes of cereal for culinary emergencies, and a drawer full of old dresses used as nightgowns. Yes, I am a winner.

I suppose if I really based my idea of who I am as a woman and how I measure up on those very traditional ideals, I would be a sad sap all the time. Fortunately, my talents, wit, sense of humor, writing abilities, and hall closet full of clean bath towels tells me I still have every right to hold my head up – even if I didn’t buy any of those towels as a wedding gift.


I’ve spent the last week or so trying to process my anger and channel it into some sort of creative avenue to keep from cussing random folks out or slapping strangers, but so far, it hasn’t really subsided. Black Rage is real and at certain times recently, mine has given out to Black Exhaustion. I don’t really know if that’s a thing, but if it wasn’t before a sentence ago, it is now. I see Black Exhaustion as that level that kicks in after one is reminded for the umpteenth time about the world she lives in, sees an atrocity acted out against folks who look like her, rails about said atrocity via all the ways she can think of, then sits quietly seething but too tired to say much else. That last part? That’s the exhaustion. That’s when I’ve fussed, cussed, pondered, pontificated, and ended up pooped because it’s all just too damn much to process or work toward fixing in the moment.

Black-woman-sleep-at-workThese days, my anger is multi-layered. I’m angry at institutionalized racism and all its offshoots like police brutality against black and brown folks that too often ends with us on cold slabs in coroner drawers. I’m pissed off at a white racist with beliefs in extremist ideals who walked into a church and killed a group of folks who just wanted to spend an evening praying in what I imagine was the safest place they thought they could be outside their own homes. I’m annoyed about a white woman spending several years pretending to be a black woman like me, complete with my same struggles, my same obstacles, my same knowledge base, my same reality – sans the inconvenient disadvantages being a black woman REALLY has. I’m incensed by folks trying to tell me I should live some sort of color blind/post-racial reality where my people, my culture, my beliefs, our struggle, our pain, our history is erased all in the interest of making everyone more comfortable by not having to have the “race conversation.” I’m disgusted with black folks who cry “construct” regarding race but don’t do the same regarding “black on black crime” when they go into their rants about how black folks shouldn’t be mad about the Charleston church murders because black people kill black people every single day and nobody cares. I probably hate those people the most. All this anger leads to me wanting to just run away and rest, but how does one rest from a reality that will be there just as foreboding as it was before I buried my head in the sand?

black-woman-stressedI often scroll through news sites, the preview guide on my television, and my social media newsfeeds reading headlines and quietly saying, “Nope,” as I scroll on by high level f*ckery with which I am not prepared to deal. It isn’t an aversion to the truth for me. It’s just that exhaustion creeping in. That exhaustion I get from all the gibberish, the backlash, the innate duty I think I have to clue in the clueless, the mandate to fight against the ultimate disrespect to my people, the drive to trail blaze as a black person, a woman, and one who believes in decency among humanity. And in all this I wonder – is there a no doze for Black Exhaustion? Is there some sort of vitamin, energy drink, or exercise regimen for those of us who fuss and fight all in the name of the advancement and equal treatment of our folks? If there is, can I PLEASE get a prescription?pills

Much like I do when it is time to get up and go to work, I’ll keep driving. I will keep running my mouth, challenging untruths, tackling tomfoolery, and raging against all manner of balderdash, hoodwinkery, and poppycock passed off as righteousness. I just have to make sure I catch a few cat naps in between to stay fresh for that fight. ©




The-Black-Mans-StruggleI love black men, God knows I do (I absolutely said that in my Oprah as Sophia in The Color Purple voice) – but part of my frustration has to do with the fact I had to start off acknowledging my love for them as a disclaimer for what I really want to say. Since I have been old enough to understand the very basic parts of racism against black folks in this country, I have been indoctrinated with the “black man’s struggle.” I think most black folks; girls and women in particular, have heard it since childhood:

  1. The life playing field isn’t level for a black man.
  2. It’s harder for a black man to get a job.
  3. It’s harder for a black man to get a promotion when he does have a job.
  4. It’s harder for a black man to get respect everywhere.
  5. It’s harder for a black man to be acknowledged in the academic world.
  6. You know, you really have to be supportive of black men and boys because after all, it’s harder for them.

I’m sure plenty of folks reading this know this unfortunately true rhetoric. Most of my life, I assumed  “white men” were the implied group of privileged folks who had it easier than black men and what I thought totally made sense because the concept of white privilege is real. But these days, I’m not so sure the “white man” is the only one implied to have the lion’s share of privileges. In all this talk of how hard it is to be a black man (or boy), the black majority has forgotten an equally important conversation – the fact black girls and women have it just as hard, if not harder. The playing field isn’t really level for black women either. It’s challenging to be taken seriously in the professional world, despite one’s educational background and body of work that should speak for itself. Promotions are definitely not growing on trees specifically planted and grown for black women. It’s difficult for black girls and women to find respect in the white world, let alone in the black one. Black women graduate from college more often than black men, but we’re often discouraged by professors, administrators, lovers, and family members during our educational pursuits. And we have to rail against sexism outside of, but more importantly, within our race, and shit – it’s just hard being a black woman in this society. And folks thought it was hard out here for a pimp. He should try being a ho and see how that works.

Black girls and women are beaten, raped, and murdered by law enforcement officers just like our beloved black boys and men. We are denied opportunities we earn, just like our beloved black boys and men. We struggle with finding our footing in a society that MUGSHOT2constantly reminds us it doesn’t love us, just like our beloved black men. And from childhood we fight against being told we aren’t worthy, smart, beautiful, relevant, creative, innovative, or worthwhile, just like our beloved black men. But we forge our way anyway. We plot, plan, protest, politic, and prance up and down streets on behalf of our boys and men reminding this world the lives of our counterparts matter.

But who exactly marches for and with us? Who lets folks know when we say, “Black Lives Matter,” Black includes girls and women? Who campaigns for us with photo shoots shown in caps and gowns, posing mug shot style, with a sign in our hands stating our major in which we earned a degree? Who tells our story about how hard it is to be us and about how we really just need support during our struggle? Who surrounds us with love? Who RIDES for us? Who lets the world know we aren’t petty or unaware of the way our gender counterparts suffer just because we point out the fact we suffer too? Unfortunately, the answer to that is usually – US.

thumbI love black men, God knows I do, but I don’t love them or respect their struggle any more than I love and respect that of black girls and women. To succeed, to progress, to exact change in any way, we must support each other. The struggles of black girls and women must be acknowledged and seen as inextricable to the black struggle. I can be about that ride or die life, but I don’t always want to be in the car alone. ©


The Big Cover Up

nunThe talks started in third grade when I got boobs and went from the little undershirts with the flower on the chest to full-fledged bras and became more frequent with the appearance of more curves on my body. Most girls and women know about the talks. They’re the ones during which my mom told me I needed “something to go under, over, or with” my outfit because whatever I was wearing showed too much skin. I am sure I’m not the only one who knows about this. While getting dressed for school, church, an outing with friends, etc…, your mom notices what your body is becoming or has become and she starts the process of prepping you to hide all those assets for the hormonal benefit and relief of young boys and men everywhere. It isn’t totally our mom’s fault though. They simply perpetuate a school of thought passed down through generations.

It’s in office dress codes, campus handbooks, and even various church doctrines – women are fully expected to be modest in appearance and in some cases, they are to cover everything but their eyes because no self-respecting woman who loves herself, her man, or her god would a) want anyone other than her husband to see any part of her body and b) not want to distract boys and men from their daily lives with the tempting sights of her flesh. Whether it’s religious, cultural, or just a matter of manipulation and control, girls and women learn far too early they cannot be left to their own devices when it comes to clothing styles and body shapes because someone has to be around to look out for the boys and men. For most, it’s probably dismissed as general decency or religious observance, but I think there is far more to it than that.

It is partly a power play. Any time someone implores another to stifle herself in any way for the benefit of others, it’s usually an attempt to diminish her power and lessen the appearance of other’s vulnerability. How many times have you been told your skirt is too short, you need to wear longer sleeves, your neckline needs to be raised, or a cami needs to go under your shirt? Rarely is it simply a matter of dressing appropriately for a particular occasion. These admonishments usually happen because the one delivering the message thinks a girl or woman is a distraction to the boys and men around her.  I’ve heard it all my life and as a forty year old woman, I still get it from time to time. My main problem with this is the belief I’m guilty of something because of the way my body looks and the fact some men like it and that I should remedy what I haven’t done wrong by covering it up. So from early on in life, girls are being told their bodies are something that should generate shame.

I believe another issue is boy’s and men’s lack of interest to acknowledge and accept female sexuality. Their attraction to us is presented as tantamount in this society and our ability to smother it in the interest of making life easier for them is recommended and suggested to women as the only valid option.  To draw attention away from the weakness society fosters in boys and men by telling them the way they gawk, drool, cat call, and are driven to distraction for focus on girl’s and women’s bodies is natural, we are asked to hide ourselves instead of them being taught to learn to see without staring or to appreciate without aggravating. Apparently, it’s simpler to convince us we are doing something. ©


Tupac saw the same ones everywhere he went, Ludacris had them in every area code, and Snoop never loved them. Yes, people.  I’m talking about hoes – the word often used to describe women and girls from every walk of life. According to urban conversational and social norms, a woman can be a rotten, stank, dirty, useless, or crappy one. But take heart, because a woman can apparently also be a good, down ass, and loyal ho as well.  I mean, balance is important, right?

When I was a whole lot less informed and self-reflective, I subscribed to the existence of hoes. I didn’t see the word as a compliment and was of course careful to only apply it to the women who fit the description – women who gave up “the goods” to too many men, women who screwed too soon, women who were too liberal with blow jobs, women whose dresses and skirts were too tight and/or too short, women who wore too much makeup, women who couldn’t stay away from the club spotlight, etc… See, it was ok for me to think of those women as hoes because they weren’t anything like me – the well-behaved woman. I was close-legged, quiet in public, well-read, and had on clothes that showed just the right amount of skin. In retrospect, I am a little ashamed I bought into the man-dated tomfoolery of what a “real” woman versus a ho should do and be, but I’m glad I learned before it was too late.

The entire intention behind the word, “ho” and all its synonyms is to separate girls and women from one another, stifle their sexuality, and destroy their confidence in who they are and the power they hold. The older I get and the more in tune I become with myself as a multi-faceted woman, the easier it is for me to see the flaw in my young thinking and the 58999724disservice society, mostly at the hands of male and religious dominated thought processes, has done to folks as a result. I know now there are no hoes. Hoes and ho-dom are nothing more than constructs created to keep women in check and within the bounds set for them by men and reinforced by society as a whole. I know what some folks might be thinking while reading this – “What do you mean there are no hoes? Of course there are. I mean, what else are we supposed to call ‘those’ women?” My answer for that is they should simply be called women. Since I can remember, I was programmed to separate myself from other girls and women. I couldn’t hang with so and so because she was “fast,” I couldn’t go to certain places because that was where the “loose” girls hung, and I wasn’t allowed to wear certain clothes lest anyone mistake me for a tramp. The divide started early and I was convinced it must have been warranted. I didn’t want to be seen in a negative light and heaven forbid anyone should see me as any kind of ho. With introspection, information, and maturity, things changed.

One of the main problems with calling women hoes is the way it suggests a woman should downplay her sexuality and even apologize for it. A woman isn’t allowed to have sex when she wants with the partners she chooses without feeling guilty because it apparently gives her entirely too much control over her body and seemingly – a certain amount of control over her partners.  If that autonomy is stripped from her, she is left to define herself by someone else’s standards and must spend her time trying to reach for an unrealistic and unfair ideal to maintain her decent reputation. If a woman is completely true to herself and does as she sees fit, her full power is in her possession and no one else can convince her she is wrong.

When having this conversation with a friend, he asked how I categorize women who don’t have sex out of a sense of personal sexual liberation, but instead do it to somehow help/heal themselves because of low self-esteem. I told him those women aren’t hoes to me – they’re just hurt. Though most folks are likely having sex out of a sense of enjoyment, many are having sex trying to replace something they lost or compensate for what they may have never had. Those folks are simply damaged. They’ve been banged up by life and think their sexuality is the playing field where they can recoup. To me, women like this are victims who are hurting and misunderstood, not hoes. These are the women and girls who need someone to reach out instead of ridicule.

I realize it’s difficult for some women to look down from their good woman level and go against everything they’ve been taught about what it is to be respectable, but it’s necessary if they are to ever understand the position of women who seem to have broken all the “good girl” rules.  If more women subscribed to the belief that we aren’t all nearly as separated as we are think, the divide would start to close. This undertaking is probably even more difficult for men. They would have to throw out almost everything they’ve been indoctrinated with to make room for the idea that a woman who goes against the good girl grain is still a woman worthy of respect.

Ultimately, I think it simply comes down to girls and women defining themselves and being unapologetic about it. We are not hoes, tricks, and tramps. We are individuals who tank and triumph and who wear sexy dresses and business suits. Women sleep with whom they like, live a committed life of abstinence and everything in between and not a bit of it makes us hoes. Instead, we are human and for that, we should not have to ever feel ashamed.©