Only Black Girl 02/2018

I’m naturally a very quiet person, especially at work. Is this why people feel the need to come at me with their bull****? Is it because I’m shy? Is it because I’m the only Brown person here? A combination of both? Didn’t your mother ever teach you “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? These are the questions I have after my White co-worker, who we’ll call “Bob” TRIED IT.

I woke up in one of those rare “happy for no reason” moods. I felt well rested and ready for the day. It was warm but not too hot out. The sun was shining through clouds, casting the most perfect light on my copper skin tones. I almost wanted to skip to work singing with the birds as the slightest breeze flowed through my curly fro. I looked fly, free, and was walking on sunshine.¬†ūüėĀ

I get to work and start going about my business, laughing and chatting with some co-workers, procrastinating the morning away. I don’t even notice “Bob” in the corner watching my moves. He walks over and interrupts my pleasant conversation with someone else…

“hmm,”….. “I don’t think I really like your¬†hair like that.” he says smiling…..

PAUSE!

Now, the problem with being the only Black woman in a majority White office is sometimes you have to tiptoe around people’s feelings rather than saying it like it is, which is your normal method of operation. You see, Bob/Becky can be as politically incorrect and downright inappropriate as they want but as a Black woman, if I want to keep my job, I have to hold back. Despite being the one insulted, I have to cater to his feelings. I can’t curse or yell at how angry it makes me that even in the 21st century my own natural hair is still seen as unattractive or unacceptable. I can’t even tear up at the fact that this man has the audacity to tell me to my face, in a place of work, that he doesn’t like my God-given hair. I have to craft a subtle response to his White privilege all to avoid being the stereotypical and universally dreaded “angry Black woman”. I wish I was braver. I wish I didn’t care. I really wish I didn’t allow people like this to ruin my day. I wish I could tell him everything wrong with what he said without risking my boss’s bad side. But, my boss already isn’t fond of the Only Black Girl and I have bills to pay. We have to choose our battles carefully…

So, lets become Becky. Like, “let me sound totally sweet while being totally¬†rude when I should be totally minding my own damn business because, although natural Black hair gives me the uncontrollable urge to share my opinion,¬† you rocking a curly fro this morning has 0 impact on my life! *insert innocent giggle here*.” Sigh,¬†ūüėí.

…Take a deep breath. One more. Don’t yell. Channel inner Becky….

GO!

Ending the long awkward silence and uncomfortable glaring, I smirk. “Oh really?” I shrug. “Well, it’s just my natural hair. That’s just how it grows out of my head. I mean…at least I have hair, right!?” I giggle innocently, looking up at Bob’s shiny balding crown of glory and walk back to my damn office. My job is safe….today anyway.

Only Black Girl

I walk into my job and turn the corner towards the offices, of which mine is last.

In one office I spy all my co-workers.

What is this? A meeting? No one told me…how typical.

Why does everyone look so emotional?? One is sighing with a look of perfect contentment. ¬†Others make exclamations…”Wow…” ¬†“How?…” “Why?…”

Has something happened? Is this a private intimate moment between friends? Has something miraculous occurred and I missed the memo?  Why am I the one always left out?

I walk closer.  Another co-worker bursts into hysterical laughter as the conversation continues in muted tones.

Perhaps this is a happy occasion.  Someone has good news?

I walk up to one of the group, a grin on my face, eager to join in the camaraderie, wondering what event impacted this weekday morning so much more than any other.

I whisper to him, “Hey, whatcha talkin about?”

He grins at me in sheer delight, “Paul McCartney :D”

……”oh”……..

*pops tongue and keeps it moving down the hall*

Yes, We Matter…And Yes, You Do TOO

BLM Collage

I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to cut all you #AllLivesMatter ranters some slack out of misplaced sympathy towards your completely insensitive ignorance….I’m done now. I honestly cannot begin to understand why people are still ok with¬†using that phrase. I’m browsing through comment sections like, honestly? This is really still a thing?? The reason why that phrase is disrespectful has been explained So Many Times I can’t count. In case you missed it:

#BlackLivesMatter was created because the Black community felt the need to state what should be obvious but clearly isn’t: that Black people matter. We are human beings the same as anyone else, citizens of this country that deserve equal treatment, opportunities and protection. We all are supposed to have these rights but when you look at our nation that is simply not the case (cop killings, media portrayals, incarceration rates). This is why people began to verbalize it, a way to say, “Hey, we matter TOO! Its about time we fixed this!”¬†More or less when you say, “All lives matter”¬†you’re downplaying the simple statement that Black people matter, that our lives matter. “Black Lives Matter”¬†does not say that others don’t matter. ¬†It’s¬†not anti-police or anti-White. ¬†We’re reminding the world that we matter TOO because that is easily forgotten. “All lives matter”¬†is something said to shut us up and keep us in our place rather than raise us up. We don’t want to be raised over everyone else. We want equal treatment, and that goes for other races as well. ¬†When Black Lives Matter gained speed I also saw a lot more publicity on Latino and especially Native American issues. This is about everybody. “Black Lives Matter” is simply a slogan started by the Black community because we were talking about problems specific to us¬†that we’ve been struggling with for too long. But we’re not saying other races don’t have issues or don’t need raising up. ¬†We all should be on the same level.

Now, most people get this by now but some of you guys are way behind the curve. ¬†The even sadder part is that now ¬†when people use it they almost say it like an attack…which is exactly what it is. “Police lives matter” also gained popularity which is arguably even more vile. We all know all police aren’t murderers and yes their lives matter…but why was the Black lives Matter movement started to begin with (refer to previous paragraph)? People were protesting largely in response to recent killings by police of unarmed Black men.¬†Now “Police lives matter” has become a rebuttal and I have one more reason to never eat at Chik-fil-A again *sigh*. Anyway, I’m not trying to convert anyone over to the movement. I just needed¬†to vent and I wish people would be more mindful of what they’re saying and what it really means. Do you care about Black lives? If yes, don’t say all lives matter or blue/police lives matter. If no, well, you know what THAT means and you can say what you like but I strongly advise you take a look at your life and sense of morality. That’s all.

Is #OscarsSoWhite Right?

There’s been a CRAZY amount of conversation about Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee’s decision to boycott the Oscars due to the lack or recognition of people of color in Hollywood. ¬†I support their decision and give them props for standing firm on something they obviously feel strongly about. Strangely, I haven’t seen many people with the same mindset, Black or White. ¬†There are several arguments floating around but I thought I’d discuss the three that stand out most to me.

The first is one I’ve seen from a lot of different people that basically says there’s more important and far worse things going on (stating the obvious much?), so who ¬†cares about an award ceremony? Stop boycotting and protest something legit. ¬†No one said that we should all focus on the Oscars and stop caring about world hunger. It reminds of BLM and how some people say life is far harder for other people around the world so Blacks in America should quit complaining. ¬†One injustice cannot devalue another. It may be the understatement of the year but, this is an imperfect world. ¬†Its imperfect and too often unjust for MANY reasons. ¬†Are we only supposed to focus on a few of them? ¬†Jada and Spike Lee are a part of the entertainment field. This is THEIR industry so they should be the ones to spark that change. Who is going to fight for equal representation¬†if not people like them? ¬†We all should work within our own personal communities and circles to make changes for the better. It starts with small steps in small spaces and gradually the whole is improved. To me thats just common sense.

The next attack actually comes from Black people who say something to the effect of, “Stop whining about what White people won’t give you and create your own awards with your own standards!”….So, for anyone who may not get what they mean, this is basically how in the Black community we create things that caters to our culture and community and its nothing new. ¬†Think of Soul Train Awards, BET, all Black casts, HBCU’s. ¬†All of these are examples of things that were created for the Black community because something was lacking. ¬†Now, I will admit that this is a very good point. We could make our own awards….BUT, bear with me here, something about that feels backwards to me, especially at a time where racial tensions seem to be rising in this country. ¬†Do we really want to divide ourselves more? Is that a step backwards in the wrong direction? ¬†There was certainly a need for us to create our own schools, films, shows and groups¬†and in no way am I saying to do away with all of that. ¬†Im just asking the question, In 2016, do we really need our own Oscars too? To me the best outcome wouldn’t be to have a predominantly White Oscars and a predominantly Black Oscars. ¬†There should simply be one show that doesn’t exclude some but includes all. ¬†However, I’m sure that’s a long time off and there are many factors involved…It has to start somewhere.

Lastly, I’ve heard comments like,”Who cares!? They’re still actors, they’re still famous and an award doesn’t always depict talent.”… Also true. However, to me the overall point of #OscarsSoWhite is that we need more representation of people of color and not just at award shows. ¬†Of all the films watched that contribute to these nominations, how many Black actors were cast in comparison to White actors? Take it a step further, How many Asian? Native American? ¬†The obvious issue is not just nominations, but there aren’t as many ¬†actors of color to choose from because there aren’t that many actors of color in Hollywood period. ¬†That’s how I see the fundamental problem. ¬†It’s a lot harder to nominate Black actors/actresses if they just aren’t in these films. I don’t condemn Jada or Spike Lee for their actions but there is definitely room for them and others to do more. ¬†Go after the studios who make the films as well, and as the general public we could take a stand by avoiding the theaters when diversity is lacking in popular films. There is a great deal of power in the American dollar. ¬†There needs to be a¬†collective effort by actors,¬†viewers, and ticket buyers to force a real change.