Maya Angelou — Black History Month

Developing a love of truth, standing for civil rights, enjoying life itself and recording the experience, our matriarch became an inspiration. Maya Angelou’s words, spoken, on the printed page or r…

Source: Maya Angelou — Black History Month

Tune in and Listen

There is too much happening on a daily basis and I can hardly keep up. This administration is purposefully overwhelming us in order to obfuscate. Everyday is an entirely new issue to absorb, unpack, and challenge. This makes it difficult to be organized. It makes it very easy to spread yourself thin trying to keep up with it.

For me personally, this shock and awe tactic isn’t super effective because nothing these deplorables do shock me anymore. I’ve seen the most heinous things both in history and in current events. White supremacy is a helluva drug. It’s got us believing en mass that the threat to America is Muslims and not white cis-hetero males.

I’m no longer in shock, I haven’t been for a while. I expected him to win and I expected the minions (who are sure to benefit from the chaos) to fall in line, I expected these cash grabs and power plays.

You know why, this party has shown its hand time and again. Their president did every single thing he could to prove his unworthiness, to prove how dangerous he is going to be and y’all still put him in the top spot, as I predicted you would white America. You never cease to disappoint with the depths you’ll go to protect your white Christianity.

Anyway, I digress. Today I want to talk about how I am tuning all that fuck shit out and focusing on trustworthy voices of reason and facts throughout these trying times. Media outlets are finally figuring out how precious Freedom of the Press really is. There are reliable publications and people out there doing their best to report. Here’s who and what I’m tuning into at the moment.


Dan Rather – News and Guts

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Photo Credit: News and Guts

Just when I was starting to lose all hope that journalistic integrity had died and gone to hell, in comes Rather, taking a hot, steaming, pile of honesty all over the Orange Menace and his “team” of siths. Coming out of semi-retirement to remind everyone what the press is actually for, he quickly became my #mediabae and I have been following ever since. THEN he puts down the remote and picks up his laptop to create News and Guts…a Facebook “channel” dedicated to reporting reliable news during these unreliable times! If you don’t know, now you know! Go find and follow!

ProPublica

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Photo Credit: ProPublica

I watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver…he’s kind of the shit. He did several segments on toupee fiasco and reliable reporting. ProPublica happened to be #1 on the list and I tuned in right away. As their tagline proudly exclaims, “We’re not shutting up.” So should we follow suit. They are non-profit so if you have the funds, throw some their way!

PBS Newshour

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Photo Credit: PBS NewsHour

For traditionalists who like staying power, PBS Newshour is for you. A staple of PBS for over 40 years, Newshour doesn’t sensationalize. Instead, they rely on factual reporting of current events to provide real non-biased news. Or as close to non-bias as American can possibly be. They provide current, thorough, and reliable information for the masses.

Teen Vogue

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Photo Credit: Teen Vogue

In one million years I would have never bet Teen Vogue would be on my list of smart media but look at that cover photo up there! Ever since Elaine Welteroth took the reigns we have been seeing the kind of hard-hitting truthful reporting not seen in Mainstream Media since Nixon. Even my #mediabae Dan Rather had to give them props! I see them too and I am ever hopeful for the next generation, that is, if they are reading Teen Vogue!

Remezcla

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Photo Credit: Remezcla

Remezcla is a Spanish word for remix and that’s a great analogy for what this publication is doing. Remixing the ways Latinx people are being represented in the media. While this isn’t necessarily a news outlet, they certainly report reliably on issues specific to LatinX people.

Women of Color

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Photo: Angela Peoples – Women’s March

Listen, 94% of black women and 68% of Latina women (most probably non-white) voted against the Menace. We knew what the deal was gonna be, remember when I said I was not surprised by this election? I meant that shit. Women of color, especially black women, knew and tried to warn everyone. That means, those are the only voices I’m really shutting up and listening to. There are so many smart, savvy, daring, and courageous women with whom you should tune in and follow. My condensed list includes:

Franchesca Chescaleigh Ramsey, Elaine Welteroth, Linda Sarsour, Leslie Mac and Marissa Janae, Feminista Jones, Jessica Williams, Rosa Clemente, Angela Peoples.

Marginalized Voices

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Photo Credit: Highersights

There are so many ways in which marginalization intersects. Fortunately for us there are also many women who are working to represent these voices in appropriate ways. I am no expert on LGBTQIA+++ nor can I relate to living with a disability. These voices help me put things into perspective and remain, always inclusive.

Maysoon ZayidJudy Heumann, Angelica Ross, Trans Women of Color Collective, Disability Visability Project

Obviously this list is so very limited and I am sure I will spin the last two “voices” into thier own posts here but I really needed to get all this down and out to you guys.

I know there are more voices, more publications, and more people speaking facts out there and I know my Smarties are tuned in! Please share your favorites. Also, if my content was helpful and/or resonated with you in any way, please consider a contribution to help me keep it going!

Donate now! Click the pic below! Thank you!

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Why Are You So Angry?

In my previous life I was a nice person. I was full of “all lives matter,” rhetoric and respectability politics. I was helpful to white folks and kept my ratchet to a minimum, especially in professional settings. I lived my life through a distinctly white gaze.

While I have plenty of my own set of privileges, ethnic ambiguity can only take one so far and the way my pride and self-love is set, I could never really denounce my culture.

Yo soy Boricua, siempre.

I was just young and careless with my self and my ancestors. Eventually, I began to recognize how the world centers whiteness and in return, whiteness, somehow validated the world. If you can “pass” among them, the temptation to revel in the privilege is deep. Especially in those who internalize the supremacy and patriarchy.

Fast forward to present day. I am a woman much more centered in my identity.I am blessed and proud to be raising 6 of the most beautiful children in the entire world. I am standing with a partner who would lay down and die for us all. My village is strong and our bonds unbreakable. Happiness is knowing who you are and living your truth.

So, Why am I so angry?

Well, to be very honest, the state of our society, in general, is really making it hard for me to pull myself, my disabled husband (a veteran), and our 6 children (including a baby) up by our boot straps and get our shit together.

My life as a writer, believe it or not, is not very glamorous. Self-employment turns to unemployment really quickly when you can’t write because you are literally stressed about healthcare, light bills, rent, and fucking food!

Then comes the Orange Menace and his selfish supporters, more privileged than I, insisting if we just trust them, all of this will be juuuuuuuuust fiiiiiiiiiine. Then a bunch of grown ass men, met, like thieves in the middle of the night to rob 30 million people, children included, of their health care.

Recently I took to Facebook to vent my frustrations with the state of things. It’s fucking personal and I’m taking very personal. I am having a hard time engaging in civil discourse with those who put this into action. Their political leanings – greedy, self-serving, bigoted, xenophobic, homophobic – threatens the fabric of my life and the lives of those more vulnerable than us.

“Why are you so angry?” acquaintances slip into my DMs to ask me all the time.

“Why are you so angry?” opponents on the other side of the aisle ask me.

“Why are you so angry?” the “sensible” supporters of this Presidency ask.

“Why are you so angry?” white liberals ask in dismay at my divisive tone.

WHY THE FUCK AREN’T YOU ANGRY?

FUCK OFF!

I have to question why you are so calm while this administration feed us the bullshit that things like healthcare and education are privileges. I have to question why you are trying to convince me that everything is just status quo and this is nothing more than civil, political discourse.

Here’s a few of the most recent headlines from this fuckshit group y’all are calling a political party.

According to PBS Newshour, “President Trump has taken 10 executive actions since entering office.”

President Trump has ordered that federal dollars cannot go to organizations that provide abortion services.

The president has told agencies they cannot fill any vacant positions nor open new ones, with two exceptions: military personnel and critical public safety positions.

President Trump ordered that permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline be approved in an expedited manner

 

 

Those are the highlights. This administration will see many marginalized groups suffer.

Not convinced? Take a look at this rundown of the past few days. The highlights here include:

On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs

On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ

On January 20th, 2017 roughly 230 protesters were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics

On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources

credit for compilation: Karen Cornett-Dwyer

He has removed civil and LGBTQIA rights pages from and added a page about protecting law enforcement to the .gov website even though there is no evidence law enforcement need protecting.

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US officers killed as the result of crime, 1970-2015

All this among other immediate, and telling, changes.

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photo courtesy Leslie Mac – co-founder Safety Pin Box

I am angry as fuck. As angry as any adult who is actually paying attention should be and I refused to be gaslit. I refuse to allow any type of normalization of an administration, fully endorsed by the KKK and sponsored by corporate villains.

I am looking at you sideways if you can’t comprehend the threat we are facing as American citizens. I think it’s time to stop being polite and start getting real.

Check your privileges, thoroughly and extensively before you fix yourself to ask me to keep calm, be united, give this thing a chance, or any of tone deaf rhetoric. I AM NOT HERE FOR THE BULLSHIT.

Now isn’t the time to discuss the threat calmly over tea and crumpets. The time for civil discourse, in my heart at least, has passed. I no longer care to sit at the table with any of you supporting the Orange Menace. Your vote has shown me your care for me and mine.

Thank you, now kindly go fuck yourself or if you happen to be poor, wait for your president to do it. You will NOT be waiting very long.

xoxoxox

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My Household Command Center

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

I am so glad you are here with me and I hope 2017 is prosperous for us all.

As many of you long time smarties know, the ship I’m steering has a crew of 8 and keeping us all on track is a herculean effort. As the head of this rag-tag crew, my partner and I have always taken a, “divide and conquer,” approach to keeping our family afloat.

This has served our family well, his strengths are my weaknesses and vice-versa. A few years ago when he began working in a another state, I began writing from home and running the house. It was a big change but, he did come home at the end of the day to tag me out.

However, a recent diagnosis of Stiff Person Syndrome, which has been debilitating for him, has now forced us to think differently about how we are steering this ship. Our focus as a family is different now and it is all hands on deck.

The command center has been a fixture in my home for years. It started with just a white board calendar and a “to-do” list. command_center_beforeIt has since grown with our needs and while it is quite useful it really isn’t meeting its full potential.

In the New Year and with the new demands on my family, it’s time for an upgrade. I want us to be in better communication, keeping better track of how we are spending our time both separate and as a family.

Everyone has their own “peek at the week “cards. peek_oldWe use them to track school activities, extra curriculars, special events, and appointments. In this way everyone can see what everyone else is doing and we can plan accordingly. It started out really well but has since fallen to the wayside. The old card was nondescript and difficult to read. As you can see it looks more like a form for the DMV.

With the new cards, the focus is on function. It is meant to give a quick snap shot into what is coming up in the week ahead. This time around I kept it very simple. I think it is much more inviting and easier to use.

 

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Next I set my sights on the shopping list. I am tired of keeping our lists on scraps of paper. Not only is it a waste of paper, I have lost the list a time or two in the dark recesses of my diaper bag/purse. I wanted to make my dry-erase shopping list, small enough to take with me to the market and while I was at it, I may as well organize the list into categories.

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I still have a white board for us to jot things down as supplies run out but now I can transfer it to a neat little reusable list.

Additionally, I wanted an actual meal planner card that I could reuse and take with me to the market as well. I followed the same format as the peek at the week cards!

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At this point it was time to print, laminate, and reorganize the space. This is how I am using these tools for my family, laminating these tools means I can reuse them like dry-erase boards but it really isn’t necessary. You could easily print and add these cards to a day planner or bullet journal.

The results are below.

I reduced the clutter and focused on the most important information. We use the calendar the most and our old one was small and squished. This white board is a dedicated calendar now, with room to grow. Our notes & reminders and to-do list now has its own white board and the cards are big, bold, front and center.

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It isn’t a whole new transformation, just an upgrade. The space feels cleaner. I feel more prepared for 2017! Sharing is caring because I want  you to be prepared too, my cards and lists are available for download below.

Before you do please consider a contribution!

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Five Things I’m Leaving in 2016

I don’t do New Year resolutions for a bunch of reasons. My life is in constant flux and change doesn’t wait until the new year, it just happens.

Still, I like neat endings with all my loose ends tied and every to-do list checked off and completed in full! HA! I’m just kidding, that’s not how anything in my life works.

I want to be more organized. I even tried to start, keep, and maintain a bullet journal but kept forgetting to take time to actually update it. My bedroom looks like a closet exploded over everything.

I still have boxes in the garage I’ve yet to unpack since we moved in….6 years ago.

I’m not a type A. I’m more like a type Z. If I’m being perfectly honest with myself…I probably have adult ADD. I only complete projects I’m absolutely passionate about and even then…it’s a push.

That is neither here nor there however…all this is to say, the end of the year compels me to assess. I’m thinking about what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and naturally where I would like to go.

I am of course limited by economic hardships and lack of resources but, personal growth isn’t so much about having and more about being. I can’t really say what I might want in the year to come. Who the hell knows what is waiting down the road. I do, however, know exactly what I don’t want/need in the year to come.

Here’s my list of shit to leave behind in 2016….

Picking the wrong battles.

In a world lit up with all kinds of distractions, I’ve had a hard time staying focused. For someone who claims to want no drama, I find myself embroiled in it quite a bit. I could say, “I don’t look for drama, it just finds me,” and while that is technically true, when it comes I’m choosing to engage. This isn’t to say I should stop fighting. Hell no! Rather, I am choosing to be more selective about where and when and to what end I engage. I don’t need all of that stress.

My energy is more powerful when I focus it, instead of spreading myself so very thin.

Working for free

When I first began my writing career, I was eager to get my name out there. I had no issue writing for exposure or writing just for the byline. While, I still want to get my name and work out there, I am no longer inclined to do it for free. I deserve to be paid and I deserve it to be a livable wage. I deserve to make an income off of my intellectual property. Chasing money doesn’t make me greedy, it makes me smart. Demanding I be valued doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me savvy and if I were a man everyone would be much more willing to agree.

Well, I have come to realize my value and I wont be short-changing myself anymore.

Apologizing for my boundaries

Over the past year I made strong efforts to communicate my limits and set appropriate boundaries. Even with my children. It wasn’t easy. Some literally cussed and villainized me for standing my ground. This was upsetting but, it was important for me to end unhealthy patterns of behavior in certain relationships. I found myself apologizing often for this, “No, I’m sorry, I just can’t allow/handle/manage that.” followed by lengthy explanations about why this is. Having 6 kids, a disabled husband, no money etc.

“No.” really is a complete sentence and if you know me and love me, you don’t need an explanation or an apology.

Denying or delaying my own feelings 

Beyond mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, I am a whole entire person with an identity completely separate from the roles I take on in my life. The way my life is set up, exploring who I am as an entire person, sometimes, feels impossible. There are needs that must be met before mine. I am ok with that, I love my children, I love my responsibilities and the love that oozes from my life is real and wonderful.

However, taking care of 7 people is exhausting. Sometimes I can even resent it and when I do I know it is because I am not being honest about my own needs. While it may feel impossible to take the time I need to connect with my own feelings, it isn’t actually impossible.

Impostor Syndrome

I have a voice. I have influence. I am a great writer and I plan on doing so much more in the years to come. In the past I would have laughed after each of those sentences in more than just self-deprecating humor. I would have mocked myself bitterly, regretful that I didn’t know this before deciding not to go to college. Really though, the only regret I have is treating myself and my talents so poorly.

I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and I may have come into my own by unconventional methods but, I belong.

Letting go of the things that no longer serve me is good. Letting go of things that hurt me is even better. I am committed to doing both, owning my greatness, and leaving the bullshit behind! Happy New Year!

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Societal Dysmorphia

Societal dysmorphia:
A collective abnormality wherein large groups of people deny the facts of a situation in favor of believing an idealistic illusion of that situation. Coined by me to help me describe why so many people still deny racism is an issue in the United States of America. Really it applies to many groups or factions in this country and beyond.

Where the expression “post-truth” describes an individual replacing feelings for facts, societal dysmorphia describes a collective denial of facts, going as far as enabling each other in the delusion.

I have come up with a few examples to help me elaborate my point.

The ‘manosphere’–  The men’s “movement,” began in the 1970’s in response to feminism.  Today it has morphed into the manosphere. According to the Southern Law Poverty Center, “The so-called “manosphere” is peopled with hundreds of websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists, in particular women.”

This is a great example of societal dysmorphia. Hundreds of men, completely ignoring statistics about how unsafe it is for women, instead imagining they are the ones oppressed and in danger.

Climate Change Deniers – This is a little bit more complicated than a group of people with hurt feelings. Corporate America will be forced to make sweeping billion dollar changes in order to accommodate our planet. This is true across every industry. Big oil companies also stand to lose a considerable amount of money as we inevitably shift to clean energy. The facts are, we can’t sustain life unless we make that shift.

There are millions of dollars invested in denying climate change. Still, large groups of people readily believe the science is bogus. Despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Anti-vaxxers – The fear that vaccinations lead to autism was based on a real study. That study has since been found to be bogus and it took years to right the wrong. Autism research was set back due to the time invested in debunking or proving the fraudulent study.

However, medical professionals have since collectively agreed there is absolutely no link between vaccinations and autism. Groups of people still insist on the connection. Going as far as to claim a conspiracy on the part of the entire medical community, pharmaceuticals, and the United States government. As if our government could ever work with anyone that effectively.

Post-racist Americans – This is the example that lead me to coin this term to begin with. Dozens of, mostly white people, have accused me of “race-baiting,” and “making racism a thing when it isn’t a thing.” While I would love to think that individual person is just ignorant. I don’t believe that for one second. In this information age, ignorance is can’t be a thing anymore. There are thousands of Americans who believe this nonsense and no shortage of social and mainstream media outlets willing to validate that delusion. There is a definite refusal to accept the truth, facts, statistics, data, historical context as presented.

In all these examples, you have large communities of people standing in their collective dysmporphia, refusing to see things realistically. Instead, they are creating elaborate alter-realities, where their personal ideals are the reality and the actual reality is a conspiracy theory. In these realities conspiracy theories replace scientific data, love conquers hate, Martin Luther King passed peacefully in his sleep, and science is hogwash.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so reckless, if it didn’t endanger vulnerable groups of people and the balance of all of creation.

Societal dysmorphia erodes and deteriorates sensibilities and replaces it with ideals and propaganda that aligns. It is definitely the reason large groups of post-truthers, clung to unfounded fears and their white supremacy. Seeing the world through their dysmorphic lens, they collectively decided a pedophile, endorsed by the KKK, with absolutely no experience was a worthy candidate for POTUS.

Despite insurmountable evidence to the contrary.

It is also 100% self induced and those who have it absolutely fucking know better. They are neither ignorant to facts or unable to process them. They just refuse to accept and live with the truth and its consequences. The cure for this “condition,” is to simply seek out the truth.

For the sake of those reading this article climate change is real and so is racism, men do not need men’s rights and vaccinations do not cause autism. Thank you for reading. I look forward to being cussed out in the comments!

 

 

Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Met with ‘Alt-Right’ Freedom Party Leader | Teen Vogue

FYI Smarties…

It seems Teen Vogue has taken on the task of investigative journalism. With Elaine Welteroth at the helm we get to see smart media at its best…

From the article:

The “alt-right” is known for its extremist and racist views, as well as being severely anti-Semitic. It seems like the association between the Trump campaign and neo-Nazis won’t be broken any time soon, as his chosen national security advisor, General Mike Flynn, recently met with Heinz-Christian Strache — the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, which was established by former Nazis after World War II”

#RESIST

You can do this by

  • contacting your local representatives with your concerns
  • Joining and donating to watchdog organizations like pro publica
  • Staying informed and tuned in to smart media
  • Buy a subscription to Teen Vogue

On Being Safe Space Post-Truth

Since the Orange Menace, my posts are really revolving around social issues and how I am navigating through it. Being a vocal advocate to marginalized people isn’t charity, it is me actively working to make the world better for all of us. I’m not saving anyone but myself. Therefore, I’m standing with those groups, not for them. I’m an accomplice, a co-conspirator and an ally. I am willing to incur risk in order to support and amplify more vulnerable people than me.

Most of the smarties reading this understands the art of collaboration. I wont get into the differences between ally and accomplice. Rose Hackman explains the concept brilliantly in her piece for the Guardian.

Today I want to talk about how I work to be an effective accomplice and how important it is for me to turn myself (and any space I’m in) into safe space for marginalized people. It is especially important that my friends facing extreme amounts of oppression in their daily lives, to have someone who will love and listen to them. They deserve many someones which is why I am here talking about how I work at this. Daily.

These things are coming from my unique perspective, I’m not a monolith, beyond this and with all things, dig deeper.

Here we go:

Believe the lived experiences of marginalized people

When women say they don’t feel safe, believe them. When black people say they don’t feel safe, believe them. When gay and transgender people say they don’t feel safe, believe them, When people with disabilities say they don’t feel safe, believe them. When children say they don’t feel safe, believe them.

Support them, give them the room to react. Without responding or judging and especially without policing the reaction. Hold space for them to be themselves entirely. Whether or not it aligns with your own ways of being is irrelevant.

Open your heart to the fact that the experience is still valid and real even tho you can’t relate to or understand it yourself. In this way, you make yourself instantly safer and more trustworthy.

Identify and address your implicit biases.

Occurring outside of conscious awareness, implicit bias manifests itself in the form of nonverbal thoughts, behaviors and actions that influence an individual and that are suggestive of unequal treatment. – An Analysis of Implicit Bias in Medical Education

The ways in which we view the world are unavoidably influenced by cis-hetero, white supremacist, patriarchal power structures. The way to combat this is to recognize it is there, find it, and kill it. Burn it with fire.

This is a rough step because it means being brutally honest with oneself in order to “unlearn” the things you’ve been taught. It means admitting all the ways in which you may have oppressed others. It means admitting there is safety in your privilege and casting it aside.

It means admitting your isms and phobias and then actively working to destroy those biases, instead of becoming complicit in them.

Learn to listen

Understanding comes from paying close attention. Listening is a special skill and not everyone is endowed with the patience it takes to be good at it. I am not a natural born listener. I am a loud-mouth. I love the sound of my voice and I love giving my opinion (you are welcome to disagree in the comments). So listening was a learned skill for me.

I got good at it (you can disagree with me in the comments) with practice by going into spaces where I knew nothing and therefore had nothing to say. I listened and followed and listened some more. Now, I love shutting the fuck up. The people in my circle, the love I have cultivated, it’s all very brilliant and humbling.

Do your own homework

I opened books I’d never considered reading before, by authors never introduced to me in schools or by the NY Times bestseller’s list. I diversified my media and sought out resources not written by the same power structures negatively influencing us.

Google is my best friend. With it I can search both scholarly and non-scholarly articles on any topic imaginable. I’m only limited by the information available. Public libraries have long since gotten with the times and I can take out books online and read.

Lastly, I started to follow people not part of mainstream media that were reliable resources, not post-truth talking heads working over-time to perpetuate useless dogma.

I am still in this phase of re-education. The only thing I’ve fully learned so far is how much I really don’t know.

Pay reparations 

The best way to really create lasting change is to help redistribute wealth. Money is power and marginalized groups have been, thus far, barred from enjoying upward mobility. Those who can, absolutely should find ways to support black and non-black people of color. You can do that by supporting businesses owned by people of color. You can buy a subscription to safety pin box. You can donate to organizations working to bring about change.

You should tune into media that centers marginalized voices, written by marginalized people, telling diverse stories. Go see movies created by non-white filmmakers. In this way can make a statement about your priorities as a consumer.

Please understand, how you spend your money is how advertisers (and then the brands they represent) know what we want as a collective. Your searches, social media usage, web subscriptions are all collected for brands to serve you with better ads.

If you are buying from and tuning into these types of sources as a consumer, they will notice!

Be Generous with your Love

Love is a verb. It is not a prayer, it is not an idea, it is not a concept or an imprint. Love is ACTIVE, fluid, alive, and limitless. Love will not save us, nor is it the answer to societal ills. Instead, it’s the energy from which we draw our strength. Tap into and share it often and generously.

Be an earnest cheerleader. Not everyone can do everything. There are some people with the stuff to organize and lead…there are some who support and follow. I am the latter. I work to protect and support the organizers and leaders in every way I can. I brag about them to my friends and coworkers. I write about them and hang out with them and love them to pieces!

Show love to the people speaking to your spirit on this journey. Do that by amplifying and centering their voices and cheering them on, loudly and publicly!

Uplift the vulnerable among us

My privileges keep me safe. They make it so I can get away with a lot of things, under the radar, or with little to no effort. My able-bodied, cis-hetero, light-skinned self, walks through the world with much less fear than my dark-skinned, disabled, lgbtqia+, counterparts.

In matters of oppression, my perspective is limited. That means, under no circumstance should I be speaking for a vulnerable group I am not a part of. That means in order to be an effective accomplice to these people, I must amplify them.

We must center their voices, their lived experiences, their perspective.

Walk the walk

Practice makes perfect. An effective accomplice knows there is no rest for the wicked and therefore there is no rest for the weary and therefore no break for the rest of us.

The most vulnerable among us are being oppressed, maligned, endangered, and preyed upon daily. Everyday is an opportunity to collaborate with these groups in order to make the world a better place. Reach out. Your voice is needed.

If you are calling yourself an ally, you are committing yourself to all of the above in both idea and practice. SHOW YOUR WORK! By this I mean, people should know where you stand. Stop playing the fence and being vague about your opinion.

Get up. Stand up. In your own circles

Work your groups. Know where you have influence and use it to stand up for marginalized people. This is scary as fuck. It means being a squeaky wheel. One must be willing to be ostracized and isolated and even blocked from certain circles.

Silence is violence, don’t be quiet about racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination. If you have yet to speak out against the Orange Menace, for example, you have probably already been marked as unsafe to those people in your circle who are also part of the groups being targeted.

Uncover/rediscover – the business of unlearning

For me, all of the above was a process. I’m still on the journey, I’m still learning/unlearning. I’m still realizing my implicit biases.

I have dedicated myself to the business of collaboration. I am determined to make myself into safe space for my friends and family. I truly want to become and effective accomplice in the fight for equality.

There are a ton of articles, books, essays, poems, movies, etc…

Normalizing Hate: AKA Sympathy for the Devil

This morning I woke up and learned A&E will be premiering a reality show that follows several families in the Klu Klux Klan. You read that shit right, because in 2016 we still haven’t abolished these people right to hell.

Not even close actually. Instead, A&E is asking us to let these hate mongers right into our living rooms. Then they have the nerve to package it as “anti-racism” and ask us to follow along as they try to combat pure evil with love. On a scale of smart media to total trash this is a hot steaming pile of shit.

The news here isn’t the show or the Klan or the people centered in it.

The news here is that mainstream media is legitimately normalizing hate and that’s what the fuck we need to be reporting. From the moment they allowed the Orange Menace to get away with (for the sake of their ratings) his brand of racism, sexism, and xenophobia, they have been slowly but surely trying to convince us that this is all somehow normal.

It started out subtle, like when The Daily Show invited Tomi Lahren to its studios to “hear her side,” (though I’m sure there are plenty of examples of this prior to the election) MSM has been doing their part to slowly but surely convince us hate now has an opinion and a side worth hearing. A&E, in particular, is telling us that hate experiences trauma and we should open up our hearts (via our televisions) and give it some understanding.

Through “Generation KKK,” we get to follow the hate. Through this “documentary” we humanize a group that exists solely to assert superiority and dehumanize, by any means necessary (violence or policy or policing), anyone not like them.

Here’s the thing:

For its part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence in an effort to reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in the South. – History.com

Violence = Lynchings: almost 5,000 just between 1882 and 1968

Neither the violence nor the lynchings have stopped. An almost endless number of hashtags and the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is testament to this fact.

That is what you support and center by tuning in to this.kkk_car

It is a psychological head fuck to force people to “relate” to hate. When one can relate to a Klansman, the next logical step is asking, “how bad could the Klan be?”

This program is akin to giving ISIL a reality TV show under the guise of anti-terrorism.

This entire endeavor is abusive on a collective scale.

This is triggering to me, I can not imagine the trauma this dredges up for black people.

FUCK YOU A&E.

This “documentary” scrapes the bottom of the barrel. According to A&E,

 “This series pulls back the curtain on the organization that the Anti-Defamation League calls “a racist, anti-Semitic movement with a commitment to extreme violence to achieve its goals of racial segregation and white supremacy,” to show its effects on American families as member’s grapple with the consequences of leaving.”

“That the Anti-Defamation League calls…”

“Grappling with the consequences of leaving.”

FUCK YOU A&E!!!

Your attempts at normalizing this, your attempts at trying to make us feel….sympathy for the devil…FUCK YOU…seriously. I just can’t find the vocabulary to say it any other way.

The Klan is growing again in both numbers and popularity. Along with that growth are the hate crimes that will surely follow. A&E just added more fuel to that fire with this piece of shit show.

Since when do Klansmen, their families, their trauma deserves to be centered in America? Are you listening? A&E is centering KLANSMEN in their programming – not their victims – not the horrors they have wrought on this country – not the hate undoubtedly married to them – but actual Klansmen and their actual families, like this shit is absolutely normal and OK and this hate group should totally not be illegal!!!

kkk-comeback-us ku-klux-klan_3153153b

THIS IS NOT NORMAL!

I will not ever be tuning into A&E ever again.

I CAN RESIST THIS.

We CAN resist this….

If you are as disgusted with all this as I am, tweet your disgust to A&E @AETV and go to their Facebook pages and express your outrage to this trash disguised as story telling.

Speak up and speak out against the normalization of hate! RESIST!

Stay safe smarties! You matter and you are loved.

On Safe Spaces for White People

Life after the Orange Menace (OM) has been…interesting. The response from white women have been especially revealing. It’s almost like they only just realized how very fucked up this nation is and are desperately trying to figure out what to do.

Hence, the rise of, “Safe spaces for white people,” to work through racism in the shadow of the OM. I know what y’all are thinking…I bitch when privileged folks don’t do anything, then I bitch because I don’t like the efforts privileged folks are making.

That is true, this is America and my right to bitch is my right! Deal with it.

I’ve received two invitation to “heal whiteness” in as many weeks. These “workshops” challenge participants to examine the meaning of whiteness and white privilege while resolving the guilt and shame of white supremacy.

Sounds good right? White people need to do this type of work, post-haste.

unmasking-whiteness-2017-flyer

However, in the case of this particular workshop, it is neither run by or even using content created by people of color. At least not directly. However, for $200 you can get to the business of working through personal biases in “safe” (ie white only) spaces. Without any help (or interruption) from actual marginalized people.

This is like asking the fox to guard the hen-house.

Like, asking police to investigate their own brutality.

Where are the checks and balances?

Why do white people need safe space to work through the trauma they are inflicting (consciously or not) onto black people?

When a friend of mine reached out to the organizers they refused to engage. Her questions were not aggressive, they simply asked about the need for “safe space” while doing this work and how they planned to assess progress if there were no people of color to defer to:

Is your assertion that white people are strong enough to be racist, but not strong enough to talk about the racism that they do?

You have acknowledged that the ethics of doing this work might be challenged on the basis of your whiteness and the fact that you are charging money, my question is more essential. What are you healing? What part of white people has been traumatized and by whom?

Is your assertion that if white people receive healing, they will become nonviolent? What evidence/criteria are you using to measure this?

Does this healing work translate to patriarchy/sexism? Can men become nonviolent by these methods?

These are valid, legitimate questions that were left unanswered. Which makes me questions the validity of this entire endeavor.

I’d argue that the world is overflowing with safe white spaces and there is no need for these retreats either way. Every time one turns on the TV, sits down to watch a movie, or read, whiteness is centered in almost all of it constantly. The world has been made a safe space for white people.

 

The truth is, this well-intentioned effort looks like nothing more than a self-centered, self-congratulatory cash grab. I see you.

For the record, oppressed groups don’t have the privilege of “safe space” to learn about their oppression.

1,094 Bias-Related Incidents in the Month Following the Election – Southern Poverty Law Center

there-are-currently

Working to dismantle white supremacist systems is grueling and uncomfortable. It requires drifting further and further from our comfort zones into truly diverse spaces. Mistakes will be made and we will be checked for those mistakes. Sometimes, without any care for our personal feelings because, the truth is, my personal feelings are not more critical than actual people, facing actual dangers.

It took me rejecting a lifetime of dogma and replacing it with new, more accurate information to get this. I am still unpacking a lot of internalized misogynoir, sexism, and yes, white supremacist attitudes. I learned to shut the fuck up long enough to listen and learn from groups of people more oppressed than me.

Anything, I know about anti-racism work, any awareness I’ve gathered, any understanding I have found, has come to me by the grace of black voices, almost always women, willing to document, write about, and explain their oppression.

As a woman of color, who has experienced my fair share of racism, I still benefit from a hell of a lot of privilege. Acknowledging my privileges keep me safe and then using them to center marginalized people is how I redistribute my power. AMPLIFYING BLACK WOMEN means I am centering them, not myself in this movement. A movement they birthed.

My pantsuit nation post is filled to the brim with indignant people asking why Safety Pin Box owners think they should profit from their advocacy. Meanwhile, white women, a demographic which already enjoys an abundance of safe spaces and opportunities, to choose from, are lining their pockets with profits from these “white healing spaces.” Without being asked where the profits are going or why they deem themselves worthy of profiting from their advocacy in the first place.

So basically, fuck your double standard.

White women should be supporting safe spaces for oppressed groups, instead of self-segregating for profit. White women should be working, daily, to turn themselves into safe spaces by first and foremost, centering vulnerable groups in their social justice efforts. White women should be paying black women for the educational content necessary to make these workshops effective.

Finally, and I can’t emphasize this enough, white women need to learn how to play the best supporting role, not the lead, in this fight for liberation. Anything less is uncivilized and narcissistic as fuck.